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Recruitment Group Receives Investment from BGF and HSBC

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Operam Education Group, which operates in the education recruitment sector, has received investment from BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, and HSBC. The funding will support further acquisitions and organic growth.

Founded in 2017 by resourcing specialists Eddie Austin and Andrew Frome, Operam completed its first acquisition in the same year, buying Provide Education, an education recruitment agency operating across three branches with its head office in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Now entering the second phase of its buy and build strategy, Operam will use the funding from BGF and HSBC to acquire Teachers UK and The Education Specialists.

The Education Specialists have been a leading education recruitment agency in the North West since 2002, operating from two branches in Liverpool and Manchester. Teachers UK is a specialist education recruitment agency based in Mansfield that supplies teachers, lecturers and support staff to academies, schools, colleges and nurseries across the region. The acquisitions will strengthen Operam’s regional presence further across the UK and will bring almost 40 years of collective experience to the existing Operam platform.

Andy McRae, a former of MD of Hays plc and formerly CEO of Red Commerce, will join the business as non-executive Chair. Andy has a strong background in multi-site, people-centric businesses, as well as extensive M&A experience.

Eddie Austin, CEO of Operam, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome The Education Specialists and Teachers UK to the Operam Group. Both are highly regarded industry specialists and will help us to broaden our reach and continue to provide high quality candidates to more schools in the regions.”

“We have built our reputation and relationships in the market through our intimate knowledge of client needs, our efficiency, and our track record in matching high-quality candidates with the right roles. Our vision for Operam is to drive growth both organically and via acquisition and build a group of real scale over the next three years. I’m excited to enter this next stage of growth with BGF and HSBC’s backing.

Barry Jackson, who led the deal on behalf of BGF, said:

“Eddie and Andrew are well-respected specialists with over 50 years’ experience in education recruitment. They have developed a strong pipeline of acquisition targets and have ambitious plans for organic growth in the coming years, and we’re delighted to be partnering with them at this exciting stage of their development.

“We’re pleased to be bringing another South Yorkshire based business into the BGF portfolio. We’re seeing more and more ambitious management teams in the region with exciting growth plans, and we’re delighted to be on the ground and supporting innovation and development.”

Scott Christian, Relationship Director for HSBC UK, South Yorkshire & Humber, said: 

“It’s an exciting time for Operam Education Group, with these latest acquisitions adding valuable expertise to this rapidly expanding business. In a short space of time, Operam has demonstrated its in-depth knowledge of the education sector, identifying great opportunities and making bold steps into new markets. We’re delighted to support the group as it continues to grow. “

Dow Schofield Watts advised Operam on the fund raising and acquisitions. Paul Herriott, Director at DSW, said:

“Completing two acquisitions and an equity fund raise simultaneously represents a significant step change in the scale and firepower of Operam. Having advised on the original deal with Provide Education, it’s been a great pleasure to support Eddie and the team on delivering his strategic vision.”

BGF experienced a record year of investing in Yorkshire and the North East in 2018 – providing £65m in patient capital for businesses in the region. As well as expanding into new offices in Leeds, the team opened an office in Newcastle and expanded the team across the region in 2018. Recent investments have included Alnwick-based research and development organisation Arcinova, behavioural marketing company SaleCycle and Yorkshire-based business vehicle rental platform, Fleetondemand.

The investment was led for BGF by Barry Jackson, Rob Johnson and Richard Taylor.

The advisors to the transaction were:

  • BGF: Gordons (Legals)
  • Operam: Dow Schofield Watts (Corporate Finance and Due Diligence), Ward Hadaway, Keebles and Marriott Harrison(Legals)
  • HSBC: Pinsent Masons (Legals)
  • The Education Specialist: Hill Dickinson (Legals)
  • Teachers UK: Wright Hassell (Legals)

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