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ITS Group acquires SmartStyle Technology Training to extend regional reach


Yorkshire training and education charity ITS Group has acquired SmartStyle Technology Training Ltd in a strategic move to extend its reach across the region.

The commercial training firm was purchased for an undisclosed sum by Barnsley-based charity, ITS Group. The group already holds established college sites in Barnsley, Doncaster and Huddersfield.

Although the group acknowledges the acquisition of a commercial organization is an unusual move for a charity, it is part of a wider strategic plan to grow nationally and offer a range of opportunities to clients whilst remaining committed to its charitable objectives.

Bradford business SmartStyle will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, complementing the group’s Apprenticeship training offer and expanding its client base.

SmartStyle was founded in 1997 by former director Mandy Jones and delivers Microsoft certified IT training and bespoke packages. It currently holds large contracts with recognised national organisations in both the public and private sectors, with a reputation for excellence and quality.

ITS Group CEO Dr Chris Payne said: “I am very excited about this new chapter in the history of ITS Group and SmartStyle Technology Training Ltd.

“This acquisition has not only extended the geographic reach of the group, but will also enable us to use the expertise of both SmartStyle and Independent Training Services to deliver an all-in-one solution for our clients.

“The SmartStyle team has been positive and welcoming, ensuring the transition has been seamless and client-focused.

“We have big plans for the group both locally and nationally and look forward to creating a bright future together with SmartStyle.”

Chair of trustees for ITS Group, Dave Peake, said: “This is a great investment for our future.

“It is part of our strategy to buy and build a sustainable organization which meets our overall vision.”

Managing partner, Paul Trudgill of hlw Keeble Hawson LLP, said: “For more than 3 decades the ITS Group has earned a strong reputation as a quality driven training and education provider.

“We wish Dr Chris Payne and the team continued success following this milestone acquisition.”

Lead advisor, Andy Ryder of Shorts Chartered Accountants, said: “It has been a pleasure to support ITS in what is an important strategic step. I am sure Smartstyle will prove to be an astute acquisition and I wish ITS every success in the future.”

Paul Dawson of Natwest Bank, said: “We are delighted to support ITS Group with their strategic plan to grow nationally and offer a range of opportunities to their clients.”

ITS Group has been delivering work-based learning and Apprenticeship training in Yorkshire since 1981.  The group is comprised of Independent Training College, Independent Training Services Ltd and SmartStyle Technology Ltd, which serve businesses and local communities in the North of England and Midlands.

ITS Group CEO, Dr Chris Payne

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