One of the UK’s leading challenger consulting firms, which specialises in large-scale business, technology, and digital transformation, is investing a further £1 million in its professional training and apprenticeships academies to create a pipeline of talent to plug the UK’s professional skills gap crisis.
The S&A Transform Group (The S&A Group), which was founded in London by tech and business transformation entrepreneur Darren Coomer in 2010, formally launched The S&A Academy today (Monday, 6th March) and will be headquartered in Manchester’s Spinningfields business and tech district, as part of the Northern Tech Powerhouse movement.
The S&A Academy will have three specialised academies: Technology & Digital, Science & Laboratory, and Business & Leadership.
Each provides personalised professional training, apprenticeships, bespoke course creation, and certification programmes for corporate clients.
The S&A Academy will be pivotal in providing professional skills training and an apprenticeship pipeline to the Northern Powerhouse and the rest of the UK.
It will enable people of all ages to gain the professional skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Importantly, it will allow individuals to retrain and reskill while debunking the previously inaccessible university degree pathways to new careers in technology, science and business.
The decision to launch three apprenticeship training academies comes when the UK faces its biggest-ever shortage of professional skills talent in these sectors. The UK Digital Strategy 2022 estimates that the digital skills gap costs the UK economy £63 billion per year in gross domestic product and that this gap is expected to widen.
“Manchester was the natural choice to headquarter the S&A Academy given our history of launching other businesses in the northwest. It was the world’s first industrial city, and now Manchester is the driving force of the Northern Tech and Science Powerhouse.”
“The UK tech sector finished last year number one as the leading tech ecosystem in Europe and also number three globally, with UK tech valued at over $1 trillion.”
“The S&A Academies are strategically positioned to make a valuable contribution to the UK economy and the Northern Powerhouse by training the next generation of tech, science and business apprentices to maintain the talent pipeline to those fast-growing ecosystems,” said Coomer.
The S&A Group and its parent investment fund Moorfield Holdings had previously invested over £1 million, founding another Manchester-based training provider, Credersi. They will now look to take their experiences designing and delivering critical science, lab skills and tech training programmes, as well as expertise in business consulting, to launch the S&A Academy.
The new S&A Academies will be curated by digital and technology transformation czar Darren Coomer, a highly experienced and gifted CTO and CIO with over three decades of cutting-edge tech and business experience.
Coomer has helped many boards navigate major business transformations, drive innovation, and shift to customer-focused digital-first strategies while constantly focusing on the need to recruit and train new talent.
He is credited with many large-scale transformations in global corporates and launching pioneering products in Fintech and the blockchain/web3 world. Either as a founder/entrepreneur or on behalf of major corporations.
The three S&A Academies will consolidate S&A Group’s existing apprenticeship provision–licensed by the Education & Skills Funding Agency and regulated by Ofsted – and support S&A’s growing consulting business.
Collectively they will deliver specialist training and apprenticeships to corporate clients, as well as direct to educational authorities, aiming to recruit, upskill or retrain existing workforces as part of their talent strategies.
Coomer believes the S&A Academy’s offering will be class-leading in delivering modern, industry designed and highly relevant training across its chosen technology, science, and business sectors.
With each domain chosen due to the extensive industry-leading expertise, the academies will have access to, via its sister company, The S&A Transform Group, and their clients. Clients range from VC-funded companies to FTSE-scale organisations in private and public sectors.
“We built the S&A Academy to provide a future-proofed industry-relevant professional training and apprenticeship programme that is commercially in tune with the real world and not a purely academic-led syllabus.”
“It has been developed using extensive knowledge, expertise and experience, as well as detailed client feedback from many years of delivering business and technology consulting.”
The S&A Academy professional apprenticeships and training programmes will rival any graduate scheme by preparing new employees with actual job-relevant skills, making them “oven ready” to hit the ground running on day one and seamlessly fit into the workplace environment.
An S&A Academy graduate will stay longer and make more commercial sense than consistently using external contractors, agency staff or offshore suppliers.