Group Horizon wins £200,000 investment for UK expansion
A low carbon training company has secured £200,000 investment to help its expansion across the UK.
Gateshead-based firm Group Horizon works to help young people and experienced engineers gain the new skills they need to work in the renewable energy, construction and manufacturing industries.
The company currently works with employers and local authorities as well as a number of vocational colleges in the North East, Liverpool, Hertfordshire and London.
It is now working on new opportunities in south west England and Birmingham, and have secured £200,000 investment to support the expansion.
The funding has come from Finance For Business North East Growth Fund that is administered by regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
Group Horizon was founded in 2009 and provides employer-led training programmes in association with local higher education institutions.
The tutors are all experienced engineers meaning they can link their teaching to real-life on the job situations.
Group Horizon’s clients include household name energy companies and emerging green deal providers, and the company has also worked with awarding bodies and respected industry authorities including the Building Research Establishment and the Institution of Engineering and Technology to set new standards for learning and accreditation.
And founders Dan Elgie and Peter Behan now list among their portfolio, renewable technologies, Green Deal, energy efficiency, low carbon building treatments and electric vehicle technology.
The firm has invested heavily in its own research and development team, in order to develop tailored course content for its clients, and runs a summer school at Gateshead College for young people not in education, employment or training (NEETS) to help equip them with the skills they need to get onto apprenticeships.
Group Horizon co-founder, Peter Behan said: “Our approach to content creation takes in the twin needs of both the employers who are looking to fill gaps in their workforces and the students who need particular skills to do those jobs, and the fact that most of our new contracts come via word of mouth shows we’re meeting both audiences’ aspirations.
“We work on a long-term partnership basis with our clients, often taking full responsibility for every aspect of the delivery of their training curriculum, and this way of working provides both stability for everyone involved and the chance to easily adapt our content as employer and trainee needs evolve.
“With such a strong focus on apprenticeships now coming from the Government, there’s every opportunity for us to replicate the best practice models we’ve established in other parts of the country, and the openings we’re already pursuing will put us well on the way to achieving our growth targets.
“Our growth so far has been intentionally organic and controlled, but when we decided to look for outside capital to increase the pace of what we’re doing, NEL came very highly recommended.
“The team was both flexible and thorough in their approach, and the investment application process was completed surprisingly quickly.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five year period.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Marrying practical industrial skills with a growing need to train the UK’s future workforce has helped Group Horizon become a substantial business in just a few years, and they now have the plans and resources in place to move up to the next level.”
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