The S&A Transform Group (The S&A Group) has launched The S&A Academy, which 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 providing personalised professional training and apprenticeships as well as bespoke course creation and certification programmes for corporate clients.

The S&A Academy aims to play a pivotal role in providing a professional skills training and 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, at the same time debunking the previously inaccessible university degree pathways to new careers in technology, science and business.

The decision to launch three apprenticeship training academies comes at a time when the UK faces a 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 1 as the leading tech ecosystem in Europe and also number 3 in the world, 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, along with 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 of 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 Darren Coomer, the company’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer with more than three decades of tech and business experience. Coomer has helped many boards navigate major business transformations, drive innovation and shift to customer-focused digital-first strategies, whilst maintaining a focus on recruiting and training new talent.

The three S&A Academies will consolidate S&A Group’s existing apprenticeship provision - which is licensed by the Education & Skills Funding Agency and regulated by Ofsted – as well as providing additional support to 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.