Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The end for Carter & Carter - FE college comes to the rescue

Last week brought the good and perhaps surprising news that the training giant Carter & Carter was to be taken over by England’s largest FE college. The acquisition by Newcastle College will save 1500 jobs. (The reach of the college was already far-reaching – at least geographically.)

As I’ve discussed here before, Carter & Carter started off with big ambitions – it promised to overtake Cambridge University in size. Instead it was plagued by at least bad luck.

This isn’t the first take over of a private training provider by a college but it is in a league of its own. (Not all such acquisitions have been very businesslike – I know of one which ended in tears after the college involved did not undertake due diligence.)

The take-over is not so good news for promoting contestability in the FE sector. Carter & Carter could have been in the market for rescuing and turning-around failing FE colleges – its a strange twist of fate that it was the other way round.

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