New education business invests in Yorkshire education firm

A company aiming to become a new platform for businesses in the education recruitment sector has invested in a Yorkshire-based education recruitment agency. Operam Education has been set up by Eddie Austin and Andrew Frome, who will now join Provide Education as chief executive and non-executive chief financial officer respectively. Serial entrepreneur Austin was formerly the managing director at Manchester-based ITN Mark Education and Sugarman Education in London. Founded in 2006 by Katie Buckle and Barry-John Simmons, who will continue in their roles as joint managing directors and shareholders, Provide Education provides supply teachers and other staff to schools and nurseries across Yorkshire, the East Midlands, Greater Manchester and the North East, The transaction was initiated by specialist advisory firm Dow Schofield Watts and funded by a senior debt package from HSBC . Austin said: "Andrew and I are delighted to have invested in Provide Education as the first stage in the development of Operam and as part of facilitating longer-term succession planning for Katie and Barry. "Our vision for Operam is straightforward – to create an attractive platform for the owners of companies in the education recruitment sector, providing them with the necessary guidance and support to drive continued growth and achieve a successful outcome. "A key part of our investment strategy is to retain the entrepreneurial spirit that companies were founded upon, ensuring staff remain incentivised and recognise the opportunity that being part of Operam offers them." Buckle and Simmons added: "We are very pleased to be welcoming Eddie and Andrew into Provide Education as part of the next stage in the company’s evolution. "Operam’s ethos, being a focus on long-term organic growth for the benefit of all parties and in particular our existing employees, is completely aligned with ours." The transaction is the DSW Yorkshire team’s second deal in the recruitment sector in the last three months and was advised by Tony Norwood, Paul Herriott and Matt Thompson. Norwood commented: "This completely collaborative transaction represents a great outcome for all stakeholders and we are delighted to have advised on the deal. "Operam’s highly differentiated offering will undoubtedly help support the succession planning for many smaller and privately owned companies in the sector over the next few years." Rob McCarthy and Jeff Gardner, from the DSW Transaction Services team, completed financial due diligence on the deal. Matt Ainsworth and Russell Bainbridge of HLW Keeble Hawson in Sheffield provided legal advice to Buckle and Simmons with Sean Fitzgerald and Rachel Clarkson of Ward Hadaway in Manchester advising Austin and Frome. Nasim Sharf of Rollits provided legal advice to HSBC Corporate Banking. Russ Cahill, of the Tax Advisory Partnership in Leeds provided tax advice on the deal. Its headquarters are in Barnsley and the business has offices in Brighouse, Worksop and Billingham.

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