Clearwater International advises Access Creative College on Apiary Capital investment

Clearwater International has advised Access Creative College, a UK-based specialist provider of education in the creative industries to 16-19-year olds, on its investment from Apiary Capital (Apiary), a specialist mid-market private equity firm. 

Apiary’s investment will allow the business to accelerate its expansion plans under the leadership of CEO Jason Beaumont. Jo Johnson, former Minister of State for Universities, has joined the board as chairman.

Access delivers vocational education in the creative industries to over 3,000 students at campuses in major cities across England. It offers courses in computing, games, media, music and events at specialist campuses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, York, Lincoln, Norwich and at other locations with partnership providers. The college prepares young people for careers in the creative industries through innovative, practical employment-led training. It also provides creative sector apprenticeships across England through a partnership with the National College of Creative Industries (NCCI).
 
Apiary’s investment will allow Access to continue to develop its existing facilities, grow enrolments at its campuses, develop new properties, and expand its apprenticeship provision with NCCI to become the number one choice for creative training in the UK.
 
The Clearwater International deal team consisted of Partner and International Head of Business Services Marcus Archer, Partner Rob Burden, Director Richard Ellis and Director Mark Maunsell.
 
Other advisors on the transaction included DLA and Browne Jacobson.
 
Adrian Armstrong, Founder of Access Creative College, says: "We're delighted to receive investment from Apiary Capital to support us in the next period of our development. With Apiary, we feel we have found the right partner who shares our vision to be a true leader within education for the creative industries, and we are excited about the additional resource the investment will bring to the company. The team at Clearwater International has done a great job in preparing us for investment and supporting us to complete the deal."
 
Mark Salter, Managing Partner at Apiary Capital, says: “Access has a great reputation in the further education sector, which has only been enhanced by its impressive response to the challenges caused by lockdown. Jason’s passion and vision for the business are really exciting and we are delighted to be supporting him and his team with their ambitious growth plans.”
 
Jason Beaumont, CEO of Access Creative College, says: “The investment from Apiary is tremendously exciting for the business. The recently-announced joint venture with NCCI means the group now offers learners the full range of further education options with courses at Levels 2, 3 and 4 plus T-Levels and apprenticeships, and we will continue to develop and expand our provision. We are passionate about ensuring our learners are prepared for their creative careers in this exciting sector.”
 
Jo Johnson, chairman of Access Creative College, says: “The further education sector has a hugely important role to play in our education system. Access is an impressive, innovative provider, and a great example of how working closely with industry and employers can best prepare learners for careers. I am delighted to join as chairman and look forward to helping Jason and the team to realise their vision for the group.”
 
Rob Burden, Partner at Clearwater International, says: “It has been a pleasure to advise Adrian, Jason and the shareholders on this transaction and find a great partner to support the business’s growth strategy. Access Creative College is a highly reputable education provider in an exciting market with significant growth potential. With Apiary’s investment and support we look forward to seeing the college unlock its full potential.”