Property deal sees ACT Training expand into new premises at Ocean Park House

Wales’ largest apprenticeships provider has completed the latest stage in its ambitious expansion plans by investing over a million pounds into new office space in Cardiff.

In a deal worth over £1.3 million, supported by Barclays, ACT Training has been able to move staff from three separate sites on Trade Street and Curran Road to one central head office at Ocean Park House on East Tyndall Street.

This investment is a cost effective move for the company and will accommodate over 130 members of staff, with the capacity to house an additional 100. The sale of the new 47,000 sq. ft. building was the largest city centre deal to have concluded in the last quarter, according to commercial property adviser GVA’s Big Nine report last month.

The four storey building – which has previously been home to several large companies including Littlewoods and Inexus – will be the base for ACT’s various teams and sister companies, including Schools Assist, Portal Training and iTeach. As well as office facilities and over 16 training rooms, the building will also accommodate Cardiff’s first independently-run school for educating pupils who have been excluded from mainstream education.

Fletcher Morgan has acted as agents, working on behalf of the vendors, JR Smart, and Barclays has helped to finance the deal.

ACT’s managing director, Andrew Cooksley, said the move marked an important milestone for the Welsh-based company.

“This is a fantastic move for ACT and a great platform for our future growth. We set up here in Cardiff almost 25 years ago with only six employees but have grown significantly in that time and now turn over in excess of £26 million. We employ over 200 people across Wales and provide training for over 8,000 people each year so we had long outgrown our previous offices in Trade Street and were keen to find office space that better reflected the size and scale of our current operation.

“Having one central head office will allow us to operate much more cost effectively and improve communication between our teams, as well as providing a much more pleasant working environment for our loyal and committed staff. And the fact that the building is so easily accessible for our partners and learners was also a key selling point as being based in this huge building will put us in a much better position to equip a much larger number of people with the skills they need to enter the workplace.”

John James, director at Fletcher Morgan said he was pleased to have concluded the deal.

“Situated close to the city centre and to road links out of Cardiff, the location and size of the property made this the ideal choice for ACT. Our client, JR Smart, was particularly pleased to be able to sell the building to another home-grown Welsh company and help them to realise their ambitious expansion plans.”

Commenting on the move, Barclays relationship director Jason Llewellyn, said: “By working closely with ACT and really understanding their business since it was formed back in 1988, Barclays has been well placed to support the company both financially and professionally throughout its latest expansion.

“The acquisition of the new site will enable ACT to combine all their operations under one building and also accommodate future business growth projections. Barclays is committed to using our industry expertise and specialists to support such propositions, which enable Welsh businesses to compete and win major contracts in a competitive market, bringing real benefits to the local economy.”

Named in the prestigious Sunday Times Top 100 List of Best Small Companies to Work For, ACT offers work-based learning to people of all ages who are both employed and out of work throughout Wales. The company has three training centres in Cardiff, as well as centres in Caerphilly, Bridgend, Newport and Wrexham.