Shard Credit Partners provides loan funding in support of female-led MBO of NAC Group.

14 November 2022

Shard Credit Partners has provided committed senior debt financing in support of a predominantly female-led management buy-out of independent training provider NAC Group, incorporating NA College, located in Washington, Tyne & Wear, North-east UK.  NAC Group is targeting expanding its vocational, industry focused training following the investment.

The provision of the loan funding from Shard Credit Partners also represents its growing support for the education sector with this latest investment aimed at providing greater opportunities for young people to establish careers in the engineering and automotive sectors, in the North-east in particular.

Founded by Paul and Wendy Robson, the Washington-based training company offers a suite of courses ranging from school engagement activities through to highly respected apprenticeships and post-19 skills programmes.

Originally established to support apprenticeships and skills development for the advanced manufacturing automotive sector, NA College now works with a wide range of employers with skills training in areas such as Business Improvement, Lean Manufacturing, Engineering, Supply Chain, Warehousing and Management.

From 2020 NA College also became a partner of the North East Institute of Technology (IoT), a collaboration between education colleges, universities, and leading employers to strengthen the Higher Technical Education offering in the region.  The IoT training offer is shaped to satisfy employers emerging skills demand in digital, electrification and sustainability and business improvement to train future leaders to support the transition to a Net-zero economy.

Currently holding a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, NA College also works in partnership with New College Durham, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland College and provides services through the Department for Education (DfE).

The MBO has been led by four members of the college’s senior management team.  Lisa Snaith has taken the role of Chief Finance and Executive Officer, Margherita Pasquariello, Chief Strategy and Executive Officer, Steve Pallas, Operations Director, and Lindsey Vickerson, Head of HR and ESG.   Founder Paul Robson will remain with the company as Chairman.

Corporate finance advice was provided to management and Shard Credit Partners by Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance, led by Partner and Head of Corporate Finance Carl Swansbury, CF Director Rhiannon Nightingale and CF Senior Manager Connor McBride.

Legal advice to Shard Credit Partners was provided by Andrew Madden, Alison Davidson-Cox and Andrew Cowan from Gateley Plc, whilst the management team was advised by Paul Christian, Imogen Holland and Nicole Axon of Ward Hadaway.  Financial due diligence was undertaken on behalf of Shard Credit Partners by RMT, led by Michael Cantwell and Ayden De Beer.

Paul and Wendy Robson received corporate finance advice from TIG Corporate Finance, led by Barry Gill, with legal advice from Mark Lazenby, partner at commercial law firm Square One Law.

Lisa Snaith said: “The demand for high quality vocational training is increasing, both from young people who recognise apprenticeships as a worthy route to a career, and from employers that are utilising our training to improve productivity and remain competitive.

“NA College has established a superb reputation in the manufacturing and engineering markets, particularly automotive and we are very proud to be able to build upon the outstanding achievements of the company under the direction of Paul and Wendy as owners of the business, working closely with Shard Credit Partners.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, said: “For the economy to succeed it is vital that the UK fills the skills gaps that exist in key industries with the support of high-quality training providers such as NA College.”

“We’re also delighted to be supporting, what is unfortunately still quite rare, a predominantly female-led management buy-out team.  With our financial support, we are keen to see the college enhance its provision of courses and training opportunities to meet the evolving need of businesses in the UK.”

Carl Swansbury, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance at RG Corporate Finance said: “Shard Credit Partners has identified the opportunity to support the new directors in their ambitions for the college to play a greater role in vocational training in the North East. Private training providers such as NA College are a key contributor to meeting the skills requirements of the UK and in particular critical industries such as advanced manufacturing. We look forward to seeing the management team and Shard Credit Partners continue to grow and develop NA College over the coming months and years.”

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to be the UK’s leading provider of flexible and patient capital to entrepreneur and management-owned companies located throughout the UK, with a strong focus on driving transformational growth and job creation.  Since 2017, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £150 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.



About Shard Credit Partners:

Shard Credit Partners Limited is an alternative investment fund manager focused on private credit strategies in the UK lower mid-market.  Its funds seek to generate superior risk-adjusted returns from conservatively structured senior secured credit investments with equity upside.  Fund strategies include SME direct lending and tech-focused venture debt.

Assets under management currently total circa £200 million, allocated between two investment strategies.  Investors include UK governmental organisations and public and private pension funds in the UK and Europe and Asia.

Shard Credit Partners is currently fundraising for its second vintage direct lending fund, which is expected to hold a first close during 2023.

Shard Credit Partners has a strong ESG focus, with a particular focus on backing businesses with demonstrable board diversity and ownership.  Across both investment strategies, 90% of Shard Credit Partners’ borrowers have at least one woman on the board and around two thirds have mixed sex ownership.  Shard Credit Partners was an early adopter of ESG covenants and ESG margin ratchets and these instruments are now standard in all its loan agreements.

Shard Credit Partners Limited is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).

Contact details:

Newgate Communications


Tel: Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit


Shard Credit Partners Investor relations: