3aaa co-founders still own the company despite resignations



The co-founders of crisis-hit Aspire Achieve Advance have remained as the apprenticeship giant’s majority owners despite resigning as directors, FE Week can reveal.

Peter Marples and Di McEvoy-Robinson, who were the company’s chief executive and main director respectively until last week, had their terminations of directorships confirmed on Companies House this morning.

Since their resignations were announced questions have been asked as to who now actually owns and runs the business, better known as 3aaa.

Despite attempts to distance themselves from the troubled company, which is subject to an ongoing Education and Skills Funding Agency investigation, FE Week can reveal that Mr Marples and Ms McEvoy-Robinson remain major shareholders.

Combined they now own 85 per cent of 3aaa – split evenly between the pair.

The provider’s chair, Derek Mapp, owns 10 per cent and new managing director Richard Irons has 5 per cent. Given their majority control, Mr Marples and Ms McEvoy-Robinson can at any time choose to sell assets or controlling ownership.

A spokesperson for the provider confirmed the ownership details to FE Week today.

The ESFA’s investigation into 3aaa was sparked earlier this year when a whistleblower approached the agency with information about its business.

Owing to this, Ofsted declared its latest inspection of the provider, which was expected to result in another ‘outstanding’ rating, as incomplete in June.

A month later it was revealed that an independent auditor, Alyson Gerner, had been called in by the Department for Education to investigate its own funding agency over their contract management of 3aaa.

The provider was last week suspended from recruiting apprentices but FE Week later revealed that senior employees had been “instructed” to tell its staff to not date any paperwork for “planned enrolments”.

They were also been told not to tell current and prospective employers that the ban has been placed upon it. 3aaa had the largest allocation for non-levy apprenticeships last year at nearly £22 million.

Its overall ESFA allocations totalled more than £31 million. Mr Marples’ wife, Sarah, and Ms McEvoy-Robinson’s husband, Patrick, also resigned as directors at 3aaa today, according to Companies House.



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3 Comments

  1. Chris Jenner

    This supposed journalist “Billy Camden” clearly has an secret agenda. This is not news, nor is it journalism, moreover it is an embitter individual trying desperately to construct salacious stories about an industry market leader that has for the last ten years successfully created lifechanging opportunities for young people.

    • John Parkes

      Chris, your weak defence of this ongoing news item and personal attack on Billy Camden is somewhat embarrassing. The management team at 3aaa leave behind them a string of failed providers with similar issues as those reported and under investigation. Those affected by redundancy as result of individuals greed would disagree that this is salacious and argue strongly it is news. While I agree that as a provider 3aaa in the course of its activities have I am sure positively affected the lives of many learners, that does not give the organisation or individuals within it free rein to act with impunity. As an employee at 3aaa yourself I appreciate the bias in your opinion but respectfully disagree.

    • Iron.pyrite

      Of course it’s news. The biggest apprenticeship provider in the country is stopped from recruiting new apprentices because of systemic “issues” and you want it to go unreported? The ownership of the company is a matter of public concern.

      If rules have been broken, then it should be in the public domain. Frankly, your argument is without any merit whatsoever. I suspect you weren’t thinking the same when LearnDirect got into trouble