NCFE acquires health and leisure awarding organisation

Active IQ has been bought by NCFE but will continue to operate as a distinct brand

Active IQ has been bought by NCFE but will continue to operate as a distinct brand

An awarding and end-point assessment organisation specialising in health and physical activity qualifications has been acquired by NCFE.

Active IQ (previously owned by US-based firm Ascend Learning) brings with it over 30,000 learners on its vocational qualifications and 1,600 apprentices, extending NCFEs reach in areas such as personal training, fitness, and leisure management.

NCFE said Active IQ will continue to operate independently as a distinct brand owing to its “highly respected” position in the marketplace.

According to its latest accounts, Active IQ generated £4 million in income in its 2020/21 financial year and employed 42 staff. All current staff will be retained, NCFE said.

Jenny Patrickson, managing director of Active IQ, said: “I’m delighted and excited that Active IQ has joined the NCFE portfolio.

“There is much synergy between Active IQ and NCFE in our core purpose, vision and values and I am confident that joining the NCFE group will enable Active IQ to build on everything we have achieved since we were established in 2003.”

Jenny Patrickson

The amount NCFE paid to acquire Active IQ has not been disclosed. 

FE Week understands that Active IQ’s previous owners were seeking to exit the UK market. Ascend Learning, based in the United States, had another subsidiary company, Premier Global, which ceased trading in June.

NCFE confirmed to FE Week that it has no plans to make changes to Active IQ’s products or services.

The charity’s chief executive, David Gallagher, said acquiring Active IQ will allow NCFE to “better service a broader range of learners and fulfil current and future skills needs”.

He added: “We chose to make this acquisition given that policy direction and market forces are taking us towards consolidation in the market.

“We’re delighted to add Active IQ to the NCFE portfolio. Both organisations are aligned in vision and purpose – Active IQ, like NCFE, prides itself on exceptional customer service and high-quality, transformational learning experiences.”

This isn’t the first time NCFE has taken over another awarding organisation.

The former childcare and early years awarding body CACHE was bought by NCFE in 2015. Its name still features on some of NCFE’s education and childcare qualifications.

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