The boss of one of England’s biggest training providers has resigned with immediate effect.
Simon Rouse’s decision to quit as managing director of PeoplePlus comes weeks after the firm failed to win any funding in the government’s adult education budget (AEB) tender. It is also less than a year since the company sold its apprenticeships business.
PeoplePlus held the largest national AEB contract among all independent training providers last year, with an allocation of £5.6 million.
A spokesperson for the provider, which is part of Staffline Group, refused to say whether Rouse’s departure was directly linked to the unsuccessful AEB bid.
She said: “Simon Rouse has stepped down from his position as managing director of PeoplePlus. He will be seeking new opportunities outside of the group.
“Simon has been with PeoplePlus for four years and has supported the leadership and organisation over some challenging times, including the pandemic. PeoplePlus is now well positioned for further growth in its key service areas.”
Albert Ellis, chief executive of Staffline Group, will assume Rouse’s responsibilities until a successor is appointed.
The provider was delivering courses to around 8,000 adults and training to around 3,000 apprentices last year. It is also one of the largest providers of prison education in the country.
PeoplePlus’s latest financial statements show that it recorded turnover of £63.3 million and was paying Rouse £400,000 a year.
The accounts also show the provider sold its “loss-making” apprenticeship business to Babington Business College for “a nominal sum” in December 2020.
PeoplePlus was one of the many casualties from the ESFA’s AEB tender. As reported by FE Week last week, many other providers believe the procurement was the agency’s first step in shrinking the private provider market, which was described as “crowded” in this year’s FE white paper.
In total £74 million was allocated in the tender, which was down by a fifth on the £92 million in the last AEB procurement from 2017.
FE Week analysis found the number of private providers with a direct ESFA AEB contract has now dropped by almost 60 per cent, from 208 to 88. In total, 581 providers submitted bids.