Scottish Management Consultancy Acquires ITB Competence Assurance Ltd

Assurance of Learning co-owners, Tijana Berlafa, Duncan Bonner, and David Christie (Photo credit- Iska Birnie Photography)

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ABERDEEN based training and management consultancy company, Assurance of Learning, has confirmed the acquisition of the assessment and competence management company, ITB Competence Assurance Limited. The six-figure deal is set to generate more than £600,000 in sales revenue over 2021 with plans to further expand the business.

Assurance of Learning, founded by David Christie in 2014 and reorganised in July 2020, is co-owned by energy industry veterans Duncan Bonner and David Christie and Tijana Berlafa, a hugely experienced Industrial Psychologist. The team of accredited consultants provide tailored training and business improvement services to enhance company performance in areas such as HSEQ, operational efficiency and financial efficiency.

The company has since secured contracts in the energy sector working with operators, drilling contractors and oil and gas service companies in the North Sea and international markets.

Recent contracts have also included renewables (wind) sector operators, service companies and contractors. In addition to the energy sector, Assurance of Learning also provides consultancy services to other high risk industrial businesses including manufacturing, ship repair and building, engineering services, and the marine and maritime sectors.

The recently completed acquisition of ITB Competence Assurance, which was formed in 2001, will add significant but complimentary capability to Assurance of Learning and will enable the company to rapidly expand existing services in addition to acquiring a well-established digital learning platform.

With an existing portfolio of classroom, virtual and online based learning; the acquisition meets Assurance of Learning’s ambitions to further digitalise their business. Whilst the focus of the business is predominantly face-to-face learning, increased international contract wins and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the need to increase online offerings and capabilities.

As part of the acquisition deal, all of ITB’s highly experienced competence specialists will be appointed to Assurance of Learning with plans to expand the team further in the next 12 to 18 months in line with new contracts.

The existing Assurance of Learning Senior Management team of Duncan Bonner (Managing Director), David Christie (Training Director) and Tijana Berlafa (Director and Principal Industrial Psychologist) will, with immediate effect, take on similar responsibilities for the ITB Competence Assurance business. 

Commenting on the deal, Duncan said: “In what is probably the most challenging time we’ve experienced in the business world, we are pleased to have successfully completed the acquisition of ITB Competence Assurance.  As an experienced provider of competence training and management services, our plan is to fully integrate the two businesses over the next 8 to 12 weeks and offer a broader range of competence, leadership, and behavioural workshops, in addition to training, coaching, mentoring, and consulting services. The existing Assurance and ITB teams have highly complementary skill sets and we aim to cross skill as many of these skills as possible to remain competitive and provide real value to both our customers and the existing customer base of ITB.”

Jenny Stokes, former owner of ITB, who is planning to retire from the training and business competence sector, said: “Following a decision to retire, I am incredibly happy to be handing over the reins to the hugely experienced team at Assurance of Learning. I am also pleased that the existing ITB team will be retained in the new business.”

The integration of the two businesses is set to be completed by the end of April 2021, with plans to move the operation of both businesses to ITB’s current facilities at Citibase Aberdeen.


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