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PSG enters adult education market

PSG Alpha’s FutureLearn takes 100% stake in Media Works.

PSG Group, through its investment subsidiary PSG Alpha, has entered into the adult education and training market.

FutureLearn, which is 93% owned by PSG Alpha, has this month acquired adult education and workplace training specialist Media Works.

The acquisition will see it offer Amended Senior Certificate qualifications, a version of the National Senior Certificate or matric qualification targeted at adults aged 21 years and older, alongside its current offerings.

Nico de Waal, chief executive of PSG Alpha, said the market for Amended Senior Certificate qualifications potentially includes anyone and everyone over 21 years old that does not have a matric certificate. On average, around 12 million pupils enter the school phase each year, of which only around 500 000 sit for the matric exam.  

According to him, many people want an Amended Senior Certificate but don’t go through with it because it is too costly or because they don’t trust that brand offering the qualification. “The market currently sits at a couple of hundred thousand enrolments a year, but this can be expanded to at least half a million with a trusted brand.”

Media Works’ offering, which includes adult education programmes from grades seven to twelve, is to complement FutureLearn’s offerings.

FutureLearn, which PSG Alpha invested in seven years ago, specialises in guided learning. It started in the home-school arena, providing parents with extra support to professionally educate their children, and now provides extra support to facilitators, teachers and students from reception class to grade 12.

“PSG Alpha is very excited about FutureLearn’s acquisition of Media Works. It is on strategy for FutureLearn and allows it to apply some synergies across products and services to different markets. It can also leverage off historic investments to grow the business,” he said.

PSG has enjoyed much success in the education sector through investments in private schools outfit Curro and the newly-listed higher education company Stadio, which is 45% owned by PSG Alpha.     

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Some people have been disappointed with PSG returns since 2015 – but 3 years through the Zuma era isn’t a fair period to judge the share price (short term noise and external issues overshadowed the fundamental business).

PSG is one of the few companies who *successfully* make impact investments: Financial return + social return/benefit.

They of course take their reward in big salaries but I think people perhaps underestimate the how large the net positive social good is for our country having companies privatise public goods, such as education & agriculture (it forces public sectors to compete and raise their game in order to stay relevant).

The share price isn’t cheap so I wouldn’t personally rush in now, but I hope the business stays strong and keeps growing with/out Jannie Mouton.

End of comments.

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