Norm Peterson

Norm Peterson

Investing to close the skills gap

Yorkshire based entrepreneur Norm Peterson shares his thoughts and plans around the skills agenda and how the businesses he’s involved with are building a workforce to compete nationally and internationally.

Launched in 2014, Growth Capital Ventures (‘GCV’) is a Financial Conduct Authority authorised investment firm that has managed a number of successful investment rounds for high growth businesses. GCV has raised capital from an extensive network of both online retail and offline private investors.

GCV recently secured a £1.1m investment from Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s leading Private Equity Firms, which has enabled Norm and his co-founder brother Craig Peterson to recruit a skilled workforce across key areas of the business.

Norm added: “Maven’s investment has allowed us to recruit and strengthen the marketing, investment and tech teams. We set out on our recruitment drive with an open mind as we were well aware that finding the right people to match our needs could be difficult due to a lack of skills and experience in technical and development positions.”

One of GCV’s key hires is Jordan Dargue, head of operations and investor relations who has an extensive background in skills, training and recruitment. She has been recruited into the business to assist the senior management team with not only ambitious recruitment plans but also the retention and development of teams.

Performance and development are key drivers for success, and rigorous robust plans are in place for each employee to ensure training and development needs are addressed and a pipeline of opportunity is available.

Norm highlighted: “We have ambitious plans right throughout our group of companies, and we want the best people to join us. In today’s environment, we know attracting this talent goes beyond the financial aspect, and it’s because of this, we want to go above and beyond to make sure every employee grows and stays with us throughout our continued journey.”

GCV originates investments across property, clean energy and high growth SMEs; impact driven investment opportunities are at the heart of everything they do. GCV is on a mission to make investing for financial growth and impact both exciting and accessible, underpinning the need to drive societal impact.

Sourcing investments that meet the needs of growing markets, it focuses on the ‘four pillars’ that support impact driven investments - sustainable living and working; employment, skills and training; health, wellbeing and care; and environment, energy and efficiency.

Jordan highlighted: "A key driver for us is to work with high growth businesses that generate jobs, skills and training in underserved markets. We are now moving into property investments backing real estate projects that deliver much needed low carbon homes. One thing that is extremely important to us as a business is facilitating investment opportunities that have the potential to deliver sustainable investment growth alongside the ability to deliver positive social, economic and environmental benefits’’.

GCVNorm and the team at GCV have recently facilitated an investment into Hive.HR, a Software-as-a-Service (‘SaaS’) business that demonstrates both its high growth and positive impact potential. Norm continues to take an active role as Chairman, and will be working with Hive to facilitate their next round of investment.

Norm said: ‘’Hive helps businesses improve employee engagement. There’s a real pressing need to support a business like Hive. With over 66% of employees being reported as disengaged or actively disengaged, employee engagement in the UK is clearly a major problem. Hive fulfills two of the core impact themes GCV look for – employment and training, and health and wellbeing. Hive itself has created a number of high quality jobs in the North East, as well as helping other businesses attract and retain talent in other areas of the UK’’.

The Hive software helps employers understand the current skills gaps that exist in their business and highlights the training needs of their workforce.

Skills and training is clearly an area of interest to Norm and one that genuinely runs through the entire ethos of all of Norm’s portfolio of companies, including Carlton & Co, a luxury house building company.

Established in 2007, Carlton & Co is today the development arm that will develop the property-based investment opportunities structured by GCV.

Norm said: “Investors want to have the ability to diversify and invest not just in businesses and high growth SMEs but also to invest into projects such as residential developments – that’s why our business models of GCV and Carlton & Co are so well aligned.”

Carlton & Co is growing and plans to recruit a range of positions from senior managers through to skilled site workers. The construction industry is facing a drastic skills shortage, and as such Carlton & Co is keen to address and support Yorkshire’s governmental training initiatives. This is in addition to establishing partnerships with universities in the Yorkshire region and local apprenticeship providers by recruiting experienced staff and apprenticeship-level teams into the business.

A clear commitment from the business will allow Carlton & Co to plan its work flow and identify skills gaps early enough to ensure suitably trained young people and experienced professionals are available and ready for work when they are needed.

The business will work in close collaboration with local training colleges throughout Yorkshire to help ensure upcoming shortages are addressed. Increased skill levels will ensure that the much needed workforce meets the needs of the business.

To align the North Yorkshire County Council Economic Growth Plan, Norm and the team at Carlton & Co will be developing projects in the Yorkshire region and will work with local educational providers to create a clear pathway for young people from education to training and employment. They will undertake measures to support the development of the workforce that meets the social and economic needs of the County.

Norm was instrumental in raising the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) to Sedbergh school where his son Luca, was the first pupil to undertake the course.

Jordan said: ‘’As part of both GCV’s and Carlton & Co’s skills and training strategy we are keen to partner with local training institutions to support the current skills gaps from degree apprenticeships and creative learning, through to management and leadership programmes.’’

"We plan to tackle the construction skills gap head on, creating a better future for the region, driving job creation and working with our employees to make the most of their potential. We are keen to collaborate with local apprenticeship providers giving young and enthusiastic people the opportunity to learn a trade and develop their knowledge and ability in this exciting sector.’’ GCV logoGF Logo

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