Online learning boom to more than double Chevron College’s profits
Wexford-based Chevron College expects profits to more than double this year to 2.5 million euros due to the huge growth in the online learning industry since the start of the pandemic.
Chief Executive Karl Fitzpatrick said a strong pipeline means he expects the company to double in size by 2025.
He said he turned down takeover offers from UK and Irish venture capital firms to focus on further growth.
“They can see the growth in this market and that’s why they’re interested,” Fitzpatrick said.
The company’s profit (ebitda) is expected to increase from € 1.5m in 2020 to € 2.5m this year and to € 3.5m next year.
“We have good visibility on this and we expect the turnover of 7 million euros this year will exceed 10 million euros next year,” he said.
Chevron, which trained 6,000 students in 2020, has embarked on the acquisition path itself by purchasing Carlow-based English Language Ireland and considering purchasing two continuing education providers.
The number of online educator staff has doubled during the pandemic to around 80.
“There are a lot of people running their own training companies in Ireland who are due to retire in the next few years and they offer the potential for targeted acquisitions,” he said.
Chevron was created by Fitzpatrick in 2005 to provide safety training after new legislation made qualifications mandatory for security guards. Fitzpatrick subsequently offered training courses to take advantage of similar opportunities in energy assessment and water meter installation.
“We have been very successful in identifying a training need and offering courses to meet that need.
“But one of the challenges we encountered when each of them became saturated was to continually reinvent the business to meet those needs. “
“We did a lot of research at the time and looked at what was coming in terms of compulsory training in regulated sectors from a European perspective,” he said.
The company has since focused on childcare, healthcare and renewable energy because of the continuing education opportunities in these sectors. It has partnered with a number of UK universities to offer online degree and masters programs in Ireland.
Fitzpatrick said the pandemic has sped up the transition to online training by at least five years in terms of people’s willingness to take such courses.
“The pandemic has made e-learning mainstream. People had the opportunity to experience it and were pleasantly surprised by the level of support available as well as the format and structure of the programs, ”he said.