Preston to become hub for digital technology group in expansion plan

Preston has become the home of a technology hub for a group of software and online payments companies.

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 4:55 am
John Antunes managing director of digital technology firm ClearCourse which has EKM in Preston and is creating a Northern Tech Hub at its offices in Broughton
John Antunes managing director of digital technology firm ClearCourse which has EKM in Preston and is creating a Northern Tech Hub at its offices in Broughton

ClearCourse, a group of innovative technology brands providing software solutions and an embedded payments platform, has created a Northern Tech Hub in Preston.

Alongside the expansion of the site in Caxton Road, Broughton, the group said it will be investing more than £1m in hiring new talent, learning and development as well as upskilling existing staff at the hub.

The Northern Tech Hub is based at the hi-tech home of online sales specialists EKM and will house two other successful tech firms: FLG, formerly of Padiham, and BrightOffice, from Skelmersdale, all part of the ClearCourse family.

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ClearCourse's Northern Tech Hub based in the offices of online payments firm EKM at Caxton Road Preston

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They have come together to create ClearCourse’s first regional hub for the development of tech innovation and talent which aims to foster organic partnership between its brands to provide the best products and services possible.

The company said that all three brands will benefit from being part of a collaborative tech and business hub that aids development and innovation through interaction between their teams and working better together across their platforms.

The move will see an initial total of around 150 employees across the three businesses come together at the Hub.

Inside EKM and ClearCourse's Northern Digital Hub in Preston

The company said the new employees and teams will benefit from ClearCourse’s training and skills development opportunities, supporting a wide range of professional qualifications and ClearCourse’s own bespoke Leadership Development Programme, designed to grow the leadership and management capability of leaders across the business.

The move follows the opening of a ClearCourse office in Manchester in August 2021, with its Finance and Shared Services centre, which was set up to support ClearCourse’s businesses and new acquisitions, developing and implementing finance best practice solutions.

John Antunes, ClearCourse’s group managing director, said: “The new Northern Tech Hub is an exciting next step in ClearCourse’s growth. We’ve always been keen to work with companies across the UK, and we’re establishing the Northern Tech Hub in recognition of the amazing firms in the area, in support of the government’s levelling up agenda.

"The Hub will help to encourage really exciting sharing of ideas and experience between our firms and will be testament to the huge potential of the North as a really exciting centre for tech growth. We’ve historically had great success in the North West, and we want to continue to expand our footprint across the North and the whole of the UK.”

Julie Gordon, ClearCourse chief people officer, said: “Our £1m investment into people and skills in the North West illustrates the great potential and opportunities that can be found in the region and across the country. Our hub stimulates engagement among employees, fosters collaboration, and enables us to attract the best talent that the region has to offer.

"The last few years have shown how employees value flexibility and a culture that supports hybrid working. ClearCourse prides itself on an environment that is sociable, creative and active, and we believe that our Northern Tech Hub gives rise to new ideas as well as makes it an attractive concept for talented locals, graduates and apprentices to come and be part of.”