Stakeholders: Ixion & Shaw Trust launch Skills Joint Venture - Star Skills Ltd

VISION is to:

“Transform people’s lives through Skills”… STAR Skills Ltd is committed to; transforming more people’s life chances through the use of skills development, enabling individuals to get a job and to enhance career development through skills, apprenticeships, traineeships and adult learning. Plus, shape the Skills sector and help drive economic growth of employers through skills training.



The Shaw Trust, a leading UK Charity, and Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited, a not-for-profit group owned by Anglia Ruskin University, are delighted to announce the transfer of their two Skills Divisions into one new 50:50 shareholder Joint Venture (JV) company, called STAR Skills Limited, as of the 1st August 2016.
NOTE: Both the Shaw Trust and Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited will retain full independent control of their other non-skills related divisional contracts (e.g. Employability, NOMS, Enterprise, European, Education, Health etc) as is currently the arrangement.
Thus, this is a case of two organisations joining together their Skills Divisions to grow their existing skills based contract activity to help transform more people’s lives through learning and skills.



1. Why do the JV?

a. To transform more people’s life chances (part of Ixion and Shaw Trusts core Visions).

b. At the heart of our strategic thinking, this Skills JV with Ixion and Shaw Trust will bring a cutting edge new partnership that brings the ability to swiftly change curriculum and a skills offer to meet labour market requirements, understand the needs to create a learning environment suited to disadvantaged groups and that will challenge traditional boundaries in learning and work with key stakeholders to produce; employer based, classroom, blended and distance learning solutions to meet future demand.   

c. To be ready to grow our support for e.g. Apprenticeship Learners (aged 16+) and support employers as the Govt.’s Levy comes into force in 2017 and to take advantage of the growth in Level 5 & 6 courses to support Learners, particularly over 19 years of age.

d. The talents of the combined STAR Skills teams coming together will make for a world class 50:50 venture and a compelling bidding entity that will have the; track record, stature, financial reserves, IT and quality skills sets that the combined Shaw Trust Board and Ixion Board’s feel will lead the Skills industry and be for the benefit of Learner & employer outcomes.


2. SUMMARY: Companies/Boards/Operations:

a. After the Joint Venture there will be 3 companies and 3 boards: Shaw Trust / Ixion / STAR Skills Ltd

b. STAR Skills Ltd: Delivery staff from both Shaw Trust and Ixion’s Skills Divisions will transfer, via TUPE, into STAR Skills Limited with effect from the 1st August 2016 and a new organisation developed.

c. SHAW TRUST: Their board will continue to grow their own Shaw Trust business in areas of; Employability, NOMS, Education, Disability support etc but NOT in the Skills arena.

d. IXION: Our Board will continue to grow and invest in our Ixion business in the areas of; Employability, NOMS, Enterprise, European Research & Innovation and new sectors of business etc but NOT in the Skills arena.


3. STAR Skills Ltd JV BOARD:

The STAR Skills 50:50 Joint Venture board will be Chaired by Peter Holmes, from Shaw Trust, and the STAR Skills Ltd Chief Executive will be John Govett, from Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited.
Peter will also retain his current Trustee role with the Shaw Trust and John will also retain his role as Group CEO of Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited.
See for the Main Board membership and new Management Board.


4.Senior Changes:

a. John Govett will continue as the Group CEO of Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited and also become the Chief Executive of STAR Skills Ltd (as Executive Director).

b. Rachael White will continue as the Group Finance Director/Corporate Services Director of Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited and also become the Finance Director/Corporate Services Director of STAR Skills Ltd (as Executive Director).

c. John Danvers will continue as Ixion management board director: EU Research & Innovation Division.

d. Jacqui Oughton will still be Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ixion & remain part of the management board of Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited in addition to becoming the COO of STAR Skills Ltd.

e. Gary Kernaghan will continue as Strategic Business Development Director and remain part of the management board of Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited in addition to becoming the Strategic Business Development board Director of STAR Skills Ltd.

f. A new Main Board position will be added to the Ixion management board to recognise the importance of the NOMS (MoJ-Justice) contracts and an announcement re who, will be made soon. This role will report into the Group CEO of Ixion from early August.

g. Gary Kernaghan will focus on Skills and OLASS (Skills in Justice arena) in STAR Skills Ltd.

h. John Newland will be appointed as Ixion’s Director of Business Development, from 1st August and will report into Ixion’s Group CEO, John Govett.


5.Management Boards:

a. Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited: John Govett (Group CEO) / Rachael White (FD) / Gary Kernaghan (BD) / Jacqui Oughton (COO)/ John Danvers (EU)

b. STAR Skills Ltd: John Govett (CEO) /Rachael White (FD) /Gary Kernaghan (BD) /Jacqui Oughton (COO)


6.Partners and Sub-contractors:

a. The contracts you have with Ixion will be honoured both for 15/16 and into 16/17. Existing partners should experience no change of contractual terms or arrangements as the Ixion Skills UKPRN that you are contracted to at the moment will continue into the JV.


7.Corporate Services:

a. Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited will have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with STAR Skills Ltd to provide corporate support services; Finance, HR, Data, MI, Policies and IT support.



a. John Newland will be promoted and as Ixion’s new Director of Business Development he will lead on growing Ixion’s contracts under the leadership of John Govett at Ixion.

b. Both Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited and Shaw Trust will be free to compete against each other in such markets as; Employability, Enterprise, NOMS etc HOWEVER… when it comes to Skills contracts we have agreed to work together for mutual benefit.

c. This means Ixion will be able to invest in the growth of its own core contracts and Ixion will continue to invest in its 4 remaining Core Divisions of: Employability / NOMS/ Enterprise / EU Research & Innovation and new growth areas too.


This is a pivotal moment in the growth of Ixion and I am indebted to all Ixion group staff for their commitment and support in recent years. This is the next stage in our growth plan and has been part of our Board agreed Corporate Strategy for a number of years and I am now delighted it has come to fruition.

I very much look forward to working with the Shaw Trust as a Skills partner and wish to take this opportunity to also thank the respective Board of Directors of; Ixion Holdings (Contracts) Limited, Anglia Ruskin University and the Shaw Trust for their support and drive to enable this new exciting venture to come alive.