Acorn Learning & Development has grown in to a leading training provider Acorn Learning & Development has grown in to a leading training provider


In February, Acorn launches In-site, a forum for future construction skills in response to the growing skills crisis. 

In March, Acorn goes legal, launching a brand new legal recruitment division at the Principality Stadium welcoming nearly 100 leading lawyers and HR teams.

In April, Acorn's Executive Search Division joins forces with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) Trust to launch CEO Kickabout, a unique charity football event for CEOs and company directors. 

In June, Sarah John, Acorn's Commercial Director is appointed Interim Chairperson for The National Training Federation for Wales, which represents work-based learning providers across the nation.

In July, Acorn and Cardiff Metropolitan University join forces to introduce a Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management. 

Also in July, Scott Liddle, Director of Operations (Technical) for Acorn is named Leader in the Private Sector at the Leading Wales Awards.

In AugustAcorn is awarded a place on the new National Clinical Staffing Framework for the National Health Service (NHS). 

In September, Acorn in partnership with Darwin Gray launches the inaugural Wales HR Awards, an event which will celebrate the achievements of HR professionals up and down the country.  

In October, Acorn secures the Cyber Essentials PLUS accreditation, signalling their ongoing commitment to ensuring their IT systems are protected. 

Also in October, Acorn in partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd launches a brand new course, a Higher Apprenticeship in IT - Helpdesk Pathway. 

Today, Acorn employs circa 280 staff across 37 branches. The company places some 6,500 people into temporary assignments for up to 1,200 different companies each day, as well as nearly 1,700 permanent placements every year and it delivers training to over 1,000 individuals each month.


In January, Acorn’s Australian subsidiary Acorn Recruitment PTY Ltd rebrands under new name of Synaco Global Recruitment.

In April, Acorn Global expands its presence in Ireland with the appointment of Mike Ruddock OBE in Dublin.

In July, Acorn is awarded a place as a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) supplier on the non-medical, non-clinical temporary staffing framework for the National Health Service (NHS).

In August, Acorn secures a Cyber Essentials accreditation, signalling its commitment to safeguarding its data and systems. 

Also in August, Acorn is yet again ranked in top 1% of UK recruitment agencies. 

In October, Acorn's Australian subsidiary, Synaco Global, acquires Perth-based oil and gas specialist recruiter B2B Engineering Pty Ltd adding circa AUD $10m to the turnover of our business in Australia.  

Also in October, a UK first for Acorn's Learning & Development Division, as six of its Principality Building Society Apprentices achieve the Higher Apprenticeship in Banking, Level 4.

Today, Acorn employs circa 280 staff across 39 branches. The company places some 6,500 people into temporary assignments for up to 1,200 different companies each day, as well as nearly 1,700 permanent placements every year and it delivers training to over 1,000 individuals each month.


In January, Acorn was named top ten finalist within the Jobsite RecruitRank awards for the ‘Best Recruitment Agency’ category.

In June, Acorn launches Liveware, a new forum to address the issue of a growing IT skills shortage in Wales. The IT Division brings together leading software companies and stakeholders to encourage collaborative working and discuss key areas for change.

In October, Recruitment International ranks Acorn in the top 1% of UK recruitment companies. 

Turnover for 2014 is £118.4m. 


In January, Acorn's subsidiary brand in the south west of England Concept Staffing, begins trading as 'Acorn'.

Also in January, Acorn opens a new branch in Widnes.

In March, Acorn Global opens a new office in Darwin, its third in Australia.

In October, Acorn’s Learning & Development Division is presented with the 'Provider Award for Social Responsiveness' at the National Apprenticeship Awards Cymru / Wales.

Turnover for 2013 is £102m.


In January, Acorn’s Learning & Development Division adds Apprenticeship programmes to its commercial training portfolio in England.

In March, Acorn celebrates its 20th birthday.

Also in March, Acorn launches Acorn Global, which has seen the company opening offices in Australia (Perth) and Singapore.

In April, Acorn launches its 20-20-20 campaign, aiming to raise £20,000 to be distributed amongst 20 local charities in its 20th year.

In August, Acorn Global opens a further office in Adelaide, Australia.

In September, Acorn launches its Pubs & Hospitality Division, offering recruitment and training support to leading family brewers and major retailers in the UK.


In April, Acorn acquires Caerphilly based Draig Personnel.

In November, Acorn’s Learning & Development Division is designated the 'Apprenticeship Provider of the Year' at the National Apprenticeship Awards Cymru / Wales.

Also in November, Acorn’s Learning & Development Division becomes a member of the National Skills Academy for Retail; a network of skills-shops designed to improve productivity for retail businesses and their staff, through training. Acorn Skills Shop forms part of a network of three skills shops in Wales.  

Turnover for 2011 is £94m.


In September, Advance Personnel becomes fully integrated into the Group, discontinuing the Advance brand, and begins trading as Acorn.

In October, Acorn achieves the milestone of £2m of 'temp' revenues in one week for the first time.

2010 closes as Acorn’s record year, reporting 36% increase in turnover to £93.5m.  Acorn also played a significant role in boosting parent company Synergie’s revenue for 2010 to record levels, returning sales for the year of €1.23 billion – an increase of 29.8%.

Turnover for 2010 is £93.5m.


In January Acorn's Learning and Development Division wins the Newport Construction Initiative's 2008 'Investment in Skills Award'

In June Acorn becomes the first education provider in Wales to be accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

Acorn achieves the latest Investors in People (IIP) certification incorporating the entire group - Concept Staffing, Acorn Recruitment and Acorn Learning Solutions.

In August, Acorn acquires national technical recruiter Oracle Global Resourcing.  With its head office based in London, the engineering specialist, which now trades under the name of Exxell, continues to support clients in rail, construction & building, energy and facilities management UK-wide.

In September, Acorn acquires part of Track Safe Telecom (TST), the telecoms, installation and infrastructure management business operating in the rail sector.  TST's signalling and telecoms division, and RSS, its specialist safety planning subsidiary, are now part of Acorn.

Turnover for 2009 is £68.7m.


In January, Acorn signs a ground-breaking recruitment and training agreement with the world-renowned Wales Millennium Centre.

Also in January, Acorn launches its dedicated Architecture Division and a new branch in Bolton.

In February, Acorn's new I.T. Division is launched, offering recruitment solutions in both support and management roles.

In April, a new office in Doncaster is opened, operating under the Advance brand.

ISO9001:2000, Acorn is successfully re-accredited with the Quality Standard.

In July, Acorn extends its branch network, opening a new branch in Derby.

In August, Acorn becomes the Cardiff Devils' first ever Community Foundation Partner.

In September, Acorn's south-west subsidiary, Concept Staffing, opens a new branch in Torquay.

In November, Arriva supported by Acorn's Learning & Development Division wins the 'employer' category at the National Training Awards.

Also in November, Acorn expands its international service in the construction management sector, and places 25 senior managers in five different countries: Kuwait, Dubai, Spain, Malta and the Netherlands.

In December, Concept Staffing celebrates 20 years in business.

Turnover for 2008 is £78m.


In January, for the first time, Acorn offers a specialist international service for the construction management sector; in March making its first international placement in Kuwait with a leading Global construction management organisation.

In February, Acorn opens its new branch in Gloucester.

In March, Acorn opens another branch in Axminster, Devon.

In April, Acorn's new Defence & Technology Division is launched, offering recruitment support to the UK's defence, aerospace, IT and engineering sectors.

Also in April, Acorn acquires Advance Personnel, one of the leading recruitment firms in the north west of England with revenues of circa £18m. This also gives Acorn four new branches in Crewe, Stoke, Birkenhead and in Gdansk, Poland.

In September, a new office in Glasgow is opened.

In November, Acorn is a finalist in two award categories at the Recruitment International Annual Awards; nominated by an independent panel of industry experts and analysts.

In December, Acorn acquires Concept Staffing Ltd., the leading South West of England recruitment firm. Concept has 16 branches and adds circa £16.5m to Acorn's turnover. 

Turnover for 2007 is £63.5m


Following his recent success as the first Grand Slam winning National Rugby Coach for Wales in nearly 30 years, Mike Ruddock joins Acorn as its new Commercial Development Manager in April.

In May, Acorn successfully achieves full registration with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, (reg no. ACOR0003).

In June, Acorn successfully retains its 'Investors in People' (IiP) accreditation with the Assessor's report stating; "Acorn is quite clearly a successful organisation that recognises the importance of a skilled, motivated and effectively managed workforce. The level of positive responses to questions to staff about the organisation and its management was extremely high compared to most organisations."

In July, Acorn purchases specialist nursing recruitment agency 'Link'.

Also in July, Acorn launches its new HR Development Services Division, offering a HR consultancy and advisory service.

In September, Acorn expands its branch network, opening a new branch in Preston.

Turnover for 2006 is £41.7m


In January 2005, Acorn becomes the first business in Wales to become a Corporate Patron of the NSPCC, pledging to raise £100,000 to help children and encouraging other businesses to support the charity in this way.

In February, Acorn expands its branch network, opening a new branch in Blackwood.

In June, Acorn opens a new branch for North Wales located in Wrexham, which is officially opened by Andrew Davies AM, Minister for Economic Development & Transport.

In September, Acorn is publicly listed as the UK's 79th largest recruitment agency out of 14,000 agencies UK-wide, and as the leading agency in Wales. Acorn is recognised as one of the UK's 'top ten' recruitment providers to the public sector and one of the top 35 'independent' recruitment companies in the UK by Recruitment International.

In October, Acorn launches its new Rail & Civil Division.

Also in October, Acorn opens a new branch in Runcorn.

'contactUs' is merged into the Acorn brand.

Acorn is officially identified by the Welsh Assembly Government as one of their top 50 companies with the best prospects for growth, in its flagship 'Knowledge Bank 4 Business' programme.

23rd December - Acorn signs agreement with global French-based recruitment group 'Synergie', which sees Synergie acquire a 70% stake in the business. (

Turnover for 2005 is £38.5m


Acorn becomes a Patron Member of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce and of Business West (Bristol, Bath & South Glos Chambers of Commerce).

Acorn becomes Wales' first Corporate Partner of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Acorn signs strategic partnerships with UWIC and UWCN; universities in Cardiff and Newport respectively.

Turnover for 2004 is £33.4m


In January 2003, Acorn acquires Treforest-based senior executive recruitment provider 'Pegge Thomas'.

February sees Acorn's expansion into Bristol through the acquisition of 'JL', a long-established recruitment and IT training company in Thornbury, north Bristol

Acorn expands its network into Scotland in April 2003, opening premises in Edinburgh.

During May, Acorn's Education Services Division is launched.

In August, Acorn's training division merges with 'Lexicon', a major UK provider of vocational training. The move enhances Acorn's training portfolio to cover all areas of IT training, vocational learning, and management and leadership development programmes.

During 2003, Acorn's specialist European Division expands, affirming its position as one of the UK's forerunners in the positive use of European labour. It attracts skilled workers via its recruitment office in Portugal and a number of strategic partnerships across Europe.

In December 2003, Acorn achieves full ISO 9001:2000 recognition for quality of customer service and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Turnover for 2003 is £29.9m


For an unparalleled fourth year in succession, Acorn features in the 2002 'Wales Fast Growth 50' listing of Wales' fastest growing companies.

This sustained growth is recognised when it wins the first 'Excellence in Growth Award' announced at the Welsh Business Awards Dinner in May 2002.

In this same year, Acorn's position as a major UK recruitment agency is also acknowledged when it wins two national awards; 'Best UK Regional Recruitment Firm', and the overall 'UK Gold Award', representing the 'best of the best' of all categories at the 2002 Professional Recruiter Awards.

In December 2002, Acorn completes the development of its own 19,000 sq ft purpose-built headquarters and training centre at Celtic Springs in Newport. The new building is officially opened by Rhodri Morgan AM, First Minister for Wales.

Acorn also completes the acquisition of a specialist mechanical and electrical recruitment firm called 'G-Force' based just outside Cardiff.

Turnover for 2002 is £23.9m


'contactUs' Acorn's specialist contact centre division is launched. Although primarily based in Manchester, the division attracts work for contact centres UK-wide.


In March, Acorn is formally recognised as an 'Investors in People' company.


Acorn adds a specialist Nursing & Healthcare Division to its portfolio by acquisition of a nursing agency in Swansea.

1992 - 1998

Acorn builds a specialist network of branches throughout south Wales, opening additional premises in Cardiff, Swansea, Pontypridd and Bridgend.

The company is professionally accredited by becoming a full member of REC, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.


Acorn is founded by current Group Managing Director Matt Southall, and its first branch is opened in Newport, south Wales.

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