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A specialist Gateshead technology firm is planning further expansion in the coming months after seeing continued demand for its advanced education quality assurance software.

Team Valley-based Mesma has achieved strong growth for its online technology and consultancy services, which help schools, colleges and training providers implement effective quality assurance systems aligned to external inspection and audit requirements.

Over the last 12 months, Mesma has seen a surge in demand for its subscription-based software and consultancy services, and now predicts revenues in excess of £300,000 in 2019.

These include London South East Colleges, Bromley College, Sunderland-based training company Milltech Ltd, and youth charity Harington Scheme, Working Links, Hays Travel and Skillnet as well as international clients.

The firm, led by director Louise Doyle, Carole Loader and Neil Donkin, is also seeing strong demand for their support to build a robust quality assurance approach from new entrants in the apprenticeship market, who are expanding into the university sector on the back of government policy and funding changes.

The directors also plan to expand their consultancy line-up to bolster the existing team of specialists as part of plans to continue to diversify in the face of a changing education landscape later in 2018.

Neil Donkin is set to focus his time on driving product development, with increased software developer resource to allow the business to enhance the existing platform and build three new modules.

Louise Doyle said: “We have seen particular growth in our further and higher education client base this year. It has been a challenging time for colleges and independent training providers following ongoing government reforms in technical education.

“While the foundations of a good quality assurance approach haven’t changed, the ways in which they need to respond to changes have. The introduction of apprenticeship standards and the implications of the apprenticeship levy is a good example.

“We have also seen an increase in new entrants such as levy-paying employers with their own contract to deliver apprenticeships. There are serious risks in this being implemented badly for all concerned if employers don’t invest in designing and delivering quality provision.

Louise Doyle said that growth will continue as Mesma’s helps clients get to grips with the changes in the wider system: “We can see how we can build more modules into the software to support their drive for quality education and training.”

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