Family recruitment firm sells for seven-figure sum after finding work for thousands in Hartlepool

From left to right, LCG chief executive officer Brenda McLeish, client services director Nikki Burrows and Work Wise Personnel managing director David Williams.
From left to right, LCG chief executive officer Brenda McLeish, client services director Nikki Burrows and Work Wise Personnel managing director David Williams.
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A dad and daughter team from Hartlepool are celebrating after their self-made business changed hands in a seven-figure deal.

Dave Williams, 67, and Nikki Burrows, 42, founded Work Wise Personnel Limited (WWP) in 1996, and they estimate they have found work for 5,000 Hartlepool residents since then.

I’m incredibly proud of all we have achieved in a relatively short time

Dave Williams

Fast-growing North East-based national education and training specialist Learning Curve Group (LCG) has now bought the company, which now has expansion plans.

The plans – drawn up by LCG chief executive Brenda McLeish, who also lives in the town – will see its team of 37 permanent staff increase.

She aims to incorporate WWP and invest in its recruitment and learner find services.

Over the years, the company has also helped many people into career-enhancing training programmes, and managing director Dave, a father-of-two and grandfather, now plans to retire.

He said: “I’m incredibly proud of all we have achieved in a relatively short time. Nikki and I were born and bred in Hartlepool and the town’s success is very important to us – I’m delighted that we have been able to help so many people to get jobs and training.”

Mum-of-two Nikki, who helped set up the firm when she was just 22, said: “We’ve worked very hard to make Work Wise the successful and important business it is today.

“At the start, I never envisaged it would do so well, but it is testament to the very personal and committed service that we have always provided to our clients that it has done so well.”

Operations director Nikki started WWP after returning to Hartlepool from London, where she moved aged 19, working in legal recruitment.

Spotting a gap in the market for the same specialist service – and with financial support from Dave and her mother Sheila, 66 – the former English Martyrs School pupil opened WWP’s first office, in York Road.

Six months later, she secured her first major contract to recruit legal secretaries, which allowed her to expand to six employees.

Today, it is one of the North East’s most respected agencies for matching jobseekers or those looking for new career opportunities with employers and offering temporary and permanent recruitment services to employees.

It also boasts a multi-million-pound turnover, and operates from two offices in Hartlepool and two in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

For the past eight years WWP has been a major client of Bishop Auckland-based LCG, England’s largest subcontractor of its type.

LCG creates market leading distance learning programmes used by more than 100,000 people a year to gain career enhancing workplace qualifications. It also works with colleges to support student learning.

Nikki, will now join LCG as a board member and director of client services.

WWP will continue to operate under its current name until full company integration in July 2016.