A Chat with Vikki Sylvester, Founder and CEO at Education Provider: Acacia Training

Acacia Training is an award winning education provider that has been supporting the development of learners for over 20 years. We’re committed to making a difference locally, nationally and globally.

We support adult learners to grow their skills through apprenticeships, traineeships and other educational programmes and specialise in courses in Adult Health & Social Care, Children & Young People’s Services, Dental Nursing, Beauty, Sport & Fitness, Adult Education & Training and Business, Management & Digital.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Once I’d qualified as a nurse, I supported the teaching of trainee nurses and healthcare workers at North Staffordshire Hospital. It was here that led me down the education path.

At that time, my mum was working as a nurse and had a vision of delivering education to the care home she was working in. Together, we set up Acacia Training in 1999.

It started out as our side-hustle but quickly got more and more attention, and so I decided to stop nursing when I was 21 and pursued Acacia Training full-time. The business has gone from strength to strength ever since.

What makes Acacia Training unique is that we aim to provide courses that genuinely meet employer needs in the care sector, having personally experienced first-hand the struggle to recruit and retain quality care staff.

We’re on a mission to improve people’s lives through the delivery of quality education and empower them to be able to make choices. We want to make education accessible to everyone and ensure there are greater opportunities for career progression, as well as help learners to make a positive contribution to society.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

The education landscape is always subject to change depending on what is going on in the world; the economic climate, changes in other industries and sectors, and what is impacting both businesses and individuals. As a result, we have always had to respond to ensure our programmes continue to meet employers’ needs.

The pandemic also greatly affected our business, due to our focus on the care sector, meaning we had to switch our focus towards wellbeing needs.

Over the last couple of years, we have launched new programmes and funding streams, including moving into both employability and skills sectors to support access to employment, upskilling and reskilling, all contributing towards upward social mobility.

What can we hope to see from Acacia Training in the future?

One thing that is close to my heart is ESG. I’m passionate about how critical the education sector is to facilitate changes and currently, my biggest challenge is asking people to realise this. There will always be resistance when trying to prove how important ESG issues are, though it’s a challenge I relish in and am keen to continue working on.

Acacia Training has an identity and reputation for social justice and “doing the right thing” and this is something we are keen to continue and build upon to have as big of an impact as possible. Some of that will come with growth, however, the drivers are more about ensuring we can have as big as possible impact in terms of education, as education is the answer to most world problems and challenges. This is where Acacia gets its kick and we aim to do a lot more of this in the future and continue to build on the work we have already done.