Making today’s equipment investment decisions, ones that will be resilient to the unknown challenges of the future, is key for all organisations be they small businesses, large businesses or public sector organisations.
Arkle Finance, which specialises in asset finance and leasing, helping organisations large and small, obtain the equipment, vehicles and assets they need to grow and develop, has long stated its commitment to supporting the education sector.
Nurturing the development and understanding the needs of the workforce of tomorrow, not only to feed into the economy generally but also more specifically as Arkle’s own, locally-grown employees of the future, the company strives to forge strong links with the local education sector.
Based in Wellingborough, Arkle was established in 1997 as part of Weatherbys Bank, which traces its roots back more than 250 years. Arkle offers a wide range of financial products, each tailored to suit customers’ specific needs, and offered through a network of brokers that stretches from the Shetland Islands to Cornwall and across to Ireland.
The team works closely with intermediaries specialising in a range of business sectors, and one of the areas of growth, and where there is increasing focus on developing innovative working strategies, is the education sector.
Brian Jerome, Wholesale Funding Specialist at Arkle, is keen to develop partnerships with brokers and funding specialists and also directly with schools and education trusts to find solutions to a finance requirement that looks very different from that for businesses.
“There’s always been a demand for asset finance in education and, because of the drive towards increasingly high-quality education, the requirements are changing and so technology plays an increasing role,”
“The speed of change has accelerated, there’s an immediacy about the digital age that requires constant renewing and upgrading, and that puts pressure on the finances meaning budgets are stretched.
“Looking at how the education sector might go about sourcing finance, we found that in a lot of cases it was simply not being served particularly well. Ensuring facilities are correctly structured and provide good value is at the heart of our approach, and at Arkle we felt that everyone had a part to play in coming up with solutions that made it possible to engage and give schools the opportunity to access the resources they need.”
While it has invested heavily in technology during the last few years and relies on industry leading systems, Arkle augments that technology with the personal approach of its experienced credit team, who will consider the merits of each and every application, taking time to understand the full story before making a decision about funding.
Taking that approach to the education sector means looking at the long-term lifecycle of assets and finding ways to ensure that the value does not disappear from the investment.
“As well as devices and smartboards and the like, we have also helped education sector clients fund things like catering equipment and solar panels,”
“They might be seeing a surge in numbers they know is only going to be temporary and need a modular classroom to cope with extra students.
“By beginning the conversation with a focus on what will happen in the longer term, we can come up with schemes were a school, for instance, takes a number of laptops, over a defined term before they are then scheduled to be replaced. Operating in a sustainable way means that those assets should be redeployed, reused, or recycled and again working with schools and partners to ensure end to end sustainability is important. Similarly, a modular classroom or piece of kitchen equipment can be redeployed when it’s no longer needed – it’s about taking a holistic view rather than a transactional one.
“Building a strategy on long-term requirements and not necessarily taking price as a starting point is important and we if we all work together, we can deliver solutions that work.”
“However we do it, we’re keen to open up discussions about the best way we can help education access the assets it needs,”
“More has to be done in this sector and by working together, sensibly and with a view to the lifetime of the investment, I know we can do more to help.”
Find out more about Arkle Finance or call 01933 304789.