History of ADvTECH

ADvTECH has grown to become leader in education. This is a detailed history of their events, and the steps they took to dominate the market of private education.

2014– ​ADvTECH acquired Centurus Group of Schools.  Other acquisitions included Gaborone International School in Botswana (GIS) and Kathstan College.  GIS and Kathstan will form part of the ADvTECH Academies.  ADvTECH Academies is home to multiple, distinct education brands.  Each school brand retains its own identity and ethos but benefits from the expertise of the ADvTECH Academies management.

2013 – ​ADvTECH CEO, Frank Thompson notified the Board of his intention to stand down as CEO of the Group by 31 December 2014.
The Tertiary Division also announced the launch of its joint venture with the University of Free State for the provision of the four year LLB programme at Varsity College.

2011 – This year marks the return to growth for ADvTECH. The group’s strong financial position enabled it to increase the pace of investments to position it for sustained growth.

These investments include three new campuses: Trinityhouse Littlefalls, College Campus Auckland Park and Varsity College Midrand.

The IIE continued to expand its offering, launching a number of new accredited degrees as well as two and three year diplomas. An association formed with The Open University of the United Kingdom will enable students to obtain international qualifications.

ADvTECH was included as a constituent of the JSE’s SRI Index for the sixth consecutive year.


2010– ADvTECH acquired The Design School Southern Africa, a leading institution in design education.

Mr Brian Buckham, announced his retirement from the Board after 23 years. He  founded the Group in 1978 and served as Executive Chairman for some 15 years. His vision resulted in the creation of ADvTECH and led the Group in many of the strategic investments which form its core today.

Mr Michael Sacks stepped down from the Board, having served as acting non-executive Chairman since his retirement as Chairman in December 2007.

The Board announced the appointment of Mr Leslie Maasdorp as Chairman of the Group with effect from 1 September 2010.

ADvTECH featured in the winners list of the Financial Mail’s Top Companies for the third consecutive year. The Group ranked 16th in the Business Times’ Top 100 Companies and was listed as one of The Royals in this survey for qualifying in the top 20 over the most recent three consecutive years. ADvTECH, for the fifth consecutive year, qualified for inclusion in the JSE Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index.


2009 – ADvTECH acquired a specialised tertiary institution, Forbes Lever Baker (FLB),  in advanced financial and accounting education.

The Group was ranked 16th in the Financial Mail’s Top Companies and 11th in the Business Times’ Top 100 Companies.


2008 – ADvTECH acquired Trinityhouse, as well as the following recruitment businesses: IT Edge, Tech-Pro Personnel and The Working Earth.

ADvTECH was ranked 15th in the Financial Mail’s Top Companies and 16th in the Business Times Top 100 companies.


2006-2007 – The Academic Advisory Council was established to advise the Board, Senate and The Independent Institute of Education (IIE) on all academic matters.

Vertex South Africa, a specialised advertising response handling business, was acquired and incorporated into Kapele (Pty) Ltd as Vertex-Kapele.

ADvTECH acquired the National College of Photography which was incorporated into Vega


2005 – Inkokheli HR Appointments, a niche brand specialising in the recruitment and placement of human resource professionals, was launched.


2003-2004 – Two Imagination Labs began operations.

CrawfordSchools™ became the first educational institution in South Africa to be awarded the internationally prestigious Investors-in-People award. The IIE was created to improve the Group’s academic leadership and governance.


2002 – Frank Thompson, formerly Deputy Chairman of Amalgamated Appliances, was appointed CEO of the Group.

Kapele Appointments (Pty) Ltd was formed.


2000 – A home grown recruitment brand was formed called Insource.ICT. This focussed on staffing solutions in the information and communications technology industry.


1999 – ADvTECH broke into the nursery schools market with the purchase of 18 pre-primary schools.
The second home grown education brand, Vega, was launched.

The Resourcing division was expanded through acquiring Cassel & Company and Brent Personnel.



1998ADvTECH was the top performer in the Electronics sector of the JSE and this lead to a feature in the Forbes Global Business and Finance magazine as one of the Top 300 small companies globally.


1997 – The acquisition of Abbotts College and CrawfordSchoolsTM formed the basis of the schools offering within the Group. College Campus, the Group’s first home-grown tertiary brand, was created and launched. Trinityhouse was founded in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg.


ADvTECH acquired Communicate Personnel and Network Recruitment, which was the start of the successful Resourcing division. Tech-Pro Personnel was established.



1996 – Acquisition  of Rosebank College.


1993-1995 – Crawford Schools™ commenced operations with the first campus in Killarney.

Innovative Management Development (IMD) College and Global School of Business were obtained and were incorporated into Rosebank College and Varsity College respectively.


1991 – Varsity College was launched in Durban to provide tuition support to 17 part-time Unisa students. This would grow into a countrywide institution.


1987-1990 – In 1987 Advanced Technical Systems (now ADvTECH) was listed in the Electronics sector of the JSE.

Network Recruitment,  Design School Southern Africa formed and Cassel & Company was established.



1982-1986 – Communicate Personnel commenced operations and Vertex South Africa was established.


1978 – Brian Buckham founded the company Advanced Systems Incorporated. Which would later be called ADvTECH.

Brent Personnel was launched.


1971 – Abbotts College was opened, which was the first leap into schools.


1948 – Rosebank College was established, and Imperial Underwood Campus was incorporated into it.


1909Launched the first establishment. Imperial Underwood Campus commenced operations

(all images and information can be found at: http://www.advtech.co.za/Pages/About/ADvTECH-Group-History.aspx)