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trainerdirect is a new training company headed by Andrew Ormston.
Andrew launched this business in 2010 after working for many years as a management development and leadership trainer. Describing the service he says, ‘Most corporate clients prefer to go to a single training provider instead of contacting a lot of smaller companies, so I modelled the service on what they want. It will be really convenient – prospective clients can go to our website, find a trainer they really want to use and send an enquiry to us.’
The website will be marketed in a national email campaign to small and medium-large businesses. It already contains a list of impressive clients. Andrew says ‘At the moment we are featuring larger organisations but we also work with smaller companies, the smallest one I worked with had only 4 people - a specialist IT company.’
‘I am building the team of trainers through personal recommendations - I’ve worked with everyone already on board for a long time. Trainers will retain their independent status, and at the same time they’ll be part of this network, where they can use the trainerdirect brand as part of their marketing.’
Andrew’s idea for creating this network of trainers was inspired by the Irish farmers who formed Kerrygold, a collective to sell to supermarkets. By joining forces, they enjoyed much more success as a larger entity.
The USP for this company is that the trainer’s joining fee will also include the opportunity to sit in on each other’s courses – develop skills and see how other people work, a good way to share knowledge and create a closer knit group.
Andrew’s personal area of expertise is project and programme management. He says ‘I prefer a ‘roll your sleeves up and look at the practical aspects’ style of trainer – I want to give confidence as well as knowledge and skills.’
As well as setting up this new venture, he is the sole provider for the Anglia Ruskin University in project management training and is often asked to provide individual coaching and mentoring to new project managers.
Regarding the future he says ‘The plan is for organic growth. By the end of 2011 I would like a maximum of 500 Trainers. Then 2-3 years down the line I’ll probably look to take the business down the franchise model, with a primary Trainer in each region, using the trainerdirect sales and marketing strategies.’ For more information you can visit the website at www.trainerdirect.co.uk
About AMS - Andrew said ‘One of the benefits of being able to talk to Ian at AMS, is that when I think about a particular business idea he’ll tell me all about the taxation issues but in a pragmatic way, and not just about implications now but potential issues down the line. He’s also a really good business sounding board and he’ll tell me in a polite way if he thinks something will or won’t work.’
Sylvia Andrews Ltd
Sylvia Andrews is 68 years old and Gran to five boys. She is an Outplacement specialist who, although working mainly with large organisations, also spends time on individual assignments. Outplacement is a process whereby clients are encouraged to look at all options when moving on from their existing post. These can include, amongst other things: compiling a skills inventory, CV writing, interview skills and assisting clients with disappointments and day-to-day concerns.
'I am 68 now and don't feel that I want to chase the work anymore - anyway, it just keeps coming. On my last contract, I worked on round-the-clock shifts and enjoyed the work tremendously. Whilst ever I still have the necessary 'street cred', then I am at home in the world of work.'
Sylvia worked as a Human Resources Manager and took early retirement at 50 years old. 'I thought I'd be a lady who lunched, but after two weeks, I realised that I had made a mistake so I became self-employed. It wasn't easy because I didn't know how to sell myself - so, I decided to sub-contract to the larger consultancies.'
'Out of the blue, the pit closures began and I worked with British Coal Enterprise - helping redundant miners to explore their options, often moving on to other jobs. It was a very difficult time for them. Appointments were made with Counsellors, but inevitably there was a queue sometimes! The work was constant and exhausting, but I learned a lot. One of the skills I learned was the ability to draw information out of a client and write an effective CV for them as quickly as possible, so that they could use it without delay.'
In 1996, Ian Bell (founder of AMS) gave a talk to a group of us about the service he offered to contractors. I joined, and it went really well - Ian was an ex-tax inspector so I knew it was safe (the rules changed in 2007 which meant that AMS closed their payment services, but continued with their traditional accountancy practice).
Eventually, as miners were resettled, the work capacity dwindled. British Coal Enterprise changed and, at some point, became part of Capita - Sylvia continued working with them. She also did other work for smaller companies, including writing contracts of employment, and interview training. A local College invited her to write and deliver a series of NVQ-standard Short Courses. These included Back to Work confidence training as well as presentation and assertiveness skills.
'I stopped working for five years or so when our grandchildren were small. Peter at AMS persuaded me to stay on the books, which was just as well because, again out of the blue, more work came in.'
About AMS: 'I would say that AMS is always on hand and very helpful, Peter and Naa are always available on the 'phone, and I can check anything I'm unsure about. They are always very good and I don't feel that I'm bothering anyone, and I like that.'