So it may seem a very strange time to do this but after 14 years of hiring rooms by the day we have decided to open our centre ! There are lots of reasons why we have taken this decision at at time that has produced so much uncertainty for many. The Covid crisis and subsequent lockdowns were as much a worry for us as any other business. Our Awarding Organisations were not forthcoming with advice on how to deliver training safely in the early stages so it was down to individual training companies to decide how urgent and essential their training was. We did not deliver any training during the first lockdown but we worked hard on adding value to our courses and ensuring they were fully up to date during that 3 months. By this point the Awarding Organisations had provided us with the required information to deliver safe training and any amendments to the assessment process that would ensure the safety of our learners.
It became clear to us that our current venues did not meet the Government recommendations on space and so we set about hunting for a Covid compliant space to train. We visited Somme Barracks in Blackburn, the Army reserve centre which was the only venue large enough to meet our needs. We were not unhappy with the facilities there and it was a great space to learn but it did not fit the welcoming atmosphere we want our learners to enjoy on attending a course with us. It was an MOD facility of course so strict security was in place and we understood this but it did not match our ethos and this troubled us.
In Jan 2021 we began our search for our own centre and whittled the many places we visited down to a shortlist. Our training suite at the Saturn centre ticked all our boxes and we moved into our suite on 1st March 2021 .
We have created a learning space that we have always wanted to achieve, with space to learn and practice all the practical skills that are often a part of our courses. It is warm and welcoming with plentiful refreshments to hand. We are able to manage and control the risks to our learners and ensure the cleanliness of the centre and this gives us peace of mind.
We have already delivered 2 courses at the centre, both Trainer Moving and Handling courses with our first, First Aid course this week. Our learners have provided so much heart-warming positive feedback that we already know we have made the right decision!
We can have access to the centre at weekends and evenings and have already offered some of the courses we deliver at weekends. We have been able to collaborate with more people and have already added a new trainer to the team. Judith Ashton joins us to deliver Safeguarding courses as this is her area of expertise.
We are continuing to offer the Level 3 AET as a blended provision with the majority of the programme completed at home and in virtual classes over a 6 week period then just 1 face to face day at our centre at the end of the 6 week period. This has resulted in us being able to significantly reduce the cost of the course to £340 and this is proving popular. This is the course that is being marketed as Train the Trainer first aid but is so much more! It is a generic teaching/ training qualification and learners can deliver any training following their Level 3 AET that they have the skills, knowledge and qualifications in.
We have just added the Level 3 Certificate in Achieving Vocational Excellence to our portfolio and will be offering this in a similar way with the additional workplace visits too.
We have so much to be thankful for, we really know how fortunate we are and are always willing to give back so our offer of a free place on every first aid course for anyone who needs a helping hand due to unemployment or just difficult life circumstances. Please just call Pat or Alison on 07915609788 and you will find a friendly ear, remember if you don’t ask you don’t get! So please just ask us and we will do what we can to help you .
If you have got to the end of this post then I thank you sincerely for your time
Director – AMTD