WRITTEN BY KELLY ROBSON
Kelly and Kathryn met while working for another training company Up North.
We clicked straight away and before we had even met face to face we spoke for 3 hours on the phone. At that point I knew I had a friend for life, someone I could trust, someone I could rely on.. a true like minded soul.
Now we have been friends for 8 and a half years and business partners for 7.
And this is how it began ………
As I said Kathryn and I worked for another company, who shall remain nameless. My direct line manager put me in a position that was very dangerous that led to both Kathryn and I having to resign as we don’t do bad practice, we have blown the whistle 6 times between us,
So we sat in the car and had a conversation about where we go from here and what do we do now? Both Kathryn and I had relatives that had been diagnosed with cancer and we knew over time were only going to get worse so we needed an employer that would be supportive and flexible. We were not prepared to work for another company that would not listen or want to improve the learning and knowledge of each learner, just filling up chairs. We spent 2 hours in the car looking at what training providers were out there and what services they were offering and to say the least we were not impressed.
And the decision was made APPROACH TRAINING SAFELY Ltd was born on 31st March 20011(and yes the name was intentional).
We started off really small, just the 2 of us, with 3 clients that still use us today and we worked for other people delivering training for a small fee. This worked well around our caring responsibilities and visits to hospitals etc, Kathryn and I made sure that at no point were both of us booked out so there was always care cover for our loved ones.
During this time Kathryn and I not only did our paid work but we did a lot of Charity work. As we were both carers, we couldn’t give back financially so we gave back in time and to this day we are proud to offer Free Training to anyone who cares for a relative or friend. During this period my nan also had a stroke and then was diagnosed with vascular dementia. ATS was doing a lot of work voluntarily for the military and we decided that we would start the process and apply for our ELCAS registration to become an MOD provider
Then in 2014 Kathryn was supposed to be attending a meeting for skills for care but her being the luckiest person in the world she was attending the Hospital on the morning and she was ran over on a zebra crossing by an ambulance taxi (yes this is true).
I attended the meeting instead and that’s where I met a lady who had a vision to build homes for life for people with Autism. We then discussed what ATS Could Provide and a week later they contacted us and asked if we could provide training for all the staff. This was a substantial amount of work for the 2 of us with everything else we had going on so Kathryn and I had some big decisions to make… stay small for another couple of years and turn down the contract or bite the bullet and say yes …… Obviously we took the contract.
We realized that we couldn’t do this alone and if we wanted to fulfill this contract we would need to take on a staff team to help manage and deliver this contract so that’s what we did. We started by employing our office manager Sharon and 2 trainers, this contract turned out to be one of the biggest lessons we have ever learned. We fulfilled this contract to great satisfaction of the client and the learners which took almost 3 month to prepare and then 12 weeks to deliver to be told that the company was dissolving and we would not be receiving final payments. This not only left us broke but it stopped us applying for our MOD contract as we finished our financial year in a major deficit. Again Kathryn and I were left with a lot of thinking and decisions…. do we fold or do we fight. Well of course we chose to fight, we took out a small loan and our bank was incredibly supportive and gave us an overdraft to see us over the rough patch so we could pay the staff. Kathryn and I had no salary and we were living hand to mouth every day, but in 12 month we pulled it around and we managed to turn a small profit the following year, so hopefully this year we will finally be able to apply for our MOD contract.
Over the last 7 years we have obtain accreditations with Highfield, Nebosh, Future Quals and Nuco.
We are a recognised Disability Confident Employer
We are also very proud to have received Corporate Covenant, Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award for our support to the Armed Forces.
All our team are Dementia Champions and Kathryn and I are involved in 4 charities between us.
The last 12-month have been so rewarding as we have had so much success with our learners growing in confidence and even finding work, some of them at ATS
So where we today….
My Nan has died, don’t be sad she had a great life and a lovely death.
Kathryn is still caring for her loving husband and being my best friend.
We have a great team
And we now have the products and connection to do with ATS what we always wanted to do. We have new and old clients, we can deliver a wide range of products including awareness training and e-learning through to diplomas in a wide range of subject areas and levels.
We are working very closely with Hartlepool job centre to help the people of Hartlepool with their confidence and engagement skills that will help with their daily lives and eventually gain them employment.
We will also resubmit our MOD application this year
Over the last 7 years the company and its directors have had some ups and downs but we’re still here and that’s what I want people to take from this blog. No matter how dark your day is there is always light, if you believe you can achieve you will.