As a brand that professes to transform futures and change lives, it is fitting that one of Pitman Training’s most recent franchise partners, Susan Staley who now owns a centre in Chelmsford, was previously trained by the leading, international training provider.
Due to the nature of the computer based, self-paced, vocational skills training provided, Pitman Training is searching for franchise partners from varied backgrounds as there is scope to develop skills and knowledge through the comprehensive training and support provided by the franchisor. However, Susan was already light years ahead!
"Well, I never thought I would be running a franchise, you just never know what is round the corner. Working for myself was a bit of a pipe dream, something always in the back of my mind. I was never quite sure what I would do and if I could ever take the risk.
I left school aged 16 (now 56) with just a handful of ‘O’ Levels to my name. Going straight to work as a Junior in the local bank; working my way up to become one of the first Bank Receptionists in the country. After 5 years I felt it was time for a change and returned to college, working hard for a year to get my Secretarial Skills honed in order to commence upon a new career with a company of Management Consultants in London. Two children and family life then got in the way and my career was put on hold.
I returned to work a few years later in a school, in the Learning Resource Centre, assisting children with their book and computer based studies. Leaving there 12 years later when I felt it was time to move on and do something different. I became Office Manager for a CV writing company that was expanding rapidly throughout the UK and overseas. I stepped up to become the Head of UK Operations; this gave me a taste of what running the show was like.
As I was responsible for Accounts and Payroll, I decided some training was in order and found Pitman Training was just what I needed. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Pitman, friendly but professional. Sometime later my daughter wanted to do some training which I knew Pitman Training offered. I looked up details online and happened to see the Training Centre in Chelmsford was up for sale. I had recently moved to the area – what could be better!
After discussions with my husband, we decided we should follow this through and see exactly what opportunity was on offer. We met with Pitman Training and were pleased with what was discussed; it seemed like a great business model and something we could move forward.
Pitman Training support you all the way, you are assigned a Franchise Development Manager who is there for you extensively in the first few weeks with regular follow-up visits as needed. Of course there is always telephone and email back up from Head Office with all those little details from how to log a student on an online course, to when deliveries of stock are going to arrive. As Pitman have been around for over 175 years and have been franchising for over 20 years they know how things should be run and how to market business.
I have now been in place for just about 5 months and it has certainly been a very steep learning curve. Juggling assisting students, marketing the business, keeping the books and ensuring the IT runs effectively but I would not have it any other way. I currently have one member of staff who has carried over from the previous owners, a real help as she understands the day to day running of the business. I hope within the next 6 months to take on another member of staff to enhance the business and spread the workload!
Purchase costs amounted to approximately £80,000 which was assisted by a bank loan (easier to acquire than I had anticipated). I hope my first year will see a turnover of over £150,000. I am not going to become a millionaire overnight but this is something I love doing.
It is so good to see people come in to the centre unsure of themselves and what they have to offer to an employer. As they work through their course you see them gain confidence, ready themselves to get out there and use their newly acquired skills!"