It's amazing to me how the last 18 months has felt like the longest 18 months of our lives and yet in other ways it has flown by with us reaching the final easing of restrictions.
Original article on elitefranchisemagazine.co.uk
It's amazing to me how the last 18 months has felt like the longest 18 months of our lives and yet in other ways it has flown by with us reaching the final easing of restrictions. Whilst, of course, we haven't been without our own challenges at Pitman Training over this period, we too are now looking forward to a less tumultuous end to 2021.
Despite the challenges facing the world at large, since the start of this year, we've seen an influx of franchise partners joining our training cohorts, ready to open their centres across the UK - if we include the most recent numbers, that figure is approaching 20. Stretching the length and breadth of England, across the border to Wales and over the Irish Sea, Pitman Training centres are popping up quicker now than, possibly, ever before.
Perhaps it's the appeal of franchising, having a fresh start with business ownership or instilling others with confidence in their skills (or potentially a combination of the three), but what is certain is that adult education has become a hot topic since the beginning of the pandemic. Pitman is determined to help address the imbalance of skills – especially digital literacy – and all the lessons that the pandemic taught us about tech.
Like most other businesses, surviving the pandemic was the main focus when it came to supporting our network of franchise partners. How could we ensure that our brand and the learning experience of our students would be protected from the sheer destruction that COVID-19 caused? One of our saving graces is our sophisticated learning management system, which enables students to continue studying online, with no need to be in a physical centre. This has always been a part of the franchise programme that provides complete convenience to students, but it proved itself to be a lifesaver over the past 18 months. Online learning is just as powerful and being able to help people better themselves during this challenging period was so beneficial for our network.
Our custom-made CRM system was another reason for our survival, allowing franchise partners to keep track of leads, enquiries, active students and any other crucial information whilst working remotely. The presence of this simultaneously improved each franchise partner's business and made their lives easier by streamlining the service with minimal disruption.
Whilst new franchise partners are welcomed into the network, I think it would be unwise to not recognise the existing superstars we have within the Pitman family. Our longest-serving franchise partner is on their fourth franchise renewal and opening a new centre in Stratford, East London, whilst Chris Wyle, a franchise partner since 2013, is adding three new centres to his portfolio, taking him up to eight overall. It's clear that the demand is there across the entire UK, but what is it that makes Pitman so special?
"Joining Pitman was the perfect opportunity for me to help improve people's career prospects, gain promotions or help them get back into work. When I was looking for a business opportunity, I'd heard positive things about the Pitman brand through a colleague who'd worked there before. So, after doing my research, I decided to go for it. I'm now eight years down the line and would never have expected to be opening my eighth centre," explained Chris Wyle.
Pitman has always been a forward-thinking company. We're proud of our 180-year heritage, but we're always focused on how we deliver the future generations of talent. Our franchise partners are passionate about helping people in their local communities and the pandemic has given them even more opportunities to do just that. Presenting the digital skills shortage in a whole new light and then prompting what could be the greatest shift of career choices in several decades, Pitman is poised for growth once again.
In readiness for the demand, we launched our Web Developer and Advanced Software Diplomas last year. Our new courses are then paired with informative webinars for franchise partners to share with prospective students. We're delighted when we hear our graduates have found employment in their dream jobs!
With the remainder of the year looking much brighter than the past 18 months, Pitman is anticipating a busy return to normality, and we're primed to help the nation do the same.