Spotlight on an absolutely fantastic niche training company from Somerset.
Not all of us could work with family members let alone build a successful training company, but for Gavin and Nyc Whitworth of Absolute Training Services, being siblings equals success for sure.
Swatpro partner Absolute was only launched in 2016, but has already worked delivering training to hundreds of people, both in the South-West and further afield.
The brother-and-sister duo had a long background in training and consultancy, Gavin mainly in the further education sector and Nyc within the health and care provision industry.
The burgeoning social care sector has been a major part of Taunton-based Absolute Training’s workload.
“It is an area where both employers and the government have moved to improve standards and the skill-base of the workforce,” Gavin explains.
“Traditionally, firms in the sector have had a difficulty recruiting and retaining staff.
“Offering professional training and recognised qualifications is one way they can increase their offer to staff, as well as providing skilled staff to clients,” he adds.
Absolute Training offer both Apprenticeships and a range of other qualifications to workers in the sector, as well as running Leadership and Management courses for the care sector and other employers.
Training is usually provided in situ at clients’ premises, but sometimes other premises that are local and convenient will be used.
“One thing is consistent in everything we do: training is specially tailored to each client,” notes Gavin.
“It’s a very employer-led approach, we will visit clients, talk with them, look at what they need and devise flexible training to meet their specific requirements.
No two companies are the same.”
One industry-led initiative that has led to Absolute branching out in an unexpected direction is in animal welfare for the greyhound racing industry.Absolute was approached by greyhound trainers in an initiative that led to the company helping the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), as part of a Trailblazer employer forum, design a new Level 2 Animal Care & Welfare Assistant Apprenticeship.
Greyhound racing had perception challenges around animal welfare, but GBGB has taken major strides in recent years to professionalise the sport it runs and improve canine health and safety.
“It was great to get in ‘on the ground floor’ and be involved with the development of the standard,” says Gavin.
“The first tranche of apprentices will be finishing their course in March next year. It’s nice to know that this will make such a difference to dogs, the young people involved and the sport itself. It’s a real step forward.”
“One of the apprentices has won the Kennelhand of the Year award, which is a nice reflection on the skilled young people now coming into the sector,” he adds.
Both Gavin and Nyc credit Swatpro with helping them launch Absolute Training so quickly and successfully.
“Swatpro has been great for us. A real store of advice and shared good practice from some of the most experienced people in the field,” Gavin says.
“They are there when we need them, and I would say, very important to how we evolve and offer services to clients.
“It’s strength through unity. Training is a changing landscape, but being a Swatpro partner keeps you at the forefront.”