Catena Business of the Month: CT Skills

Abi Rae - CT SkillsWhen I spoke to Abi Rae from CT Skills it was the week following an Ofsted visit and the initial feedback about the company brimmed with positivity – ‘At CT Skills there is a culture of passion and enthusiasm for the people they train – its shows them a different world.’ I thought this was a good place to open the article, since it’s both very insightful, and very true.

CT Skills is large independent training provider, with centres in Nottingham and Derby. It works with people and companies, employees and employers, to further their skills, qualifications, and careers. It’s been called CT Skills since 2013 however the business has been established since 1995 promoting skills, training and development.

CT Skills offers core education, such as English and Maths, to full-time apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience. In addition to this, by working with both individuals and a great number of employers, it runs very successful routes to employment programmes that support people with the skills and knowledge to find and retain a job. That may be in transport, childcare, health and social care, team leading, management, supporting teaching, business administration, accountancy (with AAT), customer service and many more.

It is clear to see then, why Ofsted believes they ‘show people a different world’ for those who feel unsure what to do, and what options are available to them. With a mixture of government and commercially funded programs CT Skills can provide genuinely attainable steps towards good career paths. Indeed, Abi explained that things were really positive at CT Skills at the moment, with a lot of people ‘taking the leap’ and getting involved.

A few years ago the government’s strong initiative for apprenticeships changed things a lot, Abi told me, and their aim has been achieved, with the number of people taking on apprenticeships sky rocketing. Even before I started university (in 2013) the option of going into an apprenticeship was not so accessible and perhaps not as well received as going to uni, but now, as a way into work, it’s just as desirable, just as respectable, and to a lot of people, more favourable (you earn a real wage, all apprenticeships come with a pay cheque – so you can actually afford heating in the winter).

Looking to the future, things for CT Skills are set to continue strongly, with a new senior leadership team and ambitious growth plans with employer partnerships a prominent focus. Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world – I’m sure there’d be no disagreement from those who have used CT Skills, or from the teams in Nottingham and Derby.

To wrap up our conversation I asked Abi to name her three favourite things about CT Skills, and they were:

  1. The ethos of the company – value driven, with a lot of pride and respect for what they do;
  2. 2. A strong team who pull together to succeed;
  3. And a great understanding of the sector and what employers want, with real knowledge of what it is they do, and how to do it well. 

In a way of concluding, CT Skills is a company that really does what it says it does, which might seem like a moot point, but many businesses can be said to under-deliver, whereas CT Skills actually delivers the best training, recruitment and opportunities it can for people. Quality over quantity, Abi tells me, is the outcome – how about quality and quantity?