SINCE opening their doors at Edinburgh’s Peffermill Industrial Estate in 2007, Trades Training School has trained over 3,000 students and helped launch over 1,000 businesses, as well as providing work placements for people aged 15-70 years old.
The school offers training courses and qualifications in plumbing, plastering and tiling to everyone from complete beginners wanting to retrain for a new career, to people already in the industry looking for advanced qualifications. They also provide business start-up training and after-course support to students who decide to start their own business.
The company’s initial goal was to become Scotland’s first independent training centre offering nationally-recognised tiling qualifications to adult learners, filling a gap in the market. Their founding ethos was to provide technically-advanced training of the highest quality to help people launching new careers, including those leaving the armed forces.
Now employing 10 staff, Trades Training School quickly expanded their course offerings to include plastering and plumbing and are planning to expand on more advanced courses for experienced tradespeople and bespoke training for established trades businesses. The school currently offers courses ranging in duration from 1 week to 6 months incorporating SQA Professional Development Awards, City & Guilds Diplomas as well as NVQ/SVQ vocational qualifications.
One of the key elements of the school’s success is business training and technical support offered both during and after the course that ensures every student is given the best chance to move on to a career in their chosen sector, or to start their own business.
Owner, and Director of Business Development, Gillian Martin commented: “What I love most, is seeing students transition into their new careers, feeling confident and empowered. Over the years we’ve built up a fantastic community and our after-course support is something we’re proud of. We often receive messages from students, sometimes months or years after they leave, thanking us for helping them change their lives.”
As well as looking after the futures of their students, Trades Training School is committed to investing in their staff. Managing Director Antony O’Neil explained: “Our team has grown in number, but we remain close-knit as I am passionate about making the school a great place to work.”
All of the school’s instructors continue to work in their trade as well as teaching, giving them flexibility and keeping the team’s knowledge current. In July this year, one of Trades Training School’s tiling instructors, Matty McHale, competed in boxing at The Commonwealth Games. Antony and Matty had met at a local boxing gym in 2016 that culminated in Antony offering Matty his first job, training him to be a tiling instructor. Matty stills works at the school, teaching and inspiring the students. Antony commented: “I want to make sure my staff feel secure enough to be able to pursue other activities, and we will always support them in that. This approach is part of our success with retaining staff and bringing fresh perspectives to our teaching”.