Carl Bennett, Chairman and Founder of the UK’s largest adult electrical training provider -Trade Skills 4U – talks about why he started the company and how the business has developed over the years:
“I never intended to a become a businessman when I founded Trade Skills 4U in 2005. My wish that bordered on a deep need, was to merely help adults at challenging points in their lives find a path to employment to take some control of their lives.”
“Now I know what you’re thinking! oh here we go again, another businessman disguising himself as a dogooder, whilst filling his pockets. I don’t blame you, some large firms even have teams of PR people scripting a theme for their CEO, cynically placing their company on the right side of the arguments, be it the environment or care of those less fortunate.
“The truth, I admit it, I founded Trade Skills 4U entirely for selfish reasons, though not reasons you may rush to assume.
“For most of my life from 18 to 42, I was a policeman in London, in a Dept named Special Ops 19 to be precise. It’s a world renowned anti-terrorist organization. What is less known, is that it’s also a world renowned training organization, and I essentially grew up as an adult within it. I became aware as I went through its training system, of what world class focused training for adults looked like and banked what I learned – I had no choice, it was bashed into me, literally and I loved it.
“Then, as John Lennon famously said, “Life’s what happens when you’re busy making plans”. My life changing moment came wrapped in a huge brain tumour, it effectively ended my career and nearly my life, all within a week or so of diagnosis. Whilst the physical effects where dramatic, the more worrying for me was the mental anguish I suffered. Loss of a lifelong career, loss of contact with men who were my close brothers, from athlete fit to invalid in weeks, from a respected job to which I was completely committed and would have done for free, to staring out of the kitchen window, lost, wondering what was the point in carrying on.
“After a while, my loving wife (ex cop) gave me a verbal slap. I gathered myself, searched for a new career, tried to find training as a 42 year old, my only skills set, a trained ninja, not needed in civvy street. I looked at electrics and couldn’t find a route in beyond the hurdles placed in my way. For a guy like me, mortgage, kids, financial and time constraints, the hurdles seemed deliberately placed.
Foundation of TS4U
“Fast forward a couple of years, I decided I had to do this on my own, so I set up Trade Skills 4U from my pension lump sum. The intention was only ever to supplement my pension and help guys like me, it was a burning need and the more guys that came through my door and told me of their life struggles, the more I became committed to it. My secret truth was I was still struggling myself, I needed them as much as they needed me. As I said, I started Tradeskills4U for selfish reasons, I meant it, I still need them today 15 years on.
5 Steps to freedom
“My 5 Step training model to become an electrician is the culmination of the last 15 years of seeing how the electrical industry raises barriers to guys who like me can’t find a realistic way in, and I mean a realistic way in. The hurdles continue to grow, oddly quite short sighted considering the challenges this country faces in coming years. Many talking heads, already comfortable in the industry lecture me that routes are available. They’d admit amongst themselves, slow, drip feed, minimum wage, demotivating and for a mature adult, demeaning routes but a least a route. Sorry people, they’re not! For adults undergoing even the mildest mental struggle, and as I’ve discovered over recent years, hugely commonplace. Most who’ve gone through life with a series of jobs not careers, enough to need a helping hand, these suggested routes are the opposite of supportive and if I might say, designed so, they also require a job in front, for a mature untrained adult, forget it and they know it.
Change in delivery not content or standard
“My 5 Step program is merely a change on how the Diploma and NVQ is delivered, it’s the delivery model that whilst innovative, its content and standard is the same as any other provider, private or FE, it’s just more relevant to an adult – we would say much improved.
“Learning professionals will understand it, others probably wont, that’s okay, with a combined training education age of 640 years of knowledge and experience under our roofs, we kind of know what we are doing.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ll be helping those that need it, I make no apology, I need to for my own sake, oh and by the way, as we break away from the EU, so does the country.”
For more information on any of these courses, contact us on 0800 856 4448 or to find out how you can become an electrician, visit one of our FREE in-centre seminars by booking a place HERE