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It’s Our 10th Birthday (Well Almost!) - Find How We Were Founded

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 24th April 2015

birthday cake

So here we are 10 years on since Trade Skills 4U were first established. Who would have guessed that in that time we would have become the UK’s no.1 electrical training company training over 2000 students every year delivering courses in Gatwick, London and Warrington. So we thought we would give you some insight into how the company was born and interviewed our founding director Carl Bennett.

The story behind our beginnings is quite an interesting one, Trade Skills 4U nearly didn’t happen at all. 14 years ago our CEO Carl Bennett was recovering from a serious operation and facing a major cross roads in his life. Having spent 22 years in the Met police in London as a Specialist Firearms Officer in Dept SO19, Carl was forced into medical discharge due to an operation to remove a brain tumour. It left him with disabilities that meant he was unable to continue doing the job he had dedicated his life to.

Once over the physical challenges of his recovery Carl now had to overcome the challenge of providing for his family. His career had ended, he couldn’t walk or even sit up in a chair at first, his life was in a crisis and Carl had to consider what he should do about it.

“Actually my first thought was to feel sorry for myself, just curl up and say ‘why me?, I wouldn’t blame anyone who faces difficulties in life to behave that way, if you’re a good bloke and you get dealt a dodgy hand that’s the way you feel. But for my kids and my wife, I had to tell myself to pull myself together. So as is my nature I reasoned it out and sought a solution and considered my options. ”

“So I asked myself what were my best skills and how could I best use them?”.

Whilst a team leader in SO19, (widely considered to one of the best Firearms training departments in the world), Carl learned how to train and develop the skills of his team into becoming an ‘elite’, so he knew about training and he led and organised a team of committed people in a high pressure job, so he knew about leadership and organisation. Whilst a copper, he had built his own house, so he learned about the trades and their skills and the importance of good quality trades people.

So it was obvious to him, combine what he felt confident he knew about with the skills he already had at his disposal and with his small pension lump sum and the help of his also ex-cop wife Tracey, he started Trade Skills 4U.

“We started originally as a sort of school for Grand Designs self-builders in a scruffy little unit on a scruffy little industrial estate teaching all kinds of stuff relevant to self-builders. It was hard, and a massive learning curve.” Carl say’s

carl bennett ceo

“The challenges of owning and running a small business were easily as difficult as undertaking operations against terrorists and armed robbers, at least in SO19  I knew what I was doing!”

“I had many sleepless nights and new business money worries, how am I going to pay the rent? my blokes, myself ? But we got through. One thing I don’t do is give up. We’ve plastered our walls with posters here at Trade Skills 4U, encouraging people who train with us, to work hard, never give up, do your best, if you don’t put effort in here, you won’t get the rewards. That message worked for me, I want it to work for them. We’ve now got the most successful electrical training company in the UK, I want to show people who come to us, many at crossroads like I was, that if you believe in yourself and roll your sleeves up you can turn adversity into achievement. I’m no Alan Sugar, I’m a regular bloke, but as a business owner my thought is this ‘build it and they will come’. Do your best in every way, give the best service for your customers, give them what they need, don’t over promise and under deliver, do the opposite, and they will come, and thankfully they do.”

“Sparkies often say to me. How can you own the most successful electrical training business in the UK, You’re not even a sparky”. Well it’s precisely because I’m not a sparky that I do. You don’t want me as your sparky anyway, I’m not technically smart enough to work in electrics, I’m an organiser, an educator, a facilitator, my tutors are the experts, I’ve built a team of the best that’s available, its taken years to get my team together. Knowledge of electrics is not my job, giving a customer the best service is definitely my job and I think we do it better than anyone else.”

“I would like to thank all our customers and staff for their hard work and support over the years. Without a great team and fantastic customers we could never have done it. That’s why we would like to give something back.”

Huge Van Giveaway!

So here we are, 10 years on and Carl is so happy with how things have gone that he has decided to give away a van to one lucky customer. All customers who book a course between the 1st April and 31st May will be entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Vauxhall Combo Van worth nearly £17,000. At the start of June Trade Skills 4U will draw 3 finalists out of a hat. Those 3 finalists will be invited back to Trade Skills 4U to compete in a game of Giant Buzzwire. Whoever completes the Buzzwire challenge the quickest or gets the furthest will win the Van and the two runners up will also receive prizes for their efforts.

The great thing about the competition is that there is very little for customers to do and the odds on winning this fantastic prize are very good indeed. It is estimated that the customers will have around a 1 in 400 chance of winning this prize.

To enter the competition could not be simpler. All you need to do is book a course between the key dates and you will be in with a chance. It doesn’t matter when you will be taking your course as long as the booking is made by the final deadline of 31st May 2015.