Claymore Training given springboard back to success
A construction machinery training provider from Airdrie is one of 41 participants to benefit from the UK Government’s Springboard for Rural Skills fund.
Last year, with support from the National Transition Training Fund, Lantra Scotland ran the Springboard for Rural Skills project to meet the need for a more diverse network of training instructors, with activities ranging from instructional techniques training to mentoring and formal skills assessments.
As well as diversifying the network, this innovative scheme is also helping to address instructor network succession planning. It has helped a number of small rural businesses to diversify and become more resilient, as well as helping reskill redundant workers during the Covid pandemic, with many people seeking opportunities for a career change. As Scotland’s transition to a ‘greener’ economy through sustainable land management gathers pace, a renewed interest in careers in the rural sector has reached new highs, placing increasing demand on training providers.
The Springboard for Rural Skills: Growing Together follows on from last year’s project, providing an opportunity to build on its success. Claymore Training, an NPORS training provider based in Airdrie, is one of 41 participants to benefit from the new scheme. The Springboard supported the instructor training and mentorship of Claymore’s newest and first non-family recruit David Veldon, helping the business to expand its services and reach a larger client base.
Maggie Wright and her business partner Martin Wright - both directors and co-founders of Claymore Training - started the business part time back in 2015, while Maggie was working for the Home Office and Martin worked as a plant machinery trainer and operator. In between their day jobs, the two were busy developing their business proposition for Claymore Training.
In 2019, after securing contracts in the construction industry, they both went full time and over the years successfully grew the business from a local operator to a national provider of high-quality Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS), National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS), Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) qualifications across multiple sectors.
Maggie said: “We provide a range of accredited onsite training packages for clients across multiple sectors from the construction industry to warehousing and defence. Most of our courses focus on plant machinery training, from small dump trucks to mobile cranes.
“We approached the Springboard to help us manage the backlog of training demand following the lockdown periods. Our current instructor resource couldn’t cover the enquiries coming in, and sub-contracting trainers was expensive. We needed a full-time instructor to help the business grow at a time when opportunity was at its peak, and David was the answer. We’re tremendously grateful to the Springboard for funding David’s instructor techniques training and ongoing professional development, which we were not able to pay for at the time.”
David started working for Claymore in January 2022 following a lengthy period of upskilling. He was a highly experienced plant operator but lacked instructor training techniques, so spent 3 months in 2021 taking his NPORS instructor course as well as First Aid and Site Manager Safety Training (SMSTS). The initiative also funded a mentoring programme as part of David’s ongoing professional development.
David said: “Before being taken on by Claymore Training I was a plant operator with a civil engineering and road surfacing company. I was with my previous company for just over 22 years and gained valuable experience which has helped me in my current employment.
“I joined Claymore because I felt I’d achieved all my goals with my previous employer and there wasn’t much more I could learn. It was time for a change. The impact of working at Claymore Training has been huge for me. Each day is different, and I enjoy teaching or testing different categories.
“My previous experience working in civils and road surfacing gives me a head start as in I know what I’m looking for in a plant operator. I’ve done the work the trainees are being trained on or tested for, so I know what it’s like to learn how to operate these machines and what it takes to become good at it. I also try to teach my trainees more than just what is in the test. I like to pass on any extra information I have on the subject and show them other skills.
“I have been out on lots of different jobs in the short time that I have been a trainer and I can honestly say it has been the right move for me.
“As for the future, firstly I will focus on my training delivery to ensure I can be as good as I can be. Once I have more experience as a trainer, I’d like to know more about the lifting side of the business, for example instructing on crane operation, and get involved in whatever direction Claymore Training is heading.
“At the end of the day hopefully the candidates remember me as a good trainer and Claymore Training as the company who supplied the training.”
Maggie added: “Having David has been a game changer for us. Covid has put tremendous pressure on our business. Almost overnight, 12 months of bookings disappeared, leaving the business in a vulnerable position. Even now it’s a challenge as some courses are cancelled last minute due to Covid infections and some of our customers are still not allowing onsite training as we work with large groups.
“At the same time, we knew that the training wasn’t happening so a backlog was building and would need to be serviced at some point. When the market opened up, it was a great opportunity for our business. The Springboard project has allowed us to act quickly and take advantage of these valuable business opportunities, helping us recover quickly.
“Having David on board has also freed up time for Martin to focus on other areas of the business, such as managing audit visits from NPORS or doing more training to add new machinery categories to his portfolio. There’s no doubt having a full-time instructor has made our business more profitable. It has reduced our need to sub-contract trainers, which can be expensive and risky.”
Following a difficult period during lockdown, the business is looking forward to a brighter future.
Maggie concluded: “Now the business is back to full capacity, we can begin looking ahead. We have ambitious plans to open a training centre allowing us to deliver open courses for individuals or smaller groups at Claymore. Our courses are currently delivered to large groups at our client’s site, so this new centre will allow us to cater for individuals and smaller groups looking to further their professional development. Its exciting times and we’re grateful to the Springboard for Rural Skills for helping us get back on track.”