30 years
Jill Farmer (Dobson)

Member Article

Leading figure marks 30-year distinguished career

A leading figure in the region’s further education sector is celebrating 30 years of helping young people start careers.

Malcolm Armstrong, managing director of Access Training, has helped 6,000peoplestart apprenticeships andhundreds ofbusinesses train their workforces since the start of his distinguishable career.

Malcolm is well-known in the north east thanks to his role as chairman of influential professional body the Tyne & Wear and Northumberland Association of Learning Providers.

A former teacher, Malcolm entered the training sector in 1982 when unemployment was high. His first role was teaching employability skills on Gateshead Council’s Youth Opportunity Programme. He then joined English Estates YTS as a training officer and following a series of promotions became managing director in 1996. The company subsequently changed its name to Access Training and in 2007 Malcolm cemented his commitment to the Gateshead firm by buying it.

In his 30thyear in training, Malcolm’s company Access has experienced one of its toughest trading years. It has had to diversify its services in response to changes in national further education policy and the recession. The company, which until this year primarily offered apprenticeships, has introduced pre-apprenticeship training for 16-18 year olds, higher apprenticeships (Levels 4 and 5) and training for unemployed over 19s. The Team Valley firm has also launched a partnerships division to proactively seek and lead subcontracting arrangements with other training providers.

Commenting on his 30 year career, Malcolm said: “I have always found helping people into work incredibly rewarding which is why I decided training was the route for me. Thirty years has absolutely flown by. It is wonderful to hear from former trainees who have gone on to carve out rewarding careers, many now running their own businesses and recruiting apprentices themselves. Looking back, buying Access Training was a massive step and one of my proudest achievements- I have never regretted it for a moment.

“The recent recession has made us return to our roots in some ways – our background was in helping people to secure jobs and start careers in difficult times. We are now using that experience to support today’s young people and those currently out of work”

Access Training provides free Customer Service and I.T training for over 19s who are unemployed and receiving benefits – sessions are run in locations across Tyne and Wear. A recently launched Access to Careers course helps 16-18 year olds to prepare for and secure apprenticeships.

Access’ apprenticeships include accounting, business administration, security, customer service, manufacturing, warehousing, IT and team leading.

For information call Donna Barker on 0191 490 4646 or www.accesstraining.org.uk

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jill Farmer (Dobson) .

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