The story of Optima Training (UK) Limited and how we got here...
2000: Specialists in German
Optima Training started as Specialist German Language Services in February 2000. The company was extremely successful and soon started receiving requests for courses in other languages. Soon both English and French had been added to the offering.
Jo's reputation in both language education and Skills for Life led to a growing demand for consultancy services. The shift in focus to education consultancy meant that Specialist German Language Services was no longer a suitable name and in 2003 the company changed its name to Optima Training (UK) Limited to reflect the wider range of languages and services provided.
2005: Extended range
The company became a family business when Mark Small joined in 2005. His experience in customer service industries and research consulting further extended the range of business support activities that Optima Training was able to offer to complement our core language training offering.
Optima began to offer sales training, staff induction training and Mark continued to design and deliver specialist courses to SMEs under the emda funded information4innovation programme. Languages remained an important element of our activity and in 2006 Spanish and Italian were both added to our core language offerings.
2007: New offices
As the company continued to be successful in a diversity of markets and sectors, we moved to new premises in 2007 to allow growth. Our passion for what we do and our commitment to the community continued to influence our business and in 2008 we introduced subsidised Language Clubs to encourage participation in languages within the regional community. Jo also started working with local schools and young offender centres to promote language learning in young people. This dedication to the local region was recognised in 2009 when Optima won Business Commitment to the Community at the Newark Business Awards.
Changes to funding regimes as a result of the 2009 recession, meant that 2010 was a difficult year. Optima was forced to examine its business and make some changes, which resulted in a streamlining of services.
2011: Recovery begins
Optima invested in a Virtual Learning classroom to enable greater reach for our language training. This was recognised in 2012 when we won an award for Innovation through Technology. At the same time, we were helping to establish a new innovation business for one of our clients.
Optima became involved in the delivery of workshops and masterclasses for the GrowthAccelerator service. We were also engaged in the development of courses and materials for funded learning programmes, as well as creating and delivering training to the automotive sector. As a result, Optima Training became heavily involved in leadership and management training, working with companies that enjoyed a straight forward approach to skills development.
2015: Optima Training and where we are now
The original vision of setting a new standard for language training is still the same. We continue to deliver successful programmes across a range of sectors in our specialist languages.
We also believe that language and communication is important to effective leadership and we have had great success in building support programmes for a range of clients to help build and develop management and leadership teams. This will continue to be our focus in the future and we continue to operate as a small, proactive, family-run company that is able to be responsive and flexible to our client needs.