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November 11, 2013

Optima Training (Part 5): The return of the goodtimes

It’s our birthday! Optima Training officially sprang into life on 12th November 2003 so we are now 10 years old. Birthdays make us nostalgic so we have been reflecting back on our journey and sharing the story of the first ten years of Optima Training.

As we concluded Optima Training (Part 4): The recession strikes back things were just starting to look up again in 2012 after changes to education and training funding forced us to restructure the business. Did it work? Well, in short…. Yes.

What a year it has been. The success of my involvement with the teaching and learning project at HMP Dartmoor led to further work at HMP Thameside in London, a project that lasted until July of this year. We became involved in the government funded GrowthAccelerator programme, which provides coaching and training to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in England. Already involved in the delivery of the specialist innovation work under GrowthAccelerator, Mark was asked to undertake a review of workshops delivered under the main coaching stream. This eventually led to Optima Training, already delivering leadership and management support and cultural management programmes for local GrowthAccelerator clients, to deliver a number of the revised BDC workshops.

Our relocation programmes for non-native English speakers have gone from strength to strength and our German Next Steps programmes have proved to be very popular with small regional businesses.

On a more personal level, Rea, our business administrator and sister in law, has had a lovely baby boy. The downside is that she is now on maternity leave so we are without her administration skills for now – we can’t wait to welcome her back. She left us in mid-August, a time that has traditionally been our quiet time, but that doesn't seem to have materialised. It seems that there is no quiet time of year this year! And that is a great problem to have.

So what next? Well …. I don’t want to give too much away but we are very excited about what the future holds for Optima Training. We are planning to take on an apprentice next year and to further develop the online Learning Zone.

celebrate the future

Our eldest daughter, Caitlin, also seems to be following in my granny’s footsteps and has developed an entrepreneurial streak – she has plans for developing a German kids club with me, an idea that is already taking on a life of its own so watch this space!

How did we get here? Perseverance. Hard work. A belief in Optima’s vision and values. Wine. It’s all of the above plus our fabulous team of trainers – so thank you!

And a big Thank You to all of our partners and everyone who has helped and advised us along the way.

We hope that we have the opportunity of working with you for another ten years.