When Ian and I outlined our 3-year image for Sora’s growth, the challenge was to:
- build an outstanding ‘training’ business to compliment the established ‘coaching’ business
- build embedded partnerships with more employers
- do the above in partnership with a local College to build long-term capacity
“4 years on, we’ve certainly achieved our objectives when you consider our current KPIs” Paul said. Whilst other training providers ran away from the big Colleges to access their own Prime status, we were the odd one out; we chose to embrace 2 of the biggest and best College’s, notably, Sunderland and Gateshead, as we wanted to join resources and expertise to be the best.
Paul reflected, “4 years ago, I walked into a coaching business that was highly thought of by its clients, at MD level, like TRW (now ZF), Gestamp, Delphi, Mecaplast (now Novares). Today, we have a wider reach across North East Automotive with new partners like Faltec and Calsonic Kansei. And, Sora’s reputation has taken us into other manufacturing sectors like Food & Drink, Glass, Packaging and Oil & Gas as well as diversification in the Process/Chemical sector.
Ian commented, “When we entered the busy Adult Apprenticeship space, most providers were generic or rigid around traditional NVQs like PMO, BIT, Business Admin, Customer Service. The real need, or skills gap, we found, was around developing Managers and Technicians, as well as Operators”.
Paul went on to reflect, “4 years ago we had no visibility of the impact of the Levy and Standards. However, by remaining steadfast to Sora’s offer of ‘high quality and job relevant’ training, as opposed to ‘limited training with light touch assessment’, we have sailed through the last 4 years, to a position whereby we can deliver to a range of job roles, with real impact. Paul went on to comment, “Probably the most pleasing thing is the progress we’ve made in TLA (Teaching, Learning & Assessment). With the support of our partners, Sora teaching staff are all working towards L4 Teaching qualifications, and year on year we have maintained an ‘outstanding’ rating for TLA validated by an Ofsted Inspector.
Looking forward, Ian described the future as, “We need to maintain what we’ve built. We’ll remain focused on targeting North East Manufacturing and making a difference to the Employers who have been loyal to Sora and entrusted us to work alongside them as an extension of their resources.”