Centenary Business Centre provides the "perfect base" for PFTP to grow

"The Centenary Business Centre is a godsend for us...the people who run it are so helpful and friendly and there is such a great community feel to the centre."

It is very easy to underestimate what a huge impact a small business can have.

Nuneaton-based Profit From Training Partnership is a classic example. The impact they have had on keeping motorists safe over the last 25 years is immense.

Not that PFTP directors Alison and David Higginson look at it in those terms. They just keep on doing what they do; provide the motor vehicle training which has equipped thousands of young men and women with the expertise to make and keep vehicles safe on the road.

Ever needed roadside rescue? Your rescuer might well have been trained by Alison, David, or supported by the third member of their small but incredibly productive team, Sharon Burbidge.

It is a small business which, from its base at the Centenary Business Centre, has a massive influence and it continues to prosper having adapted adroitly to these very difficult times. As PFTP celebrates its 25th birthday, it continues to go from strength to strength at the Warwickshire County Council-run centre which has provided home to its office for the last 22 of those years.

"The Centenary Business Centre is a godsend for us," said Alison. "The people who run it are so helpful and friendly and there is such a great community feel to the centre. We may not see each other daily whilst we are working, but it's great to see familiar faces around.

"With the current restrictions, we can only have one person in the office, so more than ever it's nice to know that whoever is in the office is not isolated. It is the perfect base."

The intimacy of the Centenary BC suits PFTP perfectly as intimacy and informality is at the core of their business model. Their reputation has been built on respectful values which resonate more than ever during the challenges of the pandemic.

"We have always trained in small groups, never more than six and now, amid the current restrictions, just three," said Alison. "We decided that was best from the start because many people respond much better to being in small groups.

"People can be intimidated by larger groups and get left behind. Some didn't enjoy school and don't enjoy classroom situations, so we do as much training as possible in the workshop and not in the classroom.

"We set up the business in 1996 when the company we worked for decided not to offer this training anymore, but we felt it was important. In those days people were sometimes embarrassed about fitting tyres for a living, but we helped them to recognise the value of the job”.

"Things have changed now. People really understand how important vehicle safety is."

Like any successful business, PFTP, which trains around 200 people a year, has evolved with passing years. As much as ever in the last year, in the light of the lockdown, tailoring the training and tweaking the business in ways which fits the current restrictions but will also have lasting benefits.

"We used the first lockdown to do a lot of development work on the business, like the online training courses, website and logo," said Alison. "We still have in-house training, in groups of three in line with restrictions, but now also have more blended learning, with more online options.

"2020 presented its challenges to us, as it has for every business, but it also enabled us plan the focus for the next five years, so it was not all bad!"

PFTP will move to new, bigger training premises early in 2021, but freely admit that Centenary BC has been the perfect base.

WCC Business Centres operations manager Lisa Smullen said: "PFTP is a great small business which, over many years, has shown the skills, resilience and enterprise necessary to succeed. I am delighted that they regard the Centenary Business Centre with such warmth and would like to wish them every success for the future and their move into larger premises."

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