Total Skills – flexible blended learning for electricians in Nottingham

04 Nov 2021

Lucy Kirkby is centre manager at Total Skills, a brand new electrical training centre in Nottingham. The centre, set up in part of an old mill this summer, is already attracting learners from near and far and Tracy Harker, recently caught up with Lucy to find out how things are going.

TH: It’s great to see how you’ve set things up here, you’ve plenty of room for everyone and a good variety of learning spaces, from classrooms to assessment and practice rooms.

LK: Yes, we’re lucky, it’s a great building. We did a quick ‘Changing Rooms’ style makeover on the space to get everything ready, back in July, and we’re very happy with how it’s working for us. We’ve room for expansion too, which is good.

TH: What sort of learners are you attracting?

LK: It’s a real mixture, most of our promotion is through social media and Google ads, but it’s word of mouth recommendations that really count and that’s already building. We offer electrical training for new entrants and your 18th Edition, inspection and testing course and EV charging point qualifications for qualified electricians, so we’ve something for everyone.  Most are career changers in their mid twenties to forties and we’re thrilled to have had four women sign up recently for our Level 2 Diploma, one of whom is pregnant.

It’s important to be flexible and we offer blended learning, where learners cover some aspects of the course at home and more practical modules in our practice rooms here. Mrinal Kumar, our Business Development Director has built us a super website with a huge range of supporting material that can be accessed online.

Through this, we’re able to provide our learners with tailored online learning - loads of extra worksheets and videos to help back up the theory. There are also sample questions and exam papers so that they can get plenty of practice before the assessments too.

TH: And what if they get stuck and need more help?

LK: There’s face to face teaching in the classroom as well as the online resource. We keep our groups small - there will never be more than 12 in a class - and can offer one-to-one support if people need it; sometimes through Zoom or Teams.  Richard Watkinson and Adrian Campbell, our trainers, both have had years of experience in the trade and in training too, so they’re able to offer our learners the support they need.

Our Assessor, Kris Piesis is really good with the students. He’s had many years in the trade and specialises in testing installations, so he’s very good on the practical side.

A lot of our learners can’t afford to take time off to train, so we offer flexible packages where they can train in the evenings, or on Saturdays. This really helps. Hands-on learning is key for electricians and it’s the real focus of our training at Total Skills. There are interactive practical sessions every week.

Every new learner is given a multimeter and there are training boards at the back of each classroom, so we encourage them to get going with their hands, from day one.

TH: I can see how this flexibility would work for your learners, but it must mean more work for you, keeping track of everybody?

LK: That’s where your QMS comes in!  It’s an excellent system, which makes it easy to keep up with the housekeeping. We needed a reliable and user-friendly support system to help us keep track of everything, which is one of the main reasons we chose to run LCL Awards’ qualifications in the first place. As an organisation you’re very customer focused and work with us to deliver the quality training we aspire to.

TH: And what’s in the pipeline for the next year or so?

LK: After Christmas we’re going to work on delivering LCL Awards Level 3 Award in the Periodic Inspection Testing, Condition Reporting and Certification of Electrical Installations. Richard our trainer and assessor is keen to build on the success of the EV Charging point training, so we’ll be looking at renewables too.

We’ve worked hard to put the Total Skills package together.  Having worked in training for a number of years at a previous company, we know what learners need. We focus on delivering quality training in small class sizes with lots of hands-on training. That’s what sets us apart.

To find out more about Total Skills and the electrical training they offer in the East Midlands, please click here.