GK Training Services

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from GK Training Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Highlighting best practice
Managing Director
Learners hosting our Macmillan
Coffee Morning which is held
in September every year
Hayley Johnson-Tonks joined GK Training Services in 2008,
with a view to retaining and improving the culture of self-
improvement and equal opportunities that had attracted
her to the role in the first place. The company now helps
develop the skills of over 100 young people every year and has
been able to overcome the challenges encountered as a result
of the government’s recent funding cuts. GK has a clear vision
for its learners, and Hayley tells
The Parliamentary Review
they hope to improve their offerings and the experience of the
young people they work with.
At GK Training, we feel that bigger is not necessarily better. We are a small,
friendly, focused independent training provider that delivers courses in English,
mathematics, ICT and employability skills with elements of customer service and
retail. The programmes we provide are delivered to students aged between 16
and 24 years old, and each of our courses integrates work experience, embedded
independent living skills. While they are with us, learners carry out varied
community projects and are involved in our charity events.
The young people whom we serve – I choose the word “serve” carefully, because
we provide a service that these individuals are entitled to and deserve – have in the
main been overlooked by large establishments and they risk becoming faceless,
misunderstood individuals who begin to rebel against society.
We provide the young people with a learning environment that is fun, friendly and
conducive to learning. Programmes are individualised, learning is bite-sized and
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2007
»Located in Leigh, Greater
»Services: Independent training
»No. of employees: 7
»Accreditations: Matrix,
Investors in People, City &
»Ofsted: Grade 2
»Works with over 100
individuals per annum
GK Training Services
groups are small. We enable them to
identify their career aspirations and
fulfil their individual potential. The
young person is at the forefront of
everything we do. We encourage them
to achieve, not only academically, but
also by developing their values and
skills to enhance their confidence,
increase their employability and to
become true contributors to society
and theircommunity.
We work with many local agencies to
provide individualised programmes for
each young person. These agencies
are consulted prior to students starting
the programmes and this information,
as well as analysis of questionnaires
and assessments, is used to ensure
the learner is engaged in all aspects of
their learning.
A journey built on a vision
GKTS was established in 2007 by
former directors Graham and Karen
Roe. The business was relocated
to Leigh, Greater Manchester, as
a result of demand in the summer
of 2008 and because the former
location’s training facilities were
limited. I started working for GKTS in
2008 and took over the business as
managing director in August 2016.
Although there was much interest
from external providers when the
business was up for sale, it was
important to the previous directors
to maintain the quality standards and
ensure the culture of the organisation
was continued: a family-orientated,
friendly and focused independent
training provider.
GKTS uses various methods of
communication. Internally, these
include monthly operations and
quality meetings where learners’
progress, quality issues, health and
safety, equality and diversity and
resources are discussed with all team
members, and solutions to any issues
are agreed. There are also monthly
“keep in touch” meetings with each
member of staff to discuss any issues
relating to individual learners as well
as any concerns raised by the staff
member concerning any aspect of
their work.
Externally, we are visible via our
meetings with our partners and
employers, our website and school
career events. We continue to grow
our social media platforms such as
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to
inform, promote and celebrate learner
achievement and success to our
audience and beyond. Our quarterly
newsletter is produced by our Learners celebrate their
success after achieving
their qualifications
We encourage
learners to
achieve, not
but also by
their values
Highlighting best practice
learners, in order to inform external
organisations of what the learners
have enjoyed and what is important
to them, highlighting the learners’
favourite topics and achievements.
This is a way of portraying to
external organisations the work
we do and some of the work our
learners complete. This is also a
way of motivating learners to take
ownership of specific tasks, which
results in a real sense of satisfaction
Overcoming restrictions
When our organisation was founded,
one of the challenges we faced was
the recruitment of young people.
This was a result of us being a
small provider in the borough and,
although demand was high, it took
us a considerable amount of time to
become recognised. Through hard
work and determination to succeed,
we formed links with external
agencies, such as the local council,
schools and other organisations that
support young people.
The young people’s experiences have
contributed to us overcoming this
challenge significantly as word of
mouth has become a huge factor in
our recruitment process. That, along
with our quality of provision, success
rates in relation to qualifications,
learner retention and progression
rates, has led to us overcoming this
barrier and we now successfully receive
a large number of referrals throughout
the academic year.
Reductions in government funding
year on year have had an impact on
the organisation, which now has to
deliver more provision for less income;
however, streamlining our processes,
careful management and innovative
delivery methods have somewhat
combatted this issue.
Continual development
As we move forward we hope to
develop facilities to accommodate
more young people and deliver more
SEND provision for 16 to 24-year-olds.
To achieve this goal, we will need to
increase specialist staffing levels to
support our SEND learners. Secondly,
we are looking at increasing our
traineeship provision to widen the
opportunities for optional progression
from other programmes within
Lastly, by increasing the base of
employers that we work with, we can
maximise the opportunities available
to young people, so they become
more likely to gain employment
and are given more varied options
for the work placement element of
their chosen programme. Through
these improvements, we can achieve
a brighter future for GK, and for
As we move
forward we
hope to develop
facilities to
more young
people and
deliver more
SEND provision
for 16-24 year
Tutors carrying out an
enrichment day with
year 11 pupils to raise
awareness of options
available to them after
leaving school


This article was sponsored by GK Training Services. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.