Founded in 2008, Runway Training was born out of a need for a more flexible and accessible way for adult learners to gain level 2 English and maths qualifications. Today the Tonbridge based company employs 15 people and offers blended and online learning solutions, as well as a range of professional development courses and high quality apprenticeships to employers including AXA PPP Healthcare, Hospice in The Weald and DFDS Seaways.
Having completed a History degree at the University of Kent, Managing Director Oliver Trailor spent six months at a local Further Education College. Working within the Student Services team, Oliver spoke with individuals on a daily basis wanting to complete English and Maths qualifications to support their personal and professional development. For many the provision on offer was not accessible, busy home lives and work commitments meant travelling to college or attending evening classes was not possible. Having discussed a potential solution with a local Headmaster, who was becoming frustrated at constantly releasing staff for a whole day, the concept of offering an online course was developed.
“During the early days I used to just work on a laptop and had no fixed office. A day’s work consisted of travelling around various employers to visit learners and then making use of free wifi at local cafes to complete admin and check e-mails”.
A finalist for the 2012 West Kent Young Entrepreneur of the year award, Oliver has significantly grown the business and in 2013, launched the Runway Apprenticeships brand which delivers high quality apprenticeships across the Hospitality & Catering, Accountancy, Business and Health & Social Care sectors.
“We are very proud of our apprenticeship division and the high success rates of those apprentices gaining long term employment following completion of their programme. Our aim is to listen to employers and provide the very best service that meets the needs of their business, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach”.
Having helped over 7,000 learners achieve nationally recognised qualifications, Runway Training have learners all over the country and even some overseas. Away from work Oliver has a keen interest in Rugby and enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.
Oliver’s plans for the future are to continue to grow Runway’s range of apprenticeship programmes and to develop an online English and maths GCSE course. He is also developing a shadowing programme with aspiring principal Nikki Gilbey to ensure that future FE leaders are able to learn from those currently in leadership roles.
Oliver’s Business Tip:
“Don’t be afraid to try new things and learn from your mistakes. Not everything will work, but it’s about how you learn from those experiences and move forward. I also try and look to those with more knowledge for advice and to discuss business ideas. If you constantly find yourself in a room full of people who know less than you, then you’re in the wrong room!”