Runway Training – Star Business of the Month – November 2014

About Runway Training Runway Training and Apprenticeships

Founded in 2008, Runway Training was born out of a need for a more flexible and accessible way for adult learners to gain level 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.

About Oliver

Oliver Trailor - Runway Training and Apprenticeships

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!”

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Elle’s Cupcakery – Star Business of the Month – April 2014


Hey I’m Elle and I run an allergy specific cake company based in Tonbridge.

My main inspirations for Elle’s Cupcakery came from a 7 year old boy I was a nanny to whilst living in Australia. He had NEVER had a Birthday Cake as he was allergic to Dairy, Gluten and Sugar. I did not see this as a barrier, but as an opportunity, and so I made it my goal to make a cake that he could enjoy. The look on his face made it all worth while – this is what inspired me to start my allergy specific cake company!

TWSA20120722A_005_C cakes1So upon my return to the UK with my business ideas fresh in mind I decided I had to do something about. I felt there was a real need for for my service, there must be others out there that have never enjoyed cake. Just imagine a 70 year old who has never had the pleasure of a birthday cake – TRAGIC!

My first step was to learn more about business start up so I joined The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and successfully completed the course. In addition to this I also invested in a City and Guilds qualification.

Since launching Elle’s Cupcakery I have learnt that starting a business is not as scary as I thought. I am a huge fan of organisations such as Kent Foundation for Young entrepreneurs that offer young people business support to increase their chances of success. I am also a Young Ambassador at the Prince’s Trust and actively promote this kind of work by speaking at events and being part of a community of young people who show we can.

I love baking, enjoy listening to my customers needs and creating something to really make them feel special. I believe that every occasion is different, so therefore every cake is different. Ranging from weddings, childrens parties, receptions and special anniversaries, my motto (which most of you will probably share) is that:

Cake is always welcome…


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