A surge in business for the online retail sector has left Phoenix Training with a full diary stretching well into the new year as customer demand for certified handling equipment operators increases.
The team at the award-winning ITSSAR and RTITB accredited fork lift training centre in Wellingborough have found themselves in the midst of one of their busiest periods ever, having restructured their courses and their training centre to meet social distancing regulations.
Around half of the courses Phoenix Training delivers are at the dedicated training centre, with the rest of the training being carried out at customers’ own sites. As well as the regular fork lift driving courses, there has been a significant increase in demand for training on other handling equipment, such as VNA and overhead gantry cranes. Conversion training, to extend a competent person’s skills to include other equipment are increasingly popular, as are experienced operator courses.
“When the first lockdown happened in March, we took the decision to close for a few weeks, taking the view that the safety of everyone concerned was the most important thing, and we just didn’t feel prepared to work under the circumstances,” said Managing Director Emma Williams.
“Between March and June, I sat down and did a COVID risk assessment and worked out how we could get back into the training centre in a way that would ensure everyone was safe. We reduced the course sizes in line with social distancing, a bit more than the requirements require, actually, and we now deliver fork lift training to no more than two, and instructor courses to a maximum of four, so there’s plenty of space for everyone.”
Phoenix Training’s range of courses is aimed at the industrial sector and includes fork lift trucks, narrow aisle, pivot steer, cranes, scissor lifts, cherry pickers and abrasive wheels. There’s also IOSH Managing Safely and Working Safely courses, and Managers and Supervisors Awareness courses.
Emma added: “We cover the whole range, and that is mainly driven by customer demand. If a business wants people training in something specialist, we can usually meet their needs.
Where we have found the biggest growth is in the online retail sector, where firms are asking for more people to be trained up to help cope with growing demand as people shop more from home. That’s something we think will remain the case for some time, so they need to be prepared.
“Our courses cover everyone from a complete novice to those that are trained and need either refresher courses or conversion training. And we train instructors so that they can deliver training within their own company.
“We also offer experienced operator training, which may be someone who has been using equipment for years but has never had any formal training and just needs certification, or those who have trained in other countries, and just need UK accreditation.
“Workplace safety is of the utmost importance to us and we want the candidates we work with to train to operate fork lifts and other mechanical handling equipment safely. Whatever the customers’ needs, we’ll work with them to make sure they have their people trained to as high a level as possible.”