Blue Mountain Group CEO takes the ‘Butcher’s Bike Challenge’

Butcher's Bike ChallengeBlue Mountain Group CEO Nigel Thomas took on his toughest challenge yet this summer as he attempted to ride a 1940s, single-gear butcher’s bike all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for charity.

The former Royal Marine and Special Forces veteran had completed his initial ‘Butcher’s Bike Challenge’ in 2013 with a 130 mile ride across Wales. But Nigel, who is aiming to raise £1 million for charities that support soldiers such as Team Army, Hire a Hero, Walk on Wales and the Ray Gravell and Friends Charitable Trust, decided to go a step further with the 1,027 mile epic bike adventure along the length of the UK – even carrying his own tent and provisions for camping along the way.

He was supported throughout the challenge by the charities he raised money for, as well as receiving encouragement along the way from a number of surprising cheerleaders including Jim Motherwell, the Queen’s Piper (who piped Nigel across the Scottish border), a number of Marine commando units who yomped alongside him, plus celebrities and sports personalities from the world of rugby – with a number of visits to Premiership Rugby club stadiums along the route.

Nigel said, ‘We rely upon our soldiers to be there when we need them, so I’m doing this for all the boys and girls in the Forces who need our help now – a chance to play the sports that are so vital to their physical and mental well-being, to find a job after leaving the military or perhaps help recovering from injury or illness. We owe them’.

TV presenter Bear Grylls, a close friend of Nigel’s said, ‘This is going to be a tough challenge but that’s Nigel through and through – determined to help those who most need it and to do it the hard way …and with a smile to the world!’

Blue Mountain Group is a Carmarthen-based security firm that also offers a number of security qualifications and is a Highfield Approved Centre.

For more information on the ‘Butcher’s Bike Challenge’, which took place from 18 to 30 August 2014, click here.

If you would like to donate money, click here  or text TBBC14 (The Butcher Bike Challenge 2014) with the amount you would like to donate (e.g. TBBC14 £5) to 70070.

You can also follow Nigel on Twitter

MPD celebrates successful first year

Midlands Professional Development (MPD) recently celebrated its first birthday as an organisation, marking a ONE-derful year for its rapidly expanding team.

Since its foundation in July 2013, MPD – which is a HABC Approved Centre – has become one of the leading providers in its region of qualifications and work-based training.

Clare McKenzie, Associate Director of MPD, said, ‘I am so proud to have been involved in the development and establishment of MPD, which has had excellent support from its board of directors, an amazing growing team and partners who have all made MPD the success that it is. We have exceeded the objectives we set out for MPD this year and are looking forward to taking these even further over the next year’.

It’s been an extraordinary first year for the organisation as it has doubled the size of its workforce and was a finalist for the Pride of Hinckley and Nuneaton Business Awards.

All the latest news from BEST Training UK Ltd

Nottinghamshire-based training provider and HABC Approved Centre, BEST Training UK Ltd, is doing more to make sure its customers are constantly up-to-date with a newly-launched news section on its website.

The provider, which offers a number of HABC qualifications, made the changes to its website this summer in response to requests from its customers for more news and updates.

Paul Vernon, BTUK Operations Manager said, ‘The news section allows us to regularly update all customers throughout the year and keep them informed of everything we have going on, from events and courses to highlighting our commercial partnerships. We’re always happy to let our customers know what is regularly happening at BEST Training Ltd UK and we know they appreciate the regular updates, either from our website news section and via @BESTTrainingUK, our social media news on Twitter’.

For more information, email

Elbrus Solutions Training wins Royal Mint contract

elbrus solutions trainingElbrus Solutions Training Ltd has been celebrating this summer after winning a prestigious contract with the Royal Mint.

The Port Talbot-based HABC Approved Centre was approached by the Royal Mint – which has been in existence for over 1,100 years and is the only body authorised to mint coins in the UK – after it began a search for a training provider to carry out its in-house training.

Rob Davies, Director at Elbrus, said, ‘The contract came about when the Royal Mint looked at our website and could see the background of our staff and trainers were ex-forces and special forces, and that we had extensive experience working in a variety of hostile environments.

Anthony, one of the trainers at Elbrus, in front of their HABC Approved Centre certificate.

They reviewed the training courses and decided on the door supervision qualifications, which include physical intervention training, as they are opening a new visitors’ centre which may be licensed and where events may be held. Although there are MOD police on site, they felt that the door supervision course was better suited than the security guards qualification. On top of that, we’ll also be delivering CCTV training too’.

Rob added, ‘Although their security staff are employed in-house, they wanted a recognised level of training for their staff and the HABC qualifications met the mark. It’s great to have the opportunity to work with such a prestigious client and testament to all the hard work the team have put in’.

For more information, to go

eResponse joins winning team with football initiative

Doncaster Rovers Football ClubeResponse has teamed up with Doncaster Rovers Football Club to help unemployed locals get back on their feet.

The partnership, part of an initiative called Club Doncaster Foundation, will see 600 training places made available to unemployed people in the Doncaster region by eResponse, which is a HABC Approved Centre.

The Club Doncaster Foundation is a not-for-profit, self-funding registered charity and community organisation. Since becoming a registered charity and reforming as a sports and education foundation, Club Doncaster has worked alongside several partners to focus on sports participation, disability sport and inclusion, health and wellbeing, education and social inclusion in the borough.

Paul Alekna, Managing Director at eResponse, said, ‘Club Doncaster is very well integrated with the local community and its achievements are impressive. We are very proud of our association and look forward to developing our partnership over the years to come’.

Last chance to book your place at the HABC National Conference 2014

National ConferenceIt’s less than three months now to the HABC National Conference on 13 November 2014 at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester.

And whilst places are rapidly filling up, we still have a few discounted tickets available – but for a limited time only!

With seven seminars on the day, top industry speakers and an expected 600 delegates, the HABC National Conference is promising to be one of the must-attend events of the year.

Covering apprenticeships, fire safety and health and safety, first aid, food safety, licensing, pool lifeguarding and security, you’ll hear from some of the top speakers in the world of training and business as they provide you with all the latest updates, tips and insights on the most important issues facing you and your organisation today.

Plus, a number of our seminars will also cover changes in the training landscape – from funding and legislation to apprenticeships and employer involvement – explaining the why and when of the changes, and where you fit into the bigger picture and can make the most of those changes.

Discounts and options still available include:

  • Paying by instalments;
  • Buy one, get one free; or
  • 30% single booking discount.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, our staff have even put together a little video inviting you to come along!

So what are you waiting for?

To take full advantage of these last-minute discounts and talk to us more about the options available, just drop us a line at or call us on 0845 226 0350.

HABC Conference – The Video

It’s just three months now until the HABC National Conference at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester on 13 November 2014.

And to get you all (and ourselves) into the spirit of things, we created a staff video inviting you along!  So watch the vid, put some faces to names you’ve possibly only ever talked to on the phone, and find out why you should definitely come along and see us this autumn.

Protocol Training hits the airwaves with first aid message

Protocol SwindonProtocol Training’s John Markey is the latest addition to the Swindon 105.5 FM line up – with his own slot to raise awareness of first aid with a special first aid message!

John has been guesting on the community radio station – which goes by the phrase ‘Daring to be different’ – to speak about first aid and to persuade more of the people of Swindon to undertake first aid training.

And so far John has been going down a storm, appearing regularly at 9.20 am every Wednesday on the Roundabout Swindon show with DJ Sean Hodgson, alongside interviews with local people about local activities, clubs, charities and events, as well as the Musical Medley Montage and the 60 Second Challenge.

John said, ‘At the moment, just 7% of people have some form of first aid training. When you consider how first aid can save lives and help raise a person’s chances of survival in those precious few minutes before the emergency services arrive, it’s incredible that we don’t encourage more people to undertake training.

Being able to speak directly to people over the radio every week is a great way to get them interested in first aid. And it’s a great way to talk about the subject in an informal and friendly way, whether it’s about what first aid actually involves, helpful tips and guidance, asthma awareness or where people can find training.’

To hear more, tune into Swindon 105.5FM or listen live here.

You can also download a podcast of the show here.

Why three really is the magic number at Customer Service Training Awards

Customer Service Training AwardsWinning any award is always a big deal, but to win three is extra special.

And so it was for Intelling Ltd as it made it a summer to remember with triple honours in the fifth annual Customer Service Training Awards this July, competing against some of the biggest names in the business such as Barclays, Capita and EE.

The Manchester-based marketing and contact centre business, which is also a HABC Approved Centre, took gold in Customer Service Management and Leadership Training, a silver in Sales Through Service and – for the triple whammy – a bronze in the Hearts and Minds (Employee Engagement) category.

Held every year, the awards are hosted by the Customer Service Training Network and are the first of their kind specifically developed for customer service trainers all over the world.

Intelling Awards - teamSimon Wilson, Head of People Services at Intelling Ltd, said, ‘We are delighted to have won three awards in all three categories we entered.

As a relatively new business we were initially happy to be nominated as finalist, especially when you look at some of the other competitors such as major international corporations and banks. And yet through our determination and drive as a business and management team, we were able to take home three awards, which is an incredible achievement for everyone here.

These awards will assist and develop our momentum further in our fields of expertise, and create demand for our brands nationally, which itself will in turn help all of our existing and future clients. We’re also looking to develop our relationship with HABC even further and have a number of exciting new developments lined up’.


If you’re an early years apprentice you can claim up to £3000 this summer

early years apprenticeIf you’re an early years or child care sector apprentice you may not be aware that the government has an Apprenticeship Bursary Scheme that potentially entitles you to up to £3000.

The scheme was launched last year to encourage higher qualified candidates to pursue a career working with young children.

The first 200 people to apply will receive bursaries of £3000. The remaining applicants will receive £1500, so even if you’re not amongst the first, you’ll still get something. There’s also a further £300 training allowance up for grabs.

To qualify, you’ll need to be have started employment as an apprentice after 1 June 2013, and be training for the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in the Children and Young People’s Workforce.

You’ll also need to have achieved a GCSE grade C or above in English and maths before you started your job, and have been in employment as an advanced apprentice for at least 3 months.

However, the offer is only available until 31 August, so you’ll need to apply quickly.

For more information, go to the official GOV.UK page.