Earlier this year, AAT set up a Regional Account Management team to provide local support to employers and training providers. Justin Kyriakou, Regional Account Manager for the North West and Yorkshire, talks about his new role and what it’s like to represent AAT in the community
The education landscape in the North West and Yorkshire
My region consists of a number of key economic cities (including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool) and financial services make up a significant proportion of businesses in these areas. There’s a large opportunity to increase the awareness of AAT and its qualifications to employers in the area, so that they become familiar with the value our qualified members can bring to any organisation.
In addition, there are a lot of further education training providers throughout the North West and Yorkshire. These consist of both FE colleges and private providers which means I am kept very busy.
The standard of training providers is very high throughout my region and there is no shortage of ‘outstanding’ providers. However, colleges haven’t had it all their own way. In recent times most have had to radically overhaul their business models due to the current economic climate and the changes in funding provision.
My experience in the education sector
I worked in education when I was a business development manager at Runshaw College.
During my time there and now at AAT, I have been amazed by the passionate nature of tutors across the country. When you can see the positive outcomes that your work has on people, it’s hard not to be passionate about it. I believe education has the capacity to change lives and I am pleased that I’m helping to increase training opportunities for my region.
My average work day
I tend to get going around 08:00 as I work from home. The early start gives me the opportunity to get any follow ups done, answer any emails and organise my day. Most days I’m on the road by 08:30 and as my region is quite vast, I can spend between two and three hours travelling to meetings.
I generally have five meetings with training providers and employers from Monday to Thursday, with Fridays usually dedicated to admin and follow ups. The focus of meetings is to better understand their organisations and how I can support them. Every provider is different and I need to understand each one if I’m going to be successful in helping them promote their strengths and grow their numbers.
After my meetings, it’s back home and if I can get back in reasonable time then I update the CRM system and my notes. I then make sure that I action any requests that have come out of the meetings that day. Finally, I will send out some emails and make some calls with a view to booking the following weeks meetings.
Trends in the attitudes of employers towards training
I believe there has been a shift in this area over recent years. Above everything else, employers want value and skills – if a candidate has the right attitude and capabilities, then there is nothing stopping them from being hired.
Qualifications are still a massive driver in the public sector, but here I’m starting to see a change. Generally speaking, graduates can be seen as an expensive way to grow your workforce – particularly when there is a more cost effective alternative of equal or higher quality, such as AAT.
The AAT products I promote
Since AAT Essentials has launched I’ve been focusing on booking as many courses as possible. The same goes for AAT Access – a number of colleges have signed on to deliver the courses and there are more to come.
I really enjoy promoting the Essentials courses as they are one-of-a-kind and offer the fundamentals for any business. It’s said that 90% of businesses go bust in the first two years because they run out of cash. I say that 90% of businesses go bust in the first two years because they don’t have any accounting skills.
What I enjoy about my role
The best thing about my role is that I get to travel across my region, meet amazing people and learn about incredible businesses and training providers every day. I’m very much a people person and by helping training providers and employers train more people I feel I’m doing something worthwhile which is a great feeling.
Ultimately, I am helping people achieve their goals in life – what more could I ask for?
Our Regional Account Managers are equipped with relevant local knowledge to support employers and training providers with their training and development needs. To find out how AAT can help your business, contact the team on 0875 863 0795 or contact the Account Manager for your region directly.
Justin Kyriakou is AAT's International Development Manager.