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Training company helps redundant workers

15th July 2014

A typist-turned-trainer who seized redundancy as an opportunity to launch her own company is now passing on her skills to others hit by changes in the world of business.

Debbie Kuhr-Jones delivers Microsoft training for some of the biggest companies in East Yorkshire as owner of K2 Training Services Limited at The Deep Business Centre.

Trainees include delegates from multinational corporations, individuals and small firms looking to keep pace with ever-changing technology and people who are taking the opportunity to re-train after redundancy.

Seven Seas Ltd has funded courses for more than 50 people in the last year as it supports employees who will lose their jobs as part of the closure next year of the Hull factory. It is a scenario which strikes a chord with Debbie.

She said: “It is sad that the factory is going to close and that people will lose their jobs but Seven Seas are putting a lot of effort and money into helping their staff prepare for the future.

“That is a very positive step. I know from experience that redundancy does present a big opportunity. The difference is that I had to fund my own training and didn’t receive any additional support from my employer.”

Debbie was working with a building society in the mid-1990s when she was first asked to learn the skills which would enable her to train people in Microsoft products as technology took a greater hold on business. 

She said: “I hadn’t used a computer but my first job had been in typing so I found it easy to use Word on what was just an electronic version of a typewriter. I’m strong at maths so picked up Excel easily. Once you learn one Microsoft product, it’s pretty easy to transfer those skills to another.” 

When redundancy hit for the first time in 1998 Debbie used her pay-off to fund further training.

She added: “I did self-study for about two years and worked in all sorts of jobs to pay the bills, including working at PC World because I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I could about technology.”

That investment led to her becoming training manager at a Hull-based IT company in 2002, but when that closed five years later she decided enough was enough. Debbie decided to set up her own training business and on the recommendation of her husband she rented a suite at The Deep.

Debbie is a one-woman business, using freelances to help her deliver training and taking care of her own admin with support from Freya Cross, Business and Corporate Manager at The Deep.

Debbie said: “If you need anything they always sort it out. They have never failed and I have even provided training for them and for other tenants in the building.

“As we approach seven years it’s gone really well. I probably didn’t realise at the time how many people I knew and how much experience I had. Since starting the business I have grown it by about one-third, and that’s through three recessions.

“There are people in business who have never received formal training on computers. It’s just assumed that we all know how to use them. If someone’s laptop breaks a company has no qualms about replacing it but when technology changes they rarely show the same commitment to help people use it properly.

“When I tell delegates about my background I sometimes end up advising them on setting up their own business. I try to encourage them. I doubted myself, whether I could do it, whether I was good enough, but sometimes you just have to blow your own trumpet.”

Freya added: “After two redundancies Debbie certainly faced a challenge in terms of confidence when she set up K2 Training Services here, but we have the sort of environment which is ideal for people looking to build a business.

“There are more than 40 businesses in here and many of them started in similar
circumstances, but we find everybody works together and a lot of them end up using each other’s services.”

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