From decommissioning Sizewell A to preparing for Sizewell C – Total Comms Training share why the cabling industry and Harlow are full of opportunities.
Passionate about training, cabling and the potential that he sees in Harlow, Director of Total Comms Training, Chris Atkin, shares his thoughts on this changing world and the benefits being a member of Opportunity Harlow could bring.
Tell us about your business
We are a training company, training people in the networking cabling industry, which is an area with huge employment opportunities but without the skilled workforce to fill it. Part of our role is to address the skills gap of installers of fibre optic cabling, so that there are enough people to fulfil these roles and do the work well first time.
Cabling meets many of the demands of our daily lives and can support the innovations needed for our lifestyle going forward. For example, I can make an HD call with my grandchildren in North America, and yesterday I was watching the England Women’s Football team win in a stadium where broadcasters have just had to plug into the cabling there and broadcast.
Then there are projects such as the upcoming work at Sizewell C which will need approximately 5,000 miles of power and data cables when complete, and if we can make the system more resilient, through our training, we can help its longevity.
As our climate changes, cabling could help us to develop smart buildings which change with it, automatically adjusting the ventilation etc as required.
We are looking at the future and it is all enabled by cables. Total Comms Training provide the training and education for people to get the most out of the opportunities it can bring.
Describe your typical customer
We offer training to companies as well as individuals – I would say there’s about a 50:50 split. We also offer our services for free to the Royal School of Signals to help ex-army members transfer their skills to a new career.
Our clients have included the BBC, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Wembley Stadium. We also did some consulting work on the cabling when Sizewell A went into its decommissioning phase.
Do you go through a tender process for work?
Most of our business is generated through relationship creation – through LinkedIn and self-promotion like articles, blogging, exhibitions and getting ourselves out there.
Training is all about engagement and lifelong learning rather than trying to sell a commodity, so it’s a different route.
Why did you choose to be based in Harlow?
Total Comms Training has been based in Harlow for over 20 years. We moved to Harlow because it’s close to London. It is also the birthplace of fibre optics.
Every training session that we hold emphasises the importance of Charles Kao (known as the father of fibre optics communications) and the work that he did here in Harlow. I met some of Kao’s team and I can feel my hairs standing up on end just at the thought of being in their presence, knowing the huge impact their life-changing work has had.
Do you know much about other businesses locally? Have you collaborated locally?
We have done some work with SCCI Alphatrak, CPI Euromix, Kier Harlow and HTS. Other than that, I don’t know that many businesses locally or know many people. That’s where projects like Opportunity Harlow can help with networking.
What do you feel are the benefits of being an Opportunity Harlow member?
Being a member of Opportunity Harlow will allow us to reach a wider audience. Small businesses find it very difficult to find a platform to engage with potential users and other organisations to learn from – both of which are critical to growth.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
Realising our ideals in relation to turnover. While we currently work nationwide, we are also aiming to expand to multiple locations.
We also have a focus on Harlow, employing only local people and engaging other businesses locally to supply to.
Find out more about Total Comms Training here: totalcommstraining.com
Chris Atkin is developing qualification content to inform new training for City&Guilds, to enable people to upskill and retrain and fill the demand. He recently gave a presentation on this at the Fibre Optic Association seminar.
You can Follow Total Communications Training on LinkedIn.
If you are not yet a member, use this form to apply to join Opportunity Harlow.