For most businesses, the key determinant for success is growth. It is precisely the reason behind FFOP – Focusing First On People – success has come by means of perseverance and building foundations from within the very community it serves – Moss Side.
The training provider organisation, which will be celebrating 10 years this October since establishment, started as a referral agent before delivering pre-employment programmes. “We place people into employment, then deliver workplace learning and training opportunities for local very small businesses that don’t have any links to funding”, founder Abdi told TNT.
Now in a position to deliver apprenticeships to local businesses, the 16-man strong organisation is looking beyond Manchester, to spread the model of business that has provided employment opportunities for the many disadvantaged graduates in the city.
“We are now in a position to branch out to other parts of the UK. Our initial priority was to build a solid organisation. We have created a lot of opportunities for the local people. The challenges we faced actually made us stronger”, Abdi explained.
With all success however, is a helping hand or team of minds. With FFOP’s proven ability to deliver successful training programmes, Manchester College and the Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network have been supported the business’ year on year.
It has not been easy however, as Abdi cited the challenges in understanding the system by itself, competition, and sometimes finding the right skills – trying to get the right trainers – whilst being sustainable.
Although it comes with challenges, the effectiveness of FFOP’s business strategy may lie in its focus on home-grown investment. Abdi told TNT: “The biggest challenge for our business now is trying to get qualified trainers who can actually help in training people. That’s why we went to the drawing board and recruited 5 graduates who we are training to become trainers. That will actually help us in the future; growing our own home-grown trainers we can rely on and trust”.
With varying training programs like Customer Service and Security, FFOP is trying to create local quality trainers, some of whom are bilingual, to be educational trainers of level 3 and level 4 – “and this will help those who want to be become teachers in the future. We are also training people on how to become NVQ assessors as well”.
Creating the workplace balance of delivering high quality success and recruiting locally is part of building a successful firm, but actions, not just words, are required to bring this about over the next 10 years.
TNT Business Yasin Chinembiri