Free training designed to help local companies boost skills and win new work is proving to be the root of success for a County Durham tree cutting business.

Rhys Williams, together with his parents Karen and Lee, who run Eden Dene Tree Services from their Peterlee home, have converted his new-found website and social media know-how into drumming up extra demand for their arboriculture expertise.

Providing professional tree cutting services, site clearance and planting services since 2017, Eden Dene has seen business treble since the entrepreneurial family completed a Boost Your Business course this summer.

The move has provided extra insight for Rhys Williams, who acquired new commercial acumen. This includes expertise to help improve social media marketing that’s generated a four-fold increase in number of people who follow the company’s Facebook page.

He said that the course had been ‘absolutely brilliant’, equipping him with expertise that’s being used to land a steady flow of new work from both the private and commercial sectors.

Eden Dene has seen consistent growth in the last 12 months and currently has achieved a five-figure turnover, with a strong forward order book for 2019 in place.

The Williams started their business when Lee decided to leave the Army to take on a fresh challenge – one that would also provide their son with an interesting and rewarding career.

“The course has been a life changer from a business perspective,” said Rhys Williams. “There’s been a noticeable increase in business since we put into practice the skills that we learnt.

“The benefits have hugely outweighed all the time and effort and we are busier than ever. We’re going from strength-to-strength, and I’m really excited about the future and the prospect of growing the business even more and introducing new services.”

‘Boost Your Business’ is part of a £1m package of training support being rolled out to hundreds of local organisations, as part of the regional skills and enterprise initiative, Go>Grow.

This is being overseen by Gateshead College in partnership with thirty local training providers, following the securement of £15m in funding from the European Social Fund through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Adam Clemerson, skills project manager at course deliverer North East Enterprise Agency Ltd, said: “The Williams have a great business that’s really benefitted from training to help it gear up for growth.

“Now, armed with a new skills toolkit, together with a top-class service and the confidence to take the next steps, I’m sure they’ll be even more success to come for them in the next 12 months.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, added: “Go>Grow training is proving to be a huge success, with thousands of entrepreneurs, employees and senior business leaders across the region benefiting from improved skills and enterprise success.”

Go>Grow experts can work to develop training that meets the individual needs of businesses, or offer those who wouldn’t ordinarily undertake training programmes, the opportunity to access bespoke packages specific to their needs.

Programmes are then delivered at any of the Go>Grow training provider sites or within the premises of the individual business.