A North East training company’s innovative approach to virtual training is helping get the region back to work during lockdown.

Businesses and jobseekers struggling with the coronavirus downturn are turning to Geon Training’s online expertise to help upskill staff working from home, re-train as healthcare key workers or get market-ready skills in key sectors.

By switching to virtual classrooms, Geon has recorded zero absences with all courses completed.

Co-founder and managing director Nadia Scott said: “Within four weeks of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we changed all of our recruitment and training processes and were running our first virtual online training from April 14.  Due to this we have secured further funding contracts so we can continue to support local businesses and their employees as they phase back into work.

“COVID-19 has forced many people, businesses included, to be more inventive to overcome hurdles that just didn’t exist before. Technology has come to the forefront, which is why our online training is attracting so much attention.”

Geon Training specialises in fully funded, bespoke training programmes based around its sectors and continuously works with partners and clients to offer its learners local employment opportunities, as well as CV coaching and careers advice.

The company has also started to provide the TQUK Level 2 Award in Prevention and Control of Infection, a qualification that many employers are now insisting on candidates having due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Geon Training which Nadia started with fellow directors Trevor Dudgeon and Chris Brown in 2016, now has a growing £2.2 million national portfolio, including contracts with local colleges and national providers, satellite offices in Manchester and Sheffield, and a new training centre on Gateshead’s Team Valley.

Geon also provides start-to-finish recruitment services through to fully flexible on-the-job training in the workplace and bespoke training programmes.

Many of its programmes are available on its website.

Trevor, who is now financial director, said: “The best thing about the job is seeing learners build their skills and confidence to find a new employment role or further their career. We really give people opportunities in sectors they never dreamed they could work in.

“Part of what we do is also to help change mindset of employers by getting them to recruit from our cohort of trainees. This helps firms with their corporate social responsibility and gets people working who may never have had the opportunity.”

Director of Education Chris added: “We offer many fully funded Government courses covering a wide range sectors from management, administration and HR through to warehousing, distribution, construction, industrial, retail and healthcare. And they work. Gone are the days when distance learning meant being sent an email once a week. Our packages involve virtual classrooms, videos and interactive features which make learning enjoyable and it sticks.

“In the next ten years, I think Geon will be regarded as the best in the private training sector. I want companies to look at us for the support we are able to offer to ease much of their training and recruitment needs. Learners will be looking at Geon as the best provider to help them gain the qualifications they need to grow in their chosen sector and job role.”