A welcome to old friends!
From time to time, old friends from the days that I was presenting courses for First Alternative get in touch with us - we're always delighted to hear. It seems a long time since I was training on Solaris in Harwell with Mick Hosegood and Peter Burton, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.
In 1996, I wrote the first Well House Consultants course - on Perl - after repeated requests from customers. The course was fronted by First Alternative as at the time they had their own facilities and we didn't. It was a huge success and Java courses followed about a year later. Quite quickly, I found myself only presenting my own courses and Mick found that a very high proportion of his business was being brought in by a contract trainer - a situation that he wasn't prepared to have carry on.
So - in summer, 2000, we took on the sales and marketing of our own courses, and all invoicing and collection tasks too, bought our own equipment, and opened our own training centre in Melksham, Wiltshire. We were fabulously placed to provide courses that the customers wanted - we had learnt in the business, Lisa and I were (and remain) enthusiastic.
But any business should look forward - using history only as a learning tool to help us know how to do better in the future. So where are we now?
• Our courses cover Perl, PHP, Python, MySQL and Tcl/Tk with some Linux topics - but we can't cover every aspect of those huge subjects
• We run regular public courses at our own training centre in Melksham, Wiltshire, UK
• Private courses are tailored to customer needs and run on site at their offices - mostly in the UK but also elsewhere in Europe and even further afield.
• Prices are good, facilitities superb, trainers fully trained, class sizes limited to a sensible maximum and we have policies and systems that we think make us "a step above".
• We research and write all our own materials (samples online) and our "Of Course" newsletter
Things are busy - at times almost too busy - but what a great situation we have; we enjoy what we're doing, we meet a lot of extraordinary people, and we earn enough to feed and clothe us too.
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