Meet our Champion of the Week: Mark Crook, Company Director at Technique Learning Solutions
My name is Mark Crook, I am 45 years old, Married with 2 grown up children, and have lived in Chesterfield all my life. My business is Training and Consultancy within the engineering sector. I have had my own company within this sector since 2003 and over this time I have seen many changes within the industry, mainly for the good. We now have locations throughout the UK and overseas, with permanent centres as far up North as Aberdeen and as far down as London. Overseas we have permanent centres in West Africa and the Middle East. Currently we employ more than 20 staff full time and many others on a part time basis.
Q: What has been the highlight for your organisation over the past year?
MC: Over the past year, Technique has continued to grow and provide new, exciting quality training and courses for the industry. This planned growth has enabled us to serve many major clients we have within the manufacturing, leisure and construction industries. We have continued to gain new accreditations from new awarding bodies, enabling us to offer a broad diverse range of internationally accredited courses and training to meet the needs of this ever-changing industry.
Q: What are your future plans? (new products/services, growth, taking on apprentices, news etc.)
MC: We are pleased to announce that within the past few months we have identified and purchased a Midlands based training provider who was at the forefront of offering quality apprentice training in the Midlands. This acquisition will enable Technique to start offering funded, quality, cutting edge Apprenticeships within Chesterfield and the surrounding area. Technique identified last year that there was a distinct lack of modern, technologically advanced apprenticeships available to the people in this area. This is a scheme we will be rolling out to our other centres throughout the year. This exciting opportunity has also led to Technique acquiring yet another state of the art building within Chesterfield, which over the coming months will be transformed into our Academy of Excellence for the apprentices to enjoy and learn in. This brings the number of centres we have in Chesterfield to 3, proving our long term commitment to the town.
Q: Which local business would you recommend and why?
MC: We work alongside many local businesses within the area, and I find it hard to recommend just one. From local supplier, caterers, hoteliers / Bed and Breakfast owners, local tradesmen who use and support us. I struggle to single out any one.
Q: How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential investor? (What sets us apart from other towns?)
MC: Chesterfield is an excellent place to situate a business, right in the heart of the UK with excellent links via road and rail, it’s an ideal central location to work from. This can be evidenced from many of our overseas students, who praise the town and the surrounding areas in which its situated.
Q: Which development do you think will most benefit the town?
MC: Chesterfield would benefit from a more diverse range of hotels and accommodation. On a busy week here in Chesterfield, we may require 50 – 80 rooms per night, and the town struggles at present to accommodate this, with all the other local businesses requiring accommodation as well. We look forward to the opening of the new hotel in the old Co op building.
Q: Which national shops and restaurants would you like to see investing here?
MC: Chesterfield needs a big department store. We need to see a larger range of goods for sale, the lack of decent quality clothes and shoe shops within the town is evident and a large store can accommodate a good variety, bringing the footfall back into Chesterfield, making the smaller retailers happier too.
Q: Which high profile events are working well in Chesterfield and what kinds of events would you like to see in the future?
MC: I’d love to see more seminars, exhibitions and events relating to Engineering in Chesterfield. As a town we have an excellent base for up and coming engineering projects, coupled to being so close to cities like Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham who are also thriving in the Engineering, Automotive, Aerospace and Leisure sectors. The potential for employment and opportunity within engineering is huge in this area, we just need to nurture that and make sure it grows correctly and be recognised as the place to come for Engineering Excellence.
Q: Where in the town do you spend your leisure time?
MC: As a season ticket holder at Chesterfield Football Club, when I’m not spending time at home, My Wife, eldest son and myself are at the matches. On a Sunday I spend my time with Tupton Rugby Club (Where we are proud shirt sponsors!), supporting my youngest son both home and away.