Business raising mental health awareness to survive and support job seekers through pandemic

A Telford business that could have closed due to the pandemic is now working with local job seekers to build their confidence through mental health awareness and to help them find employment.

Craig Howard, Managing Director of ANTA Education Ltd
Craig Howard, Managing Director of ANTA Education Ltd

ANTA Education Ltd began trading in the summer of 2019, the original business plan was to offer recruitment and training services within adult education.

Managing Director, Craig Howard said: “The business was ticking over OK by March 2020, which was set to be an amazing month. Until lockdown happened.

“In an instant thousands of pounds worth of potential business was wiped away as employers stopped recruiting and staff began to be furloughed.

“There was always a plan to offer training to the unemployed but, at the time as a sole trader recruitment services took up all of my time, so training development was put on hold.”

Back in January 2020 ANTA Education had pitched an idea to support job seekers to Landau limited and bid for an ESF community grant with them. This was meant to be a complementary side of the business to recruitment, but as soon as lockdown happened it became our sole option for the survival of the business.

Craig continues: “Throughout April we spoke to the team at Landau to develop the idea and we were able to secure a community grant to start in early May.

“Through personal experience and the experience of close friends suffering from mental health, the drive to raise awareness of issues was a priority. We became an accredited training provider to enable us to delivery relevant qualifications and ensure that we had the knowledge/ability to offer any training via online conferencing tools, such as Zoom. Although we were stuck in the middle of lockdown, we needed to look at the long-term business, ensuring that all of the services we offer now, and in the future were covid proof.”

In June Craig was able to employ Mark Hewett as Head of training for ANTA Education. Mark is a highly experienced tutor and has been able to develop courses that learners can interact with online and the feedback has been amazing.

Craig added: “Mark and I have similar views on how we and other businesses should address Mental Health in the Workplace. Together we’ve been able to build a training offer that gets people talking about their own mental health. Although our learners are working toward certificates, they have fed back that their own mental health has improved because they’ve been able to talk about it openly in our virtual classroom

“As ANTA Educations relationship with Landau continues, we cannot thank them enough for their continued support. We are constantly working on new partnerships and developing programmes that can support job seekers back in to work. Although nothing in this world is guaranteed, we have gone from a one-man band working from home to now employing 3 staff with another position to be announced soon in a little office in Telford.

“Since May we have worked with over 50 job seekers to achieve accredited qualifications to help them into work, and over the next 6 months we hope to more than double that number by delivering more online virtual courses.

“What has been a difficult year for many, has opened up opportunities for us to help a lot of people in Shropshire. We hope that we can build from here and become an established training provider in a very uncertain world.”

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