To coincide with our company anniversary this year, we will be spotlighting some of our team members to get to know them better and take a look at the journey that the business has been on.

To start off with, we meet Emma Ball, Business Development Manager at Alpha and the longest standing member of staff. For her, it’s a family affair; as the MD’s daughter, she has been part of the whole business journey since day one.

Please tell us about your role at Alpha and how long you have worked there

“I have worked at Alpha since 2002, so for 20 years, which I believe makes me the longest standing member of the team. During that time, I have worked in almost all parts of the business: from writing out certificates and cleaning in the early days, to bookkeeping and then moving into more customer facing roles.

When the business was still fairly new, I started by helping out with writing certificates and doing attendance sheets. At that time, we were still working from our home office. We then moved to an office at Shoreham Airport and as the business grew, I got more involved in dealing with customers, liaising with trainers and more admin tasks.

During that time a lot of our work was in the rail industry which hit a rough patch when the rail industry was privatised and taken over by Network Rail, so we were back to working from our home office. The turning point for the business was when we got the contract with the National Grid which turned out to be a game changer. It enabled us to move to our current premises in the lovely Sussex countryside and the team grew from there.

These days, I am the Business Development Manager, so my responsibility is to manage relationships with existing customers and develop new opportunities for the business. I am currently working on improving our CRM and sales processes and getting involved in some of our marketing activities.”

What was your professional background prior to working at Alpha?

“I joined Alpha straight from university. Prior to university I actually did Interior Design at College, inspired by the TV series Changing Rooms with Carole Smiley – if anyone remembers this show.

I have an interest in art and did Restoration and Decorative Studies at University which included gilding, faux finishing, painting, ceramics and plasterwork. I really enjoyed it but it turned out to be too much of a niche occupation to stick with, so I’ve been working at Alpha ever since.”

What do you enjoy the most about working at Alpha?

“I really enjoy the buzz of pulling in new work and dealing with new customers. Speaking to a customer about their enquiry, learning more about them and what they need and finding a training solution that suits them. It’s really rewarding to see it all coming together – from the initial enquiry, coordinating with the customers and trainers to the training then taking place and getting the customers’ feedback. Over time I’ve developed some great relationships with our customers.

Some of the other long standing team members have been with us since the early days and despite the business growing a lot, it still feels like a family business.”

What’s your proudest professional achievement during your time at Alpha?

“Back in 2011, when we landed our first contract with the National Grid, an international utilities company. This was such an achievement for the business, and I still remember the feeling of pride at seeing our name in the tender documents, next to some really big players in the industry. That was a special moment. It gave us stability and enabled us to move into larger premises and widen our training offer.

My dad (Shaun Jackaman) had always had the vision of adding a rescue provision to the training side of the business, so when the opportunity came along to set up Rescue2 I got stuck into recruiting new rescue technicians, and the business has diversified from there.”

What do you think sets Alpha apart from other training companies?

“I think it’s a combination of different factors, but from speaking to customers, these are the main reasons why they keep coming back to us:

  • Passion – cascading down from my dad as the MD, we are all passionate about what we do. Our people genuinely care about providing a personal service, fulfilling a need and offering the best solution
  • Quality – the majority of our trainers have first-hand and relevant experience in their subject, so sharing their experience and stories is inspiring to the delegates
  • Training environment – delegates are regularly wowed by our training set up at our Training Academy in Poling, West Sussex. It’s a lovely spot to train, and certainly beats a cold unit on an industrial estate.”

You can find out more about the company and the other members of the team here.