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Building business through client partnerships

Branding and marketing to sweeten business partnerships
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Branding and marketing to sweeten business partnerships
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

We all know that happy customers are key to building a successful business, but how do you make them happy?  Customer Pearson Whiffin, based in Kings Hill, have established a successful education division in St. George’s Business Park in Sittingbourne through creating true partnerships with their clients to support their wider organisational goals.

Pearson Whiffin is a recruitment agency with offices in both our Churchill Square Business Centre in Kings Hill and in St. George’s Business Park in Sittingbourne. They operate over four different divisions: commercial and business support, IT, finance and education. The education division, which was established in September 2015, is based in St. George’s Business Park and run by the business manager for the education division, Daniel Goodwin: “The education division was set up because all of our directors are acutely aware that there are significant difficulties in the education market at the moment. It’s hard to find good staff or teachers and schools are under significant pressure in terms of money and budgets. We introduced Pearson Whiffin Education to try and combat some of that to provide a solution to schools that met some of those needs.”

Building partnerships with schools

To help combat the challenges in education, Pearson Whiffin Education aims to be more than just a recruiter for the schools with which they work: “We partner with our schools in a robust way different to other recruiters. For example, while we recruit for a school, we provide their students with free careers advice.  At the moment schools are under a lot of pressure to deliver against benchmarks to provide kids with a more rounded view of the world when they leave school. We spend a lot of time delivering projects such as CV workshops and interview training.

“We also provide a very cost-effective solution, doing everything we can to keep prices low for schools and we really focus on quality; schools are happy to pay if they know they’re getting good value. We make sure we do this by providing a very transparent service so that schools know the value they’re getting out of us. That means we pre-vet candidates, doing a lot of work prior to sending them into a school, involving significant security checks and a lot of preparation on the phone and face to face so they know the behaviour and assessment polices and academic levels and are better prepared to work at that school.

“It’s about building that partnership and building a relationship with that school on as many different levels as possible; we understand how schools operate and what their students are like and when we understand that, we can provide a better member of staff for them in a more streamlined process.”

“A happy Capital Space customer”

When the education division was set up, Pearson Whiffin needed to expand. Since so many of the education division staff members live in Sittingbourne, taking out a unit at St. George’s Business Park in addition to their existing space at Churchill Square Business Centre felt like the ideal solution: “Schools like local recruiters. If they need a teacher to come in first thing in the morning it helps to have a local teacher, and it’s much easier for us to find a local teacher if I am local!

“Being based in Sittingbourne has significantly improved our relationships with Swale schools, because  we can get to the schools and our teachers easily. We can also take on work experience students from local schools, which further builds relationships; the kids learn a lot from it and get to learn about how workplaces function, not only helping their education but giving them a more rounded understanding of things.

“Our block is a brilliant piece of commercial accommodation; Capital Space just make it all incredibly easy. All I had to do was get in some furniture; the Capital Space team helped me put the IT in place and we had it all setup and doing business within one morning; it was so easy and the room was cleaned and repainted.

“What I also like about Capital Space is the comradery. We bump into people and everyone shares things with us – there’s a nice group of people here. We can show our work experience people different companies and they can see what other offices are like. Also, whenever I’ve needed anything done like a sign made or some cleaning, there’s a company here that does it. If not, I can get a message to the centre manager, Jeanette, and she will reach out to the Kings Hill office and see if there’s somebody who can do it there. There’s a great network of professionals.”

Business success

Pearson Whiffin Education aren’t just concerned about making money, they love to build relationships with their clients and candidates: “A lot of recruiters measure their success by the money they make, but we love repeat custom. If a school continues to use us, or an existing client uses us in a different way such as to come in for workshops as well as facilitating recruitment, then we consider that a success. On the flipside, if we have a candidate who has gone away because of a job and then they come back to us after a while, it’s great to hear because they know the level of support we give them and they want to keep coming back to us!”

It’s truly refreshing to see somebody so passionate about what they do. Education is a field fraught with struggles, but Pearson Whiffin Education are doing what they can to improve the situation locally by recruiting the best teachers and preparing them adequately for the schools they’re entering, as well as building long-lasting relationships with schools, supporting both staff and students.

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call 0800 107 3667