WJA Member Spotlight – Develop Training
Company name: Develop Training
Company representative: Danny Connor
Job title: Utilities Trainer
What services do you deliver to the water jetting industry?
Develop Training is one of the UK’s leading accredited providers of compliance, technical, and safety training. We train more than 30,000 professionals each year and our customers include some of the UK’s largest and best-known organisations from the utilities and construction, defence, healthcare, facilities management, and telecommunication sectors.
We deliver the full range of WJA City & Guilds accredited courses – Safety Awareness and the practical modules, including Surface Preparation and Drain and Sewer – as well as related courses, including CCTV Inspection of Drains and Sewers and Utility SHEA Drains ands Sewers.
What are the three most important elements of service delivery for your customers and why?
Quality of training
High quality training is paramount in the water jetting and drainage industries. The risk of accidents, damage to infrastructure, and downtime, are all critical concerns. This is why many of Develop’s courses are endorsed by the Energy & Utility Skills Register and/or accredited by the WJA. Examination papers for several courses are also moderated by a panel including a representative from the National Sewerage Association. Our customers value this because it directly impacts the safety and efficiency of their operations.
Experienced staff in the drainage industry
Our trainers all come from industry. I am our lead water jetting trainer and, prior to working for Develop, I spent nearly 30 years in the drainage industry as a jetting engineer and CCTV drainage engineer where I worked all over the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
When delegates realise that I’ve walked the same path and have hands-on experience ‘in the trenches’ so to speak, it garners respect for my expertise because they know I’ve actually practiced what I’m preaching.
We’ve got some incredible facilities to help delegates really immerse themselves in their training programmes. For example, at our York centre we have Training Terrace, a fully to-scale artificial street that offers a realistic environment for delegates to train in. We also have a mobile water jetting unit that’s equipped with bespoke equipment and hands-on controls. This is particularly useful for employers as it allows training to be delivered on their own premises.
What have been the business highlights for Develop Training over the last 12 months?
Where do I start! 2023 has been an extremely busy year for Develop. At the end of 2022, we re-located our Swindon centre to a state-of-the-art facility in Edison Park. We’ve also invested over £1m refurbishing our York and Derby centres, transforming them into modern learning environments for both theoretical and practical courses. We invested £500k in building the Training Terrace at our York centre. We use it to deliver courses in emergency response to gas incidents, as well as excavation safety, cable avoidance, ACS gas, street lighting, drains, sewer jetting and confined spaces entry. The feedback from our delegates so far has been extremely positive.
In recognition of our commitment to excellence, we proudly achieved Investors in People Gold in January. We then went on to launch an industry recruitment and training programme called Emerge & Evolve, which is aimed at helping those working ‘hands on’ in the utilities industry to become trainers of the future and pass on their invaluable skills. Earlier this year we launched a new mobile confined spaces unit and our mobile water jetting unit.
These are just a few of the highlights as there are too many to list individually!
Tell us something that you think anyone outside the industry will find amazing about your products and/or services
While we primarily specialise in water jetting training for the drainage industry, we also serve surprising sectors. For instance, consider one of our clients who requires water jetting training for a rather unexpected purpose – cleaning critical parts of submarines! It’s really amazing how this ‘hidden job’ intersects such a wide variety of industries.
What are you most proud of about the way your team supports your customers?
What fills me with pride is the tangible impact we have on people’s lives. A standout moment in my career serves as a testament to this. Not too long ago, a former delegate of ours reached out to share a life-changing experience.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he began experiencing flu-like symptoms and muscle pains. Despite several visits to the doctor and numerous tests, no clear diagnosis emerged.
It was only when he presented his WJA Medical Card, a wallet-sized card provided to all our delegates, that a breakthrough occurred.
The doctor recognised the potential severity of his condition – Weil’s Disease – and promptly administered a course of antibiotics. This swift action was crucial, as Weil’s Disease can be life-threatening when left untreated.
The profound impact we had in this individual’s life by equipping him with the knowledge and resources to identify his condition cannot be overstated. It’s moments like this that underscore the real-world, life-saving significance of our training.
How long has Develop Training been a member of the WJA and why did you join?
We joined WJA in 2009. We did this because we work closely with a number of national water companies and wanted to ensure their water jetting and sewer maintenance colleagues received high quality and industry recognised certification. This WJA certification is one of the key reasons why these customers come back to us time and time again.
What do you think are the WJA’s biggest achievements?
Firstly, the industry’s widespread recognition and respect for WJA accreditation demonstrates its stature and credibility. Many of our clients specifically ask if our courses have WJA accreditation.
Secondly, their website is a treasure trove of information. I frequently recommend our delegates to explore the wealth of regulations, advice, and industry insights available. It is second to none as a source of knowledge for the water jetting industry.
Additionally, the introduction of Medical Cards by the WJA is a brilliant initiative that deserves commendation. These cards play a vital role in promoting safety and wellbeing within the industry.