19 September 2017

andy burnham ukfast reason for meeting

Aaron and I chatting with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham about digital skills and shaping the future of Manchester’s young people.

You will often hear me saying that we cross paths with people for a reason; often we just don’t know what that reason is. Sometimes, we won’t know for years!

For example, a decade ago I played football with an absolute firecracker called Aaron. I have never seen more energy on the football field. The man didn’t stop and was just as high energy after the game, back flipping around!

A meeting on a football pitch

We got to know Aaron, who was a teacher at a local school and wanted to send some of his pupils to UKFast for work experience. One of these work experience students went on to join us a few years later as an apprentice and now runs a team here. That apprentice has also represented UKFast speaking at a government event about apprenticeships.

Over the next couple of years we worked closely with Aaron. Together we helped to develop the National IT diploma curriculum with him and the school. We were and still are incredibly proud of our involvement in this project.

A few years later Aaron came to me. He wanted to leave the public sector but continue to drive education and learning. He joined the team and is now our Director of Training. Since then Aaron, along with our training and education team has revolutionised the way that the UKFast team learns. His team has helped our Linux team to become the most qualified Linux support team in the North of England, if not the whole UK.

By accident or by design, that meeting on the football pitch revolutionised our business journey. And it meant we both gained a great friend along the way.

This isn’t the only occasion that I can think of that I have crossed paths with someone who has gone on to be a great friend, business supplier, client or the like.

There’s always a reason we meet people

A few years ago we took on a project at Christmas time to rebuild a sensory room. The parents of a young boy called Harvey had created a sensory shed for their son’s therapy as a Christmas present. Sadly, thieves had looted it and burnt it to the ground on Christmas Eve. So, my team and I headed over there and rebuilt Harvey’s Den with the help of local suppliers and the community. One of those suppliers was Scott from WotMix who provided the concrete for Harvey’s Den. It was the middle of the Christmas break and everyone else was closed, enjoying time with their friends and families, but Scott opened his business to come and provide the concrete we needed to make the build of Harvey’s Den happen.

It was great to see him again recently overseeing the installation of a huge concrete plinth at Castell Cidwm. This plinth is to house the huge log cabin that my wife, Gail, has organised. THe build means we can start up our training and fun jaunts in Snowdonia once again.

Fundamentally, you never know what is around the corner and who will join you on your journey.


Back to Blog