Risk Assessment and Review (beyond GDPR) – 1st February 2019

Very excited to be working on our Espresso session for 1st February with industry expert Andy Styles.

A two hour packed session on all aspects of risk management and reviewing your risk plans.

Gatwick December 2018 – Dronegate… was a good indication of what can happen if your risk model isn’t updated, tested and found to be practical on all levels.

Are you willing to risk damage to your reputation?

Not to mention to impact on staff, clients, and suppliers.

8.30 – 10.30 at Chilston Park Hotel, Lenham (10 minutes from Junction 8 of the M20).

£75 per person and an opportunity to put questions to Andy and come away with practical and immediate recommendations for your business continuity.

To book, email kate@athelbrae.co.uk or call 01892 832059.


Athelbrae Ltd – A look back over 2018

downloadWe saw a LinkedIn contact post a review of their year and thought it would be useful to reflect on our year at Athelbrae.

The uncertainty of Brexit has dominated the news channels but in all honesty has not impacted upon our business.  Clients, old and new continue to commission training and we value the strong partnership relationship we have with our clients.

20 years2018 saw us celebrate our 20th year in business.  Keith started Athelbrae Business Consultancy (as it was known in the formative years) on 11th September 1998 following his 20 year career in Barclays.  Kate joined the Company in 2004 when it became necessary for someone to be in the office to manage the operations as Keith was out delivering training.  We have gone from strength to strength in these 20 years and now work with a wonderful team of over 20 Associate Trainers, (we added 3 Trainers to the team a couple of weeks ago to meet future client demand).

Our training has had a varied feel this year.  We were delighted to work with Andy Styles, a specialist Risk Management Trainer who delivered training for Companies as they prepared for GDPR.  He was virtually flat out prior to the May deadline, but similar to Y2K, when the world did not end on January 1st 2000, GDPR Day came and went and life still went on!  Training in this area has now died off although clients are still using Andy’s services on a consultancy basis to look at their specific needs.

The other specialist area which has been very busy is training in all aspects of Mental Health, Personal Resilience and Well-being.  Our Occupational Health Trainer, Hilary Lees started working with us last year and has now worked with a variety of clients helping their staff understand their own and their colleagues’ mental health issues.  Unfortunately, this issue is featured on the news 3 or 4 times a week so it is likely that this training will continue well into 2019 and beyond which is great for business but a sad indictment of the world we live in.

We continue to work with some great clients, many of whom have been with us since we started in 1998.  We had a team of 4 Trainers deliver a major 36 date Management Programme for a client in London and thanks to Leanne Davies, Louise and David Pearce and Janice Donaghue for their efforts in developing this unusual and effective programme. 

We are delighted to be working closely with Steve Torjussen again.  Keith and Steve met whilst working with Sky in Edinburgh shortly after they both started.  He has been running a dynamic programme for one of our large manufacturing clients in Folkestone developing the Management Behaviours which has been extremely well received and is in the process of being re-commissioned for 2019 and beyond.

One of our Pharmaceutical clients in Dartford where we deliver a lot of work, including all of their new Managers attending Keith’s Getting to Grips with Management New Managers Programme recommended us to a Major Motor manufacturer with their head office based next door to them.  After a number of meetings, we started working with this client in the summer.  Lucy Britton, Louise Pearce, Mandy Rossi and Hilary Lees have delivered a number of courses under their ‘Core Curriculum Programme’ both in Dartford and Dublin for their European office.

One of the highlights of the year was being invited to speak at the Invicta Health GP Practice Managers Conference.  Keith did 4 slots during the day on looking at complaints in a different way using the ‘black box’ thinking and on staff engagement.  Invicta have taken over the provision of training for GP Practices in Kent and we have worked with all of the previous ‘incarnations’ over the last 20 years.  We are busier now than we have ever been with this client and one of the most popular courses is Jo Battershill’s Supervisory Management course.  Lucy has also delivered a number of Patient Service and Team Building sessions for GP Staff.

Two of our newer Associates, Jemma Fairclough Haynes and Denise Wilton have added to our offering with some excellent training on Equality & Diversity and maximising the potential of Social Media for Companies.

We still get requests for training in the MS Office products and Sarah Aspinall has been busy with a range of clients training staff in these areas, both on a group basis and on a 1:1 ‘Surgery’ approach.

2018-12-02 15.01.29On the personal front, it was a year of mainly highs and a couple of lows.  We celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary in July and planned to celebrate it with our two children and spouses.  However, our plans were thwarted when Francesca, our daughter announced she was pregnant and was not allowed to sail so the celebration was just with Adam and Cindy in the beautiful Norway Fjords.  However, at the end of October, Francesca and Ben rewarded us with our first grandchild, Connor and he’s absolutely gorgeous!

In July, after months of legal activity, we are were able to extract ourselves from the toxic environment of a previous business relationship which had been dominating our thoughts in the early part of the year.  We are truly grateful to Helen and Alex at Buss Murton for their help and support during this difficult time.

Keith had a cancer scare in the summer and underwent an operation to remove a growth from his bladder.  Thankfully this appeared to be benign and he just needs to go back for a couple of checks next year to confirm this is not a problem.

Kate continued her voluntary work and took over as Chair of Governors at Bishops Down Primary School in Tunbridge Wells.  A role which she really enjoys.  She also became a trained Guide Dogs for the Blind Speaker as well.  Keith continues to play bowls and took over as Club Captain of Paddock Wood Bowls Club.

Looking ahead to 2019, the Pipeline of work commissioned is at its highest point ever at this stage of the year which means we are excited with the amount and range of work being delivered during the year.  We are adding to our offerings with new short and sharp, ‘Espresso’ learning sessions at our venue partner, the wonderful, Chilston Park Hotel in Lenham.  The first one starts in February with “GDPR & Beyond” and is followed by the March event covering Employment Law.  We also intend to extend our range of Public, Off-Site courses and are finalising a programme which will start in Q2.

We are also arranging our first Charity Quiz in April.  Clients are being encouraged to enter teams for a fun evening of questions and networking with proceeds going to Fight Bladder Cancer which was very supportive of Keith during the summer.

In summary, a busy and successful 2018 working with some wonderful clients.  However, we are only as strong as our fabulous team of Trainers who represent Athelbrae so well and we look forward to working with our clients and Trainers into 2019 and beyond.

So on behalf of Kate, Keith and Jaffa, our Office Junior, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Espresso Sessions starting in 2019


Looking forward to our first two espresso sessions coming in early 2019 ;

1st February – GDPR and Beyond – a packed two hour session with Risk expert Andy Styles.

Now everyone has got GDPR under their belts, there’s lots of developments coming in both GDPR and cyber security worlds in terms of news to communicate including:

  • What happened to BA and the implications for them (and any organisation) for GDPR/IT security
  • Recent court cases in the UK and EU regarding GDPR
  • The outcome of the Morrisons case including the vicarious liability for staff with privileged IT access
  • Post Brexit impacts for GDPR and DPA in 2019

****Especially relevant for all those with responsibility for the data records and processes in all businesses*****

25th March – Employment Law updates and news for HR Managers delivered by Janice Donaghue,

This two hour session, delivered by industry specialist Janice Donaghue, will look at the changes and legislation that will be coming in during 2019.

A must for all those in the business working with contracts, employment law and personnel issues that are impacted by updates to employee and employer legislation.

Janice is renowned for making the jargon laden content easy to comprehend and apply to your business.


Both these sessions run from 8.30 -10.30 at Chilston Park Hotel, Lenham (10 minutes from Junction 8 of the M20).  There’s refreshments, bacon rolls, pastries and an opportunity to network with business colleagues.

All presentations will be emailed out afterwards to attendees for use back in the workplace and there will be Q&A sessions with both Andy and Janice who will be able to provide you with all the information you need on the upcoming changes and amendments.

To book your place, email Kate@athelbrae.co.uk or call 01892 832059 and we’ll do everything for you.  £75 per person + VAT.




Espresso Masterclasses

Very excited to be working with the Handpicked group on a series of Espresso Masterclass sessions.

Targeted at specific members of the business, these 2 hour events by industry experts will provide up to date, key information on a range of topics – everything from employment updates; creating staff wellbeing and resilience; recruiting for the modern workplace; team coaching and more.

Details will be posted in our newsletter, Twitter, blog pages and Facebook but if you would like to learn more, just contact kate@athelbrae.co.uk and we’ll keep you updated.


To Infinity and Beyond!

Going through some of our old newsletters, found this from July 2017 which raised a smile.  The message remains the same whatever the time of year though!


July 20th marks the 48th anniversary of the moon landing by Apollo 11 and the iconic quote of “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.  Many of us will no doubt remember sitting in front of grainy black and white wobbly images that were beamed into living rooms around the world.  It got us thinking of the variety of highs and lows faced by all Space programmes and how so many can be aligned to challenges faced in business:-

Apollo 13 – the sheer ingenuity and creative problem solving that the ground crew, and astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, used to get the stricken craft home safely.  Allow your teams to think imaginatively and without constraint and who knows what they’ll come up with.


KISS Principle – Keep it simple, stupid  – remember the story about the “no gravity pen” in the 1960s – all the inventiveness of answering a question that was simply solved by using a pencil! Sometimes the simple solution is the best. Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel if there’s a better alternative already available.


The tragedies and setbacks – Apollo 1, 1967, that could have derailed the whole space programme; Nedelin, the Russian explosion in 1960; Challenger 1986, Columbia 2003.   All of them had the potential to halt space exploration, but lessons were learnt and changes made to ensure future launches would be safer.  Learning from mistakes made is the valuable lesson for all evolving organisations.


The International Space station – Americans, Russians, French, Japanese, Canadian, British all now working together for a common goal.  Let’s not forget it is that many decades since some of these nations were at war!  Sometimes those who previously you were in competition with, or were seen as enemies can be your best collaborators.


Process mapping – the 1960s saw the introduction of using these types of pictorial representations of the sequence of actions that comprise a process in order to review different elements of the processes in place.  A simple but effective means to analyse the processes in your business can not only assess them, but allows you to see where you can improve them.


John F Kennedy – described eloquently and imaginatively the vision for getting a man to the moon – “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon, and returning him safely to earth”.  SMART target setting in action!   Getting your message across, having everyone buy in to the vision, is half the battle.  Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic, Time – his sentence emcompasses all 5.


Sputnik 1957; Explorer 1958; Gagarin 1961; Shepard 1961; Glenn 1962,  – it doesn’t just happen overnight!  The pace of business growth can vary and patience pays off.


Sir Tim Peake and Helen Sharman – the first British Astronauts  who have gone on to inspire young people in the world of engineering and science – look to the future and work with schools, colleges, universities, apprenticeship schemes.  Feed your succession and growth with enthusiastic young people who will reward you and your business with innovation, loyalty and expertise.


Many will be aware of the “Janitor” story, who, when asked by JFK what he did at NASA replied “I’m helping put a man on the moon”.  Everyone in the organisation should be working to meet the end goal and whatever their role, not only are they a part of the vision, they should understand that they are and be proud in their contribution.


The Mayan Rabbit in the moon – did you know the Mayan culture believes that it is possible to see a rabbit in the moon?  This is also supported by others including Native Americans and Chinese.  As children we were often told to look for the man in the moon.  It’s all about perspective – what one person sees, another just doesn’t get it.  Sometimes no matter how clearly you explain the outline, your audience looks at your blankly but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong, they’re just seeing something different to you.


…..And finally, look for the positives in all  things –  in the words of Buzz Lightyear,– “this isn’t flying, this is falling with style”!

How do I manage my mates?



In our 30 years of training this is the question that keeps the majority of new managers awake at night!  For staff who have been promoted into their first supervisory or management role, the skills required in becoming an effective manager are very different from their expertise in “doing” the job.

Imagine, having a Friday night drink with your colleagues in the local bar and then on Tuesday morning, having to have a difficult conversation with one of them about being consistently late over the last few weeks?

That isn’t an easy conversation for an experienced manager, but when you are new to the role, knowing how to handle the situation is daunting.

A recent evaluation from one delegate highlighted just how useful the “Smelly Pete” exercise is –   telling a member of staff they have a personal hygiene problem is again a test that many of us would fail, but when needs tackling it falls to their supervisor or manager.

So often we hear that when new supervisors and managers are faced with these difficult discussions, they revert back to what they know best – doing the practical aspects of their job, and hoping the need to manage the situation will just go away.

Sometimes the challenge is how to motivate and provide feedback  – what fires up one member of staff will demoralise another.

Getting on top of your time management when you’re being pulled 5 different ways often means that things fall through the net or get overlooked until there’s a crisis.

The good news is that these new managers are not alone!  Whatever industry, sector, or size of organisation, all newly appointed managers and supervisors face these questions.

Our Getting to Grips with Management programme provides practical support for your staff – short training events (3 hours in duration) over 8 modules held every two weeks, enabling them to get back in the workplace by lunchtime and start using the learning 

They have ongoing support from Keith, our MD and Director of Training who delivers the programme and can call on him for advice and support in between the sessions either via email, telephone or Skype.

Working with other delegates who are all facing the same challenges provides confidence and as the programme progresses, sharing experiences and successes enables the individual managers to develop within their role.

We recognise that return on investment is important to your business and have listened to what works best for organisations – your manager comes back fired up and ready to put the learning into practise, having received the equivalent of 8 separate courses over the duration of the programme.  The targeted, intensive, practical modules means you see an impact immediately and the ongoing support throughout the programme ensures you have a confident member of your management team.

The next programme is being held at Chilston Park in Lenham, just off  the M20 and only an hour  from just about anywhere in Kent.   The first module is on 23rd January 2019 & course notes and materials are provided for each module and the delegates receive a certificate of attendance on completion of the programme.

The cost for the whole 8 modules is £1040 + VAT and charities receive a standard 10% discount.

Meet the Trainer -Jean Crew


Jean’s experience working as part of the internal training division for one of the most successful local media groups in the UK,  she has a wealth of expertise when it comes to sales and sales training.

Jean is highly professional with an engaging delivery style that learners naturally respond to. Intuitive and a great communicator, she is always clear and prepared in her methods whilst creating a structured and comfortable learning experience and environment.

She is skilled at understanding the needs of both the learner and the business allowing her to develop and execute relevant training.

She specialises in all aspects of Sales & Business Skills Development as well supervisory management, customer care and change management. In addition she provides bespoke training consultation, course conception and creation, course delivery and learner evaluation.

Often to be found delivering a variety of courses in different parts of the globe, she has worked with Athelbrae for a number of years, particularly in presentation and sales training for our UK clients.