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Small business focus: Kelly Forrest on her passion for training in the care industry

L-R Kelly & Kevin Forrest who run Forrest Training

Each week, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to Kelly Forrest, a director for Forrest Training.

1. How and why did you start in business?

My husband, Kevin, started Forrest Training in 2018 after working in the health and social care sector delivering induction training for a large local charity.

He realised that there wasn’t a training provider in the area who specialised in the care sector and could deliver the wide range of training we offer with the level of enthusiasm and experience he had for people in caring roles.

2. How did you get to where you are today?

I have always had a passion for the care industry, and after leaving school I went to Glasgow to study to be a nurse, something I had wanted to be since I was a little girl, despite my mother’s best efforts to dissuade me!

I later found job satisfaction when I changed roles and began working with young people looking for employment and developed a few training programmes to help them to upskill.

Kevin, although initially had a very successful career in hospitality, even owning his own restaurant in Ellon at one time, had spent over 10 years working with young people with learning disabilities and autism as well as being the primary carer for his blind and elderly father.

Whilst working within a training role, he recognised how much he enjoyed passing on his knowledge to care professionals.

3. Who helped you?

We were very fortunate to have been supported to get to where we are today by organisations and businesses who trusted us with their employees and have continually recommended our training to others.

Friends and family have been a huge support, giving us the reassurance regularly when we hit obstacles, or even when we needed to be pushed. I have found being part of business networks to be invaluable for advice, guidance and support as well as new opportunities.

Attending the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) networking meetings has really opened doors for us and given us some expert advice on business banking and business insurance.

We’ve recently started working with an ActionCOACH to help us grow and develop, which already we have seen the benefits from.

4. What has been your biggest mistake?

In hind-sight, not making time for planning and development and concentrating too much on the here and now.

It’s taken three years for us to realise that we need to factor in time for looking to the future, and really make our business work for us.

5. What was your greatest achievement?

I think surviving the last 18 months and coming out stronger!  I remember phoning my Dad in tears in March 2020 because overnight all of the training bookings we had in our calendar were being cancelled.

Now we not only deliver training face to face, but we deliver training online via Zoom (which I didn’t even know existed in 2019) and have a suite of e-learning courses!

6. If you were in power in Government, what would you change?

We are really passionate about mental health awareness and deliver mental health training for workplaces.

I would love to see more emphasis and support for businesses to build in better practices around their employees mental health in the future.

7. What do you still hope to achieve?

We have big plans for expanding our services in Aberdeen and would like to open up another office in Edinburgh one day so that I can be nearer to my family.

8. What do you do to relax?

I am a really keen runner and have just run the London Marathon.  As much as that doesn’t sound relaxing, it’s about the only me time I get away from the business and my boisterous wee boys!

9. What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?

A bit late to the party, but I am currently watching the series Criminal Minds, it’s great!

My ActionCOACH has also given me a copy of Michael E. Gerber’s “The E Myth: Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it” which is well worth a read for any business owner or aspiring business owner out there.

10. What do you waste your money on?

I own far too many clothes, and in particular, jackets!  I have recently been trying to do a lot more ‘swapping’ at a local swap shop in Aberdeen (Swish Swish Bish) to try and curb by habit!

11. How would your friends describe you?

Hopefully they’d say I was outgoing, enthusiastic and dedicated.

12. What would your enemies say about you?

I’d like to think that I don’t have any enemies!  Although I enjoy competition, as it always encourages us to keep bettering ourselves.

New Mini John Cooper Works is Kelly’s dream car.

13. What do you drive and dream of driving?

I’ve just ordered a new Mini Cooper, which is almost my dream car!  John Cooper Works would be the dream!