First4Skills provides work-based training for thousands of apprentices and NVQ students throughout the UK every year through a network of hundreds of Training Assessors who are continually on the move.
The 650-plus Training Assessors travel from workplace to workplace during each day, visiting students for monthly meetings, and rely on the laptops, mobile phones and mobile printers they carry with them on a daily basis.
If any of their equipment fails, it has to be fixed as quickly as possible, otherwise the Training Assessor will not be able to fully access all the information they need in order to best help their students.
For the past 10 years the important task of delivering replacement equipment, and returning faulty or damaged equipment, has been entrusted to City Link, the UK’s premium express parcel delivery company.
Nicki Dalton, IT Service Desk Manager, First4Skills, said: "City Link’s timed deliveries are important to us: every minute that our Training Assessors spend waiting for a piece of equipment to be dropped off or picked up is money lost to the business.
"While they are waiting they are not able to visit students. City Link can give us quite specific timings for its next-day deliveries and significantly offers a two-hour slot for collecting returns.
"City Link’s customer service is excellent. They are very flexible – for example if we have had to change the address to which we want equipment to be delivered, at the last minute, City Link is really accommodating.
"And if there are ever any issues, City Link is always very quick to resolve them."
First4Skills, which until a recent rebranding was known as Protocol Skills, employs around 900 people in the UK. With its headquarters at Ellesmere Port, it has offices in Kilmarnock, Cwmbran, Caerphilly, Londonderry, Belfast, Newry, Slough, Huntingdon, Bridgwater, Dudley, Tamworth, Cannock and Durham.
Most of its students are young people on government-funded programmes of work-based learning and are studying either for NVQs or apprenticeships in a variety of fields, including business administration, childcare, hospitality and management.
Its Training Assessors rely on their mobile phones to connect their laptops to the internet while out in the field, and operate mostly from home or from one of the eight main regional offices.