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Diary of an entrepreneur

Friday, 09 November 2012

David Dasher, Managing Director of CPL Online, talks about how he came to be his own boss.

“I am very much from the self-taught school of education having left school five weeks before I was due to sit my GCSE’s. Although I returned to sit my exams I was offered a job with Marconi in Wirral working with electrical components and basic computer skills; starting work interested me far more and so I took the job with Marconi.

“After a spell with Marconi, I took a position with a direct marketing company in a junior capacity. My focus here was on below line marketing including databases and CRM systems. As the company grew, my role with them developed until I was eventually appointed IT Director. I spent many years with the company, managing and developing new projects for major clients including Pilkington Glass and Total Oil.

“Although I was encouraged to innovate and try out new approaches and work in different ways, I increasingly felt my wings were clipped and felt that the time was approaching to branch out on my own. I went on to set up my own software company of which CPL Training became a client of - their interest in the online training market had started to grow significantly. Daniel Davies, CPL Training Chief Executive, and I began discussing how we could make an e-learning business work and, just a few months later, CPLe-learning was born.

“Our initial focus for the business was on CPL’s existing client base which at the time focused predominantly on the licensed trade. We spent the first year developing programmes for this sector, namely Health and Safety, Food Safety, Age Verification, Drugs Awareness and Fire Awareness. We tried and tested different ways of working; media platforms, graphics, animation and much more.

“Clients were keen to find out how we could best bring to life their working environment and discover how we could stimulate and engage with their workforce, developing the most effective training experience.

“We began to recruit young local talent – animators, designers, programmers – and our reputation as an innovator took us into new markets across the UK. We are now in our third year and have achieved a 100% year on year growth each year. Today clients include Coca Cola, Vauxhall, Genting Casinos and Stonegate Pub Company, for whom we have developed bespoke training courses that have been delivered to thousands of employees internationally.

“We now have over 30 permanent team members and have set up an Academy offering young people work experience, placements and employment opportunities. We have a solid infrastructure in place from which we can grow and develop and our client base that now ranges from the care, automotive, retail, industrial and construction sectors.

“The potential for the business appears endless and new doors appear to open almost daily. We are controlling our growth and ensuring we don’t expand too quickly; however we already have a five year plan in place which we believe will take us into a new, revolutionised style of learning experience.”