At the end of April 2022, an unusual and unexpected email arrived in the Mindflex inbox from Dave Bonner. In this email, Dave mentioned that he was from an organization called Network Computing Awards, and that Mindflex had been nominated by readers of the Network Computing magazine and website for an award in the Education & Training Provider of the Year.
At first, we could hardly believe it and, knowing a thing or two about Cyber Security, were a touch suspicious. Not every email from unknown senders is in good faith. Promises of fortune, love and cryptocurrency are often a smokescreen for the nefarious purposes of phishers and hackers.
After a little online investigating, and having spotted a copy of Network Computing magazine on my father-in-law’s desk, all concerns were put to rest – this was real.
In the past, we have been humbled and inspired by the remarks and feedback received from students and employers we work with. As a relatively recently established independent training company, it was a surprise to have had our efforts recognised to such a degree that an award was on the cards.
More good news arrived in the middle of May – enough readers had voted for us that we had managed to secure a place in the finals. This was a very exciting development as we now had a genuine shot at winning an industry recognised award. It was in writing. There was going to be an awards ceremony. Elaine, one of the event organisers then contacted us. There would be champagne and a fancy dinner at the event. Tables at the venue were large enough to seat ten. How many staff would like to attend? A professional photographer was also going to be there.
Part of my role is to look after the Mindflex website, social media accounts, online advertising, SEO etc. Even now, I am not sure if I was more excited about the award or for the opportunity to mention that we had been nominated in our marketing materials going forwards.
Being a smaller operation means that Mindflex can be exceptionally agile, and provide great, granular support for the learners and organisations that we work with. As many in the SME and independent business sectors will attest; getting the chance to prove yourself is one of the greatest challenges in our sphere. When speaking to employers and potential students, an award in an education and training category from an ICT based organisation would allow us to be considered as a genuine option alongside the more established and far larger training companies. This kind of event can be transformative for a small business.
I am sure that you will agree that the last few years have been something of a wild ride. We consider ourselves extraordinarily blessed to have been able to continue to provide training for our learners with minimal disruption through the pandemic. Having an awards ceremony in the capital to look forward to was an excellent sign of life getting back on track for many across the country.
Due to scheduling conflicts and family commitments, none of us were able to attend the event. This was probably a good thing when one considers the price of petrol and/or train tickets!
Despite this development, Dave reached out to give us the good news. In a ferociously competitive category, and standing opposite far larger “rivals” – we had managed to come second! We were all thrilled with the news and, despite not quite measuring up to the achievements of the Lionesses, we are all very pleased with ourselves.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Mindflex, Heathercroft Training Academy and Yarway Group for their dedication and hard work. My job is made far easier and more enjoyable when the frontline staff believe in themselves and in their products/services.
Thanks are also due to our current and former students as well as the employers and companies that work with us.
Finally, I must extend gratitude from all of us at Mindflex to the readers of Network Computing for nominating us, for Dave, Elaine and the team at Network Computing Awards and to all of the companies nominated for all of the awards this year. I am very excited to see what happens next year for Mindflex.
By Joseph Simpson