From education to employment

Free training delivers sunny outlook for North East holiday business

Business is on the up for a Tyneside entrepreneur who’s the 1,000th person to complete free training designed to upskill regional workforces and boost productivity.

Sarah Dixon, who runs Hagg Hill Farm in Winlaton Mill, is using her new found digital marketing skills to drive an online sales campaign that’s generating extra income for her holiday cottage and Shepherd Huts camping business.

Using the skills gained on the ‘Boost Your Business’ course has contributed to a successful summer for Sarah, and she is now confident of achieving a 20% increase in business next year.

They are also helping her to expand the farm a year after buying it as she’s now able to focus better on managing the business and planning for additional growth.

‘Boost Your Business’ is part of a £1million package of training support being rolled out to hundreds of local organisations, as part of the regional skills and enterprise programme, Go>Grow.

Sarah’s seen her confidence rocket while tapping into new business networking opportunities off the back of course, which she recently completed.

Now, she’s expecting to pick-up further customers as demand continues and ambitions for a new natural camping project, which will be pitched in woodland she currently owns, come to fruition.

Mother-of-two Sarah, who’s also taken on a new apprentice for her livery yard, said that after her first year in business, she hopes to continue to use the skills learnt to secure an increase in enquires. 

She added: “The course was excellent. I gained some extremely valuable skills, which are proving priceless.

“It’s opened up new networking opportunities with other local businesses too, which are proving beneficial. Enquiries are up, and I’m now really excited about the future and the prospect of using my new-found skills to expand even further.”

‘Boost Your Business’ provides an insight on understanding social media, producing digital content, measuring the success of digital promotion, and enterprise techniques.

Adam Clemerson, skills project manager for course deliverer North East Enterprise Agency Ltd, congratulated Sarah on becoming the 1,000th person to go through ‘Boost Your Business’.

“Sarah’s got a great little business and now armed with additional tools, knowledge and confidence, she’s set for even more growth and success over the next 12 months.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, which manages the Go>Grow programme, said: “This free training programme provides a fantastic opportunity for ambitious business owners to gain new skills to boost business performance.

“It’s a fantastic initiative, which is helping tens of thousands of people. I’m thrilled that Sarah’s business is achieving increased success on the back of her training.”

Go>Grow has the backing of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East of England Chamber of Commerce.

Experts in the Go>Grow team will work to develop training that meets individual needs of businesses, or offer those who wouldn’t ordinarily undertake training programmes, the opportunity to access bespoke packages specific to their needs.

A tailor-made programme is then developed and delivered at any of the Go>Grow training provider sites, or within the premises of the individual businesses.

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