Success Stories

See how some of our learners have embraced their challenges!

PHX Training offer a wide range of training programmes to help people improve their skills and qualifications and get back into work. The change in people is incredible and confidence is at an all time high. With our help, many of our clients have overcome specific hurdles, including health issues and barriers to work. PHX tutors provide helpful and friendly support allowing learners to discover their full potential and overcome any obstacles they face.

Please read the success stories below and see how some of our learners have embraced their challenges!


A young father from Cumbria, secured employment after suffering from a life-threatening infection.

Dario Pererira contracted a rare infection called subdural empyema, a serious condition affecting the skull. Once he recovered, Dario contacted PHX Training, a leading north west training provider which offers training programmes for individuals to get back to work.

PHX Training in Cumbria gave Dario one-to-one support to improve his English and discussed his future career path in security. To achieve his goal, Dario enrolled onto the Journey2Work Scheme which led him to undertake a Security Industry Authority (SIA) qualification.

Once Dario’s licence was approved with the SIA agency, PHX Training helped him find local employer, Pro-tect Security based in Carlisle, and he has never looked back since.

Dario said: “After I recovered from my infection, I was finding it hard to get back into work. My job search ended when I found PHX Training. Aside from giving me the training I needed to develop my skills through the Journey2work scheme, PHX gave me the confidence to attend interviews and assisted me when completing job applications.

“Being employed has opened so many doors for me in my career and my personal life. I recently passed my driving test which I could not afford before I started working. It means I can take my children to school, get to work easily and take my whole family out for day trips. PHX Training has helped me find a fresh start.”

John Jeffrey, managing director of Pro-tect Security said: “We’ve been impressed by Dario’s work ethic and he is a great asset to our team. He is an ideal example of a good hard-working employee who we are proud to have on board representing our company and providing services to meet our client’s needs.”


Catherine Nolan has just been awarded the national Learndirect Career Progression Award, beating off fierce competition from across the whole of the country. However, her journey was not a straightforward one.

Catherine, a healthcare assistant at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, had a self-confessed ‘fear of English’. Having struggled with it all her life, Catherine had done her best to avoid anything that required English skills ever since leaving school. However, Catherine began to feel that her aversion was holding her back from progressing within her career– and her employer agreed. So, Catherine approached the Blackpool PHX learndirect centre about improving her English skills.

When she first came to the centre, Catherine was very low in confidence and her skill level was at entry level 2. However, thanks to Catherine’s hard work and the support from her learndirect centre, she has progressed significantly and achieved entry level 3, level 1 and level 2 in English. Catherine’s commitment to the course was such that, despite working nights, she never missed an appointment and often came to training sessions straight from her night shift.

Catherine’s colleagues at the hospital have reported how the course has encouraged a complete change in their friend. They say her new confidence can be seen in her demeanor; she is happier and excited about tackling different tasks, something she previously shied away from. As a result of the skills learned Catherine has taken on more responsibilities at work and is now looking at new opportunities with her current employer to progress in her career.

On winning the learndirect Inspiration Award for her progress, Catherine said: “When I first found out I was nominated for the award I didn’t tell many people because I didn’t think I’d win in a million years. I was over the moon when I won the regional award and I can’t believe I’ve now been made the overall UK winner. It feels fantastic.

“It shocked me how much I managed to learn with PHX Training – I was nervous about even filling in a form before. Winning has given me a real confidence boost and everyone is really pleased for me, especially at work. I couldn’t have done it without my tutors at PHX Training, they were so down-to-earth, easy to approach and never once made me feel embarrassed. I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved and I’m even looking at taking some more courses to improve my skills in other areas.”


Matthew Howe, aged 20, joined PHX Training in Carlisle as a learndirect apprenticeship in business administration. He had no previous experience and had been unemployed since leaving education.

Despite only having worked at the centre for two months, Matthew has made such an impact that centre manager Fiona Adams considers him her “right hand man.” He has already passed his Level 2 in English and colleagues describe him as an “asset” to the centre. They say he is not only a great support to staff at the centre, but has formed excellent relationships with the learners too. Matthew has already developed an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of everything learndirect and PHX Training, to the point that he has become the centre “go to” for any information about courses or individuals.

Matthew has proved such a hit at PHX Training’s Carlisle centre that the firm has plans to introduce him into one of its other North West centres. It is hoped that, as well as giving Matthew an opportunity to learn new skills in a new environment, he will be able to have the same positive impact on a new centre.

Fiona said: “Matthew really is the very definition of a star apprentice. Nothing is ever too much trouble for him and in a very short time he has his role down to a ‘T’.”

Matthew has just been shortlisted for the learndirect Star Apprentice award, making it to the final three in the whole of the north of England.


Every day for two weeks, David Allinson walked past his local learndirect centre, PHX Training in Morecambe. David’s stumbling block, at first, was whether or not he was able to work up the confidence to go inside.

Five years earlier, David left his job due to debilitating mental health issues and as a result his confidence was at rock bottom. Just walking into the PHX Training centre required David to summon all his courage but, determined to make a difference to his life, he did just that.

David, who had no previous qualifications, spent 18 months working with the centre and, despite struggling with his self-esteem throughout, gained both Level 1 and Level 2 certificates in Maths and English as he progressed through the programme. The most noticeable change in David, however, was his confidence. David’s academic achievements and his relationships with his tutors at the centre improved his self-esteem significantly.

David now travels daily from Morecambe to Manchester where he volunteers at the LGBT centre. He was recently nominated for a ‘volunteer of the year’ award and shortlisted as one of the final six nominees. David says the qualifications he gained through the learndirect scheme placed him in excellent stead for the work he’s now doing with the LGBT centre, and he is proud to have written a report for the centre about World War 2 code-breaker Alan Turing. All this, he says, would not have been possible without his new confidence and the skills he learnt as part of his certificate in English.

David hopes to move to Manchester to continue his work with the LGBT centre. He says that, despite finding it challenging, his experience with learndirect helped him achieve what he set out to do. In David’s own words, the experience has “turned his life around.”


Vicky Pearce, who was referred to learndirect with PHX Training, has overcome some significant obstacles. The first was that Vicky could neither read nor write, and the second was that she had previously served time in prison.

Rather than let these things hold her back, Vicky’s spell in prison left her determined to turn her life around so she set about teaching herself how to read, and later to write. Not only that, but as a single parent Vicky managed to do all this while juggling childcare and her family life.

Vicky completed her Level 2 English and Level 1 and 2 Maths with PHX Training, and began studying Entry Level IT 2 at the centre. She quickly progressed her way through the learning programmes and passed her Level 1 IT, but one of the biggest challenges Vicky faced came in the form of her Level 2 IT qualification. Although predominantly an IT qualification, the assessment requires candidates to have an excellent grasp of English and grammar, something Vicky lacked confidence with. She didn’t need to worry: Vicky’s own determination and the support of her tutors saw her through and she passed.

Vicky has since gone on to college to study beauty therapy, all while organising and caring for her children, and is an inspiring example of someone who has overcome significant difficulties in order to succeed


Debbie Darby, 53, came to PHX Training in Southport in the hope that it could help her achieve one of her ‘life goals’: Gain a qualification in Maths. At the time of joining the centre, Debbie was struggling to secure paid work and found most job vacancies were asking for a Maths qualification as a minimum requirement.

Debbie was a keen learner, and decided to do her Level 2 English as well as her Level 2 Maths to increase her employability as much as possible. Due to her commitment to developing her skills and finding work, Debbie was also volunteering at Edge Hill University alongside her studies. On top of all that, Debbie was juggling looking after her young child and fitting childcare around attending the centre.

The difference we noticed in Debbie as she progressed through her courses was remarkable. She said: “I certainly feel more confident with maths, I can even think about mathematical solutions in everyday life! I’ve achieved my life-time goal which was to gain a maths qualification.”

As Debbie grew in confidence, she began to apply for jobs in administration and was soon offered an office job. Debbie’s success in finding a job so quickly is down to her hard work, dedication and motivation.


At the age of 24 and being a single mum of two children aged 3 and 6, Alison Howson decided it was time to start taking steps to get back into work once her youngest child started nursery. After enquiring at Jobcentre Plus about how to improve her IT skills Alison discovered the learndirect computer courses available at PHX Training and enrolled immediately.

“A piece of cake” is how Alison describes her experience. “I was enrolled within minutes and there was no stopping me. I thought it would be like school all over again and was surprised how relaxed and friendly everyone was. Working at my own pace, with tutors on stand by ready to help is so different to what I expected”.

Time spent learning for Alison is a great way of getting out of the house, making new friends and working towards a qualification.

“I enjoy learning and plan to continue to do so at least until I get a job, possibly by starting my own business.”

Testimonials for the Employability Skills Programme



How it all started
Barrow Job Centre referred Dan for the ESP course. Having a variety of skills and experience under his belt but being unemployed was de-motivating Dan. He had been used to working 9 to 5 and was suddenly at a loose end.

About the course
Gaining the literacy and numeracy qualifications was most important to Dan as he didn’t achieve them at school.
“Getting up early in the morning again has made me realise how much I want to get back into work. The tutors and other people on the course are great, we have a bit of fun, it’s not all work”

The outcome
“We finish the course in a couple of weeks and I haven’t got anything sorted work wise but I actually want a job now. The discipline and content of the course has made me look closely at what I want do want, and that’s to work locally in construction or train up to become a plumber.”

The course helped Dan to identify his strengths and goals, which together with his newly acquired qualifications and confidence are a great start when looking for work.


How it all started
Kali enrolled on the literacy and numeracy courses at PHX Training in order to gain qualifications and help her find work.

About the course
Being eligible for the Employability Skills Programme was a great opportunity for Kali and helped her complete her CV and quickly achieve a Level 2 qualification in numeracy.

“The course helped to identify my strengths through role play games.  Being treated as an equal and working in a laid back environment made me feel at ease and I enjoyed the course”

The outcome
“My new job as barmaid/waitress at The Furness Railway Pub is great, but my ultimate ambition is to become a prison counsellor which I am currently working towards”.

Kali has returned to PHX Training to complete her literacy and build her qualifications in order to achieve her goal.


How it all started
After chatting to Elaine, who was promoting PHX Training in Barrow Market, Yvonne decided to come along to the Phoenix Road centre to just brush up on her literacy and numeracy skills.

About the course
Whilst chatting to the tutors Yvonne discovered she was eligible for the ESP course and decided to give it a try.

“The team of people on the course with me are of various ages and backgrounds. We all get on well together and have a good laugh whilst developing our individual ideals and goals. Developing my employability skills has not only given me the confidence I need to apply for jobs it has also boosted my self esteem.”

The outcome
“I was unsure of exactly what type of employment I wanted when I first started the course, but now feel motivated and ready to get into work no matter what.”

Yvonne is currently waiting for a CRB check to come through before starting a work placement at Chatsworth Crafts, teaching and helping out.


How it all started
The Internet provided the solution for Mary. Being a mother of two young children, she decided to work towards her literacy and numeracy qualifications to help her gain employment when her youngest child starts school.

About the course
During her Initial Assessment, Mary found she was able join the ESP Course immediately and also continue working towards the qualifications she was aiming for.

“I was a fairly shy person before I came here but the ESP tutors have encouraged me throughout the course. The various tasks and presentations I have completed have helped me become more outgoing.”

The outcome
“It’s easy to get into a rut when you don’t work. The ESP course and work placement together have made me much more proactive, after completing Level 1 in literacy and numeracy I am now working towards Level 2.  I’m still unsure what type of work I want to do but I feel I am actually working towards something

Work placement at PHX has helped Mary realise how self motivated she is and although office work may not be her desired career it has certainly helped her discover her strengths.

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