Lesley Simpson looks back on a career
that’s always been full of sparkle!

Funny how a sparkling chandelier in the smallest room in the house can get you thinking!

Well, that’s exactly what’s inspired long-standing training professional Lesley Simpson of Newlands Training to take a trip down memory lane and share some of her personal highs, lows and ongoing gripes!

Welcome to Newlands Training – so called because that’s the name of the farm I was living on for 27 years when I first embarked on my journey into the world of training. As with all journeys it has had some joyous times and some bumpy roads, but with hindsight, I wouldn’t change a single thing!

Newlands Training started life as a Training Group with the Agricultural Training Boards in 1986 when my 4 daughters were the age my grandchildren are now. No wonder there is a slight feeling of “déjà vu” but it certainly seems like a perfect time to reflect.  

Like all journeys you can’t help looking back to see what you’ve achieved over the years, reflect on all the challenges you’ve worked through, take a quick look at where you are now and then the BIG one, take to wondering what’s ahead! Certainly not me, as mostly I have followed my heart, reacted on impulse and waited to see what happens. I am not sure this is recommended in the business world, but it’s suited me and over 34 years has propelled me along some interesting paths ultimately leading me to where I am today. 

Training classroom

In the beginning, during the ATB days, we were encouraged to be rather territorial and not wander into other Training Group areas. We had “members” and a committee to keep me on the straight and narrow and offer ideas as to what training courses would suit them best.  There were only a few courses and as everything was entirely agriculturally based, there was nothing much going on in the summer months. To be honest, I must say I miss those more ‘relaxed’ days. The life of a Training Provider, like many other professions, now seems relentless, and any time taken off feels like it is stolen, and not a gift to enjoy.  I suppose as I’ve travelled on my career journey, I’ve moved into an area of stress, but I know I’m not the only one who has ‘parked up’ in this place. 

I could blame my age, but I would rather blame emails – relentless emails. That little “ping” on my mobile phone that tells me I am not actually making progress with clearing the inbox! However, most of our enquiries and requests for training now arrive by email, so I am trying to learn how to love my emails – I need practice with that so please keep sending them.

Over the years I’ve led my lovely trainees and long-suffering Instructors into some new and interesting training locations. Mostly old farm buildings to be honest and one old Nissan hut on a 2nd World War Camp. Actually, that’s where we have just moved from. I absolutely loved it, but for various reasons it was time to get back to my journey and move on.  

Chandelier in toilet

Yes – in between the emails – Newlands Training has moved again, and we have recently landed at our lovely new offices and training site at Launceston Farm, near Blandford in Dorset. The farm owners are developing the site for meetings, events and school visits and we have been lucky to secure offices and meeting rooms and a workshop here.  

I feel Newlands Training has “arrived” and for now the journey is over. We’ve come a long way from the informal rural locations we occupied 30 odd years ago. Our new premises, a fabulous farm building conversion, is the height of contemporary style.  And the Cloakroom is no exception  – “shabby chic” where rural meets bling - corrugated iron walls and a chandelier!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Please come and see us some time – if only to admire our toilet!!!

Lesley Simpson, Newlands Training Ltd