UK Enterprise Awards 2021

169 | UK Enterprise Awards 2021 Best Skills Development Organisation 2021 - Yorkshire In the UK, low-skilled jobs are disappearing due to automation of work and offshoring and there is a shortage of high skilled workers. At the same time, there is evidence of the damage long term unemployment does to communities. Peak Tuition has spent the last 20 years working across different contexts to understand the challenges children and their families face. After all, adverse childhood experiences are a hidden epidemic, with 7 out of 10 people facing some form of childhood adversity that acts as yet another barrier to realising an individual’s full potential. These experiences may include parental separation, bullying, violence or crime in communities, the impact of poverty or discrimination, or simply a lack of social or economic opportunities. It’s established that these adverse childhood experiences often have a negative impact on long term health, but significantly less work has been done about their impact on education outcomes and, subsequently, employment opportunities. Ultimately, Peak Tuition was founded to explore ideas in improving longer term outcomes and, as part of this, it has developed significant co-design and learning capabilities to improve quickly in the face of adversity and failure. It has also invested in distributed leadership, empowering and enabling local people to take on responsibility and lead change. In this way, Peak Tuition helps people develop skills in problem solving, public speaking, planning, teamwork, resilience, conflict management and emotional intelligence. With a vision of getting everyone to feel confident about learning new skills and a mission to help people develop confidence in themselves as learners, develop academic skills and enhance resilience to change, Peak Tuition has built a culture of high performance through continually learning from its own experiences. Apr21653 Peak Tuition is a leading provider of tuition and consultancy for school-age students throughout Cheshire and the North West. We speak to Director, Saj Mahmood, about what support it can offer to the community. “We invest in experiences and ideas for our communities to broaden horizons and raise aspirations,” states Director Saj Mahmood. “We are dependable, listen to our communities and encourage people to pursue their passions. We actively support people in our communities’ lead activities and service.” Peak Tuition differentiates itself from competitors by diverting income from its consulting services and also drawing in grant funding from charitable foundations. “Basically, for every pound our participants give us, we spend around £4!” Saj exclaims. “In addition to our high spend, we also foster highly developed relationships with our participants, using specialised accelerated learning techniques and targeted community engagement methods to ensure that we make very rapid progress with learning, both individually and as a community.” It’s clear to see that Peak Tuition really does care about its community. When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, for example, Saj and the team saw how many of its participants were struggling, so they spent the reserves on delivering food parcels, travelling around 120 miles per week. “We also started a charitable giving provision, ensuring nobody in our community was short of cleaning equipment, clothing, personal hygiene items or games and activities. We distributed around £60,000 worth of donated food, goods and activities. We essentially innovated out of the challenging Covid-19 situation presented by diversifying our service portfolio. We got closer to our community and developed our co-design methodology so that they were able to participate in decision making about what we do and how we do it.” The internal culture at Peak Tuition is very much based around, and centres on, co-design as a pervasive method to deliberately democratise its services through a transformative process that enables equitable power structures amongst key stakeholders. “We view co-design as pervasive because it is a central part of our thinking in everything we do,” explains Saj. “We do not employ human-centred design because we have lived experience of how easily that can be corrupted to become provider-led. Instead, we have created a climate of learning where our day-to-day participants (staff, volunteers, local community members, children, parents) decide whether we are heading in the direction they want in a way that is acceptable to them.” By employing specialist techniques to nurture skills, attitudes and behaviours, Peak Tuition enables an exceptionally productive, inclusive and purposeful climate of learning. However, creating a climate of learning where everyone contributes isn’t enough for the Peak Tuition community, as Saj continues: “Sometimes, the children we work with feel peer influences are more important than their own judgements. So, we facilitate deliberate and purposeful consultation to explore, verify and validate decision making. This consultation is continuous and forms part of our continuous improvement cycle and evolving approach to building our community of practice.” As these methods are centred on utilising strong developmental relationships, Peak Tuition takes time to get to know people and it is about everyone having real choices concerning where the organisation goes and how it gets there. “As a result we have a wealth of ideas and experiences from our vibrant and diverse community that we value and celebrate whenever possible.” Contact: Saj Mahmood Company: Peak Tuition Academy Web Address: