A WORKINGTON business says it will survive the coronavirus pandemic in the same way it survived the worldwide financial crash in 2008.

Offering health and safety training across the country, Woodward SHE is headed up by Tom and Christine Duggan and their sons James and Tom.

They offer specialist and unique training to those leaving the armed forces, with a view to offering them a chance of a different career after exiting the service.

Their NEBOSH accreditation is something that is not believed to be available anywhere else in Cumbria.

And, according to Woodward, in more than 90 per cent of cases, NEBOSH is the industry standard.

They are one of only 45 NEBOSH providers in England, Wales and Scotland to have been awarded gold for their quality of service and support.

There is one thing that staff at Woodward believe sets them apart from other health and safety providers.

"The care for the students, we constantly think of our students. They are not just numbers, not just invoices," explained 39-year-old Tom Duggan, who is referred to as Duggan junior due to sharing a name with his father and the chief executive of the firm.

"They come to meet us and we build up quite a good relationship and we like to think we try and maintain relationships after the courses.

"Our alumni are informed of future training opportunities. It wasn't until recently that we stopped holding an annual health and safety conference."

Tom says it benefits everyone to treat students correctly.

"We see them as a long-term investment, both in terms of looking after the industry and coming back for future custom and bringing friends back as future customers.

"We always try to put clients at the heart of the business and ensure students come and get a good experience."

As well as offering training to ex-armed forces, they also offer a path for people looking for a career in health and safety and help companies deliver their own accredited health and safety training courses in-house.

The history of the business goes back two and a half decades.

“We are a specialist health and safety provider which provides professional health and safety accreditations," explained Mr Duggan, who is business development manager at the business after joining the family firm in 2007.

"We've been operating for 25 years. We were based in Carlisle but then moved to the Energus building in Workington a couple of years ago.

"A lot of customers didn't want to travel to Carlisle and there was an opportunity with Gen2 and we took a couple of rooms there."

Like most businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Woodward SHE hard.

"The situation has been a challenge for us. We've not been doing training since the middle of March," said Tom.

"Now the schools are starting to go back we are putting into place a covid safe workplace.

"We are significantly reducing the number of students on courses and we are starting courses again at the end of July.

"We've effectively had no income from March until now. We are looking at people paying for courses at the end of July, but we are still having to pay all the rent and all that.

"We are fortunate in that its a family firm situation, so we have effectively not paid ourselves over the period."

Mr Duggan junior says the challenges facing the business have not been mirrored for more than a decade.

"Not since the financial crash," he explained.

"We had to move from full-time health and safety professionals to a contract model during the financial crash.

"Companies couldn't afford the training. We now work on contracts, so the staff we have are more specialist to their course, so it offers us more flexibility."

For a list of the courses they offer, go to https://www.woodward-group.co.uk/courses-overview.

When do they open?

Monday to Friday

What are opening times?

8.30am - 5.00pm

How can customers get in contact?

Tel: (01900) 609175;

Email: info@woodwardgroup.co.uk;

Website: www.woodwardgroup.co.uk.