Incorporated in 1987 as a non-profit, London Training Centre is an award winning social enterprise that provides a wide range of skills and training opportunities for people. Working jointly with our community partners we seek to help people, build a resilient community and contribute to a sustainable future.
London Training Centre provides a full suite of pre-employment services and programs for people looking for a new job or career. These services are funded by Employment Ontario. In January 2011 London Training Centre moved to our present location. This fully accessible site, providing an all new Employment Resource Centre for use by the general public, a computer lab, training rooms, a commercial kitchen and numerous employment support services, is well serviced by public transit and provides ample parking. This move also provided the opportunity to enhance and expand our training services.
Organizational Structure & Business Model
Within our area of business expertise and interests we seek out niche opportunities that allow us to develop new clients for our services. As a “service” business we operate on the principle of exceeding people’s expectations and in doing so, retain and grow our client base while competing fairly in the marketplace without subsidies. This principle is key because we believe our customer is the sole arbiter as to our provision of “quality service.” Additionally, a component of our business model – which while not unique but fundamental for success in business – is the principle of vertical and horizontal integration within our organization. Every aspect of LTC, every business, program or service is interconnected, mutually supportive working together to create our brand. Over the past 10 years we have applied these service/business principles as we have added new business lines and activities.
“This is our definition of Social Enterprise; help people, have a positive impact in our community, generate enough revenue to accomplish both those goals.” – David Corke, Executive Director
Rather than a separate silo of business activity with our organization, the management structure of social enterprise activities conducted by LTC is integrated and aligned with the structure of funded services. This integration enhances understanding, effectiveness and delivery of social enterprise as a coordinated model. Within this structure led by the Executive Director, distinct social enterprise activities are coordinated and delivered by specific managers. The key areas are as follows:
- Food Programs: Farming & Catering
- Training & Certifications
- Banquet & Event Staffing.
The office manager/bookkeeper provides administrative and financial support and our manager of employment services ensures access by employment services clients to social enterprise services and programs through effective communication and processes. This integrated structure creates the framework of the organization, and the provision of integrated services creates the brand or our organization.
Our organization is small enough to recognize and celebrate the success of individual clients while also providing training and learning experiences to several individuals thousand each year. Perhaps the greatest value of the enterprise that provides excess of revenue over expenses is that those funds are entirely at our disposal to utilize in any way that best serves our mission and strategic goals. Consequently those funds provide programs and learning free or subsidized for people that don’t have the resources. In the past five years LTC has provided $10,000 in bursaries to people facing economic need so that they can continue in post-secondary education. We offer subsidized training for community partners. And… having provided Safe Food Handler training to thousands of people since 2004, cannot but help feel that our work has had an impact on community health.
“The test to my mind of weather a social enterprise is “real” or not is its ability to generate sufficient additional revenue to operate without becoming a drag on other elements within the organization. LTC’s business meets and exceeds this test.” – Trevor Johnson, Community Development and Funding, City of London
Our work helping people gain skills and obtain the dignity that comes with personal success is not necessarily innovative. However, we believe that our small role in a part of those lives enhances the concept of life as a “continuum of learning” and this is done quite often in partnership with other organizations. When we donate excess food we have grown ecologically we feed people. When we teach a person to grow food, handle it safely and prepare it in a way that provides the greatest nutritional value we feed their potential. The positive social gain here is realized when these people move forward and are no longer marginalized. This process of human learning and progress is funded by our enterprise activities. Sharing our social enterprise perspective with other organizations and individuals through the Pillar’s social enterprise educational/learning initiatives, we strongly advocate the sustainability that comes with business success and net revenue.