We are a small team of training professionals that operate in very diverse fields, essentially as trainers and consultants. We are a very mixed bag!
What can we offer?
We are training providers and instructors. Our main role is that of licensed provider for Lantra Awards – industry specific and nationally recognised short courses for all land-based industries.
Lantra Awards courses are quality assured, and can be offered as attendance only training, or training with assessment which gives a certificate of competence. We can also provide training leading to NPTC assessment. As Lantra Awards providers we have access to a large UK wide database of top quality instructors, so we can provide courses UK wide, sending instructors local to you, to your venue, anywhere in the UK. We also have venues available in South Wales.
We are also going to deliver Level 3 Award in Education and Training as an Agored Cymru centre.
JULIE M THOMAS MBA BSc Hons, Dip ESB, ARAgS,
NICHOLAS HEINS, MSc.Nick has over 27 years experience in the property / landed profession as a Chartered Surveyor and Auctioneer. However, having a life-long interest in nature, heritage and environmental conservation issues, he took the opportunity in 1997/98 to obtain an MSc in Environmental Conservation Management at the University of Glamorgan.Following this he acquired practical experience in the voluntary sector with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and holds Lantra certificates for Chainsaws, Brushcutters & Trimmers and ATV’s. He is experienced in Horticulture, and Environmental Management, holds First Aid at work certificate, and is an in-house instructor for STB on woodland management, invasive species, and many H and S issues.
He joined the ‘Simply the Best’ team in 2000, and supervises and project manages the on going Lantra Awards training programme for our corporate clients. He is a first class instructor who gets involved with the trainees and develops their skills well. He is both popular and is respected by trainees, and his calm assured manner and reliability are greatly valued by all the team members.
Geoff’s practical skills and talents make him an excellent technical trainer. Originally trained as an electrician, he spent many years “on the tools” within the Electrical Industry, and has worked on domestic wiring, street lighting and industrial installation. He was a technician and part time college lecturer until he returned to his Farming roots; he now farms the 300 acres of Caerlan, running a large flock of sheep, many of which are pedigree.
As a farmer he is extremely capable and adept at skills such as carpentry, plumbing, welding, fencing, machinery repair and maintenance, building maintenance, and construction skills. He also has specialist skills such as shearing, dry stone walling and showing stock.
Geoff is computer literate, and is an approved Instructor with Lantra Awards. His skill area covers Tractors, Brushcutters, hedge trimmers, strained wire fencing and Dry stone walling, Rodent Control and Mole Control. Geoff’s quiet, unassuming manner and instinctive ability to train and teach gets the best out of novice trainees. Day to day planning and long term management of both the farm, and its use as a training venue, make his dual role of instructor and farmer challenging but fulfilling. He is also office and training centre caretaker and Janitor!
Away from work Geoff was a School Governor at Williamstown Primary School, and Chairman of the South Wales Mountain Sheep Breeders Society. In addition, Geoff regularly stewards and judges competitions within the Young Farmers Movement, and is a past County Chairman of Glamorgan YFC.
Our newest member of the team is Rhidian Thomas. A qualified Engineer in heavy plant and machinery is the background for him training towards becoming a Lantra Instructor. He facilitates the courses held at Caerlan, and is a very active member of Llantrisant Young Farmers Club. He has represented his club and county at Strained Wire Fencing, disco dancing, Senior debate, folk dancing, ATV handling, Woodwork, Mime , Acting, Comedy, and is a member of the winning National choir competetition 2014.
He recently travelled abroad and spent time working on the Canadian Government Salmon Tagging programme, as well as travelling to New Zealand, and Hong Kong. Rhidian is an ATV instructor, and is now adding Tractors to his skill set. He is currently working at JCB HOLT as a heavy plant engineer.
KATIE THOMAS was part time office administrator, assisting Kathy and keeping Julie supplied with course materials, but is now employed in a local tyre company, but calls in to see us and facilitated a handover to Michele.
MICHELE is a computer and software trainer, who runs the invoicing, booking courses and anything technical at Simply the best. She is head of IT department, and attempts to keep Julie on track with technical issues, which is not the easiest of tasks!
AMY EDWARDS helped out alongside studying for her computer maths degree with compiling portfolios and cleaning duties but has now moved on to be software engineer in Edinburgh
RACHEL BLAKEMORE rescues Julie by formatting Excel spreadsheets and anything finance related, while working for local auctioneers and land agents HRT.
Our other associates include:
BARRY LYONS is our lead Lantra Instructor for Chainsaws, Brushcutters and Hedge Trimmers; but he also delivers ATVs and 4×4 Driving. He hails from the Llyn Peninsular,and STB is his southern office! He is an exceptional trainer, whose professionalism is inspiring.
CRAIG IRELAND is our top man for Pesticides Training, but he also does Mowers, Tractors, ATVs and loads of other things! Craig is also consulted by Industry groups, he has a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise.
JAMES ARCHER is top of the tree – Chainsaws on the ground or at height, he’s your man! He also delivers Woodchippers and Brushcutters.
JILL AUSTIN is our Advanced Driving Instructor – ATVs, 4×4 Driving, Trailers . . . . If it’s got wheels then Jill is your girl! Firm and professional, she uses her advanced driving skills to methodically coach her trainees.
STUART FRY is our Lantra instructor for Dry stone walling and all environmental courses. His expertise in these fields is renowned, and his work is often featured in the Western Mail. Stuart brings realism and humour to his training.
BRUCE CLARK is our Pesticides Assessor, rigorous and well respected by ourselves and our candidates.
CHRIS DAVIES is our Lantra Pesticides assessor, quiet calm and methodical in his approach.
STEVE LAWTON is a new member to the fold, works extremely well with voluntary groups, and very experienced in Mowers, brushcutters etc.
JOHN BEVAN is a multiskilled Instructor who can turn his hand to anything arbo, and fills in on chainsaws to chippers, and millions of other things as well.
JAN EVANS, BHSI. Jan is the equestrian expert, and offers riding tuition, schooling and all things equine. She also holds D32, D33, D34 qualifications and can deliver BHS courses& Lantra Awards approved courses in equestrian skills. With 40 years in the saddle (she went from pram to saddle!) and 20 years experience of training for BHS and NVQ students, she practices what she preaches and has just qualified a horse for Trailblazers National championships at Stoneleigh. She specialises in one to one tuition, her reputation for inspiring and creating rapport with clients demonstrates her natural coaching skills. She is currently a BHS examiner and a LIST 4 dressage judge.
ALISON DENTON, BA (Hons), PGCE. Forthright and professional, Alison compliments the team with her ability to motivate within a training environment. Originally head of the History Department of a large comprehensive school, she now enjoys teaching Politics to ‘A’ level students and works as an examiner and specialist consultant, as well as developing ideas for ‘Simply The Best’ and advising us on educational issues. An extremely talented horticulturalist, Alison has designed and implemented new gardens styles for colleagues, and has won many prestigious flower arranging competitions. Without a doubt her green fingers complement her intellect and quick thinking ability.