Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Meet the Team: Danny Connor

   5 June 2024         Blogs

In this month’s edition of our ‘Meet the Team’ series we’re showcasing our Senior Wastewater Networks Trainer, Danny Connor. Danny is Develop’s resident expert in all things wastewater, water jetting and sewage systems.

Danny has nearly thirty years of experience working with water and sewers, with eight of those years being a trainer for Develop Training.

Building the foundation

The foundations for his career were set back in 1990’s where he was a ‘Back Lad’ on a CCTV Rig. During his time in this role Danny says he “gained a lot of expertise from carrying out the wide range of activities taking place on the rig”. It was this experience that eventually led him to become the Rig Leader.

Danny’s next career move was a highlight for him, as he went on to become the proud owner of his own drainage company for a ten-year stint. Danny’s business covered all aspects of the drainage industry including CCTV, high pressure water jetting, patch lining, full length lining, as well as excavations and repairs.

Over his extensive career, he has had many highlights however one that particularly stands out for him is when he was a part of a team that completed the full inspection of the Esholt Tunnel. This was not an easy task as this tunnel is around four and a half kilometres of continued tunnel and required extensive CCTV, laser and sonde data collection.

A side-step into training delivery

Eight years ago Danny decided to move to the training arena with the hope that he would be able to pass on his years of experience and knowledge to others. He was also keen to ensure that those in industry were receiving the high-quality training needed to carry out their dangerous roles.

Most recently, Danny was promoted to Senior Wastewater Trainer due to his impressive knowledge, continual positive delegate feedback, and his dedication to high quality training.

Danny also recently hosted an informative webinar on drainage and water jetting alongside the Water Jetting Association and WinCan. During the webinar the panel covered all aspects of the new high pressure water jetting  ‘Purple Code’ code of practice, the latest sewer inspection technology, updates to sewer classifications, changes to the expiration of MSCC4, training requirements and available training. The webinar is available here on-demand. [insert link]

Outside work

Away from his day job Danny finds enjoyment in football, supporting Crystal Palace. He also likes to spend time course fishing. The company of his four French Bulldogs is also very important and he is fond of taking them for walks, as well as to Frenchie dog meet ups.

If Danny looks or sounds familiar to you, you may know him by his other name ‘DJ DC’, a local DJ who is frequently featured on Groove London Radio.

Meet the Team

Meet Nicola Smith: Quality Assurance Auditor

   15 May 2024         Blogs

When it comes to juggling the complexities of life and work, Nicola Smith is a shining star in our Develop family. As one of six Quality Assurance Auditors, she not only ensures the impeccable quality of our ACS Gas and Electrotechnical departments but also manages to balance her career with the ever-demanding needs of her family. Today, we’ll take you on a journey into Nicola’s world, where adaptability meets expertise.

A Day in Nicola’s Life

Picture this: a day in Nicola’s life is like a whirlwind of audits, observations, and liaisons. She meticulously checks completed assessment paperwork, observes training sessions, and holds the fort as the Lead IQA for our ACS Gas courses. Nicola’s days are also peppered with interactions with NICEIC, one of our certification bodies, ensuring our assessments exceed their stringent expectations.

But that’s not all. Nicola wears many hats, also serving as the Lead IQA for our Electrotechnical Experienced Worker and Electric Vehicle Car Charging City and Guilds schemes.

Andrew Mason, Assessment Centre Manager at Certsure, told us what it’s like to work with Nicola,

I first had discussions with Nicola as part of the Initial Certification Approval visits. I found Nicola to be very focused on the processes and procedures that [Certsure] would be requiring as a part of our subsequent External Quality Assurance visits to the York and Derby centres.

On our next visit to York for an initial Assessment Approval visit, Nicola had prepared all the relevant information and was very keen to understand how we would like this to be presented.

This process has continued throughout all our subsequent visits to York and Derby and the dedication to detail and professionalism shown by Nicola has been excellent. I am sure that the professional approach and high standards that Nicola sets in Quality Assurance, has an excellent effect on all the Quality Assurance Team at Develop.”

The Journey So Far

Nicola’s career journey is a testament to her determination. Before joining Develop Training in 2017, she was a Dual Fuel Smart Meter Engineer at British Gas. Prior to joining British Gas as a gas engineering apprentice she worked in the finance sector as a Mortgage Adviser, Financial Adviser, and Stockbroker!

During her time at Develop, Nicola has continued to adapt, taking on roles as a Trainer and Assessor and eventually rising to the position of Quality Assurance Auditor. Her journey is proof that with determination, you can conquer any challenge.

For Nicola, her proudest career moment was when she moved into Develop’s electrical department.

She explains,” Moving into the electrical department was a big step for me, having only worked with gas and electric metering prior to that. However, I studied hard and sat all of Develop’s most difficult Low Voltage Electrical qualifications and was able to pass them first time. I was so proud of myself!”

A Qualification Powerhouse

Nicola’s qualifications read like a book of achievements. With City & Guilds technical certifications in Electrical Installations, Inspection and Testing, and a slew of awards for Safe Systems of Work, ACS Gas, and IOSH, she’s a true expert in her field.

The full list of 23 technical qualifications not to mention her training, assessing and numerous auditing qualifications is nothing short of impressive!

Nicola’s Unique Contribution

What sets Nicola apart is her adaptability. She can seamlessly switch between various business areas, thanks to her extensive skill set. From Low Voltage Electrical qualifications to ACS Gas Qualifications, Nicola brings versatility and expertise, ensuring our training, delivery and assessment is always at its very best.

To conclude, here’s a quirky tidbit about Nicola – she once had a pet snake named George. Rest in peace, George!


To find out more about Develop’s Internal Quality Assurance & Audit Team, visit our dedicated webpage here.

IQA Team

Meet the Team: Graham Long

   28 February 2024         Blogs

In the world of education and compliance, there exists a silent hero, quietly ensuring that the wheels of knowledge keep turning smoothly. His name? Graham Long, a Quality Assurance Auditor at Develop Training. With a twinkle in his eye and a passion for precision, Graham is the backbone of our Quality Assurance and Audit Team, dedicated to ensuring Develop stays compliant with legislation, keeps pace with awarding body changes, and ensuring that the business continues to deliver high-quality learning experiences to our delegates.

But there’s more to Graham’s role than meets the eye. Beyond the confines of Develop, he serves as an external consultant, a wizard of compliance, working tirelessly on two significant external quality assurance projects with Develop’s sister company, CompEx, and Network Plus.

A week in the life of a Quality Assurance Auditor

Picture an average week in Graham’s life – a dynamic mix of assurance activities. On some days he can be found meticulously monitoring courses, both within Develop and externally, to ensure that they are executed flawlessly. On others, crucially, he checks that paperwork is filled out correctly and every exam meticulously marked, maintaining the highest standards for accreditation.

As Develop’s Operational Training Managers collaborate with Graham to develop new courses, he ensures these courses align with the exacting requirements of awarding bodies. And when those awarding bodies decide to update their courses, Graham is on the frontline, ready to adapt and refine our offerings.

But what makes Graham Long the go-to guy for all things quality and compliance at Develop?

It’s not just his passion and dedication; it’s his impressive arsenal of qualifications. He boasts a range of certifications, including AET, IQA, Auditor Qualification, Compex – EXF+, 18TH Edition, Water Jetter, First Aider, Mental Health First Aider, Safeguarding and Prevent trainer, Engineering Quali, NEBOSH, and Streetworks supervisor. He’s a one-man army of expertise!

An impressive career journey

Graham’s journey to becoming Develop’s Quality Assurance Auditor aficionado is equally impressive. He kick-started his career as a Mechanical Apprentice at Anglian Water, and over 21 years, he honed his skills as an Operational Mechanical Engineer in both Wastewater and Drinking Water divisions.

His next step was as a Trainer Assessor in their training unit, which later became Develop Training. After stints in the delivery team and as a dedicated IQA lead, Graham found his true calling in the Internal Quality Assurance & Audit team when it was established two years ago.

A moment to be proud of

Among his many accomplishments, Graham’s proudest moment arrived in 2022. The Quality Assurance and Audit team clinched the coveted ‘Team of the Year’ award at the Develop Employee Conference. Achieving this accolade within just nine months of the team’s formation was a testament to Gary Fisher’s leadership and the entire team’s unwavering commitment to excellence. It also shows the respect that the wider business have for the team and the work they do.

Outside of work

Beyond his professional achievements, here’s a delightful tidbit about Graham: In 2005, he received a royal invitation to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace!

As Graham continues to play an integral role in maintaining quality and compliance at Develop Training, delegates and their employers can rest assured that our courses will always be delivered with precision, passion, and the IQA seal of approval.

To find out more about Develop’s Internal Quality Assurance & Audit Team, visit our dedicated webpage here.

Gas Distribution

Meet the team : Wayne Stones

   24 January 2024         Blogs

In this month’s instalment of our Meet the Team blog, we’d like to introduce you to Gas Utilities and Street Works Trainer, Wayne Stones.

Apprenticeship roots

Wayne grew up in the small Yorkshire town of Pontefract and took his first step onto the career ladder in 1992 when he began an apprenticeship with British Gas, which later rebranded to Northern Gas Networks (NGN). During his apprenticeship he worked as a Gas Distribution Craftsman before moving onto the role of Team Leader following the completion of his training. This saw him take responsibility for a team of colleagues repairing damaged parts on the gas network.

Wayne’s career journey went from strength-to-strength during this time as he undertook various roles including a Network Distribution Engineer, where he gained more responsibility and became an expert in installing and repairing a variety of gas networks and appliances, and a Network Officer, where he supervised a total of eight teams of engineers repairing gas escapes in the network, across six years. Wayne then decided to make a move into the IT side of the business in the role of Release Manager, whereby he was responsible for looking into the hardware and software that colleagues had collected from sites.

Joining Develop

Wayne joined the Develop team in January 2022 after having seen a Utilities & Streetworks Trainer vacancy advertised via the business’s Emerge & Evolve Trainer Recruitment Programme.

The programme is aimed at tackling the sector skills shortage and getting those who are currently working ‘hands on’ in the industry to become Trainers of the future. Develop provide a full package of training to help individuals’ hone their training and delivery skills so they can pass on their invaluable experience to the next generation of utility workers. Further information on the programme is available here:

Wayne explains,

I felt it was time for a change in my career and I was keen to share the knowledge and experience that I’d gained over my30 years of working in the gas industry. The opportunity at Develop came at just the right time and I feel incredibly lucky to have been offered formal training, qualifications, and a fantastic mentor, to guide me on this journey.”

Much of the training that Wayne delivers is based in-centre at York and Derby, however he also travels across the country to Develop’s other centres in Swindon, Essex, Manchester & Scotland to deliver bespoke courses for various companies in the utilities sector. Wayne regularly teaches NCO Gas, Street Works (NRSWA) and gas escape training, and works with a number of high-profile organisations, including NGN.

First-hand experience working on the gas network

After spending 30 years in the gas network industry, Wayne has invaluable experience and knowledge that he can share with the delegates that attend his courses. His past hands-on roles at British Gas/NGN have allowed him to develop technical knowledge that he is able to refer to during training.

Wayne says that he really enjoys his role at Develop and feeling that he is making a difference with his teaching.

He says:

There are people that I’ve trained, and I see them coming back for additional courses, so it’s always great to see how far they’ve come.”

He also says that he finds it extremely rewarding to see that his training is helping his delegates to progress in their career as they move into more senior and management roles.

Outside of work, Wayne is a keen house DJ and regularly plays at local bars and festivals, and also practices Brazilian Jujitsu with his son.

To find out more about the courses that Wayne delivers please click here:

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Confined Spaces

Meet the team : Chris Tennant

   08 January 2024         Blogs

For this month’s Meet the Team blog, we’re introducing our Senior Confined Spaces Trainer, Chris Tennant.

With a rich background in the water industry, Chris has brought a wealth of experience and expertise to Develop over his nine years at the business.

A background in the water industry

Chris began his career after leaving school in electrical engineering, where he worked in the role of coil winder on repairing and rewiring electric motors. Following this, he transitioned into the water industry as a leakage technician on water systems through spells working for companies surveying and mapping of underground assests, including a short spell in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq to train local staff in low cost leak detection methods. Chris eventually joined GWC Ltd., where he was contracted to Thames Water, Severn Trent and Scottish Water to work across various roles including working in a drawing office, surveying manholes and managing the distribution of pressure and leakage surveys.

During my eight years at GWC Ltd, I had the pleasure of travelling all across the UK, covering regions including Scotland, Yorkshire, Cornwall and North London to analyse DMA flow and pressure data.”

Chris then worked for just over a year with H20 Water Services Ltd. as a team leader, working to repair large water leaks in Yorkshire. Following this, Chris then moved back to his previous employer, GWC Ltd., and began training those starting to work in the water industry. This role involved Chris using his many years of experience to help to design and implement training and assessment programmes on leakage practices and equipment.

I grew to learn that many individuals that were entering the water industry had little to no previous experience, so I knew it was my duty to let them know the sorts of scenarios they would be dealing with.”

Joining Develop

In 2014, Chris joined Develop after hearing positive things from a previous manager that had recently joined the company.

Chris initially came on-board to work on the water-side of the distribution network as a training consultant, however, his previous skills quickly caught the attention of the team, and he was soon involved in a wide variety of projects, utilising his previous experience in training too.

Current role and responsibilities

Chris currently works as a Senior Confined Spaces Trainer at Develop. His responsibilities include working closely with other trainers to design Develop’s courses, and training delegates for confined spaces work.

It’s a priority for us to ensure the delivery of our courses meet the specific needs of each of our clients. We collaborate closely with each business we work with to understand their training requirements and how we can streamline our courses to meet their needs.”

Additionally, Chris plays a crucial role in the internal quality assurance aligning courses with the relevant awarding bodies. He also works closely with the sales team and senior account managers to ensure clients receive high-quality training that is catered to the confined spaces environments they are operating in.

Chris recently wrote a blog that provides a detailed 20-point confined space entry checklist for producing a safe system of work. The checklist underscores the critical importance of implementing rigorous safety measures when working within confined spaces, regardless of the industry involved, and has been very well received by Develop’s customers.

Bringing real-world confined space experience

Chris believes it is vital for trainers to apply their own industry experience into their role when training delegates to allow for real-world examples to be applied to the learning materials presented.

“I have found that delegates appreciate trainers with real-world experience, and at Develop, the majority of the trainers we work with have had extensive exposure to the areas they now teach.

In my previous role, we used to survey manholes and I have also experienced being in the Victorian brick sewers and large rainwater tanks, which are all scenarios that I now apply to my teaching from a practical perspective for delegates to learn from.”

10 years of success

Approaching his 10-year anniversary in November 2024, Chris has played a pivotal role in developing bespoke courses for Develop’s wide range of clients.

“A particular highlight of mine is when we designed and delivered a remote course for individuals that were managing the confined spaces work, but wouldn’t be entering the confined spaces themselves.

We developed an in-depth, interactive course that included breakout rooms, questionnaires and an assignment that we then marked and provided feedback on.

The remote course was a great success and evidenced our commitment to creating innovative and tailored solutions to meet the needs of delegates.”

Life in Norfolk

Outside of work, Chris keeps himself busy with cycling, hiking and photography. His weekends often involve walks along nearby rivers, and he’s even had the opportunity to explore the Lake District twice this year.

Chris Tennant is more than just a Senior Confined Spaces Trainer; he’s a dedicated professional with a passion for quality training and many years of industry experience.

Confined Spaces Training Team

Interested in finding out more about Develop’s Confined Space training team? Click here to discover more about the team and their range of abilities.

Visit our dedicated webpage to view all the confined spaces training offered by Develop, all of which can be offered at one of our training centres in Swindon, York or Derby, as well as on-site at a location of your choice via our confined spaces mobile unit.

Alternatively, click on one of the blog posts below to find out more about confined spaces and how your organisation should be managing them.

Recent Blog Posts & News

Leadership and Management

Meet the team : Hanna Magdziarek

   20 November 2023         Blogs

For this month’s Meet the Team blog, we’re introducing our Organisational Development Consultant, Hanna Magdziarek, who is currently in the process of developing a bespoke mentoring and coaching programme for Develop.

A passion for personal development

Hanna’s career in developing people started several years ago following her first master’s degree. She subsequently became a qualified English teacher, training adult learners in organisation’s.

Hanna explains, “I’ve always enjoyed working with individuals who become responsible partners in the process of learning and help to co-create it. This experience led me to search for roles in the higher education sector, where, at least in my experience, there is a lot of emphasis on personal and professional development and support for the employee.

After almost 10 years working for a top 10 global university, which helped me explore and develop my skills and experience in areas of interests such as Leadership, Operational Excellence, Performance Coaching and Wellbeing, I set up my own coaching and training consultancy and worked with a range of clients from the HE, Finance and Utilities sectors as a consultant and trainer, and individual clients as an executive coach.”

Hanna continues, “I found setting up my own consultancy so rewarding and fulfilling that it inspired me to continue my higher education in MSc Business and Organisational Psychology, which opened new doors for me in people development.”

Hanna also has a keen interest and experience in delivering the ‘operational excellence’ methodology she often  revisits while improving organisational processes and systems.

Hanna’s role at Develop

Hanna joined Develop in December 2022 as an Organisational Development Consultant. A crucial element of her role is designing and delivering courses that allow delegates to maximise their leadership effectiveness and positive impact to their team.

Hanna delivers a wide range of short courses, typically lasting between one to five days and covering topic areas such as mental resilience and cognitive flexibility, managing oneself and positive communication. Whist the majority of Hanna’s courses are delivered virtually, she also travels to organisations to deliver face-to-face sessions.

In my role, I work with client organisations by advising, designing, delivering and evaluating training to help current and future leaders embrace the challenges of contemporary leadership that stem from the slightly cliché, but still true, VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous)). This helps them to become more people-oriented, nurturing leaders.”

Hanna’s role at Develop involves training and helping organisations to define their challenges and needs, and designing a suitable intervention for them to overcome these challenges.

All employers need to create a return-on-investment and my role at Develop is to ensure that the training we provide to our clients is both evidence-based and professional, as well as learner-centred, considering individual needs and aligning these with clients’ organisational goals.”

Introducing Develop’s new mentoring and coaching programme

Recently, Hanna has been in the process of creating and trialling a brand-newcoaching and mentoring programme for Develop, in response to the increasing need for leaders to be able to coach and mentor staff.

Our programme has been designed to take leaders through the experience of being coached and a deep self-analysis, including several psychometrics exercises, to let them become acquainted with the process and the value coaching and mentoring bring to the table. The programme will provide opportunities to develop, practise and apply the coaching and mentoring thought processes, techniques and tools that delegates can go on to apply to their work immediately, all while being supported by a qualified and experienced coach.

The six-month programme will consist of monthly group sessions and 1-2-1 coaching. Individuals who partake in the course will get the opportunity to develop their listening and observation skills, empathy, communication, influencing and other supporting skills for coaching and mentoring.

Further information on the programme will be available shortly. To register your interest please click here.

Reflecting on highlights at Develop

Hanna is quickly approaching her one-year anniversary at Develop and reflects on her key successes so far, in particular, the development of the new mentoring and coaching programme.

Develop is unique because we are truly committed to tailoring our training to delegates’ needs, including accommodating specific learning needs.”

Another highlight during Hanna’s time at Develop has been receiving positive feedback from delegates who have attended training and felt that they were able to take away valuable tools to implement in their day-to-day roles.

I have had feedback from various delegates which has highlighted how engaging and eye-opening they found the sessions and that they could tell I was an expert in and a strong believer in what I was teaching them.”

Hanna plans to launch Develop’s new coaching and mentoring programme at the start of 2024, delivering it across different organisations’ mid to senior management teams to support them with building their coaching and mentoring skillset and to take their leadership to the next level. Click here to register your interest and be the first to find out more once it is released to the public in early 2024.

Further information on Hanna’s Mentoring & Coaching Training Programme will be released at the start of 2024. If you would like to register your interest in this course please do so here:

Recent Blog Posts & News


Meet the team : Mark Fear

   17 October 2023         Blogs

Mark Fear

On this month’s Meet the team blog, we’re introducing one of our electrical trainers, Mark Fear.

Career overview

Mark’s career journey began with studying Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth, before he ventured into a role as an operative at Cadbury’s, where he worked for a total of six years. Deciding to swap chocolates for education, a shift in career led Mark to become a PE teacher, teaching both primary and secondary students. Later, his aspiration to become an engineer led him to undertake electrical training, before becoming a qualified electrician in 2013. Working as a domestic, commercial, and industrial electrician Mark has gained a wide array of electrical qualifications throughout his career.

Joining Develop

 Recognising an opportunity to combine his qualifications as an electrician with his teaching background, Mark joined Develop in March 2022. Keen to make a meaningful impact, Mark was eager to contribute to the electrical industry by passing on his knowledge and skills to aspiring electricians.

Mark explains, “Empowering the next generation with knowledge is the spark that lights the path to a brighter future in any field. I want to help inspire those working in the LV electrical field that it’s not only the technical know-how that they need but also the dedication and commitment to excel in an industry where precision and safety are paramount.”

Bridging experience and quality training

Mark’s dual experience as a teacher and a qualified electrician is invaluable in his role and sets him apart as a Trainer. Mark understands first-hands that simply imparting knowledge isn’t enough, instead he utilises a range of engaging and hands-on teaching methods to transform the learning process and ensures delegates are able to actively try their hand at electrical activities.

Mark’s classes are a dynamic blend of traditional teaching and practical application. Delegates are not merely passive observers but active participants in their learning. The typical structure of his sessions involves a stimulating 30-40 minutes of teacher-led presentations, where he imparts a theoretical understanding of the subject matter. This is followed by the practical element of the training whereby delegates have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves, grab their tools, and put their newfound knowledge into action.

It’s here that theory becomes reality, where concepts become skills, and where Mark’s guidance becomes invaluable. This practical approach not only solidifies the learning but also instills a profound sense of confidence in his delegates, knowing that they are well-prepared to excel in their role when they return back to their day job.

Notable achievements

As a testament to his teaching, Mark was particularly pleased recently when one of his delegates announced that he had requested to join the course based on recommendations from three colleagues who had previously completed training with Mark. This in itself speaks volumes about the quality of teaching he provides.

Embracing green technologies

 Mark is passionate about integrating renewables into electrical training and qualifications. He believes it’s crucial for the new generation of electricians to be well-versed in new green technologies, as they play a vital role in shaping a more sustainable future for the trade industry.

Mark explains,

The electrical industry is at a crossroads, with the global shift towards sustainability and renewable energy sources becoming increasingly imperative. The new generation of electricians must be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate this evolving terrain.

It’s no longer sufficient for them to be well-versed only in traditional electrical systems; they must also become proficient in harnessing the potential of green technologies. They also need to do this if they want to stay at the forefront of their career and future-proof their skill set.”

He continues,

I’m really looking forward to the next few years at Develop as we are soon going to be launching our own Renewable Energies division and this will mean training programmes in areas such as Solar PV, Battery Energy Storage Systems, Air Source Heat Pumps and Thermal Stores. An exciting time for certain!”

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Meet the Team: Jim Donnelly, Senior Utilities Trainer

   29 September 2023         Blogs

On this month’s Meet the Team blog, we’re introducing our Senior Utilities Training Officer, Jim Donnelly.

Jim’s career journey began straight after leaving school when he joined a local authority to work within the construction field. He later joined British Gas as a Distribution Trainee, where he climbed the career ladder to take on several different roles including Assistant Distribution Fitter and Distribution Fitter during his 20 years with the company.

A long career in the gas industry

During his two decades, Jim worked on a number of large-scale construction projects as well as a series of emergency works and schemes. By the end of his time there he was working as a Main Layer.

Looking for a new challenge, Jim joined Develop back in July 2005 as a Trainee Trainer and has recently celebrated his 18-year anniversary with the company.

After taking on a range of managerial roles within the business, Jim is now a Senior Training Officer who provides compliance training for professionals working in the gas industry. His main areas of expertise are gas distribution, service laying and main laying. However, he also teaches a range of health & safety courses, and IOSH training, including the IOSH Managing Safely (IOSHMS) and IOSH Working Safely (IOSHWS) courses.

Alongside teaching, he also offers support to other trainers in the business, as well as the Utilities Delivery Manager, and he is responsible for working with delegates to help them build their portfolios.

Whilst Jim is based primarily at Develop’s training centre in Derby, his work takes him on the road to visit locations throughout the UK and he has recently spent a lot of time working on projects in Northern Ireland.

Training Terrace

Jim was heavily involved in the development of Develop’s Joint Emergency Training Set (JETSET), Training Terrace, a fully to-scale artificial street designed to safely recreate emergency response scenarios. Training Terrace allows delegates to simulate the experience of what it’s like to respond to a gas leak in a realistic yet secure environment and is located at our York centre.

An integral part of the Training Terrace project alongside Darren Hill and Daryll Garavan, Jim was able to share his knowledge and expertise and met with architects and designers to provide insight on what the needs of the gas industry were and how Develop could meet them with the new training facility.  

Highlights at Develop

Jim believes that his extensive career background allows him to relate to delegates when sharing his own life experiences and he enjoys reflecting on some of his highlights at the company to date.

Jim expands upon the importance of his background, explaining, “In the training world, establishing a genuine connection with the delegates by drawing from one’s own real-life experiences is truly invaluable. When they realise that I’ve walked the same path and have hands-on experience ‘in the trenches,’ so to speak, it garners a deep respect for my expertise. This connection not only facilitates the training process but also encourages delegates to pose questions they might hesitate to ask someone who hasn’t undergone the same experiences on the job.”

During the first few years at Develop, Jim delivered training to young offender students who could benefit from a new start with a career in the industry. A few years later, Jim was attending a trade show when he was approached by a man that he did not immediately recognise, who shook Jim’s hand and introduced himself. The man turned out to be one of the students that Jim had trained all those years ago and inspired by Jim’s training, the man became greatly interested in the gas industry, and went on to start his own business.

Worldwide travel

Another highlight is one of Jim’s favourite projects that he worked on in 2014. He was asked to join a project team on a visit to Israel where he worked with Pazgas, an energy company that markets liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the country.

The project allowed him to work closely with employees at the company to identify their training needs and on return to the UK he worked with an external trainer to devise a training plan and materials that could be delivered company wide. Certainly an interesting and unique experience to be remembered!

Further resources

Visit our Resource Centre for a range of materials to help you plan and manage your utility training needs.

Visit our Gas Distribution page to see our full range of gas training courses.


Meet the Team: Darren Hill, Utility Trainer

   30 August 2023         Blogs

In this month’s meet the team blog, we’re shining the spotlight on our Utility Trainer, Darren Hill.

Establishing a career in the utilities industry

Darren started his working life as a self-confessed ‘jack-of-all-trades’ working in a range of different roles and environments including a suit shop and butchers as well as repairing pool tables and delivering materials for an engineering company.

He then joined the UK’s largest gas distribution network, Cadent, where he specialised in treating gas leaks in his role as Emergency Response Team Leader. Throughout his 20-year long career with the network, Darren gained experience in numerous aspects of the gas and utilities industry, which he is now able to draw upon when teaching.

However, as Darren’s responsibilities grew in this job, he was often challenged with completing long hours and even 24-hour shifts, which ultimately inspired him to make a change.

At this stage, Darren was living in Nottingham, which happened to only be a 30-minute drive from Develop’s Derby training centre. It was here that he had previously successfully achieved his gas qualifications before joining the Develop team in August 2018.

Life at Develop

Darren has now been based at Develop’s Derby centre for over five years as a Utility Trainer, working within a range of utility sectors, including gas and street works.

Whilst predominantly based in Derby, Darren often finds himself travelling to a range of different training centres located around the UK, from Northern Ireland, to York, to Brentwood – wherever he is needed!

He teaches across a number of Network Construction Gas (NCO) courses such as Service Laying and Main Laying, as well as NRSWA Street Works and Abrasive Wheels – Grinders and Cut-off Saws (AWGC) training.

Darren’s role also means that he is also responsible for assessing delegates’ portfolios and supporting them to achieve their qualifications. This can often mean that Darren takes them from the start of their journey when they complete their initial qualification through to when they return and take additional courses to add to their skills.

With Darren’s decades of experience in the field, delegates receive training direct from somebody who has been in the real-life scenarios that he’s teaching others about and has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that delegates face.

For example, his time dealing with emergency situations as an Emergency Response Team Leader at Cadent now allows him to give back to his delegates and share his knowledge and experience of working in high pressured environments.

Utility industry experience

Having a relatable mentor with a strong background in the field reassures delegates that they can ask someone for advice that truly understands the environment they work in and the challenges they may experience since he has been ‘on the tools’ himself.

In particular, Darren works closely with Northern Gas Networks (NGN) to provide bespoke Emergency Response Training for staff at the company, which delivers gas to 2.7m homes and businesses in the North East, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire.

Due to Darren’s experience, he was invited to provide insight and advice during the development of Training Terrace – Develop’s fully to-scale artificial street, which was unveiled at the refurbished York centre earlier this year.

Working alongside Daryll Garavan and Jim Donnelly, Darren gave invaluable guidance from a trainer’s perspective as well as being able to draw upon his experience in his previous role to input into the design of the facility, which has been built to safely recreate emergency response scenarios.

Proudest moments

One of Darren’s key personal highlights was achieving his Level 3 Training Assessment Quality Assurance (TAQA) qualification, a merit that felt long awaited after having worked in the industry for so many years. After putting it off to begin with, his many years of experience made him a natural fit to guide new generations.

He says that he genuinely enjoys coming into work every day, bringing a fun but focused take on gas utilities training and giving back to the industry by training the workforce of the future.

As a trainer, Darren is also able to find a sense of accomplishment in the success of others and enjoys seeing delegates who have completed initial qualifications with him return to Develop to request his expertise as they take their next step in their career development.

Further resources

Visit our Resource Centre for a range of materials to help you plan and manage your utility training needs.

Visit our Gas Distribution page to see our full range of upstream gas training courses.

Meet the Team: Dan Sutherland, Senior Water Systems & Legionella Trainer

   18 June 2023         Blogs

In this month’s meet the team blog, we’re introducing Dan Sutherland, our Senior Water Systems & Legionella Lecturer.

Entering into the legionella risk sector

After starting his career in sales and customer-facing roles, Dan developed a variety of transferable skills that propelled him into the legionella risk sector. Working in the industry at various water hygiene and treatment companies and training for over 17 years to date, Dan has gained expertise in training / assessing and conducting legionella risk assessments in a number of different environments. In risk assessment, his experience led him to work in progressingly more complex and high risk environments involving commercial hot and cold water systems, spa pools systems, vehicle wash systems and other manufacturing systems. Notably, Dan completed the legionella risk assessment of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships complex and Gleneagles golf resort.

Throughout his career, Dan has always aspired to be a trainer and pass on his knowledge to others, by sharing examples of his own experiences in the industry.

Life at Develop

Dan joined Develop in 2015 and has been based in Swindon — a place he argues is ‘most famous for the ‘Magic Roundabout’, five mini-roundabouts around a large roundabout where unfortunately I’m one of many who have had a ding!’. As well as appreciating the green space and lack of traffic whilst living in Swindon, Dan is especially fond of only being a three-mile drive away from the Develop local office.

Demonstrating a wealth of skills and experience, Dan has been a valued member of the legionella / water system senior team for eight years. In his role, Dan works with the Cross Industry Group Training Manager, Kate Denial, to support the delivery of all Develop’s legionella/water systems training programmes. His day-to-day duties include delivering training and assessments as well as writing and developing course materials, which allows him to share his skills, knowledge and real-life experiences first-hand with delegates.

Dan is just about to release a further course on legionella risk assessment of hot and cold water systems where the focus this time is compliance.

Outside of his daily tasks, Dan has also featured in a creative production where he worked with a professional videographer to create a 20-minute video regarding practical advice on conducting risk assessments in the legionella industry. He says that seeing and hearing yourself on screen is definitely an experience he won’t forget but a great one that allowed him to share the skills and expertise that he’s developed over the years. 

How success is measured

As a testament to his continuous development and experience, Dan has now progressed to become the Senior Trainer for the Cross Industry division. When asked how he measures his success, Dan cites the look and delivery format of newer material, his unique skills he brings to the mix and says that he finds a sense of accomplishment from seeing the increase in knowledge, understanding, clarity and impact his style has.

Dan explains, “I’ve faced various challenges during my career but I like to take a positive attitude and use my experiences as a way to build my skills and train delegates.”

A testament to Dan’s success as a trainer, can be seen in the feedback that he receives from delegates. One delegate who recently sat Develop’s Role of the Responsible Person course, posted the following feedback on Develop’s LinkedIn, “I really enjoyed the legionella course this week with Develop. Dan, the trainer, was excellent, really knows the subject and presented the course in a relaxed and engaging manner. It’s always good to refresh your knowledge and reinforce what you already know.”

Water Systems & Legionella training

To view Develop’s full range of water systems and Legionella training visit: Water Systems & Legionella – Develop Training

To find out more about our two-day course on Legionella Risk Assessment of Hot and Cold Water Systems (Practice) (WS7), visit:

Further resources

Visit our Resource Centre for a range of materials to help you plan and manage your water systems and legionella training needs.

Professional accreditations