Who we are

Our mission

At the Benefits Training Company we believe learning should be fun. We also believe it should be accessible to all, whether you are new to benefits or have many years experience.

 

We work hard to make sure our courses are the best. Our trainers work collaboratively, observe each other and share good practice so we can guarantee the highest standards.

Training with support

We believe the best training combines a dynamic course with ongoing learning. That is why all our training comes with an inclusive 12 month post-course consultancy service, allowing you or your staff access to the experts in our team way after the training room door is closed. See what people say about our courses and after-course support.

Benefits Training Co. team

We offer 12 months because the law governing benefits changes frequently and an annual refresher is essential. So if your staff receive one day of benefits training from us per year, they will never have a benefits related question go unanswered again!

More about us

David Stickland, Trainer / Director (he/him)

Our courses are designed and overseen by David Stickland, who ​has delivered over 2000 courses to the advice sector over the last 15 years and is considered to be one of the leading trainers in the field. He has also designed and delivered many of the benefits courses on other national programmes including those of Child Poverty Action Group, Advice UK, Shelter, Homeless Link and Gingerbread.

 

From 1998 until 2003, David worked as a welfare benefits caseworker within Citizens Advice and the independent advice sector in London.  Before benefits advice, David trained and worked as an English language teacher and from 2002 David returned to his teaching roots when he joined the London Borough of Greenwich Welfare Rights Service as a Training Officer. He lives with his family in London and enjoys swimming, watching films and walking with Dorothy, their dog.

Will Hadwen, Trainer (he/him)

Will is a second tier adviser with Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and contributes to Child Poverty Action Group’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook. Former roles include rights adviser at the charity Working Families, where Will continues to volunteer, specialising in benefits advice for working parents and carers. He also previously worked at Citizens Advice and nowadays does locum work for their Expert Advice Team. Welfare rights is a full-time obsession but when not advising, training or writing Will is a keen birdwatcher and singer.

 

Michael Chambers, Trainer (he/him)

Michael Chambers is a welfare rights and money advice trainer with 25 years experience. He has provided training for Child Poverty Action Group, LASA, Shelter, Citizens Advice Bureaux, SITRA, local authorities and many other voluntary, statutory and charitable sector organisations. He is a team manager at Hertfordshire County Council's Money Advice Unit, where he has worked since 1992. Michael manages Hertfordshire's training programme, which delivers benefits and money advice training to council staff as well as the private and voluntary sector.

Sarah Hayle, Trainer (she/her)

Sarah has been a welfare rights worker for 25 years and is Advice Services Manager for a large independent advice centre in Northamptonshire. This involves specialist benefits casework as well as supporting and managing the advice team.  She designs and delivers training to advisors, housing associations, local authorities and voluntary sector groups and gives regular update briefings on welfare reform.  Sarah has a degree in Social Policy and in 2014 graduated from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives Higher Diploma in Law and Practice. 

Maria Solomon, Trainer (she/her)

Maria is a welfare rights trainer and adviser with over 20 years’ experience. She is currently senior adviser for a charity  in Leeds, working on benefit claims up to and including the Upper Tribunal. Maria originally qualified as a solicitor and has previously worked as an adviser for Bradford City Council, Bradford Citizens Advice, CHAS, Oxfordshire Welfare Rights and Leeds Law c+Centre.

Laura Morrell, Trainer (she/her)

Laura has more than 25 years working and delivering training within the advice and public sector. She worked as a welfare rights officer for Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council’s benefits teams and later supervised staff and volunteers in Citizens Advice offices across Lincolnshire. Laura has worked as a National Trainer for Citizens Advice, and Advice UK, amongst others, and is a qualified lifelong learning teacher. She developed the experiences she had whilst working with vulnerable adults into becoming an Approved Mental Health First Aid Instructor with Mental Health First Aid England and  is an Associate Suicide First Aid Instructor with the National Centre for Suicide Prevention Education and Training. Laura loves spending quality time with her family and her dog, enjoying walks in the countryside where she lives.

Sarah Batty, Trainer (she/her)

Sarah has 25 years experience in the welfare rights world. Having started as a Citizens Advice volunteer she went on to work in local authorities, housing associations and voluntary advice sectors as a welfare rights adviser, trainer and manager. She has also been an MP caseworker. Sarah has delivered and developed specialist training for Child Poverty Action Group for 6 years. She completed a Masters Degree in Social Policy in 2017 and is a regular speaker on social security policy. Sarah is a Welfare Rights team leader at Durham County Council and in her spare time plays the clarinet and enjoys walking.

Marcin Brajta, Trainer (he/him)

Marcin qualified as a solicitor in February 2020 and currently practices in welfare benefits, housing and public law at Hackney Community Law Centre, where he regularly challenges the decisions of local authorities and the Department for Work and Pensions. Having joined the Law Centre as a welfare benefits caseworker in 2016, Marcin now also oversees the work of their welfare benefits team. He previously worked for Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau as their Income Maximisation and Debt Caseworker.

Liam Casey, Trainer (he/him)

Liam is a freelance welfare rights worker, advice session supervisor and trainer. He has worked with Citizens Advice, Benefits and Work, Pro Bono Community, and independent advice centres in Glasgow. Liam also works as a financial literacies tutor for the Workers’ Educational Association in Scotland. He has previously worked as a community-based arts and education practitioner, working with young people and adults, where he developed his passion for participatory and inclusive training.

Maureen Bello, Trainer (she/her)

Maureen is responsible for  the advice service within a housing association. She has a degree in law and qualified as a barrister (non-practising) in 2010. After initially volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Tottenham, Maureen has worked as a specialist welfare benefits adviser, caseworker and appeals representative for several organisations including Hackney Community Law Centre, Camden Community Law Centre, Royal Borough of Kingston, Disability Law Service, Islington People’s Rights and Disability Advice Service Lambeth. Maureen is also a qualified Money Adviser with the Institute of Money Advisers.

Charlotte Richards, Trainer (she/her)

Charlotte is a welfare rights adviser with 19 years experience, she currently works at Bristol City Council.  She has written and delivered benefits training to a range to local authority employees, housing associations and  voluntary sector as well as providing specialist advice and  casework.  Charlotte enjoys getting out and about with her family and dog in the Forest of Dean where she lives.

Lindsay Fletcher, Trainer (she/her)

Lindsay has been a welfare rights worker for Citizens Advice Manchester for over 12 years following completing her Law degree. She helps supervise and train the new advisors and support the team's specialist queries. Her claim to fame is getting in the Guinness book of records for being ‘the world’s fastest texter’. Lindsay enjoys walking her 3 dogs, playing piano, cornet and saxophone.

Bez Ely, Trainer (he/they)

Bez has worked in welfare benefits for over nine years. He spent six years at Citizens Advice Brent, specialising in welfare reform, followed by working at national Citizens Advice in campaigns, public affairs and the welfare benefits expert advice team. Bez has also worked for the single parents’ charity Gingerbread and now works for the Disability Law Service as a welfare benefits adviser. They have a degree in German and taught English at a German secondary school for a year. Bez enjoys comedy, improv, theatre, music and exploring London’s many parks.

Ali Redford, Administrator / Director (she/they)

Ali Redford has worked in both the public and private sector as an office manager and administrator, mainly in education, PR and marketing. In past lives, they also worked as an actor, teacher and events coordinator and now mainly focus on writing and marketing for BTC while doing as much gardening, painting and Sudoku as they possibly can.

Victoria Longhi, Administrator (she/her)

Victoria has worked as a freelance administrator and website manager for the past 10 years. Previously she worked developing and marketing financial software in London and New York.  Her free time is taken up with her 2 young children and huge dog, Bear. As a family they all enjoy skateboarding, cycling, climbing and walking. She is a twitcher so generally loves being outdoors looking at nature.

Caroline Cook, Administrative Assistant (she/her)

Caroline has worked in office management for the past 4 years and prior to that, had a career in the music industry in music licensing. She is a keen organiser and enjoys being involved in local and charity events. In her spare time she enjoys exploring new places to walk with her husband and children.