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 your staff access to expert support and advice way after the training room door is closed. See what people say about our courses and after-course support.

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 1000 courses to the advice sector over the last 10 years and is considered to be one of the leading trainers in the field. He has designed and delivered many of the 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)

Previously a welfare benefits specialist for Citizens Advice, Will now works for Working Families giving employment and benefits advice to parents, and for Child Poverty Action Group Scotland as a second tier adviser. Will also contributes to Child Poverty Action Group's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook, and is a former author of their Child Support Handbook. He has trained for Gingerbread, the single parents' charity, as well as Advice UK and CPAG. He is a regular contributor on benefits issues to BBC Radio 4's Moneybox Live and has appeared on Sky News discussing welfare reform.

 

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 with 15 years’ experience. She now works for Citizens Advice Bradford as a welfare benefit specialist.  Maria has previously worked in solicitors firms, Law Centres and with various other voluntary organisations across the UK.

Laura Morrell, Trainer (she/her)

Laura has more than 25 years experience working within the advice sector, having originally volunteered at Citizens Advice as a student.  Laura became a Welfare Rights Officer for Colchester Borough Council and later in Essex County Council’s Benefits Team, where she worked closely with social workers and other front-line services delivering benefits training and technical support. Laura has spent the last 13 years working in local Citizens Advice offices as a Welfare Benefits Caseworker. Alongside front-line work, Laura delivers training on benefits and skills associated with working in the advice sector for Citizens Advice and Advice UK, amongst others. Laura is a trained lifelong learning teacher and a qualified instructor in Mental Health First Aid.

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 are now enjoying handing over the admin reins as they slide gently into retirement and doing as much gardening, painting, writing and Sudoku as they possibly can.

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 trainer 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.

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 teams 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.

Maureen Bello, Trainer

Maureen is currently responsible for  the Advice Service within a housing association. Maureen 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 which 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.

Bez Ely, Trainer (they/them)

Bez has worked in welfare benefits for over eight years. They 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.

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.

Winnie George, Administrative Assistant (she/her)

Winnie has worked in the teaching and finance industry for the past 10 years. In the past, she has worked as an underwriter for a large insurance firm and a teacher for children with special needs. She enjoys general administration and coding. In her spare time she runs a cooking blog which she enjoys thoroughly and can often be found in the kitchen making something exciting.

FOR 12 MONTHS' FREE EXPERT BENEFITS SUPPORT,  book onto one of our open courses (or book an in-house course for your organisation). Any Benefits Training Co. course attendees wanting further advice with specific cases should contact the email address on their e-certificate.

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©2020 The Benefits Training Co.               info@benefitstraining.co.uk