Case Studies


The International Learning Centre (ILC) is a provider of Employment, Training and Community Support Services, delivering to more than 8,000 people over the last eight years in South Manchester.

The ILC offers learndirect programmes, Train to Gain and ESOL services, with access to eLearning, tailored to individual need and employability skills.   Courses are delivered to all parts of the community and particularly for those from Black Minority Ethnic groups with various social, language and economic barriers.  A wide variety of subjects are available through training packages that are learner-focused and meet the customer’s individual needs.

Staff at the Centre work in various ways with customers including one-to-one support.  The ILC manages large-scale learndirect and NVQ provision (through Train to Gain), designs and sets up databases, intranets and other project-specific resources which aid efficient delivery and it is now delivering Flexible New Deal services to over 1,500 customers annually in Greater Manchester.

The Challenge

The ILC saw an opportunity to develop into a new area of business – providing learning for 14-19 year olds.

To offer excellent service levels to this new customer profile, the organisation was looking for brand new and robust safeguarding policies/ procedures. These were to be accompanied by a strategic approach to training staff at various levels to ensure prompt action was taken over any safeguarding concerns.

The ILC wanted the reassurance of working with expert advice and guidance in responding to complex safeguarding concerns. At the same time, they had undertaken a review of their Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Policy and found it was lacking in detail and needed updating.

The company was attracted to Athena by our different approach to the delivery of training, our interactive style and access to our experienced, team of former practitioners.

The Athena Solution

We offered a consultation process to ILC and within this we scoped:

  • a review for a long term strategy
  • enabled the registration of an approved provider – an independent school
  • created new policy and procedures for safeguarding children
  • updated existing policy and procedures for safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • provided training in Safeguarding Children Levels 1 and 2
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Levels 1 and 2

Implemented an Advice and Guidance service for on-going support in relation to complex concerns

The Outcome

Mustafa Abdul Hussein, Managing Director, said: “Everything including the process was well planned. We had an agreed working schedule, and Athena was prepared to allow flexibility when Helen was double booked. The product came in on time and we felt Lisa was a member of the ILC team. She provided practical examples during discussions that we could relate to.

The whole process has increased our awareness that vulnerable adults could be attending Manchester International College (MIC) as students – this has triggered a change in attitudes and opened our eyes. The college has reviewed their procedures and welfare support for students to take account of the needs of vulnerable adults.

We have noticed that there has been an increased number of phone calls to our Safeguarding Leads Helen and Pauline.

The work we did with Athena identified that the existing HR support and policy and procedures did not link into Safeguarding issues. We have now upgraded our HR support, contracted a new provider and their policy/procedures provide better links with Safeguarding.

Funders have commented how impressed they are with the level of Safeguarding training already done and the extent of the detail in the new Safeguarding policy and procedures. This has increased our confidence in bidding into the new business area thus developing the company into provision of education for 14-19 yr olds. The new Safeguarding structure and policies and procedures has complied with strict quality and accreditation criteria for the application process for new funders and business areas. This has definitely helped to secure the funding bid.

We recommend using Athena if you are a company that wants to update its Safeguarding policies and procedures, training and structure. Athena provided an integrated approach and bespoke workable documents. We had a good rapport with the Athena team, including good verbal and written communication with all staff.