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TTA celebrates its 14th birthday

On December 10th  TTA celebrated a very special anniversary. The business was 14 years old. We’ve certainly come a long way since the business was founded back in 2004 and are rightly proud of all we achieved. In business terms we’re now a teenager, but fortunately we’ve managed to reach that point without any hormonal overloads or screaming tantrums. Instead we’re now a well-respected and established logistics and HGV training provider. Mind you, it’s not always been easy and there have definitely been some tough times; but through hard work, perseverance and determination we’ve managed to achieve more than we could ever have thought possible.

So, what’s the story behind Transport Training Academy? How did the business start, how did it manage to grow and survive through one of the bleakest recessions the country has faced for many years, and what are its plans for the future? The best-placed person to ask is TTA’s Managing Director, David Coupe. Here’s what he had to say:

How did you come up with the idea of establishing a transport and logistics training organisation originally?

“I’d worked in the transport  and logistics industry from leaving school, working predominantly for small hauliers, for many years so had lots of experience driving trucks all over the UK and Europe as well as working as transport manager and warehouse manager for some, but I wanted to do something different: something where there was the possibility of progressing and getting on. In one of the last small hauliers I worked for I realised after a couple of years that simply wasn’t ever going to happen. So, I thought I would go and work at a big company where I could spread my wings. Unfortunately, I soon realised that I wasn’t really cut out for the ‘corporate’ environment. After a couple of months, I decided that it wasn’t for me, so I found work with a medium sized haulier that had a large amount of warehousing and over 50 drivers. The work was fine but the team I joined were well established and I came into the job as an outsider. I stayed there for about 3 months until the penny finally dropped that I needed to do something different.”

“So, I went back to driving. But despite many years’ driving experience I found that getting on wasn’t quite as straightforward as I imagined it would be. I decided to start with agencies as I wasn’t sure what sector I wanted to go back into. What I did find was that that before they’d give me an assignment at any of their affiliated companies I had to go and have a driving assessment. I was stuck then by just how ill-served the smaller and medium sized haulier was when it came to pre-employment/post-accident assessments and driver development. There was no standard qualification you could present to a potential employer which proved you were able to do the work required safely and efficiently.”

“I looked around at the formalised qualifications and training on offer and realised that what was available was pretty poor, but I got them anyway, so, I went to work for a local training organisation, then moved on to a slightly bigger company that was relatively new who said they wanted to do something ground-breaking in terms of training, but it didn’t take me long to recognise that what they were offering wasn’t really that good. It was at point I finally realised that if I wanted to provide a training service that was really benefited the industry and its workforce, then I would have to do it on my own and be the boss of my own business.”


What was the plan when you started out on your own?

The idea was really simple to start with: me, employ couple of other people with a couple of trucks and a fork truck, work hard during the week and finish early on a Friday to go to the pub – the Friday pub thing has never happened though. That was the plan, but as we all know plans don’t always work out the way you expect them to. Things went well in the first year of trading because with lots of enthusiasm and hard work. But after a while you start putting feelers out and making contacts, then it struck me that I like the idea of this. It was certainly hard graft with early starts and late finishes Monday to Friday and weekends as well, but it was work that I enjoyed doing.”

“I’ve never wanted to work from home, so I looked around for a place to rent. I manged to find a small office in a semi-derelict building just outside Bolton. I had the logo designed and some branded marketing materials, we still use the design, then eventually as the work built up we ended up renting 4 rooms in the same building. The recession was very tough with lots of sleepless nights and wondering if we would survive but I stuck with it. During this time was when I met Rachael. She was working at Volvo and I was doing a bit of subcontracting work for them, I got all the work that no one else would do. We got on well from the start and when she left Volvo we still kept in contact. it was during a coffee and discussion that we thought we might be able to develop the business further, to a semi corporate one that offered the sort of logistics training that the industry was missing.”

“We realised that we couldn’t take the business forward working out of a semi-derelict building, so we spent the next 18 months looking for the right place. It was tricky to find the right spot as you needed space for classrooms, office space, warehouse space to do the FLT training and somewhere to put the trucks: pretty much the same sort of requirements as a small haulier might need. Eventually we managed to find our current place in Atherton. We then spent the best part of £100,000 ripping the place apart and putting in office space, classrooms, phone and IT systems. After that it was just a matter of putting in long days, early starts and long weekends and dealing with many sleepless nights – haven’t I been here before… We now have 20 employees and a number of associates working with us on a regular basis. We’re now an established and well-respected logistics and HGV training provider serving the North West and beyond, so I guess it was worth the effort and all the sleepless nights.”

What plans do you have for the business over the next 14 years?

“We’d like to continue to build on what we’ve got. We’ve already got another office in Burnley and we’d like to do more with that. It would also be nice to have bought, or be in the process of buying, a property rather than renting it during that period. Ultimately it would be good if we could expand our footprint and become established in the Merseyside area. If we can achieve some or all of that in the next 14 years, we’d certainly be happy.”

Celebrate TTA's Latest success stories...

Aaron Cochran


Well Done to Aaron Cochran for passing his CAT C with us on 21st February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Ryan Talbot


Well Done to Ryan Talbot for passing his B+E with us on 21st February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Christopher Murnaghan

Transport Manager CPC

Well Done to Christopher Murnaghan for passing his Transport Manager CPC with us in February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Andrew Meanley


Well Done to Andrew Meanley for passing his CAT C with us on 14th February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Paul Donoghue


Well Done to Paul Donoghue for passing his C+E with us on 14th February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

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