Training support helps orthotics company take a belt and braces approach to expansion

Beccy Smith, Managing Director of Lakeland Orthotics, with product demonstrator Malcolm the mannequin.

A specialist training provider which won an international award for courses aimed at helping firms safeguard their finances is now offering further tuition backed by a new round of funding and by success stories from businesses. 

Golding Computer Services is delivering computerised accounts and payroll courses having again been appointed by HCUK Training. The courses are available free of charge to eligible SMEs through the Humber LEP’s investment of money from the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Businesses including flooring contractors, cleaning companies and a service station and convenience store all provided testimonials which last year helped to secure the title of Tutor of the Year for Goldings Director Di Garbera at the International Association of Bookkeepers’ (IAB) Awards.

Beccy Smith, Managing Director of Hull-based Lakeland Orthotics, said the training was a key factor in enabling her to turn around her company after the loss of a major contract, and in providing a platform to launch a new business.

Beccy said: “The business has been recovering from losing that major contract in 2017 and going through that has given us the impetus to grow. With the time I saved on doing accounts I was able to launch another business. We plan to develop the new company and create jobs and we will also collaborate with other businesses, using their services.”

Alex Atkinson, Head of SSW Operations at HCUK Training, said the feedback demonstrates how the courses help businesses improve productivity and growth. He added that the benefits will be felt further afield as a result of HCUK now targeting businesses in the Greater Lincolnshire LEP area as well as the Humber, and with Beccy choosing Cumbria as the location for her new venture.

He said: “The Skills Support for the Workforce funding allows local SMEs to access fully funded training in a range of sectors and consequently we have seen a positive impact on productivity across many businesses who have then gone on to invest further in staff progression.

“Training is a key part of development and growth for businesses and the new round of funding will enable us to extend availability until December 2020 and broaden the geographic area to include Greater Lincolnshire. That presents a great opportunity for businesses in that part of the world and for businesses in the Humber with operations further afield.

“Our funding doesn’t extend as far as Cumbria but it’s clear that businesses there will benefit as a result of the skills, experience and confidence gained by Beccy in developing Lakeland Orthotics in Hull.”

Goldings are based in Hull and offer the training face-to-face or as distance learning with full tutor support by phone and email. There is even a free NUS discount card for participants, and the incentive of official IAB qualifications on completion.

Di said: “We know from the computerised accounts course that distance-learning is a great benefit for people and businesses. Some spread the training over a period of time and others do as much as they can straight away. Some do it as part of their work schedule and others fit it into evenings and weekends at home.”

Lakeland Orthotics was launched in 2015 after the liquidation of its predecessor, E Smith & Co Surgical Ltd, which was established in 1945 by Eric Smith, grandfather of Beccy’s husband Mark.

The couple had moved to Cumbria but began making regular visits to Hull as the business grew. Catastrophe struck in 2017 with the loss of a major contract but now Lakeland Orthotics is back on track and Beccy and her mum have also launched Holistic Reflections, which provides wellness consultation, products, services and events supporting people, pets and horses.

The plan at Lakeland Orthotics is for gradual recruitment to expand the team of 12 and for investment to modernise facilities at the factory in Wincolmlee, Hull, which turns out products including off-the-shelf and bespoke ankle-foot orthoses, custom insoles and hernia support carrying the Made in Britain marque.

Customers include the NHS, other suppliers to the NHS, pharmacies around the country and the private healthcare market in Europe. The company also hosts clinics, receiving referrals from GPs, and is in discussions to expand the service and ease the strain on hospitals in the area.

Beccy said: “I wish we’d been more proactive before we lost the contract in 2017 but not all the help is widely advertised. Two of us did the computerised accounts course in intensive sessions because we wanted to get it done quickly. We can now more accurately assess manufacturing and admin costs and we can look at the profits associated with individual departments and products.”

To find out more about the accounts and payroll courses and funding eligibility contact Di at Golding Computer Services on Hull (01482) 328706, email

For any other courses please contact Jazz Atkin on 07538 113323, email

[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]