Henshall Centre changes hands

Henshall Centre has a new owner – our director of learning, Liton Ali, completed a buyout on 2nd June 2017. Having started in 1988, our founders, Keith and Maureen Henshall retired, leaving us as one of the UK’s leading PR training companies. Liton continues our mission to make the communications community more motivated, successful and happy at work.

After running his first Henshall Centre course in 2014, Liton became our full-time learning director, working to improve our learning experiences. Over the last three years, he has updated our range of courses and our team of experts and coaches.

When Liton first arrived, he set out to develop the training centre into a learning centre – adopting accelerated learning methods backed by neuroscience and giving customers more control over their education.

Liton explained:

“Training is usually something that’s done to you so – learning is always something you do for yourself. I’ve always aimed to make learning so enjoyable that it’s addictive. At Henshall Centre, we don’t really think about teaching – we prioritise guiding people to knowledge and sharpening their skills.”

We’re the same company

Since day one, our most essential function has been to help people improve the way they work immediately. We’ve always employed experts that work in their fields of expertise and used educational theory to enhance their workshops. Liton’s role has been to help them upgrade their courses into unforgettable learning experiences.

But some things have changed:

  • Courses are now limited to eight people per group. We started researching the optimum number years ago and halved the course limit. The new number enables trainers to coach each person individually so that they can improve rapidly.
  • Our days are shorter. Like most training companies, we used to start at 9:30 and finish at 5:00. Most of our courses now begin at 10:00 and end by 4:30.
  • We’ve moved to a less corporate, more learning-friendly venue in Vauxhall. When asked for a design brief, Liton requested ‘something between a therapist’s office and someone’s study’.
  • We have neuroscientific learning expert Stella Collins as an adviser, to make sure our focus on enjoyable experiences always makes learning more productive.

You’re more likely to learn things correctly when you have intrinsic motivation and curiosity. So we work on this stuff before, during and after a course. You’re unlikely to learn well if you’re bored or half asleep. That’s why we design enjoyable learning experiences that keep you active.

An interesting background

Liton grew up in a family business, began working full time at 16 and soon ran his first brand campaign for a local start-up. This involved logo design, copywriting, radio advertising and local PR.

The project set the tone for his career, and he learned various skills that enabled him to work as a journalist, copywriter, designer and in-house marketing director.

He has spent the majority of his career as a PR consultant and now describes his learning director role at Henshall Centre as his dream job.

The future

Liton’s goal is for us to evolve into a ‘blended learning’ company, providing knowledge and expertise to communications professionals when they need it most. He set up our online course production department in July and is working on a portfolio of on-demand courses to complement our workshops. You’ll still see him running some of our workshops, but the new role means he’ll spend more time behind the scenes.

Where’s Keith?

Keith spends his time between Florida and the Cotswolds with Maureen, co-founder of Henshall Centre, who happens to be Mrs Henshall. Keith remains a mentor to Liton. They both agree they wished they’d met 20 years earlier. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Want to know more?  

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