We’ve had the pleasure of working with Paul Chuter to launch his new recruitment business – Enable Teacher Recruitment. We had a great time working with Paul putting together his new business – and we can’t wait to see what the coming years hold!
We caught up with Paul and asked him about his recruitment career journey – and what led him to start his own recruitment business with SSG.
Tell us about your recruitment background?
I started in teacher recruitment in 1997 with TimePlan Education, previously I was a qualified PE and History teacher. I had a great time at my interview with TimePlan Three Shires in Hemel Hempstead and they offered me a job as a consultant which I was not expecting as I was registering for supply teaching. I took them up on their offer and initially I found it quite difficult to be in an office all day long. I combined working in the office and would cover daily vacancies that we could not fill. I took to the work like a duck to water and within 6 months TimePlan had promoted me to a senior consultant.
Things went really well and at the end of 1998, I was offered a job as Recruitment Manager in TimePlan’s West Midlands office in Birmingham. I started there in the January 1999 and to be honest, it was a real struggle at first. We had very few teachers and very few schools using us. I worked hard, covered the daily vacancies that we could not fill myself and built good relationships with schools. What really launched our success in the West Mids was a recruitment trip to Jamaica in 2001. We went with Sandwell LEA who provided one of their leading Headteachers for the trip to Kingston. The Headteacher and I must have interviewed about 60 Jamaican maths and science teachers. We appointed 32 teachers for secondary schools in Sandwell. At that time teaching agencies could get work permits for teachers, so things worked really well. The Jamaican Ministry of Education were making teachers redundant at the time, so we had no moral issues about recruiting from there. Several more recruitment trips followed to Jamaica, Canada South Africa and Australia. I led on most of these trips and accompanied various Headteachers from West Midlands Authorities. The turnover of the office went from around £700,000 to £2,750,000 PA in the 6 years that I was there.
In December 2004 I moved to Kent to become South East Regional Manager for TimePlan. I also became a business partner with them and formed my own company to run the south-east as a franchise. It was not easy as the south-east operation had some major issues that the previous team had left. When I started, we only had 12 teachers on our books! However, as it was a franchise if I was morally and ethically correct, I could run things how I wanted. I got myself a sales coach and learned everything I could about selling, I combined some new motivational techniques and I applied similar principals and working methods that I had in Birmingham and things rapidly improved. We targeted influential national leaders of education for recruitment trips overseas who recommended us to their colleague Headteachers. Turnover went from £700,000 in my first year to £3,400,000 in 2013. GP increased exponentially, and it was a very successful period. More than 50% of the whole companies’ secondary teachers were being placed by me and my team in Kent and our Permanent sales were double that of the next nearest office. I had a great time and took headteachers to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada and the USA.
After nearly 20 years’ service, I left TimePlan at the end of 2016. I was starting to feel a little run down. I devoted 20 years of very hard work and needed a break. I had 9 months out. I did some travelling and some online sports trading which I had a passion for and basically recharged my batteries.
In September 2017 I started working for Recruit a Teacher as a Director of Talent which was pretty much a startup company. This was a different experience for me as previously I had gone into struggling offices and turned them around. It was a first for me to go into something that was just starting out. I wrote the recruitment policies, designed the forms, registered the company with relevant safeguarding and qualifications authorities and started building a platform on which the company could move forward. I had a six-month contract at Recruit a Teacher I ended up staying a further 5 months to the end of the academic year. I built good relationships with new schools as there was no set geographic area and placed teachers as far apart as North Yorkshire and Kent. I left Recruit a Teacher with a solid platform on which to build a successful business.
What was your motivation for starting your own recruitment business?
After being my own boss for 12 years I found it difficult to be employed again in particular by people that had no teacher recruitment background. I felt the need to be in charge of my own destiny.
What sectors do you cover? What roles do you specialise in?
The education sector, permanent contracts and long-term supply throughout London and the home counties.
What can customers expect when they work with you?
I think my statement on the website sums us up; “we are dedicated to delivering awesome customer service. Only accepting teachers, we would be happy to have in front of our own children, we are proud and passionate in supplying our schools with their greatest asset: the right people.”
What are your long-term plans for the company?
Hmmm, World Domination! To be honest, though, I’m not 100% sure. When I was at TimePlan South East I wanted a massive business that totally dominated TimePlan as a company and the South East Region as a whole. I wanted us to be the biggest single agency in Kent and I guess a regular £3 Million turnover made us quite close to that.
I’m at the start of the journey with Enable, as long as we are successful there are several options available. We could progress to a multi-office company with overseas offices but at this stage of my life, I’m not sure I want the hassle now. I’ve learned the hard way that you need to have a life and that you need to focus on your home life. I’d be quite content with just me and one employee working on the business with a respectable GP that allowed me not to worry too much about the bills!
We’d like to thank Paul for his insights and wish him the very best of luck with Enable Teacher Recruitment. We can’t wait to see him achieve world domination!