Hello, I’m Jackie Black. I have been the training manager at York Associates, a language and communication training company, for the last three years but have also enjoyed being a member of the training team there for almost 23 years. In parallel, I have a very different role as a director of our family-run delicatessen and catering company in York.
I studied French, linguistics and social studies at the now defunct Ripon and York St John teacher training college in the farming town of Ripon but spent much of my spare time here in York, a place I have grown to love.
After graduating, I took a teaching job in a private school in Athens, followed by a succession of administrative jobs back in the UK whilst I saved up enough money to enrol for my RSA TEFL course at International House. These administrative roles seemed incredibly tedious at the time but actually turned out to be very useful because I was sent on management courses, and also I learnt a great deal about book-keeping, PAYE, VAT and HR. I regularly find myself drawing on these skills when working with Business English clients and feel I can offer them genuine insights from my own experience, rather than depending on textbooks alone.
In my early years at York Associates I frequently worked with confectioners and product technologists from a local chocolate factory. This I enjoyed immensely, and still do. It combined language training with communication skills and intercultural training but there was also a certain degree of pastoral care, helping people to adapt to a very alien way of life and an even more alien dialect!
These days I run courses abroad on effective business writing for international companies, another aspect of training which I find very rewarding. Writing as a skill has become ever more complex for our clients in recent times as they often need to influence key decision-makers in their companies and this can be a great challenge.
My long freelance career with York Associates resulted in a permanent post with the company in 2010 and nowadays, I am also involved in the administrative side of the business. I have contact with clients and agents abroad, write course proposals, arrange accommodation and help trainers with new resources and technologies. I still train whenever possible, focussing more on courses with a virtual element because this is an area which interests me deeply, hence the book Working Virtually.
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