The Irish business revolutionising how companies manage training
Skillco is giving firms an opportunity to book and manage training in the one hub
Brendan Maloney, founder of Skillco. Photograph: Martina Regan
Skillko is a bit like a Booking. com for business and industry training. It puts all the elements together in one place, allowing companies to search for, book, manage and pay for training courses online from a central hub.
The platform has two sides – one for businesses, the other for training providers – and part of the rationale for setting it up was to ease the administrative burden associated with keeping on top of training needs and records, says Skillko founder Brendan Maloney.
“Training documentation and records are still largely manual and as such are time-consuming to complete and prone to error,” he says. “Skillko doesn’t deliver training but rather facilitates its delivery at every step, and we have a growing list of vetted training providers for our users to choose from. The best way to describe what we do is as a next-generation training platform that’s creating an open marketplace for businesses and training suppliers alike to connect and transact business in a smart and efficient way.”
The Skillko platform went live last September and currently has 15,300 users, with more being added every month. Companies can use the platform to both book external trainers and to co-ordinate and manage in-house training. Skillko is based in Westport, Co Mayo, and employs seven people. Self-funded investment in the business to date has been about €450,000, and Skillko has also received a small priming grant from LEO Mayo.
Brendan Maloney has a background in health and safety and Skillko is his third startup. Having cut his teeth in operations roles with the utilities sector in the State and the UK, he co-founded Westbel, an overhead line contractor, in 2014, and in 2015 he set up health and safety consultancy Dynamic Safety Solutions. This business employs 46 people in the State, the UK and Europe and Maloney got the idea for Skillko from watching the consultancy’s clients struggling to juggle the different elements surrounding training, certification and record-keeping for both direct staff and contractors.
Having run his own businesses, Maloney was well aware of the hassle involved in keeping tabs on training needs. “There was always a problem knowing what training we had in place, when it was going out of date and where do we find the trainers we need to complete the training,” he says.
“From the other side as a training provider, we had no marketplace for companies to search for our service, we had large amounts of administration to complete once training courses were finished and we also had problems getting paid for work we’d done. It became clear to me there was a need for a platform to automate these time-wasting processes and to allow companies to be compliant and securely manage their own staff training and contractors.”
The Skillko platform provides users with features such as secure storage for certificates, a dashboard that shows the organisation’s training status and automatic updating of certificates once training is completed. There will also be a mobile app to ensure compliance on site. Skillko’s initial target market is construction and utilities, but companies involved in manufacturing and hospitality have also begun using the platform. About 70 per cent of the company’s business is currently in the UK and Maloney says the system is suitable for large and small businesses alike.
Skillko will make its money by charging a small commission when a course is booked through the platform and also through a user licence fee, which will be scaled based on users per month. There are three service levels: Basic, Pro, and Enterprise, and moving up the order adds functions such as allowing a company to put its own contractors on the platform to make it easier to manage the certification or records associated with them.