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Welsh Government

Ally's story

Ally posing with her bike on a trail

Ally's Personal Learning Account has helped to boost her business.

An established business

42-year-old Ally Campbell is an experienced mountain bike coach who set up her own business, Campbell Coaching. She offers bike skills, coaching, guiding and trail management in the Afan Valley, South Wales.

As the only female currently offering accredited mountain bike trail management courses in England and Wales, Ally was searching for ways to continue building her business.

Ally said: “I have lots of experiences in the industry and with coaching, but I've always been interested in exploring the mechanical side of my work more. As a coach, you hope that people are turning up with their bikes in good condition, but if for any reason something is not quite right, I want to be able to fix the problem and advise my clients on what to do next.”

Expanding her business through training

Ally decided to complete her Professional Bicycle Maintenance Level 2 with the Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Account programme to develop her own understanding of the bikes she works with day to day. She also wanted to improve the service she provides to her clients.

She said: “In addition to building my own coaching skills area with jumps, drops and other train features to help develop my client’s mountain biking skills, I decided to complete a course through a Personal Learning Account.

“The course was amazing, and the knowledge I’ve gained will really benefit my business. I already offer mountain bike trail skills and coaching, but I am now able to offer maintenance workshops as well.  A Personal Learning Account has opened my business up to explore new opportunities and provide a more comprehensive service to my clients.

“Having been around bikes for such a long time, you get to know your way around. But completing this course through a Personal Learning Account has helped to upskill me to be able to accurately check the bikes knowing that I’m now formally qualified to do so.”

Access to skills development

As part of the business, Ally provides female-specific coaching to help encourage other women to access professional skills development in her industry.

Ally said: “Mountain biking is often seen as a male-dominated sport. I’ve been coaching in the industry for 18 years, and from the beginning to now, there has been such a huge uptake of women riding at all different levels. There is still a way to go but I’m proud to be able to offer a relaxed environment to help women access and progress their skills.”

It’s so important to access the services on offer to us and continue developing our professional capabilities throughout our careers. A Personal Learning Account is a great way to do that, and I’d encourage anyone wanting to grow and expand their skills to consider one."

Explore Personal Learning Accounts to find out more, or get in touch with Working Wales.