A Worcestershire man, who became a surveillance specialist during a 13-year army career, has set up his own business – teaching counter surveillance techniques to personal injury compensation claimant
A Worcestershire man, who became a surveillance specialist during a 13-year army career, has set up his own business – teaching counter surveillance techniques to personal injury compensation claimants.
Andy Kift, from Malvern, came up with the unusual idea during a post-army career as a surveillance operative for an international surveillance company. “I began to feel very uncomfortable with some of the methods used by insurance companies to undermine genuine compensation claims,” he explained.
But the 54-year-old, who has rheumatoid arthritis, feared his lack of business experience might count against him and thwart his entrepreneurial ambitions, until he was referred to Remploy, the UK’s leading provider of specialist employment support.
“I knew all about surveillance but almost nothing about business,” admitted Andy, whose internet-based company provides counter surveillance training material, including e-books and videos. “However, Remploy provided a nurturing environment and some much-needed expert advice.”
Adam Woodruff, an employment advisor at Remploy’s Worcester branch, was inspired to help Andy. “Initially, the most important thing was to convince him that I was treating his ideas seriously. After that it was a case of putting Andy in touch with colleagues who are specialists in self-employment,” he said.
Humera Rafiq, Remploy’s business advisor in the West Midlands, confessed to being ‘blown away’ by the level of detail in Andy’s 48-page business plan.
“But because of his inexperience, he hadn’t really thought about marketing his business and how he would cope without a regular income during the development stage. That’s where we were able to help.” she said.
“Humera never tried to put me off pursuing my dream,” recalled Andy, whose new business launched earlier this year and has already gained a healthy number of new customers. “Remploy’s support has been crucial. I have developed a very good relationship with Adam and Humera who are now more like friends than business advisors.”
Added Humera: “When Remploy candidates like Andy express an interest in self-employment we are here to help with bespoke business support. We also work with partner organisations to ensure candidates have access to the high quality support they need.
“Of course, self-employment is not going to be right for everyone. But it could be an option for people who require flexible working patterns as a result of a disability or health condition. It also aligns with Remploy’s mission to help support more people into sustainable employment.”
Picture caption: Andy Kift, right, with Remploy employment advisor Adam Woodruff
For further information and interview requests, please contact Remploy press office: 0300 456 8121
Notes to Editors:
- Remploy was established 70 years ago to provide training and employment after the Second World War for injured and disabled ex-servicemen and miners.
- Since 2010, Remploy has found almost 100,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health conditions and other disadvantages.
- Remploy works with more than 2,500 employer partners including Marks & Spencer, BT, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s and the NHS
- Remploy has an increasing focus on providing specialist disability employment services to people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities
- It invests in developing innovative approaches and services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and a vocational rehabilitation service
- In July 2014 the Department for Work and Pensions launched a commercial process under which Remploy Employment Services would leave government ownership by March 2015
- On 12 March 2015, Remploy entered into a joint venture with MAXIMUS, a leading operator of government health and human services programmes in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia
- The joint venture will help develop Remploy to its full potential, enabling it to support many more disabled people into work
- Remploy formally left government ownership on 7 April 2015