Menstrie’s CALM Training celebrates 21st Anniversary

Menstrie-based CALM Training celebrates its 21st Anniversary this year and, in that time, it has grown from humble husband and wife beginnings to team of 13 with clients all over the globe.

The organisation CALM (Crisis, Aggression, Limitation and Management) can trace its beginnings back to the mid 90s and the Local Government reorganisation which created the current local government structure of 32 unitary authorities covering the whole of Scotland.

This resulted in a large scale restructuring of local Social Services and David Leadbetter, a social worker, decided to build on his long term collaboration with experts in Academia, Health Board and other public and private sector bodies concerned about the neglect of aggression management issues, to launch a new training body.

CALM Training’s aim was, and still is, to offer specialist training to those who work in residential childcare, in areas of challenging behaviour and in roles where they come into contact with those who have social, emotional and behavioural needs.

The staff at CALM provide courses that have been meticulously researched and designed for specific purposes. And through it all, runs a strategy of ensuring approaches taught, for example Restrictive Physical Intervention, are lawful and ethical.

After a steady start, CALM really began to develop in 2000 when their first employee, Helen Stevenson, was hired as a trainer, up until David had been doing all the training. This new employee enabled David to concentrate on the strategic aspect of the business.

Helen, still with the business, and now a Director takes up the story, “The 2000’s were a time of huge expansion for us. Pretty soon after I started another trainer joined and we quickly grew from working with only one local authority in Scotland to the stage we are at now where we work with 28 out of 32”

Helen is Operations Director and runs the business day-to-day, casting her eye over staff workstreams and ensuring the very highest levels of customer relationships are maintained.

She continues, “I’ve seen many changes in the 18 years I’ve been with the business. We now hold regular training sessions in England, the Republic of Ireland is a growing market, we have clients in the USA and Canada and our Business Development Manager, George Steele, has recently had a number of meetings with potential clients in Canada. In the last few months I’ve even taken enquires from Australia, Botswana and even The Falkland Islands!”

In 2008, Helen was part of a Management Buyout with Clinical Director Dr Brodie Paterson, a registered mental health and learning disability nurse whose background is in challenging behaviour. He has degrees in Psychology, Education and Social Policy and is author of nearly 100 articles, chapters and text on violence prevention as a clinical, organisational, social and political problem. Dr Paterson is at the cutting edge of his sector and regular works with the government and cross party working groups on carving out social policy and regulations.

However It’s not all been plain sailing for Helen or CALM Training, a little after this Management buyout, the financial crisis meant that the new Management Team had a some serious decisions to make. With an expanding workforce, government austerity becoming an almost daily news item and with 85% of CALM’s clients in the public sector, a new business model was sought.

The new team acted fast, digital technology was embraced and integrated, office space was re-organised whilst their, by now, team of trainers became home based.

To save money, they were advised to buy elsewhere rather than continue rent their office space from Ceteris at Elmbank Mill, Menstrie.

“Menstrie is important to us”, explains Helen, “our office-based staff are local, the business was launched in Menstrie and it has always been based here. Ceteris offer us safety, security and have been understanding of our changing needs throughout each stage of our development. I know that if there is a leak in the roof in the morning, it will be fixed in the afternoon. It’s a peace of mind that allows us to focus on the business”

Ceteris offer business support via the Business Gateway Clackmannanshire contract and this has also helped CALM Training on their journey. “The quality of support is fantastic with free workshops and online support being particularly useful.   Due to our ongoing international expansion, they even organised an International Strategy Development day for us with Scottish Enterprise which provided us with plenty of ideas to take forward”

Angela Ogilvie, Operations Director at Ceteris said “It’s been wonderful to watch CALM Training develop over the last 21 years and to flourish into a global business from their base in Menstrie. They are a real pleasure to work with and I am delighted that they continue to base themselves at Elmbank Mill.”

All of this strategic planning and local support has resulted in CALM Training now having a full complement of 13 staff including 7 trainers working alongside the Directors, Finance and Business Development functions.

New staff are carefully selected and most are ex- nurses, social workers or teachers which ensures a deep understanding and empathy with clients. Where there is a knowledge gap, CALM Training invest in the higher education and training of staff.  For example George Steele had his MBCA funded and Sandra Bao, her PHD.

Looking to the future, they hope to continue their overseas expansion and to further embrace Digital technology to the benefit of clients and staff.

Last September, they launched MyCALM, an online “train the trainers” portal offering a high quality, digital platform for worldwide learning including an exclusive discussion board and informative seminars.

The reaction to this development has been astronomical and so, instead of the planned annual Autumnal intake, there are now two training cycles (April & September) to cope with the unprecedented demand. 

Further to this, their CALM Associates programme and Trauma Associates programme have the honour of being credit rated by Edinburgh Unit as Level 11 SVQ, the equivalent to a Masters Degree.

To officially celebrate their 21st Birthday, CALM Training are planning a gala dinner in Clackmannanshire early next year with key clients and distinguished guests.  Look out, too, for their redesigned website at

Asked to summarise CALM Training Helen said “We are ethically driven and it’s all about doing the right thing for vulnerable people. In the current climate, it can be difficult for public sector bodies to use outside specialist support however our focused training, policy writing and belief in cultural change ensure all-round services unmatched in our industry”

For more information, call 01259 763681 or email You can also follow CALM Training on Facebook and Twitter.