In conversation with Julia Vaughan-Griffiths, Principal of The School of Natural Health Sciences
by Alison Brown
From Therapists Side by Side
Alison Brown of Therapists Side by Side talks to Julia Vaughan-Griffiths. Julia is the Principal of the School of Natural Health Sciences, a distance learning school that offers a wide range of complementary therapy subjects.
Alison: Thank you very much Julia for talking to us! Firstly, the school has been in business since 1997. What market changes have you seen in that time?
Julia: Is it really 16 years ago, that’s scary! We have seen many changes, naturally. However, one of the most significant has to be the switch from sending our course material by post, to emailing it in PDF format. No one sends post these days. Everything is done on the PC. Why not? It’s quicker and more reliable. Educational needs have changed dramatically. Going to college to study has almost been eliminated for those who are ‘struggling with the clock’ to fulfil busy lifestyles. Studying from home has had a ‘Lift- Off’! Many say they wish this change had come around sooner. It is easy and more relaxing to study away from a classroom. The pressures are off and studying can be turned into a ‘gentle and pleasurable learning curve’.
Alison: A real boon to those at work during the day, or looking after their family! Despite the recession, the school continues to grow. What do you think are the main reasons for the school’s success?
Julia: We are fortunate as we provide the ‘best tools’ (our courses). Our audience in the main is those who are looking for ‘new careers’, and Therapists who are looking to ‘expand their practices’ with additional therapies. Our ‘fees and special offers’ make our courses a very attractive proposition. Having a ‘solid accreditation procedure’ both in the UK and worldwide has been essential to our growth. Insurable qualifications play a major part in our success! Just looking around our website adds great confidence to the visitor. Our 16 year track record and around 22,000 students studying with us give great confidence to those who are looking at our site for the first time.
Alison: Your courses are offered as self-study or tutored. Which is the most popular option of studying?
Julia: As Tutored and Self Study are provided through ‘distance learning’, everyone’s needs are accommodated. Tutored with marking and return of answer papers at the end of each lesson, plus the extra support provided by the Tutor in terms of answering students questions, and adding support throughout the study period is the extra bit of ‘pampering’ required by many. However, Self Study attracts the majority of our students, because of the affordability factor.
Alison: An endorsement for SNHS distance learning has recently come from people who are working within the National Health Service (NHS). You must be very pleased. Is this likely to become an expanding market?
Julia: We have always had a large following from NHS staff and long may this continue. These individuals are looking for non medical ways to enhance the lives of those who are ill. It could be as simple as learning relaxation techniques! Many choose the enhancing treatments with essential oils, and Aromatherapy massage. Nutritional advice plays an important role for those who are sick. The list is endless, and as ‘eyes open’ to the fact there are other ways to help the lives of those who are ill, our interest from National Health Service (NHS) staff continues to grow.
Alison: That is really good news for the industry! What do you enjoy most about your work?
Julia: My work gives me a buzz! It gives me people contact with the great team who work for the School. It also provides great challenges and creative opportunities, producing Newsletters, Special Offers, and generally keeping our procedures both contemporary and yet always with an ‘eye on future needs and development’. For example social and business networking developments are always a challenge. I guess I am very lucky to have a job I enjoy.
Alison: Social and business networks are definitely coming to the fore, as Therapists Side by Side are discovering! Can you describe a typical working day?
Julia: Naturally, I also keep in close contact with our Self Study Team and Tutored office. However, I work mainly with the ‘website enquiries’ side of the business. In my view it is essential to be aware of the emails that come straight from our website or through recommendations from others. How we reply to ‘initial questions’ about our study procedures is the first glimpse an individual will have about how we operate. Their picture of us will be formed by our responses. A typical working day gives me the opportunity to work in a hands-on capacity. I am in and amongst what is happening! My favourite question to my staff is ‘Who is going to make me smile today?’ It works – everyone likes to smile and, whilst this promotes a bit of a challenge sometimes, it is an achievable one!
Alison: Thanks very much Julia for giving our readers an insight into the school.
Principal, The School of Natural Health Sciences (SNHS Ltd)
Tel: 08717 17 42 87 UK or +34 952 486 340 Overseas
Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm GMT
‘Therapists Side by Side’ E-zine.
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The target market is ‘therapists in practice’, and students of complementary/holistic therapy.