Training company keeps it in the family with new associate coach

By Anita Jaynes on 3 October, 2019

Swindon presentation and public speaking training company, Open Dawes Training, is not only growing the training team, but is delighted with who it has managed to tempt out of retirement.

Founder and Managing Director Chris Dawes was looking for an experienced public speaker and trainer, with a long track-record in business, and managed to attract the perfect new recruit – his father.

David Dawes has now joined the team at Open Dawes Training – which is a nice turn of events, as earlier in his career it was Chris who worked for David.

“All our courses are CPD accredited and I was looking for someone I could trust and who I knew would deliver our training to our very high standards,” said Chris. “David was the obvious choice, as we are a very close family and I worked with him for many years. I knew he would be a perfect fit for Open Dawes Training, I just wasn’t sure if I could tempt him out of the ‘good life’ now he has retired, so it is a huge vote of confidence that he believes in what we have created here. It feels like a huge coup to get him on board!”

Chris’s background is in sales, and for 13 years he worked for Dad David’s company. It was here he honed his skills in sales, business, and public speaking and presenting. This eventually led him to set up Chris Dawes Comms for his media work, and later Open Dawes Training Ltd to help others open doors by gaining confidence and improving their skills in public speaking and presenting.

Chris added, “One of the biggest compliments I have had in my business life is when I was compared favourably to Dad, being called a ‘chip off the old block’. I learnt from one of the best and it is fantastic that I have persuaded him out of retirement. It means we have done more than just added extra resources to cope with the increased commitments, but truly added value to the organisation and its offerings.”

David said, “I’ve always been a performer and I love to stand up in front of a room full of people and help them to understand how to be successful in sales and in presenting. Throughout my career I have been delivering sales presentations and seminars, and providing training for salespeople, many times alongside Chris, in my previous business.

“There’s a big difference between selling a product and selling a solution. What you are actually selling is almost a by-product of the solution.”

David hails from the Midlands and his first career was in acting, where he was apprenticed to a touring theatre company. He then went into catering, going on to become a restaurant manager, before deciding on a new challenge and joining the RAF, where he served on the Queen’s Flight as a Royal Engineer.

After leaving the Royal Air Force, David went into IT sales and had a very successful career, during which he set up his own software and IT businesses, based in the Swindon and Bristol areas. It was at his last business that he was joined by Chris, in 2001. In 2014 David, now 64, sold his company and retired.

David’s appointment as an associate is another stage in Open Dawes Training’s expansion plans. The company recently relocated to Nexus Business Centre and in addition to David’s appointment, Chris has taken on new PA, Claire Weaving.

Plans are also in hand to add further training, such as in sales, to complement the public speaking and presentation training.

Chris is also a sought-after motorsports commentator, business and live event host, voiceover artist, and runs Chris Dawes Comms as a division of Open Dawes Training.

Open Dawes Training runs CPD accredited public speaking and presentation training in groups and for individuals, either inhouse or at Open Dawes’s head office training centre in Swindon.

It is one of an elite group of small businesses in the Small Business Sunday network run by returning star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den, Theo Paphitis.

For more information visit, call 01793 238259 or email

Pictured above: David Dawes, left, with Chris Dawes of Open Dawes Training.