How FIRST STEPS Can Help You During This Recession

The answers are below but if you want to know who we are, go to the end of the piece.

Geological training as part of a larger training programme for technical design staff as agreed with client company.
Changing times:
This recession has reduced the financial resources of many and a number of commentators believe the market that returns will not be the same as that which has gone. First Steps is adjusting to this, so that reduced budgets can secure a mix of educational products, services and training to suite the funds available.

Saving the employer money:
Every employer knows that training is an incredibly good investment if it can be afforded because it can be converted into efficiency, savings and profit almost immediately. Employers know staff training:

  • keeps the company safe
  • inspires confidence in clients
  • attracts quality recruits
  • retains staff, builds corporate wisdom and reduces agency fees,
  • leads staff towards Chartership and the benefits that follow to the company, and
  • broadens the company base, reducing reliance on services bought in.

  • But how can these benefits be obtained when money is tight? This is where First Steps can help. We work with companies to provide their training programme to suite their needs, resources, and budget, providing them with an official Training Programme they can adopt as their own. We are also able to design programmes that can be accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Agency of the Government. Talk to us: 0207 736 6889.

    Helping the individual:
    First Steps started as an Agency helping recent graduates get their first step onto the employment ladder when no other agency would help - hence the company name; so we are used to talking to people and treating them as individuals. There are a number of ways we can help, at no financial cost to you, especially if you are unemployed and want to keep your "hand-in" until an appropriate opportunity arrives. Talk to us, as everyone is different and what is suitable for you will probably be unique to your experience, interests, ability and circumstances: 0207 736 6889.

    "Show off" on First Steps:
    First Steps would be very pleased to put any audio and video material of a technical nature onto its website, which attracts many students. It would be a free advertisement for you which could help attract clients and (when that happy day returns) with recruitment.

    Research with First Steps:
    The founders and Directors of First Steps both have PhD's and have many years of experience designing, supervising, undertaking and reporting research. First Steps currently seeks two collaborators:

  • one to develop "proofing research" into the solidification of different types of slurries, and
  • one to expand into the acquisition and accumulation of data relevant to the conservation and management of old structures.

  • Should you be interested in either of these please contact us on 0207 736 6889.

    Some highlights for First Steps from the past 12 months:
    In addition to the activities listed and advertised on our web page (

  • First Steps has completed its 3rd year of in-house training for the Royal Engineers; a blend of basic engineering geology and soil mechanics.

  • First Steps has initiated a course of in-house training for an energy transmission consultant and contractor involving the theory and practice of geology in the field.

  • First Steps established the Geotechnical Industries Post-Graduate Specialised Award, approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority of the Government; details are on our web page (

  • Dr Michael de Freitas was invited to present the 9th Glossop Lecture of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society and a paper based on the lecture is to be published in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology.

  • Four Public Workshops lead by Dr de Freitas came from the Glossop Lecture on the following topics: The London Basin, Failure in mature landslides, Scale and its use in geotechnics and, The geotechnical significance of Boundary Layers of particles.

  • Dr de Freitas now heads the London Basin Forum which is dedicated to collating the growing amount of high quality geotechnical and geological data generated from major engineering projects within the capital, involving National Grid, Cross Rail, Thames Water, the Olympic site, the new Thames Barrier and the like, and using this to re-evaluate the geological development of the Basin from the Mesozoic to the Present, so setting the geotechnics of the Basin into its geological context. This will be a project of national and international interest. Please let us know if you would like to receive further information about the London Basin Forum (LBF) through its separate Email communication,

  • And for something completely different!

    First Steps has developed a GIANT CALENDAR for 2010 - spiral bound with one A1 sheet per month. £20 + £5.50 postage & packing UK, comes in cardboard tube. To see it visit our web site and click on Shop (

  • To receive dates of courses and other information regularly please let us know and we will include you in our newsletter. Once we have received your email we will forward you our latest newsletter,

    First Steps will be 10 years old in 2010; born during the boom it is now maturing during the bust, but retains its original mission to help train and educate those in geoscience whose circumstances place them at a disadvantage. As a result we have trained many hundreds of those working in geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering, via courses and in-house training, and established the Geotechnical Industries Post-Graduate Specialised Award, approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority of the Government; details are on our web page

    The company was started and is still run by its two Directors, Dr Michael de Freitas CGeol and Dr Christine Butenuth CGeol; both are experienced university teachers with over 60 years teaching experience at all grades from pre-A level to post doctoral researchers, including technical staff working in the laboratories and in the field. (

    We look forward to hear from you by email ( or telephone: 0207 736 6889).

    With best wishes

    Christine Butenuth

    Dr. Christine Butenuth
    First Steps Ltd.
    Unit 17
    Hurlingham Studios
    Ranelagh Gardens
    London SW6 3PA
    Tel: 0207 736 6889

    For further information please email First Steps Ltd

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