Auldhouse at 30: inside the education game

Auldhouse at 30: inside the education game

Owners Melanie Hobcraft, Leigh Richardson and Craig Jones look to the future

Melanie Hobcraft (Auldhouse)

Melanie Hobcraft (Auldhouse)

Credit: Auldhouse

In looking back over 30 years of channel history in New Zealand, Auldhouse has experienced a series of major life changes.

Founded as a leading technology training specialist, the business has been passed from private hands to corporate ownership, spanning Gen-i, Telecom and then Spark.

Fast forward to 2013 and current owners Melanie Hobcraft, Leigh Richardson and Craig Jones bought the business back.

“Being independent gives us the autonomy and agility to make decisions on the spot,” said Hobcraft, speaking as managing director of Auldhouse. “We can do what’s best for our customers and partners.”

In spearheading company operations since 2000, Hobcraft cited the power of independence as a key factor in returning the business to private-ownership, allowing Auldhouse to adapt to changing market conditions at speed.

“We focus on being the first to deliver training on new technology in New Zealand,” Hobcraft added. “That means having the trainers first, so we can deliver vendor partner training and offer customer training before anyone else.”

In line with such a strategy, Auldhouse has aligned with a host of leading technology vendors locally, including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, Citrix, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud.

Today, cloud is naturally a core aspect of the provider’s suite of offerings, built around the key environments of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Aside from technological enhancements, Auldhouse has also overhauled its training practices, evident through the roll-out of Auldhouse Anywhere in 2016, billed as a flexible, live online training service, available to customers in any location.

“We have long-standing training agreements in place with some of the largest government agencies and several private sector organisations in the country,” Hobcraft said. “This shows that our customers trust us as their advisor when it comes to technology training.

”New Zealanders have a very high expectation of the training they receive. So we set and maintain exceptional standards of service, and continuously up-skill and develop our trainers to ensure they’re world-class.”

According to Hobcraft, Auldhouse’s finance and support staff are equally crucial to the company's success.

“Our support staff do a fantastic job managing customers who come in for training and certification,” she said. “At times we have over 100 people attending courses at any one of our training centres.”

In 1988, husband and wife team Judy and Duncan Forrest, realised that the proliferation of PCs in business meant the need for training on the applications being used on these machines was also exploding.

And so Auldhouse was born.

Within a few years, the business became the first Microsoft training partner in New Zealand and took up residence in the once-iconic Gluepot live music venue on Ponsonby Road, Auckland.

“Where people once partied over a few pints to legendary acts like Hello Sailor, Chris Knox and Midnight Oil, they now learned about bedrock Microsoft applications like Windows, Excel and Word,” Hobcraft recalled.

In 2019, Auldhouse's head office and Auckland training centre still hosts people learning about the latest technology in the same landmark style.

“After 30 years in the market, Auldhouse is a strong brand with a lot of positive associations - our customers know the name and know it represents quality,” Hobcraft added. “We’ve just had our best financial year and our biggest quarter to date.

“After being in business for 30 years, that says a lot. Our team, led by Leigh in Auckland, Craig in Wellington and Rachel Lattimore in the South Island, continue to do an outstanding job in growing our business.”

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