I-SA Assessment and Training


In 1998, a major national training company closed its doors and ceased to operate. Two of its employees, Shirley R Davis-Fox and Susan C Adams, set up I-SA Assessment & Training Limited to fill a void in the market place created by the demise of that national company. At the outset, Shirley and Susan employed nine staff members who had also worked for the now-defunct national training company. This arrangement turned out to be both I-SA’s greatest strength and its biggest challenge. This group of employees brought with them not only a wealth of knowledge which was invaluable, they bought with them an inherited culture which did not fit with the new owner’s vision of what their company should become. Recognizing that members of their staff were trying to fit I-SA into an old and ineffective mould took time and Shirley and Susan saw themselves reflected in their staff – they too were leaning on visions, aims and philosophies inherited from their former employer. They now faced the major challenge of bringing about an understanding – both within its own organisation and within the larger training and development community – that I-SA was not simply the old company in a new coat but was a new and very different company with its own culture, vision, aims and philosophy. The re-shaping of I-SA’s culture during its infancy proved to be its owner’s major challenge – and it was a long and difficult process. However, the challenge was more than met and I-SA now exists as a flourishing enterprise – always changing and yet adhering firmly to the vision, mission, aims and philosophy envisioned by its founders.

Success Factor

The three main factors that have led to IS-A success to date are a dedicated and well trained workforce, reputation and quality of delivery and a focused marketing effort. The firm also holds an Investors in People award

The Future

ISA Assessment & Training Limited currently operates throughout South Wales, Gloucester and more recently Central London. In the short/medium term it is the firm’s intention to expand its hairdressing division throughout the South West of England and long term to bridge the gap between Central London and Gloucester. The firm is also beginning to raise the company profile to widen knowledge of its name and activities beyond Wales and ISA successfully organised a major hairdressing competition in Cardiff in October under the name of I-SA’s Salon Cymru 2002. It is the founders’ intention to ally the business to major competition work throughout the UK and Europe and with it to raise the profile of I-SA as a first class training organisation, in the same way that other national and international companies such as Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal have used competition work to familiarize their names to people far beyond the boundaries of hairdressing. I-SA is currently putting succession plans in place as the company needs to grow and develop long after the existing shareholders have retired. To this end, a team of directors is being recruited to ensure succession that will enable the current owners to retire in 2008.