Puzzlebox – no more death by powerpoint

Simon Pearson

For its latest Business Spotlight feature NSBL catches up with Puzzlebox’s Managing Director Simon Pearson. 

The Weston-super-Mare based company was founded by disabled entrepreneur Simon Pearson in 2009 to help businesses and schools implement effective methods of teaching and learning for staff and students.


Simon’s own struggles with learning in mainstream education – as a pupil and, later, as a trainee teacher – led him to establish Puzzlebox.

Starting in a residential special school he overcame his spastic diaplegia in 1979 to become one of the first pupils in the country to join a mainstream school.

Now he is looking to overcome stifled and ‘traditional’ training methods and learning techniques sometimes found in the boardroom and classroom.

Death by powerpoint

Because Simon believes current training is done in a way that fails to meet the needs of the individual.

He feels that many people suffer “death-by-powerpoint” or are overloaded with boring information, which fails to engage or interest them.

To combat this Puzzlebox provides study programs and qualifications to help learners of all ages and abilities to overcome study barriers and make learning a more attractive and less stressful process.

He comments: “We see each customer as an individual. Our purpose is to help find a solution for that customer so that they can realise their full potential”

Cut, cut, cut

But in a climate of swingeing cuts to the education sector Simon and the Puzzlebox team do face big challenges.

He comments: “Our biggest challenge during the recession has been how to continue our educational work when most schools and colleges are losing funding or cutting back.

“Our response has been to sell into the commercial sector delivering bespoke training events or writing whole training packages they deliver themselves. Whatever we do, it has to be engaging.”

New launch

A good example of this has been Puzzlebox’s newly launched “Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector” (PTLLS) which offers a blend of twilight face to face and online learning.

Ideal for those who are too busy to take time during the day but want to achieve a qualification to enhance their employability or widen their future options.

The techniques have been successful according to Simon. So successfull that their approach to presentation and communication have been adopted by national charities and businesses improving their communication and engagement with staff, customers and potential investors.

Currently, the company has four associates working on a number of projects including, in the last 18 months, four national qualifications endorsed by the UK’s leading awarding organisation – Pearsons/EDI.

Moral compass

Of the future Simon is confident: “Learning is our passion, in order to support our educational activities and research we have simply applied our techniques to commercial projects.

“The most important thing as we grow in such a harsh business climate is to retain the moral compass of the company ensuring that quality is maintained and the needs of the customer comes first – that’s what makes us stand out.”