Blog of Knowledge

Inspirational blogging for the inspirational readers. Get motivated; get productive; get going and help change the world.

Happy Birthday to Us!

By Team TOK


Back in 2009, Managing Director Gavin Oattes and Directors Dougie Clark and Alan Burton led a company buy-out (the first of its kind) and transformed Tree of Knowledge into a revolutionary driver of the industry.

Fast forward 10 years and we’ve recently celebrated working with 1 million young learners and grown from a small number of 5 to a team of 23 superheroes.

Related Content: Meet the team!

It certainly has not been smooth sailing. Working through a recession within six months of the takeover set the precedent for various challenges to pop up over the years. However, as you would expect from an inspirational training company, these challenges have been consistently embraced. This sets a new precedent of growth and positivity which is much more fun to work with!

From working out of a Fife council office, offering one workshop to a small handful of secondary pupils, the company now owns its own building, with a range of workshops for Primary 5 pupils all the way up to school leavers, teaching staff and various corporate courses.

Along the way there have been countless memorable moments. One of the first opportunities that got the ball rolling was Gavin and Alan’s appearance on the BBC show Dragon’s Den. The appearance received a very popular reaction from the notoriously hard-to-please Dragons.

Since then there have been various TEDx talks, residential trips to the Isle of Arran with targeted groups of young people, Gavin being awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012, Alice Beveridge being named an ASB Woman of Inspiration in 2018, a silver COSLA award for the Rising Stars programme with Fife Council, 2 books released by Gavin Oattes (Shine and Diary of a Brilliant Kid) and an endless list of positive feedback from clients all over the country.

This has allowed the company to grow in various ways. In 2019, we will be opening up our second office to work more closely with the North of England. Located in Manchester, we welcome Michelle Farrell-Bell to the team as Regional Director. It has also allowed Alice Beveridge (Director and Speaker) to create a (presently) small team to promote TOK Wellbeing; our very own research sector aimed at exploring the mental health of young people in the UK.

2018 also saw Gavin launch Fire Up Scotland. An unprecedented event for young people in Scotland, it was TED meets T in the Park. Over 8-and-a-half thousand teenagers were packed into the SSE Hydro for a day of live music, mind-boggling magicians and some of the most incredibly inspiring speakers to light a fire among the audience.

The last ten years have been incredible. With some inevitable steps back, we have always managed to take two steps forward shortly after. So, whilst this post is a celebration of our 10th birthday and a chance to reflect on some wonderful memories and experiences, it is also a message that we are nowhere near finished. Things are bound to get bigger, better and more exciting as the goal for the next ten years and beyond remains the same, and as simple, as it always has been.

Be it 10 years or 100 years, we WILL Inspire the World.


Related Content:

It’s the BEST DAY EVER! By Speaker Chris Donnelly

We Planted More Than 1,000 Trees to Say Thank You! 

Why Tree of Knowledge?