A Chat with Sarah Gilchriest, Global COO at Upskilling Course Company: Circus Street

Circus Street is an award-winning specialist provider of online training in digital skills, specifically designed for global enterprises. We partner with global businesses to help people learn better and work smarter. To do this we’ve transformed digital skills training by making it interactive, effective and informed by up-to-the-minute expertise. This enables businesses to develop digital capabilities at scale.

Over 600,000 people in 150+ countries are now using Circus Street to increase their digital knowledge and confidence. We work with global market leaders like Sanofi, Nestlé, Pfizer, P&G and Coca-Cola across their marketing and commercial teams on a broad range of digital skills, from eCommerce, social media, digital marketing to big data and analytics.


What do you think makes Circus Street unique?

It’s our people! We have provided an environment that enables our people to thrive and be their brilliant selves. We are one team, and celebrate our diversity and connection. This year, we won 5th in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company in the world.

This award is the definitive source for recognising organisations that are transforming industries, and we were honoured to have received it as it really shows how we get excellence from our people. We are committed to creating the best product, learning experience and account management for our clients. We can only get to that level of excellence for our clients through our people, which is why we place so much importance on our team’s wellbeing.

The happier they are, and the better the environment they work in, the more we can ensure that we always deliver the best to our clients.

The second element is our mapping of clients’ learning program objectives to their business objectives in order to create business impact. We deliver ROI on learning programs by testing in pre and post learning assessments, evaluating the business’s current status through our audit tool, and delivering a completely bespoke account management process that delivers real value to our clients.

Each client gets a personalised experience that connects their business and teams to goals. Checking in regularly on the progress of the program, and how the new skills are being cemented into the organisation is crucial to our offering.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

We have grown tremendously in the past few years. We now have global teams across EMEA, US, and Africa and APAC. Since our company was founded in 2011, our training has of course naturally developed to keep up with the latest technological advancements and changing business needs – the growth of Digital Transformation projects is a prime example.

We have always been online and built for the Enterprise client, training in strategy, insights, data, ecommerce, martech, digital literacy and so much more. Circus Street is a very fast growing company – we’re now delivering courses to some of the biggest global companies right across the world. We are excited by this, but our focus remains on making the best product in the market, such as our new virtual environment production style, which delivers the most engaging and interactive learning experience to date.

Dealing with such a wide ranging customer base over 600,000 learners and 150+ countries, has meant we’ve had to keep scaling and growing at pace.

What can we hope to see from Circus Street in the future?

In 2021, Circus Street was acquired by QA, who also own Cloud Academy. QA is the UK’s no.1 Technology Skills organisation, and provides the critical training and talent solutions that technology functions require to help their organisations win in the Digital Revolution, spanning critical disciplines such as Cloud Computing, Cyber Security and Software Engineering.

Together, the three businesses can make sure that companies are prepared for any fundamental changes to the way that they operate as a result of digital technology, helping our customers to modernise their businesses and deliver value to customers through upskilling their employees. Our focus is in the 3 core capability areas that an organisation needs in order to succeed in this space:

  • Technology
  • Digital Commercial and Fluency Skills
  • Product Management.

The great thing about working in educational technology is that it never stops changing! There are always new opportunities to provide different types of training on different channels and formats.

Practically speaking our range of services is going to keep growing to anticipate the needs and expectations of our customers, we’re going to continue our global expansion and we are investing a lot of resources in expanding the types of courses we offer.