As part of my role in the business, I am fortunate to be able to develop my own personal interests which in turn help to raise the profile of the business and engage us with the wider community.
I am an active member of the North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC) and I am honoured to have been appointed Chair of the Durham branch by my peers. My work with Hodgson Sayers and the chamber has seen us address many subjects that are of great interest to the business, one of them being apprentices.
It is well known that both our executive chairman, Billy Hodgson and managing director, John Sayers, were apprentices. Many of our contract managers also started their careers as apprentices, so our youngsters get the benefit of learning from people who have progressed via a similar career route.
The development of talent is something that I am passionate about and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the Esh ‘Build My Skills’ – a year-long employability skills programme which provides students with a rounded introduction to the world of work through regular timetabled business engagement sessions.
This programme aims to share the knowledge and experiences of the workplace between schools and industry. I was invited to get involved and presented the topic ‘the world of work’ to 225 year 8 students at St Leonard’s School, Durham.
My presentation covered how to behave in the work place, what to expect and how to present yourself as the ideal employee.
The students then submit and return a number of checkpoints for review. As part of my role, I helped to support the students with the completion of a ‘checkpoint’, which forms part of the students employability portfolio.
On the 26th March, I will be delivering a further presentation covering checkpoint 4, how to produce a cover letter and CV, to 100 year 12 students at the Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy.
Recently, I joined our regulatory affairs manager, Glyn Neasham, at a careers fair in conjunction with Consett Academy. I attended the afternoon and evening sessions and we spoke to a number of pupils about their career choices and also to parents who attended an evening session.
It was fantastic to open the evening up to the parents for, along with teachers, they are the biggest key influencers in their child’s life and the decisions they make in respect of their futures.
I have also taken on a role as a North East LEP advisor at the Academy helping to inform the staff about the benefits of good career guidance benchmarks, which were successfully piloted by the Gatsby Foundation. These have now been adopted within the governments careers strategy programme.
I will be working with them to roll out strategies to help them meet their Key Performance Indicators. The Academy also has a virtual reality room in place which means the world of work can come into the classroom.
This is a great learning experience enabling pupils to get a feel for the working environment of their choice. So, if they wished to go down the construction route, the room would resemble a live site.
We also intend to host business breakfast panels so students can have the opportunity to question entrepreneurs, business managers and other senior members of the community on their experiences and advice in the wider world.
In addition, as part of the Future Business Magnates competition sponsored by Business Durham, I am engaged as the business mentor to a cohort of year 8 students from North Durham Academy who are taking part, looking to improve their understanding of what it takes to create, develop and run a new enterprise.