GCS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE PLEDGE TO HELP SECTOR GET BACK TO WORK AFTER COVID-19

During COVID-19 many of our friends, colleagues and peers within the Construction & Building Supply sectors have been affected by redundancies. As specialist recruiters in these areas, GCS acted by pledging their recruitment services, free of charge, to help as many people as possible back into employment. GCS completed the pledge recently by getting 21 people back into employment for 2021

Michael Parry, GCS Managing Director explained; “The reasons we decided to launch the initiative were two-fold: Firstly, we were inundated with calls from great people in our sector, not used to finding themselves out of work, who found themselves in quite serious dire straits. Secondly, last year there was a very real sense of coming together within society, and this was equally prevalent within our sector.

A lot of our clients were making very generous charitable contributions and we wanted to do our bit.  We were in a unique position where we could really help some of those suffering due to Covid related redundancies.  If we were able to get a few people back into employment whilst helping fill critical roles for our clients free of charge, we were happy – we wanted to give back to our sector!”

Many businesses took part or supported the GCS Pledge – Travis Perkins, Huws Gray, GAP Group, Sunbelt Rentals, The Bradfords Group, Encon to name just a few. The Builders Merchant Federation also kindly supported GCS in spreading the message and whilst also helping run a similar scheme in the CLC’s Construction Industry Talent Retention scheme.

One of the final few pledge placements were made with Huws Gray, a leading independent builders merchants in North Wales & the North West. Huws Gray employed 2 people as part of the initiative and Terry Owen, Huws Gray Managing Director said;

“GCS reached out to us about their pledge to get people made redundant due to the pandemic back into employment.  To offer up their time and resources without charge I found highly commendable, and we were happy to support this worthwhile initiative.  I am pleased to say we have our GCS Pledge candidates working for us and we’re really happy with these new hires.”

Michael Parry, Managing Director, GCS

Having recently completed the pledge GCS want to thank everyone who supported the initiative. Michael Parry commented;

 “We are pleased we’ve contributed to help our sectors recover from the impact of COVID. 21 people isn’t a huge number, but we know it meant a huge amount to those few.  I would like to say a big thank you to the BMF for endorsing the pledge, thank you to all those businesses that supported the initiative and of course, a big congratulations to those people who have successfully embarked on their new career via the GCS Pledge of 21”

 

IF YOU ARE HIRING IN 2021 OR WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ON OUR RECRUITMENT SERVICES CONTACT MICHAEL PARRY.

e: michael.parry@gcsassociates.com
t:  0161 660 2548


Celebrating International Women’s Day: An Interview with Cath Mullin, Regional Director at The Bradfords Group

GCS Associates is proud to champion International Women’s Day 2021 and promote the on-going growth in diversity across our specialist sectors. We ask Cath Mullin, Regional Director at The Bradfords Group a few questions on her experience achieving success in the Building Supplies industry, and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.

Where did you start your career?

I began my merchanting career in 1997 as a management trainee with Travis Perkins.  I only intended to take the job for 2 years as it gave me a HND in Business and saved me the time and money of going to University!  After a short amount of time, I realised how much I enjoyed the industry.  I was recognised by senior management and was given the opportunity to move into external sales, quickly progressing to sales management.  In 2013 I successfully applied for the Sales Director position in Travis Perkins South West & Wales Region.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Travis Perkins but moved on shortly after a restructure.  I joined Bradford’s in 2016, initially as a Sales Director and have since moved into a Regional Director role, covering my home patch of Devon & Cornwall.

What attracted you to this sector?

Initially I was attracted by the management trainee scheme but having now completed 24 years in the industry, I can safely say what keeps me firmly attracted to builders merchants are the people – colleagues and customers.  Every day is varied and has its challenges, but I have a great network of friends and colleagues who are there to help when needed.  Being female has never impeded my ability to progress whatsoever.

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

Go with your gut instinct, don’t procrastinate in taking decisive action.  Enjoy every day and find a positive in every experience.  There will always be ups and downs, but it is your gift to make each day count.  Have a great attitude and ask questions, this will develop knowledge and bring confidence to your future roles.

Are their challenges or opportunities in working in a male dominated, or what’s perceived to be a male dominated sector?

‎In this industry, experience and knowledge counts. In my early days, people would be inquisitive and ask “how does a young woman like you end up in a place like this?”. As time goes on and you prove yourself through hard work, commitment, and determination; people stop asking that question. ‎

 

‎The experience and knowledge develop confidence, your reputation begins to proceed you and people recognise that. I have never approached a situation thinking what my male counterparts would do, you approach it based on your experience, learning and personal development.

Leading people is the same regardless of industry, so if you can develop this talent – you’re winning!‎

Have you ever had a mentor?

I’ve never had one officially, however an old boss, who retired years ago, has always been on hand for guidance and support, when needed.  Equally my current friends and colleagues in both my present and previous employment have always been great in this area.

How important is Diversity and Inclusion to The Bradford’s Group?

Hugely important.  We have many young women working in our business and not just the stereotypical admin roles, most of my great sales teams include women and they are certainly a match for their male counterparts!!

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers or is there anything else you’d like to share?

Be Brave, Be Confident.  Stay strong and determined and anything is possible.

Ask questions and think about the people at the centre of every decision your make.  Find your way to be the best people person you can, and this will help in absolutely any career you choose.


Looking for a new challenge or to recruit in 2021?
Contact Michael Parry: 

e: michael.parry@gcsassociates.com
t:  0161 660 2548


Don’t put your Career in Construction on Hold Because of COVID-19

For many of us, life feels like it is on hold now. We are going through the motions, getting through the day to day, just waiting for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic so we can hit reset and begin normal life again.

We hear this all the time from our candidates. People who were planning their ambitious career plans before the pandemic struck, talented people with in-demand skills within the Construction, Building Supplies & Hire sectors, have put all ambitions on hold.

“There’s too much uncertainty.”

We understand. Limiting risk is a natural response in difficult times. The media is full of stories about the damage the COVID-19 is doing to the economy as well as to people’s health, with job losses and many construction projects on hold. It doesn’t take much to see why people feel safer staying where they are.

But that doesn’t mean putting your career plans on hold is right decision. In fact, there are good reasons why you should think again about resurrecting those plans.

There is no time like the present

12 months ago, we didn’t think the pandemic would still be impacting our lives in such a significant way. COVID-19 is likely to have changed working practices and socialising for ever. Whether it gets better or worse in the coming months, if you had reasons for wanting to make a change in your career pre-pandemic then have those reasons changed? If you are still looking for a better salary, improved training and development or a bigger challenge, then why hold back? There are opportunities available within our sectors at every level.

The Construction, Hire and Engineering sectors are buoyant

The truth is, opportunities are still in demand within these sectors. We found in our recent market survey than 80% of employers are continuing with their growth plans in 2021.

Advertised job roles have moved back to pre-pandemic levels and will only continue on this trajectory as the economy moves back to normality.

Think 2-3 years ahead, to get ahead

Similarly, the companies that are planning now and pushing forward with transformative digital change and investment are likely to be the outfits that will lead the way in their field over the next two to three years. We’re living through a time of profound change. If you want to get on board with the winners in that process, the time to act is now.

Have confidence

With remote-working now the norm, and an ever-increasing focus on work-life balance & personal development, now is the time to consider whether you can see your career thrive at your current company or whether a move would be the best thing for your future. With little opportunity for micro-management in the current climate, if you are good at your job, have ambition and the right attitude, a new job opportunity in 2021 could be your time to shine.


IF YOU THINKING OF A CAREER MOVE IN 2021 OR WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ON OUR RECRUITMENT SERVICES CONTACT US.

e: enquiries@gcsassociates.com
t:  0161 660 2548


SENIOR LEADERSHIP INTERVIEW 2021: SPOTLIGHT ON ANDREW HARRISON

As part of our Senior Leadership interview series, we interview Andrew Harrison. Andrew has a distinguished career spanning 41 years working within the Merchant Industry. With a wealth of senior leadership experience behind him, Andrew shares his views on careers and leadership in the Merchant Industry.

Where did you start your career?

I left school with two career options. Should I join a growing supermarket business called Tesco or join a local Builders Merchant called Graham Reeves? I think we can all guess the route I chose. In my career, I have only ever worked for 3 businesses over 41 years. Firstly, Graham Reeves for 9 years, secondly Sharpe and Fisher for 10 years, who were then bought by Travis Perkins. I worked across various Travis Perkins group owned businesses, building my career and experience until now, when I retire from my role as Chief Executive Officer of the groups Plumbing & Heating businesses.

I never looked back, the merchant industry is a great industry to work in and gives people, no matter what their background, a real opportunity to succeed through hard work and dedication.

In the past few years I’ve also held various non-executive director roles, most notably the Builders Merchant Federation which was a great pleasure to be involved in.

What has changed most in the industry over your career?

The internet, without a doubt. It’s changing the way we all have do business and it has made pricing hyper visible. We live in the age of the disruptor – Amazon, Screwfix, etc. and digitalisation has made a huge impact on the way buyers behave. Simply, it has made selecting and buying products easier and more convenient for the customer.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated the move to online trading for most merchants, maybe moving the industry on by five years in just twelve months, that pace of change is unlikely to ease off.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Quite simply, the people I’ve worked with have been the highlight. It’s one of the few industries where people can come into an organisation from college or school get great support and industry backed training and, with the right attitude, can go right to the top if that’s what they want.

Over my career, I have taken real pleasure in developing people and helping them succeed. And it’s great to watch these careers grow and progress over the years.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

I would not hesitate in recommending anyone, regardless of background, to come and work within one of the many areas that the Merchant Industry has to offer. And it’s not just careers within the branches I’m thinking about, but also IT, Finance, Multichannel, Marketing, HR, Legal, Supply Chain, etc. These are important roles in helping a modern merchant be successful.

Regardless of education or background if you come into merchanting and work hard you will be rewarded. And those who have real drive and an entrepreneurial spirit (and a bit of luck) can rise to the top or start their own business.

What advice can you give leaders when managing businesses and teams through times of uncertainty?

Across my career, I’ve been through various recessions and times of uncertainty and, from experience, I believe there are 3 main things to focus on during times of crisis.

1.Stay focused on your customer. Understand what they need and adapt to provide that product or service. And this is true even in business as usual. Supply and demand changes so much, it’s so important to understand when to change to suit the market.

2. Your people are key. Keeping your teams motivated and engaged is vital, but I cannot stress enough the importance of good, honest communication. COVID-19 again has changed the way we all communicate, and good use of video calls can help greatly, especially with remote teams.

3. Manage your cashflow carefully. Costs need to be rigorously controlled and managed during harder times and if you can invest for the future, do so.

What’s next for you?

I’m excited to be joining the team at Lords Trading Group as a non-executive director starting in March 2021. And I’m sure I’ll stay involved in an industry that I love and hopefully make a difference.

IF YOU ARE HIRING IN 2021 OR WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ON OUR RECRUITMENT SERVICES CONTACT MICHAEL PARRY.

e: michael.parry@gcsassociates.com
t:  0161 660 2548