June 2017 at Worksmart – Golf, Samaritans and Summer School

Another month rolls by in the Worksmart calendar- and it’s been a very busy one. We have been from the top of the UK right to the bottom, going all the way from Aberdeen to London. This week’s blog will show some of the things we have been up to in June.

The month started with our second annual golf day on the 1st of June, which was held at Dundonald Links Golf Course. The weather may not have been the best to say the least, but a fantastic day was had by all. The game began teeing off at 11. There were 7 teams in total, who were made up of Worksmart staff and valued clients and suppliers. Following a wonderful dinner, the winners were announced. We cannot thank the wonderful staff at Dundonald Links enough for their welcoming approach and we thank them for supplying all the help throughout the day.

After this, we had the opening day of the newly completed Ayrshire Samaritans office in Kilmarnock on the 9th, which is a great job to work on. This event was attended by several local political figures and suppliers, as well as the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire, John Duncan. Mr Duncan complimented the work that the Samaritans do for the community, as well as praising Worksmart for our strong work ethic for completing this fast-track project on time. Worksmart are passionate about helping those in need, and the Samaritans are an excellent charity. We must also thank all the suppliers and sub-contractors who helped us on the job, including some fantastic furniture provided by Ayrshire College that was given free of charge.

This month finished with the Ayrshire Chamber 5-a-Side football tournament, which was held on the 28th. This event was held at the Powerleague in Kilmarnock, and was a very enjoyable day out. Our team consisted of a mix of both office-based staff and our on-site staff, most of whom play football regularly. We faced tough opposition in our group, from teams representing the Ayrshire Chamber, Brownings, Fortress Security and QTS all proving a challenge to our team. We managed to win, lose and draw. We would like to congratulate QTS for winning our group.

Worksmart have also just completed work at Arnold Clark in Stirling, which included a refurbishment of one of their Citroen showrooms. Now, onto what is coming up Worksmart over the next month. The largest piece of work we have secured for the coming months is the summer works in several local colleges. These include the Ayrshire College campuses and several colleges in Glasgow, including Easterhouse and Springburn. As well as colleges, we are also proving glazed partitioning to the brand new Willie McIlvanney High School in Kilmarnock. As you can imagine, our marketing apprentice Kieran is thrilled to be going back to school so quickly after leaving, and we will surely find something for him to learn (either that or we could just give him a colouring book).

In addition to our college works, Worksmart have secured several projects with Mitie. We are always able to carry out work for clients of all sizes and in all sectors of industry, so contact us to see how we can help your business. Our glazed partitioning team are currently in the Scottish Power headquarters in Glasgow, as well as right across the road on Mott MacDonald’s new offices in St Vincent’s Plaza. Worksmart are always willing to fully dedicate ourselves to your fit-out, refurbishment or storage needs, and will ensure that your project is always complete to your specifications.

What can you except from Worksmart’s social media in July? The first big change will be a greater focus on our on-site team, as without them, Worksmart would not be able to complete the contracts we do. There will be lots of photographs of the contractors on our fit-outs and refurbishments, doing everything from fitting a door  and installing glazed partitioning to just having a brew (mine’s just milk gents!). We will also have more of an emphasis on showing our fit-outs and refurbishments throughout, from start to finish.

We are delighted to welcome new members of staff to the Worksmart office in addition to the several exciting things happening this month. The first addition to the Worksmart team is Billy Allan, who joins us as a Project Manager. Worksmart are also welcoming back a familiar face; earlier in 2017, we had Dylan Parker join us on some work experience, while he was still studying Quantity Surveying at Ayrshire College. Dylan’s Quantity Surveying has since progressed onto university level, and we thrilled to have him join the Worksmart team as a trainee Quantity Surveyor. As well as working for us, Dylan will be studying at Glasgow Caledonia University, to obtain an Honours degree in Quantity Surveying.

In conclusion, June has been a very busy month for Worksmart, but also an incredibly fun one. We have met so many great people in June, as well as getting to see some familiar faces once again. Now, we can sit back and relax… until Monday comes rolling round and brings Worksmart a whole new set of exciting challenges in July.

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Worksmart Go from Strength to Strength after Edinburgh Move

The decision to open an office in Edinburgh has paid off with the business securing work on a number of prestigious projects. We are now targeting further expansion as the reputation of our skilled team’s ability to deliver high quality work on time and to budget grows.  We opened an office in the city in 2016 as part of our growth strategy, a move which saw Gary McGurk appointed as Regional Manager to drive the business forward in the East Coast of Scotland. Having an office situated in Alva Street in the heart of the Capital has allowed the company to build upon our existing UK wide coverage to secure an increase in work which has allowed us to expand our team.

This year we celebrate our fifteenth anniversary, and we are looking to grow our current team of joiners, apprentices, Contract Managers and Quantity Surveyors at our Edinburgh office. Gary said: “We are growing steadily and to secure work with public, private and third sector clients is fantastic. The move to Edinburgh has allowed us to target further growth.” Some of the successful projects completed in Edinburgh have been with prestigious clients such as Napier University, the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Scottish Government.

In addition one of the most significant projects completed in the last year was in London. Scotland House is the official name for the Innovation and Investment Hub. That brings together officials from the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Visit Scotland under one roof to provide a Team Scotland approach to supporting businesses and attracting visitors and investment to Scotland. The purpose of Scotland House is to allow businesses to improve their presence in the thriving London market, and appeal to clients in this area. What makes Scotland House unique is its focus on supporting Scotland’s growth in London and beyond.

Officially opening Scotland House, the Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland said: “London is a very important trading market and a meeting place for the world’s business leaders, but for Scottish businesses it can be challenging and costly to try and break into these markets.”

Our Managing Director Stephen Neilson said: “We are thrilled to be working with such prestigious clients in Scotland’s capital, with these projects ensuring Worksmart can grow and expand our business. We are able to complete all types of projects in Edinburgh, from large seven figure refurbishments to small and medium-sized fast track fit-outs, as well as glazed partitioning and various other interior contracts in Edinburgh and throughout the UK.” We provide fit-out and refurbishment all over Scotland and the UK, recent projects have been completed in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Manchester and London.

The high level of repeat business and referred business from satisfied clients stands testament to the quality of our work and Gary said: “We are in many ways a traditional contractor with all the required foundations in place to deliver a comprehensive refurbishment service.” Our head office is in Kilmarnock, employing more than 40 people, including school leavers and Modern Apprentices, as well as being part of several graduate programmes and work placement schemes.

That focus on encouraging the next generation of talent is key for Steve Neilson. “We place great focus on encouraging the next generation of young talent. We have strong apprentice and graduate schemes and we currently have seven apprentice joiners on our books. We have a strong commitment to the community and bringing through the next generation of skilled tradesmen and women that the industry needs is a high priority for us.”

How Worksmart Won the 2017 FIS Gold Judges Award

As those who follow us on social media will know, we have recently returned from the FIS Awards in London. These were held at the impressive Dorchester Hotel in London and turned out to be a very successful trip for Worksmart. Our refurbishment project at the Gaiety in Ayr, won the Gold Judges Awards. This blog will discuss the entire process of winning this award.

The first stage of the awards is the entry process, which is only open to companies who are members of the FIS. This requires an online form to be filled out that will contain essential information about the job, including a brief description of the works carried out in the fit-out or refurbishment. Each entry costs to enter, and is submitted into one of several categories.

After this, the judges from the FIS each of the sites that have been entered into the Awards, with some 70 sites being visited throughout the UK. This time around, we were the only company in Scotland who were visited by the FIS, with two projects being entered. In addition to the entries, the judges were presented with booklets that were created by our digital marketing apprentice, Kieran Johnstone. These showed the transformation of the Gaiety from a rotten shell of a former theatre to a newly refurbished, gorgeous one that the whole community can be proud of. We also entered our fit-out of c2 Concept’s Glasgow office, for which c2 were the architect, into the Interior fit-out under £1 million category. This was a great office installation that contained an open-plan office, meeting area and café facilities.

The final stage was the awards in London. These were held on the 6th of June at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel, and was attended by some 500 members, a great turn out despite typically British weather. While we may have entered the Gaiety into the Interior Fit-Out over £1 million category, it actually ended up being part of the Judges Award section. This is the first award announced at the event, with Worksmart being one of two companies to win this award.  The award was presented to both ourselves and Mr George Reynolds, a director of Austin Smith; Lord Architects. The photograph at the top of this blog shows Worksmart’s directors with George Reynolds, a director at Austin Smith; Lord.

In the recent FIS Focus magazine about the awards, the Judges who visited the site said: “This demanding project required an immense amount of precision, ingenuity and attention to detail. Active and productive collaboration with the client and the design team was paramount and helped deliver, on time, an excellent finished result.”

In conclusion, Worksmart are delighted to have won this Award. We have always been thrilled with all the help the FIS have given us over the years, from continued support of our social media to displaying many of our jobs on their website. We are also delighted that the FIS has worked on major issues in our industry, such as retention and the skills gap in the sector, with a large amount of guidance programmes like the CITB now being in place. For any businesses in the interior fit-out and refurbishment sector who wish to join the FIS, you can register your interest here.

Now onto the Scottish FIS Awards, which are being held at the George Hotel in Edinburgh on the 6th of October. We have several entires in these awards. We have entered our fit-out work at Ellis Whittam’s new office into the interior fit-out category. We have also entered our work at GHA’s Kingsway Court into the Glazed Partitionign category, which was a fantastic office rebuild. Finally, we entered Cameron and Alex, two of our apprentices, into the apprentice of the year award, designed to show the very best apprentices in the construction sector of Scotland. More information can be found in the booklets available at https://issuu.com/makeitworksmart. We hope to see many of you there.

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Ayrshire Samaritans – Helping Ayrshire Cope

Worksmart have recently completed a fit-out of the Samaritans new Branch in Kilmarnock town centre. Cathy and Hilary from the Samaritans sat down with our Digital Marketing Apprentice Kieran Johnstone to discuss how this will affect them.

KJ: Hi, what made you chose Worksmart to fit-out your new office?

AS: We chose Worksmart after a competitive tender process, with several other interior contracting companies tendering alongside them. We eventually chose yourselves due to your excellent reputation with small, medium-sized and large fit-outs as well as your continued support of our charity, with events such as your casino night and annual golf day helping to raise a large amount for our cause.

AS: We also couldn’t have managed to get these new offices without the help of East Ayrshire, who were excellent in supplying these new premises. With the building formally being the Johnsons’s Dry Cleaners, it provided a decent sized space that will allow our volunteers to help people.

KJ: What will this fit-out help you with the most?

AS: More than anything else, it will allow us to show that we are here. We are in the town centre of one of Ayrshire’s largest towns, and this Branch, with our bright colours, show that we are always here no matter what. Talk to us and you will always be listened to and emotional support given you can ring us for free on 116 123, visit us during our opening hours or email or text us. Please visit Samaritans.org.uk for all options.

KJ: I recently read an article all about mental health in the construction industry. Why do you feel these figures are so high?

AS: In times gone by, there was always a very masculine culture associated with construction, and this was also a largely male-oriented sector. It has also previously been mostly younger men who contacted us who make up the majority of the construction industry’s workforce. While times have changed for the better on some of these issues, there are still far too many lives lost in this industry. It is an alarming fact that there is significantly more deaths as a result of mental health-related causes than workplace accidents in construction. Worksmart are part of several schemes, including Mates in Mind, which aims to encourage workers in the interior sector to be more open with their problems, as well as provide training on how to deal with people suffering with issues.

The works on the Samaritans consisted of a medium-sized fast-track interior strip out and fit-out. The scope of the works included ceilings, partitions, joinery, mechanical and electrical services, fire alarms, power and lighting, decorations, flooring and furniture. We would like to thank all our suppliers and contractors that worked with the team and helped with donations of materials and labour.

There have been several visits to site throughout the project, beginning with a pre-start visit with several local councillors and politicians, who got to see the site before work began. There has also been a visit from Brian Whittle MSP, as well as Construction Management students from Ayrshire College, giving them valuable experience of an almost-complete site.

We would like to give special thanks to Ray Walkinshaw and Janice Steel from Ayrshire College, for their supplying of second hand furniture from the college free of charge. Overall this was a great project and a fantastic team effort all round.

The Samaritans new Branch will be opened on the 9th of June by the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire, John Duncan. Samaritans volunteers will be joined to celebrate this opening by representatives from Worksmart, businesses and local politicians who have helped Samaritans achieve their new branch.

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