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The Thoughts of a Worksmart Apprentice

Worksmart Contracts is always delighted to shout about the achievements of our apprentices. What better time to do so than Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021.

All this week, companies across Scotland have been celebrating their young apprentices and highlighting their achievements. We’re very lucky to have such a talented and ambitious group of young men and women who come to Worksmart as apprentices and work their way up.

22-year-old Mackenzie Mackie is an apprentice joiner with Worksmart and has been generous enough to spare some time and write about his life as a Worksmart apprentice.

Over to you, Mackenzie:

My names Mackenzie Mackie, I’m 22 years old and i’m currently in my second year of my carpentry and joinery apprenticeship. My apprenticeship lasts for 4 years and time is flying by.

At school I always studied the ‘hands-on’ side of things from CDT, woodwork, graphic communication, product design and computing. These are the subjects I remember enjoying a lot more than others, so I’m glad I’m in this line of work, despite leaving school and not advancing in any other further education surrounding these topics.

I’ve always been highly interested in the creative side of things. I create a lot online for a podcast I do with my friends, as well a lot of physical media. I grew up around joiners, so it’s not something entirely new to me, but when I was younger I never saw myself doing it.

Worksmart’s Operations Manager Gary Robertson helps out a lot with my families dance company and would always ask me if it was something I was interested in. Off the cuff one day, he told me Worksmart were hiring apprentices and asked if it was something I’d be interested in.

Not thinking too much of it, I forwarded my CV over and waited for a reply. I didn’t think much of because I didn’t think I’d actually be lucky enough to be asked to meet for an interview. But thankfully it all went well and here I am one year into my apprenticeship.

I find it difficult to enjoy something when I’m constantly doing the same things everyday, but with Worksmart every day is different. Seeing new faces and learning each day on the sites or at college keeps me interested.

This apprenticeship has taught me a lot of skills and plenty about myself too. I enjoy the work and love my college course so I’m very excited for what the future brings. My main interest is the graphic design side of things, using CAD to design 3D models of products or technical drawings. Because of this I’m thinking in future maybe advancing on to complete my advance craft and trying my hand at a university course to become an architect.

Although it’s all quite far ahead in the future, it’s something I’ve occasionally thought about. I also believe it’s important to have a goal to aim towards in life. Another goal I’ve thought about is owning my own unit in either Falkirk or Stirling and opening an arcade. Games are my biggest passion and I’ve thought a lot about designing my own store/arcade.

Like I said though, all of these are thoughts for the future. Right now I’d be lucky to cut a piece of timber square!

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M&E Contractor Joins Worksmart Group

Worksmart Contracts are delighted to announce the creation of a separate branch of the Worksmart family. EMC Projects will operate under the Worksmart Group and provide mechanical and electrical services on our fit-out and refurbishment projects in Scotland and beyond.

EMC Projects provide building solutions services on electrical, mechanical and communications projects throughout Scotland and the UK. They operate in all market sectors of commercial office, industrial, retail, education, healthcare & hotel & leisure.


After some twenty years of successfully working together in the delivery of some fabulous and complex projects, Mick O`Brien and Steve Neilson, along with the Worksmart Contracts Ltd board, created EMC Projects Ltd as a new entity and brand to work as part of the Make It Worksmart Group.

The skilled engineers at EMC have the experience to improve the overall service offered by Worksmart. EMC are experts in all things electrical, communications and mechanical. They can offer a wide range of services such as: structured cabling network solutions to fibre splicing services, electrical testing/inspection, lighting, electrical supplies, cabling, air conditioning, ventilation, CCTV, Fire Alarms, A/V solutions, plumbing and heating.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to the number of services EMC Projects specialise in and this addition to the Worksmart family will give us greater flexibility as an organisation. Worksmart will be able to offer better value to clients on future refurbishment and fit-out projects, being able to call upon EMC instead of bringing in other contractors.

This new partnership allows Worksmart to quote, plan and undertake projects in a more efficient manner. With everything in-house, the process will be shortened, and the result will be achieved faster for our clients.

The overall service will be of a higher standard too, as EMC will be working to the strict standards of everyone else in the Worksmart Group. This is an exciting development for Worksmart Contracts and we look forward to working closely with everyone at EMC over the course of this year and beyond.

We knew we needed the flexibility and focus of our own M&E business to work hand in glove with on our commercial refurbishment and fit-out projects.

Already with a successful first year under our belt during the pandemic, we have a solid foundation to build upon for our second year and beyond. In addition to our regular works, we have a significant level of Essential Working status projects on the go within markets such as retail and healthcare. We are very proud to be able to support our clients in such times.

Worksmart is constantly striving to achieve a higher standard of work for our clients. So far in 2021 we are continuing to work with our current and past clients while securing new work in the public and private sectors.

EMC have the experience, knowledge, and certification to ensure projects are successfully carried out. For further information on EMC Projects and examples of the types of projects they work on, you can click here.

To view past case studies click here.

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Luxury Castle Refurbishment Project at Glenapp Castle

After a long-term project in the hotel and leisure sector – in part due to the pandemic – Worksmart are delighted to have completed the handover for our refurbishment of the top floor and other key areas at Glenapp Castle.

Located in Ballantrae Ayrshire, Glenapp Castle dates back to the 1870s and was designed by the celebrated Edinburgh architect David Bryce.

It was built in the Scottish Baronial style and combines elements of both Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

After falling into an unfortunate state of disrepair, the property was acquired by the McMillan family of hoteliers in 1994. Since then, it has been a luxury hotel venue, giving guests the chance to enjoy the highest standards of luxury in an authentic listed Scottish castle and surrounding areas.

The current owners had the ambition and foresight to turn Glenapp Castle into one of Scotland’s most enchanting and leading hotel venues in the UK. Among the awards the Castle has received in recent years is the prestigious Sunday Times “Best Place to Stay 2020”.

The latest part of these renovations and upgrades is where Worksmart Contracts and Worksmart Fire Door Inspection came in.

The new refurbishment involved the complete redevelopment of the third-floor area into a luxury suite named The Endeavour, and the Glenapp Castle Penthouse Apartment. The suite boasts its own independent butler, private elevator, sauna, spa, multiple en-suite bedrooms and kitchen and dining areas.

Passive Fire Protection in Historic Buildings

Passive fire protection standards had to be upgraded to bring the Historic Scotland listed castle up to 21st century standards. This involved a great deal of work for the team at Worksmart Fire Door Inspection. New fire doors, access hatches, sprinkler systems and new structural timbers were installed, along with a vast array of Passive Fire Protection measures.

The result is a suite of the highest luxury. Not only that, but a venue which has been able to retain its historic charm while falling in line with regards to today’s modern safety standards.

For the Worksmart FDI team, this was a huge challenge. Bringing a 19th century building up to our modern standards of fire protection required great levels of skill and patience.

Specialist stone masons were brought in to help and new timber beams and calcium silicate boards had to be installed in various locations. A sprinkler system was also installed. Thanks to the hard work of Worksmart Fire Door Inspection, Glenapp Castle now meets all standards for fire door compliance.

An impressive feat for an historic building and more evidence of the abilities of the fire door experts, inspectors and certified tradesmen who carried out the work.

A pleasure to work with

Working with the client was a true pleasure. Our operatives on the job were blown away by his passion and vision for the hotel. Between Glenapp’s owner and their consultant building surveyor, our projects team found them both to be a pleasure to work with.

Throughout the project many of our operatives actually stayed on-site in order to keep travel to a minimum because of COVID.

For such a challenging project, the way everyone was able to come together and successfully carry out the works has been fantastic.

This is a job that will live long in the memory of everyone who was part of it.

If you’d like to enquire about a refurbishment in a heritage or listed building, contact us today. Whether your project is in the hotel and leisure sector or in a historic building, Worksmart Contracts and Worksmart Fire Door Inspection have what it takes to make the project a success.

Get in touch with our Business Development Manager James Harkins, we’d love to discuss.

[email protected]

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Is the Collaborative Office the Future?

Office Space after refurbishment

COVID has changed everything. As a species, we’ve had to adapt our behaviour and change the way in which we work. This has resulted in an exodus from the traditional office. Over the past six months, home working has become the norm. But what does the future hold for the office as we know it? And how can the collaborative office space and collaborative working spaces play a role?

What is a Collaborative Office?

Collaborative offices are work spaces in which people from any company can work. No matter the size of your organisation, your employees can make use of these flexible office spaces. They can be used to work or touch base with clients for meetings.

These are very different to the normal office set up, whereby a company will have a permanent office location.

In a collaborative office space, it’s possible for many different companies to be working underneath one roof.

The Rise of Collaborative Coworking Spaces

Collaborative coworking spaces have been on the rise for many years. And the COVID pandemic is only going to accelerate the trend. Many companies were already opting to save on expensive city centre locations, in favour of more economic alternatives.

Allowing staff to work from home and utilise coworking spaces when necessary is a great way for companies to save money. This is especially important for start-ups and SMEs.

As workers start to return to the office, some companies may be considering the need for the traditional office. Many people have reported higher productivity and an increased work/life balance while working from home during the pandemic.

With these discoveries, we will undoubtedly see some businesses ditching their office in favour of a flexible collaborative office space.

Advantages of the Collaborative Working Space

There are several advantages to using a flexible coworking space. These range from the economical side of things, to providing a better work/life balance for staff, to having a city centre location which you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

This would allow companies to enjoy the best of the traditional office, while also maintaining the advantages we’ve seen during the work from home trend.

Health will continue to remain a big concern. Collaborative offices should lower the risk of virus transmission compared to a conventional office, as workers will still be operating from home a much of the time.

This would decrease the number of people packed shoulder-to-shoulder on public transport. It will also reduce the numbers of people gathering in one indoor location between 9am and 5pm.

Collaborative Office Fit Out and Refurbishment

So how does this affect those of us in the Fit Out and Refurbishment industry? How will our lives change if collaborative coworking spaces become the norm?

Well, it’s tricky to say, but it’s definitely an exciting prospect. We believe that it will increase innovation and inspire more creativity within our sector.

If the trends continue, we may see stiff competition between providers of collaborative office spaces. These companies will need to keep their clients satisfied with the shared working environment they provide.

This could lead to an increase in refurbishments. There will be a need to come up with innovative designs and other additions in order to stay ahead of the competition.

For us, this is a very exciting prospect as it will open up new challenges.

Do you operate a collaborative working space? How do you see the future panning out? Have you thought about a refurbishment?

We’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch with our Business Development Manager James Harkins, we’d love to discuss.

[email protected]

Tel: 07494 680 597

How has COVID Affected the Fit-Out & Refurbishment Sector

Worksmart Contracts Business Development Manager Jim Harkins

As you can probably imagine, being the Business Development Manager for a leading contractor in the construction and refurbishment industry has been very challenging this year.

Just as many other sectors have felt the force of the COVID-19 pandemic, the refurbishment sector has been majorly impacted and ceased operations during the shutdown.

However, we did have essential teams out on projects for the NHS.

Worksmart Contracts Essential Work for NHS at Hairmyres Hospital
Worksmart carried out essential works for the NHS over lockdown

Thankfully, we’re back to work now, and delighted to be finishing off some fantastic projects which were delayed due to the pandemic.

But have things changed for the Refurbishment Sector?

In my opinion, yes.

Things have changed in the way projects are being approached and managed.

The biggest shift we have already started to see is the move from the office to the virtual office. Home working has exploded since the coronavirus hit. Businesses have adapted and are now recognising that this is the future.

While the office as we know it will never fully disappear, we may see a huge increase in satellite office spaces. I expect these shared office spaces to become more and more common in city centres across the UK.

They will give companies the opportunity to rent an office space on a pay-as-you-go basis. As people get back to face-to-face meetings, many will happen in these environments.

Flexibility has already become a big thing. Working hours are becoming less and less defined as people work from home. Productivity is trumping the number of hours worked. Companies will be looking at results, rather than for someone to sit behind their desk for 8 hours every day.

This will make the use of flexible offices more attractive, not just for client meetings, but when people want to get in a few hours of work but need to get out of the house.

How does this affect Worksmart?

Good question.

I believe we’ll see more of an uptake in projects on shared office spaces. Owners of these commercial property developments will be in competition with one another, looking to attract short term & flexible agreements with businesses.

This will lead to huge demand for refurbishments and an increase in innovation. Why would I rent out an office space if I can rent one down the road that looks much better? Which one would impress my clients more?

This is the crux of the matter, and we’ll see office buildings carrying out refurbishments more often than we currently do.

Adapting to Changing Circumstances

Glenfield Office Refurbishment by Worksmart Contracts with COVID signage
New COVID-19 signage on site at Glenfield

As always, Worksmart Contracts remains flexible and willing to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances we now face ourselves in. The pandemic has changed everything. We can either work with it or cling to old practices which are no longer relevant.

Whether it’s bringing through new apprentices or innovating with design, Worksmart Contracts remains a leading refurbishment and fit-out contractor in Scotland.

With our offices in Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Edinburgh and satellite office London, we can serve the whole of the UK and take on any project, no matter the size or scope.

Contact me to discuss refurbishments, upcoming projects, how Worksmart can work with your company or anything else you have an idea about.

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 07494 680 597


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