Worksmart Company Briefing Meeting Recap

Steve Neilson Worksmart Contracts Refurbishment Scotland

Acorns to Oak Trees – Where we were, where we are and where we are going.

Professionalism, Honesty, Value, Loyalty and Competency. The five core values we work towards here at Worksmart Contracts. This was the topic of discussion at our company briefing meeting in the new East View Suite at the recently refurbished Park Hotel in Kilmarnock; a stunning venue for any function or event.

Over the last few months, the Worksmart team has worked hard on this project. The result of the effort is plain to see, and we’re delighted with the results. The Park Hotel project, in addition to the new Blues at the Park Restaurant and projects within Kilmarnock Football Club’s Rugby Park Stadium, has resulted in a very busy last few months.

Following the success of the last Alignment Meeting two years ago, the Worksmart management team wanted to communicate to the entire Worksmart Team under one roof. Quality time was needed to go through each and every department to discuss the current situation and our goals for the future.


We believe it’s important for the full team to understand where each of the departments are, what they are trying to develop and improve, and what they are looking to do in future. It’s crucial that each team is able to see how this interacts with other departments and how the business benefits overall from the process. For a company to be successful it must be efficient. At Worksmart, we recognise this and are working to improve our efficiency in every aspect of our business.

The conference was opened by Steve Neilson presenting images of recent projects. Professional photography coverage was once again provided by the talented Guy Hinks, who was also on hand to photograph the event. Following on from that was a general overview of the structured development of the company. This included the aims of Worksmart, job roles, responsibilities and a look at recent investment in the company such as: IT systems, vehicles, newly branded workwear.

Worksmart Contracts Joiner Scotland FitOut Refurb

Steve also informed the full team of the success of Worksmart Fire Door Inspection and also the newly formed EMC Projects Ltd. This has just been formed with Worksmart and Michael O`Brien, a well-established electrical and communications business owner.

It was then the turn of Lisa Neilson to address the room, discussing the need for everyone to working smarter, embrace their job roles and responsibilities, the quality management system, training, betterment and more. Lisa went into the last few years of the overall Scottish and UK construction industry markets and their trend lines, along with the comparison between the UK trend and the Worksmart trend. She demonstrated how Worksmart has been able to sustain business levels through the tough times and are slower to be affected by the downtrends, and react better than others in the market.

Worksmart’s Business Development Manager, Jim Harkins, then informed the team of all the excellent work at the front end of the business. This included the marketing, the new CRM system and how we have it linked together. He then spoke about how we harness these systems to stay up-to-date with market trends and integrate with our consultants.

Jim also touched on the CPD Seminar which is being delivered by Worksmart Fire Door Inspection all over Scotland, including two with RICS in the coming months at their Glasgow and Edinburgh offices.

Barry engaged with the team and discussed how the full and extended Estimating department works, integrating with Jim in BDM and controlling tenders in and out. He told how the use of the new Conquest system making us more efficient and working well with our process flows, and assessing sub-contracting partners and ensuring they are at the best price point and quality.

The Park Hotel Kilmarnock East View Suite

Paul took us through the Commercial and Procurement side of things and went through the new additions to the team, speaking about how everyone works collaboratively with the other departments within the business. He stressed the importance of every cog in the wheel playing its part and how the business is the sum of its parts.

After this, Gary, who heads up Operations, took the time to go through all aspects of the system and its requirements. He also welcomed the extended team, now featuring additional Contracts Managers, Project Managers, Site Managers, Site Supervisors, Joiners and Apprentice Joiners. This accounted for some thirty plus members of the team. We have developed our company and our team to be highly sustainable and diverse, ready to take on and deliver Interior Contracting projects all over Scotland and the UK.

Mhairi took us through the HR side of the business, making everyone comfortable with the systems and procedures while going through various aspects of the Core Values. These values were created at the aforementioned Alignment meeting two years ago.

The conference was then closed out with Steve back on stage giving everyone a refresher on the Acorns to Oak Trees outlook.

Worksmart Contracts Fit Out Refurbishment Contractor

On behalf of the entire Worksmart team, we’d like to take our hats off to Gordon Anthony, Hotel Manager at The Park Hotel. It is always important to feel comfortable and be well looked after at conferences and we were certainly well looked after by Gordon and his fantastic team at the Park Hotel. Thank you for a first-class service.



Women in Construction Summit London 2019


Back in May, we sent our very own Kellie Ann down to London to the Women in Construction Summit. Here, she writes about her experience at the event, and speaks about the issues that were up for discussion. 

I attended the Women in Construction Summit on the 16th May at the Olympia, London. This summit was a real buzz of women and men coming together to discuss issues currently facing people in construction. The event was focused on how different companies and organisations want to repaint the industry and resolve key issues, as well as focusing on eliminating any diversity issues going forward.


I found it really interesting listening to the various speakers as they would give us examples of things they had come across during their own careers and how they had dealt with it. Sarah Beale from CITB was there discussing the problems she faced while she was CITB’s youngest ever CEO. People would frequently overlook her in the assumption that she couldn’t possibly be the CEO of the company, being that she was not only young, but also a woman.

Barbara Res was also there discussing how times are changing in construction for women, but not fast enough. As she was the head of construction for Trump Towers back in the 1970s, she has seen it all and can speak honestly about what she has experienced during her career. The evolution of construction was discussed, and it was pointed out that it is moving very slowly.

The percentage of women in construction has remained the same since the 1970s. Another topic of the day was that the construction industry employs such a diverse group of individuals already, and 30% of the workforce are foreigners. With Brexit around the corner this was highlighted, and it was predicted that there could be a significant impact to the construction industry leading to shortages.

A big focus of the day was flexible working hours. Being a male dominant field in the past, this hadn’t been too much of an issue. Now, however, with more and more women entering the construction industry and a rise in the amount of men taking more time to be with their families, it is now being acknowledged that the construction industry needs to rethink its position on flexible working hours. The goal is to change the current norm and have a system that works for both workplaces and employees.

Everyone at the seminar was on board with this and some companies gave examples of the measures they are already putting in place. Most have the same idea of ‘core hours’ in which everyone needs to be at their place of work, but the hours out with these can be worked to make their contracted hours as they please. Many have said this works well and allows for things such as doctors and dentist appointments as well as family commitments and child care.


The onus on was being put on the companies to make flexible working hours happen. For women, changing maternity pay was also discussed. Many of the bigger construction companies offer 3-6 months full pay whilst on maternity leave. This was also mentioned as a selling point for women considering a career in construction, as starting a family can often threaten to derail a career.

Being a seminar focused on diversity, it was also highlighted that different religions and cultures need to be taken into consideration. An example was given of a Hindu employee who needed a week off to celebrate Diwali, rather than the time he was given off over the Christmas period. During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day and can only eat when the sun is down. One company has already incorporated this into its guidelines and has allocated special areas praying.

Another important issue relating to diversity was raised during the conference that struck me. Someone suggested that while everyone has day-to-day problems they must deal with, people from minority groups may face more challenges or oppression than most. It was recommended that everyone keep mindful of things like this, in order to ensure a happier and more accepting workplace.

The whole thing was positive and inspiring and challenged companies to think of ways of bringing everyone together. Family open days seemed to be a popular thing and had already been hailed a success from several companies attending. I think implementing flexible working hours would be such an investment for companies as in this day and age, everyone has commitments outside of work and with mental health being highly focused on, maintaining a healthy work/life balance is so important.

— Kellie Ann Bryden


Schools Back – End of a Busy Summer for Worksmart


It’s official, the schools are back!

This marks the return to work various sectors in which we undertake project during the summer, such as colleges, Universities and Football Clubs. It’s been a very busy summer workload for Worksmart and we’ve been all over Scotland and the UK. Recent years have provided Worksmart Contracts with a busy work load throughout the summer shut downs in a variety of markets and 2019 has been no different.

Unfortunately, the Scottish weather hasn’t been much different to past summers either!

Challenging Schedule

This time of the year is always a challenging one. We need to ensure that we are fully prepared, as the logistics of the summer can be highly complex. Manufacturer shut downs, direct labour holidays, and sub-contractor’s workloads always have to be taken into consideration when undertaking projects during the summer.

It can be very challenging to manage all of these factors, but we try our very best to accommodate our client’s main contracts, their variations and whatever changes are requested along the way.

Traditionally our direct labour and sub-contractor labour levels rise 30%+ in this eight to ten-week period. Being able to call on skilled labour consistently during this time is another challenge we have to face.

This year has been another interesting and rewarding summer. Our teams have been engaged in some fabulous projects, from high level design and product specifications, to routine upgrades of various facilities that can only be carried out while staff and students are on holiday.

No two projects are ever the same.

Fire Doors and Passive Fire Protection

One thing we have been asked to assist in a lot this year is helping to educate our existing clients in Fire Doors and Passive Fire Protection. We have been able to assist with our fully certificated, vetted and third party approved Inspectors, Installers and maintainers.

We would recommend a visit to our sister company – Worksmart Fire Door Inspection – to find out more and to ask them to arrange a meeting to go through and assist in all matters involving Fire Doors and Passive Fire Protection. Our clients have found this service to be extremely useful and thus far we have helped designers, architects, surveyors and FM Managers.

Retraining our Focus

Now that staff and students are all back to work and our busy summer period has come to an end for another year, we like to turn our attention towards training and staff development. Currently we have several schemes in place, such as SSSTS, SMSTS, First Aid, PASMA, IPAF and Asbestos Awareness. All of these are either being implemented as the training matrix requires, or people are simply being sent on refresher courses.

In addition, we are proud to announce that we have started a further two Apprentice Joiners! One in the West and one in the East to help with the skills shortage we are currently facing in our construction industry. Worksmart are very proud of our Apprentice and Graduate Training Programmes along with our Schools Project and various work placements in all our offices.

I am sure you will get to meet the new apprentices soon and you should look forward to some upcoming case studies which we will be sharing in the next few weeks.

– Steve Neilson

A Coffee & a Chat with James Harkins – Business Development Manager


The most recent addition to the Worksmart team, James Harkins is our Business Development Manager. We sat down with him in order to get to know him a little better.

Hi James, how are you today?

I’m very well thanks. Firstly, I’m James, it’s great to meet you all!

Could you describe your role and the responsibilities you have within Worksmart?

Of course I can. My role within Worksmart is Business Development Manager and it’s my responsibility is to develop new business relationships and seek out fresh and exciting opportunities for Worksmart that perhaps haven’t previously been explored.

We feel the concentration must be on relationship building and reassuring our clients and their design teams that we are focused and reliable and will deliver their projects on time, on budget and to the quality which sets them in the standing which they deserve.

You’ve recently joined the Worksmart Team. How has it been so far? I hope no one is giving you a hard time for being the new guy!

It’s been excellent. All the team have been great and have taken the time to make me feel welcome. There’s always a bit of nervousness when starting a new job but everyone I’ve met so far has been really helpful and any nerves have long eased off. It’s been refreshing to see such a strong management team and a structure where departments can easily interact and flow together.

A lot of time has obviously been spent in the dynamics of how the departments function and how they work together to ensure clients and their design teams get the best service from Worksmart.

So far, I have been based in the Kilmarnock Office, but I’m heading to the Edinburgh office this week to meet the teams and then onto other areas to do the same. It’s great to be able to call on support and expertise from various different locations.

And no, thankfully there’s been no ‘hazing of the new guy’… thus far!

How did joining Worksmart come about? What did you know of the company beforehand?

I had engaged with the Managing Director relating to services my former employer offered, that conversation was very productive and from there things progressed. I went through a scrupulous selection process that involved interviews and various other presentations. This impressed me as it showed the management team were focused on finding the best candidate for the role.

I had only heard positive things beforehand and for that reason I was open to the idea of joining Worksmart as it came across as a positive working environment to be in. I had obviously seen the Worksmart vans all over the country too. This, combined with the on-site setups and other marketing really caught my attention. Worksmart is an impressive brand.

In terms of career progression, where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to be established as the head of Business Development and maybe get the opportunity to develop a sales team, engaging and qualifying potential new clients.

What’s your best piece of advice for a young person looking to get into your profession?

I would advise all young people looking to have a profession in construction to have a growth mindset and to always maintain a level of professionalism in the workplace. If you stick to these you will greatly increase your chances of success in this industry. Most importantly though, you have to want it and be willing to put the hard work in to achieve it!

Its been great to see and learn more about Worksmart’s Apprentice Joiner Programme, School Leaver Programme and brand-new Graduate Training Programme.

More companies need to assist in the development of their teams as we are in the midst of a skills shortage within many areas of construction.

When you’re not in the office, what do you like getting up to?

My family are my number one priority and I enjoy spending time with them. I’ve also been involved in Scottish football at varying levels over the years from playing to coaching to other associated jobs within the game.

I’m also a keen golfer and looking forward to getting my first Worksmart Golf Day under my belt with some clients and design teams. I have heard that our MD`s favourite number is “foooouuuuurrrrrr!”

If you could choose to do any other job in the world, what would it be and why?

My dream job would be to manage our national football team and get us to a major championship; 20 years is far too long!

Laying the Foundations – Gary Roberston, Operations Manager


This interview is designed to uncover the stories behind the people at Worksmart and their careers until this point. How you got to where you are today, essentially.

Gary, thanks for sitting down to answer a few questions today! Hope we haven’t caught you on a busy day?

Most days are quite busy to be honest… I don’t mind sparing a few minutes for a quick chat though.

How was your school life? Were you a good/bad student? Did you do as well as you could have in terms of grades?

School life for me was very sport orientated, I was very active in school, especially with football and squash. I wasn’t a particularly great student but academically I passed every exam that I studied for.

It’s difficult to say if I did as well as I could have done; probably not, as my main focus at school was sport. Every day I was either training or competing so even though it probably shouldn’t have been, sport was my number one priority back then.

Did construction appeal to you when you were young?

Sport was always my number one choice for a career, but after receiving a bad knee injury, any hopes I had of pursuing it as a career were dashed. When I was looking for a job it was very hard to get an apprenticeship in my area, so I knocked on every construction builder’s door until finally it paid off and I got an apprenticeship in joinery.

What were your next steps after high school?

I went straight into construction, through my apprenticeship. I was lucky that way. So many kids leave school not knowing what they want to do and with no structure. That’s why I’m so pleased when I see the apprentices coming through Worksmart. They’re given such a great opportunity and education and at Worksmart we’re helping so many people find a career; great careers too!

At that point could you have imagined yourself in the position you are now?

I was very fortunate that I came off the tools at aged 26 which is very early. I was involved in major refits, so I was working very close with the top management and that is when I decided that I wanted to progress. I think having that competitive edge in me from my sporting days helped me in that sense. I was always looking to improve and better myself.

What came before Worksmart professionally for you?

I was with Morris and Spottiswood working on Universities, retailers. I have worked on most sectors of the building trade, so I feel I have gained experience on all aspects of construction.

When did you first hear about Worksmart and what were your initial thoughts?

I had known about Worksmart for several years working in the fitout sector. What impressed me most was the professionalism and the high standard of work. You’d see a Worksmart job and everything would have been done to a better standard. Everything would be cleaner, more polished and that bit more impressive. For me, as someone that’s always trying to move up and progress, I saw Worksmart as the company I should be aspiring towards working for.

If you could go back and give 16-year-old you any advice, what would it be?

Don’t smash your knee! That would be my best advice! But also, work hard and always try to be better than you were yesterday. If you do that, and stay humble, you’ll get on OK in life.

Everything you need to know about Worksmart Fire Door Inspection


– Hi Mark, you’re heading up the new Worksmart Fire Door Inspection division, could you tell me a bit about it and how it came to be?

Worksmart Contracts have been installing fire doors and screens as integral elements of their glazed partitioning and multi trade fit-outs for many years and the new Fire Door Inspection service has grown out of the drive to be experts in everything we do. Worksmart Fire Door Inspection does exactly what it says on the tin – we inspect fire doors, using an approved 90 point checklist, to evaluate whether they are compliant with the regulations and fit for purpose. We create a report for our customer that identifies any failings and they can then take the necessary remedial action.

– How long in the making has Worksmart Fire Door Inspection been?

We have been working behind the scenes for about 8 months, researching, undertaking training and accreditation, speaking to trade associations and developing our website and service offer before launching earlier this month.

– What makes Worksmart FDI different to its competitors?

We are the only company in Scotland accredited by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) – the first scheme of its kind in Europe – and are supported by installation expertise, in the form of Worksmart Contracts, as well as our fire door manufacturing partners. So we can offer a complete package – installation, inspection, maintenance and repair.

– What’s your role within Worksmart FDI?

I am the manager of the Fire Door Inspection Service, which, so far, has entailed the research, training and accreditation previously mentioned as well as helping with the development of our website and fire door inspection app. Going forward, my role will involve operational planning, customer service and day to day management.

– How do you see Worksmart FDI developing over the next 5 years?

Given the current focus on fire safety, there is already potential for demand to outstrip our capacity and we have already started training additional fire door inspectors so that we are in a good position to meet that demand. By developing strong relationships with our customers and other members of the fire safety community we are aiming to be the first choice for fire door inspections in Scotland!

View the new FDIS website here – Worksmart Fire Door Inspection

A Day in the Life of: Barry Wilson, Estimating Director


A Day in The Life of: Worksmart’s Estimating Director

Worksmart’s Estimating Director Barry Wilson took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk us through an average day in his world.

Hi Barry, thanks for sitting down with me today. Before we delve into your day, could you give me a brief description of your position?

My job title is Estimating Director which entails the overseeing and managing of the pre-contract commercial and estimating function within Worksmart.

What time do you wake up in the morning?

Normally about 6.30am.

What kind of breakfast do you have to prepare you for your day?

I don’t eat breakfast. I only drink water in the mornings and quite a lot more throughout the day!

When do you arrive at the office?

It generally varies but will usually be any time between 7.30am and 8am.

What do you prioritise when you arrive?

First of all, I check on any emails from the night before then delve into whatever the priority is for that day, so long as any late-night e-mails received don’t need urgent attention.

What’s Next?

Whatever the next priority is for that day and that week and beyond. We tend to have a minimum of at least 3 to 4 deadlines to meet in any one week, so it may involve getting the team involved in take offs or getting packages out for pricing to sub-contractors or concluding bids and tenders for submission.

With estimating you’re always working to a deadline so you’re constantly prioritising which tender is due next or what package you need to get out next to make sure you get that tender in on time.

What part of the day do you least look forward to?

Probably first thing in the morning! I’m not much of a morning person even though I get up relatively early.

What part of the day do you most look forward to?

I most look forward to my dinner!

Seriously though, I enjoy the variety of people you come across in the day-to-day goings on in my role. Most are from the professional community, but others can be end-user clients that ordinarily don’t get involved with projects, so when that instance occurs you need to give them a guiding hand through it. That can entail practical advice as well as design input. The variety makes the role interesting as you’re not pigeon-holed with one type of client every day.

When will you leave the office?

It can vary but generally between 5.30pm and 6pm. Family life dictates those times with Dad’s taxi needed for football, child minder pick-ups and the likes. Although if there’s an important tender due in then that can be much later. The midnight oil gets burned now and again.

Does the work continue at home?

No, I try not to. I made a conscious decision recently to take email off of my phone and I feel a lot better for it. This is especially noticeable on holiday, where one minute you can be relaxing by the pool and all of a sudden, an email comes through and it plays on your mind till you get back to the office. Modern technology has taken over our lives I think to the detriment of our own wellbeing at times!

Attacking the Skills Gap – Worksmart’s First Female Apprentice Joiner


Hi, I’m Briony, Worksmart’s first female joinery apprentice!

I’m here to tell you all about why I’ve chosen joinery as a career and go into the pros and cons of working within a male dominated environment as a female joinery apprentice. I’ve not always wanted to be a joiner; over the years – like a lot of people – I’ve changed my mind countless times from civil engineering to geology to forestry.

Finally, after a good friend of mine completed carpentry/joinery course at college, I decide to give it go; turns out I love it! I’m not a hundred percent sure why I enjoy it so much but I do know that I just love building, I always have. So what better way to combine my career with what I thrive on doing?

I began my apprenticeship with Worksmart in June this year after completing 2 years at college, first an NPA in carpentry and joinery then the next level up: a City and Guilds qualification. This led me to Worksmart, as they were carrying out work at Ayrshire College in Ayr while I was doing my course. Good news for me. Next thing I know I’ve got the job and my 2 years of hard work has paid off and I’m officially Worksmart’s first ever female joinery apprentice!

Now, I know there are some people out there who question the path I’ve taken: a job in a predominately male field that has lots of heavy lifting, especially when I’m short, skinny and female. Understandable concerns. There are a few downsides and you can feel a little left out sometimes, but who doesn’t when they start a new job?

Ultimately however, I’ve found that you have to do what you want in life. And although some people may have negative opinions towards my choices, I’ve only ever had support from family, friends etc.

If you get stuck in and work hard, any feelings of doubt will disappear and in a few weeks you’re just one of the guys. Personally, I’ve never had any trouble within such an environment as I’ve never stood for anything but equality. I sometimes feel like I have to try harder than everyone else and that I’m out to prove something. However, if you want to be there and put your all into your work there won’t be a problem.

Now to the pros, there are plenty I could list but I’ll just stick to a few. Firstly, you get to try out lots of fun things like using machinery which I would never otherwise be able to use. You also get to learn directly from people who have years of experience within the industry. I’ve found that it’s mostly just like working anywhere else. If you need help, ask and you’ll get it. If you don’t understand something, ask and it will be explained to you.

I’d like to credit all the guys I’ve worked with so far as they’ve been brilliant and treated me no differently than they would treat a male apprentice. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity or a more accepting company to begin my career as a joiner.

Coffee & a Chat with Gary Baxter – Project Manager


Relatively new to the Worksmart family, Project Manager Gary Baxter describes how impressed he has been with the company since joining just under a year ago.

Tell me a bit about your working background and how you came to join Worksmart?

I began my career as a joiner in the early 1990s, specialising in private bespoke properties. From there, I ended up in the Refurb and Fit-Out industry. I worked for one company for 12 years, progressing from joiner to supervisor in eight or nine months and then on to site manager the following year. After that I worked as a site manager for various companies.

I’ve only been with Worksmart since December 2017. Initially, I spoke to Stevie [Neilson], he’s a genuine guy and everything he’s said he’ll do for me he’s come through on; I’ve been received very well here, and I hope I’m doing a good job in return.

Describe your role and the responsibilities you have?

I’ve been working as a project manager for the last couple of years, the roles and responsibilities of the job are primarily the same as that of a site manager, but on larger scale projects. There’s a lot more detail involved as well as more interaction between design teams and clients.

It’s a job I love. You tend to get a lot more involved and into each project when you’re the project manager.

Did you think your career would progress this way back in the early days when you were a joiner?

Back in the early days I had no idea how things would progress! You go from job to job, with the jobs getting bigger each time, and you can see yourself progressing and begin to get an idea of where you would like to be. Worksmart have been good enough to support me on this path.

How would you like to see your career progress in the next few years?

In the next few years I’d probably like to get into contracts management, which would be looking after several projects at the one time. But for the moment I’m very happy as a project manager.

What’s your best piece of advice for a young person looking to get into your profession?

Stick in and do things properly. My old contracts manager used to say: “if you’re in a house fitting a door you should take 30 minutes; if you’re on a commercial job, you should take an hour.” The commercial game is a lot harder and you’re judged on your last job, so you’d better make sure you’ve done things properly.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Worksmart?

There’s a real community feel around the company. The management are there to boost you and help you at all times. It’s a very positive environment, there’s no negativity and there’s a great work ethic within the company.

When you’re not in the office, what do you like getting up to?

I’ve got two kids, so they keep me very busy! Other than that, I enjoy a game of golf now and again.

Coffee & a Chat with Donna Herman – HR & Office Manager


Donna Herman – HR & Office Manager

With nearly 25 years of refurbishment & fit-out industry experience under her belt, Worksmart’s HR and Office Manager Donna Herman tells us about her role, the responsibilities she has and how she came to be where she is today.

Tell me a bit about your working background and how you joined Worksmart?

I have always worked in an office doing an Administration/Office Manager role since leaving school nearly 30 years ago. From when I was a young 23-year-old and before joining Worksmart I had worked for a couple of companies which were of the same background. I met Steve, who owns Worksmart in one of these companies nearly 20 years ago. He was a Quantity Surveyor in the firm, so I’d known Steve a long time before he set up Worksmart in 2002. Steve was looking for an Office Manager and I had a chat with Lisa, came to join Worksmart and I have been here since! It’ll be four years in February.

Describe your role and the responsibilities you have?

It’s a bit of everything to be honest. Because of my background I have knowledge in a lot of different areas. Mainly, I do HR, Accreditations, help with PQQ’s, Clearances and obviously managing the office as well.

How do you find managing the office?

I enjoy it, it’s what I’ve always done. I’ve done the job for so long; for all the differences in the companies I’ve worked for, it’s always been pretty much the same throughout.

You’ve witnessed the growth of the company first hand, how much has your role changed in that time?

There’s a lot more people now so I’ve progressively got a lot more involved in the HR side of things. The company has gone from 10 or 11 people when I started to around 46 now. So this takes up more of my time now, just down to the number of people.

What’s your best piece of advice for a young person looking to get into your profession?

Don’t give up. I’ve got here through experience much more than education initially. I’ve always put my all into every job I’ve had, and I believe that’s been a major factor in my success.

Education is massive, but you don’t necessarily require to have a degree to make your way in the world; I’ve only got Highers. What I’ve always said is that you can work your way up the ladder. As long as you have the correct work ethic and attitude, are hardworking and you put your wholehearted effort into something, you can get to where you want to be.

There’s been a big thing recently about exam results; both of my kids have done really well and have been or are going to university which is great, but if they hadn’t achieved the results they’d been looking for, I wouldn’t ever push them to be anything other than honest and hardworking with a good attitude – I believe that can get you far in life.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Worksmart?

Steve, Lisa and all of the Directors want us to work as part of a team, striving to get to where we want to be. They’re very good at recognising people who work hard. If you do come into Worksmart and you work hard and put all your effort into it, they will recognise that.
When you’re working in an environment that recognises hard work, it makes you want to push further.

When you’re not in the office, what do you like getting up to?

I look after my elderly parents, I’m their main carer, but at the weekends I tend to try and give myself time off. My social calendar is always really busy to be honest; there’s always something going on! I love spending time with family and friends.