December 2019 staff update

December 2019 staff update

Our December company staff update was held on 12 December at Cardinal House.

Sean Fitzpatrick, executive chairman, welcomed new starters this year, and thanked everyone for their work during 2019. It has been a tough year, with some major challenges. There are several large projects in the pipeline, although it is not entirely clear when they will go ahead. When they do, we are confident that VGC will play a substantial part in them. This is thanks to the hard work which has placed us very strong position to win work on key projects in 2020 and beyond.

Sean showed a short film of some of VGC’s achievements in 2019 (please see below). He thanked everyone for their contribution.

Managing director Laurence Mckidd led an overview of 2019. He started by reminding everyone of the VGC values which are key to our success. We have formalised these into three main values:

VGC values
Our values
  • We achieve potential
  • We deliver on our promises
  • We look after each other

He reiterated Sean’s point that, while VGC has seen substantial growth over the past 10 years, 2019 was a more difficult year than had been expected. A number of projects were delayed, which affected us. However, 2020 should be a very strong year. We are well respected in our industry, and we are working on major projects including HS2, Sellafield, Hinkley Point, Thames Tideway, TfL, Heathrow, Network Rail and motorways across the UK. Clients expect more and more from us, and it is key for us to work with them to improve their bottom line.

Division reports

Operations director Chris Ryan thanked the labour teams. We are now on some major frameworks, including London Underground, where we have been a key part of maintaining the tube infrastructure for nearly 20 years. We are optimistic that the HS2 main works will be approved and we will work collaboratively with our partners to ensure a positive legacy for HS2.

In Scotland, labour manager Sean Dempsey maintained our position in a challenging market, and is expanding the business throughout Scotland.

The northern labour teams, led by operations director Richard Palin, are looking ahead to a promising year. This will include the Trans-Pennine route, CP6 (which will be serviced through our new Doncaster office), and highways opportunities. Labour manager George Farquhar is doing an excellent job with the teams at Sellafield: we are now FIRAS accredited which will give us new opportunities there.

VGC Projects has had a challenging year, including the merge of the rail and construction businesses. Director Jacques Kriel thanked the team for their hard work on major projects including:

  • town centre improvement works for client VolkerHighways
  • installing 5G cabling for G.Networks
  • Thames Valley park and ride project and Northern line power upgrade for client Balfour Beatty
  • Heathrow perimeter fencing for client Morgan Sindall.

He pointed out that the projects team has an AFR (accident frequency rate) of 0 for the last six years – with over one million hours worked. We really want this to continue, and everyone to stay safe!

Matt Teasdale, head of VGC Personnel, described the progress made by the team from a very difficult start to 2019. By the end of the year the number of our contractors had more than doubled, and VGC had achieved preferred supplier status with seven new main contractors.

Cole Hire have had a successful year with the external retail market. They are seeing a huge return on investment from their refreshed website and increased social media coverage.

Balanced scorecard

Group services director Ciara Pryce then presented the company’s objectives for 2020. These are in the form of a balanced scorecard, with four themes. They will make VGC a more successful and sustainable company in 2020 and beyond.

Learning and growth

The VGC Academy, launched this year, will drive continuous improvement. The framework allows people to plot their behavioural attainments against their roles and plan their ongoing career growth. Our new staff review system and performance development plans replace our old appraisal system; they will allow for more meaningful two-way conversations.

VGC staff holding certificates
Jarlath, Jana, Dee, Shauna, Naomi, Theresa, Ciaran, Dan, Wayne, Daniel, Laura, Mitch, Anthony and Kim with their VGC Academy certificates

Ciara presented 24 certificates to those who completed VGC Academy core development programme this year. There are two more programmes booked for early 2020, and we will start the intermediate and management programmes later in the year.

Internal processes

We want to lead in innovation by improving process efficiencies and maintain safe working environments. We are developing our workforce leaders’ programme for site activities and upgrading our computer systems.


We want to be the supplier of choice for all our clients and we will do this by supplying high quality solutions. Our new technology will support resourcing and project management. We will also continue to develop our client engagement activities.

Financial performance

We need to increase our sales revenue and decrease our costs. Initiatives to support this include looking at new markets with existing clients and creating efficiencies in our processes.

Download the presentation slides from the December 2019 staff update (870kb pdf)

To finish, Sean thanked everyone for their contribution to the meeting, and wished all staff a happy Christmas.