Our annual staff celebration took place on Thursday 10 October on board a boat on the Thames.
It was a chance to meet socially, look to the future and to recognise the contributions by colleagues to the company’s success over the past year.
The paddle steamer Elizabethan left Crown pier on Victoria embankment at 18:00 – after the captain’s safety briefing, of course.
Staff were welcomed by managing director Laurence Mckidd before they enjoyed a buffet dinner.
After dinner, Laurence Mckidd introduced the awards. He pointed out that 2019 has brought VGC many challenges, against a background of tighter margins, the completion of long-term projects and the looming uncertainties of Brexit. Our response has been to seek innovations and efficiencies, and to innovate at every level. This attitude has ensured that we have gone from strength to strength, continuing to support our partner clients across the industry.
Group services director Ciara Pryce mentioned a number of high-profile projects we are working on, including smart motorway upgrades, nuclear power stations, rail projects and of course Crossrail. VGC has played a key role in 16 Crossrail projects, helping to deliver a legacy that will benefit commuters in London for decades.
She also described some key milestones in the year.
We have invested in digital upgrades to make our systems – internal and client-facing – as efficient as possible.
These have included upgrading our customer relationship management system, and introducing Salesforce to manage our growing labour database. We are also implementing a new timesheet system and a digital communications system.
Launched this autumn, the VGC Academy is our new approach to learning and development.
It will make sure that every employee can:
- have meaningful conversations about their careers
- access learning opportunities to help them progress
- get constructive feedback on their job performance.
The core development programme provides a career path for staff. It focuses on behaviours like innovation, adaptability, tenacity, resilience, client focus, teamwork and diplomatic sensitivity. This programme has been developed with HR and learning and development specialists and will ensure everyone will get the support they need to achieve their potential, wherever they started their VGC journey.
All staff will do the core and intermediate programmes. There will also be a management and leadership programme next year.
2020 and beyond
Coming up are new plans to
- relaunch our appraisal programme
- refine and relaunch our behaviour-based safety programme, Be Safe by Choice.
Go beyond awards
Then we enjoyed the highlight of the evening. “In June 2019 we launched the Go Beyond awards,” Ciara explained. “These reward exceptional work under the three main company values: we achieve potential; we deliver on our promises; we look after each other.”
Between June and September, the board received 132 nominations, which Ciara said indicates the good impact people have on their colleagues.
We celebrate success
- Stephen Burns, business development director
- William Donnelly, quantity surveyor
- Nathan Sullivan, quantity surveyor
- Zena Wigram, marketing and communications manager
- The labour solutions south-east and London civils team: labour managers Chris O’Sullivan, James Burke, Mark Beer, Nick Wells and Donatas Jausicas
- Stephen Burns
Stephen has been at the forefront of our business development strategy for the last 10 years and his drive, determination and stamina have been a large part of the reason we have grown from a £30m business to a £70m plus business.
- The labour solutions south-east and London civils team
This team exceeds their targets year after year, and sets the standard across the group. They are leading the way in adopting labour desk models, technology, and socially responsible recruitment. By working collaboratively with clients and competitors they are changing the way that labour is being delivered on major infrastructure projects, including the A14, Crossrail, and Thames Tideway. Their exceptional performance has been recognised by our clients, including Highways England and Skanska.
We deliver on our promises
- Patrick Alexander, IT service desk analyst
- Chantal Austin, HSQE adviser
- James Burke, labour manager
- Tommy Hunter, operations manager
- Steve Kenny, bid manager
- Laura Perry, human resources manager
- Naomi Wakefield, human resources assistant
- Sam Wilson, senior recruitment consultant
- The payroll team – Elaine Ryan, manager, Joanne O’Hara, acting payroll manager, and payroll assistants Emma Mitchell and Chelsey Crabb
- Steve Kenny
During the past two years, Steve has made a huge impact on the way we assess our service delivery, and is working towards digital transformation of our delivery model.
- Patrick Alexander
Patrick is described as ‘the man who keeps all our computers working’. On top of his heavy workload, he has helped to implement the service desk system Artemis, to streamline and support IT efficiencies.
- Laura Perry
In April 2019 Laura ensured the successful conversion of our legacy labour database to the new Salesforce platform, a business-critical system that is the lifeblood of the labour business.
- The payroll team
Week in, week out this team ensures that nearly 1,000 families have enough money to pay their bills and support their needs. Over the last 12 months they processed around £52 million in pay, bonuses, holidays, statutory payment, sick pay, pensions, lodge and travel. The awards team agreed that their diligence and dedication made them worthy winners.
We look after each other
Every nomination for this award gave an excellent demonstration of our values in action. We are facing a skills shortage in the construction industry, so it is essential that we create an inclusive employment environment where everyone feels included and supported.
- Jack Davies, site engineer, and Peter Bradley-Cloak, project manager
- Fiona Dowling, HSQE adviser
- Daniel Maciuca, caretaker
- Richard Wheeler, HSQE manager
- The ‘Go beyond the gates’ team – Kimberley McGinty, skills and employment adviser, Ian Keen, operations manager, James Burke, labour manager, Richard Wheeler, HSQE manager, Zena Wigram, marketing and communications manager
- Jack Davies and Peter Bradley-Cloak
Nothing says ‘we look after each other’ better than saving someone’s life. While they were working on the Thames Valley park and ride project, one of the Balfour Beatty managers had a heart attack. Having only just completed his St John Ambulance first aid course, Jack did not hesitate to administer first aid with Peter’s support.
- Fiona Dowling
After she completed her mental health first aid course, Fiona became the first point of contact for many people, to whom she offers ongoing valuable support.
- The ‘Go beyond the gates’ team, led by Kimberley McGinty, with support from Ian Keen, James Burke, Zena Wigram and Richard Wheeler.
The winners of this category run a programme that creates sustainable employment opportunities for people leaving prison or who have unspent criminal convictions. It costs over £42k to keep someone in prison each year; helping people to prepare for life on the outside means they are less likely to re-offend. Since March 2018, when the project started, Go beyond the gates has supported 704 ex-offenders with careers and employment advice. 17 ex-offenders have joined VGC and started new sustainable careers, thanks to the team.
Daniel Maciuca received the most nominations of all, and received a special Go beyond award. One of the numerous nominations stated: ‘He is a real treasure and we would be lost without him’.
An auditor once said to group services director Ciara Pryce: “As far as we are concerned Daniel truly sets the standard for the business from the moment you walk through your office doors.”
After applauding the winners, staff enjoyed the rest of the party until the boat returned to Crown pier at 23:00.