We are pleased to be able to give an update on the successful completion of Muddy to the Max by our Management & Technical Team! Further to our post on 26 June, we are delighted to confirm that as of the time publishing, the team (left to right) of Emily, Anna-Marie, Davinia and Kerrie have raised a whopping £835! Running through mud, sweat and tears the team really represented a true team spirit. Our Chairman, Simon Cowdrey said "I am immensely proud of Davinia, Kerrie, Anna-Marie and Emily for doing this. Live Life to the Max is our chosen charity, raising funds for Cancer Research in memory of our dear friend Max White, and the ongoing efforts of the teams across our business are a credit to his lasting impact on 1st Step and anyone who ever met him. I am pretty sure that he will have been looking down in awe at Davinia and the team running around in the mud!" You can still support the team if you wish - visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/muddy-to-the-max%C2%A0 for more information.
Three weeks into my new role as a Business Development Consultant for 1st Step Solutions there’s still a little pause as I’m passing on my email address, For a long time, this was the email address I was sending my weekly timesheet to… I’d worked as a DC for almost 7 years when in 2010 company redundancy’s put me in the path of 1st Step. Within a couple of weeks, I was settling into my new DC role for one of 1st steps clients and leading M&E contractors. This was my first experience with an agency and was surprised at how easy the new start process was, the team were not only highly professional but very welcoming and approachable too. Almost 5 years later I decided to leave the UK for a couple of years of travelling, When I returned to London in 2017 there was only one place I was going to call…1st Step Solutions. Within a couple of days, I was sent for an interview, a couple of weeks later I was again getting stuck into my new job for another of the country’s leading M&E companies where is stayed until the next travel adventure began 10 months later. While travelling through New Zealand I was offered an exciting opportunity to join the team at 1st Step that introduced me to the world of M&E 8 years ago as a candidate and without hesitation and only a few months into my visa I was planning my return. Now I am part of the team and feel like I have always been here. The grass is greenest where it's watered, and that’s both sides of the fence working with 1st Step. In the team (left to right) Kerrie, Sam and Danica
Continuing our ongoing commitment to be involved in shaping the futures of the next generation of workers, today, I visited Cooper’s School in Chislehurst to discuss employability skills and careers in HR (4th July 2018). Part of our ongoing commitment to being part of our community is helping to educate the next generation of the UK’s workforce. We feel it is really important to meet students and engage with them about life in the working world, which is often not on the curriculum. To go into details of how to perform in an interview compliments what schools do, but giving contextual advice from experience from throughout my career added real value. I have to be honest I was dreading it a bit - teenagers are not renowned for being easy to keep captivated - but the students at Cooper’s School were an absolute credit to their school and themselves. They were genuinely interested in my career and in what 1st Step do too. It gives real hope for the next generation that we are bringing into our workplaces. And they did remind every 10 minutes...it’s coming home!
This week we were delighted to be asked to attend an event in aid of "Haven House" which is a charity set up to look after terminally ill children. Our Operations Director, Andy Brooks was in attendance at the event, held at the Seve Ballesteros designed course, the Shire. Andy said "We were invited along to attend the event, organised by our client MJL, and we were only too pleased to be there" adding "whilst my golfing wasn't up to much, and I won't comment on others, the event was a huge success and our client should be applauded for organising such a fantastic day and, moreover, raising the best part of £30k towards the Charity". "Supporting both charities and our clients is an important and imperative part of what we do at 1st Step, so getting the chance to do so alongside our clients and fellow supply-chain members is great" said Andy.
Two of our leading Consultants, Kieran James and Sam Nixon, have recently taken a visit to Battersea, and they were impressed... Kieran and Sam were meeting their client at Battersea and got a treat of a site tour. In this picture, you can see Sam Nixon, our Commercial Consultant who was stood next to a £450,000 boiler, of which there are two powering the old Power Station! Sam said "this was an awesome project, and great to meet the guys out on site. I am always in awe of the projects our candidates and clients build, but this is another level. I'm really grateful for being invited". "The size and scale of this project is immense" said Kieran, "and you can't really grasp the scale and size of the project even when you are stood next to it. We're really proud to be represented 1st Step as part of this prestigious project."
Sun Protection As the summer approaches and most of us look forward to warmer and sunnier days, it is important to remember to take precautions with regards to sun exposure. Overexposure to the sun is dangerous and can cause issues such as sunburn, skin cancer and heat stress. People working outside, such as those in the Construction Industry, face an even higher risk as they are more exposed to the damaging ultraviolet (UV) in sunlight than people working inside. The effects of UV on the skin can include sunburn, blistering, ageing of the skin, and in the long run, it can lead to skin cancer. Around 125,000 people per year are admitted to hospital with skin cancer each year, making it one of the most common forms of cancer with approximately 2,300 people dying from the disease. There are steps that you can take, in order to reduce the risks of sun exposure, which include: Realising that a tan is not healthy, but evidence that the skin has already been damaged Keep your top on! Wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt made from a close-woven fabric that stops the UV rays getting through to your skin is an effective defence ALWAYS use a suitably high level of sun cream – a minimum of sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher; don’t forget the backs of your hands, your ears and your neck ALWAYS wear your safety helmet (hard hat) on site; not only does it protect you from falling objects and bumps, but it is an effective form of SPF Check your skin for unusual spots or moles that change size, shape or colour or that start bleeding: seek urgent medical advice if you find anything that worries you Take your breaks in the shade, and if possible try to work in the shade The HSE published a guide called “Keep your top on” (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg147.pdf) which gives further advice about the risks of working in the sun. Heat Stress The effects of heat stress are often as serious as that of UV exposure but can be harder to spot. In order to protect yourself from the effects of heat stress, it is important to ensure you recognise the symptoms, which can include heat rashes, nausea, fainting, muscle cramp, extreme fatigue and headaches. A heat stroke is most severe, and if not treated urgently, can be fatal. To stay safe, follow these easy steps: Stay hydrated – this is the best way to avoid heat stress. Drink 1-2 litres of water a day, and up to 1 litre per hour on very hot days with lots of physical activity Drink before, during (where possible) and after work Drink water, diluted squash or diluted fruit juice Eat cold foods such as salads and fruit to keep the body temperature down and as an added source of water Don’t leave food in the sun – it attracts bugs more quickly in the heat and can cause food poisoning. For more information visit the HSE website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/heatstress/)
Our brave and willing Management & Technical division are going to get Muddy to the Max! In aid of Cancer Research, and in memory of our late MD Max White, Anna-Marie Warren, Davinia Farr, Emily Saitch and Kerrie Letchford going to be taking part in the Maidstone Pretty Muddy 5k on Sunday 8th July 2018. This will be an ideal opportunity for us to raise some vital profiles, whilst seeing our amazing colleagues endure a new experience! You can donate in support of our team, by clicking https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/muddy-to-the-max Good luck, ladies!
We are delighted to announce that our rail team have once again achieved a full five stars in our annual RISQS Audit. The team as always have demonstrated a very professional and methodical approach towards compliance in this sector and when processes and procedures are followed as a matter of course throughout the year, with our internal compliance team completing regular checks as standard external audits don't need to be an ordeal. Evidence required to demonstrate our competence in supplying this sector is always readily available and plentiful and the Rail team thoroughly deserve the full five stars awarded to them. On a commercial note, we would urge all our clients who are RISQS accredited to check their audit schedule and RICCL codes prior to their next audit under the new scheme. Whilst our codes were identical to the previous year, the transferral over to RICCL added another day to our audit and nearly doubled the cost, however, the RISQS Customer Service team were very helpful in resolving the discrepancy and intervened to ensure our audit time was reduced accordingly and we weren't charged any more than we would have been under Achilles. A full list of product codes and our most recent audit certificate can be downloaded here. RISQS Certificate of Verification | 3034 Size: 182 KB RISQS Audit Certificate | 3034 Size: 181 KB
England got their World Cup off to a great start, with their 1st Step (sorry!) into the tournament ending in a victory for Captain Kane and the England team. And we were lucky enough to watch the first match for the Three Lions screened on the walls of our Farringdon office! 1st Step's London team were joined by clients and candidates from across a wide variety of contractors in the M&E sector and beyond, and were all treated to a fantastic finger buffet organised by our Divisional Manager, Davinia Farr and a free bar (with no queue). Matthew Jones, Managing Director said "It was a great evening. Davinia excelled in putting on a great show for our candidates and clients. It was so nice to spend time in a relaxed atmosphere, and her team did her really proud." Keep your eyes peeled for more games being shown at our Cowcross Street offices - an invite may just drop in your inbox!
In case you haven't noticed... the FIFA World Cup starts in a few weeks! Yes, that's right, love it or hate it, the World Cup fever is back soon for its quad-annual visit to our lives. We've created a free Sweepstake sheet for you to use in your office. Print it off and use as you please! Have fun The latest survey responses to XpertHR, who 1st Step use for advice and guidance, suggest the World Cup is a great tool for engaging employees, including putting TVs up in canteens and allowing flexibility for rest breaks to allow people to watch. With 90.8% of respondent employers suggesting that they will adopt an informal approach to the World Cup, common practice might suggest you don't get too hooked on rules for the events too. Common sense - from you as an employer or employee - is most needed in this situation, and just keep in mind that you are always representing your business. And 1st Step is using it to engage clients and candidates, too! We're not ashamed to admit we will use the opportunity either. So keep an eye out for any emails about events, and why not download our FREE world cup sweepstake sheet. 2018 Sweep Stake Sheet.pdf Size: 248 KB
It's good for business, especially if you work with 1st Step as a candidate or client. Whilst there is plenty of scaremongering about at the moment, GDPR is here to stay. Compliance with it will at the very least encourage recruiters to be better at recruitment. The best form of recruitment always has been and always will be "people buy from people" and that is how we at 1st Step do our business. Our recruiters try and meet every candidate, numerous times and sometimes they will build relationships over many years. This is what works, and why we employ a certain kind of recruiter that takes the time to care about the people we work with. Our consultants are going to carry on doing their job as they are because they are very good at it, and they have been doing it for years. The difference, and why GDPR is good for us, is that the concept of getting out there and meeting your candidates is not the norm with some of our competitors. To put it mildly, our competitors are going to have to up their game, to catch us. We are 1st Step, and we are the benchmark. So, we won't be mass emailing people, because it's not our style. But you can all take this blog as permission to contact us, and we will get to know you, and find you a new job! Sounds like a good idea to me. As for our clients? Well, you can rest assured that we have consent, from when we bought our candidates a coffee and asked them for it, whilst discussing where would be the best fit for their next career move. Just before they filled out the application form and signed the consent form.
Following the successful introduction of 1st Step into the USA, we are pleased to announce that Katherine Castellanos has been promoted to the role of Branch Manager after just 9 months with us. Joint MD Les Fillery said, "Katherine has been responsible for finding and setting up our office in New York, as well as recruiting team members and training them to our high standards. It felt like the right to do to promote Katherine, as it is very much deserved." "Kat has quickly become part of the family here at 1st Step," said Stuart Wallis, EIR Manager, adding "she is introducing our culture and working ethos into the office and clients in the USA, and doing a great job of it too! Knowing we have an ambassador like her running the branch in New York, it makes the day to day of employing people across the pond that much better."
A well-written CV is the backbone of any job application. After all, an employer wants to understand who you are, what your experience is and why you’re applying to their role. Yet, most of us groan at the thought of having to update our CV and will fail to tailor it to every job application we make. Here are some tips, based on rail engineering but relevant cross-sector, written by our friend Augusta Henning at CV-Library. 1. Stick to a clear format A huge part of getting yourself noticed is using a format that is easy to digest and that clearly displays all the relevant information needed. Alongside this, use an easy-to-read font, such as Arial or Calibri, in size 12. You can separate each section with bold headings, starting with your personal profile and following this with your work experience and education. Remember to write up your experience in reverse chronological order, placing your most recent and relevant positions first. In addition, you may wish to include a key skills section at the bottom, within your education section. Here, you can outline any additional qualifications you’ve gained, such as Prince2 or Agile. 2. Write a punchy personal profile As mentioned previously, your CV needs to open with a punchy personal profile. Here, you should give a clear and succinct summary of your professional background and career aspirations. It’s best to make this specific to the job you are applying for and you need to ensure that it’s not too broad. Otherwise, this suggests that you haven’t researched the job properly. Split this into two sections. In the first, you need to state who you are, for example: ‘a highly-skilled rail engineer, looking to secure a new position in…’ The second part needs to outline what you can offer the company. Here, you need to highlight any relevant skills and back them up with clear examples. For example ‘having worked on multiple successful projects for my employer, I have expressed strong problem-solving skills.’ 3. Bring your skills to life As a rail engineer, you’ll need to have a range of technical skills and be proficient with certain technologies. For example, you may be a pro at CAD but you can’t just simply state this on your CV. Try to bring these points to life by giving examples of any projects you’ve worked on in which you utilised these skills. Then, shout about the results that you achieved. For example, the ability to communicate effectively is crucial as a rail engineer. In this case, you’d write about a time when you’ve worked closely with other craftspeople to reach an end goal and highlight the success that came as a result of this. Think about using action keywords, such as: achieved, contributed, guided, handled and so on. 4. Showcase your qualifications In order to obtain a job as an engineer, you’ll need to hold a relevant qualification, such as Engineering Maintenance (NVQ Level 3) or Railway Engineering (NVQ Level 3). You may also be able to get the job by undergoing an apprenticeship. The final section of your CV should showcase these qualifications, outlining the title and dates completed. If you’re new to the rail engineer industry, you can go into more detail in this section, giving some examples of projects you worked on or any key skills you gained throughout your studies. You may also want to highlight any professional development courses you have taken, such as Personal Track Safety. In summary Overall, perfecting your CV should be your number one task when it comes to looking for a new job. Spend the time and effort on getting it right and you’ll have no problem in finding a rail engineering position that’s right for you. Engineering Jobs is a leading job board in the sector and is part of the CV-Library network. For more expert advice on engineering jobs, careers and the workplace, visit CV-Library’s Career Advice and Recruitment Insight pages.
Inspiring, Leading and Delivering - Tomorrow's Business Leaders are studying at LSEC's #theplatform and entered the Dragon's Den Through our longstanding partnership with LSEC, and in particular our good friend, Bob Noseda, our team were invited to hold a "Dragon's Den" style event at LSEC's Bexley Campus in Erith on Thursday, 8th March 2018. Students were set the task, in 6 teams of 4, of creating a recruitment business including a logo, company structure and logo to name some tasks, with a three hour deadline before presenting their business to our "Dragons". Representing us were Operations & Compliance Director, Careena Dabbs, Operations Director, Andy Brooks and Employee & Industrial Relations Manager Stuart Wallis, and the task at hand was a difficult one for them, as Careena explained. "All of the students present made such an impressive effort to develop the business plans. There were elements of every presentation and idea that were really well thought out, especially considering how they only had four hours in which to create their concepts!" The Dragons put the students through their paces - the idea being that they needed to experience a real-life situation when presenting a business concept to a group of potential investors, or clients, and the students had good answers too. Andy was given the honour of announcing the winner at the end of the day. He said "it was a really tough decision, with some inspiring ideas that got us thinking too. Eventually we chose a winner called Spotlight Recruitment, because we felt that they had the most complete concept. But it was a close run thing, with any of them capable of winning the competition." Talking about why 1st Step was supporting this initiative, Stuart said "We recognise the importance of businesses getting involved in the education of the next generation of businesses. The students we met today are all from our local area, and the incumbent responsibility on companies such as ours to play an active role in core business skills cannot be underestimated. We are delighted to be working with LSEC, and we look forward to our continuing partnership growing over the coming months and years."
We are pleased to welcome Anthony Isidro and Christopher Batista to 1st Step Resourcing Inc, based out of our New York office. Chris and Anthony will be based at our office on 225 West 34th Street in New York, under the guidance and supervision of Katherine Castellanos and her Divsional Manager, Nana Boss.
Message from Simon Cowdrey, Chairman: "Tomorrow represents the 2nd anniversary since Max White, my Managing Director and friend passed away. Max and I worked together for nearly 17 years, during that time he was not only pivotal in establishing 1st Step but also instrumental in building the strong foundations to where the business is today. When Max was diagnosed 3 years ago he set-up a charity in aid of Cancer Research called “Live Life to the Max” which the company, staff, clients and his many friends continue to support raising much needed funds. Wherever we live in the world we are all sadly effected by someone we know with this dreadful disease. 1st Step has grown rapidly in the past 2 years and over 50% of our employees have never met Max. However they have all embraced Max’s philosophies and as a company we are united in showing compassion and empathy in support for his charity. Max died one week before his 41st birthday, however his memory still lives on."
The Boys from Bristol have been out today visiting our clients, starting with Interserve's Bristol office. But they were not being salesy! Oh no... Andy Brooks (Operations Director), Ralph Preston (Regional Director) and Matthew Williams (Branch Manager) all visited Interserve - dressed in their big baby nappies - and washed their cars in aid of Cancer Research! watch the video below. If you are in Bristol, and are a client of 1st Step, give the guys a call. For the right donation, you can get your cars cleaned by our cleaning babies! Call 0117 332 6633 now and speak to Andy, Ralph or Matthew.
We are proud to announce that the Rail Team have once again achieved a Five Star rating in our annual RISQS Audit. Compliance & Strategy Director, Careena Dabbs said "The Rail team have surpassed themselves once again, ensuring the high standards required on the rail network are maintained and often exceeded. The RISQS audit is a rigorous one, but the evidence required to demonstrate our competency in this industry is always readily available and plentiful. The team thoroughly deserve the full 5 Marks awarded to them." Managing Director for Rail, Les Fillery said "1st Step Solutions' Rail Team are all committed to supplying a first class ongoing service to the industry and take our compliance responsibilities very serious. The team have demonstrated a very professional and methodical approach towards the RISQS audit and deserve all the plaudits bestowed on them. A superb team effort, well done to all involved." A full list of Product Codes are available upon request detailing the areas of our specialist supply
As part of our commitment to training and investing in the future of industry, we were delighted to be invited to the SEND Employment Skills workshop at the Bromley Campus of London & South East Colleges. Our friend Bob Noseda contacted Stuart Wallis, E&IR Manager to ask 1st Step to support the employment skills course, focussing on interview skills and giving constructive feedback with regards to their own interview techniques to students with special education needs. Commercial Support Services Manager, Genevieve Seal (pictured above) said "Helping organisations such as Bromley College to get their students ready with key soft skills and employability skills is really important. It was a great experience for us, and also a credit to Bromley College for the excellent work they do in supporting SEND students", adding "the students themselves were a real credit to themselves and their tutors." Stuart said "It's a privelage to be asked to support these events. I asked my colleague Genevieve to come along to help, and following her session, the feedback from all of the students was excellent. It is really important as a business for us to recognise that our responsibility to the community does not end at the front door of 1st Step!"