Our experienced technical teams recruit across the Building Services, Rail, Civils and Construction sectors, they offer an exceptional knowledge of the sectors, projects, clients and talent within their geographical area’s and are dedicated to providing permanent and contract recruitment solutions for the pre-construction and delivery of projects including but not limited to: Site Supervision and Management, Project Management & Engineers.
I have engaged the services of Davinia at 1st Step since October 2011 in the supply of permanent and contract management staff for a number of roles and to suit our business portfolio. During this time Davinia has got to know SPIE and our business and takes the time to listen to our requirements and makes sure that the candidates she sources meet our immediate needs. She is always on hand to assist where required and takes a proactive approach and realistically manages our expectations. 1st Step Solutions and SPIE have a strong partnership dating back several years and support our business to the best of their abilities. I would have no hesitation at all in recommending Davinia and the team at 1st Step Solutions to any company looking to engage a recruitment partner.
I have been using 1st Step Solutions to supply not just trades but supervision and project staff to Shepherd Engineering projects. Their knowledge and expertise in their sector combined with the service is the main reason why 1st Step has been part of the SES PSL for ten years. Seeing them expand into the South West and furthermore into the North West really does make 1st Step Solutions a UK wide respected supplier.
Despite recent monthly recruitment monitoring from KMPG and the REC in the UK reporting an ongoing decrease in the availability of candidates across the permanent and temporary markets, we are embracing the challenge, confident that we have the relationships in place with candidates and clients to make the most of this opportunity. The permanent market shows a decrease in the availability of permanent staff of 25.4%, higher than the 22% in April. In the temporary market, the decrease in availability is showing the same trend, with a 14.4% drop in availability, compared with 12.2% drop in April. 1st Step’s Managing Director, Les Fillery said “Although 1st Step has bucked this trend in the same time period, the latest statistics from KMPG and REC bare out what we have been hearing in our conversations with clients and candidates. Uncertainty in the current economic and political climate is having an impact on the jobs market, both in terms of the availability of candidates and the salary expectations of those looking to move, but with the experience of our team, we are seeing this as a positive challenge.” Average starting salaries for permanent staff have increased further in May, with on average increases being at around 17.8%, whilst the temporary/contractor market has seen pay rates increase by around 18%. This trending scarcity of availability has had a significant impact on the “market rates” for new recruits. Analysing the report, REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry said “The jobs market is still creating opportunities for those looking for work. With vacancies rising and starting salaries going up sharply, it is worth people talking to recruiters about the next step in their career.” Our Associate Director, Davinia Farr believes that this gives more reason for candidates and clients to continue to put their faith in 1st Step. “We have excellent relationships with our clients and candidates alike, with my team having industry knowledge that is second to none. We understand what each stakeholder in the recruitment process is looking for, and never forget the ‘consultant’ part of our job.” Davinia advises that “the key to anyone thinking about a move, is to work with a recruiter that wants to understand you and the kind of business you want to work with or the projects you want to work upon. We can then marry this up with the clients we think are best suited to what you want to do. By maintaining close ties with our clients, we understand better than most their internal culture and values, and what kind of candidates they would want to see. 1st Step is not in the game of mass-CV mailshots, but of cultivating the right opportunities for both parties.”
Shaping the future of 1st Step continues The board of directors are delighted to announce that Davinia Farr has been promoted to Associate Director with effect from 28th January 2019. Managing Director Les Fillery said, “Davinia has been with the business for over ten years, she has been dedicated to developing her team and division, to the greater good of the entire company and industry. She is a worthy advocate of the title AD and leads by example and I’m looking forward to working with her as we continue to develop our core strengths across the business.” Davinia’s duties in managing the Management and Technical division will continue, supplying candidates to our clients along with her team. Her role will see her also assisting the development of her colleagues at 1st Step and representing all aspects and divisions of 1st Step to the industry. We hope you will join us in congratulating Davinia in this fantastic achievement.
The year 2019 is fast-approaching, and for us, 2019 will be about the foundations of 1st Step; the staff. This year, we have experienced the reshaping of 1st Step, which has been essential in order to contest with the challenges and demands that BREXIT will bring upon us. I hope that despite these obstacles we have maintained career opportunities and the encouragement of progression for everyone at 1st Step. Irrespective of whether a business is a ‘Nike’ or your local corner shop the fundamentals of success remain, it’s with the people – ensuring staff retention, employee engagement and creating a sense of trust and appreciation. Every person within the 1st Step family has an important and equal role to play, both now and in the future. It gives me enormous pleasure when I read the regular staff updates on anniversaries and employment miles reached. I recall one conversation with a staff member, being told that they ‘could never see themselves working anywhere else’. Even one of our Executive Directors celebrating her 15-year service milestone is an enormous achievement. Only this week, we have run an anonymous survey of our staff about their opinions on the business, and the results are very encouraging in terms of communications, progression and people understanding how they fit into the “bigger picture”. Quarter 4 of this year the Board began the project ‘Shaping the Future’ of 1st Step with three newly appointed Executives to the main Board. These appointments provide diversity and perspective in decision making into the direction we head toward in 2019. I can assure that 2019 will bring about even more employee engagement, opportunities, promotions and achievements within the business. We can expect another tough year during 2019 in trading. However, what we all appreciate in recruitment is that every day is as hard as the next. We work in a people’s industry and every conversation, meeting or situation is unlike the last; that’s why we all love what we do. We thrive on challenges. 1st Step has invested hugely in our the future with a new database, compliance, systems and processes. With the continuous support of our staff along with the combined development of the infrastructure, our future is not just looking bright, it’s looking BRIGHT ORANGE!! (excuse the pun!) I know that this Christmas everyone will be treasuring every moment with their family, relaxing, recharging the batteries. I would like to wish all 1st Step staff, clients, candidates and suppliers a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to working with you all in 2019.
Everyone at 1st Step Solutions Ltd & 1st Step Resourcing Inc would like to wish our clients, candidates and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Our offices will remain open until 24th December 2018, following which we will remain closed until 2nd January 2019. Should you need to contact us urgently, please get in touch with your usual representative of 1st Step via their mobile phone.
1st Step Solutions have taken a major step forward in our quest to become the leading aviation construction agency in the UK by becoming approved airside signatories at Gatwick Airport. This means that, as your agency of choice, we can support your business across the airport sector with a security-cleared construction workforce from Labourers to Project Managers. Our Chairman, Simon Cowdrey said "Congratulations to the Heathrow West team on this major achievement." adding "We have always been strong in terms of compliance, so the next natural step for us is to apply this expertise to this area where highly complex security clearance processes are required." Jas Dhunna, Business Manager said, "this is excellent news for 1st Step, and credit must go to Laila Haddad for her hard work in getting this over the line." She added "We are renowned for our customer service, which we are very proud of. It is a testament to this that our clients were willing to support our application, so a huge thank you to them, too." For more information on working for 1st Step at either Gatwick or Heathrow Airports, please call us on 01753 708988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and speak to Jas, Laila or Stuart
I am delighted to announce that 1st Step has launched a new office based at Heathrow West This brings two innovative divisions to support the construction industry. We have enlisted a specialist team to clear and pass candidate’s airside for both Heathrow and Gatwick airports, directed by our new Recruitment Manager, Laila Haddad. What’s more, within Heathrow West, we have further new division focusing on the recruitment of construction trades within the M25 and South East. This team will be headed up by our newly appointed Business Manager, Jas Dhunna. The 1st Step vision is to create a platform that allows our employees to excel; both externally for our clients, but also in their own personal development and career progression. It goes without saying that the staff at 1st Step are what leads and drives our business. The growth & development of our 1st Step family is equally as important as the growth of our business.
Our colleagues Katherine Castellanos and Anthony Isidro were last night in attendance at the 11th Annual Construction Financial Management Awards at the Crest Hollow Country Club, Woodbury, New York. At the event, Ed Harms, Managing Partner of Island Companies and Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive were honored as Construction Executives of the Year. Katherine, Branch Manager for 1st Step in New York, said "it was a great pleasure to attend the CFMA awards in their 11th Annual event. It was not only a great opportunity to network with some of the largest construction companies around the NYC area, but it was also raising awareness for a great cause in supporting Contractors for Kids". Katherine added "I would once again like to thank Keisha and Danielle for the invitation and also congratulate Ed Harms on receiving the construction Executive of the Year. We look forward to supporting future events and furthering the brand name of 1st Step".
As a company that takes our responsibility of checking right to work seriously, I’m always surprised when recruitment professionals join 1st Step and have not previously received any sort of training on checking right to work documents. Many companies seem to accept whatever is given to them, or take the opinion that this is the responsibility of intermediaries or sub-contractors as individuals are not directly engaged by them. However, at 1st Step we make it our business to safeguard ourselves and our client’s by checking every individual who is engaged on one of our projects. Indeed it also amazes me how many candidates present outdated documents which still allow them the right to travel, but no longer provide evidence of the right to work, and yet they have not been challenged or advised that they need to update their documents. Over the last few years, we’ve come a long way from stamps in passports, which weren’t very clear to understand and difficult to verify. Now, whilst not particularly well publicised, there are some useful tools available to employers from the home office, including; Full and comprehensive guidance documents and checklists A basic “sanity check” step by step web guide, talking you through what has been presented and whether that person needs additional documents to prove their work. A biometric verification service allows the candidate to share details of their biometric online, confirming the individuals status and enabling you to cross-reference with the documents collected. The Employers Checking Service, which allows you to check the current status of an outstanding application and establish if you have a statutory excuse whilst this is ongoing. This service will normally give a response within five working days. Employers Helpline for any anomalies and exceptions to the rules (and annoyingly there are still some of them) Training Our first line of defence is our recruiters and everyone at 1st Step is given training on the importance of checking right to work documents, how to check them, and when to refer them to the compliance team. Our compliance team act as our safety net and have a comprehensive understanding of the tools available to them and what to look for when checking documents. Where there is any doubt, they will not hesitate to pick up the phone to the Employers Helpline to seek further guidance. Candidate Support Where candidates have presented out of date documents, often because they were unaware that these are no longer acceptable having been allowed to travel and gone unchallenged by other employers, our compliance team will still go out of their way to educate the candidate, correspond with their solicitors if necessary and provide them the information and contacts they need in order to provide the relevant evidence. We also ensure that any candidates working for us are given reminders and any support required where their documents are approaching the time for renewal.
We are pleased to welcome Simon Gerrard to our Senior Management team. Simon joins us as a Director for white-collar services and reporting to the Board. Simon will be based from our Farringdon office and will be responsible for assisting Davinia Farr & Nana Boss to achieve the growth and strategy of their respective Divisions and for all future white collar activities across the UK & USA. Owner & Chairman Simon Cowdrey said, "We are really pleased to welcome Simon to 1st Step - an excellent acquisition as we look to continue our recent strong growth across M&E and Construction white collar sections". He added, "bringing Simon on to the team gives us an added element of leadership that will further strengthen our already successful teams." Simon will be spending time with the teams in Farringdon during his first week, before integrating himself into the wider business and meeting clients and candidates alongside our consultants. Simon can be contacted at our Farringdon office on 0207 760 7622 or by emailing email@example.com
I was asked recently what Kerrie’s Job title meant when we promoted her to a Candidate Manager. I thought to myself "I could list all of Kerrie’s daily duties and responsibilities" (they would definitely include making me a great cup of tea and of course being my right-hand person when it comes to getting the job done). But then I thought the best way to demonstrate what she does, would be to let the candidates Kerrie manages explain why she thoroughly deserves the job title Candidate Manager; what makes her more than a Resourcer "I have found Kerrie to be most helpful in all aspects in relations to any queries raised. She has a positive approach towards the recruited staff, & a bubbly personality, which installs trust in that union. Hopefully, she has a long career in this industry, as I believe she is an asset to 1st Step, which doesn't come around every day." Electrical Manager – SES Engineering Services "From my experience, I have found Kerrie to be extremely helpful and very professional. She provides you with all the information about a Client and job and delivers It in a warm and friendly manner. She is always cheerful and upbeat." Mechanical Site Manager – Designer Group "I have worked with Kerrie Letchford for the last year and I personally think she is a great woman for any position with any company, She has a lovely personality and extremely helpful at all times." Mechanical Supervisor – Briggs & Forrester Candidates are important to 1st Step and making sure they have the correct information, are continually informed of how the process is going and treated with respect are at the core of what Kerrie does daily and an ethos that is echoed by the values of 1st Step Solutions. I’m very privileged to have Kerrie in my team continually on the hunt for the “best of the best” Mechanical & Electrical Supervisors and Site Managers to work for our clients. To Kerrie, no candidate is ever just a number and to me, Kerrie is an essential part of my team. Thank you, Kerrie, we never underestimate how important you are in our team – can someone please try and find us 10 more Kerries?
I will never forget the day I met Anna, she turned up at Chelmsford Railway station with a mass of curly hair, big hoop earrings and a smile that would light up a room. From the day she started Anna has been one of my most loyal team members. Initially starting in an office Admin position Anna quickly demonstrated a real flair for recruitment, and alongside the office admin duties started to source Site Administrators and Document Controllers to go and work for our clients. This “side-line” Anna started quickly grew and grew, and soon she was focused on recruitment full time as a Delivery Consultant and then a Consultant. Over the 4 years Anna has been in my team one thing has never changed and that is the passion she shows for finding her candidates the right job for them. For Anna, it’s not about where will make her the most money or who will she hit her target with; it’s all about finding the perfect job for her candidates who she cares so much about. Anna’s passion for 1st Step Solutions has stood out since her first day. She is a real team player and works as tirelessly for the good of her team as she does her candidates and she makes me immensely proud every day when I watch her conduct herself with so many of the morals that 1st Step stands for; she is honest, has integrity and above all she simply cares. Over the four years Anna has been with us her desk has grown from just Site Administrators and Document Controllers to also recruiting for PA’s, Office Managers, Technical Coordinators, Commercial / Estimating Administrators, Accounts Administrators, Purchase Ledger staff to name just a few. I cannot thank Anna enough for her unwavering support and hard work and would like to assure any candidate looking for work in Business Support with M&E and Construction that they are in very safe hands with Anna.
Three years ago today, August 17th 2015, Max White passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer. An inspirational man, who was a unique character that you rarely find in life. As a colleague, he was much loved and respected by everyone in 1st Step. It is not often you can say nobody had a bad word to say about someone and know it is true – but Max was one of those guys. Personally, he was a great Father to Ellie and a fantastic friend to those around him, too. His influence inside 1st Step was one thing, but the impact of his personality, professionalism and class in dealing with people reached far beyond the doors of West Hill House in Dartford and our offices that he helped to grow. You can ask many of our clients and industry experts that dealt with Max and they say the same thing – what a great man! Just look at the fundraising his friends and colleagues have undertaken for Live Life to the Max – the generosity and will of countless people to fundraise in his name is an astounding testament to his life and memory and a source of much-needed funding for Cancer Research UK. When Max found out about his cancer, he took it in his stride and fought it. He did get frustrated by the system, but he did it with a positive heart and mind. Dignified in his battle, he started the Live Life to the Max campaign that is still going strong today. He remained a good person to talk to – frank and honest in his opinions but with a heartfelt desire to give the best advice. Genuinely, not a day goes by for us at 1st Step where his name isn’t mentioned in some way. Over half of our colleagues didn’t meet him. But every person has heard about him and understands what he stood for because his values shaped what 1st Step stands for. Honest and loyal confidants that you can rely on. Three years haven’t made it easier to take that he has gone, but his legacy makes his family, friends, colleagues and industry peers from all walks of life remember that there is a right way to be with people. Live Life to the Max
We have so many vacancies on our books at the moment, that is easier to tell you what we are not recruiting for; we don't need astronauts right now. Our teams are working the phones so hard that they make a Comic Relief night telephone operator look like they are on a go-slow! We have vacancies for temporary and permanent placements at a whole range of clients, and we are looking for candidates in every field, be it trades and labour or Project Managers, and everything in between. So what are you waiting for? Visit https://www.1ststepsolutions.co.uk/contact-us/head-office and find the office nearest to you, and give them a call! Your next move and career step is only a call away.
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."
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!
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!