Our RISQS accredited rail team recruit for Safety Critical roles nationwide, across the Network Rail and London Underground Network, we are also able to offer recruitment services for skilled trades with the necessary safety qualifications, and a full range of plant operator roles with access to medical and occupational health monitoring for these positions.
1st Step Solutions have been supplying to Amco for over 4 years. During this time the 1st Step team, led by John Bailey, have provided Amco with outstanding support. I have significant experience of working with resource and recruitment suppliers as well as 15 years in the recruitment industry itself and have yet to find a supplier which goes to the lengths to provide such excellent service as 1st Step Solutions. Too many companies sell a “team with extensive industry knowledge” and “out of office hour’s support” and “on site presence” most of which seems to fade away once the T’s and C’s have been signed. John Bailey at 1st Step Solutions do not suffer with these issues. He attends planning meetings where his obvious industry knowledge has proven very useful on so many occasions. John is a regular unprompted visitor to our sites where 1st Step are providing Amco with operatives. He even attends sites where 1st Step are not providing support just to see if there is anything he can help with. I have yet to call him out of office hours for support and not get a response. 1st Step have attended and given input to monthly Health and Safety meetings and have even brought along a guest speaker to present on a specialist topic relevant to the meeting. The calibre of operatives 1st Step provide is of a very high standard. I am used to agency operatives (and even directly employed staff) jumping out of the van on arrival at site and asking the stock first question of “what time are we finishing Gov?” However, I was particularly impressed on a project where we had asked for support from1st Step. For reasons I’m not going to labour here, the work the guys had been booked for was unable to go ahead, at this point I would normally expect the team (other agencies and direct labour) to be asking for their timesheets to be signed for the full shift so they “could get off”. Not so in the case of the 1st Step lads, they started looking to see what could be done on that shift and what could be done in preparation for the following shift. Amco managers continue to select John and 1st Step Solutions to assist them on a variety of jobs including some of our more high profile projects. So, I have sung 1st Step Solutions praises for the good stuff they do, well what about the not so good stuff. A lifetime of experience working with human beings tells me that they are not the most reliable and stable product to sell. When I sit with an agency sales person for the 1st time I make it clear that our relationship will not be based on what they do well, instead it will be based on what they do when it goes wrong! At this point I usually get the sales patter around “industry knowledge”, “out of hours support” and “on site presence”. Not from 1st Step Solutions, they promised me honesty and support when things go wrong and they promised to never over promise and under deliver. I have never had to question John’s commitment to that promise.
Congratulations to Hayley Laurance who recently completed and passed her PTS training on 27th March 2019. Managing Director, Les Fillery said "It's a great achievement for Hayley to become PTS qualified, and further demonstrates her ambition to best serve our clients and candidates. Well done, Hayley!"
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.
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.
We are pleased to announce the opening of our latest office, Heathrow West, with business opening with a flourish today (29 October 2018). The office is based on the Bath Road and will house our dedicated Recruitment Team which specialises in security cleared and passed candidates across London's busiest airports, as well as supplying candidates to our valued clients across London and the South East. Our Owner & Chairman, Simon Cowdrey said "1st Step has been trading for 14 years and has become renowned for excellent customer service, built originally on our footprint across London and the South East. That has spread to the Midlands with our office in Newark, our offices in Bristol and most recently in New York which began our presence in the USA". He added, "We are delighted to have acquired premises and a fantastic new team in the Heathrow West office who will strengthen our resolve and ability to deliver for our clients and candidates alike." The Heathrow West team can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01753 708 988.
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 delighted to announce that we have promoted two of our consultants to Recruitment Manager positions today, in recognition of their hard work and dedication and in line with our ongoing plans for growth and development of both the business and our people. Find Nicole on LinkedIn Nicole Hodgson - M&E South East Having joined us in 2017, Nicole has quickly become an integral part of our business and proven to have the leadership skills necessary to lead our recruitment team in Wickford. Owner and Chairman Simon Cowdrey said "With our recent restructures, it quickly became apparent to us that Nicole has the ability and skills to take the lead in our M&E trades office for London and the South East. Even though Nicole only joined us last year, her integration with the rest of our business and the commitment she has shown in the best interests of the Company meant this was an obvious choice for us." Find Mike on LinkedIn - Mike Elliott - M&E Midlands Joining as a Consultant, Mike Elliott has been with 1st Step now for two and a half years. After a career in the Army, Mike quickly became an ambassador for the ethos and values of 1st Step and has now been promoted to be the Recruitment Manager for our team based in Newark. Commenting on Mike's promotion, Managing Director Matthew Jones said "Mike has unofficially taken some of the roles of leading the team and supporting the division well over the past 18 months, and his commitment to customer service levels to candidates and clients alike along with a keen eye for detail meant it was the right choice for him and us to promote him to Recruitment Manager", adding "when assessing how best to continue the excellent work our Newark team do it was clear to us that Mike should be allowed to continue and develop his role more formally. We are really pleased that he is taking this opportunity to develop himself and the office".
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 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.
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
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.
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."
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