National Hirers - Executive Report

different. If the traditional thinking is something has never been done before, our instinct is to make it happen. If the traditional thinking is that something is too difficult, our instinct is to take it on, or if change is impossible, our instinct is to make changes immediately.”

Andy Wright CEO at Sunbelt Rentals UK

need human interaction in the workplace, so we will work to develop a plan that works for all


I asked Andy to give readers a little context here…

I believe that people

So much so that we have introduced initiatives that further encourage career development.


He continued: “Even in the year we have just had, the spend on training will top £2m. As part of this spend we delivered over 53,000 e-learning courses plus over 300 of our managers are now participating in a nine- month leadership programme that focuses on the belief systems of great leaders.”

Andy then spoke more about mental health; something that every one of us understands so much more nowadays.

“COVID has demanded more flexible working. That said, I believe that people need human interaction in the workplace, so we will work to develop a plan that works for all. We will no doubt see a better work/life balance, something that is especially important for the younger generation. To support the team we have 42 mental first aiders in place – it is secondary to their day job, but they get time to support people in the team who may need a little help.”

I turned to Jeremy Fish, who endorsed the ‘promote from within’ philosophy and started by marking the company out of 10:

“We would score ourselves 6/10, but we are improving. Every time we have to recruit externally, we feel a sense of failure, in that we didn’t develop someone internally.

“One such scheme is ‘wash bay to wheels’, where employees who join as yard operatives are being trained as HGV drivers. In addition, ‘wash bay to workshop’ will see members of the same team trained as engineers. For me, this scheme it is more about attitude and ability rather than skills and experience.”

I was interested to explore a broader point around attracting perhaps more qualified people into the industry, and whether we needed to change the image of plant hire.

“I feel we do need to professionalise the industry and introduce more graduates who could help widen the perspective on how things could get done. People in our industry often have different view on how things should be done, so we need to be bold and get people sharing skills, logic and understanding. The opportunities to make improvements are out there and they’re significant!" said Jeremy.

feel a sense of failure, in that we didn’t develop someone internally


He concluded this section with thoughts on development and, particularly, the culture of change he believes is required:


“Our industry has a massive amount of potential, but the pace of change needs to quicken. I joined Ardent to do something

Brian Sherlock MD at Vp PLC/ Brandon Hire Station

August 2021 - Executive Hire News 15

Every time we have to recruit externally we

I found this first part of my conversation with Jeremy, Brian and Andy to be quite inspiring and reassuring that there are clearly three people who care passionately about their people and plant hire at every level. The business reacted well to COVID, they learned quickly and responded with compassion. From a people perspective, the world is changing, and the industry needs to respond quickly to ensure it can become more attractive as it becomes safer, smarter, cleaner and greener.

There was more that united than divided them, which is good for the industry. It is also good to know that Brian Sherlock sits as Association Chair at the Hire Association Europe (HAE), a body with over 800 members which represents the industry on a range of critical matters. Brian also chairs a CEO call every quarter, which further coordinates the types of thinking and planning discussed here.

potential, but the pace of change needs to quicken


Look out for the second part of this conversation in the next issue, in which we discuss the environment, safety issues and the hugely important matter of digitalisation.


Our industry has a massive amount of

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