I left school at 17 and I didn’t have a clue what job I wanted to do. But I was sure that I wanted to find work. After applying for what seemed an endless amount of jobs, I finally started working as an office junior in Edinburgh's busy West End. It was through this job that I was introduced to the civil service and 6 months later started working in the local Jobcentre in Musselburgh.
This is where my passion for helping people to find work began. Every day I found myself in a frontline role dealing with people who came to the Jobcentre to search and apply for jobs. This role also allowed me to build relationships with local employers who used the services to advertise and fill their vacancies.
However, I wanted to be more than just the person who arranged jobs interviews, and I soon began to get to know the regulars who came in every day on a more personal level. Equally, I got to know the employers looking for staff. Soon after, I began to match individuals straight into work, many of them without an interview because of the trust established with the local employers.
During this period, the Jobcentre integrated with the Benefits Agency. This allowed me to view the employment system from a totally different perspective. I began to understand and witness how difficult it can be for so many people to get back into work. This built up my passion and determination to help people even more. It was at this point that I began to think about how I could create opportunity for those with lower skills to prove themselves in work.
I then moved from the public sector and began my career with a private sector recruitment agency, He-man Contracts. He-Man Contracts supplied construction workers all over Scotland and were one of the busiest and most well known agencies in Scotland. My role as labour controller was to make sure the agency had the best people available for their clients.
By getting to know the worker on a more personal level, this built up trust and allowed me to use their skills and job preferences more successfully. My role then progressed to visiting sites where I gained valuable experience and knowledge of the construction industry.
These site visits meant I dealt directly with site management, getting to know their preferences which made the job much easier, more successful, and more satisfying and rewarding. I recognised that the relationship with worker and hirer was most successful when built on trust. I spent over 5 years working with He-man Contracts, later Blue Arrow Construction.
In 2003, I took an opportunity to start my own recruitment agency, MBC Scotland. This allowed me to carry on supplying trades and labour to the construction industry. However, I took everything I didn’t like in my previous role and set about making my own business different.
This included a lengthy process visiting every construction site in the East of Scotland to introduce myself and MBC. With help from a brilliant team, MBC supplied some of the biggest and most well known construction companies in the UK. This then led to securing contracts in different sectors, expanding into industrial, driving, waste industry, and events. MBC continues to supply staff across Scotland with many of our clients dating back to 2004.
I first met Brian in 2004 after supplying staff to Edinburgh Council, but in 2016 we met to discuss working together on a project. For over 3 years we have worked together on the idea which is now Grow Your Own Talent.
My passion for helping people with employment is based on nearly 30 years of experience. And together, myself, Brian and Liz have created a model that allows Grow Your Own Talent to work with individuals and employers, helping to develop Scotland’s future workforce.