It’s been a couple of months since the world changed significantly. We made some quick initial changes to our ways of working, including implementing social distancing measures, putting in place new risk assessments and operating our Head Office function remotely. These changes have allowed both British and Irish Engineering Services to continue servicing our customers, uninterrupted, throughout this crisis.
I could not be more impressed with our people. I am running out of phrases to say well done and thank you, I am so proud of each and every one of them. We have received many compliments and much praise from our customers and brokers about the way we have handled ourselves and the consistency of our approach. It has been a fantastic team effort with many having quietly gone above and beyond each day. This has to be the proudest moment in our 160 year history. We have carried on supporting UK and Irish businesses throughout this crisis and have never shirked our responsibilities.
It is crucial that we recognise how important our part is in keeping things moving and keeping people safe. For example, the work we have carried out at the Nightingale and other NHS hospitals has really brought to life how important our services are in helping our care providers carry on caring. We have worked with many businesses across many different sectors across the UK and Ireland to keep the national infrastructures operating. We are proud to have played our part.
Over the last few weeks, there have been several statements from the Health and Safety Executive regarding the importance of our industry. This particular statement really reinforced the significance of our work: “The work of Engineer Surveyors is extremely valuable and necessary to maintaining safety critical plant and equipment, failure of which can create dangerous situations, risking physical harm to workers and the public. Much of this plant and equipment is vital to the national infrastructure, the NHS and to protect vulnerable groups as effectively as possible during the coronavirus crisis”. We continue to monitor Government and HSE guidelines and appreciate the support that we have received from the HSE and SaFed. The clarity and encouragement provided has been greatly appreciated.
To date we have had 6 people out of over 600 self-isolating for a variety of reasons but no one has tested positive for Covid-19 or been taken seriously ill. I have continually reinforced the message to our people that no one should carry out work they are not comfortable doing. We will always follow specific site rules and guidance laid down by our customers. Our people are the best judges of their personal safety and if they feel they are being put at risk, they have our full support to walk away. This is always the case and not just during these challenging times.
Ways of working will inevitably change with more people working from home more often. The past few weeks has shown that it is possible for people to work from home effectively and there are upsides to this including quality of life, improved healthy habits and less commuting. There will always be a need for us to meet and keep our social connections but we will have to learn to adapt and change our way of doing things. Over the coming weeks and months we will reassess how British and Irish Engineering work in the future to make sure we all get the benefits of both pre and post Covid practices.
I am delighted to announce that we have now started work on building our new training centre which is a big investment for us. It will allow us to cross train existing Engineer Surveyors and train our new Engineer Surveyors much more quickly, reduce training in the field and ultimately create new capacity for our growth as a business. The training centre means we can train safely and, if needed, keep social distancing in place. This is very exciting for us as a business as we continue to invest in an even bigger and better future.
The Training Centre will be named after Paul Forrester, who we sadly lost last year. He was both our Technical Specialist for Machinery and a great friend to many. I am sure he is very proud of us all, particularly at the moment.
We are currently hiring more Engineer Surveyors than ever before. The demand for our services is ever growing and we won’t allow capacity to get in the way of servicing customers who need us. In the first instance, we will be looking to add 60 new Engineer Surveyors to our team, with our next new group of Engineer Surveyors starting in June. It is great as a business to be hiring more people in these difficult times and also investing in our current staff.
How we have gone about our business has been exemplary and I am sure that there are lots of people who admire our quiet confidence and determination to do the right thing. I am pleased that we are able to continue with our plans and ambitions for the business and not just get by. We are doing all the things that we would have done without Coronavirus and probably more and that’s because of the fantastic people in British and Irish Engineering Services.
Finally, once again, I would like to thank our people for being so brilliant and our customers and brokers for being so supportive as we navigate together through these difficult times.