Name: Mark Webber
Company: Tinsley Bridge Group
Position: Managing Director
Company background: The company has been a private entity for over 25 years and currently employs 170 people. There are 3 manufacturing companies within the Group, supplying the automotive, steel, demolition and railway markets. We focus on both designing and manufacturing and strive to develop innovative processes and products.
Why do you choose to employ graduates at your company? We need bright, committed and ambitious people. Attitude and intelligence are more important than experience! We have an ageing workforce at the company, and we need to bring in the next generation in time for the current generation to pass on their experience and skills. We find that graduates bring with them the latest thinking, and continually question what we do. Also we benefit from the relationship the company has with Sheffield’s two great universities!
How do you recruit graduates into the business? We recruit in a variety of different ways, for example through direct recruiting. Sophie, for instance, came to us for work experience at a time when we were looking for a Finance Clerk. She did extremely well and showed great enthusiasm and potential so we decided to employ her full-time!
What do you think Sophie has added to the business? We were extremely impressed with how quickly Sophie picked things up when she first started at the company. She demonstrated a strong ability to get through a lot of work and was always looking for extra things she could do to help. She has also helped to improve the office environment bringing a younger outlook.
Would you continue to look to employ graduates? Yes we definitely would and are recruiting now for an engineering graduate.
How did the company support Sophie to settle in? By having an informal, relaxed work environment. We expect people to be self-disciplined don’t have a pressurised environment for new people. We do, however, expect people to work hard. We also found that having other graduates employed at the company helped Sophie to settle in a bit quicker!
Have there been any challenges in employing graduates? The main challenge is to keep them busy with interesting work while they are still learning about both the company and the job. When graduates come to join us not having a lot of work experience we recognise the need to continually push them so that they are constantly learning and developing. SMEs tend to have quite flat management structures so it is important that graduates have clear career paths within the company which is more about increasing their wider responsibilities than it is about moving on to the next job.. This is why we have exposed our graduates to a wide range of experiences across the company, which is something that SMEs are able to do unlike larger companies.
What additional support would you like to attract even more graduates? Anything that helped market SMEs attract the best graduates and able to compete with the larger companies. SMEs need to look at recruiting graduates earlier in the academic year as we recognise that good graduates get snapped up by larger companies.