At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

We spoke with Maria Seabright the Finance and HR Director of Greendale Construction to ask her a little bit about how she got into what she is doing now and how they are shaping the world of construction for young people in our area.

 

RISE: What is your name and what is your role at Greendale Construction?

Maria: My name is Maria Seabright and I am the Finance & HR Director.

RISE: How did you get into the construction industry? Did you work your way up to the role you are in today?

Maria: Previously to joining Greendale Construction I was working in the waste disposal industry which worked alongside the Construction industry.  I wanted to change careers and answered an advert in the Bournemouth Echo for an Admin Assistant / Receptionist (I still have the original advert in my personnel file!).  So on the 1st October 1997 I joined Greendale Construction.  My role was to answer the phone, and to provide admin and secretarial support.  When I joined the company their turnover was £1m.  As the company grew my role within the organisation grew.  I started doing the accounts (which were originally outsourced) so also became Accounts Manager.  In 2000 We moved into larger premises and engaged more staff so again my role changed to Office Manager.  In 2009 we moved to Old Generator House where we now have 19 admin/senior managers based in the office and the number of staff that we employ grew to 50.  On the 1st January 2013 I was promoted to Finance & HR Director at the same time Andy Musselwhite was promoted to Contracts Director.  This now meant that the company had 4 directors on the board.  I was so honoured and privileged to be asked to become a Director of this great company that I had seen go from strength to strength.  I have now been with the company 22 years this year.

RISE: As great sponsors (and believers!) of the Rock Star Awards, how do you make your workplace inclusive for young people starting out?

Maria: We strongly believe that we have a responsibility as an organisation to train for the future of the industry – this means that we are very active in recruiting apprentices.  Apprentices can be for various trades; site carpentry, bricklaying or Painting & Decorating.  We also engage Graduates where the company financially support any university fees, meaning that they can study for a degree without having to get into debt, and ensure that every apprentice / graduate has a 1-1 mentor that helps them with their training.  We also offer work experience placements for students (majority being of school age) – this gives them an insight into what actually happens on a construction site or within a construction office if it is a career that they wish to embark on.  We interview every student that applies for works experience as we believe that this gives them valuable experience in attending an interview with an employer.  It also allows us to see what the student wants to gain out of their works experience so we tailor their training to reflect this.   Because of the number of graduates / apprentices that have trained / qualified with us over the years we know that they make great mentors for the other young people coming through the company and we encourage ex apprentices and ex graduates to actually mentor some of these young employees.   In 2018 we won the Dorset Business Award for “Developing Talent”.  It was wonderful to be recognised for the great work that we do with developing talent within our organisation.

RISE: From what we know of you, you are a very charitable company and truly believe in giving back to your community – do you think that makes you all more effective as a workforce?

Maria: We do an awful lot of charity work and also working with schools & colleges to promote the industry.  Again we feel it is important to give something back to the community.  We have a nominated charity every year that we raise money for – this charity is voted for by the employees and this is really important as they are contributing / giving something back to who they have chosen to support.  We are also currently looking to introduce some volunteer days within the company – this will be where an employee can volunteer within the community one day a year.  This volunteer day encompasses  our mental health & wellbeing in the workplace policy.  By allowing our employees to give something back and volunteering to help other for a day makes them feel good.

RISE: Do you think the construction industry is slowly becoming more approachable for both men and women?

Maria: More women are becoming more interested in working within the construction industry.  This is very evident when I am attending careers events at schools & colleges as more young ladies approach me to ask about working in the industry, be it becoming an architect, or working on site, or learning a trade.  I do think that employers within the construction industry are now more open to engaging women within the industry.

RISE: What advice would you give to a young person looking to get into directorship one day?

Maria: Being a director to any company is a massive responsibility. It has its good days and its bad days however it is wonderful to be in a position where you can see the company grow and the people around you excel in their chosen profession.  It is hard work and requires total dedication to the business.  It can be stressful but it is how you manage that stress – it is essential to get your work life balance right.  Do things away from the office that help you re-charge your batteries so that you have the strength the tackle each day head on.  A business is only as good as the team around you to make sure that you employ the right people that will embrace the company ethos and who all work in the same direction to make the company bigger and better.  Be a director that is approachable – always have an open door policy for your staff to talk to you if they have any concerns or problems.  Share your business plan with all your staff, that way they all know what you are trying to achieve as a business and they will be working towards the same goal.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This is part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

We asked Jake Moore cyber security expert from ESET Internet Security some questions about keeping informed and getting your company safe whether you are a big or small business.

 

Rise: What is your name, where do you work, and what do you do within your role?

 

Jake: Jake Moore, Security Specialist for ESET Internet Security. I am the spokesman for the company commenting in the national news on a daily occurrence in the field of cyber security.

 

Rise: Can you give me a brief description of Cyber Security?

 

Jake: Wow “brief”?! That’s tough. I would say it’s the imperative requirement to tighten defences on any internet connected device because of the increasing ways in which gremlins get in to try and either steal information, cause havoc, and extort you or all three.  Sadly there is no silver bullet that can do this but with a range of tools to combat it, this risk can be reduced.

 

Rise: Why has there been such a rise in the need for Cyber Security in the last few years?

 

Jake: More and more interaction and human activity now relies on the internet with the ever increasing need for speed when it comes to communications, services and transactions alike. This inevitably means that there will be more vulnerabilities for hackers to take advantage of and compromise. From companies storing confidential data which could potentially be hacked to people using the same passwords for all online accounts, people sadly still need to up their security to stay ahead of the game. It probably feels like there is a new scam or cyber risk in the press on a daily basis and this tends to be because the general public are still slightly behind on the educational requirement to mitigate the threats.

 

Rise: How can we start to take steps to make sure we are safe against safety breaches? Do you have some top tips?

 

Jake: There are some really simple steps we can all take to reduce the chance of getting our own devices or information hacked in to. These steps won’t take you long to set up and once you are used to them, they will actually make your online life easier. Firstly, download a password manager application on your phone and create unique strong passwords for all of your accounts keeping them stored in the manager app. This will save you from most simple hacking breaches. Secondly, implement 2 factor authentication on all applications that hold sensitive information such as your email and social media accounts. All this involves is inputting your mobile number to the application so that when you log in on a new device, it will text you a code to input quickly making it so much more secure as hackers will not have your mobile phone. Even safer is by downloading an authentication app such as Google Authenticator. These generate codes only you can see. And finally I suggest you backup all your data such as photos, music or videos that you could never ever live without. No one wants to experience that feeling of losing those precious moments such as your kids photos or a special holiday should the worst ever happen.  

 

Rise: Do news releases like this mean good news for the industry of Cyber Security? https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-universities-recognised-for-excellence-in-cyber-security-research

 

Jake: Of course good news is excellent when it comes to cyber security. If there is anything that tries to balance out the negative stories we hear and read on a daily basis, then that’s a good thing in my opinion. We are in desperate need to entice new people from all backgrounds (especially more women) into the industry as it has been documented that there still aren’t enough people in the cyber defence world to tackle the ever growing demand.

 

Rise: Are we well equipped for the future with the huge increase in technological advancements? Surely the more tech and digital platforms that are produced the more ways we can be hacked?

 

Jake: We are getting there but it has to be a combined effort and shift in culture to maximise the war on cybercrime. Companies need to understand their own risks and in some cases, employ more people equipped to reduce those threats. Moreover, the public need to understand that burying your head in the sand won’t make the problem go away and in fact, simple cyber security hygiene isn’t too difficult to implement. As soon as people allow computers and cyber awareness training be a part of life, you could potentially eradicate 80% of cybercrime.

 

Rise: What great advancements has there been in terms of security for businesses and your everyday individual?

 

Jake: Simple advancements such as a change in policy, education and verification techniques are the actually the most powerful. Due to the fact that hacking people is far easier than hacking systems, by simply upping staff and the general public in awareness will impact greatly on society. There is still a slight “technophobe” attitude which harpers our future but this is slowly eradicating.

 

Rise: Do you think there is enough public information around Cyber Security so people know how to be safe?

 

Jake: There is a plethora of public information on cyber security. Absolutely tons! However, the issue lies people wanting to access it. If we change the culture or even stigma around the subject then everything will fall into place and we will be a much stronger society when it comes to defending against cyber-attacks.

 

A huge thank you to Jake Moore for being a part of this series and answering all of our questions!

 

If you haven’t seen the first Q&A of this series click here to have a look.