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.

Winning awards is not just about being in the moment, but providing the momentum for the future.

What happens after the cameraman has stopped taking photos and the occasion of a celebratory night outcomes to an end?

The Rock Star Awards return in Spring 2019 to celebrate young people who have reached out, succeeded on the path they are currently on and deserve to be recognised.

The awards have been in place since 2012. This means that the alumni of award winners grow every year. This now represents people who have taken the initiative on a personal and professional capacity and their own journeys taking them to new places and providing a framework for their own development.

We caught up with three former winners on how their lives changed after winning a Rock Star Award.

We spent some time with Nat Hawley, Kamron Arasteh and Molly Brown on where their lives are now and a chance to look back on when they won an award.

 

Nat’s Journey Afterwards

Nat is now based in London as the Partnership and Community Manager for Exceptional Individuals, which is the first employment partnership for neurodivergent people. He won the Inspirational Star of the Future in
2014 and his current position reflects that.

Nat’s progression has been significant, he explains, “I have a degree from Bournemouth University in Television Production. However, my calling was to use my life experience to support others. Having adversity in your life and overcoming it inspires you to empower and support others. I have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and autism, and use this unique positive experience to make the world a more inclusive place, one person, one day at a time.”

“It was a huge step to move to the city from my familiar surroundings in Bournemouth. The recognition and championing from Rise gave me the encouragement to take my passion a step further and be a campaigner for others with learning differences on a global scale. I became a supervisor for The Princes Trust, training others from challenging backgrounds to become youth workers, I have taught people with disabilities in multiple countries and currently celebrating one year in my current role at Exceptional Individuals with the launch of my very own Academy for people with Dyslexia.”

Looking back on the award win in 2014, can Nat recall what it felt? Nat looks back as a sense of recognition. He says, “I had always been a spokesperson for charitable organisations. Winning a Rock Star Award was acknowledgement for me as an individual. It provided me with added credibility and the recognition allowed me to reach a bigger audience and dedicate myself to supporting even more people as my full time job.”

“I found that after the awards this presented the ‘foot in the door’ moment. It started a conversation with others. To have one person believe in you is an achievement but to have an entire county is empowerment for a life time.”

 

Kamron’s Progression

Kamron Arasteh was recognised as a Student Rock Star in 2013 whilst in his final year at Bournemouth University, studying IT. Kamron now works for Europe’s leading home improvement retailer, Kingfisher, as a programme manager.

Kamron started the process believing it was an internal award by the University. “I originally thought this was an award that had a focus on my faculty and run by the University. To be a winner means a lot. I can remember taking my mum to the awards evening and watching the nominee video from one of the other finalists who had created a fantastic piece of software and had completed their Masters. Degree. I thought, ‘there’s no way, I’m going to win this.’ It was great to be recognised.”

Since winning the student award, Kamron has progressed his IT career with a variety of roles within Kingfisher that began as part of the company graduate scheme. Kamron continues, “I started in an admin support role and that has quickly changed over the past few years. I have worked on a £250m project to replace all B&Q IT systems and some considerable European wide projects. My working week is between offices in Southampton and Yeovil. I am currently running six large projects for Screwfix in adapting their HR and finance function.”

Whilst Kamron’s professional development has seen a sharp rise, he still looks back to his Rock Star Award win as providing a foundation. “When many people come out of University, our CV’s are very sparse and many look the same as there is limited experience, let alone award accolades! Everyone needs a magnet to draw people to. Being a Rock Star Award winner did this.”

 

Molly’s Development

One of the most recent award winners Molly Brown saw her award win recognised on a much wider level within her company.

Molly won the Shooting Star of the Future award in 2017 and made her way to the stage on crutches whilst recovering from an injury. Molly said, “It was an amazing feeling to win the award. Whilst I would not consider myself someone with an academic background, to have this award makes you believe in yourself.”

Molly is now Team Manager at wealth management company, Old Mutual Wealth. “I started with a six-month contract as an administrator and then became team manager. Winning a Rock Star Award isn’t just about recognition on a personal level, but something to be celebrated with colleagues and those we love.”

“My company reveled in it with me. We all enjoyed it. When others recognise these types of achievements you understand the contribution you make. It gives you a sense of place within the companies that we are part of.”

 

Time To Conclude

Winning a Rock Star Award is more than being part of an occasion. It is a way to encourage a conversation, celebrate on a wider scale and to have that first sense of recognition beyond studies and early years of full-time employment.

Spending time with those who have won an award in previous years gives perspective to consider what a long way they have come from.

From campaigning to managing wider teams to having qualities of leadership and drive, represents the whole ethos of what the awards wanted to be when it started in 2012. The journeys continue for all of us.

Whilst career highs and glorified success are the things many people aspire to, finding your path in the career circuit is not always the easiest task.

There is no magic formula to success, no matter how much we all crave for there to be an easy route. But finding your footing early on can, and will propel you forward before you know it.

But how do you do this? How can I make my mark now whilst I’m still young? Is it as easy as ABC?

Luckily this is more than just a pipe dream. Knowing how important it is to get a head start in this competitive race, Angela Piromalli, MD of Rock is providing young, savvy individuals the perfect chance to put their foot in the door through our Rock Star awards.

 

A Push In The Right Direction

A gateway into the career world, the Rock Star awards round up the best young talent in Dorset. Since 2012, the awards themselves celebrate and round people into incredible young stars. Dorset companies also take interest in the Rock Star awards, and keep an eye on those involved to see where they go next.

The Rock Star awards have given many the boost they need to kick-start their careers into new, exciting directions. Offering a supportive hand to people wanting to succeed, Angela highlights how the awards nurture talent and provides the groundworks to grow outside of the Rise family, whilst acting as supportive roots. Angela said,

“The awards are just the start. It’s the first big showcase, but then it is the lifelong journey for all of us together.”

On a personal note, Angela’s creation instils self-belief that people lacked beforehand:

“We all limit ourselves, and to get that pat on the back and be recognised externally, you see people lift up. Every single person has gone on to what they want to do.”

The awards offer a backbone for people to lean on and work with in their endeavours, providing endless support in any means necessary. Angela sees these people as more than a business relationship:

“They are like my children. They are part of my Rise family now, and I take as much responsibility and pride in them as I do for my team internally and the clients I work with.”

For Angela, the Rock award winners are more than passing individuals, they are her greatest achievements,

“To see them grow and be part of their journey is the best feeling.”

 

Growing Together, Not Falling Apart 

After winning the awards, people do not just disappear.

Keeping in touch is fundamental to our relationship with the Rock Stars, and is organic on both ends. Everyone is part of the family.

No one amplifies this message more than Crispin Hutton. Winner of our Media Star of the Future award in 2015, Crispin propelled himself at the age of 16 to achieve the career goals he had always dreamed of, founding Thin Reel Media, based in Poole, a videography company.

Fresh faced and with an outstanding drive, Crispin stood out against his older counterparts. His background in the British Film Institute Film Academy spurred his creative flow and led to his nomination for the award. Just one example of the various backgrounds nominees can come from.

With natural talent and the determination to succeed, Crispin acknowledges his Rise beginnings when discussing his achievements. The awards marked his first recognition within the industry, a big feat for any young person.

“I was never very academic, so to be recognised for these kind of awards from leaders within the industry was fantastic.”

Since he has won the award, Crispin has achieved everything he set out to do with the help of Rise, knowing exactly what he wanted. Angela remembers how determined he was, “He took it with both hands and made it happen.”

 

Building Connections

Whilst every individual has achieved of their own accord, the Rock Star awards have helped facilitate success for many including Crispin. Branching out from his Rise roots, he was then able to turn something he loved into a fully-fledged career.

On a company level, Crispin’s career only grew after his Rise relationship was cemented.

“I was in Sixth Form when I won the award, so then I went freelance which just secured that this is what I want to do.”

Crispin told us the recognition he received allowed him to secure his path, alongside handing him a pool of potential employers and clients to work with. Spotting people in meetings who were, years earlier, attendees of the awards event just demonstrates the grand scale of the award’s impact.

Operating near the Rise family by continuing to work in Dorset, Crispin believes the skillsets people can offer on the coast are invaluable:

“It’s a great launch path for business here, with a supportive community and healthy competition. If I ever have any issues I always feel there is someone to knock on the door of and ask for help.”

 

Let’s Conclude

It is hard to get into your career at such a young age. Facing the reality of a fresh new career can be daunting.

Getting in the right frame of mind as early as possible will set you up for success, and these awards offer a fantastic gateway into the world you want to be in. In the words of Crispin,

“We are a generation with a tremendous amount of opportunity, but a lack of focus sometimes.

“The awards are a vessel to get you on the right path.”

To discover more about the Rock Awards, from award categories, to sponsorship, to dates then get in touch with Fleur at fleur.cook@letsrise.co.uk