We’re entering a critical junction for the rail sector. Billions of pounds of investments are coming down the line but, in order to deliver that work, tens of thousands of new workers will be needed in the coming years. The rail industry needs these new people to replace those retiring as well as to help adapt to industry changes, including technology. In late December, railbusinessdaily.com caught up with Taryn Edge, Head of Organisational Development at Linbrooke and Managing Director of ntrs.
Taryn is passionate about the importance of people and talent in an organisation and working with Linbrooke’s leadership team, has developed a well-deserved reputation for her people selection, management and development systems. We wanted to find out about some of the things that Linbrooke is doing to bridge and tackle issues surrounding the industry skills gap – now and in the future.
Linbrooke is renowned for delivering outstanding, global connectivity and technology solutions in telecoms, power and signalling in the rail, utilities and subsea environments.
The company is trusted as a Principal Contractor for Network Rail and an Independent Connection Provider with National Electricity Registration Scheme accreditation. Word of the company’s ‘right first time’ ethos and collaborative approach is spreading far beyond its Yorkshire base.
But another area of the business which is raising the eyebrows of its competitors and the industry on the whole is its forward-thinking military resettlement and training routes of parallel industries affected by redundancies – not just changing the industry for the better – but transforming lives.
Linbrooke’s state-of-the-art City & Guilds and EAL-accredited National Training Academy, ensures all of its workforce is trained to the highest of standards and capable of delivering only to the highest of standards.
2019 has been the year of progression, innovation and enhanced reputation – along with a few prestigious awards. But, as we found out from Taryn, the impact of Linbrooke’s work goes far beyond that.
Being the best
Since being established in Sheffield in 2002, the company’s reputation has continued to go from strength to strength because of its capabilities in providing a comprehensive service from design, installation, test, commissioning, and integration through to training and resourcing.
The Linbrooke team has expanded from 10 to 300 members with around 40 per cent of their skilled workforce coming from disciplined military backgrounds – people who are dedicated to ‘being the best’.
There is a military mentality about the company’s operations with all staff well-trained, all work carried out to the highest of standards, a real sense of loyalty and team focused core values, which goes beyond the staff to clients and the general community.
There is a real commitment to helping military personnel receive training and gain a profession and transition smoothly back into civilian life. The company works alongside the Ministry of Defence, focusing on a faction with high civilian unemployment rates, but with clear demonstrations of dedication and loyalty within the services.
Taryn Edge says the key to the company’s success has been to simplify the often-complicated structure of ex-service personnel recruitment. The supportive and loyal culture leads to a strengthened desire to perform exceptionally.
She said: “These individuals are well-trained and determined candidates who can help bridge our industrial skills gap and fill it with the type of personnel we need.
In addition, the commitment to offer access to training and employment for school leavers from the local community, in particular those from low socioeconomic backgrounds is a significant part of Linbrooke’s corporate social responsibility.
Experts in its fields
Linbrooke is nationally renowned for delivering works of the highest quality in the rail and infrastructure sectors and providing national engineering and technical education with its Network Training and Resource Solutions – a reputation which has continued to grow throughout 2019.
Earlier this year the company celebrated being listed as Sheffield’s fastest growing company by TheBusinessDesk.com – testament to the ongoing efforts of its hundreds of staff.
The efforts of the company have received prestigious recognition, which included Taryn, being named Empowering Potential Leader and Overall Leader at the Northern Leadership Awards.
She has worked her way up the company in the last six years, receiving the award for her transformational efforts delivering resettlement training and work experience for force leavers and providing opportunity and support for those from the local community – developing employee engagement initiatives to ensure Linbrooke remains the place it’s people want to be. Receiving the award, Taryn was quick to praise the whole team, saying: ‘Leadership is not about where you sit on an organisation chart, it is about passing the ball and enabling and empowering others to unleash their potential.’
Other awards included a civil engineering (infrastructure and access) RISE (Research, Innovation, Sustainability and Enterprise) award at the Constructing Excellence in Yorkshire and Humber Award for the Ferriby to Gilberdyke project.
Linbrooke’s areas of expertise includes:
Rail: The firm is a specialist in telecoms, power and signalling and a licensed Principal Contractor to Network Rail and an Independent Connections Provider to power supply companies. Linbrooke offers multifunctional, all-encompassing and innovative turnkey delivery throughout the entirety of the rail sector safely and on time.
Power Networks: With National Electricity Registration Scheme accreditation and over 100 years of combined senior management expertise, Linbrooke works with local authorities, house builders and other major construction companies and distribution network operators. Its people are experts in the design, project management and construction of HV and LV distribution and private infrastructure, offering an exceptional and timely service.
Network Training Resource Solutions: Linbrooke’s multi-award-winning, nationally renowned Sheffield training centre provides training in the rail and telecoms sectors. The National Training Academy delivers first-class training, qualifications and accreditations across multiple disciplines.
Investing in the best people
At the heart of Linbrooke’s success has been the investment in its people and a commitment to the training and development of the workforce.
Behind many of its people are stories of lives being transformed for the better, and that trust being repaid with an enviable committed, talented workforce which has helped to give Linbrooke the reputation it has to this day.
There’s also a real desire to recruit, train, develop and mentor the people needed in the future, to deliver the infrastructure that the UK needs over the coming years.
The company is always looking to be one step ahead of its competition in terms of innovation and technology.
Jason Pearce joined the business towards the end of 2018 as Group MD for Rail and Optical Networks.
Jason is a Chartered Accountant. He has been in the telecoms and technology sector for 20 years and has been a key enabler for organisations to enable and support mission critical infrastructure globally. Having set up technology companies across Asia and Africa, Jason has a broad range of technical skills, and excels in managing multidisciplinary teams. He has significant experience in developing and appraising strategy, development of business cases, and building management teams capable of executing on them and delivering profit.
Jason has supported global businesses with their growth plans, in both large corporates and in SMEs. He is experienced in global leadership, managing a business across borders where there are different cultural, legal, and economic systems. Understanding how to operate in multiple environments and trying to achieve a common corporate objective, Jason is an incredibly strong addition to the Linbrooke team. His appointment signals the level of ambition that the company has to employ the best so that it is always the best company to do business with.
Recently Mike Hewitt also joined Linbrooke’s fast-growing Optical Networks Team as the division head to support the high speed subsea and terrestrial telecoms sector and to lead technology and innovation opportunities development across the business. Mike has brought a wealth of experience from his 35-year career in the industry. He said: “Technology is transforming the way we work, live and play. We will all have a role in enabling this transformation.
“I believe the management team shares the passion for people, for the development of existing personnel and the desire to recruit, train, develop and mentor the people needed in the future, to deliver the infrastructure that the UK needs over the coming years.”
For the Linbrooke team, there is a real commitment to its people. Just a few examples in the last few months includes the rolling out of mental health awareness training for all employees to support them both at work and at home with their Linbrooke Get Talking campaign.
The company also conducted Body MOT’s for over 80 employees, who volunteered to have their blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels checked.
Linbrooke’s people are also keen to play a positive role in the areas they serve. From their onsite work, which has recently included joining forces with Network Rail and Hitachi to plant 250 trees and installing bug hotels and bird and bat boxes, through to volunteering and fundraising for local charities and organisations.
Its team is given one day a year to volunteer to support their chosen cause, but their efforts go far beyond that. In the last year, Linbrooke people have baked for Macmillan Cancer Support and raised funds for various charities.
More recently, employees brought in boxing gloves and donated money which have been gifted to Sheffield-based Parson Cross Amateur Boxing Club along with building the boxing club a brand new website, social media campaign and new brand identity. More can be seen regarding this project through this video:
The team at also spent the day preparing the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice for the festive season – with the home’s staff praising their efforts.
The company prides itself in doing more and that the small things make a big difference. It’s an ethos spread throughout Linbrooke with the same positive conclusion.
It is for all of these reasons that people are flocking to join this forward-thinking and progressive business. If the recent past has been very good at Linbrooke, the future promises to be superb.
You can follow Linbrooke on LinkedIn by clicking here.