Bell welcomed our Australian ‘Neighbours’, Higgins Coatings this month, to share best practice and to continue to grow this special relationship between two global leading companies. Many of the Bell team met up with our guests during their UK tour, with one goal… to show them a good time either ‘Home or Away’.
The week started with a night on the Toon, where Tom Anderson, Joe Gadsby and Sam Whitlam took the guys to St James Park to watch Newcastle v Brentford. This was very poignant to Cam (one of the Higgins team) as he is a lifelong fan of Newcastle Utd. We were lucky enough to meet the club owners and even managed a selfie with the days only goal scorer Callum Wilson. To say Cam was happy would be an understatement, he was walking around like a competition winner.
Sunday brought an English tradition! Myself, Mike Neile (Regional Manager), Steve Drew (Board Director), took the guys for a Great British Sunday Roast with all the trimmings. We can safely say that Yorkshire puddings and cauliflower cheese will be making its way across the ocean. The next activity backfired a bit, as we went to a sports bar to watch the Rugby World Cup, Fiji v Australia. Within one conversion it became evident that the bar was very pro Fiji, but the guys took it all in good spirit. Andy Hall (Branch Manager) also made an appearance to teach the guys the true Geordie accent…thankfully Mike was on hand to translate.
Monday, we ventured further North to the motherland of Bell, Scotland. We arrived in Edinburgh to be greeted by Scott McLaughlin (Regional BDM), Sandra Liddell (BDM) and Stewart Mills (Energy Services Principal Consultant) and the inevitable rain, but this didn’t put a dampener on the day. Stewart stepped up like Brendan from ‘Coach Trip’ and gave us an informative tour of his beloved hometown, from Edinburgh Castle (a previous Bell project) to the murderous locations of Burke and Hyde.
After a spot of lunch at Gleneagles Town House (another Bell project), we headed to our Airdrie training facility. This part of the tour was of keen interest to our guests, as they are planning to launch their very own apprentice scheme in Australia based on our Bell model. Julie Lawrenson (Head of Learning and Development) alongside Keith Prince, Shaun Sweeney, and Nicole Smith from our Apprentice Centre Team, all did us proud (as they do daily with the young apprentices) presenting with infectious passion and enthusiasm.
Paramjit Barry (Head of H.R), Helena Smith (Business Psychologist) and Kirsty Docherty (Community Engagement Manager), stepped up next and showed our visitors that the culture at Bell is key, with employee support and social value at the heart of everything we do. The day was full of laughter and interaction.
Tuesday, we headed Southbound to our Northwest branch, where Mark Basterfield (Regional Manager), Steve Drew (Board Director), John Jones (Board Director), Simon Jones (Head of Business Improvements), Andy Wilmot (Head of Procurement), and our Sales Team combined to deliver informatively packed presentations with a perfect amount of true British humour.
In the afternoon we all headed to the football capital – I may be biased – and the home of the Beatles, Liverpool. A guided walking tour followed, Glenn (Higgins Head of H.R.) is an avid music fan, so this was right up his street and he loved this “day tripper” even after the “hard days’ night”.
The last leg of the tour was in the capital, London. A boat tour down the Thames with our CEO Craig Bell, Chief Revenue Officer Lee Hamill and Director James Quy, proudly pointing out all the Bell heritage projects we have worked on, as well as famous sights including The Houses of Parliament, the Shard and The London Eye, plus a rare visit from the sun when it made an appearance to wave goodbye to our guests.
Everyone who met, entertained, and presented to the Higgins Team did themselves and the company proud. You all showcased Bell in a manner that could only be delivered from real belief and genuine passion. The guys arrived with name badges and left with phone numbers; it is safe to say many of you have made friends for life.