Memories of Scotland’s best summer in years are starting to fade and Autumn chills have started to nip the morning air. The season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ has rolled around, with younger children settled into familiar school routines while their older siblings have flown the nest – many to college or University, possibly for the first ever time away from home.
Should you have cause to visit any of the excellent schools in Perth & Kinross or venture into Abertay University or the University of St Andrews’ hallowed halls of learning, then you may have encountered the handiwork of Electrical Project Manager Willie Mahoney and his team of talented electrical operatives based at JGM Electrical and Mechanical Contractors in Perth.
JGM’s Perth base opened in 2017 as a full-service extension of the company’s Edinburgh headquarters. JGM’s roots stretch back to 1907, to its launch as the family-owned business John G Mackintosh. From those early beginnings, the company has grown exponentially such that its teams now deliver specialist project management expertise servicing clients in the banking, sports and leisure, education, health, hospitality, retail and commercial sectors for a range of Scottish, UK and internationally-renowned clients.
With such a demanding portfolio of projects under their care, the company operates a supportive programme of escalating employee training, proactively identifying candidates who demonstrate willingness to learn new skills and assume additional responsibilities. It was through this fast-tracking process, coupled with Willie’s determination and commitment, that his career progressed within three years from his original role ‘on the tools’ as a qualified electrician to his current project management remit leading a team of between 15 and 20 operatives.
Willie explains: “It was always my long-term goal to make the move into management around the time I turned 30, as by that time I would have 10 solid years of practical expertise under my belt as well as a reasonable understanding of the company’s procedures and business aims.
“As luck would have it, right around that time in August 2018, Martin Rennie our Health and Safety Manager had arranged the occupational work supervision (OWS) SVQ3 workshop with Esteem Training. I was already supervising an electrical apprentice, so the course seemed like a good fit, and I gained a great deal from the experience.
“Sometimes we have to sit through training courses that can be on the dry side, or they’re mandatory procurement-based stipulations for some of our larger contracts despite our electrical teams being qualified beyond those course levels. But we attend, all the same, because you never know what tips you might pick up along the way.
“I found working with our assessor David Currie a positive experience, and the OWS content wasn’t pitched too low. I liked that the course materials and questions in the modules challenged you to really think about your day-to-day processes and how you could start implementing new tools and techniques into your working day. It can be a bit of a juggling act, uploading all the evidence and completing the modules while working full-time with often long hours, plus I have six young children who keep me on my toes. So, it was really helpful that David was flexible when I needed to change our one-to-one sessions since we can be called out at short notice to take care of emergency situations and he understood those realities.”
Willie’s assessor David Currie adds: “That first JGM group were a great bunch – their teams always are. Motivated and good humoured, ready to learn and have a bit of banter along the way. Clearly a close group, with high standards yet Willie definitely stood out. It was clear from the outset that he was very knowledgeable about his own process as well as JGM’s company protocols.
“Willie’s a good communicator who always hits deadlines and keeps in touch regularly so there are never any issues should he need to reschedule our sessions. All round a solid, determined, focused candidate whom it’s been a pleasure to watch go from strength to strength in his career over a relatively short time.”
Within a few short months of the group completing the OWS workshop, an opportunity arose for the new post of Small Works Supervisor and Willie’s candidature was successful.
Nine months into his new position, in September 2019, following conversations with JGM’s Director Mike Thomson as well as Esteem Training’s Business Development Manager Andy Findlater, Willie signed up for the next stage in his career development – Esteem Training’s SVQ3 in Construction Site Supervision (CSS) with David Currie again his assessor.
Willie shares a little insight into his experiences tackling the two qualifications: “Whereas the OWS course was really useful in widening our understanding of the bigger business picture, such as RFIs and contractual questions and why and how they come about, the CSS course provided the biggest boost to my career. The CSS modules explain so much of the planning process and contractual side of the industry and was particularly helpful in explaining how best to work with sub-contractors.”
In early 2020, following a further professional development conversation with Director Mike Thomson, Willie accepted the position of Electrical Project Manager, with April 2020 earmarked as the date for him to assume this new role.
After further discussion with Andy Findlater, Willie became interested in the benefits available, and directly applicable to his new Project Management role, from the next level qualification – Esteem Training’s SVQ4 in Construction Site Management (CSM).
Andy adds his thoughts: “Willie is such a switched-on person, always interested in learning more about best practice and smarter, more efficient ways to do things as well as the inner workings of the business. As he put it to me – ‘I want to expand my knowledge of the office-based processes such as requests for information and technical queries that you don’t generally get to see when you’ve been working on the tools.’”
Willie has now secured his CSM SVQ4, again with assessor David Currie, and will shortly be adding a new string to his bow – that of mentor to a younger colleague.
Willie concludes: “Before the OWS course, I’ll be honest – I didn’t know Esteem Training but now I have a personal relationship with several of the team and they’ve been universally positive and professional. I can’t fault them in any way. Quite the reverse, since working with them has helped me progress my career in line with my long-term plan.
“Andy Findlater is good at explaining the professional benefits these courses deliver for your career while David is a really great, supportive assessor. And there’s never any barriers at JGM when it comes to training. Martin Rennie and Mike Thomson, in particular, always agree if there’s a benefit to the company. As a result, our new Project Manager Stephen McMahon will shortly be enrolling with Esteem Training and I don’t suppose we can say better than that.”