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Bedfordshire Business Ambassador's pledge to next generation of talent

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 23 Jul 2019

Centrality is a local company based in Meppershall, Bedfordshire that provides IT and technology services to a broad range of clients and businesses across the country. 

They are a cloud-first company, who have achieved Gold Partnership status with Microsoft for Windows 10, Azure, Productivity and Security and sit within the top 100 employers in Bedfordshire.

With 70 employees and growing, the rate at which the company is scaling is a testament to a new people-based strategy implemented by CEO David Keeling.

David is now enrolled on our Bedfordshire Business Ambassador programme, and we spoke to him about what this means to him as a leader and an enabler of local talent. 

People-oriented David was appointed CEO of Centrality in June of 2018 with the task of accelerating the growth of the company.  Boasting impressive business experience and a background in apprenticeships, David is focused on strengthening and growing the existing team. 

“I wanted to create an environment that was not only a desirable place to work, but somewhere we could empower individuals to pursue their career ambitions. A positive culture, where they were supported, and nurtured in their learning and development. The company has already achieved great success with earlier apprenticeship programs and has a track record of developing and promoting from within”

“When we look for future employees we seek individuals that have enthusiasm, a thirst for learning, a positive can-do attitude who are open to being developed. With the average graduate leaving university with around £45k of debt, apprenticeships offer the opportunity to both achieve a degree whilst critically gaining important real work experience, often using the latest technologies and practices that are not available at University.

"As a service company, with a vision of providing the expertise to unlock our customer potential, having quality people that have deep technical expertise is of paramount importance.

"Centrality has a strategy that our people are at the heart of the company, this is reflected in the values of the organisation developed by our staff. 

“I introduced a people strategy. First, I hired in our head of HR & Talent Management. We then ran workshops with our employees to help us identify the company values. Our HEART (Honesty, Expertise, Approachability, Results Orientated and Teamwork) values are now being embedded into our core business processes such as recruitment, appraisal, reward, learning and development.  

I’m a very people-oriented leader, so this was my strategy from the get-go. If you have happy employees, they will look after your customers.”

David supports this notion whole-heartedly, claiming that internal recruitment leads to a more mouldable, engaged and loyal workforce, by enabling the company to recruit internally and up-skill the existing workforce. 

As part of his work as an ambassador, David is forging links with local schools, colleges, universities and employers in the hope of addressing the technology skills gap. 

“With technology, it’s not always enough to have gone to university. The education system isn’t as up to date at the workplace, and there’s no substitute for work experience.”

He wants to show other young, aspiring technology enthusiasts what can be achieved, and get other businesses on board to achieve their full potential. 

By up-skilling, internal recruitment and introducing apprenticeship programmes, you build and retain a loyal and skilled workforce.

“There’s nothing quite like seeing the positive impact you can have on someone’s life. I’ve seen students I worked with years ago as apprentices go on to complete Masters degrees, and previous receptionists here at Centrality have worked their way up the ladder into accounting and customer service roles. It’s the most rewarding part of my job, to give someone the opportunity to shape their career and watch them grow.”

David is also preparing for an apprenticeship programme later in the year and encourages other local businesses to do the same. 

He hopes to evangelise this way of thinking so that more businesses can implement people-focused programmes that help tackle the skills gap and bolster local talent. 

Centrality are Microsoft experts and are focused on helping other businesses of all sizes and sectors to adopt a cloud-based desktop. The idea is to help you streamline your internal and external operations, improve customer service and provide continuity to your employees so that they can work flexibly and with autonomy. If this is something you are interested in, you can find out more about Centrality at their website.

If you think you could be a Bedfordshire Business Ambassador, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Justin to find out more.  

Bedfordshire Business Manifesto 2019/20

Topics: Bedfordshire Business Ambassador

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