Get to know our team
Meet the consultant…
What does your role involve day-to-day?
Being project coordinator involves making sure all the different elements of a project come together in the right way and that everyone involved knows exactly what they’re meant to be doing.
As I have quite a varied career background, I’m also able to work with clients on different kinds of projects and across a range of sectors. One day I may be putting together a plan for an office design and refurbishment project and the next I‘m helping a client with the implementation of a new IT system.
What did your path to becoming project coordinator look like?
It’s quite an interesting story! I started my career in sales, but then moved to the public sector in 2008 to work for the Library of Birmingham. It was there that I met my future colleagues, Julie Smith and Eman Al-Hillawi, while working on an internal IT project. They must have been pleased with my work because a while later, I received a call from Julie to say a role had come up at Entec Si. I’ve never looked back.
The best thing about your job?
It’s the people, without a doubt. We all have our unique strengths but one thing we have in common is that we’re brilliant at getting the best out of each other to get great results for the client.
The past few months have really highlighted Entec Si’s commitment to its people. Every possible step has been taken to ensure we feel supported and kept in the loop about pandemic-related changes. After more than six months of working at home, I can honestly say that I still feel very well connected to my colleagues and like a valued part of the team.
What do you think you bring to Entec Si on a personal basis?
I hope that my versatility and determination to keep on improving have shone through in my first year at Entec Si. The team knows that they can rely on me to suggest new and better ways of doing things and my diverse project experience helps me to see problems from different perspectives, in order to offer the most effective solution. I’d also like to think that I’m honest and dependable, so people can always count on me to deliver my best, no matter how big or small the task.
How do you keep learning and develop your professional skills?
In the world of consultancy, it’s important to never stop improving your skills. Early on at Entec Si, I was given the opportunity to take my PRINCE2 project management qualification, which I’m very grateful for. The business is a strong believer in keeping its people up to date and at the forefront of industry developments. As part of my current training around the business’ new Salesforce CRM platform, I even have a weekly slot that’s dedicated to my learning.
The best thing about working in Birmingham?
Birmingham is an amazing and vibrant place to live and work and it’s hard to pick a single best thing! Investment is pouring into the city and I believe that it will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery over the next couple of years.
Your favourite things to do outside of work?
Lockdown has really helped to develop my passion for running. Doing it regularly has not only benefited my mental health and wellbeing, it’s helped to push me out of my comfort zone too. I recently ran a marathon for the very first time!
I think it’s also really important to learn something new if you have a chance, which is why I’ve taken up carpentry. I’m a long way from creating any masterpieces, but I have enjoyed making garden planters for members of my family.
Who inspires you, and why?
It may sound like a cliché, but I really admire my fiancé. She moved to the UK a few years ago and has had to create a new life for herself, building a career from scratch. Her tenacity and courage have grown no end over the past few years and I know that she can handle anything that life throws at her.
Giving back to the Birmingham community
Lockdown has provided the perfect opportunity for us to ramp up our CSR activity. As a proud Birmingham business, we’ve put giving back at the top of our to-do list. In fact we’ve taken part in a charity drop-off initiative and a sponsored marathon for a local hospice.
Charity donations drop-off
In a bid against waste and fast fashion we’ve cleared out our closets to provide valuable donations to local charities. We worked with Age UK and KIT, a charity that provides families in need with childcare essentials. With this in mind we carefully selected and supplied the items that will be of most use, from clothes to toys and books.
A run for Primrose Hospice
Moreover our project coordinator, Shaun Richards, went a step further in his community giving during September. Shaun took part in a marathon to support Primrose Hospice, a charity close to his heart. Having helped care for Shaun’s father, the hospice supports patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Without doubt they provide both with the support they need during difficult times.
Shaun said: “So far I have raised £900, which will hopefully give the hospice a well-deserved boost and keep this vital service going.”
Our principal consultant, Eman Al-Hillawi reflects:
“Supporting the local community has always been important to us. A people-focused approach is central to our organisation and we are proud to reflect that in both our transformation projects and our activities outside of work.
“In the current environment, it’s vital to do what we can to help those who work hard to make a difference. If our donations provide someone with clothes for a job interview or toys to entertain their children, then we couldn’t be happier.”
For anyone looking to make a donation, Shaun’s Just Giving page can be found here.
Meet the consultant…
In a nutshell, what do you do?
As a principal consultant, my role involves a bit of everything; leadership, building relationships and hands-on project delivery.
A big part of what I do is scoping our commissions and ensuring that all projects are delivered as agreed – this often involves keeping an eye on several at once!
As a mentor, I also need to know how to listen, help bring out the best in my team and support their development – an important quality of a good consultant.
How did your consultancy career begin?
I started my career in logistics for one of the world’s largest toy companies, which sounds like every child’s dream! As well as being a fun introduction to the world of work, the role sparked my life-long interest in continuous improvement and problem solving.
My first real taste of business transformation came when I helped to deliver a new IT project, focused on inventory management. From then on, I was hooked on the challenge of helping organisations to achieve positive change and have since supported with many fascinating projects across the public and private sectors.
What’s your favourite thing about Entec Si?
There’s a lot to love about working at Entec Si, from its warm and passionate people to the genuine commitment that the team puts into everything they do. Our focus on joined-up working with clients and culture of always going one step further, whether in terms of developing professional skills or spotting areas for improvement, also makes me proud to be part of the Entec Si family.
What are the vital skills of a change management consultant?
One essential quality is knowing how to listen – I learned early on the importance of following the “two ears, one mouth” rule when working with clients or team members! Identifying different perspectives is critical when comprehending how to make change happen. It’s also important to recognise that no single approach will work for everyone, so being able to adapt communication styles is vital too.
Being a good strategist and able to predict future challenges is also key – consultancy can be a bit like chess sometimes!
Your greatest achievement at Entec Si so far?
One of the projects that I’m proudest of is our work with the NHS on putting in place a coronavirus response strategy. While much of the UK was in lockdown, myself and the team were doing all we could to help the healthcare system manage the crisis and deliver an exceptional service to those in need. It was an intense time but I’m extremely proud of how the team handled the challenge (especially remotely) and the improvements we were able to make.
How have you found balancing work and life during the pandemic?
As a mother of two young girls who works full time, it hasn’t been easy! However, balancing my work and family life while working remotely has helped me to become more creative about how I structure my working day, and where I work! As someone who’s a real people person, not being able to talk to people face to face (over a nice cup of tea), has been particularly strange.
Working from home has also helped me to rekindle my love of running, which used to be difficult to fit into my day. In May, I even completed a half marathon!
Something we might not know about you?
Three years ago, my family and I set out on an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’-style adventure! We travelled across Europe and Asia and even enjoyed life in an idyllic French mountain village for a while. It was transformational – we really came together as a family and I was able to teach my girls things that they might not learn through traditional schooling. It made me realise that memories are one of the most precious things you can collect in life.
A day in the life of… Luke Taylor
In a nutshell, what do you do?
Put simply, being a programme manager involves working closely with businesses to help transform the way they work. We are basically problem solvers. In my role, good people skills are everything; a typical programme involves talking with different clients and stakeholders to ensure everything is joined up and moving in the same direction.
My main passion is digital transformation and during my three and a half years with Entec Si, I’ve been lucky enough to work across many sectors, from local and central government to the not-for-profit sector.
What do you love about your job, and why?
I love that I get to meet lots of interesting people at work. In particular, drilling down into their motivations for wanting change is fascinating. I’ve really enjoyed getting involved in developing talent too, whether that be mentoring our junior team members, or upskilling clients on site.
However, probably the best thing about my role is being able to experience the entire programme lifecycle, from kick-off right through to completion, and witness the power of positive change on client outcomes first-hand.
What is most challenging about your job, and why?
The flip side of working with lots of different stakeholders is the need to constantly manage expectations. This can be tricky when working with large organisations and requires a delicate touch to ensure everyone is on the same page, and working towards a common goal.
The varied nature of programme management means that it’ll never be 100 per cent straightforward. However, as someone who enjoys a challenge, I try to see obstacles as opportunities to learn and progress.
What three words would you use to describe Entec Si as a business? Please explain your choices!
“Variety”, “fun” and “opportunity”. One of the best things about working at Entec Si is that you never know what the day will bring! For example, one day you might be delivering a cloud migration project for a local council and the next you’re helping to launch a passenger self-service system for an airport.
I‘ve chosen “fun” because even when the going gets tough, the team always tries to keep everyone’s spirits up. We all enjoy our regular social events and away days too!
Finally, “opportunity” is the perfect word to describe the business as its investment in people is second-to-none.
What route did you take into the world of business change?
From a young age, I set my sights on following in my father’s footsteps within the legal industry by becoming a barrister, which I know is quite an unusual career aspiration for a child! However, while studying law at university, I decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do as a living.
Organising the university’s Critical Law Conference gave me a taste for driving stakeholder engagement and seeing the pay-off from successful project delivery. After graduating, I saw an advert for a junior project manager role at the Home Office and realised that the key skills I’d developed – reasoning, planning and analytics – were a good fit for a consultancy career. After three years working on different projects around the UK, I found a role advertised with Entec Si. The rest is history!
What do you wish you’d known when you started your career?
That it’s ok to make mistakes! It’s often when things get tough that your skills show through – without things going wrong, how can you learn?
I also wish I’d known that it’s fine to ask for help sometimes. No matter what point you’re at in your career, there will always be things you don’t know.
What has been your best ever moment at Entec Si?
Without a doubt, it was the delivery of CSSC’s digital service programme. It was the culmination of 18 months of hard work, but seeing the impact of the organisation’s new website, CRM system and events booking tool made every moment worthwhile! It was also a programme which saw other junior members of the team make huge strides in terms of their professional development, which was really great to see.
What would your ideal weekend look like?
One which involves playing or watching sport of some kind! I love the camaraderie you experience when playing rugby, and I’m a member of Old Newtonians RFC. My other passion outside of work is live music, so I go to gigs and festivals whenever I can. If it’s a more relaxed weekend, one of my more unusual hobbies is playing board games with friends and family – our favourite at the moment is a railway-themed game called ‘Ticket to Ride’!
Sofia’s first month
My first month with Entec Si has been amazing! I am doing a level 4 apprenticeship in Project Management. I have already experienced what an apprentice is and what it involves.
What is an apprenticeship?
Prior to this, I completed an apprenticeship in level 3 in Business Administration for a year and a half. Being an apprentice means that you attend classes with an experienced tutor in the subject field and you take part in workshops and activities. On top of that you learn new skills and abilities within the assigned role.
For me this works well as full time education is not a viable option. The apprenticeship is designed so that you can work and study at the same time.
This apprenticeship will last 24 months, and I will learn how projects work and, ultimately, how to manage one. In addition to this, I will undertake numerous theory lessons such as planning, risk and quality, stakeholder management, etc. The mix of onsite experience and taught lessons should give me a rounded experience of project management.
My first week
For my first week at Entec Si I was based in the office. I spent some time with Dave, our Business Support Manager, and went through the induction process. As well as this, I received a lot of information on the systems and processes, which was helpful.
I also spent time with Alix, Communications Support, who explained how I would be assisting the Business Support team. We also completed the onboarding process in which I learnt about the Entec Si values and how important they are.
During my second week I went on two different sites and it was a great experience. I was able to meet more of the Entec team and learn about the projects they were working on. It was fantastic to get a sense of how the team works onsite and the environment I will be working in.
Continuing the journey
It is fantastic to see that every day is different, and this is what excites me about Entec Si. The variety of work and being able to work with different colleagues is a great opportunity to learn and grow. Also seeing how the team work to their strengths is a great motivation.
I am very much looking forward to the rest of my time with Entec Si. I am so happy to be part of an amazing company!
Happy GDPR anniversary
Back in June 2017, we started the process of auditing and reviewing all personal data we held. The result of this review was:
- A Candidate Privacy notice
- An Employee Associate Agreement
All of our staff were then asked to complete further data compliance checks. Following this we set up relevant retention policies over the 2018 Christmas period.
Supporting our clients
A year on and GDPR has certainly taken hold since its enforcement on the 25 May 2018. Not a day goes by when this isn’t reflected in the day to day work of our project teams based at client sites. Here are some examples of how we have achieved this.
SG Fleet, founded in 1986, has headquarters in New South Wales, Australia, and two sites in the UK. They are in full swing, reviewing their cross countries’ regulations and licensing.
We are providing SG Fleet with project coordination on a number of projects. The latest of these being the migration and implementation to a new cloud based telephony system.
The first step was the drawing up of the initial agreement and licensing between the telephony provider and SG Fleet Australia. Once in place, our onsite project coordinator was then able to supervise the novation of the agreement from Australia to the UK offices.
The Australian parliament has been completing some due diligence on updating privacy regulations to close the gap with Europe, although some differences still exist. As GDPR doesn’t just apply to EU businesses, it’s become crucial that the telephony licensing and data accounts follow EU GDPR regulations.
Supporting the not-for-profit sector
The Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) is a not-for-profit organisation which promotes fulfilling lifestyle opportunities to its 160,000 plus members. We have been working with CSSC for over a year on different projects.
CSSC take all aspects of GDPR very seriously and ensure that they only use and request the minimal amount of information. As a consequence, the GDPR project was of particular importance to them. Courtney Brooks, one of our business analysts, has been supporting CSSC on several activities relating to GDPR:
- Reviewed their 3rd party organisations to establish if they were a data controller or a data processor
- Created a document for all 3rd parties to sign
- Developed a GDPR data flow diagrams detailing the data journey – from their creation, storage and accessibility
As a result our blended project teams have experienced a variety of situations which have helped us gain a greater understanding of GDPR. Alongside this we’ve continued to maintain strong relationships with our clients, and support them to successfully deliver projects.
Happy 1st GDPR anniversary!
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