For the latest instalment in our ‘Focus On’ series, we’re getting to know long-term occupiers Servelec Controls, national providers of control, monitoring and safety solutions in the science and nuclear industry.
Building occupied: 401 Faraday Street
Length of tenancy: 7 years, we were based in Chadwick House before we moved over to 401
Size of team: 12 in Birchwood, 135 across the company at offices in Sheffield, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Brief overview of the business: Servelec Controls develops and integrates bespoke mission-critical systems for national infrastructure by bringing together specialist hardware, software and world-class engineering to provide control, monitoring and safety solutions.
Why did you choose to base your offices at Birchwood Park in particular?
Part of a wider strategic development plan placing us at the heart of the nuclear community in Warrington; closer to our clients and in easy reach of our multiple technology partners.
What do you see as being some of the benefits of being located on Birchwood Park?
Within easy reach of rail and road networks, excellent facilities for meetings and catering. A community atmosphere encouraging communication, event participation and networking.
What do you feel the North West has to offer over any other region for businesses?
Good communication links, central hub for nuclear business clients, skilled workforce, choice of office accommodation and affordable housing.
How much importance do you place on workplace wellbeing, and how do you look to improve your staff wellbeing?
It is extremely important for us to ensure that our staff feel supported and we provide comprehensive information and advice through our ‘Wellbeing’ programme on our company intranet. We actively encourage staff to take part in the events scheduled by the team at Birchwood Park. The facilities and environment on the Park, such as access to an on-site gym and activities like yoga or the on-site allotments and open green space, certainly help our focus on employee wellbeing. In addition, we provide access to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This scheme provides access to confidential advice and support on a 24/7 telephone support services, with face to face sessions if needed.
How do you feel the Birchwood Park environment, facilities and activities calendar help with your staff wellbeing, if at all?
It is very useful to see what is happening and when, and we ensure our Warrington staff are notified about forthcoming events. Having such a wide range of easily-accessible activities available to our staff here on the Park adds variety to every day working life, and certainly aids our wellbeing program by making it far easier for us to get involved.
Do you have any company policies aimed at improving your working environment and improving retention rates?
We have a staff ideas programme across all our offices to find new ways to improve health and wellbeing, environment and working practices. Each quarter, a winner is selected and their idea is implemented accordingly. The winner receives a £100 gift voucher in acknowledgement of their participation and their great idea to improve our business.
Do you offer your staff extra-curricular activities and/or benefits?
In addition to pension and life assurance benefits we offer an employee referral award scheme, cycle to work scheme, child care vouchers, employee assistance programme and long service awards.
Where do you see your industry going in the next five years?
Climate change and the urgent need to cut carbon emissions will continue to dominate the energy industry. We see continued growth in renewables, mixing with low carbon nuclear technology to provide cost effective and sustainable energy solutions for a secure future. We will also expect to see the development of Advanced Nuclear Technologies, including small modular reactors and fusion.
Are there any skills gaps in your industry?
It has long been acknowledged that there are skills gaps in the nuclear industry, particularly with the demands of the new build programme in the UK. Until very recently, most nuclear engineering has focused on decommissioning as opposed to new build. There is also a major challenge to bring greater diversity to the workforce. Recent figures show that only 20% of the current workforce is female and this group is under represented at higher role levels*. The industry also has the challenge of an ageing existing workforce, with 1/5 of all employees over the age of 55. Servelec Controls is a longstanding supporter of the work of the Nationals Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) – the collective forum for employer ownership of the nuclear skills agenda. Our first apprenticeship scheme was introduced in 2012 with the help of Supply Chain Apprentice for Nuclear (SCAN) funding provided by NSAN. We now have a number of young engineers completing higher education programmes and gaining engineering skills within our business; furthermore, we actively encourage staff with continued professional development and professional memberships throughout their career with us.
* Workforce Assessment for Nuclear – Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG)