For the latest instalment in our AccessPoint feature, we talk to the family team who own and operate Alan Wilks Scaffolding, a well-established business based in Aldington, near Evesham.
In 1976, Alan Wilks and his wife Janet founded Alan Wilks Scaffolding. In 2007, Alan and Janet stepped back from the business and their son James, daughter Paula and their partners Marcelle and Dean carried on as key management.
Today, 45 years later the management has grown with granddaughter Cassie Wilks and first non-family Director, Jon Fletcher now stepping into key management roles.
The company operate a ‘no job too big or too small’ policy that sees them secure a steady stream of long- and short-term projects within a 30-mile radius of their base, covering Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and the West Midlands.
A large proportion of recent work has been in the new build house sector, primarily for developers including Taylor Wimpey, Piper Homes, Platform Property Care and Cotswold Oak Ltd. But the team are never too proud to accept fronts and backs of houses to support local builders and residents.
The company is local authority approved and has worked on large installations for major companies and on key infrastructure projects, including a local landmark – Evesham’s £8million Abbey Bridge, a key route in and out of the market town.
Beyond the family management team, the company employs 30 scaffold operatives, all of whom are CITB registered. Their experience levels range from Scaffolding Labourer to Advanced Scaffolder and all are either CISRS or CSCS health and safety certificate holders.
They are supported by one senior full time supervisor, Lee Goldsmith, and two other full time supervisors and a health and safety advisor. The company is an Associate Member of the Scaffolding Association and is a keen supporter, in regular contact with the association team.
In order to safeguard the company’s reputation as one of the region’s premier scaffolding businesses, the management work hard to generate and maintain stability and pride in the job for their workforce. As a result, everyone is employed directly and offered all the training they need to execute their roles to the best of their abilities.
Cassie Wilks (Administrative Director) and Jon Fletcher (Contracts Director) are two of the youngest members of the team, and they are passionate in their belief that more needs to be done to ensure school and college leavers seriously consider a career in the scaffolding sector.
“I would encourage young people, and especially young women, to consider a role in the scaffolding sector. There’s plenty of work variety, construction is generally a stable industry, you network with people who work for large organisations and the pay is excellent. I can gain recognised qualifications on the job and I don’t incur thousands of pounds of student debt.
I am so proud to be the third generation of the family business. As busy and as hard as the work can sometimes be, I always want to push myself to achieve personal and business goals as well as making my family proud with Jon by my side.”
Jon suggests that those advising youngsters need educating:
“Schools and colleges are reluctant to suggest scaffolding as a career for their students – this shuts off a potentially rewarding job while also holding back an important sector of construction. Scaffolding companies can’t talk to potential trainees and apprentices without the support of those advising them. It’s frustrating, and the problem will only grow as construction is busier than ever yet crying out for new recruits.”
Jon jokes that being the only member of the management team who is not either a Wilks or married to a Wilks makes him an ‘adopted son’:
“I’m proud to have achieved promotion within such a progressive business. We have an excellent combination – all the family bring experience and expertise. Together we have a bright future as a company.”
James Wilks, Managing Director, is convinced that this mix of qualities will help the company secure its medium to long-term aims of business consolidation and steady growth.
“We offer what I believe is an excellent service – we talk with clients before quoting, work alongside designers to achieve special considerations, stick to schedules, respect our work environments and do our utmost to ensure safe and secure installations, time after time. Our repeat business figures are evidence of happy clients, so I’m confident we’re achieving what we should. But I’m also excited about the direction that we as a family and a company are heading.”
The high standard of work that Alan Wilks Scaffolding offers has been regularly recognised by NHBC’s ‘Pride in the Job’ Awards – the most highly regarded competition in the house-building industry – over the last eight years, with framed certificates lining the office walls.
The management’s ‘family’ approach is evident in another way – the business is known as a supporter of local sport, sponsoring Evesham Rugby Club in their quest to expand the club house and paying for training kit for Badsey Rangers FC –a youth football team.
This generous spirit, along with the team’s engaging and enthusiastic approach to working as an extended family, is clear to all who meet them.
Alan Wilks Scaffolding are well-placed for more success in our sector.
FIND OUT MORE: Alan Wilks Scaffolding Ltd
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