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Louis Bradley, Join Managing Director of CambridgeHOK, explains the reasons behind the firm’s current recruitment drive, and the career opportunities offered at the business.
Louis, the business is recruiting in a number of positions at present. What is the reason behind this?
It’s an exciting time in our industry at present. We have recognised that as a business and want to capitalise on it by strengthening and growing our team.
We are currently working on world-first projects that are really exciting to be involved with, but as a niche business to a degree, we know there is only a certain amount of knowledge and expertise which is particular to this company and this industry.
We need to work to attract that expertise and experience, which we have done, but also develop people and grow them through our organisation at the same time.
So you are looking for a mix of experience?
Yes. We know we won’t find all the talent we need ready made in the market place.
The roles we are looking at are at different levels in terms of skills and experience, but really what we are trying to do is find people who are the right fit for our culture and who can see the opportunity in this company to grow and develop.
From our side we are prepared to put that investment and time into people with the expectation that they are not ready made, and that we can develop them and get them to where we need them to be.
How would you describe CambridgeHOK and the importance of the roles its employees play?
Most of our projects centre on internal growing of some form and controlled environment agriculture.
The industry is moving into a lot more of a technological sphere and things like artificial intelligence, robotics, complete control of environments using computers and all sorts of complex systems to control different points of the environment.
We are a project driven business and each of these are very important to our customers.
We engrain in our culture and our people that we must deliver, and to do that we work together, allowing individuals to take responsibility, to grow and to take some ownership of the project itself.
It is valuable to give people that degree and control and responsibility, and our customers value that too as they know the people running the project and who is involved. They are not dealing with a company, but also individuals.
What is your message to potential future employees?
We are an exciting company to work for as we are dealing in a diverse range of projects for all sorts of different customers and markets, using different technologies.
It’s a really varied environment to work in and one that I think most of our employees enjoy the challenge of.
We work with many great businesses too. The names people will know are people like British Sugar, The Eden Project, most of the Royal Botanical Gardens around the country, and a lot of the large universities such as Cambridge, Oxford and Cranfield.
We deal with a real diverse range of customers, from those who have come to us for many years, such as family businesses who may want small sundry sales and repeat business up to large scale investor led projects for tens of millions with blue chip companies behind them.
Is there a sense people are unaware of how successful and innovative the business is?
Yes. I think peoples’ perception is that it is low-tech, unsophisticated and unsexy because we are working in agriculture and horticulture, but that couldn’t be further from the truth in the modern era.
It is really moving at pace and the farms of the future are going to be fully autonomous, where the product goes in at one end and comes out as the finished product at the other.
It will be a system and product driven environment where all that technology and engineering capability is key. That is exciting to be part of.
Is there a type of employee that makes the best fit for CambridgeHOK?
I think our people are generally problem-solvers and proactive people who like to get a hold of projects. We rely on people taking control of things and working with a degree of autonomy, so we look for people with initiative as well as engineering capabilities.
There are various different disciplines, but the overriding theme is that we must deliver for our clients, so we look for people who buy into that and understand that is the ethos of our business.
Working here you have to have the ability to deal with lots of people at lots of different levels, so being able to communicate well both within CambridgeHOK but also with our external stakeholders is key.
People are at the heart of what we do and are our biggest asset.