Andrew Morrison: Helping young people into business brings rewards

Dane Thomson, Andrew Morison, Cameron Houston and David Gray
Dane Thomson, Andrew Morison, Cameron Houston and David Gray
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In recognition of our work helping young people into business, AM Bid Services Ltd, was recently honoured with the Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award as ‘Best Employer for Student & Graduate Recruitment’.

What am I learning on the journey of employing the ‘millennial generation’?

First, I never forget that it is a precious privilege to be someone’s first employer. The new recruit arrives with considerable helpings of both motivation and trepidation. Following interview and skills test, the graduate progresses to an informal meeting over a coffee with one of my existing graduate employees. This affords them the opportunity of learning first-hand about our values, the job, the organisation and the team.

Young people today want positive role models. David Gray, our bid development director, was one of my graduate recruits in 2005 at another organisation. David trained with me for five years before our careers went in different directions. However, David and I remained in touch. He has now returned for his first director role – a clear role model for our team of where the journey can lead.

We are also key sponsors of Tartan Explorer Josh Quigley, the 24-year-old who came through a long battle against depression and is now cycling the world to raise awareness of mental health issues. Josh is a hugely positive role model to my young team, some of whom have their own struggles including one who coped with the loss of both his parents while still a teenager and another who battles with periods of depression.

We also use the Social Bite cafes when working in Edinburgh and Glasgow and recently our team attended an awards dinner where Josh Littlejohn, the co-founder of Social Bite was a truly inspirational speaker.

We work across all sectors and are proud of being part of a profitable organisation; nevertheless, young people also need to feel that at least some of their work is contributing to a social purpose. To that end, Cameron Houston, a 24-year-old bid development executive, will be spending a week this spring cycling in Europe with Josh.

But there is also a place for experienced, wise heads. David Sole OBE, business coach and former Scotland rugby captain, is a non-executive chairman of our business. David’s involvement is inspirational for us all.

Within this supportive environment, there’s permission to get things wrong. A three- person checking system for all of our client output allows our graduate employees to work directly on projects within a safe and supportive setting while still ensuring that our clients receive high quality, checked work.

Finally, the learning journey is a two-way street.

My team has lots of ideas for using digital technology to improve our ways of working, helping us to be more connected and efficient.

I am learning as much from them as they are from me.

Andrew Morrison is founder and managing director of AM Bid Services Ltd, which helps businesses create bids and tenders.