130 Years of enduring values : The TClarke Way
7/10/19 : In our 130th Anniversary, Group CEO Mark Lawrence shines the spotlight on the very longstanding values expressed in the TClarke Way
As Group CEO and someone who has been with the company since the start of my apprenticeship many years ago, I take a lot of pride in the fact that TClarke today has the same market reputation for the way we do things that we have always had. There are many differences in what we do – the industry keeps moving forward and our company is very different today from what it was even five years ago – but our values are the same.
Health and Safety
There is a photo from the early 1900s of the TClarke team on a trip to Hastings. There are also great letters from that era, where our founder Tommy Clarke has gone out of his way to recommend a staff member or sort out what would now be an HR issue. From all of these, you get a clear idea of a company that cares for its people. Health and Safety standards have advanced in leaps and bounds every decade, but what remains the same here is the care for our people that drives our approach.
TClarke has always had a strong safety ethic. We have always invested heavily in having a strong safety team and we have always worked with our peers to move things forward. Onsite you will see that the focus is consistent. Well ahead of the market, we introduced our own safety reporting app. And the focus continues. What pleases me today is that we are also now taking the lead on mental health.
We started out, wiring Royal Palaces and major public buildings and I know longstanding shareholders today who first became interested in TClarke because they saw the quality and neatness of our people’s work on a building site. Today our teams work, as they always have done, on some of the highest profile construction jobs in the industry – we work for the biggest global companies in data, finance, media, technology and property – and their standards are the highest. What I am particularly proud of is the way we have been able to enter new markets and sectors and earn the same reputation for market leading quality. I think this shows that we are doing quite a few things right.
As a market leader in a very cost-sensitive industry, which invests and believes in direct employment, we know we have to be able to show real value for our clients. We do that in a number of ways – including value engineering. But perhaps the most direct way in which TClarke provides value is by giving our clients and partners a sense of certainty that the programme will be delivered. Clients have goals and to achieve them they need a completed product. Our ability to deliver, even when there are challenges is a major asset.
Allthough we are a longstanding business in a traditional industry sector, we bring new ideas and innovation to projects every day of the year. Sometimes these relate to new ways of doings things, or the introduction of new processes. Often these relate to practical engineering where we are the first to do something. It is in the nature of the landmark projects we work on that we get these opportunities. But most often our innovations are based in the very deep levels of technical knowledge and insight we have within this business. Whether that is designing healthcare controls, installing complex mechanical electrical or ICT infrastructures, or now designing software to make a landmark building ‘breathable’, our innovations come from the knowledge and expertise of our people.
Lots of people may say it – but our people really are the asset we value the most here. We employ directly and we always have, even when many others in the industry have gone different routes. While other apprenticeship schemes dissappeared, the TClarke apprenticeship scheme remained and grew as a ‘gold standard’ in our industry for the quality of the training, the support and investments involved and the rates of young people passing successfully on to flourishing careers. If you look at the teams we field on major projects, you see people with great experience and exceptional commitment and pride in their work. These are the people who deliver our reputation. I am very proud that as Group CEO, the quality of TClarke teams and the spirit that drives them has remained at the very highest level.
We have so many deep, longstanding relationships with clients and partners, across the UK. For TClarke in Newcastle as in Plymouth, we believe in the non-confrontational, collaborative approach to project work. If you know construction then you know how valuable and important that nationwide commitment is.
The world in 2019 is very different from the world we started up in, back in 1889. But it is a statement of simple fact that the fundamental values of our business have not really changed. In fact, as recent years have seen both our industry and society put more and more focus on having good values, taking care of people, creating quality jobs and real opportunities for the next generation, I would say that maybe more people are realising the permanent value of the TClarke way of doing things.