Forster Group quality management system (QMS) was recently certified by Ocean Certification as being compliant with the International Standard EN ISO 9001:2015.
The roofing and solar installation business, who cover one in five of Scotland’s new homes, passed with zero non-conformities. The Ocean Certification assessor, David Robinson was extremely complimentary and highlighted several areas of best practice in his assessment report. “The company demonstrated a strong commitment, led from the top, to continual improvement of the management system, the business and the measures it uses to evaluate performance. This is to be commended,” said David.
“Interviews with senior staff including Chairman, John Forster and Managing Director, Steve Scott confirmed a focus on ensuring that issues and activities regarded as core to the “Forster Approach” were encompassed in their QMS. This emanated from the top, and leadership was clearly demonstrated. There is an excellent understanding of the environment within which the company operates – active involvement with the NHBC, the Scottish House Builder Health & Safety Forum, the CITB and the development of a comprehensive apprenticeship programme demonstrates this. Improvements over a number of years have led to Forster being recognised as a leader in their field”.
“The success of the audit is testimony to the work put in across all our teams over many years,” explained Forster Human Resources Director, Maureen Douglas. “ISO 9001 is certainly the standard to have and next year we intend to achieve the equivalent ISO standard in safety and environmental management”.
An overview to our events in March.
Scottish Renewables Annual Conference- Defining the Future of Renewable Energy in Scotland: 1st-2nd March, Edinburgh
We will be attending the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference, to discuss the future of renewable energy in Scotland. Come to see our Chairman John Forster speak as part of a panel on Future for Established Technologies from 11.30am – 12.40pm.
Deployment has accelerated and costs have declined in onshore wind and solar, with talk increasingly of being subsidy-free in the 2020s; but at what scale, where, and who will be building? How can government policy help achieve that, and where does that leave the future for other established technologies, such as hydro?
Visit www.scottishrenewables.com/events/sr-annual-conference-2016/ to find out more.
EcoBuild: 8th – 10th March, London
We will be exhibiting on stand E3180 at EcoBuild, at the UK’s leading exhibition and conference for the construction and energy market, with over 44,000 industry professionals in attendance.
Visit www.ecobuild.co.uk to find out more.
Solar Power Portal Roadshow Event: 17th March, Edinburgh
The Solar Power Portal roadshow events are free, technology agnostic, half day events that provide a concise and educational experience targeting installers, local councils, and commercial energy buyers, with view of enabling networking and knowledge exchange that will ultimately benefit everyone involved. The goal is to bring as many installers, local business and councils together in order to facilitate discussion and help the industry grow.
John Forster will be chairing the Edinburgh event and speaking on the day.
Visit www.ukroadshow.solarenergyevents.com/edinburgh to find out more.
Solar in Scotland: The Future and the opportunity: 15th March, Edinburgh
Chaired by John Forster the Solar Trade Association event will cover the full range of industry sectors, exploring the future and opportunities for expanding solar’s share in the energy mix within Scotland’s 100% renewable target. Importantly, each speaker will focus on one or more of the STA’s key asks of the Scottish Government, and our keynote speaker Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP will present his vision for renewables.
STA Scotland is recommending that Scotland sets a goal of deploying 2GW of solar in Scotland by 2020, a tenfold increase from today. Despite the huge challenges from recent UK policy changes, including reductions to the Feed-in-Tariff and early closure of the Renewables Obligation, this ambitious target can still be achieved. Attend our event, meet the industry and discover the opportunities, and together we can overcome the barriers to growth.
Visit www.solar-trade.org.uk/event/solar-in-scotland/to find out more.
Scotland Food & Drink AGM and Conference: 17th March, Edinburgh
We will be exhibiting at the Scotland Food & Drink conference to discuss benefits of solar to those in the industry. The event will look at the Scottish food and drink industry in 2030, what it could look like by then and what we need to do to achieve success over the next 10-15 years. A top line-up of speakers will look at the latest trends in the sector, how SF&D should support industry growth. A panel of both key retail and foodservice buyers and some leading CEOs from our manufacturing sector.
“Scottish businesses must be motivated by more than the financial bottom line if they are to help build a fairer and greener Scotland.”
This is the conclusion of the report “Better Business” that has been released by Social Value Lab on business practices in Scotland. The research set out to answer the following questions and explore the barriers so many businesses face in changing the corporate behaviour:
The results were very encouraging, showing that there is an appetite from Scottish businesses to play a role in creating a fairer and greener Scotland. Some of the most promising responses include 85% of businesses reporting that community, social and environmental issues as either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important to them and nine in ten companies (89%) felt they were delivering on their social and environmental responsibilities.
However, it also found barriers that business face, including pressures caused by business size with just 15% of small companies reported to fully support employee volunteering, 22% among mid-sized companies and a huge gap to 51% among large companies. There was also a clear issue with equality for women with, only 13% of all board posts held by women and over half (56%) of the firms with none at all. Just 4% of CEOs are women.
This report is hugely important to us at Forster Group, not only because we try to lead by example in environmental and social responsibility, but we also strive to see this culture extend out into our industry and wider community. We began in the construction industry 26 years ago, and since taking on our first trainee in 1990, we haven’t stopped seeing the value in investing in the workforce of the future.
We invested in our business early, building lasting relationships from the beginning with local schools and colleges, we have collaborated on many initiatives to invest in new skills for young people. In 2014 this eventually led to the creation of our Forster Skills Academy, a custom-designed training centre delivering innovative Modern Apprenticeship qualifications for people looking to learn a trade in roofing. We have so far taken on 12 new apprentices and will continue to take on a further 12 into 2016.
Investing in our people has served us well for the future, ensuring an injection of new ideas and fresh thinking in the business, the development of a pipeline of talent, as well as improved capacity to react to customer demand. Last year we were accredited as one of the first wave of Investors in Young People employers in Scotland and 32% of our workforce are aged under 25 years old.
Our people are our business, so working innovatively, collaboratively and investing in the future of our industry are key to staying one step ahead and the continued success of any business.
This year we have joined The 5% Club, which promotes the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce. Faced with the shortage of skilled workers in the industry we want to support our commitment to developing young people within the industry, alongside our own initiatives with the Forster Skills Academy and our investment in young people in-house.
The club supports the employment of at least 5% young people on a workforce, and we have already excelled employing 11%. This is set to grow over the course of 2016 as we continue to invest in our people ensuring an injection of new ideas and fresh thinking in the business and the development of a pipeline of talent, as well as improved capacity to react to customer demand.
As Forster prepare to celebrate 25-years of roofing Scottish homes, the market leading roofing and solar services provider is also embracing a new modern website, which brings together the company’s core roofing and energy businesses into a single site.
The site provides information for house builders, public sector and community bodies, social housing landlords, farmers and commercial landlords and tenants interested in finding out about the exciting benefits of installing solar. Visitors to the site can browse through case studies, showcasing the companies work for existing clients in these sectors, search and apply for jobs as well as stay up-to-date with the businesses activities and industry news.
“As we prepare to celebrate a significant landmark in our history, it’s a great time to be launching a new, modern website, which reflects our passionate and aspirational approach.. The new site communicates our commitment to delivering excellence in every area of our business” explained Marketing Executive, Peter Barrow. “It is a central tool in communicating the key benefits of solar as well as our core service offerings, particularly our integrated solar roofing service.”
Denvir Marketing, the agency which project managed the development of the site, said it was an exciting time for Forster Group and Denvir Marketing. Charlotte Jordan, Marketing Manager at Denvir Marketing, said:
“This fresh, clean and contemporary website reflects Forster Group’s energy, drive and enthusiasm for solar and roofing. The advances being made in the solar industry are phenomenal and we feel this new website will enable Forster Group to maintain its position as the number one roofing, solar and integrated solar business in Scotland.”
Forster Group HR Director, Maureen Douglas was appointed by Nick Boles, Minister of State for Skills and Equalities on the CITB’s new Board of Trustees. The new UK construction training board works with businesses and employers across the country to address the skills challenges faced within the sector.
Maureen has extensive experience in the construction industry spanning a decade, at the young age of 36. Her role as Forster HR Director comprises of leading the strategy from board level, pioneering the Group’s organisational development, skills and training and health and safety programmes.
“I am delighted to have been invited to join the board and work with the new team to provide effective outcomes for the construction industry during an exciting period of growth,” said Maureen. “Through my experience and passion for skills development, I will strive to provide an invaluable link to the board and the industry”.
During her time with Forster, Maureen has demonstrated considerable ability to create and implement bespoke business strategies and HR solutions providing strong leadership both within the business and the wider industry. This has been key to the business’ wider growth strategy which has seen the Group continue to drive efficiency, perform successfully year on year and move into new markets.
Due to the shortage of skills in the industry, Maureen’s major focus for 2014 was setting up a new roofing Skills Academy for launch in 2015. The academy is a custom designed centre delivering specialist modern apprenticeship qualifications, geared specifically for new-build housing and solar PV. This will help to address the acute skills shortage in the construction industry recruiting new entrants, up skilling and qualifying the existing workforce. It aims to raise current standards whilst enriching and growing the construction talent pool, ensuring best practice and driving innovation.
The new CITB board will meet in London for the first time this month.