How do you implement AI?

How do you implement AI?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is able to improve business and customer facing processes, automate repetitive data tasks, ease workload from staff and ultimately improve efficiency. Dr Janet Bastiman, Chief Science Officer at StoryStream, returns to help demystify how to implement an AI strategy into your business.
How does a business start using AI?
It’s not a magic wand, it’s a tool, you will need to ask yourselves – “what problem do I want to solve?” and make sure you have the data that defines that problem. This could be inwards facing, focusing on your internal systems or even outwards facing and helping improve the relationship between you and your customers.
At StoryStream, we use AI to solve many problems within StoryStream. From classification of images and text through to predictive analytics. Wherever we can identify a way of using AI to make things more efficient for us or more beneficial for our customers then we apply it.
What to know before implementing an AI strategy:
Information on AI varies from hugely accessible through to cutting edge research and everything in between so you need to know more about the solution you are trying to gain. From there talk to experts, attend meetup groups and the community. This is often a way to gain great insight into tried and tested AI systems. We’ve recently released a high level infographic for AI in marketing to help demystify some of the concepts. If you know what problems you want to address then it’s easier to get clear advice.
Questions your business should consider before implementing an AI solution:

What is the scope of the project that AI can perform?
Is the problem well defined?
Do you have all the data needed?
Would AI ultimately increase efficiency or drive profit?

 
To drill deeper you then need to consider whether you need a dedicated in house team, consultancy or third party service to assist you in deploying the AI system. If this managing in hour is an option for you, consider what training your staff may require, paying close attention to the new GDPR regulations and how you are collecting, storing and processing personal data. Never lose sight of the risks and benefits and of course how you keep all stakeholder informed.
 
Test, pilot, learn, improve…
A great way to introduce an AI system is to start with a small, defined project within your businesses where you can get a fast return on investment as a gateway to a larger project. More than likely, you and your teams will have much to learning from these and to get right for next time.
How do you know if AI will benefit your company?
The first is in automating repetitive processes to ease the workload of existing employees, think of labelling large amounts of data, finding similar profiles or even extracting important parts of text from large documents. This is all about efficiency and ultimately driving profit.
The second is to use the data you have to do new things, things that wouldn’t be possible with your human workforce. Whether this is discovering correlations in data that you may not have known where there or providing a service to people who cannot otherwise access a human operative.
With technology rapidly changing the right time to invest in AI is now. Because it’s changing so rapidly, the sooner you start seeing the benefits the better. This isn’t one of the large scale IT investments that we saw in the last century, think of AI as plugins to drive your business. With a third party service you can be up and running very quickly. Even an in house team should be able to get you something within a few months (depending on the complexity of the problem). Make sure you have the data you need and the problems clear and any partnerships are with companies who can update you with the latest AI techniques as appropriate.
The more coordinated your systems are the easier it will be to acquire the data to drive any AI solution and also act on the results.
Watch our Leaders in Tech: Reading Meet up page for further events.
 
 

2018, Brexit and the aviation industry

2018, Brexit and the aviation industry

As we enter the New Year the aviation industry is making operations planning decisions for the coming 12 -18 months and planning is made even more pertinent as Brexit negotiations continue. Clearly high on the government agenda, Brexit also rides high for the airlines of the UK and Europe owing to the fact that legal permissions that allow airlines to fly between the UK and the European Union are set at an EU level. As Christine Ourmières-Widener, Chief executive of Flybe recently said: “Although the UK will not leave the EU until 2019, there is a lot of work and negotiation to be done by governments on both sides,” she said.
 
According to a report in the Financial Times, towards the end of last year, if Britain left the single market, UK-owned airlines would automatically lose flying rights to EU airspace and would no longer be recognised for airworthiness certificates or parts. However, steps to alleviate such a significant shift in market dynamics which would place UK operators and service companies at a severe disadvantage are already well in train. The EU withdrawal bill (although not yet finalised) seeks to transfer much of the existing legislation across from the EU to the UK statutes. Nevertheless, there remains a challenge for UK aviation if the mutual recognition of certifications is not upheld.
 
Over and above all this, other significant challenges for the aviation industry this year include the rising cost of fuel and the ongoing issue of Air Passenger Duty. Nevertheless, traveler numbers overall continue to rise and the demand for both business and leisure travel overseas remains strong.
 
2018 will be a year of challenge for the aviation industry. Being agile and fleet of foot will be a key requirement. Will we know the definitive impacts of Brexit on Britain’s aviation industry by the end of 2018? We doubt it very much, but hopefully, the mists will be clearing. Those businesses who are able to adapt, cross-skill, develop and recruit great staff will be the ones to ride out the storm. Regulatory consultants who are able to advise and influence policy will certainly be one of the skill sets that are required.

Sympathy for those impacted as Monarch enters administration

Sympathy for those impacted as Monarch enters administration
The announcement today that Monarch Airlines has stopped trading and its future bookings of 300,000 flights and holidays have been cancelled has been greeted with sadness across the aviation industry. It will doubtless cause much trouble for the many thousands of holidaymakers who are either on holiday or have bookings for the near future.
While the Civil Aviation Authority manages the biggest peacetime repatriation of 110,000 people the industry will have some unravelling to do, in order to set itself up for the future. Monarch, with its base at Luton Airport was established in 1968, employs about 2,700 staff, mostly in the UK and was flying about 5m per year to destinations across the globe.
Meanwhile, Monarch Aircraft Engineering, a joint venture with Boeing delivering aircraft engineering services, continues to trade and is operating as normal. It announced on Friday that it had secured a deal with Virgin Atlantic to provide maintenance for their 787-9 fleet.
The Aviation team at Austin Fraser were sad to hear the news this morning, we have worked with Monarch and its employees for a number of years, and we wish all those involved all the best for the future. In the short-term we hope the impact to holiday-makers is minimised and the actions of the CAA this morning seem clearly set out to aim to reduce the pain. The longer-term impact on the aviation industry as a whole and specifically the employees of the company will be significant and we wish them all the best as they seek out new jobs and opportunities.
Our Aviation consultant, Josh Fox, will be at the Holiday Inn Express in Luton, London on Wednesday 4th October from 9am-5pm to provide career advice, interview tips and industry knowledge to flight deck and cabin crew in need of assistance. Get in touch with him here: [email protected]+44(0)1189520152

The impact of the US tariffs on Bombardier for aviation MROs and operators

There was much dismay this morning at the news that the US Government is planning to impose a 220% tariff on the import of Bombardier planes.

From workers at the production facility in Northern Ireland right up to the Prime Minister there’s disappointment at the US Department of Commerce ruling which could triple the cost of a C-series aircraft sold into the United States. Although there’s still hope the issue can be resolved, it’s potentially a very damaging day for both the Canadian and UK aviation industries.
The former Shorts factory in Belfast employs about 4,000 people, 25% of whom work on the C-Series wings. Many of the jobs in the aviation sector require specialist skills and knowledge. If the ruling is upheld and the market for the planes diminishes, then the manufacturing plant, its suppliers and the wider aviation industry stand at risk. Although some of the skills would be transferable the potential impact on the local Belfast economy and jobs would be significant.
The UK and Northern Ireland governments have invested in the Bombardier aviation site and specifically the development of the C-Series planes along with the Canadian government which has been supporting the development for some time. There are many options on the table for the UK and Canadian governments to consider – they do after all have deals with Boeing directly for the supply of military aircraft.  Though a tit-for-tat trade war isn’t a desirable outcome for anyone.
Next February the US International Trade Commission will review the decision and either uphold the penalty or remove it. If the decision is to uphold then there will be ramifications for the long-term nature of the MRO market and the potential availability of choice for operators looking to expand their fleets. We’re hopeful that despite all the rhetoric being spoken, that we’ll eventually see a positive outcome and continued opportunities for growth and jobs in Belfast’s home of aviation manufacturing.

Delivering new opportunities for tech talent in Denver, Colorado

Delivering new opportunities for tech talent in Denver, Colorado
We are delighted to announce that mid-2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Denver, Colorado, USA. From this new base, Austin Fraser will be able to deliver highly skilled staffing services to the thriving digital and technology scene of Colorado. We’ll be establishing a team of consultants with expertise in specialist staffing within the tech and digital space. It’s our in-depth approach to understanding the markets, businesses and people we work with and how we develop deep long-lasting relationships that mean we’re able to work with employers and candidates to deliver exactly the right talent just when it’s needed.
 
Commenting, our USA Business manager, James Lafferty, tells us: “We’re genuinely excited by the opportunity that expanding the business to Denver presents. It’s a fantastic city that is rapidly becoming one of the key digital hubs in the US. With businesses like ComCast, Lockheed Martin, DISH Network, IBM and UPS all significant employers in the area and a fast growing number of start-ups, the possibilities for business and personal growth are fantastic.
 
“Denver is widely recognised as one of the top cities in America to work and live in right now. 300 days of sunshine and a great living standard make it a destination city where the expected influx over the next five years is a further 200,000+ people. Establishing a new base in Denver builds on the success we’ve had in Austin, Texas, where we’ve established a strong presence within the local community and been recognised by the Austin Business Journal as one of the best places to work, one of the Coolest Companies in Austin and on the 50 on Fire list – all within 24 months of starting up.”
 
Our CEO, Peter Hart explains more: “Austin Fraser is a brand with a strong heritage – we’ve been providing staffing solutions for ten years, and our staff are dedicated, hard-working trusted advisors to some of the world’s leading tech companies. We’re looking forward to becoming a key partner to the businesses in Denver and playing our part in shaping the digital economy of the area. We see this move to Denver as an important step in the growth of our business.”  

Our co-founder shares what it means to him to place 3rd in the Best Companies listing!

Find out why we placed 3rd in the Best Small Companies Listing and what it means to us.
 
Every year, the Sunday Times collaborates with Best Companies to publish the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For. These listings cover a range of sectors from small to big companies and Not-For-Profit organisations. We enter the listing for small companies, along with over 400 other firms employing 50-250 people, in total collating the views of over 31,000 employees…now that’s a lot of people! Feedback from employees is based on ranking eight key factors of a company: My Manager, My Company, Leadership, Personal Growth, My Team, Wellbeing, Fair Deal and Giving Something Back.
 
For the fifth year running we’ve placed in the Top 25. But this has been our highest placement to date, this year we made it into the Top 5 and placed 3rd! Clearly, we’re proud of this achievement, but what we really wanted to do is give you an insight into what it really means to us to receive our highest placement to date and how this will impact our business throughout the next year.
 
So, who’s best placed to give you this insight? Here’s Derek Simpson, our CDO and co-founder…
 
We’ve placed in the Top 100 five years in a row and this is our highest placement so far! What does that mean to you?
 
I love it! We use our employees’ happiness and engagement as a key measure of how successful our business is, so knowing some of the improvements we’ve made over the last year have made a real difference is the best feedback we could ask for!
 
Getting our highest place is great, but that’s really just a bonus. We’re more pleased that we have achieved our highest score so far. This is a great indicator that we have made our company a better place to work over the 5 years we have taken part in the awards. We also know that if we’re scoring well, that means our people are happy, and so they’ll be delivering a great service to the people we work for – clients and candidates.
 
How does it impact AF as a business?
 
It impacts us massively as a business, we can only continue to grow if the people we employ are happy and proud of where they work. The real benefit to us is the wealth of unedited feedback we get from our people about how they really think we’re doing business. It’s also worth noting we make an effort to get the feedback from our offices in Germany and USA even though it doesn’t contribute to our score.
 
First off we really encourage our teams to be as honest as they like so we can get a true reflection of how they feel. Our People and Culture team then take the time to analyse the information and identify opportunities for us to make improvements. There’s no point in getting the feedback if you don’t intend to do something positive with it. Although our score this time was our best ever, I’m sure there will be things we can look to improve again throughout this year.
 
It gives us an invaluable opportunity to work out where in our business we can improve, I mean why wouldn’t you want to improve your company?
 
What do we have planned this year then?
 
We want to make sure we’re always creating opportunities for people to achieve their potential, we make sure this support for our people relates not only to their time spent working with us but also in their lives generally, providing support to them and their families if and when they need it.
 
This is going to be a year of global growth and we’re looking for ways to achieve this as smoothly as possible so all of our teams can do what they do best and enjoy working for us.
 
We will continue to ask people for their feedback throughout the year. This will allow us to make sure our people strategy not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our teams globally.
 
 

Aviation prospects 2017: A look at the nature and development of the market

Aviation prospects 2017: A look at the nature and development of the market for personnel and development in the aviation industry
 
The last couple of years have seen the aviation industry grow from strength to strength and based on the evidence so far it’s looking like this will be a year of continued inspiring growth and advancement within the sector. UK operators are expanding their fleets, bringing on new aircraft and upgrading the existing ones. Technology is advancing quickly and the aviation industry is capitalising on it; we’re seeing bigger, faster, quieter and (slightly) more comfortable aircraft entering into service. So with this in mind, what impact will this have upon personnel and development in 2017?
 
Aviation recruitment has changed.
 
The growth of the industry has undoubtedly had a significant impact upon career opportunity availability within aviation. Austin Fraser started recruiting within the industry back in 2009, predominantly supporting operators, MROs and consultancies alike in the refilling of posts that previous incumbents had since moved on from. Throughout 2015 and 2016, we had the pleasure of assisting multiple organisations in building brand new teams or expanding historic departments to support new, innovative projects.
 
The industry has changed. Aviation is a market still feeling the hangover of tough economic times, when training simply wasn’t a viable option. As a consequence, we’re seeing a significant shortage at an intermediate level and the industry is crying out for those who have kick-started their careers and are able to combine the experience they’ve gained with fresh ideas in order to become an integral driver and leader of industrial advancement in the future.
 
Training, training, training.
 
In order to stay competitive and to remain at the forefront of growth and innovation, we’re seeing the leading organisations investing in training now. Without development at entry level, the progression path becomes staggered, restricting progression and growth opportunities at an intermediate and senior level.
 
It’s imperative that operators and MRO’s invest in their staff now to allow for the continued growth of their operations as well as ensuring the successful future of aviation. There’s a definite buzz within the industry. We’ve found that candidates and employers alike are excited about what 2017 holds and it’s vital that we maintain this fantastic momentum to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the industry.  
 

Berlin opens new doors for Austin Fraser!

Berlin opens new doors for us!
 
We’re excited by the opportunity to update on yet another milestone in the growth of our business with the announcement that on 6th March 2017 we’re launching our second office in Germany, at the Sony Centre, right in the heart of Berlin at Potsdamer Platz! From this new base, we’ll be expanding our delivery capability to better serve the thriving digital and technology scene.
 
Jacob McCulloch, Managing Director, said “We’re really excited to be expanding the business to Berlin. This move represents a key step in our wider strategy to strengthen our services to the German tech market. Since opening in Munich we have seen the war for talent become increasingly competitive for companies, making it hard for them to secure the right skills to deliver on their projects. With so many companies hiring it is also difficult for candidates to select who is truly the right employer for their individual needs. The Sony Centre is a fantastic location to make sure we are right in the action, connecting with our network personally and understanding what is important to them. Internally it will provide our team with all the facilities we need, a great location and an environment that enables our team to provide the best service possible.”
 

We started our German story in Munich in 2012 and have rapidly grown to employ 30 people serving the South of Germany with amazing technology recruitment services. This new office in Berlin will enable us to recruit both permanent and contract technical staff in the north of Germany. The new Berlin team will start with three staff from the Munich office, and we’re already busy recruiting further members of the team, both experienced and aspiring recruiters from the local market.  
 
“It’s a great time to be joining Austin Fraser” said our CEO, Pete Hart. “We’ve grown rapidly and I’m really proud of the performance of the team here in Munich. Now, we’re expanding and looking for the best talent in Berlin to help take Austin Fraser to the next level in Germany.”
 

 

Relocating our Reading HQ to Thames Tower!

 
 
Our journey from humble beginnings in a garage to becoming a leading international technical recruitment consultancy, takes another leap forward today, as we announce that we’re moving into Thames Tower, a brand new 14,000 sq ft office right in the heart of Reading. Our new UK home will support the development of our increasingly global business and provide a fantastic workplace for our consultants as we continue to grow.
 
Thames Tower sits in a great central location in Reading, a two minute walk away from the station, it’s easily accessible for commuting and right next to the restaurants, bars and gyms. With 360 degree views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, a communal sky garden, a range of meeting spaces and relaxation areas our consultants will have a great space from which to work. We’ll be fitting the office out with the latest tech, creating an environment that supports the way we work best.
 
 

We’re proud to remain in Reading and contribute to the development of both the local economy and the growing tech scene through local business initiatives and meet-up groups. Seeing direct impact and progress is extremely rewarding and we’re excited to be part of the further development of Reading. The Elizabeth Line opens in 2019 and will make the town much more accessible to the surrounding areas and London also having a huge influence over the influx of both people and businesses into Reading.
 
Peter Hart, CEO of Austin Fraser, commented: “We’re growing rapidly and need office space that will enable us to continue to deliver the opportunities to candidates and the talent to clients that we’re renowned for. Thames Tower, a stylish, modern building, in the heart of Reading, with great access to the town’s restaurants, shops, bars, and gyms, fits the bill perfectly. It provides us with the space we need to meet our ambitious recruitment plans and fits with our desire to offer a fantastic place for our people to work. After all, in a business like ours, it’s the people who are the bedrock; when they’re happy they’re able to do a fantastic job and are trusted by clients and candidates alike.”

 
 

In these 10 years we’ve won a number of industry awards and accolades including being shortlisted in the Top 25 of The Sunday Times Best companies To Work For, five years in a row! We’ve also been given a Gold accreditation from Investors in People. We’re always striving to provide an outstanding working environment for our employees and this new office will definitely aid us to help everyone create a good balance between work and their home lives, as well as injecting a bit of fun into the work day which is what we do best.
 
Derek Simpson, CDO adds, “We’re looking for both experienced and aspiring recruitment consultants who want to help drive our growth. It’s the start of the year and despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit and other political events we’re seeing increased demand for the talent  in the digital, technology, life sciences, aviation and automation sectors. Moving to Thames Tower will help create the right environment for our consultants with a range of modern meeting areas and social spaces that will encourage even more collaboration within the team.”

Moving on up in Austin, USA!

Moving on up in Austin, USA!
After little over a year in America, we’re moving to new heights…literally! We’re taking over new office space at 500 West, 2nd Street. This building is known as one of the most prestigious new builds in downtown Austin! We’ll be rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s most elite tech companies.
 
We’ve been working hard to support Austin’s rapidly growing tech scene and over the last 18 months, we’ve become a trusted partner to companies in Austin and Dallas. We help both established companies and start-ups grow by identifying and attracting the best technical talent from across the US. The technology boom is generating a significant demand for the top technical talent, which has famously been difficult to find but that’s where our services come in.
 
Our team has grown rapidly in the last year and this move will provide the space we need for the next phase of growth. Pete Hart, our CEO, says “I am so proud of our team in Austin and the impressive achievements each one of them has contributed. It is extremely exciting to now be in a position where we can confidently pursue our expansion plans in Austin and across other parts of the USA.”
 
From this new base, we’ll be closer to our key clients, able to provide better service and will give the team room to grow. It will also enable us to invest in more talent to meet the growing industry demands and to continue to expand to more cities across America.
 
James Lafferty, USA Business Manager, shares his thoughts on the move, “My priority is creating a great working environment for our growing team. Ensuring each one of our employees is able to achieve their potential and is continuously provided with new opportunities underpins our ability to grow the business. I’m especially excited to be moving into this new building, with the purpose built gym, great views and modern design. It’ll be a fantastic place to welcome the new starters we will be seeking throughout the year. This move provides us with a platform to continue our growth and presence within the US market.”
 
We don’t shy away from the opportunity to contribute to the continuous improvement of the city. “We quickly got involved in the community by joining the Chamber of Commerce and networking with other business leaders to see how we can partner with them not only in business but in social and local economic matters as well. We are dedicated to growing our business, providing an amazing service to our clients & candidates as well as doing our part to continue to help Austin, Texas grow and maintain its title as one of the best cities in America.” – Douglas Branham, People Operations Manager.

We’re celebrating becoming a truly international business this year with 46% of our business has been contributed by our Munich, Berlin, Austin and Dallas markets over the last 12 months outside of our Reading HQ.

This great vision of growth depends on having great people in our business. If you’re interested in joining our growing team, then get to know us a bit better through our Hunted page and take a look at some of our current vacancies.
 

job search

New Year, new job? Make sure you stand out.

New Year, new job? Make sure you stand out.
 
It’s New Year and you’ve decided the time has come to get out there and get yourself a new job. Here are a few simple pointers on what to do now.
 
Keep your ear to the ground
 
Are you looking in the right places? With competition heating up at this time of year make sure you’re on the ball. Look through job boards and LinkedIn and then extend your search. Where you look will depend on the industry you’re looking to enter but why not get creative? What company would you like to join? Who’s the hiring manager? Use tools like LinkedIn to your advantage.
 
Consider your skills and how they may be transferrable
 
If you’re thinking of a career change, consider the transferable skills you can use to reassure the employer that you’ll have the ability to perform. Be upfront and honest, maybe you don’t have the right experience but that’s not to say that the employer isn’t looking for a junior to help upskill and support as they embark in their new career. You are a blank canvas, sell yourself as adaptable and willing to learn. Be ready to answer the question…why do you want to work here and what can you bring to the table.
 
Stand out
 
Once you’ve found the ideal job you’ll need to make sure your application stands out from the crowd. Write a clear cover letter that explains why you’d be right for the job. You’ll need to answer specifically the points they’re looking for in the job ad and demonstrate where you have succeeded in the past with the required skills. The more tailored you are, the better they’ll understand why they should talk to you.
 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
 
Specialist recruiters work with the industry’s most well-respected managers, it’s their job to keep their ear to the ground and get to the nitty gritty of the roles they’re working. They’ll be well informed about where this role has the prospect of going, what the company’s growth plans look like and most importantly what exactly it is that the hiring manager is looking for in a new recruit and how they plan on interviewing them. If you need someone to do the leg work for you, hit us up! Whether it’s a role across the IT, Automation, Aviation or Life Sciences industries, we’re here to help.