Creating a workplace of the future in our Reading HQ!

The launch of our brand new office refit in our Reading HQ!  
We partnered with design firm Area Sq to create a workspace of the future in our new, Reading-based HQ in Thames Tower. Throughout the initial briefing process, Area really got to grips with our why. They understood that our people are at the core of our business and helped us create a dynamic space, to accommodate our equally dynamic workforce. Our space deliberately encourages collaboration and innovation in the way our teams approach their work and each working day, ensuring our employees the resources and support to truly succeed in their roles. We’ll take you on a tour of our office and the progression of our refit in the video below.
 
Our break out area where we spend our lunch times, monthly meetings and host local Meetups and events
 
Our recent move of our Reading HQ into Thames Tower coincides with our tenth year of business. Over the last ten years we’ve expanded internationally, opening offices across Europe and the USA within the digital, technology, aviation, automation and life sciences industries. As a business, we were keen to set a precedent and create a truly inspirational space for our centralised hub in Reading. We’ve really considered the long term and ensured our space facilitates growth for each of teams to expand into.
We have a versatile range of meeting spaces for our teams to collaborate in
Thames Tower offers a 360 panoramic view of the Thames Valley, a rooftop garden where we regularly host and attend events, as well as a prime position in Reading Town Centre, with access to all the town, has to offer. Our office refit had to maintain these incredible standards and Area accomplished this and made our vision a reality.
 
Our classroom, where we provide immersive training experiences for our staff
 
CEO, Peter Hart says, “We really believe that what Area Sq has created represents the future workplace. It will play a huge role in helping Austin Fraser reach the next level of growth with the right people, technology and environment. It was important for us to have an office environment which offered different types of space to accommodate the different types of people and working practices that run throughout the business. This inspirational workplace will play a key role in helping us to continue to attract and retain the very best talent.”
 

Want to take a look for yourselves? Take a look at this video we worked on with Stanton Media and Area Sq…
 

Austin Fraser Rank 14th in Sunday Times & HSBC International Fast Track List

 
We’re very excited to announce we have been ranked at No 14 on the annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 list of fast growing international companies. Our international expansion started in 2012 with our Munich office, in Germany, which has now grown to more than 30 people. Since then we have opened further offices in Austin, Texas, USA (now more than 20 people) and Berlin, Germany. Just last week we also announced that we are continuing our global expansion in Denver, Colorado.
 
As part of our international growth strategy, we identify markets that are aligned with our core UK markets. We have carefully considered our new locations to find markets where we can make the maximum impact and grow a sustainable business. We’ve been able to bring our knowledge of our Technology, Digital and Life Sciences markets to help our clients’ businesses grow by finding the right talent and building some incredible networks.
 
Our CEO, Pete Hart has shared his thoughts, “I am so proud of all our people and what they have achieved in Germany and the USA. There have been plenty of challenges, but the work ethic and continual desire to improve and adapt, have resulted in this placement in The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. We have had a number of key staff relocate from our UK office over the past 5 years, who have been integral in founding, maintaining and evolving the spark that made us special when we launched in the UK.
 
“We have built amazing teams with a focus on delivering exceptional client and candidate service. Our approach is to provide the best possible environment, tools and development for our people to do their job to the best of their ability. We invest heavily in the success of our people  and rely on them for the success of our business. We believe it’s right that we create an environment where colleagues respect one another, support one another and have a great time.
 
“Our plans for growth don’t stop here. We’re looking at where we might grow next and we’re still recruiting in all our offices – Reading, Munich, Berlin, Austin and Denver. It’s exciting times to be a part of Austin Fraser”
 
To find our more about us and the current vacancies we have open, take a look here: https://www.hunted.com/companies/201/austin-fraser
 
 

 

Congratulations to Ashley Dunbar, our new UK Technology Director!

Congratulations to Ashley Dunbar, our newest Director!

Today is a proud moment for us at Austin Fraser, we’re really pleased to announce that Ashley Dunbar has been promoted to Director. We speak to Ash about how he got to this point and to get his advice for others with ambitious career goals!
 
How long have you been with us at Austin Fraser and what did you do before you started?
I joined Austin Fraser eight years ago as a Trainee having returned from travelling in Asia and Australia. I’d previously worked as an Estate Agent and within sales for ten years but I was starting off in recruitment for the first time.
 
How did you find recruitment to begin with?
Tough, I didn’t have much success when I started, but I worked hard to build up my market knowledge, a great candidate network and build strong relationships with clients. I knew the biggest influencers in my sector and set about winning them over. In my second year this all contributed to me climbing up the boards quickly and getting promoted to Senior Consultant.

What market did you work within when you joined us?
I built the Microsoft Contracts desk from scratch and developed a network and knowledge in niche sectors. It was really important to me from the start to add value to my relationships and to be able to offer genuine consultancy skills to my clients and candidates.

What was the next stage in your career?
As our team grew it made sense for the IT Contracts team to split into three. I started to grow a team around me and it’s fair to say that my management journey also tested my resilience to the maximum too. Other teams grew more quickly which meant some of my peers were promoted before me, but my effort and commitment to the cause never wavered.

How did you push on and progress?
I focused on hiring quality people and giving them the skills to build their markets, embedding standards across the team whilst encouraging individuals to play to their own strengths. It was in 2015 that all this work started to pay off as the team became more successful and I progressed through the Team Leader, Sales Manager & Profit Centre Manager thresholds within 12 months. My long-term goals moved ever closer and this motivated me even more.
As we entered 2016 I had a clear goal to try and achieve a Director level performance and 2016 turned out to be a great year for me and my team. The Contracts team grew by about 36.67%. I established a perm team from scratch which began to regularly contribute to the overall billing. I also managed to develop a number of highly regarded Principal and Senior Consultants.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?
Leading a contract team from having the lowest Weekly Gross Profit to the highest within the company over a two year period. This was a key achievement leading me to win “Manager of the Year” at the last Annual Sales Meeting.
 
What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?
Transitioning from being a biller to a Team Leader. Consistently, stepping outside of my comfort zone to drive ideas, challenge behaviour and create an identity and team standards.
 
How have you found building a team and managing people in this environment?
This is a team sport and not about one individual. I am proud to be part of some exceptional performances and progression of people around me, I hope I’ve helped others exceed their own expectations. It will be an extremely proud day for me when I can personally promote someone to Director within Technology!!
 
What advice do you have for aspiring recruiters?
This career isn’t for the faint-hearted. You will be challenged, you will feel the pressure. The rewards are good for the effort and commitment required to be successful. If you don’t back yourself and believe you’ll succeed, I suggest you throw the dice again.
 
How has Austin Fraser supported your career aspirations?
Firstly, I was never the best biller, though I knew I demonstrated the values that AF are driven by. It was obvious to me from the early days that this company could take me where I wanted to be, these beliefs were also endorsed by my managers. I never lack ambition or shy away from a challenge and developing my career and skills are key for me. AF has provided me with the perfect balance of vision and grounding about what I need to do to move onwards and upwards. AF have always believed in me and I believe this is a great company, this has created the perfect environment for me to succeed.
 
Derek Simpson, our CDO concludes…
“All of these things Ash has mentioned led to a brilliant financial performance last year, culminating in Ash winning the Manager Of The Year Award at the ASM and ultimately hitting the Director target given to him at the start of the year! As we move forwards with our new structure I know that Ash will continue to develop his skills and help the growth of our combined UK Technology team. Brilliant work mate and I look forward to celebrating this promotion with you and no doubt, more success in the future.”
 

 

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.”

Jacob McCulloch

Next stop for Austin Fraser? Berlin!

Jacob McCulloch, Sales Director, leads our second German expansion to Berlin!
 
We’re proud to announce in 2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Berlin. We want to continue to create new opportunities for our teams as well as providing a thorough offering for our clients in the North of Germany.
 
This expansion will be led by our Director, Jacob McCulloch, who says, “As one of the top tech cities in the world, Berlin is a rapidly growing market. We’re excited to be able to help more clients be part of this huge tech expansion and ensure they have the best talent to propel them forward. Austin Fraser has come a long way since we opened our German office just over three years ago, growing from a team of two to a truly national player.”
 
We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, we will recreate this again in Berlin.

 
We’ve spent four years building our presence and markets throughout the Bavarian region in Germany with a centralised base in Munich, venturing up to Berlin for several business opportunities, we are keen to build and maintain more of a presence there. We’ve created an incredible infrastructure of people who are continually pushing themselves and their colleagues around them. The environment we’ve created encourages everyone to strive to achieve. We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, this is a balance we will emulate again in Berlin.
 
Our people are vital to our success, one of our primary focuses in our 2020 vision is to continue to shape our business around them and enable them to travel, progress and diversify their careers. What this means is investing in our people and creating opportunities for them to develop both their skills and themselves in progressive roles and have the option to work internationally.
 
“We want our team to have a sense of limitless possibility.” Pete Hart, CEO
 
“We get under the skin of new geographies by investing in the local market, from the grassroots up, bringing in the best people on the ground, while also enabling our UK teams to make a real difference and fulfil professional ambitions. Creating exciting career opportunities for our people is as important as the commercial outcomes. We want our team to have that sense of limitless possibility. Our new Berlin venture is a major part of this story and we’re thrilled to be taking our offer to this rapidly growing market as well as giving our people the chance to work and live in this incredible city.” – Pete Hart, CEO.

Nick tells us all about his charity bike ride for the MS Trust!

Nick cycled 320km from Paris to Reading in less than 24 hours with Pete Hart and they managed to raise over £5,000 for the MS Trust to support people who, like his mum, are living with MS as well as their families. 
Why I’m supporting the MS Trust…
When I was 14 years old my mum was diagnosed with MS and for the past seventeen years I have helped my family care for her as her condition has gradually deteriorated. My mum has been left wheelchair bound and recently spent 10 weeks in intensive care. I admire my mum’s strength and resilience, despite all she has been through, my mum has never been one to complain. I have experienced first-hand what it is like for both those diagnosed with the illness and their families and the positive impact that charities like the MS Trust can have. For this reason, I have always wanted to do my bit and fundraise for the MS Trust.
 
Who I’m supporting it with…
I have been working at Austin Fraser for the past five years and we’re always finding ways to give back to our local community through charitable events. Being the avid cyclist I am, I have co-organised 5 annual charity bike rides whilst working here, raising money for various local charities. This year I wanted the bike ride to be be the most challenging yet. We set ourself a new time challenge of 24 hours as opposed to spreading it out over two days, which we have done in previous years, to make the challenge that much harder.
 
Race preparation…
There was loads to do before we could even think about starting the bike ride! We designed custom bike gear, making sure the MS Trust logo was clearly visible so everyone knew who we were cycling for!
Although we may not admit it, it’s fair to say both myself and Pete, the CEO of Austin Fraser, are extremely competitive. So, I thought I’d put him through his paces before the actual ride as neither of us have cycled that far in one go before. We did some training locally and cycled to Windsor and back… of course, he was miles behind!
After a lot more training, rallying of support and the launch of our subwebsite www.onyourbikeAF.com we were almost ready to go! We decided to sync the website with our social media channels including a new one called Periscope. This meant we were able to stream live videos to give people a real-time insight into what we were doing!

When things got real…
As we began our journey at London to King’s Cross, St Pancras and boarded the Eurostar early on the Thursday morning, the anticipation and excitement growing in our stomachs! It wasn’t until we arrived at Gare du Nord, Paris and unloaded our bikes from the train, that I noticed a crack in my bike frame! I was scared the ride would be over for me before we’d even started!
We enjoyed lunch in Paris before made our way up the great Champs-Elysees, I definitely wouldn’t recommend cycling down the middle like I did…there were a few close shaves with oncoming traffic! We officially started our ride at the top underneath the Arc De Triomphe.
We gradually made our way out of the city and into the beautiful French countryside. The Avenue Verte is an iconic cycle route connecting the capitals Paris and London. It’s a route I’ve always wanted to ride and I’m so happy I had the chance to do it, especially for a cause so close to my heart!

Just over half way…
As we approached Dieppe, we had a few hours to spare before our ferry left so we decided to take a well earned rest and rent a hotel room about 5km from the port. We made the most of the brief time we had to shower and have a quick lie down…much to everyone’s amusement on our Periscope account. I think we forgot we’re watching us live!
Once on the ferry and making our way back to England we thought a nap would be a luxury…But unfortunately for me Pete fell asleep first and kept me up with his snoring all the way!

Homeward bound…
With our wheels firmly back on English soil we were looking forward to the final stretch of our ride! We cycled non-stop until we reached Guilford, where we stopped briefly to refuel with food and coffee. With only 30km of 320km left we found a new lease of life and sped home to Reading! The promise of a cold Peroni waiting for us at Carluccio’s also did wonders for our motivation! We were greeted outside our offices by all our colleagues who had lined our path back with balloons. Luckily my bike made it back in one piece!

Reflection…
It’s great to be able to say we made it back in under 24 hours and we hit our target of £5000! Not only did we raise over £5000 but we helped to raise awareness of the impact of MS and a great charity like the MS Trust. I’d like to personally thank everyone who spread the word and donated to our cause. Also, arriving home to a text saying Mum had been allowed home after a 10 week slog in hospital made for a fitting end to the day!
Depart: Champs-Élysées, Paris – Thursday – 14:30
Arrive: Austin Fraser HQ, Reading – Friday – 12:54
Elapsed Time: 23 hours, 26 minutes
Riding Time: 11 hours, 49 minutes
Average Speed: 26.75kph
Kilometers covered: 316.9
Vertical Meters Climbed: 2,372
Calories Burned: 6,577
 

Q&A with Pete and Nick!

Pete and Nick are both taking on the mammoth challenge of cycling from Paris to Reading in under 24 hours to raise money for the Ms Trust, a charity very close to our heart. Please help us smash our target by donating here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AFbikeride2016
Name:
P: Pete Hart
N: Nick Clark
Job Title:
P: CEO
N: Web and Digital Team Leader
How many Charity bike rides have you done before?
P: 6! Birmingham to Reading, Cardiff to Reading, Dover to Reading, Exeter to Reading, Norwich to Reading and Manchester to Reading!
N: 4 or 5?
What is the furthest you have ever ridden?
P: 220 miles – from Manchester.
N: 306km in one hit – took 11 hours. Had a few 5 minute rests here and there to fill up water and shove food down my throat.
What do you use to motivate you through the hardest parts?
P: Getting home before it gets dark! Making sure everyone stays motivated and keeping a smile on their faces.
N: I enjoy the pain and suffering, and knowing it will be a great achievement when finished – and a bit of verbal abuse telling myself to “suck it up” usually works well.
What are you looking forward to?
P: The feeling of when we get back, there is nothing better than a pint of Peroni sat in Forbury Square.
N: Seeing Pete suffer haha! I’m actually really excited to ride on some great French pavé, and the Avenue Verte,
What are you dreading?
P: Keeping up with Nick, he is a machine.
N: If my Garmin GPS unit fails and we take a wrong turn! Or if our lights stop working in the evening.
Why are you doing this bike ride?
P: The core focus is to raise money for a great cause, it’s easy to consume yourself day to day, and stopping to think of others and ultimately having an impact is hugely satisfying.
N: To raise money for the MS Trust. We do a charity ride every year but I’ve always wanted to do something a little bit special to raise money and awareness of the MS Trust. My mother has had MS for 17 years.
What is your aim (time)?
P: Get within the 24 hours, if we could do it in 20 hours I would be over the moon.
N: My first aim is to get back within 24 hours. We will leave Paris at approximately 3pm on May 5th and aim to be back at Carluccio’s, Reading by 3pm on the 6th. We have an enforced Ferry crossing which will hopefully run smoothly with no delays. This is at 01:30-07:00.
Second aim will be to have the cycling only time under 13 hours. Which is around: 24kph / 15 mph. There is a few challenging hills so that would be a good effort. Also cycling through the night will slow the average down slightly.
Why have you chosen this route?
P: It is further than we have done before, another country gives it a twist and France is far enough!
N: For a good challenge, and to experience night cycling on some excellent French roads, especially the Avenue Verte (A tarmacked disused railway line that runs from Dieppe to Paris. 40 miles from Dieppe to Paris will be race bike worthy, the rest we will do on roads. The Parisians are renowned for being very accommodating of cyclists and have great roads which I am looking forward too.
What is your favourite motivational quote?
P: Who dares wins
N: Greg Henderson: “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
 

austin-fraser-open-day

Austin Fraser opens it’s doors for another successful open day!

 
Finding the best employees for any business is always a challenge. In a competitive recruitment marketplace, how do you ensure you stay ahead of the curve? How do you make sure you showcase the fantastic working environment and give a taste of what life is really like as a recruiter? We opened the doors of Austin Fraser HQ to do just that.
 
Our internal recruitment team hand-picked a selection of local talent and invited them into our Reading offices. After a quick breakfast, we got stuck in! The group was given an insight into the industry and how we differ from the typical recruitment agencies. Each member of the group then had the opportunity to do a quick presentation about themselves, their backgrounds and their aspirations.
 
The day was all about interactivity. After an office tour, the attendees had the chance to sit down and speak to consultants at all stages of their careers so they could get to grips with the reality of everyday life here at Austin Fraser.
 
We’ve had some really positive feedback from those who attended, but they’re not the only people to learn a thing or two. Here’s what a few key members of our team took away from it:
 
Natasha Teskey – Talent Acquisition Manager:
“This was a great opportunity for us to engage with some of the best local talent! It was really good to see is that we had people from all walks of life; we had people whose current jobs varied from customer service personnel to recent graduates. This really goes to show that recruitment experience isn’t always essential to find fantastic recruits!”
 
Tori Foley – Senior L&D consultant:
“I talked through the training structure with everyone and highlighted how we [the Learning and Development team] have tailored training courses for each stage of their journey. I really wanted to emphasise the support we provide our consultants in the business. I was really impressed with the quality of everyone who attended. We’ve booked nine first stage interviews as a result which has been an impressive conversion. It really shows the potential in everyone who attended!”
 
Ashley Dunbar – Head of Data and Development:
“It was interesting to see that some of the best performing attendees weren’t from a sales background. What they did have was the personality, drive and spirit we look for to join Austin Fraser.”
 
James Simpson – Head of Network Infrastructure and Support:
“One of my highlights was seeing how people presented stories to the group about themselves. We hadn’t been shown people’s CVs beforehand, so a lot of people definitely exceeded our previous expectations. It was nice to see how people interacted with one another in a group environment.”
 
Jon Gould – Head of Web and Digital:
“Following the open day on Monday, I have already hired a promising new recruit into my team who started today! They had no previous sales experience but is full of potential!”
 
It’s great to see that the open day has given the hiring managers confidence that we can successfully diversify our approach to internal recruitment in the future. If you missed our open day, keep an eye out for future ones! The open days are a brilliant way to challenge people’s perception of the recruitment industry and see what it’s like to work at one of the ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Small Companies’!
 
To find out more about our internal vacancies please contact Natasha Teskey – 01189520158, [email protected]

Glug launches in Reading!

Glug launches in Reading!
 
Glug launches in Reading this week and it’s safe to say, we can’t wait! Having already reached full capacity, 50 more tickets were released to meet the huge demand locally; these places were quickly filled too!
 
Originating in London, Glug is a quarterly meetup for the design and creative communities. It has quickly picked up momentum and spread to more than ten major cities across the world from Amsterdam to New York.
 
This is a fantastic networking opportunity for local creatives in order to keep up-to-date with industry news. So, what better way to end a grey January than by meeting up with like-minded people and finding out what’s going on in the design and creative world?
 
This is a great event to help support the tech scene in the Berkshire area as Reading continues to grow into a commercial and creative hub.
 
If you can’t make it, don’t panic! This week’s meetup will be filmed, so keep an eye out for a videos of our speakers!
 
Stay tuned for the upcoming Glug Reading meetups here: http://www.meetup.com/GlugReading/