All posts by Cam Specialist

CAM Appoints New Finance Director

Cam Specialist Support Limited, one of the UK’s leading working-at-height specialists based in London, is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Pickering FCA as its Finance Director.

Since 2013, Andrew has been a Partner in Jenson Solutions, occupying positions as a part-time and interim Finance Director at a listed property company, a conference and training venue, a hotel and golf club development, an event registration and ticketing company and at Crown Agents Bank.

Prior to that, Andrew was interim Finance Director at Fox-Davies Capital, a niche advisory/market making firm specialising in the natural resources sector, with a turnover of £20m.  And, before that, Andrew’s experience included leading financial roles at Bank of London & Middle East plc, Penson Financial Services Ltd, CIBC World Markets, Citibank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and KPMG.

Andrew’s extensive financial experience will be employed to guide CAM ‘s plans for world domination!

Blog post: London’s legacy

The Rio Olympics are now but a memory and we hope they will be remembered for more positive reasons than the issues clouding their run up, the reactions of some disappointed coaches and false allegations of a street robbery. These, together with political upheaval in Brazil, the Zika virus, pollution, Russian doping scandals, and the like, are far from the Olympic ideal.

At least the people of Great Britain have some bragging rights, our Olympians having achieved the distinction of coming second in the medal table. Well done to all who took part and especially those who returned with medals. You’ve certainly done us proud!

It’s easy to forget the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics when all sorts of catastrophes were predicted, but luckily there was nothing on the scale that faced the Rio organisers. There was bound to have been a lot of pressure having the eyes of the world upon you, but the end result in London was nothing short of spectacular. Not just success on track and field, but a real coming together as a city and a nation.

It was a great time to be in London, the sun seemed to be shining every day and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face – even people who don’t like sport were caught up in the mood.

It was a proud time for CAM as a company too, playing our part in keeping London’s buildings clean and well maintained. The dedication and training we’ve put in to learning our craft and achieving excellence may not see us rewarded with gold medals, but CAM’s expertise in high level cleaning and maintenance means a lot of happy customers which is as good as a medal to us.

CAM’s rope access teams and water-fed pole operatives are surely using similar skills to some of the Olympic stars, maybe sailing and pole vaulting? Maybe we should have an Olympics for FM services where people can show off their talents. I know it’s a winter sport, but all that sweeping and floor polishing cleaning operatives do would surely help with curling!

Anyway, getting back to the matter at hand, let’s hope that now the Rio games have ended, they will be remembered for the carnival not the chaos and the people of Rio can be as proud as those from London at how the world viewed their great city.

CAM Specialist Support van

Driving home the safety message

As experts in working at height, safety plays a crucial part of life at CAM Specialist Support. It’s not just the operatives working up buildings who are in potential peril so CAM has also focused on the safety of its drivers, to protect them, their passengers and the public when they are out on the road.

Sean Canty, Director at CAM, explained: “We check our vehicles regularly to ensure they are in good condition and it makes sense to check our drivers too. Fitting our vans with speed trackers and dashboard cameras means that we can assess our operatives’ driving. We can then recognise those who do it well and review, and where appropriate retrain, those whose driving leaves a little to be desired. We’ve all felt the frustration of traffic delays and wanted to make up time, but these tools remind our drivers to be responsible on the roads.

“Making sure people are thinking about their driving style means they are more considerate of other road users and they drive in a more economical style – better for our books and the environment.”

Like any business CAM needs to make money, but being part of the community it works in is also central to CAM’s ethos and this safety initiative is part of that approach. CAM is also a London Living Wage employer and takes on apprentices from the local community.

The specialist’s apprentice – a job with a view

Not everyone would turn down a place at university to join the cleaning industry, but as his apprenticeship comes to an end, Ross Hayward, Safety Administrator at CAM Specialist Support, has no regrets for having done just that.

Although academic qualifications are not a prerequisite to get on CAM’s apprenticeship programme, having gained A-Levels in Mathematics, Biology, English Literature and Drama, Ross was clearly the sort of recruit CAM Specialist Support is trying to appeal to as it seeks to attract and retain quality staff to work in the cleaning industry.

Ross said: “On completion of my A-Levels, I was preparing to begin my studies at the University of Bristol. I eventually came to the conclusion that I would benefit more from pursuing a career through an apprenticeship. I wanted to test myself outside of the academic bubble, and develop new skills by working side-by-side with the experts. Although turning down a place at university may seem bizarre, my view is that as long as you are committed to professional development and learning, whichever pathway you choose will be the right one.

“My work at CAM is interesting and challenging. Despite being an apprentice, the work I do carries a large amount of legislatively-driven responsibility. While continuing to study and build upon my knowledge of health and safety legislation, I spend most of my time producing risk assessments and responding to customers’ health and safety enquiries. As well as the administrative aspects of my job, I take time to visit sites and carry out inspections. For example, I recently visited the roof area of a site in Kings Cross prior to the commencement of an abseiling task. Not only did this give me an insight into the practicality of abseiling, it also gave me the opportunity to view London from a perspective that few people are able to; not many classrooms compare.”

Things continue to look up for Ross as Tim Jones, Director at working at height specialists, CAM Specialist Support, explained: “We’ve been delighted with the progress Ross has made over the past year. He’s a real asset to the team and we look forward to working with him for years to come. The cleaning industry is a place of real opportunity for people like Ross – we believe he’ll be running the safety department in the not-too-distant future.”

Escalator barriers not money for old rope

Most of us take the humble escalator for granted. However, accidents can and do happen, unless those who manage them plan regular maintenance and the public is kept safely separated from escalators that are out of action.

Sean Canty, Director at CAM Specialist Support, explained: “The most common types of accidents are slips, trips and falls, but there can be much more serious repercussions from poorly maintained escalators, unsafe repair procedures and uncontrolled access when the moving stairs are not in service. In Beijing earlier this year, 31-year-old Xiang Liujuan tragically lost her life when a metal panel collapsed under her feet and she fell into the gap. A problem with the escalator had already been identified, but no action had been taken to rectify the situation. The accident was a rare, but sadly not unique, occurrence.

“Although apparently harmless, stationary escalators can be a hazard. Escalators are designed to be used while moving and the step size alters as they rotate. When stationary, the steps are uneven and can become a trip hazard that is exacerbated by people walking at different speeds and potentially bumping into each other. Unless there is no alternative, public access should be restricted and proper barriers put in place. Roping or taping off an out of use escalator is not sufficient, as all too often people will bypass such temporary measures.

“A further danger is overloading. Escalator weight limits can be exceeded if too many people get on at once; a particular problem if they are using it as a viewing point for an activity taking place below, such as Christmas lights being switched on or a Santa’s grotto. Often managers will think it’s safer to stop an escalator at busy periods, but this can actually make matters worse if people crowd on to them. Secure barriers should always be used to keep people safe.”

Working with the centre management team, CAM Specialist Support recently designed and installed bespoke barriers (pictured above) which can be secured across the escalators at Peacocks Shopping Centre, Woking, to prevent access when the escalators are out of service.

Anyone who manages an escalator should ensure they get advice from experts to ensure that people are kept safely away during any required maintenance.

Unexpected reward for paying London Living Wage

Working at height expert, CAM Specialist Support has been presented with the London Borough of Lewisham’s Employer of the Year award for commitment to its staff, including paying the London Living Wage.

The picture shows the award being presented to CAM Director, Matt Johnson (left), by Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, when he visited the Company’s offices, along with council colleagues, as part of Living Wage Week. The council delegation wanted to find out about CAM’s experience of paying the London Living Wage and developing its workforce through apprenticeships. CAM is one of only two private sector organisations in the borough accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

Matt Johnson explained: “We pay the Living Wage, because we believe it is the right thing to do morally. We want everyone who works here to be able to feed and clothe their families and not be worrying about in-work poverty. As well as the moral benefits, we’ve found there are commercial returns as staff are more loyal and flexible when they are being treated with respect, reducing recruitment time and costs. Paying the Living Wage also means people are less likely to take shortcuts while working and we have an excellent safety record as a result.

“We were honoured when the Mayor wanted to come and visit us to discuss how we work and how other businesses can be encouraged to join the Living Wage movement. We were surprised and delighted when he presented us with the Employer of the Year award, as it is always great to be recognised for doing the right thing. We hope more businesses will realise the benefits of paying the Living Wage to their staff and contractors so that everyone receives a fairer deal.”

CAM Specialist Support calls on cleaning industry to help attract next generation of cleaning professionals

The cleaning industry is not often the first choice destination for school, college or university leavers and those seeking work, but CAM Specialist Support is looking to change that. With the Living Wage prominent in the news following George Osborne’s recent budget, the building services company is aiming to showcase the career prospects available in the sector and is calling on the cleaning industry to ensure that new recruits are paid fairly.

Matt Johnson, Director at CAM Specialist Support said: “The cleaning industry offers tremendous opportunities to the right people. I myself started off as a window cleaner and now run my own diverse company. However, we need to make the industry more attractive to quality applicants so that our profession gains the credibility it deserves. The first stage on that journey is to ensure we pay a wage that people can actually live on.”

CAM Specialist Support is an accredited Living Wage employer and pays the Living Wage of at least £9.15 per hour in London. The current National Minimum Wage is just £6.50, a figure that is unsustainable and leads to in-work poverty.

Matt acknowledges that the tender process for cleaning contracts is almost exclusively driven by price, but says it is up to the industry to increase their clients’ understanding of the results of low prices on the frontline workers cleaning their offices, shops, schools and other premises.

CAM Specialist Support is committed to its employees and runs a support programme, which includes training, investment and personal development. Alongside this it matches and exceeds local expectations regarding levels of remuneration and pension contributions for staff.

Matt added: “The cleaning industry is about so much more than pushing a mop or broom around, it is ripe with opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Cleaning can be a varied and rewarding career and one that offers plenty of prospects.

“At CAM Specialist Support we offer every service a building owner or manager could need. That means people who work for us have a great chance to learn a lot and get involved with many different aspects of the cleaning industry.”

Cam Specialist Support celebrates Living Wage commitment

The Living Wage Foundation is pleased to announce that CAM Specialist Support, has today, 3 August, been accredited as a Living Wage employer.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at CAM Specialist Support, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers; receive a minimum hourly wage of £7.85 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.50.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

CAM Specialist Support Managing Director, Matt Johnson, said: “Paying a wage that people can actually live on is absolutely the right thing to do morally and financially. Our employees are people not commodities. We want to attract and retain quality staff and so reward them accordingly. As a London based company, we pay the Living Wage of at least £9.15 per hour in London.”

Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore said: “We are delighted to welcome CAM Specialist Support to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

“We have accredited over 1,500 leading employers, including CAM Specialist Support, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”

Media Contacts

Living Wage
Gillian Owen, 07876 246 150, gillian.owen@citizensuk.org.uk

CAM Specialist Support
Alistair Moses, 01372 200 900, Alistair@cbipr.com