Study While You Work at Bluestone

Amy McGarry is one of three employees at Bluestone Leasing undertaking an apprenticeship with Damar Training.

Having just completed her level three BTec diploma in business administration Amy took some time out of her work and studies to tell us about her course and why she chose to study alongside working.

Amy McGarry

“I made the decision to move onto level three of my apprenticeship shortly after completing level two, having enjoyed the modules I completed in levels one and two and seeing how they improved my work on a day to day basis it seemed like the perfect way to continue my progression at Bluestone Leasing.”

“This course involved 13 modules made up of four written exams and nine pieces of coursework as well as on the job observations and discussions between course tutors and my colleagues here at Bluestone. I was also required to create a portfolio of work undertaken in the office with annotations on the changes I made to processes and documents based on my learnings.

The course has focused my mind on best practices, task management and prioritising my workload. I have found that my confidence has increased as I have completed my level three studies which has allowed me to speak up more and put my opinions forwards, which is something I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing in the past.

One task that particularly helped with my confidence was presenting to my colleagues and delegates; I was asked to deliver a presentation around the modules I was studying and the changes I have and would like to make to certain processes at Bluestone Leasing. As the topic was something I was comfortable and confident talking about it took the initial nerves away and allowed me to focus on my delivery rather than the content of my presentation.

Standing up and presenting in front of people was a big hurdle for me to overcome and since completing the task this is something I would be comfortable doing again, both in one on one situations and in larger groups.

The apprenticeship has led to me having increased responsibility at work with my role having progressed through three different phases as my knowledge has increased. With my level three modules completed I am now managing the running of our brand new office building in Wakefield, looking after everything from stock management, alarm system maintenance and contractor hire. This has again given me a huge boost in confidence as knowing that Bluestone Leasing has so much faith in me gives me the confidence to excel in this new role with the aim of progressing my career here and taking on more and more responsibilities with every passing month”

 

Spread The Cost Of Your VAT & Corporation Tax Bill

Do you struggle with the burden of paying your VAT and corporation tax bill?

In the last two years alone businesses in the UK have paid over £43 billion to the government in VAT and corporation tax payments.

Receiving a large VAT bill at the end of each quarter or corporation tax bill at the end each year can put a huge strain on your company cash flow, especially if you are paying tax on work that is invoiced but yet to be paid.

Using a VAT and Corporation Tax loan allows you to spread the cost of these bills over a period to suit you and helps you with budgeting for the full year.

Get in touch today to discuss, with your dedicated account manager, how Bluestone Leasing can help ease the burden of tax bills and allow you to retain capital.

BSL Services

 

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Kick Start 2016

Every January, at the start of our financial year, the business gets everyone together for our annual Kick Start event. Invariably this is held off-site and over the years we have mixed up domestic locations, such as Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham and York, with more exotic destinations such as Rome and Copenhagen.

The day essentially breaks into three distinct sessions. The morning is made up of presentations that review the year just completed and, more importantly, set out the strategic direction and objectives of the business for the year ahead. After lunch we get everyone involved in team building activities, which vary every year, and the day concludes with a company dinner complete with annual awards and the obligatory night out.

This year we did something quite unique and quite special. Last autumn we helped our client, Bon Coeur Fine Wines, to relocate their business to new premises at Scotch Corner just off the A1. Having been involved with the project throughout, I was delighted to see the finished building. In addition to modern warehousing and distribution space, the property boasts facilities for events and conferences with elegant kitchens and bespoke space for tasting sessions. It didn’t take long for my mental cogs to start whirring and discussions began with the owners…

Three months later, Bon Coeur delivered a fantastic and bespoke event for our business. Split into six teams, each one had to come up with a concept for a new wine – very much in an Apprentice style. Not only did they have to come up with the concept and name, they had to blend the wine from different grapes, complete a wine tasting challenge, design their wine label and even cook a meal from an unknown box of ingredients to compliment their chosen wine! A three minute power pitch to a panel of judges in front of all their peers notched up the tension and created a real buzz as the winners were announced. Great day and a great event – so much so that Bon Coeur intend offering the package to others looking to do something similar.

As the person responsible for these key annual events, I was delighted with the response from the team with many describing 2016 as the “best Kick Start ever”. Its difficult to capture so much of what was great about the day but this tongue-in-cheek “Movie Trailer” will give you a small taste of what we got up to.

Thanks to everyone at Bon Coeur and all the Bluestone team for putting in so much energy to make the day the huge success it was.

Steve Russell

Meet The Team-Amanda Hoyle

This month we invite you to meet another invaluable member of the Bluestone team, Human Resources Manager and Personal Assistant, Amanda Hoyle.

Year started working at Bluestone: I started working at Wyse Leasing (the precursor to Bluestone) in 2002.

Current position at Bluestone: My role has evolved over the 13 years from Personal Assistant for the previous Managing Director to keeping my previous role and adding on work in, human resources, recruitment and office facilities management.

What did you do before you worked at Bluestone?: I had various roles including Hotel Management, Cabin Crew for BA, Customer Services, and Personal Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer for a Company based in London.

How did you start working at Bluestone?: My previous boss relocated to the USA, so I decided to return to my roots and find a permanent position in Yorkshire, through a recruitment agency.IMG_1492 (2)

How does Bluestone differ from other places you’ve worked?: When I first joined the company it employed 10 people and was a very friendly place to work with everyone supporting each other. Over the years the company has grown, and currently employees 31 people, however the ethos has remained the same and an important element of the recruitment process is to ensure all new employees compliment this ethos.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?: Spending time with my partner John and family, socialising with friends, going to the theatre and travelling.

What was your dream job as a kid?: I had three ambitions as a kid, hotel management, cabin crew,  and a florist. I achieved the first two, but I’ve yet to achieve the last, perhaps retirement will fulfil that ambition.

What’s the best part of your job?: I love working at Bluestone and I love my job. I enjoy seeing the company growing from strength to strength and knowing I am part of a successful team.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?: Juggling my roles, I am fortunate enough to work four days a week, however my work load fluctuates dramatically and therefore time management is crucial.

Meet The Team-Amy McGarry

Bluestone Leasing partners with Damar Training for our apprenticeship programme. We believe that the programme is invaluable for finding staff and developing their skills.

Bluestone Leasing currently has three apprentices in-house and today we’re featuring Amy McGarry our Apprentice Office Administrator.

Read on to let Amy tell you, in her own words, about her apprenticeship with Bluestone.

What made you choose to do an apprenticeship after high school rather than further study? I contemplated going to college to study childcare, but once I had a trial day, I realised that it wasn’t the course for me. I then looked into business administration as I was interested in working on computers. I went for a meeting at a college to look into their course and I was advised that an apprenticeship might be the best option for me.

Doing an apprenticeship has given me a head start as some of my friends from school who have IMG_1488recently left college are struggling to find jobs in the fields that they studied for. This is why apprenticeships are so brilliant, not only are you getting a qualification at the end of the apprenticeship period, but you have the opportunity to keep the job you’re trained in.

When Did Your Apprenticeship Start? My apprenticeship with Bluestone Leasing started in May 2014 and I set out to study for an intermediate (level 2) apprenticeship in business administration, which is a 12 month course. The course consisted of my daily work duties at Bluestone alongside discussions, observations and assessments with my tutor from Damar Training. It was a huge commitment as I had to juggle my regular workday with preparing for my assessments.

Have you completed the programme? The training is ongoing. I recently completed my intermediate level apprenticeship and I’m pleased to say that I’ve now moved on to an advanced apprenticeship in business administration.

How did you adjust to working at Bluestone? Soon after I started at Bluestone Leasing we were due to go through an office refit which I was involved in, this helped me get to know everyone in the business as I helped them with moving their belongings and resettling in their new areas. Once the refit was complete I felt proud to be part of such a big change in just a matter of months. After that I really felt like part of the team.

What are your personal highlights from the first year of your apprenticeship? In September 2014 my apprenticeship tutor nominated me for Damar’s “Learner of the month” award because of how well I was doing with my apprenticeship and at work. I won the runner up award and was presented with a certificate. I think that Damar was working with over 800 apprentices at the time and so it was quite an achievement.

At the start of every year Bluestone Leasing has a ‘Kick Start’ event where we run through all of the previous year’s figures and set new targets for the upcoming year. We also participate in team building exercises and staff are presented with wonderful awards. At 2015’s Kick Start event, I was presented with the “Bluestone Leasing Best New Starter” award for 2014 which I was delighted to receive! I was informed that 100% of my colleagues chose me to win this fantastic award which made me honoured to work with so many amazing people at such a lovely company.

If you’re interested in learning more about how apprenticeships can help you develop your staff you can check out the Damar Training website at http://www.damartraining.com

Fore more information on Bluestone Leasing please visit our website: www.bluestoneleasing.com/

Meet The Team-Nicola Hallam

We’re continuing our feature on long-service employees so you can learn more about the people who make Bluestone Leasing a success.

Today’s profile is of our Sales Office Manager Nicola Hallam who has been with Bluestone Leasing since the very beginning.

Year Started Working at Bluestone: I started working at Wyse Leasing (the precursor to Bluestone) in 1997. I joined on a full-time, but temporary contract as Office Junior, carrying out tasks such as filing, photocopying, answering telephones, etc.  At that time there were only four employees including myself and we worked in an office which was really only suitable for two people! Health and Safety didn’t exist all those years ago!IMG_1465

Current Position at Bluestone: Sales Office Manager since June 2012.

What did you do before you worked at Bluestone?: Prior to joining in 1997, I attended college for two years, completing my A-Levels. My A-Levels were Spanish, Psychology and Communications Studies, which could explain quite a lot to my colleagues, I imagine!

How does Bluestone differ from other places you’ve worked?: Officially I have worked for the same business since leaving college, but I would say that it has felt like working for three different companies over the years.  Bluestone is owned by different people than the owners of Wyse Leasing, so the dynamics, ethos and culture feel very different.  I have also moved between several roles and seen many people come and go so my career with the business has been varied.  The great thing about Bluestone is the fact that they appreciate their employees and recognise opportunities within the business for you to grow as an individual and further your career with them.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?: I have a little boy who has just turned 1 year old, so most if not all of my spare time is spent with him and the rest of my family. I imagine that won’t change for a few years and I’m more than happy with that.

What was your dream job as a kid?: When I was a young child, I wanted to be a librarian and used to pretend by stamping my books!  In my teenage years I wanted to be an Architect, but when I realised you needed to know all about plumbing and drains etc. and it wasn’t just as simple as designing the outline of a house, it quickly lost its appeal!

What’s the best part of your job?: That’s a hard question.  In previous roles I have either worked alone or as part of a small team so the first thing that comes to mind is that I get to work with almost everyone is the company now, so it keeps my day really varied.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?: Filling in questionnaires like this!