Hemisphere’s October Highlights
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When we’re not delivering a first-class freight forwarding service to clients, we’re working hard to develop our team and make improvements “behind the scenes”. With that in mind, here’s what we’ve been up to over the past month.
Hemisphere Welcomes Inspire Suffolk Graduates
In June, we announced that we’d selected Inspire Suffolk as our charity of the year. The organisation works closely with young adults, offering a range of structured programmes to help them overcome personal challenges and find a way back into employment or family life.
As a new member of the Inspire 30 business club, Hemisphere has agreed to sponsor two team programmes over the next two years. Run in partnership with the Prince’s Trust, the 12-week programmes support 16 to 25-year-olds in Suffolk and North Essex who are not in employment, training or education. Each programme comprises various activities designed to improve self-esteem, motivation and self-confidence, which play a key part in helping young adults on these programmes find a positive and sustainable outcome.
Hemisphere’s Managing Director Andy Perrin sat in on a couple of the early workshops for the Mid Suffolk programme and spent a day at Hautbois House in Norwich participating in various outdoor activities. The programme also calls on participants to find work experience placements during weeks seven and eight, and having expressed an interest in opportunities at Hemisphere, we were happy to offer Mathew Gilson (17) and Dean Lambert (25) a placement.
Hemisphere facilitated three days of personal instructor training for Mat and Dean, ensuring they came away from their experience with something meaningful to help them with their future employment prospects. They both passed their counterbalance forklift truck test and will shortly receive their test certificates. Andy is attending further workshops in November and will also be present to see participants from the current programme graduate with their Level 1 Prince’s Trust Certificate in Employment, Teamwork and Community Skills.
A Hat-Trick for Hannah Gardner
October marks three years at Hemisphere for Hannah Gardner. In her role as Ocean Import Administrator, Hannah helps arrange the movement of goods from UK ports to the end customer, as well as managing the flow of paperwork to ensure customs clearances are obtained quickly and deliveries are made in good time. With the majority of imports subject to quotas, tariffs, trade agreements and HMRC regulations, a large part of Hannah’s day-to-day role is to make sure this is all in order, and handled effectively for clients.
“I started at Hemisphere with no import experience, and I’m proud to say I now have valuable knowledge, a high customer service skill set and experience that I can apply to my daily role with confidence,” said Hannah. “Hemisphere have supported and encouraged me through the learning process, and have always recognised my achievements. I am keen to further develop the skills I’ve learnt and possibly take part in training courses to increase my knowledge base. I feel privileged to be a part of the Hemisphere team.”
New Facilities for Hemisphere Staff
As a company, we are the first to acknowledge that our team work tirelessly within a very challenging and demanding industry. As such, it is important that we not only create the right working environment to enable us to deliver consistently high service levels, but also to ensure our team has a generous range of facilities to keep them refreshed, relaxed and entertained when taking their breaks.
Acquiring our Ipswich premises in 2014, we immediately set about a programme of planned refurbishment. Phase one, which was completed within 18 months, included the total strip-out and refurbishment of the front office complex, the addition of small kitchenettes to serve individual offices, as well as the creation of a larger general breakout area, alfresco seating area.
While we have a continual programme of smaller facility improvements, earlier this year we entered into phase two of our larger scale programme, involving the complete strip-out of our warehouse and driver facilities. We are pleased to have recently reopened these new facilities which include new washrooms, changing and locker facilities, as well as a new canteen, kitchen and breakout area complete with a pool table, table football, table tennis and dart board for our warehouse team and drivers to enjoy during their down time.
Prior to commencing work on the warehouse and driver facilities, two members of Hemisphere’s transport team had asked whether it might be possible to put a pool table in the office breakout facility, but in evaluating this, there wasn’t quite enough space. This didn’t deter Hemisphere’s Managing Director Andy Perrin, who saw an opportunity to relocate an adjacent archive storage area, and knock through and extend the office breakout area.
“Now completely finished, we have created a large games area not only with the requested pool table, but also table tennis, table football and a dart board,” said Andy. “From the feedback I have had from our team, it would seem everyone is absolutely delighted. I am not sure many MDs would have listened let alone acted upon such a request, but fortunately we had the space and opportunity to create an area we can all enjoy and be extremely proud of.”
As well as our general site improvement programme, we have plans for future larger-scale phased development including a warehouse extension that incorporates a large undercover loading/unloading area, which is due to commence in 2019/2020.