It’s not always smooth sailing in the maritime industry – especially when it comes to workforce issues.
From recruiting the right people to HR and health and safety matters, there’s plenty to navigate.
But a new body based on Teesside aims to be a “one-stop shop” for those in the shipping and maritime industry needing assistance with one or all of those key issues.
The Lighthouse Alliance comprises three specialists in their fields. But by pooling their resources, they provide, under one umbrella, comprehensive support and solutions for the shipping and maritime industry across the areas of recruitment, human resources and health and safety.
The three members of the Lighthouse family are:
HR Alchemy – established in 2017 by MD Jo Davies, from a base on Yarm High Street, they look after more than 160 clients from maritime and shipping, manufacturing to hospitality, education to tech and digital – as well as a well-known local “dragon” from TV show Dragon’s Den!
Elite Consult Group – a niche recruitment hiring business wholly focused on “lighthousing” great talent in the global shipping trade. While their HQ is anchored in the Tees Valley, Elite has the capacity to cover all major UK port locations and hire into senior leadership roles all over the world.
Kaizen Safety – guided by the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen, meaning “continuous improvement” – is Tees Valley-based but provides advice nationally in relation to health and safety, environmental management and fire safety by completing fire risk assessment’s for businesses to ensure they are legally compliant. Kaizen provide their services to a wide range of sectors and industries.
All three are separate clients of Tees-based Casper Group – one of the country’s longest-established and most trusted maritime and shipping specialists.
And when Casper MD Michael Shakesheff suggested the three individual firms teamed up to form one team, the Lighthouse Alliance voyage began in earnest.
Just a few months down the line, branding has been established, a website has gone live and interest is coming in from firms eager to know what the Lighthouse Alliance can do for them.
According to Michael, formation of the alliance – with its reassuring “Always Safe Shores” tagline – made perfect sense.
He explained: “We were using these three companies independently. They were all offering excellent parallel services that, when combined, made it almost a one-stop shop outsource for us.
“When I asked around, lots of companies like Casper had the same issue. They’d say, for example, ‘We have a great HR adviser but we’re struggling with recruitment and HSE.’ I just thought ‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant for these three to work together to raise the profile and professional levels?’
“When you look at the market, you often either had national organisations promising the world but with no platform or bespoke service, or smaller ones that weren’t giving a rounded service. Here, we have three business owners who are incredibly passionate about their companies and the sectors they work in.”
Jo Davies says the process of starting the alliance began around six months ago – and already, the benefits shine like a beacon.
She said: “The three business services we have – recruitment, HR and HSE – generally tend to be referral partners anyway because the nature of our business involves people. If you’re looking for people services, you’ll need at least one of us, so it’s great to have an offering to make to an employer that covers all of that people sector.
“We meet regularly and are really passionate about making this work. We’ve created our brand, so we have an identity all three of us have bought into. For people not sure where to turn, we’ve used the line ‘Always Safe Shores’ – we’re driving people to use our professional services through a recognised and trusted alliance.
“We’re building an alliance, but we’re also building friendships and good working relationships.”
Emma Cranie had been working with Casper since 2016, but set up Elite Consult in 2019.
On being one-third of the Lighthouse Alliance, she said: “All our strong ethical values align perfectly so it seemed like a great opportunity to go forward alongside each other.”
Kaizen Safety’s Kieran Durham, who is also an HSE consultant for Casper, agrees. He said: “The aim is to bring in more clients, prove credibility and secure a niche in the market because of what all three companies offer.”
And Michael Shakesheff, while stressing Casper is “nothing other than a customer”, says he was delighted to have helped the three get together.
He said: “Getting people, retaining them and keeping them safe continues to be the biggest challenge for businesses.
“I want these guys to succeed because I believe there are lots of other Casper Shippings out there that can really benefit – they may have one of the three providers but I’ll bet they don’t have all three.
“All the businesses are very scalable too. They’re already incredibly busy so this will mean additional work coming their way, but they’re geared up for it.
“Casper is nothing other than a customer. We’re using all three companies as an outsourced service for us and it’s brilliant in terms of cost-effectiveness and the level of service we get.”
However, Jo admits that having support from such a big player as Casper Group is extremely welcome.
She said: “We’re all about providing trusted, local services from three independents rather than from big national organisations where the level of service can be poor. And to be endorsed by a big company like Casper is hugely valuable in terms of driving three local businesses further. Michael says he hasn’t come across anything like this within the industry so for us, it could be really significant.
“We’ll be popping up at exhibitions and maritime shipping events in the next few months to help get the word out that we’re on the start of what hopefully will be a very exciting journey.”
The Lighthouse Alliance – Pictured are Kieran Durham from Kaizen Safety, Emma Cranie from Elite Consult Group and Jo Davies from HR Alchemy.
Picture Copyright Tom Banks 2023. For editorial and commercial use only. No third party archiving of this image. No secondary use by any third party without strictest permission of the Tom Banks/Banks Photo. Strictly no syndication without permission from Tom Banks/ Banks Photo
Article Copy Dave Robson, Tees Business