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Meet the Experts – Angela Birnie

In the latest article of our Meet the Experts series, we shine a spotlight on Angela Birnie, our global head – training, competence & technical resources, who recently marked an impressive 35-years with our organisation. You might be wondering, why has she stayed so long? "I have always enjoyed the interaction with the people I work with. Moreover, Altrad Sparrows is a great company with many incredible people, and in our department, no two days are ever the same!" she revealed.

Angela holds a key position in driving our success. Her crucial responsibility involves strategically placing the right personnel in the right roles at the right time, ensuring the seamless operation of our business like a well-oiled machine.

Keen on delving deeper into her expertise? Explore the complete interview below!

Could you share some information about your educational background, qualifications, and prior professional experience?

I completed my highers in school but opted not to pursue further education immediately. Instead, I joined the company right after leaving school and gained valuable on-the-job experience. After a few years, I made the decision to enrol in university to pursue my certificate in Personnel Practice. I then worked towards achieving associate membership of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), dedicating several years of evenings and weekends to complete the programme while maintaining full-time employment. Subsequently, I attained Membership of the CIPD and have held this qualification for approximately 25 years now.

Can you outline some of the key responsibilities that shaped your daily routine as our global head of training, competence, & technical resources?
In my current role, I’m ultimately responsible for the onboarding, training, competence, development, and deployment of our technical resources, who deliver our services. In the last few years, I’ve also supported the strategic direction of our training services product line.

Currently, a significant aspect of your role involves overseeing our Tyrebagger training centre in Aberdeen. What are your primary objectives for the training centre at this moment?
We have some highly promising initiatives for our training centre. As an example, we are hoping to see some additional equipment and facilities here in Aberdeen to keep up with the demand that our training standards have created. We’re really looking forward to increasing our training offering not only to support our clients, but also some of the other Altrad companies.

The company recently rebranded to Altrad Sparrows, how has that impacted the Sparrows training courses?
The rebrand hasn’t had an affect on our training courses. We’re not making any changes to our training standards, the existing course content and certification is still the same. Sparrows courses are synonymous with safety, competence and excellence and the high quality expected from our courses is still the same under the Altrad Sparrows name.

What’s one thing you would want people to know about what you do at Altrad Sparrows?

The most important thing to know about what I do is that I wouldn’t be able to achieve any results without the fantastic people who support me from within my teams. While I can formulate and drive the strategy for my area, the results are undoubtedly a collaborative effort, and the expertise of the many experienced individuals around me is indispensable.

Over your impressive 35-year journey with us, could you tell us about a particularly demanding project you were involved in and the reasons behind its challenging nature?

One aspect I've cherished during my time at the company is embracing challenges, and given my logistics background, challenges come with the territory! Unfortunately, over the years, we've faced some very sad events that demanded our support for families who lost loved ones. Most recently, navigating the logistical complexities of our teams amidst the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic presented entirely different yet equally demanding challenges.

Last but not least, how would you sum up your expertise?

I know a lot about the business and how to get the best out of the people I work with. Using this knowledge and experience has allowed me to achieve my personal and also the organisational goals. As a company centred around people, our success continues to be rooted in this fundamental principle.

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