Group HR Manager
At just 17, Karen joined the Bri-Stor Group as a receptionist. Unsure of her career path at that point, she loved the vibrant atmosphere of the Bri-Stor Group. Today, almost three decades on, Karen holds the most senior HR position across the Group, looking after the employment rights and welfare of almost 500 people as well as leading on recruitment and the Group’s career development programme. Working closely with the senior management teams across all three of the Bri-Stor Group businesses and also supporting Apprenticeship Manager, Will Davies-Hill, Karen never takes for granted the opportunity she has to positively influence the career path of people joining the Group.
Karen tells us more about her role and her passion for people development: “When I joined the business, I guess I wasn’t really sure where I was heading. I loved the ‘front of house’ part of my job and engaging with colleagues and visitors and in many ways my role in the business naturally evolved. Back in the 90s the company was very different to the Bri-Stor Group of today and people often ‘flexed’ in their positions to fulfil a range of duties. My HR role started just like that. Initially I got involved in admin work, supporting with some payroll duties but I quickly realised that I loved the HR element of my role and that’s how my career kicked-off.”
Recognising Karen’s natural flair for HR, the business sponsored her to complete the CIPD Human Resource Management qualifications which, along with an ongoing programme of professional development, has resulted in Karen becoming a highly accomplished and skilled HR practitioner. Yet, setting aside the essential work she completes to keep the Group’s HR function operating at extremely high standards, Karen remains personally and professionally committed to the development of every colleague in the business, including the Apprentices. Karen continues: “When I joined the business, I was given every opportunity to advance my skills, and therefore my career and I feel passionate that every member of the Bri-Stor Group family can access the same opportunity. I work very closely with Will Davies-Hill to ensure that our Apprenticeship Scheme meets the needs of young people coming into the workplace and I take this responsibility very seriously. In truth, you’re in work for a very long time and as I know from personal experience, the opportunities you seek out in your early career-years really shape your future.”
In 2021, the Bri-Stor Group will recruit 15 Apprentices across Bri-Stor Systems and Alpha Manufacturing and Karen has these words of advice: “The Group is a dynamic, pacey environment where you’ll learn fast and get maximum support and opportunity. That said, you’ll be expected to bring your ‘A Game’ every single day – but the rewards are there for those Apprentices seeking an exciting future in engineering. We’re looking forwarding to meeting you.”
Growing up in Staffordshire, just a few miles from the family business, Martin Smith spent much of his childhood watching his parents build Bri-Stor Systems Limited (Bri-Stor is an abbreviation of British Storage). Today, as CEO of the Bri-Stor Group, he reflects on his own career and the tough lessons he learned along the way.
Bri-Stor Systems Managing Director
Simon Webb, Managing Director of Bri-Stor Systems knows all about hard work. Leaving school in the 80s, his first experience of engineering came about when he started a four-year Mechanical Technician Apprenticeship at Portsmouth based firm Dunham-Bush Ltd. .
Customer Handover Manager
Joining Bri-Stor Systems in January 2020 as Customer Handover Manager, Andy Skelton is entirely focused on the customer experience. With first-class credentials working as a service manager for one of the world’s leading automotive brands before becoming an account manager in the van conversion sector.
With almost 30 years working in the Bri-Stor Group, Neil Prescott has seen the business from every perspective. It’s with this unique insight that Neil leads the prototype team and works closely with engineering colleagues to deliver the industry’s most advanced van conversion systems.
New Product Development Manager
Describing the new product development (NPD) team at Bri-Stor Systems, NPD Manager Stefan Callear explains that the team’s broad range of expertise and skills gives them a unique advantage when it comes to bringing value to the engineering process.