BLACK COUNTRY PROSPER MAGAZINE

PUBLISHED BY INTERACTIVE MAGAZINES FOR THE BLACK COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

©2019 All Rights Reserved. 

Creative Industries Centre, University of Wolverhampton Science Park, Glaisher Drive, Wolverhampton, WV10 9TG

PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 02 | FIVE MINUTES WITH...

FIVE MINUTES WITH:

MICHELE BICKERTON

People & Development Director

for Thomas Dudley Ltd

Michele's role covers almost everything to do with the lifecycle of team members throughout the group of companies. We spent five minutes with Michele to find out how the company work with schools and why she became an Enterprise Advisor?

So, Michele, tell us about your role in Thomas Dudley?

No two days are ever the same, I have a great team and together we look after HR, H&S and Compliance, so varied to say the least. I am also on the CSR team, where we do as much as we can for the local community and our employees.

This year our charity is Guide Dogs for the Blind. We also get involved in a couple of national events, but we do like to keep it local. We are 100 years old this year, so I have been pulling together lots of lovely events for our employees and their families.

 

Explain how Thomas Dudley helps schools in the region?

As a business we are passionate about the next generation of Thomas Dudley employees, we have an ageing workforce so enabling students to see and understand what we do at an early age is a must.

 

This year, we have had 20 work experience students, these are in various areas of the business from accounts to engineering. We have also had over 600 student visits, these vary from the look and see, talks on careers and visits based on the school curriculum. 

 

Why are they so passionate about inspiring the workforce of tomorrow?

Life is changing daily and we need to get the young people of the Black Country enthused about tradition as well as technology, here at Thomas Dudley we have both. 

 

Why did you choose to become an Enterprise Adviser?

I have been thinking about it for a couple of years and finally decided that although we do work with local schools, there is so much more that can be done. Hopefully, my experience and influence, as well as the backup of TD Group, will help support St James’, which is my school.

 

There is also some healthy competition between Martin Dudley and I as he is an advisor at Beacon Hill Academy. I went for a tour recently and was overwhelmed with what a forward-thinking school they are. All very different from when I was at school.

 

How would you advise other businesses to get involved and engage with schools? 

It’s simple these students are the future of your business. Yes, it can be time-consuming but if you inspire just one child out of a group, what more could you ask for?

 

It doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles, start small and organise workplace tours, a career talk or work experience. But make it meaningful for the student and your business, it’s not a tick box exercise.

 

We are now working in jobs that didn’t exist 20 years ago and it's common knowledge that two in every three primary aged children today will do a job that doesn’t yet exist. What advice would you give to younger children and their teachers?

A cliché but think outside the box, open your minds and the children’s minds to alternatives - what if’s? But we still need to understand where it all started, the traditions that have made our country. 

 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

That’s easy - try harder at school. Doing a degree with two small children and a job is not easy. Also, follow your dreams, they may not work out, but you can at least say you tried and have no regrets.

My regret - I wish I had gone into the forces as a pilot!

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