Emma has actually been working at Vector since 2006, when she joined as an administrator before working her way up to manage the contracts department. On return from maternity leave in 2011, she took on her current role as Supplier Management, acting as a support for all of our suppliers. Emma’s role involves talking to all our new suppliers, making sure they understand how our systems work, including our timesheet process, and talking through their contracts and obligations. A year ago Emma returned from her second maternity break to continue in this role, with more focus on arranging meetings for our suppliers with our Business Development Manager, Simon.
“I aim to call all of our contractor suppliers every 4-6 weeks, just to make sure that they are getting on ok and to see how they are finding their contract. We also make sure we visit every contractor during their contract too – which I think makes us unique. Our suppliers are at the heart of our business, so we want to offer them any support they need”.
“I really enjoy building the relationships with our suppliers – I feel it is one of my strengths, and it gives the job great variety with so many different people to speak to. We’ve also been able to give support to those contractors who want and need it, which is fantastic.’
We often have enquiries from people considering contracting as a possible career choice, so we sat down with some of our own contractors to find out what they thought about the choices they had made, and to see whether they had any advice to share.
Quite often our contractors have come from permanent roles, and are keen to find out what other opportunities are available to them. This change of role gives them the chance to experience a number of industries, showing new perspectives on the type of work that they do, whilst using highly transferable skills to really make a difference.
Contract work does come with its share of risk, which is something everyone agrees on. “You don’t know where the next contract is going to come from” said one of our Project Managers. “However, on a more positive note, I love the flexibility it gives me, and it also means I no longer have to go through meaningless annual appraisals!”.
Building up a relationship with your client is really key – and as a contractor, you need to make sure you are communicating effectively. One of our other contractors explains: “I like to think I’m a friendly open person – and this really helps to build up relationships quickly with clients. Trust is really important, as well as having the skills to do the job, and do it well’.
We wanted to understand what clients might be able to do to ensure they get the best from our contractors. One piece of advice was that it is important for clients to know what they want to achieve, and for contractors to set boundaries up front, so that they know what needs to be achieved. “If I’m making a client’s life easier, then that’s a really good measure of my success”. Another piece of advice was to ensure that contractors have the right cultural fit: “that’s just as important for contractors as it is for permanent employees”.
The overwhelming view was that this has been a really positive option for the contractors we spoke to. “I’ve loved being part of a large programme team, delivering the impossible and doing it successfully”, and …” if you have ever considered contracting, save up a bit of cash, and then just do it!”