2022: the year of ‘Giving Back’ and growth for New Directions 

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2022 saw many of us starting to return to pre-pandemic life, as restrictions were beginning to ease again. This was no exception in the world of work; hybrid and remote working have become the new norm, and businesses continue to operate in a flexible way as they strive to navigate the economic uncertainty and impact arising from multiple factors including Covid.

For New Directions, the year started on a positive note as we were named the 27th fastest growing company in Wales by Business Insider.

Supporting the Ukraine appeal

The early months of 2022 also saw the shocking invasion of Ukraine by Russia, devastating news that made headlines and caused shockwaves across the world. As part of the UK’s appeal to support Ukraine, we donated directly to their crisis appeal and worked closely with our neighbouring schools and communities to support their fundraising efforts. This ranged from collecting more than 50 bags of essential items from schools in Risca and Maindee, to supporting the Sunflowers Wales group, where our staff organised balloon modelling and facepainting for a local event. Our staff took time out of their day to volunteer in support of these worthy causes.

As well as volunteering, staff also used their expertise to help Ukrainians get into work by running weekly sessions in Swansea’s Employment hub, with several candidates thanking teams for making them “feel useful and like they can help.”

Teams are now regularly working with job centres, Maximus and all other employment advisors to ensure everyone is given a fair opportunity to work. This is in addition to the jobs fairs that we attend at universities, colleges and those organised by councils to provide potential candidates with information on how they can start their careers with us!

Giving back to the community

It was summer this year when we officially launched our ‘Giving Back’ initiative, where our 180+ employees can take a fully paid day away from the workplace and dedicate that time to a close cause. One of our Recruitment Consultants and keen netballer, Catrin Reed, was one of the first staff members to use their ‘Giving Back’ day to umpire a netball tournament for school children from Ceredigion.  Our finance team also took part in a beach clean-up.

The summer was a busy time for New Directions, and in addition to introducing our ‘Giving Back’ initiative, we also pledged our commitment to the Disability Confident Scheme and joined more than 20,000 organisations in becoming Disability Confident Committed.

We also received our ISO 27001 certification, a globally recognised standard that demonstrates how we work to the highest possible standards for information security. This certification is in addition to the ISO 9001 we hold for quality management and ISO14001 for environmental management.

We took one step closer in our pledge to achieving Carbon Net Zero status by 2050 through forming our own eco-committee, made up of staff who are passionate about protecting the planet and helping us play our part by taking a strategic approach to improve our own sustainability.

The company also took to the red carpet to support the Independent Pharmacy Awards which were in their 12th year and held in the House of Commons, where our Chief Commercial Officer, Gary Williams, spoke and represented the company.

The Giving Back theme continued into the latter half of the year with many staff taking advantage of the festive season to support foodbanks in schools, donate seasonal raffle prizes, give selection boxes to clients including children’s residential homes and our Cardiff Education team donating £1,000 to support children in the Vale of Glamorgan this Christmas.

Giving back to local communities was particularly important for us this Christmas, especially with the rise of cost of living. That’s why we invited our staff, their family and friends, residents of Cadwyn Housing Association and the neighbouring Cardiff communities to our first ever free Santa’s grotto, held in our Llanishen Head Office. More than 300 children, including pupils from Lansdowne Primary School, visited Santa in his grotto over the space of four weeks.

To celebrate a decade of supporting the Mr X appeal, staff donated 105 Christmas gifts to the worthwhile cause.

A year of growth

The year also saw us grow our workforce not only across our recruitment divisions, but in our ND Care & Support business. After branching into the Bridgend area and launching our services in Private Care, we appointed a new Regional Manager to help support its growth. Our employees are central to the success of our business, which is demonstrated by the Care Inspectorate Wales giving us a glowing report.

Checks Direct also experienced a year of growth in headcount and business performance, landing nine major clients and being named as the preferred supplier for Ensured compliance. The security and vetting company also introduced employment referencing checks and DVLA checks to its portfolio of services.

A gap in the market was also identified amongst our established clients in the search for key supporting roles critical to their business, so we have embarked on building a new division dedicated to executive search and office support roles, finding top talent spanning all sectors, UK wide.

Looking to 2023

As we reflect on the opportunities presented to us, both locally and nationally, the companies and communities we have been able to partner with and support, we celebrate growth. Not just in terms of people but our business networks, our service offering, our compliance and social responsibility. We look to 2023 hoping to not only replicate, but to improve on this further in the new year ahead.

We’d like to thank all our staff, our extended and temporary workforces, and our clients for making 2022, a year of uncertainty, a year to remember and we look forward to working with you all again in the New Year.