It has been a busy year, and a big year, for us here at The Forshaw Group, as we celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary. It was only fitting in such a year, to interview our managing director, Liam Hanlon on all the achievements to date.
These have included building upon and improving our business offerings and services. We have continued to support and promote the Knowsley Apprenticeship Partnership and our INS-Pire academy. We also continued our working relationship with LV and started two new contracts with AA Insurance and Admiral. PV solar systems have been installed at The Forshaw Group’s Knowsley head office, furthering our move towards sustainable practices, and as part of our ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility.
In addition, Liam Hanlon also took on the role of chair of the Subsidence Forum, vice chair of the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce, and the very real honour of being commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside.
Let’s hear some more from Liam and find out what is in store in 2024.
How it all began…
I’m the joint managing director of The Forshaw Group along with Jay Calvert. My day-to-day role is to plan and oversee the operations, with a short, medium and long-term view and goals. I basically take care of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the business, make decisions and plan how to move forward. I’m especially focused on environment, sustainability, training, inclusion, mental health and wellbeing. It’s going to be exciting in the future, as we have set up AI automation projects on all those areas to make sure we are where we should be, and what we believe is good for the company and people who work here.
I started in this industry on a youth training scheme in 1984. I always saw myself going into the military as a young man, but my dad was a joiner and I decided to get a trade behind me. My training to be a joiner took 3 years. I did an apprenticeship and then carried on with night school and did a BTEC followed by a HNC in Building. I was given an amazing opportunity to go to Malaysia, a sponsored place in the rainforest of Borneo for four months. That’s where I first met up with graduates and students on their ‘gap year’ and this gave me the motivation I needed to succeed. When I returned, I asked to go on a manager training programme.
While I was training as an apprentice, I joined the Royal Marine Reserves with the intention of going full time in the future. It enabled me to travel and see the world. Norway arctic warfare introduced me to skiing, which I loved (and I ended up as chairman of Merseyside Ski Club for 20 years). I then went to Chester University and studied for a HND in environmental science and a combined honours degree in Sports Science and Biology. While I was studying, I went back on the tools as a self-employed joiner to fund my way through university.
2023 and what has been achieved
It has been a busy year and our commitment to making positive changes and addressing the skills gap has been paramount. This has included our social commitment to youth development and training, such as our work with the Knowsley Apprenticeship Partnership, and the INS-Pire National Academy. I’m proud of The Forshaw Group’s ongoing collaboration with the Armed Forces Covenant and engagement with the Military Preparation Academy, along with new initiatives with the HM Prison & Probation Service, which are all adding value to our social proposition, through support and opportunities for new skill development, like the ‘Jobs on Release’ programme.
It’s an amazing achievement to reach 75 years and we are grateful for the support from everybody involved with The Forshaw Group. I’m honoured and proud to be commissioned to be The Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside and I’m looking forward to this in 2024.
This year has represented a period of change for everybody. People’s aspirations have changed. Work-life balance has changed. Finding a balance with a business model has been challenging, as there has been a lot of changes within the business itself too. We have maintained our ethos and what we believe in, and I am proud of how far we have come. We are also delighted to have taken on two new clients this year, AA Insurance and Admiral, and we have continued to build on our existing relationships with companies, including LV Insurance.
Moving forward and hopes for 2024
My hopes for 2024 are to see the business and our people in a healthy state. I am also looking forward to continuing with all the organisations I am involved with, and hope that this encourages others to follow their passions too. Health and wellbeing is important to us and I’m proud of our four Working Well representatives.
We are just about to launch the next round of apprenticeships, with 10 potential apprentices joining us on work experience. We are keen to encourage more women into construction, and we aim to promote the apprenticeship strongly to girls, as well as boys.
I’m interested to see how much power we are now generating at our head office in Knowsley since the installation of PV Solar earlier this year. We are also working with a university, which is looking at measuring our usage. This will give us a good understanding of where we are on the journey to net zero.
We have many big events planned to raise money in 2024. We have a planned boxing show in March for Maggie’s, a 10k in May and the Cross Mersey swim. As part of the Tri-4-Life team, I will be cycling the route taken by the allied forces during WW2 to Berlin. We will start in Wirral and from there the route goes from the south of England (commemorating the early years of the war), through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and on to Berlin in Germany.
I’m also excited for our Leadership programme, which is starting at the end of January. 11 of our team are signed up for it. It includes six modules and one-to-one professional development for our young leaders. It will be delivered within the business, over a six-month period, and specifically related to their roles and what they do here.
The Forshaw Group will continue to promote and support all aspects of charity, community and adventure, and work to ensure the health and wellbeing of our future. By understanding and engaging with the ever-changing diverse complexities of our people, we will be better placed for a stronger future together, as we look to prepare and develop the next generation to carry The Forshaw Group through the next 75 years.