Danielle Lavercombe gives an insight into her six month secondment from Team Callen in Liverpool to Team James in Vancouver.
As part of our annual Blueprint celebration, colleagues applied for week long exchange to a different Ryder location and have compiled their thoughts on the week.
Michael Anderson, designer, joined Team Callen in Liverpool from Technologies in Newcastle
Sara Bate, project finance administrator, joined Team Costa in London from Team Hurworth in Newcastle
Hannah Bryan, architect, joined Team Wise in Newcastle from Team Costa
Haley Drummond, project coordinator, joined Team Carter in London from Team Bell in Newcastle
Alison Elliot, architect, joined Team James in Vancouver from Team Wise
Al Houghton, senior designer, joined Team Callen in Liverpool from Technologies
Shona MacVicar, architect, joined Team Clasper in Newcastle from Team Malcolm
Tamsyn Nother, project coordinator, joined Team Bell in Newcastle from Team Carter
Charles Riach, architect, joined Team Dorkin in Hong Kong from Team Malcolm
Cathy Russell, associate designer, joined Team Costa in London from Team Clasper
Hayley Stafford-Jones, designer, joined Team Malcolm in Glasgow from Team Clasper
James Stockdale, architectural technologist, joined Technologies in Newcastle from Team Callen
The Blueprint exchanges were a great way to experience working in another Ryder location (often in an unfamiliar city), meet new people and work on new projects. Charles noted that the best way to evaluate was to take a step out of your comfort zone and experience how the different offices work. Haley was particularly interested to experience the London working environment, due to the strong healthcare focus, and learn from the team’s expertise. The exchanges also offered fantastic personal development opportunities – Cathy used the week to build networks and link research to her healthy placemaking research.
Highlights from the week were varied but all participants in the exchange programme loved exploring the new cities and spending time with their new teams, particularly at the Blueprint parties. Alison enjoyed experiencing the city of Vancouver and surrounding countryside, seeing multiple pods of killer whales in the wild and visiting Whistler Mountain, whilst a major highlight for Hayley was a site visit to Queensferry High School (despite the typical Scottish weather). All participants enjoyed the variety of events on offer, with presentations from Patricia Moore, managing director at Turner & Townsend, and Joe Thornton, founding director of Cast Consultancy, being particularly well received.
Participants were made to feel very welcome by their new teams, with activities including lunches and after work drinks to ensure a great experience. For example, all participants exchanged to Newcastle attended a dinner. In addition, James was taken to visit Tombola House and played in a friendly football match with Technologies against a local contractor. Hannah stayed in Newcastle for a few extra days and was taken to the beach by Team Wise for some excellent fish and chips. Alison was given plenty of recommendations by Team James prior to her arrival so she could make the most of her visit to Vancouver.
Everyone had a different experience as all teams are slightly different, but all participants thought the culture and atmosphere of their new team was very similar to their normal setting. The Hong Kong projects were quite different from what Charles typically works on, such as a lot of internal fit outs with intense programmes, so it was beneficial for him to see the project structure with many levels of client and management involved. Michael thought Team Callen were friendly, approachable and eager to share knowledge – just like in Newcastle. Shona found that working in Newcastle was almost identical to Glasgow, aside from the surroundings and having to walk a bit further for a cup of tea! This is a great indication that the Ryder culture is experienced across the whole practice.
The week allowed the participants to learn new skills to take back to their teams. Sara has implemented some changes to Finance’s processes as suggested by Team Costa. Tamsyn worked on a proposal with Communications, subsequently using those skills on a related proposal when she returned to London. Al got a greater understanding of the development and history of Ryder and how the Liverpool office came to fruition, in addition to how the market in Liverpool and Manchester works. Since the exchange, Michael has coincidentally been assigned to a MODA PRS scheme and his exchange provided a great insight into what is to come.
Feedback across the board was extremely positive – everyone agreed the exchanges were a fantastic opportunity. Sara thought that experiencing how different people work in different locations helped her feel even more connected to Ryder, whilst the experience created some fantastic memories and learning opportunities for Tamsyn. Shona found that, as the robust Ryder processes helped remove any uncertainties, she could focus on meeting people and engaging with Team Clasper. All participants were very grateful to Ryder for the opportunity and would love to do it again!