Secondment: From Liverpool to Vancouver

Danielle Lavercombe gives an insight into her six month secondment from Team Callen in Liverpool to Team James in Vancouver.

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Danielle enjoying one of many hikes

I have been part of Team Callen in Liverpool for nearly four years, during which time I have thoroughly enjoyed the role as project coordinator and being part of the Liverpool team.  Having lived and worked outside the UK in previous years, I knew that when the opportunity arose to apply for a secondment to Team James in Vancouver that it would be a perfect opportunity for me.  I was attracted to the secondment for many reasons, however being able to continue to work for Ryder in the job that I love whilst working and living abroad seemed like a no brainer.

The main reason I applied for the secondment was that I felt like I was ready to apply my strengths to new challenges and I was keen to expand my relationships within the business, plus learn from and share knowledge with other parts of the company.  During my time as part of Team Callen, I have managed the day to day smooth running of the office, implemented actions to ensure consistency with brand rules and was excited to have the opportunity to instil Ryder QMS and Brand Rules within Canada.

Having never visited Canada before, I didn’t really have any expectations prior to my arrival, however there is no denying that Vancouver is a beautiful city.  One of the most amazing things about Vancouver is how accessible everything is, along with it being the mecca for the outdoorsy type like myself.  Whether you’re into going to the beach, skiing, hiking or more inclined to the city lifestyle, everything is on your doorstep.

One of the benefits of living in downtown Vancouver was the short commute to the office which I appreciated even more during the extremely heavy down pour of December.  One of the things that struck me most upon my arrival was that, despite being almost 4,000 miles away from the UK, I felt like I was still in a Ryder office and the culture and values very much felt the same.

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The team curling at Christmas
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St. Mark’s Summit

I felt like I joined Team James at a very exciting time, I wasn’t filling someone’s position that had been there previously, therefore I got to assist both Adam James and Warren Schmidt in establishing the role and yield the responsibilities of the project coordinator in Vancouver.  Admittedly, it took me a few weeks to find my feet, as although the office very much felt like a Ryder office, I was essentially joining a new team.  In no time at all I was keen to implement UK standards and procedures whilst familiarising myself with Canadian projects, requirements and laws.  The process is extremely different, there are endless mandatory documents which I needed to learn about and also assist the team in establishing best practice and processes.  Another task was helping the Vancouver team transition from current programmes and shifting to Rapport3 – extremely useful for both them and I as it gave me the opportunity to use Rapport3 regularly.

The Vancouver team has grown from a team of two to a team of eight, therefore I very much had to assist in implementing procedures to adapt into being a larger office.  An example is creating an office handbook for new employees and internal use and having a meeting room bookings system.  This was a part of the role which I thoroughly enjoyed – whipping the office into shape!  In addition, I got the opportunity to work on proposals which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I feel this enhanced my knowledge of the process and particularly improved my graphic design integrity and skills further.

The opportunity of being in Vancouver gave me such valuable insight into other aspects of the business, as well as enhancing my skills and experience within a different setting and culture.  Working and living abroad can only be beneficial to a person’s development and I’m thoroughly grateful I got the opportunity to do so whilst at Ryder.  I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Team James for an amazing experience and, despite it taking nearly six months for them to understand my accent, I felt very welcome from day one and hope to see the team again soon.

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