ECC Extra: Interview with Gary Paterson, Hunter Adams

Hunter Adams logo

Hunter Adams has recently launched its training business, how did you come to be in this training role?

Hunter Adams has been delivering learning and development services to our clients for over 3 years now, and the appetite for training programmes and project work is on the increase. So we felt it was time to build a team of experienced consultants and help our existing and future clients achieve their learning and development goals. We offer high-quality solutions at commercially sound rates.  We call our L&D stream “The Hunter Edge” and we specialise in employee and leadership development, team effectiveness, coaching and people-development projects. This results in our clients being able to provide their team with visible career paths and the use of key development tools and systems.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

  1. The diverse range of clients we work with. From boutique letting agencies to castles and palaces, start-up companies to global organisations, we help clients with their general HR and development needs, whatever industry or size. We are quite unique in the UK that we offer all HR under one roof so we can truly partner with our clients.
  2. The people in our team: at Hunter Adams we aim to hire the best people in HR and L&D. Team is one of our values and we see excellent examples of collaboration and team work every week. From coaching and mentoring to sharing knowledge and templates, we support each other for the good of our clients.
  3. I’m a bit of a geek for all things to do with L&D and because most of our work is tailored to meet our clients’ needs, I enjoy seeing the different results and solutions we provide to clients’ challenges.

In your opinion what makes Edinburgh such a great place?

I love Edinburgh for its scenery, buildings, friendly people and location. I’m a family man and I often take my kids to places like Arthur’s Seat, the castle and the Scott Monument and fill their heads with stories about princesses, dragons and pirates. On the odd occasion, when we’re offered a babysitter, I enjoy going out with my wife and our friends. You’ll find us tucked away in places like Under the Stairs or Bramble, maybe once every couple of months. I’m a cyclist too and I think the city is becoming a better place to cycle.  Drivers are more tolerant and aware of cyclists, cyclists are following the rules of the road more and there are more cycle lanes than ever making it safer for everyone.

What are your three top tips for presenting to an audience?

  1. Find your own style and be yourself. You have to be comfortable with who you are when you’re standing in front of a room full of people so work out your individual style and be authentic. To help find your style, keep your eyes open and look at other presenters you see. The weather, TV hosts, colleagues and events you attend – look at what others do and try to identify what you most relate to about their style and use these elements to build your own way.
  2. Definitely prepare! Different people are comfortable with different levels of preparation. However much preparation you need, make sure you do it. Know your audience and their knowledge of the subject you are going to present to them. Learn the flow of your presentation, the key messages, questions and items you want to emphasise. And if you need prompts for your material, try to get those prompts down to as few words as possible so people don’t see you reading. Like a singer in a band, you should be able to look at the song title and remember the lyrics!
  3. Think carefully about your supporting material. Do you really need slides? Do the slides need lots of words? Audiences prefer to hear the content from the presenter and not read it from slides. I like to use images on slides to represent the key messages I am discussing. That way the audience stays engaged in what I’m saying and they make connections to the messages using the images. If you need to share lots of detailed information with people during a presentation, think about the right way to do that. Can you share hand-outs up-front then discuss thoughts during the presentation? Should you present the key messages and give out more details later? Decide what’s best as part of your preparation.

What are your top tips for creating a healthy and positive employee culture?

  1. Tell your employees what you stand for as a business and help your employees understand what’s expected of them. Values are an excellent way to do this. If you have company values, make sure you role model them and that every employee can live and breathe those values on a daily basis. A friend of mine owns a plumbing business in East Lothian and his company vales are Expertise, Cleanliness and Customer. All of his team work to the best of their abilities. They wear clean uniforms every day and look after their equipment and customers’ property well. They treat every customer with respect and complete their work to the level expected by every customer. These three clear values help his employees understand the core ways of working within the firm and has gained his company an excellent reputation in the region. At Hunter Adams, one of our values is Solutions Driven. This means that it’s not always exactly about policy or process. It’s about finding a commercial and practical solution that works for our clients’ individual circumstances.
  2. Check in with your team, listen and respond to what they’re telling you. Speak to your team regularly about what’s going well and not-so-well in their roles and in your company. Be open to making changes when it’s clear that things need to change and also celebrate and continue the things you do well as a firm.
  3. Communicate well with your team. Find out the things that people would like to hear about and the ways they would like to receive such messages. Updates about your company’s progress are great but make sure you also include the updates that matter most to your people. These may include things like project opportunities, career development, recognition for exceptional work, you’ll know what these are if you follow point 2.
  4. Help people see what’s in it for them. Yes, your company has a vision and you know you need your people to be 100% engaged and committed to achieving your goals to meet your vision. However, make it clear to your people what’s in it for them along the way.  This could be career development, exposure to different, or the same, types of work. It could be flexibility or financial rewards. You will know what is possible and make sure you make it clear to your employees too!

‘Major milestone’ hit as Edinburgh Airport breaks the 10 million passenger barrier

Edinburgh Airport is the first Scottish airport to handle over 10 million passengers in a year. Passenger figures for June 2014, the airport’s busiest June on record, show that its moving annual total broke the 10 million mark with 10,032,288 passengers using Edinburgh in the year June 2013 to 2014.

It is seen as a major milestone in the airport’s move towards securing 10 million passengers in a calendar year, a target that it expects to hit in 2015.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “Hitting 10 million passengers in our moving annual total is fantastic news. It’s a real milestone which shows that our strategy of giving our passengers choice and great service is working.

“We’re now focussed on targeting 10 million passengers in a calendar year. Our forecasts suggest it’ll be close this year but more realistically 2015. We’ll be working very hard to achieve that target.

“It’s been a real team effort and we are extremely lucky to have the backing of a range of private and public partners across Edinburgh and Scotland. We could not have achieved this result without them.

“Any growth in this climate is difficult but it is even more special given the backdrop of the highest aviation taxes in Europe.”

Edinburgh Airport has seen a raft of new route launches in 2014 including new flights to Chicago, Doha and Philadelphia which continue to drive passenger growth.

ECC Extra: Interview with surprise speaker Mark Kengen

Mark took part in Diageo’s ‘Learn for Life’ programme and was the surprise speaker at our Inspiring Edinburgh event on the 2nd September. He has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us:

What do you enjoy most about your job?

By far the most rewarding experience at my hotel bar is during the twilight hours between 9 and 11pm. This just seems to be the time when it is quiet, which gives you more of a chance to talk to your customers and have impromptu cocktail making sessions, whiskey experiences and people appreciating drink more. I find that experience very worthwhile.

As a bartender you must have to make lots of different drinks, but what is your favourite?

Right now it has to be a whisky sour, served traditionally with egg white and a little bit sweet. This is the drink I make most as whenever I am asked to recommend something to a customer, I know they will like it and it never fails to impress. It really helps bring out the flavour of the whisky and removes any unwanted burn, so everyone can get a chance to see how interesting whisky can be.

In your opinion what makes Edinburgh such a great place?

Edinburgh doesn’t give off that hustle and bustle vibe like other big cities. From the meadows to Arthur’s seat it never seems like you are too far away from going somewhere peaceful and green and that is very important to me. But when you are walking through the streets it is a beautiful city, with awesome gothic architecture that looks like it should belong in Gotham city, I love it!

What are your three top tips for speaking?

Oh jeez. Well for me personally the things I consider the biggest problem for a lot of speakers would be a lack of confidence and being too rigid in their delivery. Believing what you are talking about is interesting and something that people want to hear goes a long way to boosting your confidence levels. You also need to go through your talk with friends, actually sit them down and do the entire thing! Many people realise that this is a good way to practice but never actually do it and I say stop being lazy! You will reap the rewards I promise.

As for being rigid, I would say getting your audience involved certainly makes things more lively and interesting! The way I do this is to never have a script. I know what I am going to talk about, the order that I will talk it in and that is about it. This makes it feel a lot more natural and to me it becomes a lot more convincing.

Guess that’s it! Know your talk is interesting, be confident and not too rigid. When it all falls into place you can see people are actually enjoying and engaged in what you have to say and that makes things even easier.

What would your advice be to anyone looking to go on a training course with Diageo?

Ask them! They have been amazing with me and the people on my course and are happy to help. If you would like to be more direct then get in contact with Inga McVicar from Springboard, who specifically works to supply Springboard’s services for Diageo’s Learning for Life programme. You can find Springboard here:

Intern Blog: What I have been doing in Edinburgh

I haven’t written anything for the blog in a long time! That’s because at the moment I’m very busy.

I got the opportunity to do two internships at the same time. I am now doing an internship at Grayling- a big international PR agency here in Edinburgh. I split my time working two days at Grayling and then two days at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

It is my third week at Grayling and I’m really enjoying it. It’s very tough but the people and the atmosphere there is so great! They integrate me in their current work and I don’t feel like an intern making copies or coffee for the staff. They are currently doing the PR for the Ryder Cup, a big golf event at the end of September in Scotland. It is very interesting to see how a PR agency works. Yesterday I was very busy! My role is to look at all the newspapers every morning and scan them for Ryder Cup articles. I then write a report on its coverage and file the articles. After that I went to a print shop to pick up an order of branded t-shirts. In the afternoon I had to phone a Glasgow newspapers to speak with the Promotion Managers about competitions. I was so nervous as this was my first time making phone calling in English. The worst phone call was calling a newspaper in Glasgow because I knew that the people there have a strong Scottish accent very different from Edinburgh. I was so afraid and nervous, but the guy was very nice and didn’t have an accent!

Over the last couple of weekends I have done a lot of tourist stuff! I climb up Arthur’s Seat, it was really hard but the view was fantastic. At the end of the festival there were fireworks on a Saturday and we went to the Carlton Hill to watch them, it was so amazing, and so many people were there. I visited a few of the Museums in Edinburgh: the National Museum, the National Gallery and the National Art Gallery. I heard in the office at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce that there was an exhibition called Tete-a-Tete. It was a photography exhibition comparing Edinburgh and Paris. It took place in the old town of Edinburgh. It was a small gallery but very good. One day I spend the whole day at the Edinburgh Castle. It is an amazing building. It seems very mystic. There is a great view from the top! The exhibitions are about the wars, development of guns and the British Empire. Also you can visit an old prison in its original condition- very interesting, so I would really recommend going. Last weekend we went to Cramond. If you like nature this is the place to go. It’s a short trip by bus and when the tide is down you can walk to a small island – Cramond Island. I took a lot of pictures, the landscape is very beautiful. Finally I took my shoes off and I was walking through the mudflat. I really enjoyed this! For the next weekends I have lots of plans. I want to go to the Stirling Castle, Roslyn Chapelle, Loch Ness…I don’t think I have forgotten anything! I have become a Tourist! These are my last weeks here and I am already missing Edinburgh!

Empowering Edinburgh in the Digital Age

By Councillor FrankRoss,
Digital Economy Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council and Convener of the Economy Committee

Creating an Empower Edinburgh in the digital era is a major focus for City of Edinburgh Council as we seek to ensure our citizens, businesses, and visitors can maxamise the city’s potential through the use of information and communications technology. The digital economy and digital connectivity is a key part to achieving current and future goals.

Our strategy was developed through wide-ranging consultation and engagement, and has been developed to align with the wider strategies and aspirations of the Council, and also to be aligned with the Scottish Government’s Digital Future Strategy, and their four themes – connectivity, digital economy, digital public services and digital participation.

to read the full article please follow the link and if you would like receive a copy of the magazine please contact


Standard Life’s Top Tips for Auto-Enrolment

The biggest change in the history of pensions is well underway. From October 2012, employers had to start joining their workers into a pension at set staging dates, with the largest staging first.

Momentum is set to gather as auto-enrolment continues and the number of employers staging increases so it’s never been more important to start preparing.

Getting your scheme set for staging

Our experience so far has given us great insight into how best to prepare for pension reform. When planning for auto-enrolment, there are some key questions to consider:

When to start?

Once you’ve established when you’re required to stage, you should consider your pension reform plan.  Our experience suggests you’ll need at least nine months. Don’t underestimate the work involved or how long changes will take to plan and implement.

You should also consider whether you are going to need advice. Pension reform introduces new legislation that impacts all employers, so getting expert assistance on navigating the new rules could be invaluable. This includes smaller and medium size companies who may need advice to understand how they can meet the rules but also balance the costs to their business.

What’s your strategy?

Think about the composition of your workforce and whether you want all your employees to join the pension scheme.

Analysis of the number of permanent staff could help you decide whether to offer the scheme through contract of employment or automatic enrolment. If you employ lots of seasonal workers or have a high staff turnover, it’s worth considering a “waiting period” which could reduce the overheads at peak periods.

What data will you need?

To assess employees’ eligibility, you’ll need information such as date of birth, opt-out status, earnings, date of joining the company, relevant earnings and membership status. Check with your adviser what’s required and put a process in place to gather this data efficiently.

How can you reduce the financial impact of pension reform?

Higher employer contributions and increasing membership will no doubt have a financial impact on many employers.  However, by administering automatic enrolment efficiently, you can cut pension reform costs. That could mean aligning the enrolment process with business processes to minimise on-going administrative costs. Another way to reduce costs is to offer pensions under a salary exchange arrangement, which will reduce National Insurance contributions and your overall bill.

What to consider when choosing a default investment option?

When choosing the default investment option, consider not only the price but also the needs and risk/reward profile of your employees – ensuring fund objectives are linked to good outcomes for members. Investment choices should be underpinned by rigorous governance and regular reviews. Remember that the value of investments can go up or down and employees may receive less than what was paid in.

How should you engage with your workforce?

A well-planned employee engagement strategy has proved instrumental in minimising opt-outs from pension schemes. Think about whether to send out generic statutory communications or take a targeted approach. You might want to develop a dedicated website, with information about all employee benefits in one place. Online tools can also help staff make informed decisions about their future finances, before and beyond enrolment.

Why Edinburgh Airport’s the best choice for the business traveller

Whether commuting to and from London twice a week or flying abroad for work, Edinburgh Airport have one of the highest proportions of business travellers outside London Heathrow, with the average passenger making six trips per year.

of Course as an international airport with more than 40 airlines serving over 130 worldwide destinations, it’s important to offer all passengers, whether leisure or business, the best service and experience and this is where Edinburgh believes it can set itself aside from the competition.

It’s an exciting time for Edinburgh Airport. Not only has it just broken a Scottish record of 10 million passengers in a year, reaffirming its position as Scotland’s busiest airport, it’s also about to see a huge amount of investment bear fruit.

In October, the airport will open its new terminal extension. The £25m facility will house a state-of-the-art security hall, shops and airline offices and will have been completed in less than a year.

With a new bridge, linking the multi-storey car park to the new security hall to offer a dedicated fast track lane, and a premium convenience store stocking every day essentials, the new terminal has been designed with the passenger at its core. It will offer speed, efficiency and choice – three things which we all want from an international airport.

Our city has a fantastic public transport system and the recent addition of the trams gives the business treveller even more choice of how to travel to and from the airport. Having a tram terminus less than 100 metres from the entrance to the new terminal means passengers can reach the airport from the city centre, or vice versa, quickly and conveniently.

Some business passengers may feel that the airport is like a second home so it’s important to make sure the department lounge is as comfortable as possible. This year Edinburgh Airport has opened three brand new passenger lounges, offering travellers the choice of how they want to spend their time before they board their flights.

In January, British Airways opened a £1.5 million lounge which is almost twice the size of the previous area. No. 1 Traveller joined May and opened their new facility which offers a fantastic experience for passengers who wish to relax and unwind before their flight and, most recently, the new Aspire lounge opened to offer passengers even more choice.

It’s no secret that Edinburgh Airport has enjoyed a very busy year in terms of new business with 11 new routes launching at the airport. May was a historic month as we celebrated the start of the highly-anticipated new link to Doha with Qatar Airways as well as two brand new transatlantic routes to Philadelphia and Chicago.

Just a few of week ago, Etihad Airways announced it would commence operations between Edinburgh and Abu Dhabi in June 2015. To have two Middle Eastern airlines Edinburgh Airport in a year is a phenomenal achievement and one which is incredibly exciting for the city.

Domestically the future is also looking bright with Flybe introducing four new daily flights to London City from October – increasing the number of daily flights between the two cities to 10. Edinburgh Airport offers passengers an unrivalled choice of domestic services with around 40 flights to London per day, something which will no doubt continue to benefit the local and national economy and reinforce Edinburgh Airport’s commitment to providing excellent service, a seamless journey and choice.