Who's finding it difficult at the moment ?? It's a strange and scary time for everyone at the moment

As 2020 began I was just starting the 3rd year of working for myself with plans to keep improving the business and offer a quality of service building on the successful first 2 years. However as we reached the middle of March I decided to put the business on hold as the Coronavirus took hold and I decided it wasn't safe to organize and recommend face to face meetings which are critical to the recruitment process. A week or so later and the lockdown was beginning to take hold and changes were happening to everyday life. The majority of my regular clients are still producing but the focus is on keeping there staff safe and business operational through these difficult times 

Although I am not working at the moment, please feel free to give me a shout if there is anything I may be able to assist or advise with even if it is just looking for a new supplier or consultant to come and help with a project or shortage 

It has been great to see all the support for the key workers and the amazing job they are doing, and a sense of community growing, certainly locally to me  

Despite effectively closing my business down and having no income, I have been using the time positively, as well as staying at home and keeping safe following the guidelines. I have had time to step back and review different aspects of he work I was doing and looking at my processes, and have some ideas to improve things as the restrictions ease

I have also been getting outside for my daily exercise, as people who know me well, know I have been running everyday for over 1,000 days now. And although I am no longer training for any specific races / events, I am really enjoying being able to get out and enjoy an hour or so of uninterrupted fresh air. Despite having been running so long I am still finding brand new routes to explore from my front door and am so grateful to have these options available to me 

I'm even trying to learn to play guitar...again, not very successfully at the moment 

So, I'm hoping to come out the other side of this fit and healthy and with a stronger business better equipped to meet and exceed my customers requirements. Always look for the positives  

1000 Days of streaking 
Wow…I can’t believe the streak has ticked over 1000 days (last week) I still think the idea of a 30 day run streak is silly, and thought I’d never be able to complete a challenge that long!!! But we did the planned 30 days and raised over £1000 with the Summer Streak for the MS Trust — but then I kept going and going….
Thought I’d write a quick update on how things have been going over the last few months. A lot has changed since the start of the streak, until recently it was mainly quitting my job and setting up on my own, but with the current situation I am just grateful to be able to get outside everyday for some fresh air. I’m missing my brilliant running club and various events, but health is more important, and loving the virtual events happening every week to keep everyone in touch.
2 Years without a job 
2 years since I quit my job and left full time employment to start the adventure of working for myself. I think I question myself about this every week as it was such a big decision
It's certainly had it's ups and down's, and I'm learning everyday. Recruitment has never been straight forward as we are helping companies build and people develop their careers so there is a lot at stake, but that's what makes it interesting and so rewarding, I am proud of the fact that many people I've helped over the last 14 years are still with the companies I introduced them to and I'm still working with a number of companies I first partnered with over 10 years ago.
After great first year, last year was tougher but I expected that, with the challenging markets and the nature of working for myself (that it is all on me and there will be good and bad spells). However I still wouldn't change a thing, it's a great challenge to be able to create the work life balance I want, and recruit in the way I believe is correct and benefits the companies I am working with along with the individuals I am trying to help
I've been lucky over the past 2 years to be working with some great companies with brilliant growth plans in place moving forward, and I've always been focused on working with SME companies. I have been questioned on this many times, but I feel it allows me to get to know the companies I am working with and can understand the people within the companies which allows me to work to find people to join their teams who have the same mindset

Finding a balance between the demands of recruitment and trying to get outdoors and enjoying my hobbies of running, walking and a new one of paddle boarding has always been on of the main drivers behind setting up on my own as recruitment can become an all consuming job
Away from the laptop and phone, I've been keeping busy with the running and recently completed the Valencia Marathon, probably the best running event I've been to and a brilliant city. I didn't get the time I was aiming for but loved the experience and already getting ready for my next marathon.
Having both the Peak District and the North Yorkshire coast on the doorstep is something I'm trying to make more of and I try to get out and explore as often as possible
Looking forward to a great 2020 and continuing to help manufacturing companies recruit across the Yorkshire region
Jan 2020

That time of the year

The summer is coming to an end, the evenings are getting darker and the days colder. The kids are back at school and the holidays and shutdowns are out of the way, so business can start getting back to normal after the disruptive August when everything stands still
It's the time of year where companies start planning for next year and people start thinking about their careers, so there is always a lot of movement in the next couple of months
Whether you are looking for a new challenge, fresh start or looking to recruit for your teams get in touch for a confidential conversation and we can start discussion options and opportunities
Away from the recruitment
I'm still running around a lot and getting outdoors at every opportunity, I'm sure this is because I'm tied to computers and phones all day with work
The blue MS Trust t-shirt is about to come out again with less than 2 weeks until my biggest challenge with a  60 (and a bit) mile race along the Cleveland Way, with the Hardmoors  60 from Guisborough to Filey. This is way out of my comfort zone and I've never done anything like this so it will be an adventure. With a cut off of 18 hours I have no idea how this will go. I've been up several times this year and ran parts of the course so I have an idea of the terrain but the amount of miles and time will be into the unknown
I'll post an update of how this goes, in the week or two after. To add some fun, I'm running a sweepstake on guess my finish time or where I stop and get a DNF -- It costs £3 a go with £20 to the nearest guess and all proceeds go to the MS Trust
Get in touch if you would like to have a go and guess my finish time.

Work Life balance

I can’t believe how quickly the last 18 months have flown by, since deciding to work for myself and setting up Magpie People.

Recruitment is a tough industry to get a balance as your always on call, and a lot of the work takes place outside normal working hours and flexible working is very rare in the sector. I decided to go for it and take the challenge of both, setting up on my own and trying to get this balance of work whilst meeting the needs of my clients and offering a first class recruitment service. Yes I could earn more money working in an established recruitment company but I can say I am happy and enjoying what I am doing

Since starting Magpie People I’ve probably worked harder than ever before, but I’ve been focused on making time for me and doing things I enjoy. You're never fully off duty but it’s important to be able to get away. Like last week, when my wife and I went out for her birthday to the coast but i was still on the phone sorting out a few interviews and confirmed a start date for a candidate who had just been made redundant two weeks before

Despite having the flexibility to work my own hours to a point, as a recruiter, you still spend a lot of time looking at screens and being on the phone, so I make a point of getting outside and getting some fresh air. Helped by the fact I'm a keen runner, I enjoy getting outside in all weather. Back in 2017 I took on a challenge to run everyday for a month -- and on Sunday this running streak went past 750 days -- over 2 years.

Whether it has been a race, training for a marathon, getting out on the trails for an hour, or just getting out for 15 minutes I always feel so much better after my daily run. I’m also enjoy a new hobby of Paddle Boarding and have only fell in a few times and enjoy short breaks and traveling, whatever helps you relax and makes you happy

As I mentioned before it can be a difficult balance with the pressure of not having a regular salary, but I'm enjoying the challenge and really appreciate the continued support of the companies I am working with, a lot of these I have been supporting for the last 5-10 years which has allowed me to get a strong understanding of the businesses and their requirement so I can offer a cost and time efficient service.

Every industry is different but I believe it is so important to try and get the work life balance right and make time for yourself, as it also keeps you fresh for work and lessens the risk of “burn out”. Look after your mental health give yourself some time away from work and not overthinking everything and just enjoy the moment

I feel I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to set up on my own, and enjoy the last 18 months and hope it continues long into the future.

I’d be interested to hear how other people work on their work life balance and improving their mental health


Busy few months

As we are heading straight into summer the year seems to be getting busier. After a quiet start to the year, a lot of the companies I support have been putting more focus on recruitment over the last couple of months

I think the uncertainty in the market for the first half of the year made some companies hold back on investment, whilst waiting to see what was happening. However there is still the uncertainty but companies are pressing ahead and having confidence in themselves and are planning for the future


I've been out and about meeting up with several clients and discussing the plans moving forward. I've also been to a few manufacturing events (national and regional) over the last couple of months and there seems to be more opportunities out there.


As always I have been keeping myself outside and enjoying the fresh air, in addition to all the running, I've also had a few goes at a new activity -- Paddle Boarding. So far I've only fell in once and I'm really enjoying learning a new skill. It's a much more relaxed pace than the running but has all the same benefits


Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any recruitment requirements or there is anything I may be able to help with
07847 895269 - engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk

Brighter Days

The clocks have changed and we have lighter evenings again, so a great time to get outside enjoy the better weather. It's also the start of the new financial year so also a great time to be looking at your plans moving forward.

Do you need to grow the team ??? Are you looking for a new role yourself ???

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year in recruitment as once Christmas is out of the way and new budgets are in places everyone starts really focusing on the year ahead

Over the last couple of weeks I've been out and about meeting up with several clients and discussing the plans moving forward. I've also met with a few candidates, and certainly seeing a lack of confidence in the market with all the uncertainty in the news at the moment.


Engineering and Manufacturing have always been candidate short markets, and this seems to be getting worse all the time. However it was great to call in at the Get Up to Speed event at Magna the other week and see companies focusing on getting youngsters interested and enthused by manufacturing and technology. It's always a great event and hopefully will help to start to address the skills shortage moving forward

As well as the normal day to day life of a recruiter, I've been getting out and enjoying the outdoors as usual with plenty of running (surprise), walking and even kayaking at the weekends and evenings. I recently had a great race up in the hills at Langsett and came second overall in a half marathon distance race, first ever podium finish (there was no podium, I was happy to sit on the floor). It was one of the toughest races I've done and one of my favourites

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any recruitment requirements or there is anything I may be able to help with
07847 895269 - engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk

Springing into March

The days are getting longer and even the Sun has made an appearance over the last few weeks.

Keeping a good balance between work and life has been a key choice in setting up Magpie People, so even through the Winter I have been making sure I have been getting outside and enjoying some fresh air everyday. Even getting our for a walk at lunch or before starting the day helps set the day up for me

This is alongside a changing recruitment market within the Manufacturing sector. Due to the ongoing confusion around what the B word will mean for business. I have noticed hesitation from candidates to move roles without knowing what could be happening a couple of months down the line.

In addition to this, companies are also delaying investment projects and expansion plans due to the uncertainty in the market. A mixture of positive and negative headlines in the media add to the confusion, and for me it is a case of keeping working as hard as possible and trying to find the best possible candidates for the companies I am working with.

This has led to some long days over the last couple of months but I have still continued to get outside and keep the running streak going which recently ticked over 600 days of running everyday (crazy I know). Including a great experience of running in the National Cross Country Championships in Leeds last month

I've really enjoyed the challenge and it has become an important part of my day, whether it is getting out for 10-15 minutes or going out for a couple of hours of marathon training. I've found it a great time to think, problem solve and reflect on how Magpie People is developing

Throughout my time working in recruitment I believe you have to keep learning and adapting otherwise you fall backwards. So making time each day to reflect and think about problems has been great for me

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any recruitment requirements or there is anything I may be able to help with
07847 895269 - engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk

1 Year of Magpie People

I can't believe it’s 12 months since Magpie People launched last January.

It’s been challenging and a lot of hard work but I've enjoyed being able to work with a great selection of companies throughout my first year and it's flown by. Some companies I’ve known for a number of years and some are brand new, so thank you for your support over the last year and I look forward to working together moving forward.

I had two main drivers behind setting up on my own. The first was working to set of standards that I believe are right for a business dealing with people’s aspirations and not the standard preset KPI’s that most recruitment companies work to, with time on the phone, and sales calls being their measure of success. Along with taking time to understand what both the companies and individuals want from candidates and roles, the second major factor was looking after myself.

After spending the last decade (and more) working over 40 hours in the office every week, as well as standard recruitment practice of taking work home, I wanted to be able to manage my own time and ensure I was making time to do things I enjoy.

It’s early days but I have found a balance that allows more freedom to deliver higher levels of service, keeping me and my customers happy. Working in partnership with these clients, listening to and acting on their feedback, has improved the recruitment process from all sides.

Naturally, setting up on your own creates a whole new level of pressure and stress, and in the first year there have been times when I've questioned what I am doing and whether I am making a huge mistake. However the sense of satisfaction when delivering good service, helping people secure new roles and supporting company growth by adding high quality professionals, makes it all worthwhile.

I never expected to be working for myself and it’s been a big risk to make the move, but it’s been great so far and I'd recommend it to anyone. I’ve still got a lot to learn and improvements to make, but the first year has gone far better than I expected and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2019 has in store for Magpie People

Again thank you for your support over the last 12 months

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any recruitment requirements or there is anything I may be able to help with
07847 895269 - engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk

Latest Running for the MS Trust Blog post

In addition to setting up Magpie People this year and getting my own business off the ground. Both Debbie and myself have continued our challenge to raise awareness of, and money for the MS Trust, mainly  through running challenges

I have just put together a new Blog for the site which details our efforts over the last couple of months and describes the joys of Marathon Running



Please have a read, and I hope you enjoy  it


Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any recruitment requirements or there is anything I may be able to help with
07847 895269 - engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk

November Newsletter

As I'm coming towards the end of my first year since setting up Magpie People as a specialist Engineering and Manufacturing recruiter working across the Yorkshire region, I have decided to set up a quick news letter to send out on a regular basis.

The plan is to let you know what I have been up to with any events and trade shows I have attended, such as the upcoming Smart Factory Expo in November, along with a few selected news stories from the industry that I've enjoyed reading.

I have set the business up to provide you with a first class recruitment service and to allow me the freedom to get out and about and strike the right work life balance. Enjoying what you do, and doing it well, is at the heart of what Magpie People aims to achieve for our clients and candidates.


Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any recruitment requirements or there is anything I may be able to help with
07847 895269 - engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk

Turning 40 !!!

I went a bit early but approaching my 40th birthday I made the decision to set up my own business, to go for the classic mid life crisis. I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since launching Magpie People, it's absolutely flown by and what an adventure so far !!

Firstly a massive thank you for everyone who has supported me and worked with me since setting up my own business, without your help I wouldn’t have been able to start or get this far.

I’ve learnt so much about business, recruitment and myself since deciding to set this up, I have regularly reminding myself the reasons I created Magpie People and ensure I am working to them

There were two main reasons for launching on my own:

  • To offer a professional recruitment service that understands the local markets and works with both the candidates and the companies to ensure I am matching the personalities as well as the base skills and experience. I would take time to get to know the companies and work with them rather than be an external recruiter, not working to a set of outdated KPI’s
  • After almost 15 years working in the sector I wanted to work my own way and get a good balance between work and life. As recruitment doesn't work 9-5 and you need to be adaptable




After just getting back to work after having a week away in Scotland to celebrate my big birthday and run another marathon (Loch Ness) and after a brilliant break (with some work) with time to switch off and reflect on the last 9 months



The biggest issue over the last 9 months has been managing time and as expected I have probably been working more hours than ever before, with the nature of the industry I can be working at 6.30am through till 10pm at night but this is my choice and how I schedule my time is up to me, whilst also getting more time for myself

To ensure I am keeping a good balance I have been trying to ensure I get out and enjoy the outdoors - running, walking, cycling or swimming for at least half a day each week. And despite some questions of when do I ever do any work from the wife and friends as I may end up at the coast or out in the peak district on a Wednesday afternoon this time is great for thinking, working out problems and coming up with new ideas

I have really enjoyed having the freedom to manage my own time to be able to relax and unwind whilst still ensuring my clients requirements are being met in a timely manner to meet their expectations

9 Months in and as well as the day to day work, I’m already planning for year 2 and how to improve as i continue to develop and learn.

Thanks for reading


6 Months in

I can’t believe that it’s already been 6 months since I set up Magpie People and started the adventure of working for myself back at the start of the year. The time has flown by and I am still learning all the time. It’s been a strange combination of working harder than ever before, but also being able to make time to do things and enjoy and having the freedom of being able to work on my terms.

The support I have received from the companies I work with and my network has been brilliant and I wouldn't have been able to get this venture off the ground without your help, so a massive thank you!!!

Over the last decade (and more) working in technical recruitment, I’ve learnt a lot about the industry and been able to take ideas and knowledge from everyone I have worked with - with a mixture of things to try and things to avoid along the way.


After being tempted by the idea of setting up my own business for a few years, I am still not sure what gave me the push to go ahead and jump into it... I’m sure it must be the combination of a milestone birthday coming up this year and the challenge I took on last summer to run at least 2km every day.

On top of these two big factors, I think it was a mixture of frustrations with some aspects of the recruitment industry and the way some companies work and the opportunity to offer something different. Providing a fully personalised service, working in partnership with companies and individuals who are looking for new opportunities, gives me the freedom to work in the way I believe is right.

As any recruiter knows, work doesn’t start and stop with official office times and there’s the KPI’s and financial targets frequently resetting to contend with too.The added bonus for me has been in improving my quality of life and allowing me to make time for the things I enjoy without having to spend time commuting, working to a set of KPI’s and managing a team.



Over the last six months I have found myself starting earlier each morning and probably working later, but being able to break the days down into manageable sections to allow me to complete what needs doing to keep me and business moving forward has been refreshing. The running everyday has given me some quiet time to think, and switch off on solo runs and running with friends has given me the social aspect that the cats can’t provide in my home office.


Despite having no regular salary to rely on to pay the bills, I have relished the challenge of being my own boss and owning the pressure of needing to deliver successful recruitment to be able to stay in business. Although this sounds very stressful and high risk, I’m enjoying the situation and feel much calmer and have been more relaxed about how the business is progressing.
Although it is still very early days, I am ahead of my original plan and love working with a mixture of long standing, loyal clients and some new businesses that have either given me the opportunity to work with them or have come to me through recommendations.

Possibly different to many other recruiters, I always tell the candidates that I am working with not just to think of salary and job titles, but to look at the quality of life they will have in their current role or company, alongside the opportunities that I am working on and try to ensure a good cultural fit for any role I put them forward for.


Throughout this period, my mindset has also changed to make more of an effort to support new, young and local businesses wherever possible; I know first hand that people are throwing everything into their dream to make it successful and want to them enjoy the success and benefits that come with their hard work and sacrifices.


Again thank you for your support and taking time to read this article.


Getting a balance -- 3 (and a bit) Months in

Well, it’s been an interesting and very busy first three months since launching Magpie People. It’s been a massive learning curve with lots of up and downs.

After well over a decade working in Engineering and Manufacturing Recruitment I naively thought setting up my own business would be relatively straight forward but there were lots of things I hadn’t thought of, thankfully I have had a great network and group of friends to offer support and guidance.

Along with the benefits of being my own boss, one of the major factors behind setting up was to restore the work life balance and ensure I have time to do the things I enjoy. One of those things is running and even through the coldest, wettest winter weather there has been nothing better than putting on the shoes and heading out either on the road or the trails at lunch or before work. This has allowed me to clear my head, think through the challenges and find solutions to what I have been working on.

I have seen various articles about taking coffee breaks and similar but I find there is nothing better than getting out into the fresh air for half an hour, an hour or longer. I come back to the office with new ideas and drive to ensure I am providing the best service for my clients that I can

The support I have had from my great clients and my network (including past colleagues) have been brilliant and I have really appreciated the opportunity to work with these leading manufacturing companies and help them grow and develop by finding the talented individuals to add to their teams. I feel working in partnership with these companies has allowed me to get a better understanding of the companies and deliver a better quality of candidate along with speeding the recruitment process up

Naturally with recruitment there have been struggles as well, but this is part of the industry and the skills shortage across the market which make some roles very difficult to recruit for. Three months down the line and I am ahead of where I had hoped to be. I even decided to spend the first of the marketing budget on a suitable beer at the Magna Real Ale festival

I spent a day at the MACH show at the NEC last week, I think it’s always important to stay up to date with what is happening in the industry so I understand the issues my clients and candidates are experiencing so I can offer the best possible service

It’s very early days and I’m still finding my way, but I feel I have built a strong foundation, to start from and will continue to put in the hard work but ensure I keep the balance right and continue to offer high levels of service and delivery to my existing clients and a few new ones as well.

If you are wanting any assistance with any recruitment across the Yorkshire region please don’t hesitate to get in touch on engineering@magpiepeople.co.uk or 07847 895269



I've always found it important to keep up to date with what is happening across the Manufacturing and Engineering sector, across the UK to help me assist the companies I am working with, so yesterday I headed down to the NEC to see the best of what is happening across the sector.

As always the show had a mix of some global manufacturing companies through to smaller SME's. There was a strong Yorkshire presence across the show and from the time I was there it appeared very well attended, hopefully this has continue throughout the week

Some of the innovations in Machining, Composite manufacturing and Industry 4.0 were inspiring and I'm looking forward to seeing how the industry continues to develop and grow

As well as the industry aspect there was an Educational section at the show which I haven't noticed before with some interesting and fun demonstrations to help get the next generation of engineers coming through

Next up is the Get up to Speed show in Rotherham next week, which is again aimed at bringing the next generation of engineers through to help tackle the skills shortage


Going it alone..

Jan 2018

“New year, New Challenge!” I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media on this theme followed by comments on how these changes rarely come to fruition, however I have decided to make a big change…

After spending a few months away from the sector, I quickly realised how much I enjoy working with the innovative Engineering and Manufacturing companies. So following over a decade specialising in recruiting professionals across the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors in the Yorkshire region, I have made the decision to set up on my own and offer a fully independent recruitment business, called Magpie People.

I want to work with companies I have enjoyed working with in the past, along with new companies I haven’t had the opportunity to work with as yet and be able to offer a fully tailored service to match recruitment requirements to ensure we are recruiting the best individuals to join your teams. This is something I have aspired to and now the time is right to take this step.

Despite being an independent start up, I have access to the recruitment tools required and I’m freed from the distraction of following a wider company strategy; I am working towards the sole goal of delivering the best levels of service and finding the best candidates for roles. This means I can be selective in the work I undertake and take the time to get to know the candidates and be able to meet the expectations of the companies I am working with.

I would welcome the chance to speak to you or come and meet with you and discuss how I may be able to assist with your recruitment requirements and plans for the coming year. If there is anything you would like to discuss please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Get in Touch

If you would like to discuss your next career move or you are looking to add to your team please feel free to get in touch on 07847 895269