Welcoming Lee Jeyes to Our Board of Directors

18 August 2022

We were delighted to welcome Lee Jeyes to our main board recently after over 34 years with the company. We sat down with Lee to hear about his story with Bagnalls and his progression through the business.

How did you come to join Bagnalls and what was it that attracted you to the company initially?

I started as a school leaver with the Youth Training Scheme apprentice back in 1987. I was never particularly academic and didn’t enjoy sitting in a classroom, so after leaving school I knew that I wanted to get a trade and have a hands-on role. I applied for apprenticeships in painting and decorating as well as plumbing and bricklaying, and one of these applications landed me an interview with Les Driver at Bagnalls in Shipley. I was offered an apprenticeship position and things continued from there as I started getting into the work and enjoying the process of being an apprentice and seeing my skills develop. Things just kept going from there as I got more support and worked my way up through the business; I will have been with the company for 35 years, this year.

What was your first year on the job like and did you have any mentors?

When I first joined the business, new build contracts were a staple of our work and formed the majority of my on-site experience during my first year. One of the foremen, Stuart Baxter, was my main mentor during this time and really took me under his wing. Back then, apprentices were usually assigned a foreman who would take care of their training for the entirety of their apprenticeship. Stuart was brilliant in this regard and really took the time to make sure I understood everything and continued to grow and learn new things in my role.

What opportunities for professional development have you had throughout your career?

My former boss Lindsay Robertshaw, who recently retired from the business, has been a perpetual source of guidance in my working career. He provided me with my first progression opportunity within the business when working on a chemical site called ICI, where I was offered a staff position as a non-working foreman. From there, I progressed to a staff job in October 1999, continuing to add to my responsibilities on various chemical and utility jobs over the years. As time went on, I took over increasingly more of the gas works from Lindsay and began managing that side of the business, which has formed a constant in my career since 2000. From there, I progressed to Branch Manager of our Shipley branch and most recently to Board Director on the 1st of June which was an incredible honour. One of the joys of working at Bagnalls has been how natural the progression has been. The company recognises hard work, talent and a willingness to learn and provides opportunities in line with your skills.

What would you say have been some of your career highlights?

Moving up the ranks at the company has been a huge privilege and has taken me in exciting and unexpected directions in my career. When I started as an apprentice, I had planned to spend my career as a tradesman and never thought I’d end up as a Board Director. I’ve taken each opportunity as it’s come my way in the business, not knowing where it would take me.

How have you seen training develop over the years at Bagnalls?

Bagnalls have always been very strong as a company when it comes to training and management, particularly with our apprentices who we invest a lot of time and resources in developing. Testament to this is the fact that colleagues and apprentices who I started with like Alan Newlove, Damien Boyle and Bob Dennis are still in the business three decades later. Richard Britten, another former apprentice, is also a fellow Board Member, meaning that two out of nine colleagues on the board began work at Bagnalls as apprentices. This history of investment in our workforce is also seeing continual improvement to this day, for example through the renovation of our Training Academy earlier this year with upgraded facilities for our apprentices. Over the years, we’ve also brought on more apprentice learners and offer a wider range of apprenticeship courses such as sales and management options. The strength of our apprenticeships was recently attested to when we were the only painting and decorating company to be named one of England’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022.

What would you say to someone aspiring to be a future Director at Bagnalls?

Former apprentices like Richard Britten and me sitting on the board proves that at Bagnalls, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. With a bit of hard work and a bit of desire, the opportunities are there for the taking. At Bagnalls, you’ll be supported with your career ambitions no matter where you start off in the business, and there’s nothing to stop apprentices and those in the trade from rising to the highest level.

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