Business heroes: Ove Arup, Structural Engineer – Shaping the world

Business heroes: Ove Arup, Structural Engineer – Shaping the world

Ove Arup wasn’t only the finest structural engineer of his generation. He led the way in forming one of the earliest employee-owned companies, too

By Journalist Tim Gibson

When Ove Arup stood before his global workforce on 9 July, 1970, he was faced with an impressive task. As the figurehead for one of the highest-profile engineering practices in the world, he was revered professionally. But he needed to unite his audience, because he was bringing a number of disparate companies together under one banner, The Arup Group.

    For Arup, work was a defining factor in a person’s identity: he thought it ought to be “interesting and rewarding”,...  

Arup’s first business venture launched in 1938, but the engineering practice that would make his reputation formed in 1946. Over subsequent years, as Arup established his name by working on high-profile projects such as the Sydney Opera House, Arup practices sprung up around the world, in places as diverse as the Middle East, Africa and throughout Europe.

Protecting a legacy

In 1970, at the age of 75, it became clear to Arup that he needed to establish his legacy. As he and many of his associates considered retirement, he wanted to consolidate the Arup brand and spell out what it stood for.

The result is a piece of oratory that remains important for the multinational Arup Group to this day. So important, in fact, that it is published on the company’s website and viewed as required reading for every new employee.

Arup’s “Key Speech” sets out not just his business philosophy, but his approach to life. It reads in parts like a treatise on morality – hardly a surprise when you consider the close connection Arup saw between work and a person’s very existence.

That is the point with which Arup’s great speech began. He distanced himself from the view associated with fellow industrialist Henry Ford, who saw work as a necessary evil that facilitated enjoyable leisure time. For Arup, work was a defining factor in a person’s identity: he thought it ought to be “interesting and rewarding”, carried out in community with others.

Employee-owned trust

The Arup Group’s ownership structure continues to reflect its founder’s commitment to work as a shared endeavour. Despite employing more than 14,000 people in 34 countries, the business prides itself on being an independent practice. It is owned by a trust, which distributes the firm’s profits among past and present employees.

Just Recruitment is Appointing a New DirectorThe Arup Group is one of the biggest employee-owned companies in the world. Its structure closely reflects Ove Arup’s vision: “…no man is an island … our lives are inextricably mixed up with those of our fellow human beings … there can be no real happiness in isolation.”

Such a view may seem inimical to business success. Yet the high stature of the Arup Group shows the force of its founder’s principles, as well as their financial value. Last year, the company made profits of £47.7m. Arup understood the importance of finding the right people to deliver such success. He put a huge emphasis on “quality”, creating a culture in which each person felt valued, encouraged to be their very best.

Total Architecture

Thanks to Arup, the company has a “mission”: a belief that it has a “special contribution to make” to structural engineering, and the world in general. He advocated a method known as “total architecture”. At its heart is the belief that good architecture improves lives by making the best use of space and facilitating positive human interactions.

As it was with his business ethos, so it was with his understanding of the work he and his colleagues carried out. Arup was driven by his values. He saw buildings as more than lumps of stone and metal. They have the power to shape the world, as do the companies that design and construct them.

      Arup was driven by his values. He saw buildings as more than lumps of stone and metal.  

An era of growth

It is perhaps unsurprising that the Arup Group went from strength to strength following Arup’s 1970 “Key Speech”. This coincided with it becoming an employee-owned trust. But Ove Arup – who would be knighted just a year later – understood that such an ownership structure only made sense if underscored by a shared ethos.

Arup’s speech was an attempt to establish that ethos and secure the buy-in of the next generation. That it continues to perform this function for employees some 50 years later is testament to the power of a strong vision, clearly articulated with passion and precision. It reveals as much about Arup’s rhetorical skill as his business savvy.

The Arup Group’s achievements since that July day show what happens when you give people a say in their future, when you show them they are valued by giving them a stake in their destiny. That is the power of employee ownership: it enshrines a culture of mutuality and togetherness. And when that forms the bedrock of a business, success will surely follow.

 

Just Recruitment: Working together, sharing success

Just Recruitment Group Ltd became an employee-owned company in 2017. Every member of the workforce has a stake in the business. As a result, we work hard to pursue excellence in all things. We put people at the very heart of our company, because we understand the value of working together to secure success.

Find out more about employee ownership here.

Published: 7 May 2020

© 2020 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you liked this article you may like to read: The power of an inspirational teacher

You may also like to read: The knowledge: find out what you stand for

Jobs currently available

New job
Care Coordinator
Sector: Healthcare
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: BUC-CC
About the role

Back Up Care is recruiting for a Care Coordinator for their Colchester Office to work on the busy Healthcare desk.

Previous experience in scheduling care and support staff would be preferred and a healthcare background is an advantage. You will be extremely confident and well-presented and be able to use your own initiative.

This position will involve working alongside the Office Manager, supporting them with the day to day running of the desk.

The role will include:

  • Registration interviews with potential new candidates, and completion of all necessary compliance documents for successful candidates
  • Booking clients rotas to relevant active care staff, and ensuring that all care staff availability is booked to full potential
  • Service calls to clients that are using service meetings to ensure current clients’ needs are being met by Back Up Care
  • Telephone calls to prospect clients
  • Email and Mailers sent to prospect clients
  • Source leads for possible new business
  • Sales calls to obtain new business
  • Sales meetings to obtain new business
  • Ensure specialist software is updated with carer and client information and all bookings are entered onto the system
  • General administration duties
  • On-call rota duties

This requires you to work at an extremely fast pace, placing candidates into both temporary and permanent placements to match their qualifications, skills and experience.

There is a large amount of telephone calls liaison with candidates and clients, therefore excellent clear communicational skills are a must and excellent interpersonal skills are essential.

Other essential skills are:

  • An ability to work as part of a team and as a lone worker
  • A proven ability of effective time management and organisational skills
  • Excellent administrational skills are vital and attention to detail ensuring all candidates are compliant prior to assignment
  • Due to the requirements of the role, a driving licence and access to a vehicle for work purposes is essential

Holiday entitlement:

28 days holiday including public holidays, increasing to 33 days after 2-year service.

If you wish to apply for this role, please forward your CV to emma.brown@back-upcare.co.uk

Read more
New job
Maintenance Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £24,000 - £26,000 per annum
Location: Braintree, Essex
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910878
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Maintenance Engineer on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex to assist its maintenance team in planned maintenance and breakdown repairs throughout the site.

You will ideally have gained experience within an industrial/heavy engineering environment.

The focus of this role is to ensure the smooth day to day running of the company wide machines and buildings.

The role will require close coordination with the maintenance team.

The main department responsibilities in this role are as follows:

  • Assist in the planning of breakdown maintenance of the whole site.
  • Assist in the planning and implementation of new project installations.
  • Assist engagement and liaison with sub-contractors vehicles service operators and insurance inspectors.
  • Assist in purchasing maintenance-related products and services. Maintain efficient maintenance spares and factory consumables store.
  • Routine production-related tasks.
  • Site Security.
  • Assist in the management of staff overalls.
  • Assist in the management of company vehicles.
  • Supervision of labourers working in your immediate area.
  • Assist in Lean Manufacturing initiative and tidiness of your area.
  • Assist in Supervising apprentices/trainees when allocated to the maintenance department.
  • Provide full support to all maintenance team.
  • Provide feedback to Managers
  • Suggest improvements to procedures, equipment, operating methods etc. to increase efficiency.
  • Work to provide results in a timely manner in accordance with planned dates/times.
  • Note: Training will be provided on company-specific systems and machinery, but you should have a good understanding of mechanical and electrical engineering and be able to learn the roles above quickly.

Skills, Experience & Qualifications:

  • Apprenticeship minimum to NVQ Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering (Craft and Technician).
  • Hydraulics and pneumatics training.
  • Electrical qualifications - Electrical Maintenance basics at a minimum.
  • IOSH or NEBOSH qualification.
  • Ideally, 3+ years experience as a maintenance Technician/engineer.
  • Experience 3+ years of team working (2 or more people).
  • Ideally have 5 GCSE’s including Maths & English and Science (C or above).
  • A working knowledge of Windows and MS Office, Outlook, Word and Excel most importantly.

Candidates without these qualifications but who can demonstrate relevant knowledge and experience will be considered.

Hours of work:

  • 39 hours per week.
  • Monday to Thursday: 7.00am – 3.30pm.
  • Friday: 7.00am – 2.30pm.
Read more
New job
QA Manager
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910873
About the role

Our client is seeking an experienced Quality Assurance Manager to join them on a permanent, full-time basis. This opportunity offers stability, longevity and professional development.

Reporting directly to the MD, the Quality Assurance Manager will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining and improving the Company's Quality Management System and ensure internal compliance
  • Working with all departments to ensure their procedures are being followed and to improve their internal and cross-functional processes and procedures
  • Ensure that the quality of current and newly introduced products is compliant and traceable
  • Coordinate Quality activities with all over departments
  • Develop and improve quality relationships with all customers of the Company
  • Responsible for all Quality activities and personnel in the Quality Department for the Company
  • Provide strong leadership in the day-to-day operations of the Quality department and mentor the members of the team
  • Establish performance goals for all departmental employees and monitor performance on a continual basis
  • Oversee all hiring, appraisal, training and discipline of Quality personnel
  • Member of the Company's Management team
  • Produce the Quality element of the company's annual Budget
  • Formulate the departmental strategy aligned to the overall Company strategy
  • Embed a Continuous Improvement culture within the Quality Dept and contribute to the Continuous Improvement programme across the site

Requirements:

  • HND or equivalent qualification in Engineering or a related technical field required
  • Minimum 5 years experience in a Manufacturing environment
  • Ability to articulate (verbally and in writing), defend and negotiate Quality expectations with internal and external customers at all levels of management
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to guide and educate/train at all levels
Read more
New job
Customer Service Administrator
Sector: Customer Service
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910871
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-regarded organisation at the forefront of its sector that is looking to add a Customer Service Administrator to its team, due to growth – based on the outskirts of Halstead.

The main purpose of the role is to service current and prospective customers by receiving and processing orders, enquiries and general information in a timely and courteous manner.

Key tasks include:

  • Answering incoming calls, giving product information, lead times, dealing with general enquiries and queries, redirecting calls to relevant departments
  • Raising and inputting orders and proforma invoices
  • Raising quotations
  • Amending orders, as required
  • Scanning documentation
  • Liaising with Areas Sales Managers and responding to their requests
  • Arranging couriers and/or carriers as required
  • Any general office associated duties

Key requirements for the role:

  • Excellent computer skills
  • Good eye for detail
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Courteous

Previous experience requirements:

  • Previous Customer Service Administrative experience gained within an office environment
  • Excellent telephone manner with the ability to communicate at all levels
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and experience of in-house systems
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritise own workload
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Understanding of the importance of data protection and adherence to the process

Offering free parking and an excellent working environment, this is a great opportunity to join a growing team.

Working Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week - offering a competitive salary and company benefits.

Read more
New job
Production Operative
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.91 per hour
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 910811
About the role

Want to work in a safe, clean environment?
And have the possibility of ongoing work?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Temporary Production Operative to be based in Needham Market.

Duties include:

  • Ensure all final and completed products are packed to the customer specifications                               
  • Informing Line Leaders of defects found in the products
  • Keep machines supplied with packing materials and labels
  • Assist the Line Leaders with handovers and changeovers
  • Responsible for general cleanliness of the production area and removal of production and general waste
  • Check products on the line for quality and defects
  • Basic production duties carried out in a fast-paced environment

Working hours:

8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Read more
Logistics Coordinator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £24,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910869
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting, a well-regarded, family-run business on the outskirts of Ipswich.

You will be responsible for assisting with the loads out operation of the business by ensuring that the process from collection to arrival at the final destination is fully supported by the relevant goods in haulage documentation.

You will also be supporting the sales function of the business by dealing with customer queries in terms of both sales and operations as well as assisting with various ad-hoc marketing campaigns. This is a very varied role and requires flexibility, commitment and a substantial desire to learn and grow with the flourishing business.

Duties will include:

  • Process orders and oversees the order to completion of paperwork
  • Facilitate the shipping of products from one destination to another
  • Arrange transportation with outside hauliers
  • Receive paperwork from the Weighbridge department and check and complete the paperwork within the allocated time allowed
  • Answer calls and emails relating to customer queries and log them on the CRM system and resolve any outstanding issues raised
  • Keep CRM records up-to-date
  • Work with the sales and operations team to ensure that high customer service levels are achieved and delivered to all customers you are responsible for at all times

Skills required:

  • Good Microsoft skills including Word, Outlook & Excel
  • Ability to work proactively on an independent basis as well as be a good team player
  • You will have the interpersonal skills necessary to develop and sustain effective relationships with team members of other departments and with all customers
  • Good attention to detail and analytical skills
Read more