While attending the BAR Young Movers conference in Belfast, Steve Jordan spoke to some of the team that run the group to find out more about its aims, methods and what really makes it different from what’s been before.
The BAR Young Movers is four years old. It’s the latest incarnation of a movement that has been around before, but then faded. In what way is this group different? Why are they more likely to succeed when others have not done so?
Calvin Tickner from EuroGroup is now the vice chairman of Young Movers. He was involved from the start. He said he had been impressed with the IAM’s Young Professionals, so asked BAR why there wasn’t now anything similar in the UK. “The IAM group had been very helpful to me,” he said. “Everyone is nervous when they go to conferences, but they made me very welcome.” So he, and others, including some who had been involved with the previous Young Movers group, made a start.
Ciaran Mullarkey (Immediate Past Chairman), from George Pickersgill, said that it began modestly. “But we always knew that this should not just be a social group. We needed to bring Young Movers into the 21st century and breathe some life into it. We understood the importance of the social side, it's where you make your relationships and build your career, but we had to make it educational too. We also had to make sure that employers understood the value of it.”
The first new Young Movers conference was in Birmingham in 2017, followed by Cardiff the following year. By the time the group met in Brighton in 2019 it had been properly constituted with its own Council, seats on the other three BAR Councils (National, Commercial and Overseas) and the chairman, now Mairead Almandras from Sandersteads, had a seat on the BAR main Board.
Like the other Councils, the Young Movers meets, 3-4 times a year. But that’s just the start. The group makes full use of the communication tools available today to ensure that nothing stands still. Michael Dunbar from McGimpseys in Belfast is a Council member. “As well as the normal communication tools, the Young Movers Council has a WhatsApp group so we are always in touch, even out of normal hours,” he explained. This means decisions can be made jointly and quickly between meetings. “We also formed sub-committees so by the time the next meeting comes around we've already got things in place. After each meeting we then create new sub-committees to deal with the issues that arose.” It’s a very efficient way to organise the group that speeds up decision making.
The declared aim of the Young Movers is to improve the perception of the moving industry both with customers, and in general, so that it can provide true career paths for talented people at all levels in the industry. A key factor in that aim is training, much of which has been focussing on selling, in its broadest sense.
Calvin said that they have been offering courses on a wide range of subjects, including costing, selling and the upselling of additional services such as handyman services. “We're not just talking about middle management, we want everybody - porters surveyors, clerks, everyone - to understand the role that they have in the business and how they can all contribute to winning the next job. We want to be all-inclusive.”
The BAR Young Movers is not restricted to people from BAR member companies. Anyone under 40 years of age can be a member for just £55 + VAT a year, although people from non-BAR companies do need to pay £100 to become individual members of BAR first. “Our goal is to bring everyone together, fight towards a common goal, push the industry forward and get everybody at a standard that allows us to charge the prices that we deserve,” said Michael. “We need to get as many companies in the UK involved as we can.”
It’s a big job. Not only must the Young Movers devise courses and webinars to provide the training, they also have to communicate with prospective members, throughout the industry, to ensure that they know what’s available and the benefits of membership. “Getting the message to them in the first place is a massive challenge,” admitted Ciaran. “We need to make people want to do it but also influence their bosses to give them the time and funding to take part.”
A big job it may be, but the Young Movers have one irresistible quality: enthusiasm. They are absolutely committed to what they are doing, have the required skills and are prepared to put in the necessary time to make it work. They recognise that it’s not only an opportunity to socialise and build relationships, it’s a serious attempt to do something that the industry so far, throughout its existence, has found difficult: to make moving recognised as a skilled occupation, worthy of attractive wages for employees and sustainable profits for companies.
They also have an eye on the future. The moving industry is changing rapidly and it is this generation that will guide it through. “It’s up to us how we drive it forward, how we leap each hurdle as it comes,” said Michael Dunbar. “That's what we're trying to do as a Council. We are looking forward, it’s the only thing to do.”
Photo (left to right): Michael Dunbar, Calvin Tickner and Ciaran Mullarkey.