Investment has been a key theme in 2022, with the opening of two new safety centres at Trafford Park, in Manchester, and more recently in Bracknell, Berkshire.
The opening of the Trafford Park Safety Centre, in January, celebrated the creation of a new state-of-the-art space, offering training facilities for working at height, confined space, respiratory protection, face-fit testing and health and safety management as well as a new store offering over 2,000 products to choose from.
More recently, in November, we launched our latest safety centre in Bracknell, bringing our expert knowledge, high-quality products and training offer to the south of the UK.
The Bracknell Safety Centre represented an investment of over £2million and created 12 new jobs in the area.
The location is a strategically significant move for Arco and the centre, hosting practical learning environments, including a 20-metre external tower for working at height training as well as a confined space labyrinth, an equipment hire and service centre and an on-site safety store, where customers can purchase products.
Development of Skills, Training Offer and Product Range
As the UK's leading safety company, we have also continued to invest in the skills of our colleagues and in the facilities and equipment used to deliver our industry-leading training.
In January, the business was awarded the prestigious Investor in Sales Award from the Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP), recognising the commitment we have made to ensuring our sales staff provide a professional and ethical service to customers.
With a core purpose of keeping people safe at work, we were the first company in our sector to achieve this award.
During January, we also announced an exciting partnership with FLX Health, to become the exclusive UK reseller of the FLX app, a targeted physiotherapy app that works to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace and rehabilitate employees more quickly when they arise.
We also launched our first ever dedicated graduate placement programme, as part of an ongoing commitment to developing the next generation of talent in the safety industry, and was, recognised as one of the top 10 family businesses in the UK for employing apprentices and promoting apprenticeships for professional development.
We received this prestigious status as part of a list compiled by Family Business United, the global voice of the family business community, which ranked Arco as number 10 in the country as part of its report for 2022 looking at the number of apprentices in the family business sector.
In the summer, Arco Professional Safety Services secured accreditation from the Global Wind Organisation to deliver its suite of basic safety training (BST) qualifications at our safety centres in Linlithgow, Scotland, and Stafford, England.
Experts in Safety
As experts in safety, we have continued to influence the health and safety agenda, nationally, through our award-wining public affairs work.
Earlier in the year, we responded to the High Court's ruling that the "VIP fast track lane" for awarding PPE contracts to those with political connections, during the pandemic, was unlawful.
Arco also responded to the announcement that £8.7billion of PPE procured by the Government during the pandemic had to be written off following the publication of the Department for Health and Social Care's accounts for 2020/21 and again encouraged lessons to be learnt through our white paper: Personal Protective Equipment and the Government's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
In the summer, we submitted evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Respiratory Health's follow-up inquiry into silica dust and its impact on construction workers.
The follow-up inquiry aims to investigate advances in risk reduction strategies and to evaluate the practicalities of industry-wide adoption of the latest technologies.
The past 12 months have been a memorable one for colleagues as well.
Five safety experts from Safety Services, Mike Clayton, Bartek Biela, Rob Messenger, Richard Newton and Connor Lloyd were awarded the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal in recognition of their life-saving voluntary work cave rescue organisations, search and rescue teams and firefighting services.
Mike was also invited to attend the UK premiere of the movie: Thirteen Lives.
Directed by Ron Howard and starring Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell, the film recounts the obstacles that had to be overcome to rescue twelve boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018. A rescue operation that Mike was involved in.
In the summer, our expertise in working at height was demonstrated by Training Instructor, Russell Edwards, who took some stunning photographs and video footage of the Red Arrows flying over The Blackpool Tower.
Russ climbed the iconic 518 ft tall structure to get the shots during the Blackpool Air Show and was assisted by colleagues Jack Perry and Chris Fricker.
In September, Arco joined people across the nation, the Commonwealth and from around the world in paying tribute to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, after the long-reigning monarch passed away. A message of heartfelt condolence was sent to the Royal Family on behalf of Arco.
The end of the year saw a change in leadership, with the appointment of Guy Bruce as our new CEO, following the retirement of Managing Director, David Evison.
Guy, who has significant experience in industry, joined Arco from Equans and prior to that specialist building materials distributor SIG plc.
Arco's strategic plan, Destination 2025, sets out how we will grow and adopt new and innovative ideas to futureproof the business over the next three years.
Guy will develop this strategy further by maximising the potential of the significant investments undertaken by Arco over recent years and by accelerating digital transformation, enhancing customer experience and driving sustainability.
As a responsible choice of safety partner, we also progressed projects in line with our approach to sustainability and our overall target of being carbon net zero by 2045.
In March, Arco committed seed funding to partner with start-up company Stuff4Life to support the research and development of a closed-loop, circular economy solution for polyester workwear.
The funding enabled Stuff4Life to commission a chemical recycling demonstration plant in collaboration with Teesside University, bringing onboard its academic experts, world-leading research capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities.
The research undertaken by Arco and Stuff4Life has proved successful, and we are now looking to scale-up that work.
As a fifth-generation family-business, we are committed to supporting the communities across the country we call home through sponsorships, grants, charitable donations, and colleague engagement as part of its extensive CSR programme.
In 2022, our colleagues completed more than 108 days of volunteering and supported 20 charities and organisations.
We also partnered with Action for Children - a children and family charity - to fund two new roles supporting young people and disabled children.
More than 300 children and their families in the Glasgow and South Lanarkshire area have been supported as part of this partnership.
We also supported Ayrshire Cancer Support with £6,650 of funding to create a new support service for children and young people.
Our donation has contributed towards a range of developing services, including a newly hired Children and Young People Lead. This position plays a pivotal role in assisting the charity to provide well-being services and meaningful collaboration with children and young people. This includes building on existing children's services and connecting with the wider community to build an effective support network.
In response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Arco joined up with global first responder, International Medical Corps, to provide 80,000 items of essential PPE to aid those directly affected by the conflict.
Other projects supported, included Hull-based charity CatZero, an organisation which creates unique employability programmes for young people, families, single parents and adults to help them move onto employment, education, or training, the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, the only charity that provides emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to construction workers and their families, and Hull and East Yorkshire Children's University (HEY CU), a local children's charity that aims to raise the aspirations of young people by building their confidence with unique learning experiences.
At Arco, our promise is to make your world safer. It is a responsibility we take seriously and has been demonstrated across our milestones and highlights in 2022.
From all our colleagues, we would like to wish you, your families and friends, a Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.