James-Collins-PhotoJames Collins 

Age: 23

Background: Part-time tube processor at Shawston Steel Tube Processing & Distribution Centre during school and university holidays.

Education: 2:1 honours degree in Finance from Manchester Metropolitan University

First role at Shawston: Accounts Office Assistant

Current Role: Group Financial Controller managing a team of 4 and a turnover of nearly £20 million, reporting to the Managing Director

Rob Davenport, Managing Director comments:
“James is a brilliant case study of someone with natural ability and a solid education applying himself to a series of jobs within our group.  I first met James when he was 20 and working part time at Shawston Tube shortly after we acquired them.  It was obvious to me James had a great work ethic, personality and a hunger for success within the financial world.  True to the Shawston people plan philosophy we approached James for a post graduate ‘fast track’ role within our group finance department.  Three years on, James’ learning curve has been steep but incredibly effective.  Due to a natural leaver a vacancy appeared for a finance controller and the old adage “if you are good enough you are old enough” was applied and James got the job!    We screened external candidates and it was absolutely clear that James possessed the correct qualities and relevant Shawston knowledge to be the stand out candidate.  Furthermore, we want to encourage internal promotion and provide examples to all that we will trust our judgement and people plan philosophy, we want Shawston to be regarded as a modern, forward thinking employer and I believe we are well on our way to delivering on this.

We spoke to James about his Shawston journey.

Q – How would you summarise Shawston as an employer?

A – Honest, professional, down to earth, realistic but above all else visionary because they gave me the chance.  I always felt I could deliver but needed to be coached and exposed a little.  The Shawston people plan really is good, it’s a tailored career road map identifying skills;, knowledge and attitude gaps in order to fulfil your personal career goals.

Q – What’s the one thing that you believe makes Shawston stand out from the crowd as a good employer?

A – Providing the opportunity but also backing it up with inspired hands-on leadership.

Q – What’s the most refreshing aspect of working for Shawston?

A – No politics or status.  The senior team operate with the line management and staff, it comes together as one, sounds a bit cheesy I know…. but it’s true.  I’ve only ever worked at Shawston but I know from friends that it appears many companies are not free of status or ego’s and it strikes me such traits will get in the way of real progress – I’m naturally drawn to being in an environment I trust and where I can express myself without fearing any consequences or there being a  ‘pecking order’ to create a feeling of jostling for progression, it all feels very natural and logical at Shawston, certainly different to how I perceive average employers operate.

Q – Weren’t you daunted by a massive promotion to Financial Controller back in April 2014?

A – No and yes I’d say……No because the level of training and Shawston centric experience I gathered was huge, and yes because it is a big role but reporting directly to Rob placed a safety net below me, one that I no longer feel I need so any early anxieties evaporated because the support was always there.

Q – How did your team react to having a new and young boss?

A – I don’t really see it like that, I’m one of the team, I need to lead it and be inspirational, but so do they, and indeed they are.  It has been amazing to see as a team what we have changed and delivered since April and we have received several written compliments from the management team, so right now we all feel good.

Q – What’s the future for Shawston Finance do you think?

A – To be more influential with the commercial team – improve the delivery of KPI’s to the team, help them measure performance and assist them to further improve customer service, but at the same time expand all of the roles within my team as the group expands,  and so far that’s exactly what is happening.

Q – Is it all work, work then? You do seem to be very busy all of the time?

A –  No  not really, we are really busy but we have a good level of banter, football often features and being a Man Utd fan I have been on the back foot more than I’d like, but the days go so quickly!  We have the odd social event and we all know each other’s family background and interests so to be honest there’s a healthy balance.

Q –  What’s the one thing you believe Shawston can do better?

A – That’s an easy one for me – spread the message about who we are. I believe we have so much to offer and we need to tell the world about it! I know from my chats with the directors that investment in the web site, social media and internal communication are all now on-stream and will make a big difference but I genuinely think we have something great to shout about so the more we shout the better!


Shawston London

Units G & H, Hillbottom Road, Sands Industrial Estate, High Wycombe, Bucks HP12 4HS

  • Tel: 01494 460 910
  • Fax: 01494 522 573

Shawston Birmingham

Bay 1, Block D, The Bescot Estate, Woden Road West, Wednesbury
West Midlands WS10 7SG

  • Tel: 0121 556 3400
  • Fax: 0121  506 4669

Shawston Manchester

Great Norbury Street, Hyde,
Cheshire SK14 1BW

  • Tel: 0161 368 4545
  • Fax: 0161 367 8114

Shawston Glasgow

Block 1 Unit 4, Annick Industrial Estate, 31 Sandilands Street, Shettleston, Glasgow G32 OHT

  • Tel: 0141 778 6975
  • Fax: 0141 778 6264

This website uses Cookies to improve your browsing experience. View Cookies Policy

I'm fine with this