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Q and A with Katie Aitken

Updated: Apr 28

What does your business do?

We are a DAF Truck Main Dealer, Service & Parts Centre

Why is Environment and Social Governance important to you?

From an environmental perspective we are ISO14001 accredited. Under this certification we must comply with a set of standards that demonstrate our practices around our environmental impact and control measures. The transport sector is responsible for 27% of the UKs total carbon emissions, our division within – HGV are responsible for 18% as such a large contributor to the carbon emissions only by taking proactive measures can we have a greater impact on driving these emissions down by supporting with the development of new technology and the means to service and repair the same.

Overall ESG is becoming more prevalent in industry and it’s something we feel by being ahead of the game with our strategy we are better placed for sustainable business growth. We are invited to tender for public service and blue-chip company contracts and it’s clear that it’s not a case of who can offer the best price or even the best service the consideration is becoming more a matter of whether our values closely align with that of the prospective customer and that is where the advantage truly lies. Northwest trucks have occupied our Wilson Road depot in Knowsley for over 3 decades many of our employees are local people and it’s important for us to be seen as a trusted employer and business within the local community.

What does Sustainability Mean to you?

The ability for our business to continue to operate, strengthen & grow, ensuring security not only for our workforce but for the local and national supply chains in our network. Considering the needs of all our stakeholders, being a good neighbour to the communities in which we operate and ensuring we fulfil our commitments to deliver new eco friendly tech to the industry in an effort to reduce the carbon emissions whilst also educating our employees on the environmental benefits of efficient working practices.

What motivates you?

Being in a position to force positive change, whether that be in the role of HR manager or heading up the Compliance department. Implementing new more efficient ways of working, rolling out an inclusive policy or introducing a new benefit or scheme all have such a positive impact on how our company performs and how fulfilled and happy our employees feel.

Can you describe/outline your typical day?

Being responsible for 2 functions within our business covering 4 sites across the northwest and over 150 employees there is never anything typical about my day. I could be doing a Health & safety Audit at the start of one day in Wigan, back in Knowsley assisting an employee or Line manager with a complex HR matter and ending in Cheshire addressing compliance conformity. This is what I love most about my role no day is the same and as both of the departments I oversee involve being connected to each site, department and staff member I have a unique opportunity to be as engaged more than others to truly understand the needs of our business and identify ways in which we can improve.

What was the best training you have ever done?

Mental Health First Aid – was a complete eye opener for me. I have not spoken to one person since who has done the same training and not come away feeling the same it’s such a positive step for businesses to be making this as much of a priority as First Aid. Employees need this support now more than ever before.

What do you do in your own time when you’re not working?

I have a 2-year-old daughter who takes up a lot of what spare time I have not working. My husband and I try and make the most of family time at the weekends along with my stepson and our little dog pepper we love a good walk on the beach & visiting friends and family etc. On the very rare occasion I don’t fall asleep whilst taking my daughter to bed, I love a good book!

What are your goals for the next two years?

I have been delaying starting a NEBOSH General certificate in Health & safety due to current workload and not having much time at home with the little one, so I want to get that completed. From a professional perspective I want to ensure that our company is on target to achieve all of our ESG goals. Support the business in a more efficient way of working through the development of new processes and systems and delivering a more substantial Learning and Development offering to our employees in support of our succession planning.

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