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HR&D Awards – Meet the Partners: Esh Group

Sponsoring this year’s ‘Excellence in Supporting Armed Forces Talent’ category is Esh Group, one of the North of England’s largest privately-owned construction businesses. Through training programs, career development, and a dedication to supporting the armed forces, Esh Group embodies a commitment to excellence in people practices. Here, North East Times speaks to Esh Group to discuss their partnership with the HR&D Awards, and what it means to them. 



What motivated you to become a sponsorship partner of the 2024 HR&D Awards?

As businesses grapple with ever increasing costs, and ways to innovate and improve services or products, nothing can be achieved without their most important resource – people. The best HR&D teams work collaboratively, delivering excellence, making a positive impact on peoples working lives, at the same time aligning developmental opportunities with business strategy. The HR&D awards provide a spotlight on the great achievements in the North East. They provide an opportunity for HR professionals from across the region to celebrate successes and learn from the inspirational changes taking place, and how they might be applied to their own sector.

How do you support professional development and career growth opportunities for your employees?

All Esh Group employees commence work with a six-month probationary period during which clear targets, checklists and training objectives are agreed. Annual PDRs map progress and performance and feed into our company-wide talent pipeline to support succession planning. We encourage professional memberships and qualifications, provide leadership and management courses, team building programmes, mentoring and volunteering opportunities. As an Armed Forces Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Covenant holder, we offer paid leave for Armed Forces reservists, and provide opportunities to help ex-military personnel reintegrate into civilian employment. Throughout 2023, 2300 training courses were attended by Esh employees and 124 NVQs were achieved, ranging from Level 2 Plant Operations to Level 7 Senior Site Management courses.


  • Chris Watson, HR Director at Esh Group


As a sponsor, what impact do you hope to make in celebrating and promoting excellent people practices within the industry?

Esh Group’s successes are built on the power of its people. Growing from humble beginnings in the 1970s, the firm has maintained its community-focused ethos. By supporting the awards, we hope to inspire more focus on the promotion of people across all sectors. We are fortunate to have employees who are experts in their field. By investing in our staff through a range of training, wellbeing and HR policies, we can ensure the future pipeline projects and business strategies can be implemented successfully. Showcasing our knowledge and best practice through the awards encourages other businesses to enhance their people practices.

As a sponsorship partner of the Excellence in Supporting Armed Forces Talent Award, why is this important in people practices and business?

Partnering with the Excellence in Supporting Armed Forces Talent Award is crucial for our people practices and business. Our collaboration with the MOD functions as a mutually beneficial relationship. By aligning with the MOD, we aim to attract the talent essential for our continued success. Service leavers from the MOD bring transferable skills ideal for our sector. Our reservist employees undergo top-tier leadership and management training, enhancing their professionalism. This training cultivates traits like humility, self-discipline, determination, and effective communication, ultimately bolstering their supervisory skills. Our partnership underscores our commitment to leveraging military expertise to enrich our workforce and business operations.

If you are interested in the sponsorship opportunities and would like to become a partner of the HR&D Awards, please contact:

Lesley – [email protected] / 07748 908058

Dawn – [email protected] / 07789 666437

Banner picture: Esh Group staff on a team building day with the Ministry of Defence

May 3, 2024

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Created by Kate Hewison