Leigh Duke

It was the love of bright pink branding, friendly people, targets, money, and fun that attracted Operations Director, Kat, to a career in recruitment. (Although the pink branding at that time was for Office Angels, rather than Amour) A then just 19-year-old Kat walked into Office Angels to register as a candidate and realised it was a career in recruitment that she wanted, not for Office Angels to find her a job. 

After a meeting an inspirational consultant called Nina Palmer (she still remembers her name) and the Branch Manager, who turned into a lifelong friend, Kat was on her way. Despite family and friends telling Kat that recruitment wasn’t a ‘real’ career, she has proved them wrong with a career spanning 24 years and progression through the ranks to Operations Director. 

When did you join Amour Recruitment?

July 2017

What are your responsibilities as Operations Director?

My role is diverse, and I enjoy the challenge of being able to switch from one role to another. My main responsibility is supporting and growing the business in our Cardiff office. I’m also the oracle for software and processes throughout the business.

I ensure that, as a business we are compliant and have robust processes in place, that our software and CRMs work for us and I take care of the day-to-day management of Teams.

Client relationship management is an important part of my role. I manage the key accounts, growing the relationships and developing the business. I work with clients on a partnership basis to improve their recruitment process and then engage our fulfilment team to fill the vacancies.

You mentioned above that part of your role is to make sure that Amour is compliant. How do you do that with your Engineering & Technical, Industrial & Driving and Office & Professional Divisions?

Amour has implemented a robust system to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and best practices. I have listed some of our key components of our compliance framework below:-

•    Internal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: We have established internal CRMs to effectively manage our client and candidate information, ensuring data security, accuracy, and privacy.
•    Right to work checks: We prioritise conducting thorough right to work checks for all candidates to comply with employment laws.  This involves verifying the eligibility of individuals to work in the country and ensuring we have the necessary documentation on file.
•    References: We place great emphasis on obtaining and validating candidates ‘references.  This allows us to access their qualifications, experience, and character.
•    Gangmasters licensing: We adhere to any relevant regulations related to our gangmasters licensing.  This ensures compliance with labour standards, protection of workers’ rights, and prevention of exploitation.
•    GDPR: We understand the significance of data protection and privacy.  Amour complies with the requirement set forth by the GPDR, safeguarding personal data, obtaining consent where necessary, and implementing appropriate security measures to protect the information we handle.

These are just a few examples of the measures we have in place to ensure compliance within Amour. As Operations Director, I continuously monitor industry standards, regulations, and best practices to enhance our compliance framework.

Why did Amour decide to concentrate on the divisions of Engineering and Technical, Industrial and Driving and Office and Professional?

We conducted research and analysis to identify areas within the recruitment landscape where there was a significant demand for specialised services.  Our divisions were chosen based on market gaps and the need for a quality recruitment solution. Amour is staffed with a team of professionals who bring years of experience and expertise in various sectors.  Our chosen divisions align with the expertise and knowledge we have built over time, enabling us to delivery exceptional results and cater to the unique requirements of each industry.

How do you ensure that you stand out against the competition in these areas?

We prioritise building strong relationships with both our clients and candidates.  By focussing on specific divisions, we are able to develop a deep understanding of the industries we serve, establish networks, and provide tailored solutions that meet the needs of our clients and candidates.

Always striving to deliver an excellent service ensures that we maintain a strong reputation within all our divisions. We also continually evaluate our performance and seek feedback from our clients and candidates to enhance our services further.

Tell me more about the Welsh branch of Amour Recruitment

Our Welsh office opened in a corner of my bedroom in July 2017. By October 2017 we had grown so much that we needed more staff and an office.  We now have a great team of consultants who are growing with the business and are proud to have consultants who are fluent in Welsh, and an office dog!  Our branch recruits for Office & Professional and Industrial/Technical and Engineering.  Now, in 2023 we have a phenomenal client base and work with some of the best businesses in the UK.  The team enjoy our monthly socials in Cardiff, and our Friday spin the wheel where we win prizes for our targets achieved for the week.

Fe agorodd ein swyddfa yng Nghymru ym mis Gorffennaf 2017 o gefn f’ystafell wely.  Erbyn Hydref 2017 roedd arnom ni angen staff a swyddfa.  Mae gennym ni dîm gwych o ymgynghorwyr sy’n tyfu gyda’r busnes.  Mae gennym ni hyd yn oed ymgynghorwyr sy’n siarad Cymraeg yn rhugl, a chi bach y swyddfa!  Mae ein cangen yn recriwtio ar gyfer Swyddfa a Phroffesiynol a Diwydiannol/Technegol a Pheirianyddol.  Mae gennym gwsmeriaid cyson rhyfeddol ac rydym yn gweithio gyda rhai o’r busnesau gorau yn y DU.  Rydym yn mwynhau ein cymdeithasu misol yng Nghaerdydd, a throelli’r olwyn ar ddydd Gwener, ble byddwn yn ennill gwobrwyon am y targedau yn gwnaethom eu cyrraedd yn ystod yr wythnos. 

What are your strengths?

Communication, training, supporting others, client engagement, adaptability, approachable, coaching, strategic thinking, diplomacy, planning, change management, solutions finder.

What has been your best highlight so far?

Seeing key members of my team excel and grow as individuals because of the coaching and the safe space environment we’ve created.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic – We implemented new ways of working in record breaking high speed and worked with our fantastic MD to steer and protect the teams and the business. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

That’s an easy answer – seeing people develop and grow.

How do you see your role developing over the next 5 years?

I see my role developing into a more strategic position and growing our Wales and Southwest presence.

How would your staff in the Welsh branch describe you?

They would describe me as the Welsh Dragon ha-ha!  They would hands down say I was incredibly driven, approachable, protective, and always there for them.  Though I will breathe fire on occasions.

Who and what inspires you in life?

I wouldn’t say I am inspired by just one person, but many who have influenced my life.  Personally, and in business.  I inspire myself as I’m not someone who wallows, I’m always climbing up, fighting, and chasing my next 10 years.  I remember watching a video of Matthew McConaughy where he was talking about his inspirations and his hero.  He said his hero was him in 10 years’ time…. he would always be chasing his hero – I loved that as that’s me!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up I always wanted to be a journalist, and when I used to take the career tests in school I always came out as suited to being an author or a journalist.  I didn’t follow that route as I was very shy, and quiet.  However, after my time working in recruitment, I think I’d be quite good at it now!  Although if I had my time again, I think I would’ve joined the police force. 


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