Mentoring began between mentor Grant Eckersley and Malcolm Rennie of Rennie Fabrication in early 2013. Malcolm Rennie founded his Moray based steel fabrication business in 2002 after a career spent mainly as a trained mechanical engineer in the oil and gas industry. Rennie Fabrication offer domestic and commercial manufactured steel products, ranging from garden gates and street lamps to stainless steel pipe work for use in distilleries and the bio mass heating industry.
When Malcolm joined Business Mentoring Scotland he was aiming to generate additional orders for his business’ products by tapping into potential demand from businesses in the oil and gas industry. Malcolm also had plans to expand through building a new workshop that would double the production capacity of his existing facility. Grant, currently an area manager for Callum Walker Energy Source, had previously worked as managing director of Moray Seafoods - a successful producer of high quality seafood - working in the business for over 20 years in some form, building up expertise in penetrating and developing export markets. As a direct result of Malcolm’s interaction with Grant, Rennie Fabrication has overcome recruitment problems and Malcolm has gained increased knowledge and expertise in the areas of financial controls and procedures.
Malcolm gives a summary of how his mentoring experience with Grant and Business Mentoring Scotland impacted upon his business:
Why did you join Business mentoring Scotland?
“We were referred to Business Mentoring Scotland through Highlands and Islands Enterprise and were looking to break into the oil & gas industry. We initially wanted a mentor experienced in that field, however, we were eventually paired with Grant who came from a different background, and he gave us a fresh insight into our plans.”
How did the mentoring relationship work?
“For the first 8 months or so I met with Grant every month, then as both of our schedules became busier we met less frequently, then had 2 or 3 meetings towards the end. Grant was a very nice man, easy to get on with, but upfront and direct, he could be quite ruthless in his approach – which is exactly what we needed. We still email each other from time to time.”
What specific business issues did you have?
“We were having trouble recruiting the right staff – we basically had a labour shortage and Grant gave us new ideas on how to get the staff we wanted and needed, which we then did. Grant also showed us how to keep them.”
What other impacts did mentoring have?
“Grant gave us valuable feedback on the financial plans for our planned new workshop. He also helped us with new ideas - like creating quirkier offices designed like an oil rig.”
What other forms of assistance did you receive?
“We have received support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and we’ve also been on a few courses through Business Gateway. Mentoring was very different.”
Would you recommend Business Mentoring Scotland to other businesses?
“To be honest it might not work for everyone. For a business like mine though, where I run it on my own and sometimes have to step into the unknown, interacting with a mentor can reduce the sense of isolation and provide an invaluable sounding board.”