Tables turned as our Managing Director is interviewed by North Wales' best read newspaper, Daily Post.
Posted on 5th May 2017
Jobs in North Wales Managing Director Cath Harrison reveals in a Daily Post interview how her career in recruitment started, and her inspiring entrepreneurial journey so far, highlighting the vibrant and flourishing business scene in North Wales.
Entrepreneur Cath Harrison started her first business as a teenager and is now the driving force behind an innovative recruitment firm that already has a list of high profile clients.
Cath was just 19 when she started her recruitment business in Manchester but she sold up when she moved with her family to North Wales when she was 21.
After years working for regional and national recruiters she took the leap by starting her own firm again three years ago.
The company, JVP Group, is now thriving with a growing number of clients and staff members at their Bodelwyddan base.
Cath, 34, said: “I got into recruitment at a young age, I knew some people who worked in recruitment and that tempted me in.
“Unfortunately the business I worked with folded after six months there, rather than go and get another job I decided to set one up myself.
“I set up the company when I was 19 and did that for a couple of years.
“The only reason I stepped away from that was because I moved to North Wales.
“I had set the business up with my partner at the time so I left the business with him and moved here.”
She worked at an independent North Wales based recruitment agency and then Reed Accountancy in Chester before being head-hunted by Sellick Partnership.
When her office closed in the recession she went back to the independent North Wales recruitment agency where she says she helped turn the business into a success.
Three years ago she decided to launch the JVP Group.
She said: “I then felt it was time to do my own thing again. There were lots of recruitment agencies out there and I wanted to be different.
“I felt with the changing times, with the online world and social media that was now where people were looking and employers want to make things as cost effective as possible.
“I could see the potential of employers using the power of their brands to attract people and engaging more with potential applicants rather than everything being handled by an agency and restricted their database.
“Then using technology and job boards to communicate that.
“There was also the frustration of job seekers often seeing adverts by agencies for ‘our client’ without knowing who it is.
“I felt it was time to cut out that administration and enable that direct interaction but still with support when needed.
“There are over 1,100 job boards in the UK so it is a minefield for jobseekers and it is hard for employers trying to decide where they should place their ads.
“It can also get very expensive.
“I could see how we could provide a solution where we utilise my knowledge and the technology out there.”
She worked from home for the first six months before opening her first office in Prestatyn in 2014, taking on two people in the first year.
She said “I was fortunate before of my contacts and reputation I had employers knocking on my door and asking ‘what are you doing’.
“It means we have been profitable from day one.”
Clients include Boots Hearingcare, Chester Zoo, Clogau Gold and Qioptiq but there are also numerous smaller businesses as well.
JVP use their network of partner job sites as well as their own site to advertise roles to a wide audience.
Cath said: “We say who the company is, what they are about, we treat this as a marketing opportunity, not just a copy and paste of a standardised job ad.”
There is also an online application portal that the employer can access.
She said: “That is their online talent pool and it is a very efficient way to manage that process.
“We can get involved with supporting employers with their shortlisting as well.
“Some clients do like us to create a long list or shortlist and we can test for skills and knowledge, and we are also looking at psychometric testing as well.”
The company is also trialling setting up a package for firms so they pay a set monthly fee over the year, and doing a reward scheme for the referral of new client. In addition they are launching a North Wales jobs board.
Cath added: “By the end of the year we want to be the first port of call when people are looking for a job in North Wales.
“We want it very tailored to the area so it reflects what it is like living and working in North Wales.”
Talking about the local economy she said: “We are set to double our turnover this year, that speaks volumes, not just about what JVP are doing but that the market is buoyant.
“We do a lot of work with retailers, hospitality, tourism sites.
“There is a lot of demand for specialist areas like engineering which can be quite a challenge but then what we do comes into play.
“There is a shortage of people in some roles and
that is where it is important that we stand out.”