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2 April 2024

Mark Rudge celebrates 25 years at Acorn by Synergie

Mark Rudge celebrates 25 years at Acorn by Synergie

From redundancy to recruitment for some of the world’s biggest manufacturers - How the industry has evolved during my 25 years in the business - and the things which will never change.

Commercial Partnership Director Mark Rudge is celebrating 25 years working at Acorn by Synergie. Since then, the industrial landscape in Wales and the UK has changed significantly, and for most of that time, through his work Mark has been at the heart of it all. 

Having taken various temping jobs through Acorn himself, Mark joined the company full-time to help others do the same, and more than two decades later, he’s still here. 

Here, he talks about what life was like working with some of the world’s biggest industrial names when he first became a junior consultant in the 1990s, and what the future looks like for providing ongoing facilities management support in the UK from here.

How it started

My first contract was with Exel Logistics for Tesco at Newhouse Farm Industrial Estate in Chepstow, filling positions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’d been made redundant from my job as a printer before becoming a junior consultant in April 1999.

Back then, we’d interview at least 20 potential candidates daily and place them often immediately with the likes of LG, Sony, Panasonic and others. You’d regularly see candidates queuing outside our high street branches to be placed into work that same day, and we’d be dealing with more than 400 workers across daylight hours and 150 on twilight shifts. 

It was a daunting but really exciting period in my professional life which I believe helped shape my work ethic and career that followed. It was brilliant and rewarding, and I loved it.

How it’s going

Our service delivery has diversified since then to provide both recruitment and ‘Facilities Managed Services’ to our clients as a one stop shop so they can concentrate on their own services in the process.

Since the mid 2000s, as well as expanding our recruitment offering into many different sectors, including construction, executive search, Technology and more, Acorn by Synergie has been focused on managing multiple sites for large scale clients UK-wide providing Industrial Cleaning, Packaging, Grounds Maintenance and other services. This includes all health and safety, chemical, consumable, vehicle, machine, training and HR related functions in accordance with current regulations and other guidelines in place.

In short, we take care of all the practical elements of running an organisation so that the businesses we work with remain focused on their own core business activity in the meantime.

How things have changed

When I joined Acorn, we were filling bookings, delivering payroll, HR and all the other functions an employer then would provide to their full time employees. Today, the services clients are looking for us to provide may have changed, but they still very much rely on us for support in a ‘catch all’ way. 

Issues they look to us for help with now include regulation, CSR, sustainability, employee wellbeing and many others which, although very different to those businesses required help with in the 1990s, are no less crucial to ensure operations continue to run smoothly, efficiently and to the bottom line. 

Advances in technology have also been a major game changer. Once upon a time, business was done using fax machines, through phone calls and in person meetings, by posting letters and job adverts in the local press, and with warehouses full of paper documents in tow. Today we have Zoom, sophisticated CRM software systems, AI, social media and more to help us reach out to candidates and clients alike.

Some larger manufacturing businesses have also left the UK for more cost-effective options in other countries and there has been an increase in more skills based permanent placements and less temporary jobs for the masses as a result.

How I feel about marking 25 years at Acorn by Synergie

I’ve learned so much about the UK recruitment sector and also myself as a person since I took my first steps into the industry. In those days, I was in at the deep end and the working buzz was fantastic. Today, I am NEBOSH Environmental Management qualified, IOSH H&S Management Qualified and lead a team of 10 at Acorn by Synergie working to support a wide range of globally recognised brands with all their business needs. 

In between, I’ve been privileged enough to work on every kind of project since. From Scottish wind farms, to projects in the yachting industry and with a team of gurkhas to create a settlement in Cwmbran (some of whom I still count as friends today). I am lucky that no two days in my 25 years with Acorn by Synergie have been the same, and I still get a buzz out of what I do for the company - as well as those that we work to support - day in day out today.