The Ri5 profile: Simon Pollard, Smart Resourcing Solutions

The Ri5 profile: Simon Pollard, Smart Resourcing Solutions

Simon Pollard is commercial director at Smart Resourcing Solutions, and helps some of the UK’s biggest employers and universities to reach out to candidates and students.

With a background that also includes stints at First Direct and HSBC prior to setting up the business with operations director Sophie Milliken, he also helped to establish the Graduate Retail Careers Fair, which takes place next month.

How did you first get into the sector?

I’ve always enjoyed supporting colleagues with their personal development. During my time at First Direct and HSBC, I enjoyed a lot of success with developing people. This gathered greater pace when I took on the responsibility of managing graduates allocated to the north east region of the commercial bank.

They were all successful and secured their first appointment on schedule and this was noticed by head office and the other regions. So, when the opportunity presented itself to lead the UK bank graduate programmes, it was one that I couldn’t turn down. Further success followed and the people within the industry were incredibly friendly, before eventually the decision was made to create Smart Resourcing Solutions.

Would you do the same again?

I have no regrets about my career path and I’m a firm believer that events in your life happen for a reason. However, if I could rewind and relive certain periods of my life, I would have grasped opportunities in my early days at First Direct with more vigour. When coaching students and graduates preparing for their first role, I encourage them to try new things, volunteer for additional responsibility, ensure they have a positive personal brand. This is something that I found really challenging at the start of my career. High standards usually ensure success.

What would you do if you didn’t do this?

As a youngster I dreamed of becoming a professional footballer. When the dream faded, I considered lots of random careers, for example joining the police or training to become a painter and decorator. None of these became a reality and then I found myself joining First Direct and the rest is history. I always had a desire to own my business so for the moment at least, the dream is the reality.

Proudest achievements

One of my proudest achievements has been creating Smart Resourcing Solutions and completing projects for a number of high profile brands. It was anticipated that our clients initially might be small and medium enterprises, so to secure contracts with JP Morgan, BP, Marks and Spencer, Expedia, Boots and many more including some great universities has been particularly pleasing.

Favourite industry colleague and why?

I have to say Sophie Milliken, as we work so well together at Smart Resourcing Solutions.

However, I have great respect for many people who have offered sage counsel over the years. There are too many people to mention but Carl Gilleard OBE (Former AGR CEO), Dr Paul Redmond (Manchester University), John Morewood (HSBC) and Gregg Carnaffan (HSBC) stand out from the crowd as colleagues and, more importantly, friends.

Favourite artist, and artwork?

Anything by LS Lowry. The industrial theme connects with my background and family history. Many of my great (and great great) ancestors were coal miners and textile workers spending most of their time underground or in those ‘dark, satanic mills’, as William Blake referred.

Favourite sport (participant)?

I was always a keen footballer until torn ligaments in my right ankle curtailed my playing days. Since then, and undergoing surgery to restore some functionality, I’ve completed a number of marathons and half marathons at a slower pace than I would. However, I am the current ‘Dad’s Race’ champion at my daughter’s school so can still perform over a short distance! And my competitive spirit is as strong as ever!

Favourite sport (spectator)?

Athletics is my favourite spectator sport. The endeavour on display is first class and the crowd always appreciates the athlete’s achievement regardless of the colour of their vest. I was in the Olympic Stadium when Mo Farah won his 5000m gold medal at London 2012. It’s a memory that will live with me forever. Pure gold in sporting terms and as a personal experience.

Favourite team and sporting hero?

My favourite football team is my local team, Huddersfield Town, and my sporting heroes include many Olympians. I love the rags-to-riches stories which demonstrate desire, passion and pure ability. If I had to choose one it would have to be Jessica Ennis-Hill but there are many I could have chosen from.

Three words to describe yourself?

Competitive, honest, accountable.

Guilty pleasure?

A large bar of Cadbury Fruit & Nut. A great combination and very enjoyable with a cup of tea!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

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