It is testament to the consistency Monaghan-based Truwood can demonstrate that the company is once again in contention for a highly sought-after Irish Fit-Out Award following its nomination in this year’s Sub-Contractor of the Year category.
“We’re delighted to be shortlisted once again, as it’s not only one of the highest accolades within this sector, but it’s also recognition from our peers,” explains Ross McKenna, Operations Co-Ordinator. “In terms of the reasons why we’ve been shortlisted once more, it’s a combination of hard work and the continuation of the quality-led ethos that we’ve built up at the heart of the business. This has only been made possible by the strong workforce that we’ve developed over the years and our constant commitment to staff training. This has allowed us to keep improving and maintain the reputation we have created.
“We have internal training programmes in place for all staff across the company and we’re also very keen on providing promotion opportunities so that employees can reach their potential with us. For instance, one of our employees started here as an apprentice and has since progressed into a project management role. That’s just one example, as we’re very proactive in investing in our staff and supporting their career progression.”
Truwood’s investment in its staff has has rewarded the company with a highly motivated and well trained workforce that has allowed it to tackle a wide range of different projects across a variety of sectors.
In terms of recent developments, one of the most significant was a project for Centre Parcs in Longford on which Truwood was the leading joinery company with responsibility for 11 of the packages. It has also been able to successfully turn its hand to hospitality developments such as the Mont Hotel project on Merrion Street in Dublin, on which it delivered the bespoke joinery, metalwork and upholstery package for the newly renovated hotel in the heart of the city centre. Its works included front and back bar, reception wall paneling, toilet cubicles, waiter stations, custom sinks and banquette seating.
Other projects of note include work on the award-winning VHI Healthcare Centre on Abbey Street in Dublin and the development of Ireland’s very first Krispy Kreme in Blanchardstown.
Looking further afield, Truwood was also the contractor for the development of Hendricks Distillery in Girvan in Scotland, once again underlining the company’s ability to work in a wide range of markets.
“We’ve been fortunate to work on a number of interesting projects that have different challenges in terms of materials and bespoke elements,” outlines Mr McKenna. “The strength in depth we have within the company thanks to the quality of our workforce means we can quite easily adapt to the needs and requirements of different sectors. What’s more, we’re always looking at new methods of manufacturing and are currently in the process of installing a new spray line that will further improve the finish of our manufactured bespoke pieces. We have also recently installed other new items of machinery including a drum sander, beam saw & edgebander. It’s not just the staff we invest in, as we continually update our machinery to keep improving the quality of the finished product.”
Despite its latest award nomination and the strong stream of work it is seeing, challenges remain for Truwood including the dreaded B-word, as Mr McKenna outlines: “Brexit is the one issue that continues to stand out most, particularly with the uncertainty of the situation. As we’re located in north Monaghan right on the border, around 40% of our staff live in Northern Ireland. We don’t yet know what challenges would occur if there was to be a hard border – our staff living in Northern Ireland may have to leave early in order to give themselves enough time to get to work – but at this stage we simply don’t know. We also have significant number of suppliers based in the UK so potentially there’ll be a lot more paperwork and custom forms to be filled in before we can make a purchase.
“Another challenge we face stems from being located in such a rural area and the implications this has from a recruitment point of view. There’s very low population density around here so finding skilled workers can be difficult, which makes it all the more imperative that we continue to train and develop our existing employees to aid staff retention. Thankfully we’ve instilled a very strong employee welfare culture within the business. As a consequence of this and the investment we dedicate to training, we enjoy very low levels of staff turnover. In fact, around 10% of our employees have been with the company for over 20 years, which certainly tells a story.”
With such a strong asset as a well trained and loyal workforce, Truwood can not only look forward to seeing how it gets on at the night of the Irish Fit-Out Awards, but can also view the coming year with confidence. “We’re hoping to grow our market share in Ireland as we look to make the most of the skills we have to hand,” concludes Mr McKenna. “We’re also exploring the potential of expanding into continental Europe and possibly further afield.”