Sponsored Content: Family-owned firm, Robertson Northern, has eyes fixed on the future
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Robertson Group is one of the largest family owned construction, infrastructure, development and support services businesses in the UK.
Founded in Elgin in 1966, the group has eight regional offices across the UK, covering Scotland, the north-east and west of England and Yorkshire and the East Midlands.
The business still has a strong presence in Elgin, which is the base for Robertson Construction Northern, led by regional managing director Frank Reid, and which also has offices in Inverness and Fort William.
Frank recently marked 40 years’ service with the business which was known as Robertson of Elgin when he joined in 1981.
“Over those decades the business has changed dramatically, in how we operate, our customer base and technological advancements," he said.
“I didn’t have a mobile phone when I first started. Today I can access live project performance information and a computer generated virtual environment of the project all from my phone.”
Robertson Construction Northern has been involved in some of the most striking buildings in the region including Inverness Justice Centre, which has already become an iconic part of the cityscape, and the city's Merkinch Primary School, built to replace the original category B-listed Victorian school.
“It has created a terrific learning facility for both the teachers and the pupils, who are absolutely delighted with the final product," Frank said.
“It’s a great honour to provide a building which will play an integral role in a community and change the lives of the people that use it. ”
Merkinch is just one of a number of schools Robertson Northern has completed for Highland Council, including Portree Gaelic School, Fort William Gaelic School and Lochaber High School Phases 3 and 4, along with a number of school extensions and biomass installations at schools from Kinlochbervie to Nairn.
Robertson Construction is also the construction partner of choice in the region for further and higher education projects, and recently commenced work on its fourth project at Inverness Campus, a £9 million life sciences innovation centre for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Frank commented: “We are very fortunate that we work with many of our customers on a repeat basis, which is a reflection of the quality and skills of our employees.
“Our teams become a part of the community where they are working. One of our commitments has always been to enhance the communities where we work, and we do our best to create employment and training opportunities on all of our projects.”
Robertson is also committed to the development of its entire workforce and prides itself on its Young People Strategy.
“Young people are the lifeblood of any business, who will eventually take over the mantle from myself and my senior management team,” Frank said.
“The sector offers wide career opportunities and as a business we have been able to attract some really talented individuals through the training opportunities we provide and the portfolio of projects that we have delivered."
These include some of the largest and most complicated building projects in the region, including the redevelopment of Eden Court Theatre; Scottish Natural Heritage’s Great Glen House in Inverness; The Strategic Defence Facility at RAF Lossiemouth; and award winners Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience in Aberlour and TECA, The Event Complex Aberdeen.
“These types of projects create challenging and rewarding career opportunities where employees are able to excel as a result of their involvement in interesting and complex builds," Frank said.
“There are a great number of projects that you can’t help but feel a real sense of pride about being involved in.”
As a business, Robertson has much to be proud of. In 2018 it was one of the first companies in its sector to achieve carbon neutrality and is on the road to becoming “climate positive”, thanks to its 2030 Responsible Business Strategy.
Centred around its people, its partners and the planet, the strategy commits Robertson to enhance the lives of 10,000 people by creating work placements and job opportunities and by supporting apprenticeships and training; create £1 billion of social value by enhancing lives and spending locally in the areas where it works; and moving beyond being a carbon neutral business to become climate positive, all by 2030.
Robertson has also recently become the first tier one contractor in Scotland to sign a Sustainable Growth Agreement (SGA) with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to support green recovery and help transform construction of public and private sector projects across the country.
“We are in a very positive place with a strong pipeline of work," Frank said.
"We have a lot to be grateful for and a lot to look forward to as we deliver on our vision of assuring a sustainable future.”