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Aidan Marks

What was your background before joining Chartwell?

I studied Chemical Engineering at Cambridge University and joined Chartwell in March 2020.

I enjoyed the technical aspects of the course and did internships and research projects in the healthcare industry both in the lab and in production sites.  I really enjoyed solving technical problems and analysing complicated systems, and this is something I’ve found in depth at Chartwell.

At university I got into a wide range of outdoor sports, and spent a lot of time hiking, climbing, caving & kayaking around Cambridge, the UK and around Europe more generally.  I was lucky to be able to spend the 8 months between graduation and starting at Chartwell hiking – knowing that I had an exciting new job on the horizon gave me the confidence to push myself.

What have been the biggest factors for your professional development since joining Chartwell?

Strong feedback, line management and training system.  All my development has been strongly supported by a robust training programme and regular line manager support from experienced consultants.  Every week, I review goals for my own development with my line manager and talk through how to keep improving as fast as possible.  Chartwell places a strong emphasis on open feedback – regularly getting honest input and advice from the people I work with has really helped me to grow and to solve problems.

Moving between sites and constantly going into new environments.  Associates will typically move between projects every few months, and this has given me an opportunity to experience different environments.  Each site I’ve worked at has given me new, unique challenges and opportunities.  The tools needed for success, and problems to be solved, are very different at a chemical site compared to a fast-moving cereal factory.

Regular interaction with the client team at all levels.  Every day on site, I’m working hands on with the client team.  This might be solving problems with an operator on the shop floor, training out a new changeover technique to a team, or presenting reports to the site management.  This has made me a much better communicator than I was at university – I feel much more comfortable running meetings, building relationships, and challenging the status quo.

What is a typical week for a Consultant?

Typically, a week begins by travelling to site on a Monday morning.  This can involve an early flight for travel to Europe, or a train or car ride to a site in the UK. On the way to site I’ll review my plan for the week and catch up with my line manager and any other consultants on the same project.

Whilst it sounds cliché, there is no typical day on-site once we get there!  Normally things will begin by running the daily meeting with the team to review how production is going, follow up on actions and set priorities for the day.  After that, I do whatever is most important to achieve the project goal.  This usually involves a lot of time solving problems with the client team, and a lot of time spent directly on the production floor.  Equally, I might have to build a new excel tool, collect or analyse some data, or deliver some training to some of the client team.

In the evenings on site, I’ll normally go out for dinner with other consultants, do some exercise, and relax or catch up on work at the hotel.  On Thursday evenings, I travel back home from the client site.