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Urban Life


Urban Network celebrate 15th anniversary!

Urban Network celebrate 15th anniversary!

This month is a special month for Urban Network: our 15th anniversary!

In 2003, our founders Perry and Stuart quit their jobs and embarked on a journey with a vision of becoming a leading IT provider, providing a unique customer-focused service. Fifteen years later, Urban Network stand out as most loved IT provider with offices in London, Essex and technical resources in USA and India.

We have come a long way and are still excited to go to work every day and face the challenges of running a small business. In a day and age when only one-third small businesses make it to ten years, we are truly proud to be celebrating 15 years in business.

Perry Ashby

CEO

As we celebrate this milestone, we are incredibly thankful to all our customers, partners, and employees for the part you have played in making Urban Network a special place.

IT is a constantly changing industry, and building a business that has thrived and adapted has been challenging and rewarding in many ways. I’m looking forward to what comes next, and how to deliver results for Urban Network and our customers.

Stuart Willcocks

Managing Director

Here’s to another 15 years. Cheers!

Meet our Managing Director – Stuart

Meet our Managing Director – Stuart

Read on and you will find more interesting facts about our Managing Director.

1. How long have you been at Urban Network?

Since the beginning of Urban time – 14 years

2. Describe your role at Urban Network in one sentence

Oversight of the inner workings of the business.

3. What do you enjoy about working in the IT world?

Having a lowdown of what is happening in the world through the technology we deploy.

4. Give us an interesting fact about yourself.

I once met Michael Jackson while returning a Limousine to The Dorchester Hotel in London.

5. How would your co-workers describe you?

Open, approachable and resourceful I’d like to think.

6. What quality do you most admire in others?

Humility, being very good at something should not make you hard to like.

7. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Visit another world.

8. Tell us about a recent highlight you’ve had outside of work.

It’s both recent and 4 years old, but being a Father to a wonderful little lady.

9. Which super power would you choose?

Invisibility

10. If you could take one item to a desert island, what would it be?

A fully stocked kindle

Urban Network support local John Scurr Community Centre

Urban Network support local John Scurr Community Centre

As many of our clients may know, Urban Network are proactive in helping community and charity as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. We are proud to be able to support public initiatives in our immediate surrounding area, and to be able to contribute toward projects that benefit the people around us.

This July Urban Network have selected the John Scurr Community Centre in our local borough of Tower Hamlets to receive a donation of IT equipment for the use of the centre programs.

The John Scurr Community Centre, serving the needs of the Tower Hamlets residents from under 5’s to over 50s. The charity provides learning, training, a youth club, homework club and older people’s lunch club as part of Newlon Fusion’s regeneration programme.

Jane Evans, Director John Scurr Community Centre said “I would like to say a huge thank you to Urban Network for the computer equipment. This represents a significant aid for the community centre. Several children’s projects including children’s art, music and dance and children’s cookery, finishing with a live performance are taking place at the centre. As part of all our activities, using computers were key in keeping children engaged and inspired.”

Ms Evans also said that the computers have benefited our community since the start of the project in July by walk-in women from the local community who needed computer access for research, going online and job search. The equipment will continue to help hundreds of residents in Tower Hamlets to access to online learning and training courses in the future.

“We’re delighted to be able to provide this hardware to the community centre and contribute to the local community in Tower Hamlets. It is heartening to see that the technology will be put to great use for the local public young and old who may not have access to these facilities elsewhere” added Stuart Willcocks, Managing Director of Urban Network.

CompTIA Spotlight on Success: Growing Talent and Reaping Rewards

CompTIA Spotlight on Success: Growing Talent and Reaping Rewards

In the last edition of CompTIA “Spotlight on Success” blog series, our CEO Perry Ashby, a member of CompTIA’s UK Channel Community Executive Council, shares his insight about the impact, cultural changes and positive results of growing talent.

CompTIA: What has been the biggest achievement in the last few years?

Perry: We have been very successful in developing a client lifecycle process that ensures we are always communicating with our clients at every level, strategically and operationally, resulting in a significant reduction in attrition within our client base.

CompTIA: Have you invested in any particular areas to facilitate growth?

Perry: One key area for us was ensuring that we had the right talent to support growth, and the skill sets needed to move with the fast pace change in technology. This initiated our development programme of identifying, supporting and training new talent.

Testimonial-Quote-1

We work very hard to develop a culture and workplace that reflects the passion and talent that we have. We want our employees to feel part of who we are.

Testimonial-Quote-2

CompTIA: We know you have had success with apprentices – what interested you in going down this route?

Perry: We wanted to feel like we were doing more than a straight forward hire of a new technician, we wanted to offer an opportunity to a young person and give something back. Both my business partner and I benefitted from apprenticeships as part of our journey into business, and speaking personally I found the support, guidance and mentorship invaluable in shaping both my career and life. From the business perspective we knew we would be getting a motivated, mouldable keen young individual who was ready to commit to a career path within our industry. We would be able to shape them to work in the ‘Urban’ way, with our company ethos and ethic underpinning their development.

3 tips on taking on an apprentice

Whatever time you think you need to put aside forthem, double it! But the effort is worth it.

Remember they are young and will need your help in personal development in addition to professional development.

Be prepared before you employ, and be patient.

CompTIA: Do you feel that investing in talent and training is important and why?

Perry: The old saying that “A business is only as good as the people in it” rings true. We work very hard to develop a culture and workplace that reflects the passion and talent that we have. We want employees to feel part of who we are and invested in. Every team member has a roadmap of skills training and personal development created for them as soon as they join, this is reviewed every 3 months via our “Keeping in Touch (KiT)” programme. By investing in the team we have solidified bonds and hopefully have created a wealth of loyal talent to support the business into the future.

CompTIA: Do you think you have seen a positive return on your investment?

Perry: Undoubtedly. Being able to give young people an inspiring start to their chosen career, as was given to us many (many) years ago is return enough, but their enthusiasm and willingness to learn is infectious throughout the business.

Click on the image to read the full interview >>

Get to know our team members – Paul

Get to know our team members – Paul

Here at Urban Network, we offer a full range of services, and these include physical cabling within our customers premises, and beyond at larger locations with sprawling estates. We have specialist technicians with years of experience providing high quality certified structured cabling, and CCTV installations. Meet Paul who leads his team of technicians for Urban Network with a great deal of professionalism and with the outlook that the customer experience and satisfaction is paramount.

1. How long have you been at Urban Network?

3 years

2. What do you enjoy about working in the IT world?

Demanding challenges and the never ending advances in technology

3. Tell us about a recent highlight you’ve had outside of work.

Taking my grandson swimming for the first time and the look of joy on his face

4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Going into space and looking back to earth

5. Give us an interesting fact about yourself.

I was the youngest soldier to serve in the first gulf war

6. Which super power would you choose?

The power to heal

7. If you could bring only take one item to a desert island, what would it be?

Genie lamp (With a genie inside though)

[Infographic] 12 things you didn’t know about Urban Network (but totally should)

[Infographic] 12 things you didn’t know about Urban Network (but totally should)

Do you know we watch 4000 hours of movies a month? Sort of…
Who’s our favourite politician?
What Superhero do we think has the worst superpower?
What colour makes Butterflies hiccup?
None of these questions are answered below…
Discover more about the world of Urban Network in 12 fun facts & figures with this infographic.

Why business should hire apprentices? Our story

Why business should hire apprentices? Our story

On the occasion of the National Apprenticeship Week 2016, Urban Network co-founders Perry and Stuart shared their thoughts on why Urban Network has taken on apprentices and on their positives impact on the business.

“We knew that we were going to grow the business, and as such we knew that we would have to scale the workforce in advance of the business need”, said Stuart Willcocks, Managing Director of Urban Network.“This is a challenging task under any circumstance, getting the right people is paramount, but also having them come in to the business and be productive as they are needed, rather than after the pain is felt makes it all the more difficult. Commercially hiring apprentices has many benefits, and of course we considered all of these and the advantages they afforded us, but our choice ran deeper than simply making it stack up financially.”

Perry Ashby, Urban Network CEO added “We wanted to feel like we were doing more than a straight forward hire of a new technician, we wanted to give an opportunity to a young person and give something back. Both Stuart and I benefitted from apprenticeships as part of our journey into business, and speaking personally I found the support, guidance and mentorship invaluable in shaping both my career and life. From this aspect, the modern apprenticeship scheme had huge appeal to us and the partner we chose made the process of hiring very easy to boot. From the business side we knew we would be getting a motivated, mouldable keen young individual who was ready to commit to a career path within our industry. We would be able to shape them to work in the Urban Network way, with our company ethos and ethic underpinning their development. However the feeling of contributing to the development of our chosen apprentice meant that we could also feel a sense of corporate and personal social responsibility. We knew that we would have this young person with us for at least a year, and statistically a full employee for long after. We invested a lot of time in inducting them in to the business to make them productive swiftly, and then further invested in helping them complete their courses. We were fortunate that our guys have always delivered on their own development, often leading their classes in their work. The pride form Urban Network’s side at their achievements has been a great bonus, professionally and personally, and our guys continue to be excellent technicians in training. The success we have seen inspired us to create our own continuation of their training with the Urban Network Analyst Trainee Programme, something that again we are incredibly proud of.”

We have had great success with the apprenticeship programme, and in the future will definitely go through this process again. We have true Urban Network technicians, great guys, and have the warm feeling of helping young people achieve careers that will shape their futures.

Read more success stories of our apprentices here and here.

Inspired? Find out more about our work life and job vacancies here

Apprenticeships – Another success story

Apprenticeships – Another success story

Kelvin has been with Urban Network for over a year as a Helpdesk Analyst apprentice. Today, he shares his inspirational thoughts on his decision to choose an apprenticeship with us and how this has opened the door to a career in IT.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship in IT?

IT is an ever-changing industry, I am always interested in learning new skills and educating myself. IT keeps me constantly challenged and is always teaching me new things.
Initially a family friend who works in IT suggested that I look into studying networking. The more I researched the subject, the more I realised it is something I want to be doing.
I took up IT networking in college and studied this for 2 years. Throughout my time here, I learnt a lot and decided that I would carry on expanding my knowledge of the subject and therefore decided to do an apprenticeship in IT.
After starting my apprenticeship, I fell for IT even more as it not only taught me about the technological side but also helped me learn about businesses in general while letting me help others.

Tell us your experience working at Urban Network

Before I started my apprenticeship with Urban Network, I had some basic training in the technical aspect of things. As aforementioned, I had done 2 years of networking training at college. However, this was just the basics and I still have a lot to learn.
I have gained a variety of new qualifications via my apprenticeship consisting of MTA’s and ITIL certification. As well as qualifications I have also gained a large amount of experience dealing with both technical and business issues.
Urban Network take good care of me and provide me with half a day of training per week to study for exams.

How do you think your apprenticeship will benefit your career?

Before starting my apprenticeship, I had some basic knowledge of IT systems, this was helpful but nothing major. Through my apprenticeship I have developed a wider technical skillset and am now much more qualified to be working in IT.
My apprenticeship has given me insight into the workings of a business/workplace and has taught me a lot about how businesses work. I believe this experience will help with my future career.
My advice to any young people out there thinking of taking an apprenticeship is to do it. It is definitely something you should consider as it helps you to grow as a person and is extremely rewarding.
I want to stay in the IT industry and work my way up the ladder. I have a lot to learn but I hope that someday I can be a great technician like some of the engineers I work with at Urban Network.

“At Urban Network, we offer IT solutions for small/medium businesses predominantly within the London area. Our service offerings are very diverse and as a result our helpdesk team will not know the severity of an incoming call until they process it.

Kelvin has been positioned on the Helpdesk from day one, he joined from college and as such had no business experience and fair to say, a rawness with potential IT issues and the impact they have on any business.

Kelvin has been with us for just over a year now, and it’s amazing to see the transition he has made. Kelvin has always had a friendly and committed character, but within the last 12 months he has really matured as an individual, his level of commitment and loyalty to Urban Network and our clients is very noticeable. His role as our Father Christmas in December further highlights his devotion to Urban Network. Our client survey statistics confirm that Kelvin continues to deliver a high level of communication and service.

We are delighted that following Kelvin’s success on his graduation, he has enrolled onto Urban Network’s post graduate scheme, which is focused around the continued development of the individuals IT skills. We see Kelvin having a very bright future in IT and hope his progression remains at Urban Network.”

Steve Kirby

COO

Inspired? Find out more about our work life and job vacancies here

Get to know Lauren

Get to know Lauren

At Urban Network, we are extremely proud of our smart and talented people. We will introduce a new blog series where you’ll get an inside peak into what make Urban Network so unique – our team members. We kicked off the series with the most fashionista of the Urbanites – Lauren.

Lauren is our Office Manager as well as being responsible for everything inside our doors, she also manages our procurement, billing and collections. Lauren is continually adapting to the changes in all of these roles, as Urban Network grows and the technology advances she takes to the changes in her daily working life with a fantastically positive attitude.

1. How long have you been at Urban Network?I joined the team 6 years ago.

2. What do you enjoy about working in the IT world?I enjoy being in the know about the newest technology, and meeting a variety of people within the industry.

3. Tell us about a recent highlight you’ve had outside of work.

I have recently got engaged.

4. Give us an interesting fact about yourself.

I have done a skydive for charity.

5. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Being able to fly, I would go and see some exotic places.

6. Aside from necessities, what 1 thing could you not go 1 day without?

A morning cup of tea. I just can’t function without one.

7. If you could invite 4 people from any time alive or dead for a dinner party, who would you ask?

Beyoncé (the entertainment), my Grandad, Will Ferrell (the funny man), Nigella Lawson (to do the cooking)

Urban Network joins MacMillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

Urban Network joins MacMillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan Cancer Support’s biggest fundraising event where they ask people across the UK to hold a coffee morning and raise money for people living with cancer. Last year, Macmillan Cancer Support has raised a record £25 million and funded 474 Macmillan nurses for a year.

Urban Network are proud to support this wonderful charity this year. Please come along to Urban Network’s Macmillan Coffee Morning at Unit 410, Metropolitan Wharf building on Friday 25th September 2015 from 10:00am onwards to have a slice of cake, a nice bun or just a warming cup of coffee and support this worthwhile cause.

We will match donations so every penny you donate, will be doubled! So go on…have another slice!

*Update*

Urban Network are proud to raise £207 for Macmillan Cancer Support, we have matched this figure bringing the total to £414. We would like to thank you to all that visited our Friday coffee morning and helped to make it such a great success!

Thumb up also to the Urban Network team for taking the time out to bake delicious cakes for this very worthwhile charity.

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