Apprentice to Director – John Taylor celebrates his 40-year career with Scotwood

To mark this significant milestone for John and Scotwood, we talked to John about his long career and some of its ups and downs.

“My career seemed to get off to a shaky start when I was made redundant from my first job with only eight months left of my apprenticeship. I wrote to dozens of companies with no success until I heard about Scotwood from a colleague and within a couple of weeks I had an interview with Alan Scott at the original office in Busby and started the next day – Friday 14th February 1981. Friday seemed a strange day to start but I was just glad to work and get the opportunity to complete my apprenticeship. Little did I know I would be here 40 years later!”

Career highlights

My Scotwood working life started just around the corner from our current office at East Kilbride a company called EFG Newlands on Hawbank Rd but I soon moved onto a bigger project for BNOC (latterly known as Brit oil) which would last for around eight years.

The Cooperative also became a huge client for us in my early years and this was to last for over 10 years.  During this period, I was also involved in projects in the borders for Exacta Circuits.

I was paid off when my apprenticeship finished in the summer of 1982 but soon got the call to start back as a young tradesman. 

It was then, at the age of only 21, I started managing some smaller projects and enjoyed the responsibility.

A few memorable clients over the next 15 years included: Britoil 7, Cooperative, IBM, Phillips, Alexander Works, Greater Glasgow Tourist Board, Digby Brown, Bairdwear, Clydesdale Bank (offices and branches across the country) and many, many others.

On a few projects I was based on the job including Motorola in East Kilbride, where I was based for two years and National Semiconductors in Greenock where I worked for almost four years.

In 1996 I was offered the opportunity to become Contracts Supervisor and not long after that, Contracts Manager, which were very exciting times indeed.

Into the 2000s our larger contracts included the Procurator Fiscal working on offices through-out Scotland including their state-of-the-art training academy in Glasgow. This contract led to work in various sheriff courts buildings as well.

During this time we also did major work for the call centre company TSC  – also known as Hero and now known as Webhelp – who had various offices in Scotland and in Warrington England. 

In recent years, Royal London Group has been a major client and we have fitted out all their offices in Edinburgh and in Wilmslow.  Amazon is another big client that we have done numerous works for.

Every project is different and it’s always exciting to be working with new designs and materials. Currently our work with innovative and exciting clients including HKSD, PMP, Form Design and Left City Architects gives us the opportunity to diversify and grow our skills and knowledge.

I am proud to say that most projects are repeat business, which is a credit to the whole team, from sales to contracts team and site operatives. 

It is hugely satisfying to have recruited many of them and I take great delight in the fact that two of our ex-apprentices are now working as young tradesmen and doing fantastically well. 

Becoming Contracts Director in 2007 was a proud moment for me and I appreciated so much the recognition on my appointment by both Doug and Jim.

The challenges over the years have been phenomenal but Scotwood has survived because our clients trust us to get the projects done on time and on budget.

Of course, our biggest challenge currently is Covid 19 but we are working hard to keep all our staff and customers safe. 

Looking back at the challenges we have overcome over the last 40 years – we can cope with this -but I do look forward to it being over and getting on with the next 40!

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