The NRL Group’s 2023 highlights

As always, it’s been a busy year across the NRL Group, but our 2023 highlights provided even more cause for celebration as we marked 40 years in business.

We’ve come a long way over those four decades, continuing to expand our service expertise for clients, and most importantly welcoming new colleagues to the business as our branches and regional teams grow.

When we reflect on 2023, there’s too many great things that happened to fit them all into one update, so we’re sharing our top highlights below.

The biggest highlight of our 40th anniversary celebrations had to be seeing our colleagues and teams supporting charitable causes close to their hearts.

We made a commitment at the start of 2023, to make 40 charity donations to mark our 40th year in business and we promised to match fundraising with a £500 donation, where colleagues managed to collect £500 of donations from family and friends.

It was fantastic to see the support for this initiative and be kept up-to-date with the various fundraising projects. We also decided to make donations on behalf of the winners of our annual NRL Group Awards, which took place at our Christmas Conference. For Rising Star of the Year winner Ellie White in our Rail business, a donation was made to Andy’s Man Club. With our Unsung Hero of the Year winner, Sunderland’s Recruitment colleague Laura Smith, choosing the Foundation of Light.

To finish off a year of wonderful fundraising we were delighted to share monetary donations to local foodbanks who support the communities where our branches are based – from Falkirk to Cairo. As well as extending a donation to initiatives we’ve worked with who are making amazing progress helping others – including Smart Works, The Girls’ Network, High Tide Foundation and mind.

Jack and Nick from the Heysham branch stood holding an NRL banner in front of St John's Hospice after donating £500.
Tim Millbank from our Wigan Team holding a medal after completing the Wigan 10K run
The Woking Team stood smiling at the camera about to do their charity walk on the North Downs Way

We welcomed 32 new colleagues to the NRL Group in 2023, joining our regional branches and our central support teams.

It’s rewarding to create new roles as we bring in new business and grow the solutions we provide to our existing clients. We’re also excited to have seen the expertise each of our new starters have brought to our Group, and the positive impact they’ve made.

We’re always ambitious to grow, in turn ensuring we can provide the best services to our clients – and business acquisition where our culture and values align, play an important part in the NRL Group’s evolution. To see these acquisitions, and the talented people we’ve gained through these business integrations, continue to thrive is fantastic.

In February we marked the first anniversary of our CD Group acquisition, which saw us welcome a new translation and interpreting business and recruitment expertise in Norway.

Whilst in June we celebrated a decade since we acquired oil and gas recruitment specialists Petrolic in 2013. The team has grown considerably over this time, and it’s rewarding to watch our international recruitment capability continue to grow.

At the end of 2023 saw the 5th anniversary of Heysham branch colleagues joining the NRL Group through our acquisition of Intec, an engineering recruitment business with the same heritage and expertise as our regional Recruitment businesses.

Thanks to the support of our carbon champions within our branches, we identified more ways to reduce our carbon footprint – as we renewed our Carbon Neutral International Standard certification for another year.

The initiative lets us purchase carbon credits to offset any emissions we’re unable to eliminate within our business operations – by investing in global projects such as reforestation efforts. Across the Group however, the focus has always been to reduce our footprint as much as possible, so we don’t rely on offsetting our impact. So, it was extremely rewarding to be able to achieve a further reduction of 7% – which means we’ve reduced our overall carbon footprint by 31.5% since we started reporting our progress in 2020.

As a company supporter of the construction industry charity the Lighthouse Club, we were grateful to be included in their North East Make It Visible tour, when their van rolled up at the Sunderland gigafactory construction site in June.

The Lighthouse Club provide emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing support for construction industry workers and their families – so it was great to have them onsite to talk more about the services they can provide and remind people that it’s ok to talk about your mental health and ask for help.

3,421 families were supported by the Lighthouse Club last year, and we’re delighted to have renewed as a company supporter for another year – extending our thanks for everything they do.

Colleagues across our Recruitment branches undertook the Association of Professional Staffing Company’s training to help them understand more about diversity and inclusion, including how we can help the businesses we work with to become more inclusive.

This earned us APSCo’s Inclusive+ Recruiter certification for our business, and we’re proud to continue to have conversations with clients to shape diversity strategies for their businesses.

As an employer, we want to know we’re doing all we can to support and help our colleagues – whilst they’re working in our branches and offices, and within their home lives.

Employee benefits are just one way we do this, and this year we were happy to extend this support to include financial wellbeing.

Bippit are passionate about helping people with their finances, providing free personal coaches for employees to talk in confidence about any money struggles they may be having or any questions they may have to help them manage debt or start saving more effectively. As well as helping them to prepare for life events such as stepping onto the property ladder, sending children to university or planning for retirement. Through a range of support tools including a finance health check, together with quarterly video calls with their personal coach, we’re empowering our colleagues to prioritise their financial wellbeing.

Since we launched our Trustpilot profile in 2021 we regularly invite our candidates to share their experience working with NRL. It’s a regular highlight to see such fantastic feedback being posted about our Recruitment teams.

This month we passed the 750-review mark, and we’re looking forward to reading even more reviews in 2024.

When we were looking for a more modern and central office for our Norwegian Recruitment team who are based in the North East of England, we fell in love with Blyth Workspace. With regular views of passing vessels entering the Port of Blyth and neighbours who are just as passionate as us about the net zero energy transition, it was the perfect place for the team to set up an office.

The mental health first aider logo in full colour

We’ve had 2 Mental Health First Aiders in our Rail team for many years, so were extremely pleased to see the uptake in interest when we wanted to extend our network of first aiders across our branches and businesses.

Thanks to people taking time out to undertake training from Mental Health England, we now have 12 Mental Health First Aiders across our business, who our colleagues can speak to in confidence.

Living wage employer logo

We joined the Living Wage Foundation as a voluntary member to demonstrate the importance of providing a fair and manageable wage that people can live on and afford the challenges life throws at us.

By opting to pay all of our employees the Real Living Wage as an absolute minimum, we’re committing to supporting this important campaign whilst showing we recognise more needs to be done to challenge low pay.

We’re an armed forces friendly employer and see first-hand the valuable skills and experience veterans and reservists can bring to the engineering sector. That’s why this year we wanted to work more closely with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), who assist departing military personnel to find a rewarding career as they prepare for civilian life.

In Newcastle this September, members of our Sunderland Recruitment team enjoyed chatting with visitors to the region’s employment fair organised by the CTP. So much so that we’re delighted to say we’ve signed up to exhibit at every regional CTP employment fair in 2024 – as we look to support even more veterans.

You loved our social media posts

It was also a great year on our social media channels, with thousands of people engaging with our posts – from charity fundraising updates to our Net Zero News.


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The NRL Group