By Michael McGeary
Britain’s biggest collective vehicle salvage operator is driving home a message about the importance of looking after mental health in the workplace.
Three e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management staff have completed a course that will help them offer first aid to colleagues who may be suffering from mental health problems.
e2e – which was known as National Salvage Group (NSG) before undergoing a major rebrand earlier this year – works mainly with insurers, as well as fleet management and car leasing companies and others.
The business was set up in the mid-1980s by a group of salvage companies who wanted to offer insurers a seamless total loss management service. It now has around 26 staff, mainly based in its HQ on Dudley Road, Darlington, which has just undergone an impressive renovation.
Chief operating officer Neil Joslin says caring for its staff, as well as for customers and members, is at the heart of what e2e does and why it has been so successful for three decades. So when one of his team told him about the course being run by St John Ambulance, he was keen to give it a go.
“We wanted to know if it was a good course and so Emma Smith, from our client service team, agreed to be our guinea pig,” he explained.
“When she came back speaking so highly about what she had learned, we didn’t hesitate about sending the others.”
Emma is passionate about the issue, having been open about her own mental health struggles.
“I’m proud to be part of a company that recognises the importance of mental health,” she says. “People are often embarrassed by it but they shouldn’t be – it affects so many people.
“Our role is mainly showing them where they can get help because there are so many services available.
“We’re also trained to keep our eye on our colleagues and if I notice somebody isn’t their usual self or is experiencing problems in their personal life, I now have the skills to be able to approach them and ask how they are and open up some communication. Just knowing we’re there and have been trained gives people that little bit of comfort.”
e2e’s 31 members, who range from small family business to large, multi-site operators, remain independent but benefit from centrally negotiated and managed contracts.
“We win contracts from insurers and then manage those contracts on behalf of our members, giving insurers a single point of contact for their instructions, queries and billing,” says Neil, who is currently recruiting three new people to work in business development roles.
“We process about 70,000 vehicles a year and our website salvagemarket.co.uk auctions 2,000 salvaged vehicles per week. Our members are much more than salvagers – they’re really recyclers.”
As well as looking after its own staff, the firm is also doing as much as it can to play a part in the local community.
Data analyst Sophie Trenouth has responsibility for coordinating its efforts, which include supporting a new bio-dome at St Mary’s Primary School in Newton Aycliffe, taking part in litter picks and supporting food banks and a women’s refuge.
“We’re constantly looking out for more ways we can be involved in the community,” says Sophie.
Neil is also keen to continue offering as much support as possible to his staff and plans to send at least one more person on the mental health first aid course.
Emma is hoping other firms will follow e2e’s lead.
“It would benefit everybody, from a self-employed person through to companies with hundreds of staff,” she says. “It’s so needed!”
For more information about the course and mental health in the workplace, visit mhfaengland.org.