Menu

Pat Munro

Find out how Pat Munro (Alness) Ltd was able to benefit from our Technology Placement Programme.

Identifying a gap

A family business, Pat Munro was founded in 1945 and is a multi-discipline contractor with interests in construction, haulage, plant hire, quarry products and waste service that has grown to employ over 170 employees. The company has remained competitive and agile over the years thanks to ongoing investment in technology and its highly-trained workforce: products are tailored to meet precise customer requirements and Pat Munro sets the highest standards of customer service.

In 2019, Pat Munro’s commercial director, Mark Bramley, identified several IT projects that would introduce digitised processes and reduce administration time across all departments. The company’s existing IT team was already stretched, so Mark applied to hire a graduate via our Technology Placement Programme. This resulted in University of the Highlands and Islands Computing Science graduate, Michael Graves, joining Pat Munro as a Graduate Systems Analyst on a 12-month contract (now extended due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The Technology Placement allowed us an element of ‘try before you buy’ in terms of IT improvements, which, had it not been for the grant, we may not have been able to trial.
Mark Bramley, Commercial Director, Pat Munro

Making the business more efficient

During his placement, Michael was assigned a number of tasks which included introducing a digitised system for aggregate sales, implementing a paperless HR system using workflows and online forms, and streamlining / automating existing accounting processes to reduce data entry requirements.

“We previously engaged a graduate through the ScotGrad programme which worked well,” says Mark, continuing “ so when we had a variety of IT improvements planned at the company we decided to make an application through the Technology Placement Programme.”

Michael’s work streamlining accounting administration led to improvements in processing speeds, while his creation of a paperless HR system - supported by the company’s IT consultants – led to time-savings in people onboarding, more effective information sharing, and reliable electronic storage of previously paper-based documentation. Furthermore, digital dashboards introduced by Michael during his placement enhanced information flow to management, helping increase the company’s focus on its KPI’s.

“Having Michael on board has allowed us to complete a number of priority projects, providing efficiencies in how we undertake a variety of activities,” says Mark. “The Technology Placement allowed us an element of ‘try before you buy’ in terms of IT improvements, which, had it not been for the grant, we may not have been able to trial.”

So many jobs I looked at required experience which I didn’t have. But this placement allowed me to find somewhere I could gain experience in the area I want to work in.
Michael Graves, Graduate Systems Analyst, Pat Munro

Looking to the future

Michael’s placement with Pat Munro has undoubtedly been mutually beneficial. “My experience has been great, I have really enjoyed the job,” says Michael. “The best thing about taking part was that I was able to jump straight into a job after university and get working on challenging and interesting tasks which used my knowledge from my degree.

“I have found the experience really helpful for my own knowledge and for future working. This placement has made me aware that I don’t need to work in a computing or programming centric company to achieve my career goals.”

Michael is in discussions with Pat Munro about a potential permanent position once his placement comes to an end. But, regardless of whether that materialises, the graduate has been grateful for the opportunity to gain real-life experience working in his degree field.

“I would definitely recommend this to anybody who is leaving university,” enthuses Michael. “So many jobs I looked at required experience which I didn’t have. But this placement allowed me to find somewhere I could gain experience in the area I want to work in.”

As their participation on the Technology Placement Programme concludes, Mark Bramley - who is a firm advocate of the scheme which companies are eligible to participate in twice - says it’s something Pat Munro would definitely consider again.

“We wouldn’t hesitate to engage with it again,” says Mark. “We have certainly gained as a company from having an additional qualified person working for us in-house”.

> Find out more about the Technology Placement Programme

""

ABOUT TECHNOLOGY PLACEMENTS AND THE NORTHERN INNOVATION HUB

Technology Placements is a support programme delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.

It is funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Innovation strategic intervention.

Newsletter

Sign up for all the latest news, information on investments and development opportunities from across our region.