Promise of new jobs in Scotland as SOLVD. launches to support businesses through recession and beyond

Valerie Mitchell, Managing Director at Solvd. (picture by Elaine Livingstone)

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  • Relaunched Abellio Shared Services Centre targets growth in new sectors
  • Leaders set sights on becoming Scotland’s largest shared business services provider 
  • SOLVD.’s experience managing combined contracts for 20,000-strong workforce for rail operators including Abellio provides unique large-scale, full-service business support capability 
  • Focus on development of young talent through apprenticeships and employability schemes

THE shared business services arm of transport giant Abellio has relaunched with the promise of new jobs and the aim of becoming the biggest single provider of joined-up business support services in Scotland. 

SOLVD. – based at a 150-employee shared service centre in Glasgow – already provides shared business services ranging from customer experience and contact centres to payroll, finance, HR, and management information (M&I) reporting for rail and bus operators across the UK. 

The business has now revealed plans to expand beyond transport, targeting new industries in the public and private sectors ranging from rapidly growing companies to established businesses in any sector.

SOLVD. turned over £7 million last year, and is already in position to onboard four large-scale contracts worth in excess of £400,000 each over the next two years.

SOLVD. says the growth will create new jobs – all paid well in excess of the living wage – and whilst the firm will work with businesses in all sectors across the UK, it has committed to creating all new positions in Scotland.

Leaders believe deep experience and expertise developed running the business support services for much of Abellio’s 20,000 strong combined workforce – including the use of cutting edge technologies such as machine learning to predict contact centre volumes – place SOLVD. in an ideal position to help Scotland’s firms through challenging economic times ahead and beyond.   

Valerie Mitchell is UK Managing Director at SOLVD., and has spent her career in senior operations roles, including at sportscotland, Livingston James Group and North Lanarkshire Leisure, as well as leading the entire workforce for the celebrated Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

She said: “The recession means challenges for businesses and organisations of all sizes, and the services SOLVD. offers will help keep some businesses alive, while ensuring others continue to thrive.

“Our experience managing back office services including finance, customer experience, and payroll for a combined 20,000 strong workforce completely sets us apart – we have operated the most complex set of systems that a business could possibly run. Whether it’s payroll, finance or dealing with customers, we are used to that scalability of dealing with a huge service. 

“There isn’t a comparable organisation offering these services in Scotland. There are competitors who offer finance, payroll, and contact centre services individually, but no one else is offering back office services as a full package to businesses in multiple different sectors. 

“We can support in any sector. We allow organisations to stay fully focused on their product or service, rather than operating the business. We help them focus on delivering what they’re passionate about, while taking all those potential headaches away.”

The SOLVD. leadership team features some of the foremost authorities in their field in Scotland. Key appointments include former KPMG Audit manager Mark Smith as Head of Finance; former SSE operations manager David Lumsden as Head of Customer Experience; and Head of Payroll Joanne Hosie, who previously managed the payroll for AGS Airports Ltd and the Coop’s 100,000 employee + workforce.

The team also includes Head of Business Strategy and Change Adrienne Garnder, a former HMRC project manager; Head of HR Jen Faichney, a former Group Human Resources Director at Energy Assets; and Head of Business support Irene Anderson, a former team lead at social enterprise The Wise Group.

SOLVD. plans to grow its workforce considerably as it wins new contracts, and has committed to creating opportunities for young people through apprenticeships and schemes including Kickstarter; as well as developing talent at all levels with in house training, sponsored skills development, and further education opportunities. 

A culture of promoting from within has created an experienced team largely aged under 40, and contributed to SOLVD. earning an Investors in People Platinum Award at the first time of asking. A focus on developing people and culture has also resulted in improving engagement with staff surveys to 89% within three years – almost unheard of in any industry. SOLVD. is also proud of its record on diversity, with five of the seven members of the leadership female, and a 52-48 gender split in favour of women across the company.

SOLVD. will initially focus on growth within its core services before eyeing expansion in new areas including human resources.  

Ms Mitchell added: “As more companies become data rich, we’re finding new ways of illustrating figures to make them come alive using cutting-edge technologies, turning them into business intelligence that allows organisations to make informed decisions. 

“Moving in this direction creates more autonomy for our staff. We want to retain our culture of obtaining and retaining talent, but now instead of focusing on delivering services for one organisation, we will also be keeping an eye on other businesses and how we can help them. It’s about finding that sweet spot and discovering ways that we can help upscale businesses and support them to deliver the best service they can for their customers.”
SOLVD. continues to run business support services for Abellio divisions including Greater Anglia, East Midlands, West Midlands, and Abellio Bus, as well as a contract for Scotrail, which was renationalised in early 2022. Abelio is currently undergoing a management buyout that will place all its services under UK control.

For more information on SOLVD., visit solvd.solutions.

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