Who are you?
I’m Nevil Couzens, known to most people as Nev. I’m 43 years old and I live in Hertfordshire with my wife, two young children and a small dog.
How did you get into M&E Recruitment?
I’m a rare thing- an agent who has some practical knowledge of how a site works! I worked for AMEC as an M&E Technical Clerk / Expeditor and latterly HVAC Commissioning Engineer and was involved with two major projects over four years. I was made redundant in 1998, went to see some agencies and thought “I can do that”. I cut my teeth at Anglo Technical Recruitment before moving to Eden Brown and I set up Page Green in 2003.
Why did you set up Page Green Recruitment?
A client doesn’t forge a relationship with a company, they forge one with an individual and recruitment lends itself to a small, niche company like ours being able to do a far better job than a large impersonal company. It occurred to me from the very start of my recruitment career that the only way I could shape the way I did things in the right way was to work unencumbered by a one-size fits all ethos. Clients hate bureaucracy, corporate decision-making and yes-men and so do I; when you deal with me you deal with an individual who genuinely understands the M&E market.
Why are you still here, 12 years on?
I simply love what I do, and genuinely get a kick out of filling a vacancy with the right person, or putting someone into a role they are really excited by. We’ve placed scores of people who have progressed to positions where they are now our clients and we’ve got a really solid core of great clients who respect the fact that we know what we are talking about. People are frequently amazed by our frankness, which must tell you something about our industry.
I’ve lost track of the amount of times people have said ‘You’re a breath of Fresh Air’. It’s a compliment that helps to remind me I’m in the right job!
What has the market been like the past few years, and where is it going?
Going right back to 2008 to about 2011 nobody had a good time and if any agent tells you they did they are lying.
However, the market has picked up a lot since then, albeit with a stronger demand for temps and perhaps a bit more caution as regards recruiting senior staff, which is no bad thing.
We are now extremely busy again, with a particularly solid workload among the medium-sized contractors. These companies had the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions over the past few years, and are now reaping the rewards. The market is increasingly candidate-led and good M&E people are going to be in even greater demand going forward…I wish more people were coming through!
What do you do to unwind?
You are never far away from your job if you work for a specialist company like this, plus I have a young family, so the concept of spare time is not something that I’m very familiar with.
Given the chance I like to go fishing, drink beer and I’m a bit of a DIY nut. I’m working on getting the family into fishing and DIY, so far it’s not been successful but I’m ever hopeful…