Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
Let’s start at the beginning!
I was a public servant for over 20 years. Working exclusively in the public sector. I started off working for Glasgow City Council in some of the most deprived areas in the North of Glasgow. I helped to set up education centres and vocational training facilities, to act as bridge to help get individuals back into employment. For example, in 1999 with the aid of National Lottery Funding I helped to set up an internet learning café in Maryhill. This was one of the first projects I ever did and internet cafes were quite a new thing at the time! What made ours really different however, was we had a local college come in to run vocational classes in email marketing, the use of the internet, excel spreadsheets etc. Allowing people to gain SQA qualifications and become more employable.
I have also done a lot of work with European funding applications, and I have worked with various local authorities on a number of different projects.
And now you are self-employed?
Yep! Taking into account all of my funding experience, my experience purchasing on behalf of the public sector, and my gallivanting around Europe. I decided to set up my own company- Arfon Consulting. It soft launched in 2014 and then it really took off in 2017.
In short what I do now is help businesses to apply for public sector funding opportunities.
What sort of clients do you work with now?
Well for example, I am working with a couple of clients who are in and about the medical devices and aerospace industries- and there is quite literally millions of pounds worth of grant funding available for these types of industries. However the application is not as simple as saying “I can do that”. It’s a long process, it needs to be project managed, and it needs to be written in a certain way to fit in with all the criteria in order to be accepted. So because I have done a lot of work at the other end of the table, think of me as a gatekeeper turned poacher.
Is it mainly grant funding that you do?
So I do the grant funding side of things. Then the other aspect of what I do is help businesses (particularly small companies) apply for public sector contracts. So for example a client I was speaking to earlier. They have their own window cleaning company and are currently bidding for a hospital window cleaning contract. Alongside that application comes a mountain of paperwork- and that’s where I come in! I used to write that sort of voluminous paperwork, assess, score and award contracts. Now I have switched roles. So I know all of the tick boxes and the things that can help in order for you to be awarded contracts. It’s ideal really.
I also hire myself out to go back into the public sector if they have staff shortages, and need a specific skill set. Last year I was head of procurement for a Scottish public sector body. So I have quite a varied job.
What’s next for Arfon Consulting?
Ironically I have just in the past week applied for my own public sector contract. Providing procurement consultancy services to one of the English national housing associations. So that would be as and when they need consultancy for certain projects. It is a bit like a preferred supply list. So I have applied to join that list to be contacted for future projects. Fingers crossed it gets accepted…
Come say hi!
You can find me in the Business Lounge at the Flour Mill, or you can learn more about us on our website.