AN AWARD-WINNING business based in Kilmarnock has joined the growing number of companies signing up for Scottish Living Wage Accreditation.

Alan White Design is a civil engineering firm which has a young workforce but has not used this as an excuse to pay low wages.

As graduates are recruited directly from university, the average age of the engineering workforce is just 27.

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The living wage commitment will see everyone working at Alan White Design, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.45 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.95 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20 per hour introduced in the UK in April 2016.

Alan White Design managing director, Malachy Ryan, said: “Becoming a living wage employer was a priority as it demonstrates our commitment to ensuring all our employees can support a fair standard of living and are rightfully rewarded for their hard work and loyalty. The living wage movement fits perfectly with our core values as a company, which centre on empowering our employees through respect, fairness and recognition.

“We are a small practice but we have expanded hugely over the last three years and we have many exciting projects in the pipeline which will see our business grow further. We want our employees to share in our success and we rely on them to be engaged and invested in our business to ensure we achieve our goals, so ensuring they are rewarded for their commitment benefits us all.”

As a senior manager, associate director Euan Strathearn works closely with the young graduates and says he can already see the long-lasting benefits the living wage has brought both to the employees and the business.

“Our main motivation behind introducing the living wage was to ensure all our employees are paid a fair wage in recognition of the value they bring to our organisation,” he said. “We also want them to know their contribution to our business is valued.”

Graduate engineer Mhairi Boyle joined Alan White Design directly from university.

She said: “Among my peer group there is huge financial pressure on young graduates to earn enough to support a good standard of living. on a day to day basis, especially when you consider the cost of student loans, rent and commuting. I am proud to work for a company that values me enough to help ease that financial burden so I can focus on building my career.”

Graduate engineer Mohammed Othman agreed. “As an employee, I feel valued and motivated to go the extra mile to ensure our business succeeds,” he said. “It’s great to work for an employer who has similar progressive views to me.”

The established civil engineering consultancy specialises in access engineering, structural design and temporary works. AWD work with contractors throughout the UK and worldwide, including Australia, Ireland and the Middle East.

AWD were shortlisted at the British Construction Industry Awards in October 2016, in the Temporary Works Award category, for their unique design of a tiered suspended access platform that, at Centre Parcs in Longleat, Wiltshire. The platform was designed to support a dome roof refurbishment of a the centre’s dome roof, giving access to workers carrying out repairs while the area below was kept operational for customers. The project demonstrates AWD’s expertise in resolving complex engineering challenges, and further enhances their reputation as one of the foremost temporary works specialists in the UK.

In 2011 AWD won the Institution of Structural Engineers Small Practice Award for their bespoke design of suspended access platforms on the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne, Australia. The judges said it represented an example of structural engineering at its best.