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Meet the Team - Phil Coates

Updated: Feb 16

Welcome to the sixteenth in our series of team interviews. Each month, we’ll be asking a member of our team to tell us more about them and their involvement with rradar. This month, it’s time to hear about our rradar station Advisor, Phil Coates.

How and when did you first become involved with rradar?

I started work as an Advisor in the Advice Resource Centre in May 2016.

Who/what was the biggest influence on your decision to work at rradar?

Prior to joining rradar, I was lecturing at the University of Hull and Bishop Burton College. I was also a self-employed HR Consultant. Whilst enjoying my teaching roles, the HR consultancy was what really engaged me. The opportunity to do this full-time, for a progressive, dynamic company like rradar, was too good to miss.

What was your first impression of the company?

My interview was very relaxed but very professional. Heather and Nkolika were really friendly and made me feel welcome from the start. Then, about half-way through the interview, Nkolika started grilling me on my knowledge of HR and employment law. So much for the warm welcome! I must have done all right though because I got the job!

What have you found to be the most surprising/challenging aspect of working for rradar?

The variety of the work makes every day a challenge. From relatively simple absence issues to complex redundancy or TUPE situations, every call is different. This keeps you on your toes and makes every day different.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about working for rradar?

Do it! The work is challenging and varied but the team I work in is magnificent. My colleagues are so supportive and always happy to share their experiences and assist with difficult cases. There is a real spirit of collegiality in the team.

How do you see rradar developing over the next five years?

If the last year is anything to go by, then more rapid growth. The ARC team has grown from four to seven people in the past 6 months. I understand we’ve just won some more contracts so hopefully we’ll continue going from strength to strength.

If you weren’t working for rradar, what would you be doing instead?

I would probably still be doing my HR consultancy and lecturing. I continued to work at Hull University for the first 6 weeks of my time at rradar, supporting students and marking assignments and exam papers. I liked my teaching jobs but I really don’t miss the marking.

I’ve recently been asked to deliver a lecture at Hull University to undergraduate management students, which will be a good chance to promote the work of rradar.

How would someone describe you?

This is a tricky one – it depends who you ask. If you ask my daughter, she’d say I am an embarrassing dad. If you ask my ARC colleagues I’d like to think they’d say I was friendly, hard-working and a team player. If you ask my wife, it’s anybody’s guess what she’d say.

Surprise us with a little-known fact about you/your profession

In 2002, I ran the London marathon. Quite impressive, except I have a picture of me crossing the finish line and there is an elderly gentleman, probably in his 70s, who is about 5 metres in front of me.

What inspires you that you think other people should know?

I’m inspired by people who have overcome adversity. Life is full of trials and tribulations and how people react to these challenges can be inspirational.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I spend time with my wife, Jo and daughter Leah. We live in the countryside so love going for walks with our one-eyed shih-tsu, Stella.

I love travelling and going on holiday. My favourite places I’ve visited were Vancouver and Iceland.

You’re on a desert island and you can take one album, one book and one film with you. What do you take?

Album – My favourite band is Depeche Mode. They have produced such a mix of music from electro-pop to heavy rock. Their 1988 live album ‘101’ made me realise there was more to music than what was in the charts and being played on Radio 1.

Film – ‘Stand By Me’. Rob Reiner is my favourite director and this film perfectly encapsulates the importance of friendship.

Book – I think real-life is much more interesting than fiction. I like reading anything from sport to politics. I really loved the book ‘Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong’ by David Walsh which described his relentless search to uncover the American cyclist’s doping programme.

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