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Dirk Bickley Celebrates 30 Years of Service

January 28, 2019

Long service award

On January 10th Blakemore Foodservice Darlaston General Manager Dirk Bickley achieved 30 years’ service with A.F. Blakemore.

We asked Dirk all about how he got his first job at Blakemore’s, what changes he’s seen the company go through and what he enjoys most about working here. 

How did you get your first job at Blakemore’s?

I’ve technically been with the company for 36 years as I first started on a Youth Training Scheme at Great Brickkiln Street Cash & Carry, where I stayed for six years.

After a short stint elsewhere, I returned to Blakemore’s after three months and asked for my job back. My manager from Great Brickkiln Street, Eddie Johns, had moved to Willenhall so I started there in 1989 at what was then called Blakemore Catering.

Can you remember your first day? 

On my original first day on the YTS, I remember Phil Brewer taking me around the warehouse and showing me how to fill the shelves and work the checkouts.

The second time around I spent my first day with Alan McGee at Blakemore Catering. There I worked as a picker.

Can you tell us about the different job roles you have done during your time at the company?

During my 30 years at Blakemore‘s I’ve been a picker, a forklift truck driver, an LGV driver, a transport manager and finally a general manager, all within Foodservice.

How have you made the most of opportunities to develop your career?

I’ve taken advantage of any opportunities I’ve had, which has allowed me to progress and move on within the business. The company has also provided me with an endless supply of training support, including CPC training.

What advice would you give to other Blakemore employees who want to progress within the business? 

Show interest and let someone know, preferably your boss, that you want to progress. Ask for opportunities – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

What are the biggest changes you have seen Blakemore’s go through in the time you have been here? 

I’ve seen huge growth and change in Foodservice. When I started at what was then called Blakemore Catering, it was a small unit based at Longacres with only seven drivers. We now have two depots, in Darlaston and Wakefield, and 90 vehicles.

What do you enjoy most about working here? 

The people I work with and the fact that every day is different. There are always new challenges to keep me on my toes.

If you hadn’t started working at Blakemore’s where do you think you would be now? 

I’ve been at Blakemore’s nearly all my life, so I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

In hindsight what piece of advice would you have given to your younger self when you first started at the company? 

I feel I’ve not done too badly out of it really, so I’d probably tell myself to take advantage of every opportunity and grab everything that comes your way.

Have you got any plans for how you will spend your long service award? 

I’m spending it on a holiday to Spain, which is also in celebration of my wife turning 50.


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