Company Profile – Voyanic Crewing

Company Profile – Voyanic Crewing

Getting personal with…

Who are you?

I am Neil Carrington, Chief Executive of the Voyonic Group.

Which company are you representing?

Today I am representing the founding Company of the group, Voyonic Crewing Limited.

Describe what the company does:

Voyonic Crewing Limited (VCL) are an offshore employment services company. What this means is that we employ seafarers through Guernsey companies for service onboard various vessels operating within the marine industry. As the legal employer of the seafarers we are responsible for ensuring that their employment is managed in accordance with all appropriate legislation pertaining to the Flag of the vessel, the operating area and the residence of the seafarer.

How many employees are in the company, including yourself?

VCL employs 35 people in Guernsey who are themselves responsible for the employment of approximately 5,500 seafarers.

How long have you owned or been at the company?

I started working for the company in 2008 and took over ownership of the company in 2015.

What brought you into the industry/your position?

I have been in the marine industry since 1974 when I first went to sea as a Deck Cadet with BP Shipping Limited. In 1992 I moved ashore, initially temporarily into the Marine Manager role at OIL Limited in Aberdeen. This position became permanent and in 1995 I was asked to move ashore permanently and take over the role of Personnel Manager for the fleet which included not only the North Sea but supporting other regions of the company.

In 1998 I project managed a change management project, which went on to win an award at Quality Scotland, part of this entailed establishing an offshore employment arrangement through Guernsey where I first became involved in the current role.

When the then MD of the Guernsey company decided to retire early I was offered his position and the rest as they say is history with my moving to the island in 2000.

What are the company’s goals?

To quote our Quality Mission Statement – “Voyonic Crewing Limited aims to provide a high quality global employment service to clients who require effective solutions to employing a workforce who operate in varied geographical locations.”

How would you describe the company’s culture?

The Voyonic Crewing Limited culture is one of openness and engagement. Our employees are fundamental to the success of our business and we encourage ideas and suggestions for continuous improvement.

How do you motivate your colleagues?

Apart from generous employment terms and flexibility of working, we regularly engage through informal and formal meetings. Regular formal feedback sessions are held keeping all employees aware of how the company is performing.

How have the methods for doing business changed since its inception?

The legislation around offshore employment structures is constantly evolving and a key part of our role is to ensure that the arrangements we have in place for clients remain robust and compliant with all legislation.

Whilst originally these arrangements were first introduced in 1983 specifically for the employment of UK resident seafarers this position has now evolved to the point whereby some 55% of our seafarer population are non-UK resident.

Does the company offer training and advancement programmes?

Yes, we genuinely believe the old adage that our employees are our most important asset and through our performance review programme actively encourage employees to undergo both professional and personal development training.

Who is your target market and how did you arrive at it?

Historically our target market were shipping companies who employed UK resident seafarers, when the primary driver was an HMRC Tax Bulletin IR49 whereby employers of UK seafarers based offshore were not liable for the Secondary (Employers) National Insurance Contributions.

Over time the number of UK seafarers has dwindled along with UK shipping companies however our services are now relevant to other jurisdictions. Also, as a result of developing robust procedures over time, our services now deliver efficiencies to shipping companies wherever they or their crew may be. This is evidenced by the fact that on a monthly basis we pay crew wages in multiple currencies, into 95 different jurisdictions.

How do you currently market your business?

We have entered into an arrangement with a company who specialise in marketing to the marine industry and they ensure that our presence is maintained on social media, the website etc. This is reinforced by personal contact with companies either directly or through marketing and networking events and activity. My role is now more focussed on assisting with the development of the business leaving the day-to-day operations primarily in the hands of the other Directors

How has this changed in the last ten years?

There is now more of a focus on electronic marketing than in the past and holding meetings remotely is more acceptable although to be honest nothing beats the opportunity to sit down across a table with somebody and start to develop a relationship in person.

What are you most proud of about your business?

Longevity and the fact that despite increased competition over the years including price cutting and other short-sighted tactics, we are still sticking to our principles. Ensuring that we operate in full accordance with all legislation for the protection of our clients and ourselves.

To steal a quote from a well known haulage firm “We lead, others follow.”

What is it about your company that distinguishes you from your competition?

Our services are tailored to each client and whilst we have a set of fundamental core processes each are tailored to ensure that the interface with any existing operations is as seamless as possible.

We also refuse to compromise in order to win business, to the extent that we have both, refused to take on companies looking for short cuts and parted ways with those who wanted to do so.

Best part of your job?

Meeting clients, potential clients, and people within the industry in general.

 …and the worst?

Administration tasks associated with my role.

Three words that best describe your role?

The ultimate responsibility.

Greatest achievement in your career?

To date, obtaining my Class 1 Certificate of Competency.

Law/legislation you would like to see introduced?

I think we have enough legislation – I would like to see it applied consistently.

Prominent person you would like to meet?

Bruce Springsteen

If you could invite three people to work with you (dead or alive!), who would they be?

Admiral Horatio Nelson

What do you consider the most important innovations of the last 50 years?

The world wide web is probably the single most important innovation of the last 50 years.

Although I have yet to acquire one, as I enjoy cooking I believe the air fryer could also be up there as a game changer….

Any advice for your previous boss?

I told you so……..

What excites you about the wind industry?

Having been involved in oil and gas exploration and enjoyed my time at sea and ashore working in that sector I now see and feel the same buzz emerging around the wind sector. We are already seeing new innovations emerge as the unique challenges of the sector become clearer and it is good to be a small part of that.

We took on our first wind industry client in 2012 and seeing how they have developed as a business is fantastic to see, long may it continue.

Where would you like to be 10 years from now?

Personally I would like to be retired and boring my grandchildren with my stories.

Voyonic Crewing