by Claire Gibson, Business Manager
Quick Release (QR) is a PDM/PLM consultancy company, we provide clients with our specialties using a hive mindset to distribute an incredible amount of collective knowledge across many OEMs and suppliers. We predominantly focused in the automotive industry however using many of the transferable skills we have ranged across aerospace, medical companies (supporting in the ventilator challenge for the government call to arms after the news of Covid) and many more. We pride ourselves on our people and the positive impact they make on the client however QR felt like there was something more we could do. We do a lot for our people and our clients but what about the community? QR decided to create its own Corporate Social Responsibility team (CSR, later to be known as QSR due to our love of including QR in every title).
We invite the whole company to come forward with ideas including internal initiatives, standalone events and pro-bono work (free services/work). The company has done some amazing things within this realm so far, be it coding marathons, litter picking, fundraising and much much more.
The time came for me to present my idea for a new CSR pro-bono project; technical support for Horse Rangers Association (HRA).
Horse Rangers Association was founded in 1954 by Raymond Gordon his vision was to have a place where children who couldn’t afford their own horses could learn and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Horse Rangers is a charity where children, from as young as 10, can learn all aspects of horsemanship. Not only this but the way it is structured allows children to learn many more skills! They are challenged to work as a team in completing tasks on the yard and with this make friends that last a lifetime. As they learn more, there are opportunities to progress through the internal ranking system, allowing them to take on responsibilities, look after other members of the team and build confidence in their own abilities. There are also many opportunities to get involved in other areas of HRA including Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), Young Career days, the Musical Ride, Gymkhana races and internal awards.
Above: that's me!
I started in HRA when I was 10, a tiny shy girl who just loved the idea of being around horses. Little did I know HRA would do so much more for me. I worked my way up, achieving my educational badges which allowed me to attend the yard during the day to support the staff there. This is where a young girl of 12 years old spent every holiday, starting at 7am, to get down early enough to help feed the horses. I was encouraged to keep learning and progressing to support the younger children
and other areas of the organization. From there I eventually became an Officer, a volunteer who is tasked with supporting the running of the different sessions including training, wellbeing of both horses and children and ensuring the kids get the most out of it. Throughout all the above I made amazing friends who I grew up with! The experience I gained has also really supported me throughout my adult life be it by creating a space where I can get away from the day to day and just give back but also in helping me learn the skills needed for me to succeed in working life. Now a Business Manager at QR, looking after teams of people, the skills I initially learnt from being a little 12 year old, given the task of looking after the younger members and the horses, has grown. I cannot thank Horse Rangers, the volunteers, the staff and my friends there enough for all the support over the years.
So naturally when QR said they want to support charities I jumped at the chance to create that link! And naturally QR, being the supportive company they are, could see how much this could help the charity as well as how much it meant to me, so they took the opportunity to support.
Above: with CTO Nick Solly and Cameo
Horse Rangers has always been predominately run by volunteers, meaning finding spare time to implement developments to systems and changes can be hard. We have always used paperwork to govern anything, all educational badge work could be found in stacks of folders and educational material to teach the children were stored via print outs in filing cabinets. With this the HRA activities function just fine however the amount of extra admin that needs to go into filling out and reviewing paperwork was an area of improvement. The idea was to use the QRs version of TheHub, a web-based app, where all timesheets, all knowledge and other internal functionality was stored. We would develop a version of this to tackle HRAs main areas for improvement.
After some time of assessing the best value-add functionality we came up with a few key concepts; training material, emergency data, logging teams’ improvements and easily exportable data for analysis.
We provided them with an easy to access learning materials area, “the wiki”, to allow the kids to learn from home. This then coupled with a badge work area to allow both officers and kids to easily see what stage they are at and what they still needed to learn. All this data is exportable and configurable with the organizational structure and legacy data, to allow ease of use reporting. This tracking is so important due to the amount HRA relies on funding. With this improvement, statistics to show a clearer picture of what HRA does for its members is available at a touch of a button rather than a scroll through folders.
Due to the mobility of the sessions, taking horse rides out into the park, we needed to allow this system to securely store emergency information should, God forbid, an emergency happen whilst away from the yard, allowing the instructors to very quickly access the necessary data. This had to not only be done in a secure but accessible way it also needed to adhere to data sensitivity regulations, something QR are very aware of and have an ISO accreditation themselves.
Above: in the HRA archives
This system has proved invaluable to the charity during the recent global crisis. Keeping the members engaged, allowing them to continue their technical training and feel part of the organization whilst being unable to physically be there. They have hosted competitions and quizzes using the Hub with my favorite being “find the Easter bunnies” where the members had to search for bunnies within web app.
HRA, as all companies let alone charities, has struggled during this period. If you would like to know more about them, get involved or donate, please see their website here. Any support is greatly appreciated, as you can see it is put to good use!