‘Don’t hire experts and tell them what to do,’ says CSR Director of the Year 2019

Director of the Year Awards Dara McCarthy

Every day in the approach to Christmas, we’ll speak to winners from the recent finals of IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Dara McCarthy, director of RMF Construction Services, who won the Corporate Social Responsibility – in partnership with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health – category

After more than a decade working in the construction sector, McCarthy joined RMF in 2012. On top of his day-to-day work, the strong CSR advocate has also helped to establish subsidiary Fresh Start, which brings systematically underrepresented people into work. To date, it has helped more than 250 ex-offenders to find jobs.

What has been the most pivotal moment for your business so far? “Our partnership with Milton Keynes College to deliver training at HMP Hewell. That was our first training contract with a prison. The 100 per cent employment rate of trainees there to date has helped us go on to work with 17 prisons in total.”

Its biggest challenge? “Persuading clients to employ ex-offenders. We have overcome this by providing expert training in ‘live site’ conditions while inviting clients to visit RMF sites and our prison training, so that they can see at first hand the quality of our trainers and learners.”

What’s your leadership style? “It has been described as a cross between transformational and charismatic. I believe this stems from my passion for Fresh Start, which allowed me to drive the growth of the business and influence clients to use socially inclusive recruitment channels.”

The best business advice you’ve ever received? “Don’t employ experts and then tell them what to do. That came from our CEO, Ray McGee.”



Andrew Sharman, president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health: “Iosh is pleased to celebrate exemplary business leadership and governance by supporting the Director of the Year Awards 2019. All eight finalists in the CSR category demonstrate the benefits of integrating business success with responsible, sustainable leadership. We congratulate them and our winner, Dara McCarthy.”

Entries are now open for the 2020 IoD Director of the Year Awards – click here for more info and to nominate


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Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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