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This week Merlin recognised Craig Allardyce for his 10 years’ service to the company having started out in April 2012 as a fresh-faced 21-year-old IT Technician.

10 years and counting

Over the past decade Craig’s role has evolved from supporting the remote ERD Advisors and technical operations team to one that sees him both managing and maintaining Merlin’s full IT system, ultimately becoming our in-house software, hardware, comms, and network engineering expert. These are all vital to keeping Merlin’s worldwide operations running smoothly, deservedly gaining Craig the title of ‘IT Guru’.

The team took some time out to celebrate with Craig over lunch and to reminisce over the changes he has seen over the last 10 years. Craig was also delighted to receive a personalised quaich (pictured below), along with the reward of four week’s holiday or four week’s salary (or a mix of both).

Now over 90% employee-owned, Craig and the rest of the Merlin team benefit from Merlin’s growth, enjoying a share of any distributable profits through the ownership Trust, and seeing dividend payments on their individual shareholding.

Still in his very early 30’s Craig’s best working years are still ahead of him, and he is a great asset to the team.

We interviewed Craig on his 10 years at Merlin

Your first day at Merlin, what can you remember about it?

My first day was about a year since my initial 1-month work experience and doing bits and pieces at weekends so I slotted right in and just got to work really. I remember when I finished work experience, I had made a list of improvements Iain should consider and by the time I started officially a lot had been implemented – New server, Office365 email licenses. Most of the day was spent getting to grips with that and working with SimBlox to know how everything was set up. Pretty sure I took the bin out that day too!

How has your job role progress since you joined Merlin?

There was only so much “IT” I could do with such a small team so early days it was a lot of admin and even some engineering support, creating charts and drafting reports, a lot of proposals, setting up contractors etc. I really dug in to keep things moving. Now with a larger, more dynamic team I can focus on improving systems so everyone can perform at their best, without the stresses and delays outdated software or IT issues can bring.

How has the company progressed in your eyes since you joined?

Early on the progression year-on-year was unbelievable, moving to Merlin House and the first Queen’s Award showed the hard work everyone was putting in and transitioning to Employee Ownership took it to another level. The best thing is it feels like just the beginning! People wise, going from a handful of full-time employees to a full office and staff around the world is amazing too.

Your top two personal highlights at Merlin?

Very hard to pick just two but here we go!

  1. Taking my family to Merlin House for the first time for a Bloodhound event (British land vehicle designed to travel at supersonic speeds) and being able to take them around the impressive garden and the new office was great.
  2. Meeting up in the office for a curry and beer after months of lockdown was special.

Plans for your extra 4-week holiday? 

I’ll run away with the family into the countryside for a bit, as long as there’s a barbeque and Wi-Fi I’ll be happy! I’ll keep the rest for a few days away here and there and if there’s a nice EOT surprise I’ve to get the kitchen done… apparently!

Craig pictured above with the Merlin Culture Committee

“Now with a larger, more dynamic team I can focus on improving systems so everyone can perform at their best, without the stresses and delays outdated software or IT issues can bring.”