Recruitment Industry Entrepreneur of the Year 2020

Danny Brooks: CEO, VHR

VHR is a global technical recruitment consultancy serving the aerospace, automotive, engineering, defence and marine industries across 50 countries. VHR has 90 employees, nine global offices and boasts a £36m turnover – a far cry from 2003, when Danny Brooks re-mortgaged his house and sold his car to launch VHR.

  • VHR joined with airlines Etihad and Lufthansa to begin designing new training courses to upskill and migrate workers from around the world. VHR sourced and trained all individuals, organising medical support, flights, accommodation, visas and references, and worked with Etihad to monitor performance.
  • In 2019 Danny ran the London Marathon, cycled across Australia for charity and led VHR’s employees in nine charity activities, including paying personally to send two employees to India to build a school and support the local community.
  • At Danny’s instigation, VHR has rolled out a bonus scheme to employees at its most junior levels, including in finance, compliance, marketing, operations and HR. Bespoke bonus schemes ensure that, rather than just rewarding sales staff, each employee across departments sees the direct result of their efforts, and is rewarded for their hard work.
  • Danny has acted as a mentor for junior staff members since VHR’s inception. In 2012 and 2013, Azem Hoti and Rebecca Fagan joined VHR as 17-year-old apprentices; and in 2019 both were promoted for the third time and now run their own departments.
  • The judges were impressed with how Danny aims to transform recruitment industry working practices through VHR’s learning and development focus, which challenges the industry’s historic ‘hiring and firing’ nature.

Judges’ comments: “Danny understands the market he operates in and creates innovative solutions. He has an impact on the wider society, taking accountability for the ethical impact outside the day-to-day running of a recruitment company. Authentic and diverse in his own workforce.”