Written by Claire Robertson:
On Thursday we’ll be supporting Team Leader and Funeral Arranger of the Year Finalist, James Rogers, at the Good Funeral Awards in Porchester Hall, London! So here’s a short interview with James which explains a little bit about his experiences in the funeral industry, and what it means to be recognised for his work:
James, when did you first start working in the funeral industry?
I started in the funeral industry on 5th October 2001. My first career step was into an administrative role making arrangements, but my eagerness to learn all about the industry and the business I was working for at the time meant I was encouraged to train as a Funeral Director in early 2003, and work directly with the bereaved.
What keeps you passionate about this line of work?
Caring and supporting bereaved families through the entire process of the funeral service, offering advice and guidance at every step of the way is both a challenging and extremely rewarding line of work. I work to ensure each and every funeral I arrange is the perfect reflection of the life of a loved one.
How would you describe your approach to your work as a Funeral Director?
My sole aim as a Funeral Director is to serve and care for bereaved families with the highest levels of personal service, professionalism and respect, whilst offering quality and value of service. Whilst this involves meticulous skills as an Arranger, I also find an upbeat and friendly approach to my work is ‘a must’ in order to keep the working environment positive for my colleagues, which in turn means we can deliver a refreshing service to the families we care for.
Describe the biggest changes you have seen in the funeral industry over the years?
Funeral Directors have an important part to play in society, but our roles have changed immeasurably in the last 3 years, which coincides with the time that I joined Coles’ professional, independent, family-run business. With the rise in popularity of humanist and non-religious ceremonies – particularly eco-friendly and woodland funerals – it is important for Funeral Arrangers to be at the forefront of providing innovative services to cater for these needs. Coles Funeral Directors endeavours to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for these services, whilst being aware of funeral poverty.
What professional development opportunities are available in this industry?
Coles Funeral Directors is an Investor in People, and am privileged to say, has invested in me – promoting me to Team Leader so that I can share my 15+ years’ funeral arranging experience with newer recruits to the business. I am currently undertaking a Management & Team Leading Diploma which I am enjoying immensely, particularly when it comes to applying these skills and knowledge to guide and develop my team.
The Coles team undergoes rigorous training in their respective roles to ensure that they have the right skills and development opportunities to meet the business’ exacting standards and take care of the entire funeral process, from pre-need to at-need. It’s a real honour to be a Funeral Director for this business which is going from strength to strength – and has given me the opportunity to be considered for Funeral Arranger of the Year.
How would you encourage people like you to consider becoming a Funeral Director?
At the end of the day, the funeral industry is all about people. Arranging a funeral is so much more than making sure everything runs smoothly on the day. It’s about offering unwavering support to families through the early stages of grief – as one recently bereaved family expressed in a ‘Thank You’ card. It’s perhaps a slightly unusual line of work, but if you enjoy talking to people and finding out about their loved ones – and you can organise events with exceptional attention to detail – this industry could provide you with fantastic career opportunities. Who knows… one day you could be up for an Award too!