Team

Donna Barnes

Meet our Operations Director

I am an extremely passionate, focused and inspirational business owner and recruiter who believes in giving exceptional customer service. If you want a bespoke personal recruitment solution then look no further. As our company ethos supports I am continuously striving for Mutual Success.

Having started Astra Recruitment 4 years ago I have now grown it to a 2 company group with 11 staff. My vision is to continue with this aggressive growth strategy to enable us to offer a truly total recruitment package to all of our clients.

Harry Fry

POSITION: Logistics Recruitment Consultant

Name: Harry Fry

Position: Specialist Recruitment Consultant

Sector: Logistics

Time In Recruitment: 3 Years

Why should Harry represent you?
Harry is the second youngest in the team and with this youth comes great vitality. He has been in the recruitment industry for three years and over that time he has fine-tuned his natural talents as a resourcer and accumulated many other desirable traits, which now makes him a real asset to the team.

His ability to remain empathetic to candidates and build special relationships with business clients makes him somewhat of a professional charmer. Harry will often go the extra mile to get results, as he likes nothing more than finding and putting forward talent to his assigned vacancies.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Telephone manner. Business development. Persistence. Enthusiasm. Sourcing candidates/clients.
Clients Harry has worked with.
Hermes, Palmer & Harvey, Tribal Group, Swain, Greggory Distribution, Warburtons.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
Working environment and the way we handle our clients & candidates.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
The satisfaction of placing someone into a job and developing their career.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
The process can take quite long.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Getting out of the office at lunchtime and having a nap after work.

What we may not know…
I was offered a business administration apprenticeship, which actually ended up being recruitment.

Oscar Bennetts

POSITION: Logistics Recruitment Consultant

Name: Oscar Bennetts

Position: Specialist Recruitment Consultant

Sector: Logistics

Time In Recruitment: 1 Years

Why should Oscar represent you?
Oscar is the youngest member of the Astra Recruitment team. He brings energy, ideas and fantastic interpersonal skills to the Logistics desk. Oscar has a natural talent for creating a connection with his candidates and is passionate about providing his clients a quality service. Oscar works extremely well with Harry Fry, another Logistics recruitment consultant.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Candidate care. Telephone patter. Communication skills. Sourcing candidates. Confident in the service I provide.
Clients Oscar has worked with.
UK Mail, Fowler Welch, Hermes, DPD and Palmer & Harvey.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
Working nationwide to bring more flexibility to who we can work with. Expandable!

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
Making a positive impact on people’s lives and helping them with their career.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
The admin involved.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Play it cool like a cucumber and remain level-headed.

What we may not know…
I taught myself how to trade stocks as a hobby.

Sue Cowan

POSITION: Construction Recruitment Consultant

Name: Simone Harper

Position: Specialist Recruitment Consultant

Sector: Construction

Time In Recruitment: 16 Years

Why should Sue represent you?
Sue is the longest standing recruitment consultant in the office. Her experience within the industrial industry is priceless for the Astra team. She has an in-depth knowledge in the manufacturing, distribution and hospitality sectors, and has dealt with every type of contract clause including sourcing candidates for temporary, permanent and contract work.

Due to her long reign in recruitment, Sue knows the process inside out. She is brilliant at liaising with her business clients as well as relaying information to her candidates and helping them to best prepare ahead of job opportunities.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Relationship building. Sourcing good quality candidates. Remain approachable. Maintaining long-term relationships. Staying flexible.
Clients Sue has worked with.
PipexPX, Advanced Medical Solutions, West Country Group, Marjons University, Hunter Stoves, Call Caterlink.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
Aim to provide the very best quality candidates at a competitive rate.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
The variety – no day is the same.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
The admin involved.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Keeping on top of the market and any opportunities. And going on Holiday once in a while.

What we may not know…
I’ve built 31ft of decking from scratch.

Jane Bassett

Meet our Payroll and Accounts

Jane has a wealth of experience having looked after payroll and bookkeeping in environments ranging from Civil Service and corporate through to SMEs.

Jane is the primary point of contact for all accounts or payroll queries and she is always happy to help.

Simone Harper

POSITION: Engineering Recruitment Consultant

Name: Simone Harper

Position: Specialist Recruitment Consultant

Sector: Engineering

Time In Recruitment: 10 Years

Why should Simone represent you?
Simone has valuable experience within engineering, manufacturing, production and technical roles. Throughout her ten years’ experience in recruitment, she has helped to fill roles at all levels from directors to supervisors. One of the main reasons for Simone’s success as the perfect representative, is that she genuinely shares a true passion for the sector she’s involved in and takes time to study market changes.

A great trait for Simone is her eagerness to explore other recruitment avenues. No matter how complex or contemporary the job role is – if it falls under her engineering bracket, she’ll try her hardest to find an inspiring solution.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Relationship building. Genuine interest within the specialisms I recruit for. Honest and integral. Candidate management. Very personable.
Clients Simone has worked with.
Gooch and House Go, Kawasaki Precision Machinery, Burts Chips, TBSGB.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
Every consultant is very individual and Astra is not somewhere I’d class as a stereotypical recruitment agency. We are driven by creating great results for our candidates and clients. And another note, we have space hoppers.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
The variety.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
To have prosecco on tap.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Drink wine.

What we may not know…
I sometimes make a noise in my throat like Kermet the Frog.

Neil Roberts

POSITION: IT Recruitment Consultant

Name: Neil Roberts

Position: Specialist Recruitment Consultant

Sector: IT

Time In Recruitment: 2 Years

Why should Neil represent you?
Neil is one of Astra Recruitment’s top performers. His skills at building long-term partnerships with his clients as well as truly understanding his candidate’s credentials and aspirations, is a real determining factor for his success.

Like others in the Astra team, Neil has a true appreciation for the sector he works in and enjoys the ever-changing world of IT. His typical roles within Automotive, Electronics and IT; includes Software Developers, Design Engineers and Senior Management.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Sourcing candidates. Business development. Servicing clients. Building long-term relationships. Actual interest in technology.
Clients Neil has worked with.
Chess Dynamics, Ashridge Engineering, Seich, City Bus, Eclipse.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
Nice working environment, friendly company and freedom to expand my desk.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
Enjoy finding work for people who are unemployed and struggling to get back into work.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
People’s perception of Recruitment Agencies.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Keep things simple and try not to overcomplicate. Outside of work my wife, dog and Land Rover helps me to de-stress.

What we may not know…
Qualified Barber.

Katy Rae Jones

POSITION: Temporary Recruitment Specialist

Name: Katy-Rae Jones

Position: Temporary Recruitment Consultant

Sector: Logistics

Time In Recruitment: 1 Year

Why should Katy represent you?
Katy is one of the newest members to the Astra Recruitment team. Katy was employed because of her excellent understanding of client requirements, where she previously sourced candidates for Special Educational Needs (SEN) roles. The nature of SEN work meant it was vital for Katy to only put forward the most suitable candidates, and it’s this meticulousness which made her such an attractive proposition for Astra going forward.

Katy is currently working on the Logistics desk and takes care of the team’s temporary recruitment. She adds value and knowledge to short-term contracts, and will always go the extra mile to discover talent and keep her clients happy.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Rapport Building. Passionate about fulfilling client requirements. Enjoy opening career doors. Networking. Ethical.
Clients Katy has worked with.
UK Mail, DPD, Hermes, Harrier and Fowler Welch.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
We offer a nationwide service that caters to individual and generic recruitment needs.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
The satisfaction of exceeding client expectations by sourcing the perfect fit as well as finding candidates the perfect job.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
A bad reputation.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

A healthy work/home balance.

What we may not know…
I’ve broken my left arm three times in one year.

Kim Lewis

Meet our Logistics Specialist

In a previous position Kim started the Logistics Recruitment desk and grew it to be one of the companies’ best performing teams in less than 18 months.

Having moved from one of the Nation’s most successful recruitment companies with offices worldwide, she has taken the decision to join Astra Recruitment because of our open and honest approach to recruitment and our fun yet professional environment which is also enjoyed by our clients and candidates alike.

She is totally dedicated to finding the right candidate the right job with the right company and always have an eye for advancement of my candidates to benefit my clients.

She has successfully placed candidates with John Lewis, Asda, Koch West House, Robert Wiseman Dairies and many other National operators but she also enjoys working with smaller companies and family businesses, Her goal is always to find the right person for the right job and this is what motivates her every day.

If you have a role or if you are looking to take the next step in your career in Logistics the please get in touch.

Jarek Grzeskowiak

POSITION: IT Recruitment Consultant

Name: Jarek Grzeskowiak

Position: Specialist Recruitment Consultant

Sector: IT

Time In Recruitment: 6 Years

Why should Jarek represent you?
Jarek’s speciality revolves around sourcing candidates for IT based roles. He has worked hard to grow a strong client base and continues to be a reliable outsource for businesses that need technical talent. The typical roles that Jarek recruits for includes the likes of in-house software programmes, web design and data warehouse development.

Due to his wealthy experience in IT recruitment, Jarek understands all the lingo and common requirements for niche areas. His experience in IT recruitment and a fitting love for technology allows Jarek to be the perfect partner for clients as well as an insightful advisor for candidates.

5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Resourcing for software development. Candidate relationship building. Candidate networking. Creative Ad writing. Contract recruitment.
Clients Jarek has worked with.
Screwfix, Riverford Organics, Data Intelligence Ltd, Teradata.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
The only specialist recruitment agency - West of Exeter, that covers Logistics, Engineering and IT.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
Diversity and variety of job responsibilities, as well as earning potential.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
Candidates and clients should be more important than money, but sadly for many recruitment agencies it’s the other way around.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Home, family and weekly sessions of basketball – all helps to balance the stress.

What we may not know…
I can move my ears without touching them.

Brian Rossiter

POSITION: Project Manager & Quality Co-ordinator

Name: Brian Rossiter

Position: Quality Co-ordinator

Sector: Project Recruitment

Time In Recruitment: 11 Years

Why should Brian represent you?
Although Brian has earnt his recruitment stripes as a consultant, his main area of expertise is now within the deliverance of recruitment projects for companies nationwide. Brian has valuable experience in providing a comprehensive recruitment project, which can really tap into a business’s ethos, framework and recruitment goals.

Using tailor-made business solutions, Brian can help to assist companies with:

• Advertising, marketing and PR.
• Screening and selection of candidates.
• Compliance checks.
• Interview Days/Assessment Centres.
• Final Offers.
• Facilitation and co-ordination of training for successful starters.


Throughout all of Brian’s projects he balances a complementary blend of professionalism and approachability. He’s a quality communicator, sustains an analytic mind and his organisation skills are exemplary; so much so that he can juggle a few projects at once.
5 specialities/core recruitment skills.
Understanding client requirements & implementing these. Very organised. Able to handle large volume of recruitment projects. Achieve client targets and maintain communication. Hospitable.
Clients Brian has worked with.
Wolf Minerals, SGS, CA Blackwell, Taziker Industrial, Cuddy Group.
Q&A

For you, what makes Astra unique?
Great working environment & culture.

What’s the best thing about being in recruitment?
Being able to help those find employment and the diversity of work.

If there was one thing you could change about recruitment, what would it be?
Less transactional, recruiters do themselves a disservice when they fall into a sales fight.

Recruitment is supposed to be the most stressful job on the market – how do you deal
with this stress?

Performing on stage.

What we may not know…
Acted with a professional theatre company.

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