Page 1

Issue 64

March / April 2018

Matthew Hickin Overseeing one of the most recognised UK brands Page 20





Coventry & Warwickshire in business


How we can all shape the new-look Britain

Go for Growth


Dear Chamber of Commerce Member,





It is good to note that Coventry and Warwickshire businesses are upbeat and trading positively despite UK GDP growth (for Q4 2017) being revised downwards and the trade deficit widening amid rising imports. There are signs of a strengthening global market with, for example, GDP in Germany and France reaching a six-year high in growth. A strengthening EU market would certainly lead us to demand, as businesses, the right kind of BREXIT, with the hope that the Prime Minister can achieve her Government's principles, as set out on 2nd March, that trade at the EU / UK border should be as frictionless as possible. The Prime Minister spoke, on 2nd March, in a very optimistic way. She spoke of a new beginning for the United Kingdom and a new relationship with European countries and colleagues. She spoke of BREXIT being a way of reaffirming our commitment to working across the globe as a free trade, modern, outward looking country, where we should be proud of our values and confident about our future. The Prime Minister spoke of a global Britain and a strong economic partnership with our neighbours in the EU and reaching out across the continent to our neighbours across the world. It was notable that the Prime Minister appealed to us all, to help us build the country we would want it to be, to the benefit of those who voted to leave and for those who voted to remain and I guess we would all support the view that it is the talent and genius of our people, particularly our young people, which will be the key to our BREXIT future. I believe we have still a long way to go to see the real outcomes of any negotiation and what we are calling for, as your voice of business, is a well thought through and know transition agreement. If you want to learn more about the work of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber business-led BREXIT Club, our BREXIT Manifesto and/or the practical work we are doing on the ground to help businesses prepare for the future, then go online on or get in touch with James Ahearne, Manager of your CW Chamber International Trade Hub, on

Alongside our trade work, we continue to support you and your business to network and I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the "CW Rocks" Trade Expo on Friday 9th March at the Ricoh Arena. With 80 Exhibitors, circa 400 footfall, learning labs and a Business Leaders Luncheon, attended by Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine and David Burbidge CBE DL, Chairman of City of Culture 2021, it is going to be a spectacular networking and informative event. At all of our Trade Expo's, your Chamber takes the opportunity to put the spotlight on apprenticeships, highlighting the benefits of recruiting apprentices into your business and are proud to be working with Warwickshire College along with our own Chamber Training, to assist your business in finding the right people with a commitment to develop the right skills for your business.

CONTENTS March/April 2018

Corporate Profiles


International Trade


Corporate Profiles


Chamber Training


Business Support


Legal & Finance


In 2018, I am keen to encourage as many businesses as possible to "showcase" your products & services, your innovation and your people.

Property Profile


You can do this by submitting an application for a British Chambers of Commerce Business Award and, if interested, should get in touch with me on You could also put your business forward for a Queens Award in Enterprise (Innovation, International Trade or Sustainability) and, to help you, your local Deputy Lieutenants (supporting the Lord-Lieutenants of the West Midlands and Warwickshire) have organised a Queens Award Masterclass on 14th June 2018, an event definitely worth committing to your diary, so please contact Adele on

Brexit Club


Around the region


Focus on Nuneaton & Bedworth


Your Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is here to support its' Membership and, through our business support services, the wider business base of the locality, so get in touch on 02476 654321. Kind regards, Louise, Mrs L Bennett-Bayliss OBE, DL Chief Executive






President & People


New Members


Training and Events



Go for Growth


Innovative approach leads to visit

At the Chamber

News desk

Members are encouraged to send any news about their firm - new orders, staff, new products, expansions or relocations - for publication in C&W in business. Whilst every effort will be made to publish submitted articles, we cannot guarantee inclusion. Send them to: Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Chamber House Innovation Village Cheetah Road Coventry CV1 2TL T: 024 76 654321 F: 024 76 450242

At the publishers


Ian Fletcher

Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ T: 0151 236 4141

Advertising Contact Karen Hall T: 07801 788880 Production Manager Mark Etherington Accounts Director Joanne Casey Media Number 1537 © Benham Publishing 2018 C&W in Business is produced on behalf of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by Benham Publishing Limited and is distributed to members free of charge. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in C&W in Business, neither Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, nor the publisher can accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies it contains. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber.

Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE (front, centre) is pictured with pupils from the school and other dignitaries.

A Coventry school, which won a global award for its development of Mandarin, has been visited by key dignitaries from across the West Midlands to see its innovative approach to teaching the language. Finham Park School won the prestigious Global Confucius Classroom of the Year award by the Confucius Institute – an educational organisation which aims to support Chinese teaching internationally. Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, and Deputy Lieutenant, Colonel George Marsh TD DL, were guests of honour at the school’s annual Confucius Day as they went along to find out more about its dedication to teaching Mandarin and its links to sister schools in Shanghai. They were given an overview of the school’s teaching of the language by Chris Bishop, Headteacher of Finham Park School, and Mark Bailie, Executive Headteacher of Finham Park Multi Academy Trust, before heading off to different parts of the school to get a feel for different elements of the teaching.

Students from across the Finham Park Multi Academy Trust which includes Finham Park School, Lyng Hall School, and Finham Park 2, are part of the Mandarin Excellence Programme and came together to celebrate Confucius Day and put on displays for the dignitaries. Around 20 pupils demonstrated a traditional Chinese dance before the Lord Lieutenant took part with more students in a Tai Ji Quan session where he learned the difference between the moves. The dignitaries – which also included Peter Burns MBE, the chair of Finham Park Multi Academy Trust and a past president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce; Alethea Fuller, Chair of Finham Park Local Governing Body; Sam Gray, Project Manager UCL IOE Confucius Institute for Schools; and Paul Green, Headteacher of Lyng Hall School – also got to see the art of Chinese lantern making before settling down to a traditional Chinese lunch, which was prepared on-site by Year Nine students from Finham Park 2.

Mark Bailie thanked the Lord Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenant and presented a framed pieced of artwork from one of the students to the Lord Lieutenant. Mr Bishop said: “It was great to be able to showcase what we do to such distinguished guests and they had a great time seeing what we do and meeting pupils, who were extremely enthusiastic about learning the language.” Peter Burns MBE said: “I was delighted to attend in my roles with the school and the Chamber. “The learning of languages – particularly Mandarin – is becoming increasingly important in a globalised world and the pupils at Finham Park who study the language are getting themselves one step ahead of the game. “It was great to see the different elements of learning and the demonstrations of dance, Tai Ji Quan and lantern making – as well as sampling the beautiful food – because it really brought to life the students’ understanding of what they have been learning.”

The official publication of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce 4

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Policy Go for Growth

Companies announce merger

Sarah Van Ristell, a director at Armstrongs Chartered Accountants is seen here with (L to R): Jordon Knowles, Crosby Brent-Jones, Laura Doolan, James Spencer Branagh, Nathan Scullion, Ciara Jordan and Ashleigh Tucker

(L to r) Jonathan Moore, Nick Holt, Peter Holt, Rupert Gillitt, David Allen

Two of the most respected names in commercial property in the West Midlands have joined forces. Shortland Penn + Moore, which has offices in Coventry and Birmingham, and D&P Holt Ltd, which has offices in Coventry and covers Warwickshire, have agreed to merge. The new company – Holt Commercial – will be based from Holt Court in Warwick Row, Coventry, as well as from a Birmingham base in Colmore Row. Peter Holt will be Managing Director while Nick Holt, Jonathan Moore, David Allen and Rupert Gillitt will be Directors. A further seven staff will make up the Holt Commercial team. The two names have more than 80 years’ experience in commercial property in the region and the merger brings together a host of services under one company.

Nick Holt and Jonathan Moore have led on the merger and believe that the move has come about at the perfect time. Nick said: “This is great news for everyone involved. It draws together experience and expertise that means Holt Commercial will cover the whole commercial property sphere in this region.” Jonathan said: “Coventry was recently named UK City of Culture 2021 and Birmingham has now been confirmed

as the Commonwealth Games host in 2022 so this is a really exciting time for the region that we cover. “It’s the ideal time to join forces to create a full-service commercial property agency covering Coventry, Warwickshire, Birmingham and the wider Midlands area. “This is a really positive time for the region and we are confident that all of our experience and wide range of skills will mean we can make the most of that for both the new company and our clients.”

The two names have more than 80 years’ experience in commercial property in the region and the merger brings together a host of services under one company.”

Chamber calls for site expansion Business leaders in Warwickshire are calling for one of the subregion’s most successful regeneration sites to be expanded to help meet the county’s need for more employment land. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has written to decision-makers at a local, regional and national level to highlight its concerns about a shortage of land for jobs in the sub-region. And, in a letter, the Chamber has been calling on Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council to support the expansion of Prologis Business Park, as part of a wider mission to help create thousands of new jobs in the area. The letter was a response to the council’s Local Plan and, after highlighting wider concerns about the shortage of land to create new jobs, the Chamber stated that it believes an expansion to Prologis Business Park can form part of the solution.

The submission, signed by Chamber chief executive Louise Bennett, came on the back of research undertaken by the Chamber’s Sub-Regional Employment Land Group into the shortage of space to provide jobs for the future. Louise said: “We have been highlighting the issue of a shortage of employment land around the region because it is vital that we have the space for our businesses to grow. “We have been keen to not only point out what we feel the issue is but to also offer our view on where we feel solutions can be found to assist our local councils in helping to solve this problem. “It’s absolutely vital that key sites are identified and that we all work together to ensure that land is set aside to provide the jobs for the future. “The Chamber strongly believes that the Prologis Keresley Business Park is one of the sub-region’s recognised Strategic Employment Sites – like the Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway

Site, Ansty, Prologis Ryton and MIRA – all of which have the necessary size, potential and infrastructure to provide for substantial and essential growth in our economy and the employment opportunities for our growing population.” David Penn, the vice president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have made submissions to Local Plans across the region because the shortage of employment land is an issue that has to be addressed if we are going to create the jobs our growing population will need in the future. “Specifically in Nuneaton & Bedworth, we believe an expansion to Prologis Business Park can play a significant part in providing more land for jobs in order to help grow our economy and offer job opportunities for local people. “If it were to be reinstated to the Local Plan for the Inspector’s consideration that would be very positive news.”

Accountancy firm engages in growth Armstrongs Chartered Accountants has seen a period of rapid growth by establishing a team of qualified accountants and apprentices who are creating opportunities for others to follow. Established in 1979, the award-winning firm of chartered accountants serves a large and diverse client base across its two offices in Coventry and Nuneaton. The team deals with a broad range of clients which includes everything from sole traders right through to audited group accounts. The accountancy firm’s three directors, Sarah Van Ristell, Paul Farmer and Muhammed Shabbir, formed a close working partnership with Chamber Training a number of years ago and currently have seven apprentices. They are at various levels of training from AAT Level 2 to AAT Level 4 and the directors are planning to take on another two apprentices later this year. Sarah Van Ristell said: “Taking on apprentices is definitely the way forward as the process works extremely well for us. We pride ourselves on being a modern and dynamic accountancy practice and our apprentices are hands-on with technology and keen to take on new projects. The team at Chamber Training provides our apprentices with the training required and we offer them employment and a bright future.” “By employing the right apprentices, we have seen a huge increase in productivity and work flow. We see our apprentices as the next level of seniors for the firm, so it’s important they have the best training on offer. We are also proud to say that one of our apprentices, James Spencer Branagh, entered the Young Pro Awards this year and was highly commended as Apprentice of the Year, so we have clearly made the best choices!”



Boditrax enlists the help of Netmetix to provide a more flexible environment for its customers partnership began. After an initial introductory meeting, Netmetix offered various options that met boditrax’ requirements and were able to provide the more personal approach that they needed at a more competitive price. To make the whole process even easier, Netmetix were able to implement a multi-stage cloud rollout rather than jumping to the cloud in one giant leap. Paul Blore, Managing Director at Netmetix

Health and wellness technology solutions provider partners with cloud network specialists to migrate to the cloud.

hybrid cloud infrastructure network but required a more scalable environment to meet the demands of its rapid expansion.

Health, fitness and wellbeing digital solutions provider, boditrax, has recently partnered with Netmetix, cloud network specialists, to migrate to the cloud, manage a growing estate and create a more agile environment for customers to operate within. The business was previously hosted via a different provider through a

After discussing the options with their previous cloud provider, boditrax concluded that the migration costs quoted were too high, so started looking externally for a reputable provider that could deliver the infrastructure, customer service and support they required. Paul Blore, MD at Netmetix, is a boditrax user himself which is where the

The business saw almost instant benefits after implementation in October 2017, with a rollout on a Friday evening before the peak gym hours on Saturday morning, it delivered an immediate performance improvement to boditrax and their customers. The site has recorded just a single P1 incident (high priority incident in a live setting since implementation, where a client was unable to login to the system, which Netmetix rectified within just 20 minutes of notification). The solution is currently being utilised at one site across the Northern European region, with plans to expand rollout across additional areas in the near future.

Bav Jansari, Head of Development and Technology at boditrax commented “For me, they’re offering a managed service and it’s a prime example of what a managed service should be. The customer gives the client the requirements, the client proposes various options and we work collaboratively to discuss the pros and cons and how we should work together.” He adds “They do what they say they’re going to do. They provide us with confidence and we know we’re spending our money wisely, with them.” Paul Blore, MD at Netmetix adds “We’re really excited about the partnership with boditrax. Being an advocate for the brand myself, I was really excited to be able to offer them the infrastructure and support that they required. We’re really looking forward to future plans with the business.”

For more information, visit

The future of Technology Sourcing Kicking off the new year by looking into the future of technology sourcing, leading sourcing advisors Quantum Plus held their January event at the prestigious Shangri-La hotel at the Shard, London. The event focused on bringing together both sides of the fence and was attended by some of Quantum Plus’s most valued clients. Guest speakers included AI and RPI specialist Andrew Burgess and an introduction to the Corsham Institute, the Wiltshire-based not for profit organisation that focuses on empowering the citizen in an ever-changing digital world. The hand-picked suppliers that work closely with Quantum Plus were asked to present on their hot topics for the future of technology sourcing – resulting in a variety of themes and approaches. Quantum Plus anchored the day with their insight into how to tackle the fast-moving world of technology sourcing and managing these relationships in a more efficient manner. Emerging themes were, the importance of deepening relationships to drive desired outcomes rather than just financial results, championing the human as well as the management aspects of partnerships and dealing with the hidden, as well as the hygiene, factors of partnerships. The event bought to light not only the required change in the traditional approach and sourcing strategy but the ability for suppliers to enable these changes. Bringing innovation to the buyer appears to be a definite gap in the market and leaves a question mark around the client ability to consume such fast-moving changes in technology without a guided tour of the options in relation to what they, as a buyer really need.

New entrance at Warwick Racecourse unveiled

The new main entrance at Warwick Racecourse was unveiled on one of its biggest racedays of the year.

Don’t know where to turn? We’ll give you our…


Racegoers attending The Gentleman’s Raceday featuring The Betway Kingmaker Novices’ Chase on Saturday, February 10, enjoyed a warmer welcome as the first to officially go through the improved turnstiles. The new-look entrance fronted by a public plaza at The Jockey Club racecourse was opened by the Mayor of Warwick, Cllr Stephen Cross. He was joined by Andre Klein,

General Manager at Warwick Racecourse, Andy Clark, Chairman of Warwick Racecourse, and Charlie Brooks, Construction Director of Wigley Building and Development, the principal contractor on the project. The redevelopment, featuring a timber-clad entrance wall and canopy over new turnstiles, provides the racecourse with an improved entrance, and the public with an open landscaped area with seating that can be used all-year round. The scheme, designed by Roberts Limbrick Architects in

Gloucester, also marks the first step of the St Mary’s Lands Masterplan to improve the common land which is home to the racecourse and other community assets. Andre said: “The new entrance has been my number one priority since arriving at Warwick Racecourse. “It provides a much more welcoming approach to our great racecourse and will hopefully encourage more people to come racing and experience a day at our track. The operational improvements are significant as well.”


Whatever your circumstances, trust BRI to help you get your business back on track.

• Restructuring

From business recovery to CVAs, administration, debt advice and more, our highly-qualified insolvency experts are dedicated to giving you the best advice.

• Personal Insolvency

Our services:

• Corporate Insolvency

Whatever your business financial concerns, talk to BRI – we can help you on your way to a healthier future.


Call now on 02476 226839 Kings Chambers, Queens Road, Coventry, CV1 3EH


Mayor of Warwick, Cllr Stephen Cross (centre), with Andre Klein (general manager, Warwick Racecourse) to his left, Charlie Brooks (far left, construction director, Wigley Building and Development), James Ellerington (far right director of operations, The Wigley Group), with members of the Racecourse Committee.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


sponsored column

Carrier bag sales boost charity coffers

(L to r) Chris Coldwell, Store Manager of The Co-operative food store at Galley Common in Nuneaton, with Jo Dyke, Community and Membership Adviser of the Heart of England Co-operative Society, and Ali Kurji, Chief Executive.

Fifteen charities across Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire have each been awarded a share of £50,000 raised through sales of 5p carrier bags at the Heart of England Co-operative Society. With the most votes among shoppers in their respective areas, the Society awarded £5,000 to The Laura Centre in Coventry, Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlilfe Sanctuary, Hinckley Homeless Group, Friends of Foundry Wood, a community woodland in Royal Leamington Spa and the Rugby Community First Responders. The Coventry Young Carers, Doorway in Nuneaton, Hinckley Mencap, Warwick and Leamington Foodbank, and Age UK Rugby each received £3,000. Coventry Mencap & Wayfarers Club, Barnados, Hinckley Community Transport, the Helen Ley Care Centre in Leamington and New Directions in Rugby, which supports adults with learning disabilities, each received £2,000.

The latest awards come on the back of a further £30,000 from carrier bag sales at the Society, shared among charities in 2016 following the introduction of the Government’s 5p levy on retailers. The aim of the levy is to cut the use of the bags which are harmful to the environment. Gail Moore founded The Laura Centre alongside her husband Harry in 1991, to offer specialist support to families who had suffered the loss of a child. The move followed the death of their daughter Laura, who died in 1989 aged just five. Gail said: “This donation from the Heart of England Co-operative Society through the Government’s carrier bag levy is fabulous.” Louise Adams, from Hinckley Homeless Group, said: “We would like to thank customers at the Heart of England Co-operative Society for thinking of us, and of the young people we support.” Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “Every one of these fantastic causes plays a vital role in its respective areas and we are delighted to be able to support each of them.”

Cipher-IT celebrates success A growth in Managed IT Support clients, along with new staff, has left Cipher-IT excited for the year ahead. Cipher were thrilled to finish 2017 with a flourish of success by welcoming several new clients on-board. These new clients range from Management Consultants to Industrial Drilling, all trusting Cipher to provide them with the IT Support they need to grow and succeed in the coming years. Cipher are already working hard with the planning of future projects, such as Office 365

migrations and increasing customers’ Cyber Security. They also took on two additions to the team. Cipher took on another apprentice, Ross Marlow, as the previous apprentice had now completed his term and is now a full time Technician. The local, home grown business also welcomed back an old employee. Neil Porter, who used to be the Technical Manager, has now joined them in a slightly different role, heading up Business Development, Marketing and Social Media.

Year ends on a high ISO Quality Services Limited ended 2017 with the announcement of the launch of a second new product in the year – Online Training. ISO QSL specialises in delivering high quality, cost effective solutions to help businesses run more effectively. This includes, amongst others, advice and implementation of the quality management standard ISO 9001 and the environmental standard 14001.

Since 2010 ISO QSL has also offered training both, off site, in-house and bespoke to sit alongside its implementation services. However, since mid-2017, they have been developing their online offering. Their new online training is a modular version of their Quality Management System course. The first module covers risk based thinking and is available now. Further modules will cover the other core aspects of the standard, such as Leadership;

With the end of the tax year on 5 April fast approaching, now is an important time to review your tax position and ensure you are taking advantage of the reliefs and allowances available. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) annual exemptions Those with a share portfolio should consider making use of the £11,300 capital gains tax annual exemption by 5th April. Assets can be transferred between spouses to fully utilise both annual exemptions.

Stepnell appointed for Hospice expansion scheme

St Richard’s Hospice patients, staff, volunteers and representatives from Stepnell and Associated Architects celebrate the launch of the Hospice’s building project at a special turf-cutting event

Year-end tax planning

Construction specialist Stepnell has been selected by St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester to help deliver its major expansion programme. Stepnell’s West Midlands team has been appointed to a £2.7 million construction contract which will significantly extend and redevelop the hospice in Wildwood Drive. It forms part of a £5.3 million expansion programme, designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects, which will meet the increasing demand for hospice care and services locally. Stepnell regional director John Rawlinson said: “We feel privileged to be working with St Richard’s on this hugely important project. “The extension and redevelopment programme will provide the hospice and its patients with greater space and enhanced facilities, allowing it to further expand the already extensive range of services and support it provides for people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.” Objectives and Improvements and Internal Audit. The course is available to download for users to work through at their own pace. The product has been developed as a response to market demand. Training Director Debbie Farr said: “Our courses are very popular but we do appreciate that not everyone can take a full day out of the office. This modular, online course gives people the option to learn the same skills but in a bitesized, easy to manage format that does not require a full day out of the office. Development is already under way on further modules for the course the next to be released in the Spring.

Tax efficient investments An investment under EIS/SEIS or through a VCT attracts income tax relief at up to 50%, and may also qualify for a CGT exemption or deferment. Income Tax relief on investments made before 5th April can be claimed against 2016/17 or 2017/18 tax liabilities. ISA investments must be made by 5 April 2018 to take advantage of the 2017/18 limit of £20,000 (total across all ISA types). ISA income and gains are free of income tax and CGT. Unused Pension Annual Allowance If you have not used your full £40,000 annual allowance for the 2014/15 tax year, the unused allowance must be used by 5th April 2018 or it will be lost. To access the earlier year unused relief you must first exhaust the £40,000 allowance for the current tax year. Entitlement to child benefit Child benefit is clawed back where an individual’s taxable income rises above £50,000 and is completely lost where income exceeds £60,000. Claimants and their spouses who are business owners should consider their position before drawing further dividends or salary. Making additional pension contributions or charitable donations are also ways to reduce the clawback. We would be delighted to assist you in reviewing your tax position. Please contact Paul Spencer or David Thomas on 02476 257481 or respectively. For more information please visit our website



Diversity in business It was great to see CW Chamber board member Fleur Sexton participating in the BCC’s annual conference as part of the panel on Diversity in Business. As the event took place on International Women’s Day (8th March) it was an opportunity to showcase the business advantages of embracing all types of diversity. It’s difficult to ignore the call for improved gender diversity and equality given the recent centenary of the women’s right to vote for the first time, the completion of the first round of gender pay gap reporting (for organisations with more than 250 employees), the high profile equal pay claims (Tesco, BBC), the publicity of the #metoo and Time’s Up campaigns at the recent US and UK entertainment industry awards season as well as the call for more senior women Board representatives on large corporations. The calls for improving diversity are based on the notions that: • Organisations with diverse teams are likely to perform better than those that don’t (research by McKinsey, amongst others) • Diversity brings about greater creativity and diversity of thought • Access to a greater talent pool to fill recruitment needs and skills gaps. McKinsey claim that closing the gender pay gap in the UK will add £150 billion to the UK economy. Just imagine what we could achieve if we also closed the racial pay gap? Lloyds Banking Group have recently announced that they are taking specific action to increase their BAME population by setting targets. It’s likely that other large employers will follow. A lack of diversity is increasingly seen as a reflection of narrow-minded, stifling and out-dated business cultures.

What does this mean for a SME? Diversity is good for business. Have a good look around your organisation. How would you fair with a gender pay gap report? What does it feel like to be in your organisation – as an employee and as a visitor? There is nothing to fear about creating a diverse team. 1. Look at how you recruit people to your business Most of the decisions that we make are made out of our conscious awareness, so look for new sources of applicants and get different people involved in the recruitment process to shake it up, inviting more diverse talent through your doors. 2. Communicate your commitment to change and educate Celebrate and make the best use of your talent. Communicate your commitment to create a diverse team and engage your team. 3. Create diverse talent pipelines If your future vision looks and feels just like your current team, take a step back and review that future vision. Given the current employment skills shortfall in our region, competition for quality talent is higher than ever and the main concern of most local employers, including CW Chamber members. Embracing diversity can start with the simple step of thinking differently about where and how you source your new hires. What are you going to do differently?

Backing for festival

Louise Bennett with David Wilson


Sally Dhillon and Nishi Mehta, co-founders, Career-Mums Partnership

Sally Dhillon is co-founder of CareerMums Partnership – supporting local employers to improve their gender

diversity. Sally will be speaking at the Chamber’s Women in Business lunch on 27th April

“A lack of diversity is increasingly seen as a reflection of narrow-minded, stifling and out-dated business cultures.” The Chamber has backed a major festival in the city that promotes equality and diversity. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has sponsored Coventry Pride, which is taking place on June 9 and June 10 at locations across the city centre. The free event, which this year is themed Be You, will feature a range of performances and attractions to celebrate the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Coventry is a diverse, welcoming city and that was at the heart of the successful bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and events such as Pride are a great example of that. “In terms of business, it’s absolutely vital that companies look to tap into the talents of people from all backgrounds and that is why we are very keen to support Pride.”

David Wilson, a trustee of Coventry Pride, said the event had grown in popularity in the city. He said: “We are extremely grateful to Louise Bennett and the Chamber for supporting Coventry Pride, which helps us to ensure that the event remains free of charge. “The event is growing year on year and this is a chance for the Chamber to reach new audiences with their messages of how they can support businesses in a variety of ways. “We are looking forward to a very successful Coventry Pride 2018 which is headlined Be You as we want people to come along, just be themselves and have a great time. As a charity run entirely by volunteers we depend on the support from the wider community to deliver a free pride for Coventry. ” You can find out more about Coventry Pride at

“We are looking forward to a very successful Coventry Pride 2018 which is headlined Be You as we want people to come along, just be themselves and have a great time. As a charity run entirely by volunteers we depend on the support from the wider community to deliver a free pride for Coventry. ”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


sponsored column

Guest speakers give inspiring talks A star from BBC’s The Apprentice and Coventry University’s first female Chancellor gave an insight into their careers at a business networking event in the region. Michelle Niziol and Dr Margaret CaselyHayford were guest speakers at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Women in Business event, sponsored by Apex Recruitment, held at Coombe Abbey Hotel. For the very first time, delegates were invited to take part in a speed networking session before hearing from the speakers who gave presentations on their career paths. Michelle, CEO of IMS Property Group, gave an account of her time on The Apprentice in 2016, answering some of her most asked questions. She also spoke about the need for resilience in business after the first time she was ever fired took place in the famous boardroom in front of 10 million viewers and led to her facing a social media backlash. Michelle, who is also Vice-President of Arla Propertymark and a columnist for What Mortgage magazine, said: “In business you have to be resilient as people are going to take any sort of jab that they can, but it’s all about learning from those experiences. “Taking part in The Apprentice was the best thing I’ve ever done. Lord Sugar is one of the most astute business people I’ve ever met and it was an absolute pleasure to spend time with him. “After I was fired there were 350,000 tweets about me, and the majority of them weren’t about me as a businesswoman, but I found all of the comments humorous.” Michelle then went on to speak about her drive to be in business from a young age, starting her first business at the age of six selling lucky dip gifts to her

Check the rear view mirror and focus on the road ahead Traditionally accountants help you with things that happened in the past, rear view mirror stuff; accounts, audit, assurance and tax.

Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford; Hazel Pilling, of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Women; Michelle Niziol and Jennifer Kennedy, of Apex Recruitment

neighbours, and how she grew her multimillion pound company. She added: “I am very passionate about Women in Business, and I knew from a young age I wanted to run my own company. “Now I look for ways to continually develop my business, streamlining systems and doing everyone’s job when they are on holiday to look at how we can improve processes.” Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford spoke about becoming the first female Chancellor of Coventry University after spending her business life as a lawyer, and her pride at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opening the new Science and Health Building on the campus. She also spoke about the need to be flexible in an ever-changing world, her passion for championing women’s rights as Chair of ActionAid UK and her role as Chair of the Advisory Board of Ultra Education which promotes the

importance of teaching entrepreneurial skills to children. The networking event marked the Chamber’s first Women in Business of 2018. Chris Nagle, Events & Marketing Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was wonderful to welcome Michelle and Margaret to our first Women in Business event of 2018. “They were both extremely inspirational speakers who gave an excellent insight into how they got to where they are today. Coombe Abbey was an excellent location to host the event and we would also like to thanks our sponsors Apex Recruitment.” Jennifer Kennedy, of Apex Recruitment, added: “The event highlighted the amazing work that women are doing at a local and national level. We proudly support the Chamber of Commerce in their goal of promoting the profiles of business women in our area.”

However at Dafferns we believe that what is even more important is focussing on the road ahead, planning for the future of your business, preparing for change and building growth and profit. To plan for your road ahead and build or grow a successful business in 2018 you need to ask yourself four challenging questions about your business.

Now-Where-How? How is your business performing NOW, what are your goals for the next 12 months, WHERE you want to be and what are the key strategies you need to focus on first as to HOW you will get there?

Dafferns have a free online Growth and Profit diagnostic tool that can help you identify and rate the key NOW issues in your business: Profit, Leadership, Innovation, Sales, People, Implementation, Strategy, Marketing, Technology and Systems.

What would you change if you had a Magic Wand? If you had a Magic Wand and didn't have to think about the cost or the how, what would you change about your business?

Create a Mindmap of the things you would fix.

How Change Ready are you? Statistically there is only a 30% probability of change success in most businesses and this is ultimately a product of three things; readiness, capability and beliefs.

Dafferns have a free online Change Success diagnostic to access how prepared your business is for change and where to focus to increase your probability for making change happen.

Have you got a One Page Plan? To give yourself the greatest chance of making things happen in your business, you need a series of One Page Plans. What are you going to do, how are you going to do it, who is responsible and when does it have to be done by.

Dafferns have a free pdf template for a simple One Page Plan. To access all these resources and find out more about how we can help your business plan ahead, please visit


Corporate Profiles

It is all about the service A Nuneaton company that helps other firms get their goods to a range of overseas markets is enjoying record levels of business – despite the uncertainties around Brexit. Independent Freight, which is run by managing director Jenny Hooper, helps businesses with everything from customs clearance through to storage of goods – whether they are exporting out of the UK or into it. The firm is seeing markets such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa – and even Libya – grow and as such has seen the company taking on new staff in both senior roles and as apprentices. The company has also worked hard to achieve AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) status, which means its customers will benefit from quicker and easier access to overseas markets thanks to the new system which offers supply chain security. “It’s the equivalent of having an ISO standard,” said Jenny. “It’s important now and we believe it is going to be even more crucial after Brexit. “It will benefit our current customers and will also put us in a very good position to secure new business because exporters will be looking for support from those who are AEO registered.” Jenny added: “Europe is still a very popular market and I have no doubt that will remain the case once we have left the European Union. “The main issue we can foresee is around border controls, which could end up causing queues and additional charges for exporters, unless we can come to an agreement with the EU to prevent that.” That potential issue has led to Jenny and David of Independent Freight launching a spin-off company. He’s been a regular at the Chamber’s Brexit Club events and that’s helped to keep him informed on the issue as well as contributing to the meetings from his own perspective. The new business, Hooper & Co, ( will concentrate on customs and compliance with regards to HMRC when it comes to overseas trade. It will run alongside, but separate to, Independent Freight and customers will be able to benefit from expertise within both businesses. Jenny added: “It’s an exciting and busy time. We are seeing record levels of business but we are having to work harder all the time – you can’t give anything less than 210 per cent! “It’s all about the service you give to customers and the support you can offer. We very often get calls from companies who are having an issue with overseas trade, we make sure we react quickly and professionally which often leads to us picking up work with those businesses. “As a small business, you have to make sure you act quickly and we have got someone monitoring emails all the time to make sure we respond to any enquiries quicker than anyone else. “Whether you are doing business locally or globally, companies are looking for the best possible service and that’s what we provide.” For more information go to


Family business celebrates th 150 anniversary

A family-run business supplies company in Nuneaton is celebrating its 150th anniversary as it looks to expand its services to continue meeting the needs of its customers. Cawthornes specialises in the supply of office stationery, office interiors, print and design, web design, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as embroidery. The business started trading on April 1, 1868 and is still run and owned by the Cawthorne family. Current Managing Director Michael Cawthorne, who is fourth generation of the family, has worked in the business for the last 40 years and is joined by his three children Matthew, Hayley and Harry. Sales Director Matthew and Marketing Director Hayley have both been in the

business 13 years, while Harry, who works in the sales team, has been in the firm for two years. The business, which has 22 members of staff, has diversified over the years, expanding to provide new products and services to keep up with advancing technology and the changing needs of its customers. The business’s latest development is the expansion of its workwear division to include an in-house embroidery service, something that was previously outsourced. Matthew said: “It is excellent to be celebrating our 150th anniversary. The business has developed and evolved over the years in line with changing trends which is testament to our success.

“Staying relevant with our customers is our main focus at Cawthornes. We are a traditional family business but also a visionary, looking ahead to future developments in the market. “We have an in house graphic/web design studio, furniture division for contract office furniture, print store which supplies a full range of printed products including wide format and signage as well as plan and poster printing. “We also have our own workwear division which includes in-house embroidery and T shirt and mug printing. “Although we have some national clients, our main focus is on our customers across Coventry and Warwickshire. We are extremely proud to have such a loyal local client base, and keeping them happy is at the heart of everything we do. “Our latest development has been offering an in-house embroidery service, and as we look to the future we will be continuing to expand the products and services we offer to our customers.” Cawthornes is a corporate member of the Chamber and will be looking to use the opportunity to network with other businesses in the area. Matthew added: “The Chamber provides an excellent opportunity to connect with other businesses and also has a number of helpful support services should you need them. We look forward to meeting with other members in the future.” For further information about Cawthornes, visit

Developing for growth The property company behind a housing development in Rugby is continuing to grow in the region. Urban & Civic manage the 6,200 home RadioStation Rugby development in Houlton, a joint venture with Aviva Investors. The company, founded in 2009 by Nigel Hugill and Robin Butler, is a privateequity backed property group dedicated to enabling and delivering strategic development in growth in the UK. The business’s core focus is on strategic sites where, as a master developer, it has stewardship of more than 4,000 acres of land across the country. It has key growth commercial and city centres in the UK, with a focus on leisure and mixed-use developments. The strategic land owned by the company will deliver more than 25,000 new homes, more than six million sq. ft. of business space and at least 11 primary schools and three secondary schools. Urban & Civic focus on transforming large-scale, strategic sites and creating mixed use developments, because the

business believes that with scale comes the ability to make a difference. The company is determined to craft vibrant developments that are embraced by their neighbours as well as the people that come to live, work and/or socialise there. This involves active stakeholder engagement, job creation and economic growth, a focus on efficient design, the environment and sustainability and

transport initiatives. Urban & Civic has an experienced and like-minded team, which draws on their experience of high quality, transformative developments, developed through engagement and partnership with local authorities and local communities. The business is a corporate member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

International Trade

sponsored column

Accolade for successful exporter

Adam Petros, Ajay Desai, Ian Kinsella, John Crabtree OBE (Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands), Julie Gordon, Lord Mayor Tony Skipper, Simon Petros

A family business with its origins on Coventry market and which now exports supplements all over the world has been given a Royal award for outstanding achievement. Premier Health Products, based in Wolfe Road, started out as a project between Fakry and Pauline Petros in 1989, with the couple selling vitamins and supplements direct to customers as well as local health stores. The business grew steadily over the years and in 2001 the couple’s son, Simon, officially joined, having grown up offering help wherever and whenever he could. At the time, Premier Health Products was still primarily focused on trading in the UK but its more recent impressive performance exporting goods to mainland Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia over the last six years, with assistance and guidance from the Coventry and

Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, has now seen the business receive the The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2017. Exporting became a major part of what the company does after Simon’s brother Adam joined in 2007, with the pair taking over the reins a few years later following their father’s retirement. Adam said: “Exporting is around 50 per cent of what we do now but after Dad decided to retire we did find ourselves at a bit of a crossroads. “We decided to actively pursue foreign markets, we went out to the Middle East and learned about how the market works over there, how we would have to tailor our products to fit in with the culture over there and since then things have really started to develop.” Premier Health Products has seen its export sales grow by 440 per cent over the

past six years thanks to the expertise of the Petros brothers and the 20-strong team in the Coventry office. The Queen’s Award is suitable recognition for all of their hard work. The pair were invited to a Royal reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by The Queen earlier this year, as well as receiving an official presentation of the award in December. This saw two of Premier Health Products’ longest serving members of staff, Ian Kinsella and Julie Gordon, who have worked with the company for 18 and 14 years respectively, presented with the Queen’s Award Crystal and Queen’s Award Scroll by John Crabtree OBE, Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands. The Queen’s Award flag now flies proudly outside the Wolfe Road base, while the Queen’s Award emblem has been put on to all of the company’s marketing and packaging materials. Simon said: “It has given us that extra confidence to go out there and tackle markets, it certifies us as a successful company and it has given everyone a lift.” The firm’s exporting was supported by the Department of International Trade, which is delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in this area. Ajay Desai, of the Chamber, said: “Premier Health Products are a shining example of how to expand a local business into an international one and it is a testament to the family’s hard work that they have received the Queen’s Award for International Trade. “We’d encourage every firm to think about exporting and Premier Health Products is the perfect example of what can be achieved.” For more information on international trade, contact the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on 024 7665 4321.

Export figures give cause for optimism

James Ahearne

Coventry and Warwickshire is the strongest exporter in the West Midlands region, according to research. And trade experts based at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce say that it can be improved further if more firms tap into the support available to overcome some of the obstacles to trading overseas. Research carried out by the Midlands Engine found that 15.6 per cent of companies across Coventry and

Warwickshire are exporting – the highest of any LEP area in the West Midlands region. The research found that the USA was the top export market for the whole of the Midlands, with Germany and France following closely behind. Australia was next on the list, with Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands making up the next of the top seven, highlighting the importance of EU markets. Government organisations, including the Department for International Trade (DIT), are the most likely to be asked for support (56 per cent) while Chambers of Commerce (32 per cent) were also high on the list. In Coventry and Warwickshire, DIT services are delivered by the Chamber’s International Trade Hub meaning companies are able to access the best possible help in exporting overseas from under one roof. Ajay Desai, Trade Director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a really positive story for Coventry and Warwickshire and for our businesses’ determination to trade overseas. “We have worked hard to promote the benefits of exporting to those companies that don’t and to offer additional support to those that do to find new markets. “The fact that we have DIT services here and additional international trade help and membership means that the Chamber in Coventry and Warwickshire is the go to

organisation for support with exports.” Companies that don’t export listed a series of barriers from not knowing where to start through to regulations. Those that do sell abroad said local regulation and standards, supply chain and logistics, paperwork and tariffs and taxes proved to be the biggest obstacles when they first started to export. James Ahearne, International Trade Commercial Executive at the Chamber, said those barriers could be overcome with assistance. He said: “Not to be blasé about it, but the Chamber is helping businesses with all of these issues on a daily basis. “We are leading on the new AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) scheme which enables companies to streamline their processes and fast-track goods through certain customs procedures when exporting overseas. “But there’s lots of face-to-face and one-to-one support on offer too because every business has a different product or service and we are here to help them to ell them overseas. Not only is that great news for the business but also for the regional economy too.” For more information on trading overseas, contact the Chamber’s International Trade Hub on 024 7665 4321.

Try a new innovative facilitation method in your business…

Ever been in a meeting where a few individuals set the tone and culture of the meeting? They speak more frequently, define key concepts more often and conclude with stronger determination. The minority takes up the majority of the time, leaving a large group of participants standing on the side line realising only a small portion of their potential. I think most of us can answer yes to this scenario! But what to do about it? That’s where LEGO® SERIOUS® PLAY® (LSP) comes in. LSP is designed primarily as a facilitation methodology, as opposed to a way of training people. As a facilitator you are working more as a guide – helping a group of people through a process to unlock and share their own knowledge rather than instructing or advising them what to do. One of the important features of LSP is that it helps to create an environment in which participants feel safe and comfortable sharing whatever they have on their mind. There are no right or wrong answers, and individual differences are considered a benefit rather than an obstacle, which helps people who are usually overpowered by strong personalities to shine. At the same time the participants get space and time for reflection during the building process without interruption. The result is a response not based on a hasty and superficial answer, but a deeper reflection represented in a physical and visual outcome – the LEGO® model. From the outside, it may look like just playing with bricks, but the structured process elicits deep thinking, compelling story telling, authentic collaboration and the solving of complex challenges that organisations face. ••• Written by Neil Liddell, Neil has 25 years’ experience as a senior executive, management consultant and speaker. He is a certified facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method and materials for strategy workshops. He is CEO of Sandler Training Central, providers of Sales and Management Training. T: 0845 0573563 M: 07547 227442 •••


Corporate Profiles

Reinventing retirement with Inspired Homes

Inspired Villages Bob and Mary Dobney

Inspired Villages are creating hundreds of luxury new homes at its retirement villages in Warwickshire. Residents have already moved into Austin Heath in Warwick and into Maudslay Park, which is set in 90 acres of idyllic countryside in Great Alne. A central clubhouse is set to launch at Maudslay Park and will form the social hub of the community. The clubhouse will offer residents an on-site restaurant, bar, gym, and library. It will also include resident’s lounges, a private indoor pool and a cinema.

The second phase of the £65m Austin Heath development in Warwick is due to complete by the end of 2018. This will see the opening of a similar clubhouse facility where residents will be able to enjoy a wellness spa, a restaurant with changing seasonal menus, a garden room overlooking beautiful gardens and the tranquillity of the Chapters library. Inspired Villages Sales & Marketing Director James Cobb said: “We are proud of what we have achieved in Warwickshire and the differences we are making to people’s lives. We are creating sociable communities

where our residents can feel safe and secure and enjoy the freedom of later life. We put the health and happiness of our residents at the heart of everything we do.” The Inspired Villages Group is backed by Legal & General and has expanded rapidly since its inception in August 2017 – tripling its number of village communities. A show apartment and three show cottages are now open to the public at Maudslay Park. The village offers a total of 164 properties comprising a mix of spacious two and three bedroom cottages and stylish two bedroom lateral apartments. With the first phase now complete and the second phase of construction well underway, Austin Heath will soon have a total of 167 one and two bedroom luxury apartments. Bob Dobney, OBE, a former naval commander, is now enjoying a well-earned retirement at Austin Heath, and at his side is his wife Mary, whom he married more than 60 years ago.

The couple moved into in a two bedroom apartment at the heart of the village in autumn 2016. “We are looking forward to the future, we always have done,” said Mary. “Moving here was the right decision.” Bob and Mary have made friends in the village and have enjoyed socialising at many of the activities on offer at the Austin Heath Inspired Village. “We liked the look of the Inspired Village concept and the potential it had for us to enjoy this phase of our lives,” said Bob. “We are really enjoying living in this area, and in this retirement village. The management team arrange a wide variety of visits and group activities, and we are developing into a very friendly community. We are happy here.” To find out more about Inspired Villages visit: Or call Maudslay Park on 01789 488901 and Austin Heath on 01926 683514.

“A show apartment and three show cottages are now open to the public at Maudslay Park. The village offers a total of 164 properties comprising a mix of spacious two and three bedroom cottages and stylish two bedroom lateral apartments.

Driving forward with digital LDP Luckmans – one of Coventry’s leading accountancy firms – is helping drive forward the digital transformation for firms in Coventry and Warwickshire. The firm employs more than 40 staff and is a business partner of corporate organisations from SMEs to larger corporates, LLPs including professional partnerships, public sector bodies, charities and high net worth individuals. It deals with the finances of companies with a turnover of up to £60 million and is a specialist in firms – often owner-managed businesses – which range from £1million to £5 million. Its range of services include general accounting, audit, tax planning, and corporate finance, all conducted from its new headquarters based at Elliott Park on Coventry Business Park. The drive to ensure that companies comply with the new Making Tax Digital legislation, which comes into force in just over a year, is a main thread of current activity. All companies need to file VAT returns digitally by April 2019 and then full accounts will follow at a later date, yet to be set by government. Steve Twigger, a senior director at LDP Luckmans, said: “It is a major change and one that will start to dominate as the deadline gets nearer.


“We are helping our clients prepare well ahead of time, to ensure they are comfortable with the changes and their information complies with the regulation. “When you think of the growth of digitalisation, filing physical accounts really is totally out of sync with how we do business in this day and age and it needed Government to bring it to this point.” Steve has four fellow directors at the practice which was founded in Coventry in 1961. It merged with Kenilworth-based Duckett Parker in 2000 and moved to offices in Queens Road in the same year. Its new headquarters, a 9,000 sq ft office complex, has been designed to allow the company to add to its staff as part of its on-going growth plan. It also has offices in the centre of Birmingham to help service a growing client base in the second city. “We have expanded our offering in recent years with the appointment of a high-level tax expert as director giving us the improved ability to do larger commercial deals,” added Steve. “That appointment has also seen us undertaking a greater range of corporate finance deals and company sales and purchases, which has just added to what we can offer.” LDP Luckmans also plays a full part in the business community across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Steve said: “While we do genuinely work right across the UK, we are very much based in Coventry and Warwickshire. “If this area is thriving, then it follows that professional services companies are also

doing well so it is in everyone’s interest to see the economy doing well.” Steve has been a member of the Chamber board for more than eight years and also sits on its Finance and General Purpose committee.

“When you think of the growth of digitalisation, filing physical accounts really is totally out of sync with how we do business in this day and age and it needed Government to bring it to this point.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Profiles

Express yourself with contactless National Express has been working with the University of Warwick to develop contactless ticketing on buses to make journeys simpler and cheaper for Coventry customers. It means bus users will no longer have to get to a cashpoint or find the right change. They can just tap their contactless card on the reader when they get on the bus. It will also speed up the buses in Coventry, as lots of passengers will be able to pay more quickly without using cash. Those seconds saved, multiplied across hundreds of bus stops a day, mean better journey times and fewer delays. Sam Houlders, Operations Manager at National Express Pool Meadow bus garage, said: “We’re really pleased with this innovative way for our customers to use our buses. “We are the first bus company outside London to give our customers the opportunity to just tap and go - they don’t even have to wait for a ticket. “We’re also really grateful to the students of the University of Warwick. They’ve been out and about on the 11, 11U and 12X buses, making sure it works properly and reporting any bugs back to the developer. This real-life testing is absolutely crucial to make sure this new tech is as smooth as possible and the students have done a great job helping us with this. “Coventry is leading the way here this is the first place that National Express West Midlands is bringing contactless payments.”

Customers can use any bank card that has the contactless symbol on it, or Apple Pay or Android Pay on their mobiles. Passengers just have to tap once to buy one bus trip. If they make a second journey, they tap again. In Coventry, the first tap will cost £1.95. The second tap costs £1.95. The third and every trip after that is essentially free. This means people don’t have to worry about calculating the best value fare for their day - just tap for every journey and the system will work it out for you. “As we roll out this new system,” Sam added, “We need to tell our customers that they must take care to always separate their cards. Put only one travelcard or bank card near the reader - that way the wrong card won’t get charged by mistake.” After the testing period, contactless will be available on all the other National Express Coventry routes. This isn’t the only new ticket news from the bus operator this year. Senior citizens in Coventry can now travel for a £1 single before their OAP pass kicks in at 0930. National Express employs 450 people in Coventry. The company runs 139 buses, providing 19 routes, plus school services. National Express Coventry is proud to have been a Living Wage Foundation-accredited employer since January 2016 - it’s the largest private company to be so.

“We are the first bus company outside London to give our customers the opportunity to just tap and go - they don’t even have to wait for a ticket.”

Take the next step with Sandler Training A West Midlands training company is helping businesses to take the next big step through its innovative approach. Sandler Training Central, which has a local training centre in Solihull, provides sales and management training to help good businesses grow into great ones. The company develops top performing sales, business development, managerial and executive teams, to help them excel in a fastpaced business environment. It was set-up in 2010 by managing director Neil Liddell, who has 25 years’ experience as a senior executive, management consultant and speaker. Neil has a background in mechanical engineering and has enjoyed developing, selling and servicing companies all over the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Sandler Training Central adopts a non-pushy methodology to achieve the best results, with outcomes including businesses growing from £2 million to £4 million turnover in two years and clients growing £500,000 in just 10 months.

The training company also takes on long-term projects, including growing consultancy FEC Energy over a fiveyear period, before they were sold to the National Farmers Union (NFU). Neil said: “We focus on helping businesses to make changes to how they operate and in-turn see a boost in their sales performance. “My concept is neither a training manual or ‘I climbed Everest’. People relate to me because I come from a corporate business environment, where I first came across the challenges that these companies are now facing. “Most people are in the way of their own success. The work we do at Sandler Training focuses on helping people to break down these barriers, to take that next step in being an even more successful business. “It’s hard to go from being a good business to a great business, but we use our innovative approach to ensure that our clients are able to get there.” Neil is always looking at new methodologies and is a certified facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®,

designed for strategic or complex issues and team building business where traditional methods lack energy and clear outputs. Sandler Training Central are corporate members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. Neil also writes a regular column for the CW in Business magazine and joined as corporate members to share business intelligence. “I have a good depth of contacts across the region and being in the Chamber helps me to grow that and to share business intelligence with other members. “I will be offering six guest passes to my next seminar for Chamber members, which is a two and a half hour interactive session, to really delve into the issues businesses are facing and find solutions going forwards.” To find out more about Sandler Training Central visit or contact Neil at

Neil Liddell, managing director of Sandler Training Central

“It’s hard to go from being a good business to a great business, but we use our innovative approach to ensure that our clients are able to get there.”


Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training

Celebrations at Early Years Care Awards Evening Chamber Training recently hosted an Early Years Care Apprenticeship awards evening at their premises in Coventry to celebrate high achieving Apprentices and employers across the Coventry & Warwickshire region.

Scott Williamson, HR Manager at Coventry Chemicals

Getting the balance right A Coventry HR Manager’s career has gone from strength to strength, building on the solid foundations and experience gained through an apprenticeship with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training 25 years ago. From those invaluable beginnings as a business and finance apprentice at Coventry University, Scott Williamson developed his skills, going on to manage the intake of apprentices at the university, many of whom are still working there today, before taking up his current role in HR at Coventry Chemicals three years ago. Commenting on his career Scott said: “When I left Coventry University, I gained further experience working for the NFU, AAH Pharmaceuticals and TSYS Managed Services before joining Coventry Chemicals in 2015. It was my responsibility to develop the company’s workforce, as part of our future growth plans. I saw apprenticeships as the ideal vehicle to do just that. “Working in partnership with Chamber Training, we give young people the opportunity to study, learn and work, a strategy which forms part of the firm’s on-going succession plan. “We have already recognised the continued value of apprenticeships as the candidates we chose are keen to learn and grow within the firm. A number of our apprentices have performed so well that they have secured great jobs with us. We are also seeing a return from our investment in apprentices and it is a definite growth strategy for our business. Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training is already working with us to recruit further apprentices and it is great to have their support and guidance in placing the best possible candidates with our firm. “My original decision to embark on an apprenticeship was definitely the right choice. In doing so, I was able to continue with my studies whilst gaining work experience and receiving an income. The experience I gained was invaluable and I attained qualifications and a career path. The team at Chamber Training also provided me with a fantastic support network and guidance and I have continued to work in partnership with them in my current role,” he concluded. Coventry Chemicals has been established since 1967. Coventry Chemicals Ltd manufacture and supply cleaning liquids, powders and tablet products to suit all professional, retail and export cleaning and hygiene requirements. They offer their customers and consumers a specialist range of products to clean their living and working space and are driven by a commitment to quality and customer service.


The first deserving winner of Level 2 Apprentice of the Year was Hanna Belgrove from Castle Nursery, which offers a unique blend of professional childcare and education. Hanna has demonstrated outstanding development, progression and commitment within the organisation. She has also developed the practical skills required to maximise her role and future growth for the nursery setting. The 2nd outstanding winner of Level 3 Apprentice of the Year was Shannon Fennell from Little Angels of Leamington Spa. The management team recognised Shannon’s qualities and contribution to the business ethics of the nursery and she has already shown great leadership skills by becoming an effective role model to her peers. She has gained invaluable knowledge and experience from her Apprenticeship through Chamber Training which has clearly laid down the foundation for her future progression within the company. Winner of the highly competitive award “Employer of Year” went to Bambini Childcare Ltd which provides ‘good’ care for children aged 2-11 years.

The company has been working in partnership with Chamber Training for over 10 years and has always seen a clear link to the skills gained by apprentices and off the job training. With support and guidance from Chamber Training, they have been able to mould their apprentices into quality practitioners with an opportunity to progress and grow within the company. Sarah Williams, Training Manager at Chamber Training remarked: “We would like to congratulate all of our fantastic winners who have shown that Apprenticeships can offer employees a real chance to work towards a qualification and a head start in the field of work they want to work in. Businesses taking on an apprentice between 16-18 years old may also benefit from a £1,000 incentive, so get in touch with us at Chamber Training to find out more.”

Anna Fielding and Emma Davis from Bambini Childcare

“We would like to congratulate all of our fantastic winners who have shown that Apprenticeships can offer employees a real chance to work towards a qualification and a head start in the field of work they want to work in. ”

Recognition for Young Apprentice would be a perfect choice and she has since proven to be a committed and motivated young member of the team. “Heather has also taken on responsibility as a Key Worker for specific children, liaising with their parents and making detailed records about their progress. We are thrilled as she is already making a massive contribution to the overall success of the business which is impressive considering she’s only been with us a year.”

Heather Tosh is seen with her Manager, Mary Kefford

Heather Tosh, an Early Years Care (EYC) Apprentice at a Coventry nursery has been nominated as a great ambassador of apprenticeships to other young people in schools starting out in their careers. Manager at The Playhouse Nursery, Mary Kefford said: “I was looking for good interaction with the children from Heather as it’s a very hands-on role that demands lots of enthusiasm, energy and attention to detail. I quickly realised that Heather

In February 2018 Heather will be qualified at level 2 in EYC as a nursery assistant. Her future career progression includes level 3 EYC Apprenticeship so she can train to become a fully qualified nursery practitioner.

Anne Thomas, Chamber Training’s Adviser for the Playhouse Nursery commented: “We have been in a close and effective partnership with Mary at The Playhouse Nursery for over five years. With our support and guidance, Mary has taken on a number of apprentices including nursery practitioners as a core part of her training progression plan for her staff.” In recognition of Heather’s outstanding achievements and the standard of care she provides to the children, she was nominated in the Child Development and Well Being category at this year’s Apprentice of the Year Awards 2017.

“I was looking for good interaction with the children from Heather as it’s a very hands-on role that demands lots of enthusiasm, energy and attention to detail.“

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Support


New business wins showcase opportunity

Gursenjeet Bhandal,

A new Coventry business won the opportunity to showcase itself to hundreds of potential clients across the region after landing a free place at a major corporate event. Gursenjeet Bhandal, who runs The Marketing Guru, was one of 50 companies who attended the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Reach for the Sky event for companies who are less than a year old. As well as picking up a range of tips on how to grow his business and hearing from other companies in a similar position, he was entered into a prize draw to win a stand

at the #CWRocks business expo on Friday, March 9 at the Ricoh Arena. The Marketing Guru was drawn out of the hat and won the chance to exhibit to 500 visitors. Hardeep Sandhu, Enterprise Coach Team Leader at the Chamber – who ran the Reach for the Sky event as part of the Start-Up Programme which is part-funded by ERDF and Coventry City Council, said: “It was a fantastic event – there was a real buzz in the room and all of the companies who attended got a great deal from it. There were great speakers and lots of opportunities to network and learn from those in a similar situation. “We are now looking to hold another event for new businesses later in the year so I would urge companies that are less than a year old to look out for information and also to get in touch with the Chamber to take advantage of support that is available.

“It’s great that this has led to a great opportunity for The Marketing Guru to exhibit to hundreds of businesspeople at #CWRocks. The general feedback we had from him was that the support he’d had helped him to refine his business to get it off the ground and winning the stand was the icing on the cake.” For more information on start-up support contact the Chamber on 024 7665 4321.

Business owners exit before Brexit A surge in domestic deal activity ahead of EU withdrawal in 2019 is expected to create favourable conditions for business owners looking to sell over the next 12 months.

It's win, win, win for Helen A Warwickshire market research consultant has secured a major contract just months after launching her own business. Leamington-based Helen Roberts launched XV Insight last year after working for 25 years in the market research industry, mainly for major agencies in senior roles. And her decision is already looking like the right one after the company won several new contracts including a major piece of work with Visit England and the Discover England Fund, which is aimed at growing in-bound tourism to the UK. To get the business off the ground, Helen has been tapping into free support and advice available through the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Start-Up Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils. She has been attending masterclasses on a range of subjects aimed at offering practical advice to business owners, attending networking events, and accessing support from a business coach, Tanya King. Helen said: “It was great to win the contract with Visit England and the Discover England Fund so soon after establishing XV Insight. It’s a great testament to the new business that such a major organisation has come to us for such a significant piece of market research work. “I felt the time was right to take the plunge because of the experience and expertise I had acquired over the years and I am really enjoying it. “I can offer a wide range of market research services – from short-term consultancy through to long-term, full-service project management. “The contract with Visit England and the Discover England Fund is focussed on

Tanya King (left) with Helen Roberts

tourism but XV Insight can operate in any sector – if a business or organisation wants to know what its customers or potential customers are thinking, we can help them find that out and provide robust action-orientated insight.” Helen added: “The support from the Chamber has been invaluable. The masterclasses were in a relaxed, informal setting and it meant I could take away exactly what I wanted from them. “And having my own business coach was fantastic too. Sometimes it’s just great to be able to talk through an idea and get some genuine feedback in return – it helps you to question yourself and where you want to go with the business too. “I’d researched – as you’d expect – quite a few networking organisations in the area and the Chamber stood out for me because of the additional help that comes with it.

“I feel like I’m getting long-term help and support, not just something that will be dropped after just a few weeks and that’s great to know as a new business.” Tanya King, a business coach at the Chamber, said: “It has been fantastic working with Helen as she’s established XV Insight and it’s been a wonderful start for the business. “Businesses required different levels of support when they start-up and we can tailor our coaching to the needs of the company, rather than the other way round.” For more information on business support from the Chamber, call 024 7665 4321. Information on the project led by XV Insight for Visit England and the Discover England Fund can be found here

A combination of active trade buyers and availability of debt and equity finance is helping to drive up sale prices for good quality companies. In 2017, the value of domestic M&A (UK companies buying UK businesses) nearly doubled to £68 billion, partially offsetting a decline in inbound deals (source: Reuters). The number of deals between British groups last year was 1,681, up 14% on 2016 and the highest level since 2008. The national picture is mirrored in the Coventry & Warwickshire area where deal volumes also increased by about 14% with the support services, industrial products and services, and information technology sectors particularly buoyant. Market consolidation, capturing a greater share of customer spend through acquiring businesses with complementary services and products, or vertical integration are all strategies being used by companies looking to position themselves ahead of potentially challenging conditions as the UK leaves the EU. With organic growth difficult to find, acquisitions can be a faster route to achieve scale and stability of revenue. The best way for a business owner to benefit from this favourable M&A market is by taking the initiative. Over the last six months we have seen a 50% increase in the number of business owners coming to us to discuss how to go about selling their business. While each business sale is different the keys to success are usually the same – careful planning, adopting the right bespoke sale strategy, in-depth and wide ranging buyer research, maintaining competitive tension between buyers, and skilled deal negotiation. For further information about this subject or for a confidential discussion about business sales please contact Simon Chapman on 01926 468705 or via email to Contact us today or visit our website for more information. Offices in Leamington Spa, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Nuneaton, Leicester, London and Rugby.



Law firm helps charitable trust

Qualification success for Charlotte A Coventry solicitor has been given a sought-after qualification which, amongst other benefits, will enable her to help the country’s ageing population tackle concerns about care towards the end of their lives. Charlotte Macalister, solicitor in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Band Hatton Button, has achieved a Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) diploma after passing the Advanced Certificate for Vulnerable Clients with a distinction. The diploma also saw Charlotte undertake exams in the administration of trusts and the administration of estates, and has increased her understanding of the administration of trusts and estates to enable her to provide specialist advice when advising clients. Charlotte is now one of only five lawyers in Coventry to hold the qualification following four and a half years of studying, which has given her the technical knowledge to advise vulnerable clients on critical decisions relating to their care and making sure they plan ahead for the future. She said: “I’m delighted to have achieved this qualification, particularly when our population is ageing which in turn increases the need for families to seek advice on the assets and care of their vulnerable loved ones. “The cost of care for an elderly relative is a particular concern for many families but not many are aware of technicalities that can help them with this. “That’s why the Advanced Certificate for Vulnerable Clients is so important, as it helps solicitors such as myself to understand the more technical points relating to trusts, estates and tax to determine how vulnerable clients and their families can plan for care home fees, and if there is entitlement to state support.” Charlotte joins Michelle Gavin, Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate at Band Hatton Button, who is also a STEP member and diploma holder. Mark Moseley, Managing Director at Band Hatton Button, added: “We’re really proud of Charlotte’s recent achievement. Customers rightly do their research before deciding which law firm to use, and to have two solicitors listed by STEP as experienced practitioners in their areas of expertise reinforces our position as a leading operator in Coventry and the wider region.”


A leading supplier of domestic and commercial boilers is supporting charities throughout the UK and Ireland after receiving free advice from Midlands law firm Wright Hassall. Baxi Heating UK, whose registered office is in Coventry Road, Warwick, has launched the Baxi Heating Charitable Trust to focus all its charity fundraising and donations in one place, following support from the responsible business team of Leamingtonbased Wright Hassall. The Baxi Heating Charitable Trust processes requests for grants to individuals and organisations, free of charge products, and volunteer hours to benefit the communities in which their employees live and work. Sarah Bailey, HR Director Baxi Heating and trustee, said: “There are three key themes we are looking to support which are the relief of sickness and the preservation of health, improving learning and education and maintaining and improving accommodation for the homeless and the prevention and relief of poverty. “When setting up a charitable trust, it is really important you receive professional advice and Wright Hassall

Maureen Tallis (Baxi Heating UK), Rhys Jarman (Wright Hassall), Sarah Bailey (Baxi Heating UK) and Alex Robinson (Wright Hassall)

guided Baxi through the process step by step. This means we have been able to start helping people straight away.” Rhys Jarman, a partner at Wright Hassall, said the law firm has developed a growing relationship with Baxi Heating since meeting at a networking event. He said: “Launching a charitable trust is

becoming more and more popular for businesses and individuals and we have a great deal of expertise in this area. “Our managing partner Sarah Perry offered to carry out the legal work for free to help Baxi set-up a trust as part of our responsible business offering and it has been completed by our charity team.”

Brethertons to support mental health charity, Mind, in 2018 Brethertons Solicitors LLP has announced its Charity of the Year 2018 as the mental health charity Mind. As part of the recent launch of Brethertons Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, employees have been given the opportunity to nominate a charity they want the firm to support in 2018. An internal committee considered each nomination in turn and selected three charities which closely

aligned with Brethertons overall company values and CSR principals. A final vote by more than 200 staff resulted in Mind being chosen. Mark North, Brethertons Partner and Head of CSR, said: ‘As a law firm, we work with different organisations and individuals who experience pressure and stress in their daily lives. Even the jobs we perform here at Brethertons can bring with them their own

level of stress. Therefore, supporting Mind and the good work the charity does to raise awareness and acceptance of mental health issues was not a difficult decision for the staff to make.’ Throughout the coming year, Brethertons will be holding a series of events, large and small, to support Mind from cake sales to mountain climbs and a few days of fancy dress – all for a good cause.

Coventry solicitor wins prestigious legal award A Coventry solicitor who was born and raised in the city is celebrating after being named as the winner of a prestigious legal award. Andriy Buniak, a Solicitor at Mander Hadley Solicitors, which has offices in Coventry and Kenilworth, was announced as the winner of the Legal Professional Award at the Coventry and Warwickshire YoungPro Awards at St Mary’s Guildhall. The announcement followed a rigorous judging process, which saw Mander Hadley make a detailed submission setting out Andriy’s contributions to Coventry and Warwickshire, both professionally and in a personal capacity. In his professional capacity, Andriy works with older clients and their families to ensure that appropriate care and financial arrangements are in place in the event that they lose the capacity to make decisions for themselves. Meanwhile, in his personal capacity, Andriy plays an active part in Coventry’s Ukrainian community and was instrumental in encouraging the

community to support the city’s successful bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. Andriy said: “It is particularly special to have received this recognition, having grown up in Coventry and having spent the whole of my professional career here. I am delighted to have been named as the winner of the Legal Professional Award.” Jonathan Hall, Managing Director at Mander Hadley Solicitors, added: “Andriy makes an important difference to people across Coventry and Warwickshire, both through his work in our Wills, Probate and Older Client department and his work in a personal capacity. “Andriy is a deserving winner and all of us here at Mander Hadley Solicitors are proud of his achievement.” Andriy is now in contention for the overall title of Coventry and Warwickshire YoungPro 2018, which will be announced at the Coventry and Warwickshire FirstPro Awards at Coombe Abbey on Thursday 19 April.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


sponsored column

New office for bank A Coventry bank has moved into a new office as it looks ahead to future growth. Handelsbanken, the local relationship bank, has moved into the Enterprise Centre at Coventry University Technology Park. The bank has been based in Coventry for ten years where it employs 11 members of staff and has re-located from its former office at The Quadrant after outgrowing the premises. It has signed a ten year lease on its new office and the move was assisted by commercial property specialists Shortland Penn + Moore (SP+M), which markets any available properties on the Technology Park. Handelsbanken offers traditional branch-based banking, digital services for business and personal customers. A strong focus on long-term relationships and high levels of service had seen the bank rated top for

customer satisfaction nine years running, in an independent survey of British bank customers. The new office will not only allow the branch to expand, but also make it easily accessible for customers. Andy McCabe, branch manager at Handelsbanken Coventry, said: “Our new, larger office is testament to how well our model of true local relationship banking has been received in the city and surrounding areas. “We are a local bank and pride ourselves at being at the heart of the community. The Enterprise Centre is an excellent location, which is close to the centre of the city and has ample parking, making it easy for our customers to visit. “We are also surrounded by a number of our professional contacts and it was great to work with Shortland Penn + Moore who were excellent to deal with during our move.”

Andy McCabe (Handelsbanken), Jon Moore (SP+M), Sarb Ladhar (Coventry University Enterprises Ltd)

Jon Moore, director at Shortland Penn + Moore, said: “It’s great to welcome Handelsbanken to The Enterprise Centre. “They complement the wide variety of businesses already based at the technology park, and I look forward to seeing the larger office space assist in their future growth plans.”

Burgis & Bullock Accountants quiz night boosts charity funds

Shown here are the winning team from Springfield Mind with Partner, Wende Hubbard, from Burgis & Bullock Chartered Accountants

A Warwickshire-based firm of accountants held its thirteenth annual quiz night to help raise vital funds for a local charity. Burgis & Bullock, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, who have offices in Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Stratford upon Avon and Rugby hosted another of their famous

quiz nights at The Ricoh Arena, Coventry. The Annual Burgis & Bullock Charity was a very successful evening with more than 120 people attending. The net proceeds from the event and raffle totalled £1,000 which is being donated to the chosen charity for the year, Springfield Mind. Donations will also be kindly matched by a local company.

Springfield Mind is a successful charity founded 33 years ago to promote well-being within the local community. Their mission is to deliver local services which promote mental well-being. They achieve this in partnership with service users, volunteers and professionals through education, signposting and promotion. Sean Farnell, Quizmaster and Partner of Burgis & Bullock, said: “This is the 13th year we have held a charity quiz and I am continually amazed by the generosity and intellectual dexterity of the local business community. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and generously donated raffle prizes and made the night a huge success. Springfield Mind are a fantastic local charity supporting individuals in times of need across Coventry and Warwickshire. With mental health starting to get the higher profile it deserves Burgis & Bullock are delighted to help all be it in a very small way.”

Small business trends for 2018 Oliver Warne A.C.A, Associate Partner, at Cottons Chartered Accountants, has offered his opinion on the small business trends companies should look out for in 2018. The established accountancy firm, which has offices in the Midlands and London, is a specialist in small business accounts and audits. The firm recently launched a new website that features an extensive

resource library. The collection of more than 40 articles are written by company’s team of chartered accountants who offer their expertise and business development tips. A recent article written by Oliver Warne discusses ‘Small Business Trends in 2018’ and offers advice on how business owners can grow their business for it to be successful in the future. Trends discussed include the importance of work life balance,

how to target the right customers and using data to obtain insight into how the business can grow. Oliver said: “It is imperative that small businesses are forward thinking and adapt to the times. By doing so, they can continually attract the best staff whilst maintaining current relationships with clients and welcoming new ones. We’ve seen that businesses who take this proactive and flexible approach have seen continued success.”

Don’t worry be (GDPR) happy! When I talk to people about GDPR I get a mixed response. Some are worried about the impacts of the legislation on their business, some are confused and some are nonchalant; but people are rarely excited! However, I see GDPR as an opportunity, as it forces us to review our business and processes. All too often we do things because that is how they are done, but when we take a step back, we can improve and develop practices. MCS experienced this by going through ISO 9001 accreditation and I think GDPR is the same. At MCS ISO was about far more than putting ticks against boxes and ‘passing’. From the start we viewed the ISO process as a valuable tool to help us to review and reshape our operations, to really think about how we service our clients and how we operate our business. ISO, like GDPR, can be a daunting experience; one that forces you to analyse your processes and deal with those niggling problems that are lurking out of sight, out of mind. What we came to realise in our experience is that ISO is less about highlighting your faults than finding solutions. Last summer we achieved 100% pass rate for the third time, with no non-conformities. It was no small task, but for us, the effort that we put into the process was well worth it. Not only is it a testament to the whole team’s focus and consistent diligence, but it created a better framework for us to do business in. ISO accreditation has been a great journey for us, and a positive experience that we’d encourage other businesses to pursue. I believe the same can be said for GDPR. The processes you put in place to manage store and maintain data will help you to know what data you hold throughout your business. You will have to be able to retrieve data and erase it. You will have to think carefully about what you need and what can be jettisoned now and in the future. This data management is something many businesses do not consider. We succeeded in our ISO by taking a different approach. By embracing the review and change process, we embedded better ways of working and this has ensured our quality remains consistently high. Client confidence is at the heart of our business – and ISO supports that. All of this can be said about GDPR. And don’t forget, if your GDPR process has required you to create new bespoke processes, or make dramatic changes to your business, it might have resulted in research and development.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts please call us on 01926 512 475



Self-build demand remains high

Company strengthens management team

Dobson-Grey continue to experience high levels of interest in single selfbuild plots within Stratford District. They have customers waiting to buy further land opportunities and secured sales over Christmas within one month of going to the market with strong values being achieved on sites with and without planning. Keri Dobson, Managing Director, said: “We have clients who see the benefit of using specialist land brokers whether off-market discreet land sales or on market with high visibility but low marketing costs. “We are looking to work with more landowners and promoters to support them in finding ways to unlock the value of their land and work with Local Planning Policy Teams to ensure that propositions deliver on local housing. “We are seeing unprecedented demand for these smaller self-build plots and would encourage landowners to discuss their landholdings with us for the selfbuild market.” Iwan Jones, of JIG Planning and Development, a landowner client of Dobson-Grey, said: “Dobson-Grey provided exactly what they say in their mission statement. Care, commitment and consistency of exceptional customer service. As a landowner of a self-build plot, we felt valued and that Dobson-Grey had a conscientious focus on the disposal of our land and delivered on values we wanted.”

Charlie Brooks is pictured front centre with Claire Lynch (to the left) and Bill Watts and Lisa Bristow (to the right), and the Wigley Building and Development management team.

The construction arm of a leading commercial property company based in Coventry is building on a strong foundation year by extending its management team. Wigley Building and Development has increased its number of senior staff, including site managers, quantity surveyors and project managers, to 12 within its first 12 months. It was established in May 2017 from The Wigley Group’s merger with UK-wide main contractor Ciexbe Limited to strengthen its construction services. The team, led by Charlie Brooks, construction director of Wigley Building and Development, has been expanded in light of an increasing volume of commercial projects being secured throughout the Midlands.

Charlie said: “The expansion of our inhouse management team and network of subcontractors and suppliers reflects a first year performance which has far exceeded our expectations.” A recent restructure of The Wigley Group involved the creation of a central services division to support its growing commercial

property, risk and construction businesses, including Wigley Building and Development, in core operational areas. Internal promotions have been made to head up the new division’s areas with Lisa Bristow as head of finance, Claire Lynch moving to head of compliance and Bill Watts becoming operations manager.

“The expansion of our in-house management team and network of subcontractors and suppliers reflects a first year performance which has far exceeded our expectations.”

Loveitts launches dedicated brand to serve high-end market House hunters looking for luxury properties across Coventry and Warwickshire can now tap into a new service by leading local estate agents Loveitts. The company, which has branches in Coventry, Leamington, Nuneaton and Southam, has launched The Loveitts Collection (TLC), a new arm of the business set up to service the exclusive homes market. TLC will focus on properties which are more prestigious or luxurious, or a home which boasts a quirky or unique offering. The service has been launched in response to increased demand coupled with the fact that Loveitts has identified gap for a dedicated offering to serve this prestige marketplace. Loveitts, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary, has always prided itself on the quality of the service it offers, and the newly launched TLC will be no exception


ensuring that all vendors receive a personal, bespoke service, using a single point of contact from the valuation of the property through to completion – including all viewings. Vendor care calls will take place every week to check on the quality of service and progress as well as offering the chance to give feedback on property particulars distributed and any interest from potential buyers. TLC also includes a bespoke marketing package which will include detailed glossy brochures with professional photographs, 98 per cent internet coverage, advertising across local, regional and global publications, inclusion on Loveitts’ social media profiles, 360 video tours, and static and moving images captured by drones and aerial stills. The new service will have a strong focus on relationship building with potential buyers. TLC Manager Sadie Severn who is heading

The Loveitts TLC Team

up the new service, said; “I am passionate about old school estate agency, which means actually picking up the phone and speaking to potential customers. “Property details and virtual tours only show so much but by liaising face to face

with the buyer, knowing what is driving their move, whether it be quicker access to work, moving to be nearer better schools, looking for a better location, it’s easier to match the right buyer with the right property once you’ve built that rapport.”

Holt Commercial is the new name for a merger of two of the Midland’s leading Independent commercial property agencies - D&P Holt and SP+M. It brings together one of Coventry’s oldest established and most respected commercial property names with one of its youngest and most exciting.

Holt Commercial is the Midland’s leading independent commercial agency. Our name is one of the oldest and most established in the region - dating back to the turn of the last century. It is a name that is recognised outside of the property world and one that has become synonymous with integrity and professionalism.

Whilst the business is underpinned by its history our practices are bang up to date. We bring a fresh approach to what is often viewed as a fairly traditional business. We've taken the traditional commercial agency model, refined its best practices and then combined those with the values and thinking of some of the most respected retail brands. The result is a commercial agency that thinks on its feet but delivers on the ground - time and again. Being independent makes a difference in a number of ways, but most of all it means that we’re more agile and approachable. And that means that we’re able to spot opportunities and advise clients in a way that larger agents would often not be able to.

Indeed our business is guided by three principles. We believe in openness, we think long term and we are committed to the power of adaptability. After all when was the last time that a property deal

didn’t require some form of inspired thinking in order to get the very best result for the client? Anyone can get 90% - it’s when you get to 98%+ that the fee really gets earned.

It’s partly for that reason that our reach extends considerably further than our Coventry base. We are retained by many national names to advise on significant land and property deals. That said we also work with smaller clients, delivering the same level of considered advice and marketing nous. In fact our clients operate in all market sectors and the services that we provide cover a broad span - including property sales and leasing, tenant representation, property/asset management, appraisal and valuation, development or investment management.

So if you value openness, integrity and more than a century of proven ability to get results we’d be delighted to hear from you.



8 Ironmonger Row, Coventry CV1 1FD

2,287-9,006 SQ FT • Centrally located • Excellent public transport links • Close to West Orchards Shopping Centre

TO LET (May Sell)


Vanguard House, Herald Avenue, Coventry Business Park, Coventry CV5 6UB

53,579 SQ FT • B1, B2 & B8 uses • 8m eaves • Highly prominent location



PART TENANTED OFFICE BUILDING Shillingwood House, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8JZ

14,024 SQ FT • £70,584 pa income • Asset Management potential • Popular Business Park location

INDUSTRIAL/WORKSHOP PREMISES ON 2 ACRES Herald Way, Binley Industrial Estate, Coventry CV3 2SF 14,032 SQ FT

T : 024 7655 5180 W :

Holt Court 16 Warwick Row Coventry CV1 1EJ

• Substantial concrete yard • Extremely rare opportunity • Excellent access to A46 Eastern Bypass

Profile: Matthew Hickin

Matthew’s having a gas Matthew Hickin’s career has taken him all over the world but now he’s back in Warwickshire as the chief executive of one of the most recognised UK brands. Anyone who has ever been camping will know the name of Calor Gas and Hickin, who was born in Redditch and attended Studley High School and later King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, is no different. But it was only once he got to know the business rather than the brand that he decided to make a return to home soil after nearly a quarter of a century overseas. “I heard about the opportunity with Calor while we were in the Netherlands,” he said. “I knew the brand but didn’t know much about the business but found out some things about the company and the fact that it was here in Warwick was unexpected. “I knew the brand from when I was a young lad in shorts! Pardon the pun, but there is a warm feeling about it. “During the recruitment process I had time to investigate and speak to people


about the business and what I saw was a breadth and depth of activity at Calor that was very interesting. “I was also very enthusiastic about the people we have working within the business and that’s remained the case since I joined.”

“It was work that took me overseas,” he added. “When I was studying I wanted to travel but rather than getting the travel itch and wanting to take a year out, I wanted to work and live in a country to experience more of the culture and to get to know the people.

There was no particular burning desire to return to the UK. Hickin opted for an overseas career as a lifestyle choice after leaving university but rather than a ‘year out’ to see the world, he wanted to embed himself in a country and its culture.

“I was very lucky, as a graphic designer my wife was able to work freelance so it was relatively easy for her to move compared with people in other professions.

“I found an employer, which used to be part of ICI, that had operations internationally and I made it known that I would be interested in a post abroad,” he said. “After three years working in Slough, they offered me a role in Germany. “That began 24 years of an international career. We were in Germany for about nine years – we had our children there – then we moved to the Netherlands, not the nice bits around Amsterdam but we moved to the less exclusive areas on the border with Germany. “Then we moved to Warsaw and, after that, back to Germany, then to China, then to Amsterdam and then eventually back here three years ago.”

“There was no real intention to move back to the UK. We were quite happy moving on somewhere else internationally and then the position came up here.” He was sales and marketing director with Calor Gas for two years before stepping up to the role of CEO in April 2017. “It was quite odd to come back to the Midlands,” he said. “My wife has been saying that my accent is returning more since we got back!

“We need more investment in the roads, the railways and in the airways. Transportation in the region is a big issue. Living in the Netherlands at two different times, I saw how the Dutch government made a point of continually investing in infrastructure.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Profile: Matthew Hickin “Having been in so many different places, to come back here was quite unusual. Just before we went out to Germany as an unmarried couple, we attended an intensive German course in Stratford and that was the first place we visited when we came back for a weekend to look round when returning to the UK 24 years later.” So has seeing the world prepared him for the role of overseeing a business – which is part of a worldwide holding company – with anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 staff, depending on the time of year? “It is part of the requirements for me in this role in an international organisation – I travelled from a personal perspective as opposed to a purely career perspective but it has helped,” he said. “Do I need to be able to speak German and Dutch here in the West Midlands working predominantly for a UK gas provider? No. “But I think having experienced different cultures, being a foreigner in different countries, understanding a wide variety of different people and organisational cultures, it helps in terms of having seen different things and having had different experiences. “I think it humbles you too, to a degree. When I left the UK, it felt like I was going off to take over the world but you come back feeling just a part of a very large place and hoping that you’ve done something in the meantime that’s been relatively valuable. “It’s changed me and impacted me. I have developed in different ways than I would have done if we had stayed in the UK.” Hickin’s life overseas has also given him a greater perspective on what the region needs to do to achieve long-term economic success too. “The area has changed in a lot of different ways,” he said. “We need more investment in the roads, the railways and in the airways. Transportation in the region is a big issue. Living in the Netherlands at two different times, I saw how the Dutch government made a point of continually investing in infrastructure. “The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Western Europe and they believe that if you keep the people moving, you keep the economy moving. If I am sat in a traffic jam, I don’t think it’s good for people, for their health or for the economy. “That requires a long-term investment programme which I think has now been acknowledged perhaps a little late, so there’s a lot of work to be done. “The housing question hasn’t really changed either. More houses have been built since I left, but have there been enough? No, so there’s still a deficit. “From a business perspective I have vested interest in both and, ultimately, they need addressing for the good of the country and the economy.” But before he changes the world, his objective is to grow Calor Gas’s market and he sees strong potential for the company in an era when the energy mix is changing. That process started with getting under the skin of the business. “I’ve visited every location we’ve got in the UK,” he said.

“They are all quite different. Calor is quite quirky. We have a relatively high degree of entrepreneurship so there is local ownership within the business. “Having said that, there is consistency to the service we endeavour to give our customers – we track and monitor that so we can get direct feedback from the customers to let us know whether it has been good or not so good. “We are moving towards greater consistency but the starting point is a lot of divergence. Safety, for example, has to be the same in all our locations – not just linked to the product we are dealing with but multiple people in different places, drivers on the road delivering gas who are out in rural districts – so that on its own needs consistency.” He added: “Many just think of us for the camping gas but we provide energy to people who are off-grid, so that can be homeowners and businesses. You can still include camping and people who have a lifestyle choice such as a canal boat owner. “You can also have a sunken tank in your farmhouse in a remote location and we provide a top up service so we’ll come and fill it with gas but the customer doesn’t even know we’ve been – so it mimics being on-grid. “The off-gas grid rural market is about two million homes with around 300,000 businesses. LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) has around eight per cent of the market and Calor is about half of that, which leaves 96 per cent of that market to go at; this is a big opportunity for Calor and for LPG. “Part of the misconception is that we don’t serve businesses when probably three quarters of our volume is business to business and that is where the growth is coming from. A large part is agricultural but it’s also hospitality and catering, as well as industrial. We have some very big industrial customers and big food producers in the UK are customers too.” That said, Calor’s parent company has got the planet and its people in mind as well as business growth – something that also attracted Hickin to the role. He said: “The owners of Calor have sustainability at the core of all of the businesses they work with so they are very keen that the company is sustainable and CSR is a very important part of what we do. “In terms of people, we give staff the opportunity to take a day a year to put it towards a good cause. They usually team up and do something in the local community. “In terms of the planet, we have targets to reduce our own fuel consumption and we are introducing a biofuel LPG which will mean we are part of both transitional fuels as well as the final solution as we drive towards renewable energy.” But just like any other business, it survives or falls on the service it gives to its customers and Hickin believes that’s one area where it proves itself 365 days a year. “We distribute on Christmas Day,” he said, “with more than 100 vehicles on the road delivering gas to our customers. That’s something you probably can’t say about Amazon!”

About Matthew Hickin Date of birth:







2 girls


Music, Art, Cooking, Outdoors

Favourite book:

Millennium Series

Favourite film:

Many - Star Wars, Italian Job, Mrs Doubtfire

Last holiday:




Favourite gadget:

Thermomix – I would recommend them for everyone!


Brexit Club

Chamber backs Brexit clarity call The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has echoed national calls for clarity on the Government’s Brexit objectives. The British Chambers of Commerce has written an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, making an urgent appeal for clarity on the government’s objectives. In the letter, the BCC’s leaders urge the government to make key choices and deliver a clear statement of intent – so that businesses of all sizes and sectors can make decisions for the future. The letter reads: “Dear Prime Minister, “As President and Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, we write today to make an urgent appeal for clarity on Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives at a critical moment in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union. “In Chamber business communities all across the United Kingdom, there are a range of views on the depth and breadth of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. “As a consequence, the BCC has refrained from entering into the noisy political debate on the shape of the final settlement in recent weeks. We have instead emphasised the need for answers to the many practical questions businesses now face. Our aim has always been to maximise, not constrain, the government’s chances of success as ministers and the civil service work to secure the best possible deal for the UK. “Yet businesses need those elected to govern our country to make choices — and to deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent. “The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged. “Clear UK negotiating objectives are crucial to both business and public confidence. “While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.” Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Louise Bennett said: “Through our Brexit Club, we’ve heard from businesses across the city and the county on the issues they are most concerned about when it comes to Brexit. “We echo what the BCC are saying because businesses need to be able to plan for the future and they simply have no way of doing that with the mixed messages that continue to emerge on our withdrawal from the EU.”


Chamber members help to influence policy on EU

Members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, who provided case studies on the affect exiting the EU would have on their workforce, have helped to secure a policy win for the wider Chamber network. Several companies wrote to the Chamber after requests were issued for real-life examples of what Brexit will mean to employees within businesses and how this could impinge on the companies’ growth opportunities. Those case studies were fed into the British Chambers of Commerce, which has been in regular contact with the Government on the topic. Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, has written to Dr Adam Marshall, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, to say the Government had listened to concerns. In the letter, she wrote: “I am writing to update you on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU following the agreement at the European Council. “Moving negotiations between the UK and the EU to a discussion about our future relationship is good news for EU citizens living and working in the UK and for all the organisations that employ them. It should also be welcomed by everyone in this country who relies on the expertise, services and support that EU citizens provide as valued members of UK society. “The Prime Minister has consistently said that protecting EU citizens’ rights together with the rights of UK nationals living in EU countries - has been her first priority. EU citizens made a decision to live here without any expectation that the UK would leave the EU. The UK government wants them to be able to carry on living their lives as before. “We have taken a big step forward. EU citizens living lawfully here before the UK’s exit from the EU will be able to stay. The

deal will respect the rights that individuals are exercising and the benefits they currently have. This will help EU citizens and organisations alike plan for the future. “The agreement will not only enable families who have built their lives in the EU and UK to stay together, it also gives certainty about healthcare, pensions and other benefits. It also includes reciprocal rules to protect existing decisions to recognise professional qualifications, for example for doctors and architects. “These commitments will be locked into a binding and reciprocal agreement with the EU. You can read the agreement here: beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf. “All EU citizens will need to apply to obtain status in UK law. A new, transparent, smooth and streamlined process to enable them to apply for settled status will start during the second half of 2018 and remain open for at least two years after the UK leaves the EU. “Communicating with EU citizens about the settlement scheme is a top priority for my department to ensure people are aware of what they need to do to secure their rights. Your support will also be

crucial and I would encourage you to share the links above with your members. EU citizens can also sign up for regular official email updates here: “As we move from withdrawal issues to discussing our future relationship with the EU, I shall shortly be publishing proposals for the UK’s future immigration system, and bringing forward an Immigration Bill as announced in the Queen’s Speech. I will continue to engage with the UK business community/higher education community as part of this process. “I hope this email provides reassurance to you and your members and I look forward to sharing further progress with you over the coming months. I welcome your contribution to ongoing engagement on both the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and also the development of our future immigration system.” If you have any information or case studies you wish to share on this topic, please email Martyne Manning at the Chamber at

“We have taken a big step forward. EU citizens living lawfully here before the UK’s exit from the EU will be able to stay. The deal will respect the rights that individuals are exercising and the benefits they currently have. This will help EU citizens and organisations alike plan for the future.“

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Brexit Club

Spreading the word on the Global Stage The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is set to strengthen overseas links on behalf of its members ahead the UK’s exit from the EU.

“So while there are certain types of Brexit that business will want to see over others, the important thing is to keep talking to industry leaders around the world as the outcome is still far from certain.

The Chamber has signed up to attend the world’s biggest property development and investment show, MIPIM, to meet business leaders from around the globe and to find out how potential investors are viewing the city and the county with Brexit looming.

“Brexit isn’t the only reason we are going to MIPIM but we feel this is the perfect opportunity to meet with other Chambers, business people and potential investors to gain insight into how they are viewing our region.

The Chamber, which is home to an International Trade Hub at its HQ on the Coventry University Technology Park, will be part of the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership heading to the annual show in March. Chief executive Louise Bennett said it was a crucial time to be talking to the rest of the world. She said: “Through our Brexit Club, we have been very keen to ensure that we talk not only about the potential pitfalls of leaving the EU but also what practical steps businesses can take as March 2019 approaches. “One crucial factor that we all have to remember is that this is a political process and companies will not be cut off from doing business in the EU and, on top of that, there are opportunities elsewhere in the world too.

“We also believe that the message our region has is a hugely positive one and the potential, through being UK City of Culture in 2021 and the exciting plans for the whole area, means that

Unemployment on the up Coventry and Warwickshire saw a sharp rise in unemployment at the start of 2018 – and business leaders say it’s not because of a lack of jobs.

there is an extremely strong story to tell to the world. “Despite this being the digital age, people still do business with people and it’s always great to meet face-toface with existing and potential contacts. That’s exactly how we are viewing this show and look forward to heading out there with the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership.” Coventry and Warwickshire is represented at MIPIM by a partnership made up of around 20 private sector companies and organisations who help finance the area’s presence at the four-day event.

“Through our Brexit Club, we have been very keen to ensure that we talk not only about the potential pitfalls of leaving the EU but also what practical steps businesses can take as March 2019 approaches.”

In Coventry, the claimant count rose from 3,880 to 4,165 in the month to January and in Warwickshire it rose from 4,420 to 4,665 – the highest figure in Warwickshire since July, 2014. Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said – overall – the unemployment level was still relatively low but that action was needed to address the rise. She said: “Firstly, there will be a seasonal element to the figures as the pre-Christmas temporary jobs will no longer be in the equation but it is still quite a leap, even when you take that into account. “The general feeling from businesses we speak to is that they want to recruit but they can’t find the right people with the right skills. “This is something that has emerged from the work we do across Coventry and Warwickshire within our branch network and is something we are looking at very closely. “The skills gap and the skills shortage are not new but they are in very sharp focus right now and there has to be a real drive to ensure we are equipping people – of all ages, backgrounds and gender – with the skills to match those that are required in the economy. “We have seen no indication that businesses are retrenching and looking to shed staff, this is much more about a miss-match in skills.”

Caution urged on interest rates Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have cautioned the Bank of England about being too hasty to raise interest rates again. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep rates at 0.5 per cent but the commentary around the decision and the latest inflation report suggests another rise is due sooner than anticipated.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The rise from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent last year was expected and we know that the Bank is keen to start pushing rates back to a more normal footing. “But we would warn against being too quick to implement a rise because business is still uncertain about where

we are heading in terms of Brexit and, therefore, that could weigh on investment decisions. “We know that rates cannot stay at the level they are at forever but, equally, with Brexit looming and no real indication of what that is going to look like, business would, at least, benefit from some certainty around rates for now.”



GREEN BUSINESS PROGRAMME FREE Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Grants up to

£100,000 Contact us now to save energy, cut costs and make the most of low carbon opportunities. t: 024 7683 2040 e: w: The Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and is delivered by Coventry City Council, Coventry University and Coventry University Enterprises Ltd.

Enterprises Limited

More than half of UK SMEs (2.54M) do not know what they spend on electricity, gas and water as a percentage of their overheads. A recent study found that SMEs have potential energy saving opportunities of up to 20%, compared to 8% for large businesses. Despite this, half have no measures in place to monitor energy efficiency, potentially missing out on major savings, according to research. The Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme was launched to overcome barriers to energy efficiency and give smaller business owners access to trusted advice and financial support to unlock low carbon opportunities and make energy efficiency investments more affordable. Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Grants of up to £100,000 are available to businesses with less than 250 employees situated in Coventry and Warwickshire. The programme, which runs until the end of December 2018 is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

The £6.8 million programme provides support to increase competitiveness by improving energy efficiency and helping businesses making the most of low carbon opportunities. With grants available for new LED lighting, energy efficient equipment, and new efficient heating systems business can make savings off the bottom line.

“What they can lack is access to finance and specialist advice – and that’s exactly what the green business programme is there for. I’d urge any small to medium sized enterprise to get in touch to see what support is available to help their business grow.”

The programme is being delivered by Coventry City Council, Coventry University and Coventry University Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for Enterprises Ltd. The grants have already helped numerous SMEs jobs and regeneration at Coventry in Coventry and Warwickshire to City Council, said, reduce their energy bills and save “Small businesses are really carbon. important for a successful Funding is limited, so ensure your economy – when you add them together they employ more people business doesn’t miss out on this great opportunity. than big organisations.”

For more information about the Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme and to sign up to the FREE Green Business Network please go to: e: t: 024 7683 2040 t: @cwgreenbusiness

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Coventry

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge open Coventry University building experiences of working within people’s home. Here they saw physiotherapy students working with Bernard on his rehabilitation – the completion of the healthcare journey for his injury. At the end of the visit the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched a short animation to reflect the patient journey and to officially open the building. As well as healthcare training facilities, the Science and Health Building, which opened for teaching in October, includes professional-standard science laboratories, Olympic-grade fitness and sports research areas and a sports therapy clinic which is open to the public.

The Duke and Duchess meet students in the Science and Health Building’s operating department.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened Coventry University’s Science and Health Building after following a patient’s entire journey through its innovative healthcare simulations. Their Royal Highnesses met staff and students and toured the £59 million facility, which will transform training opportunities

The Duke and Duchess meet occupational therapy students and staff in the Science and Health Building’s built-in community houses.

for nurses, paramedics, midwives and other health professionals. The building is the only facility of its kind where students learn to care for a patient at every stage of their healthcare experience, from paramedics arriving at their house and their subsequent ambulance journey, to their stay in hospital, through to their discharge and rehabilitation at home. The Royal couple’s route followed the care of a fictional patient called Bernard who had suffered a deep cut to his arm in a fall. They saw paramedic science students tending to Bernard in the building’s ambulance, visited two clinical wards busy with trainee nurses taking part in hands-on exercises, including caring for Bernard, and watched operating department practice students in the mock surgical theatre preparing to operate on Bernard. They also looked inside one of the building’s community houses, which are designed to give students realistic

After the Royal visit, emergency care expert, anaesthetist and television presenter Dr Kevin Fong delivered a keynote speech to invited guests. Their Royal Highnesses also visited Coventry Cathedral and the Positive Youth Foundation during the day. John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “It was an honour for everyone involved in the day to show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge how our new Science and Health Building immerses students in the realities of their profession.” Images – Mike Sewell

The Duke and Duchess meet fictional patient Bernard in the new building’s adult nursing ward, where trainee nurses were looking after him.

Mayor praises skills initiative West Midlands Mayor Andy Street visited an award-winning Coventry business to see first-hand the benefits of bridging the digital skills gap. The issue is one of his priorities as he will be establishing a framework to be put in place to improve skills and encourage growth across the region. He discussed the subject with Fleur Sexton, the managing director of PET-Xi Training, which is already closing the IT skills gap through running the successful Microsoft Office Specialist programmes. The business, based at Westwood Business Park, is one of only three centres in Europe chosen to run the programmes in three different markets – schools, business and vocational – which teach and accredit highly-employable IT skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and IT security. Since September, 1,197 students at 40 schools across the UK have completed the course. Andy Street said: “Coventry and Warwickshire is a really positive place right now after winning the UK City of Culture 2021 and being part of the Commonwealth Games the following year but ensuring the current and future generations have the right skills is a real issue which needs addressing,” he said. “Employers are saying young people often don’t have the digital qualifications they

need when they start work which is why it was so refreshing to visit PET-Xi to see the difference they are making to change this. “PET-Xi is one of the most dynamic businesses in Coventry and it was great to meet a group of unemployed people who are completing one of their courses to improve their IT skills and make them more employable. “The innovative and energetic approach of the trainers was really inspiring the group

and PET-Xi is certainly helping to reduce the skills gap.” Fleur, who is the current Businesswoman of the Year 2017, said Andy’s crusade was very much at the heart of their business. She said: “This is a serious problem and we are helping to tackle it at PET-Xi. This is an area we wish to expand because it is a win-win to improve the skills of employees since it benefits businesses and it increases the employability of those who are not currently working.”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street (front, centre) with PET-Xi Training managing director Fleur Sexton (front, right) and other members of PET-Xi Training staff and people taking part in one of the business’s courses

Engineering solutions – not just for today, but for long into the future A Coventry engineering company which celebrated 110 years in business in 2017 says that its ability to move with the times, and bring through new blood and help them build satisfying, rewarding careers, has been central to helping it achieve this major milestone. Daly Engineering Services was formed by John Daly in 1907 as a heating and building contractor in the city. Over the subsequent decades, the Daly name became synonymous with quality building services, as the business forged ties with the booming manufacturing and automotive industries which were at the core of the Midlands’ golden era. Through several decades, Daly worked on bespoke installations of crucial services to internationally known brands such as Jaguar, Peugeot, British Leyland and RollsRoyce. It has also been privileged to work on many iconic buildings, providing the often unseen resources which keep them running from day to day. Recently-completed projects have included: • £1.5m contract at Stanbrook Abbey Hotel in Malvern with Stepnell. • £2m contract at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire with Stepnell. • £2.3m contract at Queensway Court development in Leamington with Deeley Construction. In collaboration with Deeley Construction, the firm – which employs 46 staff directly – has undertaken a £1.6million worth of contracts on behalf of HORIBA MIRA Technology Park in Warwickshire, and a £1.5m contract at Tiverton SEN School in Coventry with Farrans Construction. Managing Director Peter Hucker said: “Whilst technology has changed over the years, our ethos and values remain consistent – passion, integrity, quality and excellence remain at the heart of everything we do. “The values instilled within our company ensure that we make a real difference to the sectors in which we operate, creating longterm partnerships with clients and providing employment and training opportunities through our apprenticeship scheme. “We have the experience and technical expertise to design, install and maintain buildings to the highest standard, coupled with tried and tested procedures to ensure safety, quality and best value. “We are proud with the quality of our workforce and their strong technical capability. Our people are at the heart of everything we do and their skills, capabilities and commitment to excellence are what make us who we are.”


Area Focus: Coventry

Arena helps develop skills Doctors’ surgeries to be given a gigabit boost

Coventry has become one of the first cities in the UK to connect the majority of its GP practices to a Gigabit City network, offering world-class connectivity to staff and patients.

Gigabit City builder CityFibre is working in partnership with systems integrator, Pinacl Solutions, to connect 62 of the region’s doctors’ surgeries and community health centres to their very own next-generation full-fibre network. With connections expected to go live in May, the shared digital infrastructure capable of ultrafast internet speeds is set to benefit approximately 340,000 people across Coventry by transforming the digital capabilities of local healthcare services. The network will also provide the necessary foundation for innovations such as virtual appointments and telecare. Healthcare professionals can also benefit from instant, buffer-free access to patient records and systems, improving the experience of both patients and practitioners while healthcare facilities will be able to offer patients better access to Wi-Fi and other digital services such as NHS Choices and NHS applications. Martin Kemp from CityFibre, said: “We’re really pleased to see NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) upgrade to a full-fibre infrastructure – this represents real investment into building an NHS that is fit for the future by creating the necessary foundations for digital health and care innovation.” Full-fibre connectivity is high on the current NHS digital agenda and has been linked to increased productivity and innovation as well as efficiency and cost savings. Dr Steve Allen, Clinical Director at NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG, said: “Enabling GP practice access to a local fibre network will provide instant access to online services, whilst improving the experience of patients visiting the practice.” Mark Lowe, Strategic Director at Pinacl, said: “We were delighted to be chosen to deliver this fibre network across Coventry with CityFibre. We are certain this nextgeneration network will be the first of many across the NHS.”

The Ricoh Arena and Coventry University have struck up a partnership to bring through the next generation of sport and event management professionals. The home of Wasps Rugby Club has agreed with Coventry University to offer its graduates the opportunity to apply for all entry-level roles to support the venue in the hundreds of events it hosts every year. It comes after three of the city’s sport and event management students successfully secured permanent roles at the Ricoh Arena, and more than 100 students took part in the Wasps Ambassador Scheme helping out on match days, conferences and exhibitions. Rory Prentice studied BA in Sport Management and MA in

Sport Marketing at Coventry University, which incorporated undertaking a 12-week industry internship with the club, where he remains today as a partnership account manager. Alex Smith (BA Event Management and MSc Sport Management) and Aimee Franklin (MSc Event Management) also studied at Coventry University, and now hold the respective roles of operations administrator and assistant people operations manager at the venue. Jacky Isaac, group HR director and operations director at Wasps and the Ricoh Arena, said: “As a venue we need to be doing all that we can to support the events industry, a key element of which is helping to develop emerging talent.”

(L to r) Jacky Isaac, Rory Prentice, Ian Webster and Alex Smith

Ian Webster, a senior lecturer in Sport and Event Management at Coventry University, said: “Working with the Ricoh Arena, and Wasps is enabling us to educate and train our

students in the employability skills and personal attributes that event venues, and sport organisations desire from university graduates in a job.”

WarwickNet issues first DCMS fibre broadband installation voucher WarwickNet, a leading provider of next generation broadband solutions, has issued the first Gigabit fibre broadband voucher in Coventry and across Warwickshire.

DCMS scheme partner Coventry Council confirmed local supplier WarwickNet was first off the mark to issue a voucher for free installation of its full fibre gigabit-capable services to a local business.

The move is part of the first stage of the Governmentbacked Gigabit Voucher scheme, which offers grants of up to £3,000 for small and medium sized businesses to upgrade to the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband in selected pilot areas of the UK.

Ben King, CEO at WarwickNet, said: “In order for this scheme to be a success, it’s vital that suppliers get out of the starting blocks quickly so that businesses in the region can immediately start benefiting from this injection of funding. We’re in a strong position in that

we have done just that and are working around the clock to help local businesses get the world class connectivity they deserve.” Fibre broadband is the first step a business can take to future-proof their infrastructure and compete on a level playing field with companies around the UK and further afield.” Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “Being selected as the City of Culture

2021 has given Coventry a real boost. There is certainly a buzz about the place and it’s great to see local player WarwickNet moving quickly and providing local businesses with the benefits of fibre broadband with reduced upfront costs. “We know fast internet speeds are important in helping businesses stay competitive so it’s great that we are part of this scheme that makes money available to small and medium sized business to improve their connectivity.”

Company updates fleet Survey Solutions' Midlands office, based at Westwood Heath in Coventry, has continued the updating of its survey equipment fleet with further purchases of Trimble S5 Total Stations and staff training from Huntingdon-based Korec. Pictured are Coventry-based staff of Survey Solutions who have their head office in Ipswich and regional offices in Norwich, Brentwood, Yeovil and Nottingham.

Hotel undergoes refurbishment Holiday Inn Coventry, just off of the M6 Junction 2, has undergone a refurbishment. The hotel has been revolutionising its 158 bedrooms. Alongside modern décor, the new bedrooms will be equipped with free high-speed Wi-Fi and LCD TV’s. The new bedrooms will complement


the previous ground floor refurbishment that introduced a new, dynamic meeting space, providing delegates with a designated refreshment area, and a new ‘Open Lobby’ concept. Darren Cooke, the General Manager, says “We are excited by the completion of the refurbishment of our bedrooms which

is a continuation of our ground floor refurbishment in 2016. Our hotel is no longer just a place to sleep and eat. Our approach to public spaces, bedrooms and service understands our guests and their needs across the entire guest journey. This investment in the guest experience and innovation is enabling us to stay ahead of the game.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Coventry

47,000 reasons to celebrate Coventry-based Godiva Access & Scaffolding has revealed that its team of scaffolders has achieved a full 12 months with no accidents - a total of 47,000 accident-free hours.

To focus on improving its safety-first strategy Godiva organised a Safety Away Day lo concentrate on making 2018 accident-free as well. Colin Taylor, managing director, said: “Safety-first is a top priority for Godiva and we have to work hard to ensure that our teams

have the skills and understanding to maintain a healthy and safe working environment. We’re recruiting more scaffolders as our work expands so it’s essential to maintain a culture where everyone works together as a cohesive team. “Our Safety Away Day embraced both safety procedures and behavioural attitudes when working at height. Very high level working is a key activity for Godiva, especially as we’ve begun erecting scaffolding for Winvic Construction on Coventry’s tallest new building.” Godiva’s Safety Away Day featured a presentation from Dylan Skelthorn, a specialist motivational safety and accident prevention speaker, who experienced life changing injuries when he fell from height. Dylan revealed his experiences and, in a powerful presentation, he emphasised to Godiva employees how safety is every individual’s responsibility; both their own personal safety and the safety of fellow workers.

Happy 30th birthday – how things have Partners work together to deliver safety simulation changed Colin Taylor with the Godiva team of specialist scaffolders

Corporate members StadiumTM and Strategic members Coventry University worked together to deliver a simulation in Stadium Safety. Those receiving the training were sixteen Qatari Police officials who are involved in the Safety and Security of the Qatar 2022 Football World Cup. The simulation took place over three hours in Coventry University’s Simulation Centre building and the course was designed and delivered by StadiumTM’s Training Company.

It consisted of scenarios including: • A lost child • Intoxicated fans with no tickets. • Crushing at a turnstile • A kiosk fire • An outer stadium road traffic accident leading to the delay of the players’ coach and walking injured persons arriving at the Stadium requiring First Aid attention. Lorraine Baillie, who was behind the design of the course, said: “This is an exciting period of growth for the company and places

Coventry on the map for specialist stadium safety training. To use such facilities like Coventry University’s Simulation Centre and to be able to deliver an international standard course in part of the lead up to the 2022 World Cup is something of which we are extremely proud.” The current football clubs working with StadiumTM on their event services are: Liverpool FC, Burnley FC, Aston Villa FC, Stoke City, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burton Albion.

Coventry company hires four new staff

Coventry Managed Network Solutions Provider Syscomm Ltd has made a number of strategic hires at their Coventry office. The new roles, focused on the Sales and Marketing side of the business, are essential to support increased sales initiatives and continued expansion into new markets throughout 2018. Darren Bindert has been hired as Head of Marketing for Syscomm. He is a B2B

marketing leader with more than 20 years of professional experience in technology, SaaS and other IT services. He said: “I am really looking forward to working with Syscomm to build innovative and effective marketing ideas which will further drive customer participation and engagement with the business.” Ian Crombie will be responsible for developing new business opportunities and creating customised networking and connectivity solutions to meet Syscomm's customer’s needs. He said: “This is a very exciting time to be joining Syscomm. It’s a great opportunity to really harness my skills in supporting our core customers and in growing new business.” David Heeley has been brought on board as a local Business Development manager and will

immediately focus on promoting the Coventry and Warwickshire Gigabit Voucher scheme, encouraging local SME businesses to take advantage of the £3k grant that's available for local business to upgrade their broadband to Gigabit speeds. Martin Nwangwa has been named as Business Development Manager and will be responsible for integrated services to Business Parks and companies looking to work with local councils to improve their connectivity. Chris Tyler, Syscomm CEO, said: “We are very excited to welcome these four to the Syscomm team. I believe the potential for growth and value creation is tremendous in our industry and that these new team members will contribute greatly to our plan to significantly grow the business over the next five years and cement our position as an innovative market leader.”

Overall winner of law firm’s UK City of Culture 2021 art competition revealed The overall winner of an art competition organised by a Coventry law firm to mark the city’s ultimately successful bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 has been revealed. Mander Hadley Solicitors, which has offices in Coventry and Kenilworth, announced ‘Religious Family’ by Ashleigh Roach as the overall winner of the competition at the firm’s annual Professionals Lunch at the Belgrade Theatre on Tuesday 13 February 2018. The firm launched the competition for art, photography and design students at Coventry College during the bidding process for the UK City of Culture 2021 last year, calling for entries depicting ‘what Coventry means to me’. In total, more than 80 entries were received, before being whittled down to four finalists, which were each displayed on signage

measuring nearly two metres tall, before being given pride of place outside the firm’s city centre offices at 1 The Quadrant. Jonathan Hall, Managing Director at Mander Hadley Solicitors, said: “Ashleigh’s artwork really caught our eyes as it cleverly brings together the old and the new of our city’s landscape, its multicultural community, a self-portrait of Ashleigh herself and a subtle reference to Coventry’s favourite colour, sky blue. “I was delighted to be able to present her with the award for the overall winner of our ‘what Coventry means to me’ art competition. “As a firm which has been established in Coventry for more than 100 years, it is wonderful to have been able to support the city’s successful bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 by showcasing the creative talents of our young people.”

The three other finalists in the competition, George Millerchip, Billy Clarke and Jasmine Baguley, were also presented with awards in recognition of their efforts at the event, which was themed around Chinese New Year and featured a lion dance and Chinese food. Ashleigh’s winning entry will now once again be displayed outside the offices of Mander Hadley Solicitors at 1 The Quadrant.

A birthday is always an appropriate time to reflect and look back at how things have changed over the years. HBT Communications, based in Coventry, celebrates its 30th birthday this year and working within the IT and Telecoms sector the business has certainly seen some changes. When the business was started in 1988 by brothers Zamurad and Ajmal Hussain, calls were only made on telephones with wires, computers filled a whole floor of the office and the World Wide Web hadn’t yet been invented; Sir Tim Berners-Lee did that the next year. In the early 90s, dial up internet started to become more accessible, but who remembers the frustration of trying to make a phone call whilst someone was online? It wasn’t until the birth of broadband in the late 90s that we really began to feel the true impact of the internet. By 1997 the volume of emails overtook snail mail and since then technology has progressed at a phenomenal rate and the way we do business has been transformed. Zamurad Hussain, Managing Director at HBT Communications, said: “When we started the business in 1988, we could not have dreamt how technology would have had such an impact. It has been exciting to work within a sector where we are constantly searching for the next best thing. We want our customers to work with the best possible systems. Systems that won’t be outdated within the next couple of years. “The evolution of connectivity is probably the most exciting part of it all. With ultra-fast connection being available in most areas, business can really benefit from the best. Cloud solutions take away the risk of data storage on-site, software being out of date, business capital being eaten up by hefty software purchases just to allow people to carry out their everyday tasks. From administration, to accounting, the cloud is making life easier for business owners” HBT Communications is celebrating its 30th birthday by offering businesses a free communications health check which includes your telephone and IT systems. To find out more please contact them on 02476 867 422 or


Area Focus: Coventry

And relax…

Chantall Herbert from Hands on at Work, Chris Nagle from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Pavan Gill from Coombe Abbey Hotel.

A new initiative has been launched at a Warwickshire hotel to promote a healthy work and life balance for the business community. Coombe Abbey Hotel has launched a ‘New Year, New You’ package, offering a bespoke health and wellbeing experience for conferences and events. It is hoped that it will promote a better and more relaxing lifestyle to companies, their workforce and delegates attending business events at the Brinklow-based venue. A typical day for businesses could involve waking up at 7am for warmup exercises and a light jog or scenic walk around the grounds of Coombe

Abbey with the on-site fitness guru. From there, delegates can enjoy five-minute mini massages in between healthy meals, with options ranging from poached salmon to smoked chicken, mixed bean salad and fresh fruit platters. The New Year, New You package sees the venue joining forces with Hands on at Work - a company that

provides expert massages in a work environment to help boost morale. The two organisations first met at a Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Expo event and after getting together at subsequent Chamber events, a new partnership was forged. Businesses that opt for the new package for events will see expert therapists on hand to offer a relaxing mini massage, while freshly-made, healthy meals prepared on-site by top chefs. Ron Terry, general manager of Coombe Abbey Hotel, said New Year, New You was about promoting a healthy work and life balance, giving the workforce the tool to relax and be more productive. “We want to create an atmosphere that is both relaxing and productive for businesses and we thought that the New Year, New You package was the perfect start to 2018,” he said. “It just goes to show that being a member of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce provides fantastic connections and builds business relationships. “We have a beautiful site here which acts as a wonderful setting for members of the business community to get some quality relaxation time in after a busy Christmas and New Year period. “This new package is the perfect way for companies to do business and help promote a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle.”

“We want to create an atmosphere that is both relaxing and productive for businesses and we thought that the New Year, New You package was the perfect start to 2018.”

Commercial investigation company awarded international accreditation A Coventry company which specialises in investigations into commercial fraud has been awarded a UK certification for protecting sensitive client data. The Expert Investigations Group has passed IASME certification, a recognised scheme delivering best practice for information security which includes the Government and National Cyber Security Centre’s own scheme Cyber Essentials for which the company has renewed its certification. Tighter regulation around protecting client information comes into force in May with the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Expert Investigations founder and managing director David Kearns said he wanted to be proactive before the new rules came in to show his support for them and help current and future clients understand the importance of working with businesses who take the legislation seriously.

Loyal service acknowledged

Mr Kearns, a former detective with Warwickshire police, specialising in covert intelligence gathering, said it was important that reputable investigation businesses reassure clients their data was protected and the certifications were the best way of proving that. He said: “Our clients trust us and we value that trust. The accreditations give them and future clients the confidence to have faith in the professional way we operate and that whatever the information, personal or commercial, they can be assured we do everything we can to protect it both online and offline.” The company has been supported through the scheme by Leamington based risk management specialists, Risk Evolves.

Managing Director of Risk Evolves, Helen Barge, said the certifications built trust between businesses and their clients at a time when cyber attacks were becoming more common.

On screen Coventry estate agents Loveitts is revolutionising the housing market after installing the city's first interactive touch screen in its branch window. This new technology – which works through glass – allows passers-by to view all of Loveitts' sales and lettings, from the pavement, 24 hours a day. The high-resolution screen, which sits in the window of the Warwick Road office, presents properties to the highest standard as well as allowing househunters to access maps and floor plans.

National Express West Midlands has been celebrating a staggering 4,525 years of long and loyal service from 156 employees. The bus operator’s latest long service awards recognised staff who have been working for the company for 20, 30, 40, 45 and even 50 years, in jobs all across the


West Midlands. Each award winner was invited, along with a guest, to a top Solihull hotel by Managing Director Tom Stables and HR Director Madi Pilgrim, where they were presented with a personally chosen gift as a token of thanks. Tom said: “It was great to meet up with the people who have supported us

for so many years and reward their personal achievements.” “In this day and age, where people move jobs every five years, on average, it’s a real credit to our company and our people that we are able to celebrate literally thousands of years of personal dedication and success.”

Users can even book viewings of homes as well as create a folder and have selected property details emailed directly to them. The new screen, which is part of an ongoing programme of investment in new technology, has been sponsored by some of Loveitts’ recommended partners such as Cocks Lloyd Solicitors.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Coventry

Praise for culture bid team The team effort that went into delivering the UK City of Culture 2021 title for Coventry has been praised by the man who led the bid from day one. David Burbidge CBE DL, the Chairman of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said the victory – announced in December – was testament to the work between public and private sector, the two universities and the city, county and wider region. David called together representatives from Coventry City Council, Coventry University, the University of Warwick and the West Midlands Combined Authority to personally thank them for the major part they played in securing the prestigious title for the city. He said: “This is a game-changer for Coventry and wouldn’t have got off the ground if it hadn’t been for the foresight and the bravery of Coventry City Council to decide to go for it in the very early stages. “The council also took the decision to take the bid out of their own control and to hand it over to team, with me as Chair, which was also quite a bold step. “It meant Coventry City Council would be there to play a key role but, also, made us unique in the fact that this was a UK City of Culture bid that wasn’t solely run by a local authority. “The next key step was securing the support of our two great and world class

universities, which we did and I think it is fair to say that the City of Culture project has seen the greatest ever form of collaboration between Coventry University and the University of Warwick. “The expertise and support that the two institutions brought was absolutely invaluable. “It’s well documented that we attracted outstanding business support – with well over 100 companies backing the bid and that, again, was another element of our case that really impressed the judges. “The final piece of the jigsaw was to show that this was a truly regional bid and we secured the support of the local borough councils and Warwickshire County Council. “And the level of backing that we received from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and his team at the West Midlands Combined Authority was incredible, particularly in the latter stages. “His support, at a time when we all felt that the competition was neck and neck going into the final judging for the title, played a very strong part in our success. “Never in my time as a business person in Coventry have I seen such a strong team effort from across the region and I have absolutely no doubt that it was key to our victory.”

University to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap Coventry University is playing a major part in a new Government backed national initiative to grow and develop digital skills for the current and future needs of industry. The newly established Institute of Coding - announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in a speech to the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos - brings together a range of universities, industry, training providers and professional bodies to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap. Described by the Prime Minister as a key part of the government’s efforts to drive up digital skills through the Industrial Strategy, the Institute has been made possible with £20m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and £20m match funding from universities and industry partners. As a key member of the consortium, Coventry University will lead on supporting professions undergoing digital transformation by retraining learners via new digital training programmes provided both online and face-to-face.

Coventry will be working with industry partners to develop digital skills in the following industry sectors: advanced manufacturing and logistics (with Unipart and AME); transport and automotive (with HORIBA MIRA); the creative economy (with the Emerald Group); and healthcare. The university will also be supporting a national network of Digital Skills Software Agencies to initiate, develop, and deliver industry-led student projects as well as providing policy and research support for the development of a “National Digital Skills Observatory.” In addition, Coventry’s partnership with social learning providers and Institute consortium member FutureLearn, which will see the delivery of 50 wholly online degrees over the next five years, will also inform the Institute’s teaching and learning activities. John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “The Institute of Coding is the kind of skills partnership between higher education and employers that will be key to the success of the Government’s Industrial

Stuart Croft (University of Warwick), Laura McMillan (Coventry City of Culture Trust), Andy Street, David Burbidge, Cllr Kevin Maton, Judith Mossman (Coventry University).

Andy Street said: “I know from speaking to Ministers since the City of Culture announcement that one of the things that helped secure the victory was the regional support for the Coventry bid.” Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “The bid, led by David’s team, was an amazing success and it was inspiring to see so many people and organisations get behind it and share our faith in our city – thank you to everyone who played a part.”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, Coventry University and West Midlands Combined Authority are Principal Partners of the Coventry City of Culture Trust and have provided significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are also Bid Development Sponsors.



Costco Wholesale is a membership warehouse club, dedicated to bringing our members quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.


The annual membership fee for Standard Trade Membership* is £22 ex VAT (£26.40 inc VAT). The annual membership fee for Standard Individual Membership* is £28 ex VAT (£33.60 inc VAT).

Costco Coventry, 51 Torrington Avenue, Coventry, CV4 9AQ

T: 02476 854 660


† Sign up for membership with this advert at our Coventry Warehouse and receive a £20 voucher to spend online at www. and a £10 voucher to spend in the warehouse. New members only. Offer valid until 30/04/18. * Membership Criteria applies. Please visit for details. Accepted methods of payment: cash, debit card, cheque or American Express. Membership must be obtained before purchases can be made. ∆ ID required to preview. JN17185.


Area Focus: Mid and North Warwickshire

Don’t get caught out by ESOS

New £1.4m industrial property being built in North Warwickshire

If you have more than 250 UK employees or an annual turnover exceeding £50 million and a balance sheet total exceeding £43 million it is time to start planning how you will comply with phase 2 of the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) regulations. Fines for noncompliance can be up to £90,000. ESOS was first introduced in 2014 and is part of a European objective to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. It is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for all large UK organisations (as defined by the criteria above). The idea is that by forcing Directors of large businesses to review energy use and energy saving opportunities, energy savings will result and help the UK to meet its climate change targets. This was borne out by work we did during phase one of ESOS; we identified savings averaging 16.3% per client. The Phase 1 ESOS compliance deadline was in December 2015 and many companies (300 was the last reported figure in summer) are yet to comply. If you find yourself in this situation, you will probably have received a penalty notice from the Environment Agency (EA), the scheme administrators. Don’t panic… it’s not too late, just contact us to get compliant now!

Richard Hammond (Deeley Construction, left) with Nic Bevan

A new £1.4 million speculative industrial development is being created in North Warwickshire. Coventry-based Deeley Construction has started work on the former Mallard Lodge site in Marsh Lane, Water Orton, on behalf of Flexdart Limited. Flexdart is a scrap metal merchant, with clients around the world, and is branching out into property development as the business expands. The firm, which was established in 1957, selected Deeley Construction to undertake

Chinasearch awarded FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award 2018

As for Phase 2, businesses who meet the qualification criteria on 31 December 2018 will need to undertake an ESOS assessment and notify compliance to the EA by 05 December 2019. An ESOS assessment requires the following: 1. Appoint a lead assessor 2. Calculate your total energy consumption 3. Identify and audit your areas of significant energy consumption 4. Notify the Environment Agency 5. Keep records Time is of the essence as starting the process now will make complying within the deadline much easier. Also, good quality Lead Assessors are in short supply, so we encourage you to act now to ensure you aren’t caught out and make sure you are compliant by the deadline. Oliver Coe works for NFU Energy Service


the work on the 16,000 sq ft industrial property with a two-storey office, delivery area and car parking. The site was previously a house known as Mallard Lodge and had historically been used as a workshop for car repairs in the 1940s. Nic Bevan, of Flexdart, said: “The scrap metal side of the business is expanding. We have a global customer base and are always looking for new opportunities within the trade. “However we also want to diversify the business and saw this as a great

opportunity to develop a property that we could lease out to another company and bring further employment into the area. “It’s ideally located, close to the M42 and M6 motorways which provide ready access to the rest of the UK mainland and ports, within 15 minutes’ drive of an international container base, train station and airport we believe it will attract significant interest. “We went out to tender and we were impressed with the plans that Deeley Construction put forward during the interview, particularly how they would ensure the development would cause minimal disruption to the local area and environment. It is important to us and our business to be good neighbours and Deeley shared that ethos.” Martin Gallagher, the managing director of Deeley Construction, said that speculative industrial development had been rare in recent years but was vital for the regional economy. He said: “We are delighted to be underway at Water Orton on behalf of Flexdart after being successful in the competitive tender process. “There is not a huge amount of speculative development being undertaken when it comes to industrial premises but there is certainly a need for it. “The ability to regenerate a site in this way and work in partnership with our clients is a great strength of Deeley Construction.”

Kenilworth-based Chinasearch has won the Feefo Gold Trusted Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real and verified customers. Feefo’s Trusted Service rating is only awarded to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews and meet Feefo’s high standard, based on the number of reviews collected and their average rating. From January to December last year, Chinasearch received over 5,100 customer reviews with an average service rating of 4.9 out of 5. Chinasearch is in its 30th year helping customers enjoy dining at home. The company sells tableware, glassware, cutlery and gifts through its website, over the phone

and at its Kenilworth shop on Princes Drive. Chinasearch is best known for being specialists in discontinued tableware, stocking over 300,000 items. Jon Ward from Chinasearch said: “As all Feefo reviews are verified as genuine, this prestigious accreditation is a true reflection of our commitment to outstanding service and it is a real honour to be recognised by Feefo in this way. “Everyone at Chinasearch has a clear and direct impact on our customers’ experience, so to be recognised for delivering exceptional experiences to our customers is a great team achievement. With being able to listen, understand and respond to our customers’ needs, we are looking forward to another successful year ahead.” Andrew Mabbutt, CEO at Feefo, commented: “The Trusted Service award has always been about recognising those companies that go the extra mile. Once again, we have seen many incredible businesses using Feefo … and rightly being awarded with our most prestigious accreditation.” Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic by matching it to a legitimate transaction; this is in order to increase consumer confidence and combat the rising issue of fake reviews.

System helps schools

Lichfield-based digital marketing agency Cocoonfxmedia is helping local schools keep pupils and staff bang up to date via their websites. The firm has launched an easy-touse content management system that is designed for the education industry, more specifically for single Academy trusts, schools and multi- Academy trusts. The content management system uses technology to give users unlimited pages on their websites, pre-loaded templates of the 17 pages that Ofsted say they must have on their website. It is able to automatically pull information related to school performance tables, making those administrators jobs at schools a little easier, saving time and making days more efficient. James Blackman, Managing Director, said: “The system is completely bespoke to fit the users’ exact needs.”

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: South Warwickshire

College ushers in bright new era

Principal and Chief Executive of Solihull College & University Centre and Stratford-upon-Avon College John Callaghan (rear row, forth from left) with former interim Principal Andrew Cropley (rear row, fifth from left) and Stratford-upon-Avon College students

Stratford-upon-Avon College’s merger with Solihull College & University Centre has been accomplished.   The complex process, initially overseen by Stratford’s former interim Principal Andrew Cropley, was concluded under the leadership of John Callaghan, Principal of Stratfordupon-Avon College and Solihull College & University Centre, and of Lindsey Stewart,

Deputy Principal and Stratford Chief Operating Officer. The colleges agreed to merge in order to have greater resilience and flexibility and to be an even stronger asset to Warwickshire and the West Midlands. Whilst Stratford and Solihull each possess unique areas of expertise and will preserve their individual identities, the merger combines Stratford’s established strengths with Solihull’s infrastructure and investment capacity.   As acknowledged by its recent Ofsted inspection, Stratford maintains its commitment to high standards of teaching, with its lecturers’ skill and dedication helping learners on the road toward their future careers. Furthermore, significant investment in the College enables the development of a more varied curriculum to be introduced in September. Building on its core strengths in creative arts, culture, hospitality and sport, this enhanced curriculum will include more than 20 new courses, including an improved A Level offer, giving prospective students an even wider range of opportunities.

Mr Callaghan said: “Stratford-upon-Avon College’s creative curriculum was one of the key factors in our decision to merge with them and I am delighted that our enhanced course offer will enable us to serve a wider section of the community.” The results of a public consultation process showed that the local community and all stakeholders overwhelmingly support the merger, with 73% overall in favour and only 2% against. The merger will greatly benefit the local business community: as part of a larger organisation, and following changes to apprenticeship funding, Stratford is in a position to develop deeper relationships with local employers and create new apprenticeship opportunities. Ms Stewart said: “I am delighted to be leading Stratford-upon-Avon College into what is certain to be an exciting and hugely successful future. By combining the diverse strengths and areas of expertise of both colleges, we are in a position to still further improve our provision and better serve our local communities.”

£6m Conference Centre refurbishment unveiled

Warwick Conferences, located at the University of Warwick, has unveiled its new look conference and training venue, Radcliffe, after a significant £6 million refurbishment with Midlands-based construction company G F Tomlinson.

Warwick Conferences is one of the largest commercial businesses within the university, providing conferencing and training facilities to external businesses, both local and on a national scale. Delivered in three phases, the building has undergone a complete transformation to enhance the overall experience of the venue. This included modifying technical processes such as heating ventilations and insulation to further enhance the ecological performance of the venue. Richard Harrison, head of conference centres at the University of Warwick, said: “Investing in providing even more effective facilities that continue to satisfy and surpass the needs of our clients is a huge priority for us, as well as ensuring we provide the highest levels of service to every guest. “This refurbishment has modernised the venue in-keeping with our energetic brand

and promise of ‘anything is possible’. The interior finish of the venue has been designed to encourage collaboration and synergy amongst delegates through the environment in which they work in. “As we continue to flourish in the conferencing, training and events industry our venue design will also continue to increase and inspire engagement to elevate organisational performance.” The aesthetics of the venue have also been rejuvenated to resemble a sophisticated boutique hotel, including renovation of key areas such as meeting rooms, the restaurant, communal areas and the bar. This follows a successful accommodation refurbishment delivered by G F Tomlinson, which saw its 154 hotel-styled bedrooms revamped. Andy Sewards, managing director of G F Tomlinson, said: “We’re proud to have delivered this project with the support of local supply chain partners. The site team worked extremely well together, resulting in the scheme being delivered four days ahead of schedule. “Another key aspect of the scheme was that the rest of the university campus remained

fully operational throughout the construction works. G F Tomlinson have extensive experience working in such live environments, where we maintain regular consultation with the facility users, to ensure we minimise the potential for disruption. “We have really enjoyed working on this extensive refurbishment which has resulted in a much more attractive hotel and conference centre that is eco-friendly and that will provide guests with an inspiring and relaxing environment.”

The Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm has unveiled its new pathways. Designed by artist Madeline Smith who illustrated the Farm’s garden mural and Explorers Guide, the smooth level surfaces guide visitors throughout the Flight Area. Kris Vankay and Georgia Munnion from the RSC with Creative Media students Pete Musgrave, Ingo Lyle-Goodwin and Josh Stacey, and creative media lecturer Lee Skinner

College’s screening theatre, with the budding filmmakers’ achievements recognised at the awards ceremony which followed, with categories ranging from Best Original Idea to Best Lighting. Josh Stacey, 17 from Stratfordupon-Avon, was presented with four awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Trailer.

Stratford-upon-Avon company Comesto has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Led by CEO Valentine Smith, Comesto’s online marketplace brings food and beverage industry buyers and suppliers together, giving increased choice to buyers. The company’s campaign seeks £100,000 from supporters, to drive expansion and capitalise on the company’s early success. Valentine and his business partners were driven to set up Comesto by their passion for artisanal food and drinks and their considerable experience food and drink marketing. Valentine Smith said: “We know there is considerable demand for Comesto’s services – we have over 4,000 members already - and it’s a joy to help small producers and hospitality businesses to come together more easily. Raising money on Crowdcube will enable us to take on more staff locally and support the UK’s booming hospitality industry even more effectively.” Visit to find out how a pledge of £10 or more could open up opportunities to become a part of this exciting local company’s future.

Caterer secures racecourse contract Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse has appointed award-winning caterers Amadeus to provide exclusive catering services at the venue on race and non-race days in contract worth £2.5m. The five-year contract will see Amadeus run all retail and hospitality catering at fixture race events along with providing conference and banqueting catering at the venue taking place on non-race days.

Dragon’s Den students film RSC trailers New pathways guide visitors throughout Stratford Butterfly Farm! Creative media students from

Stratford-upon-Avon College have been producing film trailers for upcoming RSC productions. As part of their media course, students were tasked by the RSC’s media and marketing teams with creating film trailers which would reflect the pre-production techniques and cinematic style employed by the company. They pitched their artistic visions for the proposed trailers to the RSC marketing team, before being questioned on their ideas in an intense Dragons’ Den-style presentation. Kris Vankay, Senior Video Technician at the RSC, worked with the students, providing insights into the film-making process and giving advice on how best to present their ideas. The students worked to get their trailers complete in time for the premiere screening in the

Comesto launches crowdfunding campaign

Inspired by tropical rainforests, the new pathways are bright and colourful, incorporating tropical leaf prints and animal footprints. The animal and bird footprints are all native to the rainforests of the Americas and feature a Jaguar, Tapir, Squirrel Monkey, Parrot, Caiman Crocodile and Chachalaca bird. As well as providing a colourful and interesting set of pathways throughout the Farm, the paths are also much easier for disabled access and visitors with prams and buggies. Jane Kendrick, Marketing Manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm said “We are delighted to unveil our new colourful pathways which offer another great improvement to the facilities at the Farm.”

This new win adds to Amadeus’ growing portfolio, which includes catering for seven million visitors a year as part of the NEC Group and more than 30 venues across the UK including visitor attractions, exhibition and stadia venues. In addition, Amadeus caters for hundreds of private events every year and a number of prestigious sporting events The catering team at Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse will be headed up by Amadeus’ General Manager for Events Samantha Bates, who has more than 22-years’ experience with the business. Kevin Watson, Managing Director of Amadeus, said: “Last year, Amadeus’ events team achieved record results under Sam’s leadership and she will bring unparalleled expertise to our partnership with Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse.” Ilona Barnett, Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse Manager, said: “We are really looking forward to Amadeus bringing their unique style of catering to the venue. They have a fantastic reputation for delivering excellence at visitor attractions and sporting events and we were impressed by their innovative menus and retail concepts which will take our food and beverage offering to a new level for our customers.”


Area Focus: Rugby sponsored column

Keeping pace with technology “The world in which we live and work is becoming increasingly digital, with platforms continuingly evolving to collect and communicate information on the move” says Emma Reid, Senior Manager at Cottons Accountants, Rugby Office. It is important that accountants keep pace with the new technology, and help their clients engage with it effectively and efficiently. Like many accountancy practices we have fully embraced cloud accounting systems, rolling them out both in house and to clients, but we wanted to look at how best to incorporate these with people’s favoured way of accessing technology – mobile devices. This has led to us being able to provide an app, available to everyone completely free of charge on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. With this app people will be able to use their devices to collect and record data digitally with access to both existing cloud accounting packages such as Xero and Sage or the app’s own inbuilt software. One key feature that is proving to be very popular is a GPS mileage tracker where trip details are recorded accurately and stored throughout the year. In addition Receipt Manager enables you to scan and track receipts and expenses at the touch of a button, storing them safely. Similarly Income Manager allows users to keep track of daily, weekly and monthly incomings. Working with industry specialists and listening to clients’ needs we have been able to incorporate these key financial functions with up to date tools aimed at making life easier on the go. The very latest tax tables and calculators are accessible as is a handy currency convertor and the latest financial news. If you would like to discuss this in further detail or arrange a free consultation please contact Emma Reid on 01788 579033 or email The app is available for all at Google Play and the App Store – search Cottons Acountants


Strong year ahead for Houlton development

Work on Rugby’s newest community is continuing to forge ahead following a successful year of milestones reached by developers. The work on the 1.5 mile link road which will connect Houlton to Rugby town is progressing and the first of Houlton’s residents moved in shortly before Christmas, with families living close to the site’s newly-built community space and The Tuning Fork café, which opened at the heart of the development last spring. House building is a main priority for progression this year, with Crest Nicholson opening its doors to their new development, Hansford Park.

Morris Homes also showcased their development, The Beacons, to visitors at their sales cabin while The Newstead, Davidsons Homes’ five-bedroom detached show home opened at the end of October.

three primary schools and a secondary school, an eight-GP health centre, extensive walkways, cycleways and green spaces as well as business and commercial space. The development will take 15 years to deliver.

The site’s St Gabriel’s Church of England Academy primary school has already welcomed dozens of families to its first open events, as prospective parents apply for the 30 reception-aged places available for this September’s intake.

Richard Coppell, Development Director for Urban&Civic, said; “Last year was fantastic in terms of seeing the community of Houlton start to come to life, and we are excited about what 2018 has in store. Homes are available to buy now within the growing community, and we are looking forward to welcoming families moving in this year.”

The Houlton development will see 6,200 homes delivered as well as

Chamber seeks reinstatement of development site Further weight has been added to business leaders’ calls for the reinstatement of a key, strategic development site into Rugby’s Local Plan after it was dropped at a very late stage. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce called upon the Planning Inspector, who is assessing the Borough Council’s plan for 2011-31, to recommend that an ambitious scheme at Ansty/Walsgrave Hill Farm is reinstated, as it is considered one of the most important and innovative projects for the whole sub-region. The Chamber had broadly backed the original plan which included a ‘model’ village that would expand the current very successful site at Ansty Park and would create a sustainable development providing jobs, homes, infrastructure and green space – as well as blue light access to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire. But, since the Walsgrave Hill Farm development was dropped from the plan, the Chamber has provided evidence that it will damage the region’s chances of economic growth if there isn’t a rethink on the scheme. The Chamber’s call and evidence supplied in a study on employment land in the sub-region were cited in

Daid Penn

representations to the Planning Inspector who has concluded the first stage of hearings on the plan. David Penn, the Vice President of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Economic growth in the region is talked about as if it is a given – but if we don’t have the land for jobs, businesses can’t grow and the economy will come to a standstill. “We have ensured that the voice of business is heard on this but this is not just an issue for companies across our patch, it’s about providing sustainable development for Rugby,

the wider borough and, indeed, the entire sub-region. “Our representations on this matter have been cited to the Planning Inspector and we can only hope that they are taken on board and that the model village at Walsgrave Hill Farm is put back into the plan as a fundamental part of our collective future. “Currently, the sub-region is falling way, way short of the employment land we need to provide for jobs for the future and this development is key part of the mix to addressing the issue.”

Indecent exposure: could Wi-Fi be your weakest link? Targeting users

Greig Schofield, Technical Manager at Netmetix, explores how Wi-Fi could expose your business – and your employees – to ‘Man in the Middle’ cybercrime. Imagine you’d spent a fortune making your home physically secure, only to discover you’d been quietly robbed by thieves who never set foot on your property. You thought you’d built a fortress, but didn’t notice the gap in the fence that left you wide open to intruders. It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare. But it’s also a realworld metaphor for many UK businesses who, despite being increasingly vulnerable, have left the door to cybercrime unwittingly ajar. With IT security now a corporate priority, organisations are investing heavily in sophisticated firewalls that make their systems virtually impenetrable. But many fail to spot the hole in their defences that leaves both the business and its employees dangerously exposed: Wi-Fi. Flawed Wi-Fi practice, along with poor awareness of the tell-tale signs of cyber threats, can gift criminals surreptitious access to commercially sensitive business information. Moreover, it can inadvertently expose workers to the catastrophic risk of identity theft, phishing and other cyber scams. A high percentage of businesses believe that expansive security infrastructure makes them immune to the threat. However, many don’t realise that their Wi-Fi can negate their efforts to safeguard assets. Welcome to the unsavoury world of the ‘Man in the Middle’ (MITM) attack. It’s a global epidemic with destructive implications. If you think it cannot happen in your workplace, think again. It can. But with the right organisational awareness and simple . prevented. technology, it can easily be

Online crime is changing. Cyber criminals are moving on from targeting organisations and are instead focusing their attention on individual users. One of the easiest ways to do this is via ubiquitous technology that everyone uses: Wi-Fi. In our digital world, connectivity is King. Wireless access is no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation. And it’s an expectation that online opportunists are seeking to exploit. Our hunger for connectivity – and our willingness to instinctively join a network if it satisfies our need for speed – has provided a stimulant for MITM attacks that largely thrive on Wi-Fi connections. One of the most common is Wi-Fi eavesdropping, where hackers unscrupulously intercept information that travels across wireless hotspots and use it for criminal gain. The approach takes advantage of cheap technology that allows hackers to set up ‘rogue’ access points – fake networks masquerading as legitimate Wi-Fi hotspots with familiar-looking names – then monitor keystrokes and steal personal information from anyone that connects to them. Since these rogue networks are unencrypted, all activity across them is open and visible. The stealth-like interception of usernames and passwords can facilitate illegal access to online banking, credit card details or corporate permissions. A hacker may not use them instantly but could violate these accounts at any time. Users are often concerned about confidential documentation stored on their devices. Hackers are rarely interested in this – they’re more focused on lateral movement from a victim’s email account. For example, access to your email allows them to activate password notifications from your PayPal account and monitor keystrokes as you nominate new log-in details. It’s scary stuff. Global incidence of Wi-Fi eavesdropping is increasing. Hackers have snared numerous high-profile victims, breaching the wireless networks of brands like American Airlines, TalkTalk and Starbucks. The trend has even forced the FBI to warn users to evaluate their surroundings before jumping on a Wi-Fi network. These developments have reinforced a misconception that eavesdropping is limited to public Wi-Fi, fuelling a false sense of security that office-based networks are not susceptible to attack. This is wrong. Wi-Fi is as likely to be compromised in an office as it is in a shopping mall, a hotel lobby or an airport. A hacker with the appropriate technology could be sitting in the next room, the

carpark outside or the building next door. They don’t discriminate between public or corporate Wi-Fi. Their goal is simply to lure unsuspecting users to their rogue networks and launch their attacks from there.

Protecting the workforce Despite its rise, surprisingly few businesses have done enough to address the threat of Wi-Fi eavesdropping. Many believe that password encryption provides adequate protection. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Encryption is only relevant when a user chooses a legitimate network – if they select a rogue hotspot, the Wireless Key protecting your network is never required. Businesses are legally responsible for traffic that passes over their network. However, since rogue activity doesn’t actually touch their network, addressing the problem is complex. Employers have a duty of care to staff and must do all they can to ensure their networks are secure. But, given the challenges, how can they mitigate the risk of MITM attacks? A multilayered approach that combines technology and education is required.

Raising awareness Perhaps the greatest emphasis should be placed on ensuring users understand the risks and recognise unusual behaviour. Although hackers are becoming more sophisticated, their modus operandi often follows familiar patterns that, if individuals are vigilant, should raise alarm bells. Here are some simple considerations: #1: Get familiar with your company Wi-Fi Signing up to a rogue hotspot typically requires unorthodox behaviour. Hackers will generally redirect you to a malicious, non-secure website that mimics a legitimate log-in page. That’s rogue behaviour. These pages are unencrypted: if you sign-up, all your transactions become visible. So familiarise yourself with your company’s Wi-Fi SOPs; know what happens and stop if anything appears out of the ordinary.

Being redirected to a portal, particularly in an office environment, is generally a red flag event. #2: Look out for the padlock If you’re remote working and accessing public Wi-Fi, it’s not unusual to be redirected to a log-in portal. The majority aren’t malicious. Look out for a ‘padlock’ in the address bar – that’s normally the sign of a legitimate site. #3: Know your network Your device will constantly look for recognisable Wi-Fi networks you’ve previously used. Hackers will mimic these – setting up rogue hotspots with the same name in the hope you will connect. Be alert. If you’re surfing in Starbucks and are invited to join your corporate Wi-Fi, it’s most likely a hoax.

Reinforcing security Technology can provide added protection against MITM attacks. Rogue Access Point Detection tools can help identify, ring-fence and lock out rogue hotspots. These solutions, which are run from legitimate access points, log and audit activity across your Wi-Fi network and can alert you to suspicious behaviours. They provide visibility and security. Additionally, some companies have introduced policies to ensure client machines can only connect to certain Wi-Fi networks, eliminating rogue risk. The most proactive have opted for ‘certificate-based authentication’ to assure users that their security is being effectively protected. Good examples of this can be seen on the High Street, where retail outlets are reassuring customers that they have ‘Wi-Fi Friendly’ certification. It’s an example that corporate organisations may be well advised to follow. In an age where mobility and connectivity have become crucial to global communication, Wi-Fi is an essential component of the digital workplace. Users expect it. But they also expect that their online communications are secure from the threat of MITM attack. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they are. Let’s fix the fence.

"Flawed Wi-Fi practice, along with poor awareness of the tell-tale signs of cyber threats, can gift criminals surreptitious access to commercially sensitive business information."

DISTINCTION ABOVE ALL ELSE 4 Sycamore Court, Birmingham Road, Allesley, Coventry CV5 9BA 024 7640 8100 / /

Focus on Nuneaton and Bedworth

Ten good reasons to choose Nuneaton and Bedworth

Image courtesy of Subcon Laser

Are you looking for a cost effective, central location to grow or expand your business? Why not join highly successful companies such as Subcon Laser who have prospered in Nuneaton and Bedworth? As one of the UK's largest and most successful companies manufacturing parts using laser technology, Subcon Laser has been doing business in the Borough for 30 years and represents the strong manufacturing base that underpins the local economy. The Borough Council is working to raise the profile of Nuneaton and Bedworth as an excellent business location by publicising the success of companies such as Subcon Laser. Using NBBInvest - the Borough’s fantastic new investment website - to showcase local success stories, the Council is spreading the word about the Borough’s business credentials. Alan Franks, Managing Director of the Borough Council said: “Nuneaton is one of the top 20 UK locations for foreign investment, but we’re keen to do more to promote the Borough. NBBC is taking the opportunity to showcase the Borough’s impressive business offer using our new investment website,

NBBInvest. The aim is to further stimulate local business growth by shouting about the strength and breadth of industries based in the region. It’s the chance for Nuneaton and Bedworth to tell its dynamic story and promote itself as a superb business location.” So what’s so special about Nuneaton and Bedworth? Here’s your starter for ten… 1. Nuneaton & Bedworth offers the Ultimate Strategic Location for businesses, with enviable transport links to the majority of the country within two hours in addition to the proximity to major airports and ports to connect to the continent. 2. The Borough is the Gateway to MIRA Technology Park, with Nuneaton train station offering the closest mainline station to the Technology Park, then there’s swift public transport links to the site. 3. Nuneaton & Bedworth has Locations for Growth, with our emerging Borough Plan allocating 103 hectares of employment land, as well as the associated infrastructure to enable these sites to come forward. We work with our partners to find your business the best outcomes. 4. A Competitive Cost Base means that the Borough is a cost effective place to do business. The average house price in the Borough has risen 18% in the four years since 2012 whilst the average wage in the Borough is 25% more economical than the UK average. 5. Over 139,000 professional staff live within commutable distance of the Borough and over 3 million people live within 20 miles. There are 17 universities in the Midlands, all of which provides the Skills for the Future of the Borough.

6. Nuneaton & Bedworth’s emerging Borough Plan provides over 13,000 new dwellings, providing New Homes for a Growing Population. This will enhance the opportunities available for people to live and work within Nuneaton & Bedworth, as well as bringing more potential customers to the Borough. 7. Businesses in the Borough have created products for machines that have broken records, flown around the world, sped over water and blasted into space! Sector Opportunities have enabled the Borough to create £2 billion GVA, whilst businesses benefit from being situated within the logistics ‘Golden Triangle’. 8. The Borough Council is a team player within the West Midlands Combined Authority, Coventry & Warwickshire LEP, Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire, and have been members of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chambers of Commerce

for nearly two decades. In this way the Borough Council actively inputs into Strategic Partnerships. 9. The Local Discount Scheme can offer up to 40% rate relief reduction for businesses who are starting up, relocating or expanding within Nuneaton & Bedworth. The Think Local First scheme has won awards for being Business Friendly, ensuring that staff seek local suppliers to quote when procuring goods and services. 10. Nuneaton & Bedworth has many unexpected tranquil spots, a rich cultural and industrial past and is best known for being the birthplace of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). This all comes together to create A Great Place to Live, whilst being accessible to the majority of the UK! Want to find out more? Visit or follow us on Twitter - @NBBInvest

Image courtesy of Triton Showers

Corporate branded goods from Parker


Continuously investing in new ideas, equipment and software’s gives us the edge to be able to provide innovative new products and processes designed to help your business gain greater brand awareness.

At Parker Masters we get a real sense of pride being chosen for a project, and seeing the finished article for the first time before quality checking and packing. Delivering on time is paramount as so much time, love and energy goes into each project.

To date, our work is being displayed by hundreds of companies and organisations on thousands of products in almost every city in the United Kingdom.

Jonathan Master 0845 474 9575

Focus on Nuneaton and Bedworth

MIRA Technology Institute will be the perfect option for aspiring engineers South Leicestershire College, along with Coventry University, Loughborough University and University of Leicester. MIRA Technology Institute is being created to help to satisfy the ever increasing demand for specialist skills in the automotive sector – an issue that the UK has to solve to ensure the automotive sector continues to prosper. In particular, MTI will help to create specialist skills in some of the new disruptive technology areas such as electrification and driverless car technologies, ensuring a sustainable supply of future technical specialists and engineers.

MIRA Technology Institute (MTI), set to open in September 2018, will be the ideal training option for those looking to begin their career in the automotive industry. MTI will develop specialist skills for the global automotive industry. It is a unique partnership between HORIBA MIRA and lead partner, North Warwickshire and


Developing talented apprentices right through to qualified engineers, MIRA Technology Institute will bridge the skills gap across the automotive sector with relevant expertise and qualifications, providing students and apprentices with a ‘ladder of opportunity’ up to level 8 (PhD level). Marion Plant OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, said: “The MIRA Technology Institute provides a real opportunity to transform the skills

supply, particularly at high levels, to the automotive industry. This will include a focus on the skills for the new disruptive technology areas including autonomous, connected, electric and shared (ACES) vehicle technologies. It has the ability to secure a real ‘step change’ in the future productivity of the industry locally, regionally and globally. I firmly believe MTI represents the future of technical and skills training for the UK in line with the industrial strategy.”

Dr George Gillespie OBE, CEO at HORIBA MIRA, said: “The MIRA Technology Institute is a unique solution that has been created to address a very real problem the UK automotive sector is facing. Importantly, it is well aligned with the government’s new Industrial Strategy. It will be a huge asset to MIRA Technology Park but we hope its benefits will be felt throughout the UK auto sector and beyond.” To find out more, call 024 7624 3000 email

“Developing talented apprentices right through to qualified engineers, MIRA Technology Institute will bridge the skills gap across the automotive sector with relevant expertise and qualifications, providing students and apprentices with a ‘ladder of opportunity’ up to level 8 (PhD level).”


We are Leaders in the protection and security of your data and operations. We are a trusted provider of end-to-end cyber security solutions including grass roots advice and awareness of cyber security, needs and risk assessment, technical assessment, practical implementation, evaluation, testing and audit.

Working across all sectors including, government, public, private and charity sectors we are able to provide the support and advice needed to obtain accreditation for your cyber security management.

Services we offer:

• 27001 Implementation and audit

• Cyber Essentials

• IASME accreditation

• GDPR support

• Security Manager as a Service • Security Testing

• Training and Awareness

We’ll be happy to discuss your Cyber Security needs. For more information or to book a meeting, give us a call on 0333 355 8553 or email 38

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Training programme will help pharmacy technicians

Coventry University is delivering a new pilot programme to strengthen the training of community pharmacy technicians. The programme, which has been launched in the West Midlands, is supported by NHS England and Health Education England (HEE) through the Pharmacy Integration Fund The fund has been set up by NHS England to enable pharmacist and pharmacy technicians to play their part in new multi-disciplinary healthcare teams. It is part of HEE’s plans to develop the role of registered community pharmacy technicians at a time when the NHS Is under huge pressure. Community pharmacy technicians’ responsibilities include assembling medicines under the supervision of pharmacists, supplying prescriptions and providing advice to patients and healthcare professionals. The university secured the contract with Health Education England through a competitive open tender process and the programme runs from February until December this year, supported by the Local Pharmaceutical Committees in the West Midlands. Those behind the Community Pharmacy Technician Training and Development Pilot Programme say it will broaden the skills of those working in the profession. It is being piloted in the West Midlands with 25 delegates. HEE will then

evaluate the programme ahead of rolling it out nationally from 2018/19. Coventry University will also offer organisational development support to the community pharmacies which employ the 25 delegates taking part in the pilot. Adam Layland, Coventry University senior lecturer and Community Pharmacy Technician Training and Development Pilot Programme Director, said: “We are very pleased to have been recognised by Health Education England as an exemplar in healthcare leadership and management. “This was a very competitive process so to be awarded this contract is testimony to the quality of our teaching staff and the outstanding facilities that we offer. “Our programme over the next 12 months will develop individuals, teams and organisations working within community pharmacy, so that they can deliver improved and integrated patient care. “We look forward to working with Health Education England, the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and our other stakeholders to ensure that this programme is highly successful and informs the national roll-out of training and education focused on the pharmacy technician workforce.” Professor Liz Hughes, Director of Education and Quality (London and South East), at Health Education England, said: “Ensuring the workforce has the right skills, behaviours and values to enable effective multi-disciplinary team working and integration within the NHS is key to its long-term sustainability. “The Pharmacy Integration Fund is enabling us to work with our stakeholders to develop this exciting new training as part of our broader agenda to drive workforce transformation across the NHS to support locally delivered integrated care models.”

Fundamental review of education funding In what is normally the lull of half term in the education world, this February saw the Prime Minister announce a fundamental review of post-18 education funding. Hardly earth-shattering news you might think, but for many, this has the potential to be a potentially ground-breaking development. Peter Brammall, Principal and CEO of Coventry College is watching this development closely: “This has been very much welcomed by the FE sector and we share that view at Coventry College. Our hope is for a review in the widest sense, as it aims to consider what is on offer for the whole cohort of young people and adults who want to study to higher levels. It gives us the chance to make the funding, regulation and incentives for college-based HE at least equal to that of the more traditional, three-year residential degrees for young people that the current loan regime has grown over recent years.” Many commentators believe that University fees will most likely dominate the public debate generated by the Review, whilst others consider a likely theme will be the ‘academic versus vocational’ debate we so often see; however, an increasingly popular view is that this is fast becoming an outdated concept, citing the technical content in many university courses and the rise of the degree apprenticeship as evidence. Peter agrees:“There are now over 100 HE institutions eligible to offer degree apprenticeships, including both our local universities, who have been quick to develop offers in this area; this is good news for individuals and employers who can use the College apprenticeship programme to progress onto higher and degree level apprenticeships locally.

We’re looking forward to the review considering how people from all communities can access technical qualifications at higher levels 4, 5 and 6, not only through universities, but also through colleges like ours. This is essential to fill the skills needs of business in our growing economy.” One disappointment was the exclusion from the review of the funding of education and training for 16 to 18 year olds, with Peter commenting: “It still defies belief that we invest 22% less in the funding rate for a young person at college compared to a student at school and remain significantly behind our European counterparts in this respect. We will therefore be looking to keep explaining the consequences of 16-18 underfunding on the post-18 system. Our prime concern however will be to ensure we are able to secure the best position for Coventry residents, in terms of opportunities to access funding for higher level training that are likely to arise from this review, thus helping them to maximize their skills and competitiveness in the jobs market”.

Please feel free to contact me personally at to see how we can help your business. Alternatively, call our Employer Services team on

024 7679 1700


TRAIN YOUR FUTURE WORKFORCE AND IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY Do you have existing staff that need upskilling? Do you want to recruit a new member of staff? Talk to Coventry College about the range of apprenticeships and training we can offer your business.

We currently offer apprenticeships in:

Automotive, Engineering and Transport 

Business, IT and Telecoms 



Health, Childcare and Education 


Sports and Leisure

For more information please call 024 7679 1700 to speak to our specialist staff or visit to see a copy of our training directory.


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Insolvency – The Warning Signs Typical warning signs that companies are suffering serious financial strain include: • You have, or soon will, run out of cash • Significant creditor pressure • Unable to pay HMRC • Lenders reduce facilities (overdrafts, drawdowns etc.) • Suppliers reduce credit limits • Loss of a major contract • Large bad debt You are insolvent when either of the following are true: • Your assets are worth less than your debts • You can’t pay your bills as and when they fall due

If you or your clients have any of the above symptoms and can’t see the wood through the trees then I would recommend that you seek professional business recovery advice at your earliest convenience. This will enable you to explore the recovery options available to you and understand the implications of those. All of our meetings are: • In confidence • Without obligation • Free of charge

The team at BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency are always willing to assist. Please contact John Rimmer or any other member of the team on 024 76226839, or visit our website at for further details.

Giving Business a New Purpose Coventry Cathedral is located at the heart of a vibrant and youthful city and is a place where people have gathered for over a thousand years. The Cathedral has witnessed many historic events and holds a mirror to Coventry’s great women and men, telling the tale of destruction and reconciliation, innovation and design, and the resilience of the people who

have lived and worshipped here. There is a strong correlation between the health of the business sector, and the wellbeing of the communities in which those businesses operate. The Cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend John Witcombe hopes to encourage this relationship “to see businesses succeed and thereby assist our communities to flourish”.

There are a number of levels that local businesses can engage with the Cathedral: • a Business Partner Scheme offering an exclusive set of benefits to members. • a wide range of sponsorship and hospitality opportunities associated with the Plumb Line Arts Festival in 2018.

• a bi-annual Dean’s Breakfast engages business people in thinking and talking about the things that matter locally. • a venue for major corporate functions.

For more information about the options available to businesses based in Coventry and Warwickshire contact Matt Feeley at the Cathedral Office, I Hill Top, Coventry, CV1 5AB or telephone number 02476 521226 or email



Tribunal Claims rise ASTON Programme for Small Business Growth All of the participants models, managing business finances, by 120% - is your surveyed after completing opportunities and innovation and the first cohort of the leadership. Each workshop provides business protected? programme in 2015 tools and knowledge that business reported that they were

The latest figures from the Ministry of Justice have been released and show that employment tribunal claims have risen by 120%. The big rise in claims is due to the lifting of fees by the Supreme Court in July 2017, which ruled they were ‘unlawful’ and a barrier to justice’. This means there are no longer any fees preventing members’ employees from escalating their case to tribunal, which will then fall upon you, the employer, to argue the case. Members should take action now to protect your business from a claim – as any business which has a claim made against them may have to seek legal advice through a solicitor, which costs £5,000 per claim, on average.

Protect Your Business In 5 Steps Step 1: Correct Documentation: Employers should ensure the correct documentation is in place. Legally, you must provide all employees with a written document of their contract of employment containing all relevant information within two months of them starting with the company. The contract should include concise and comprehensive details of all businesses procedures, policies and expectations – you should also obtain a signed copy by the employee. Disputes often arise when policies or clauses are not included in the contract – be sure that the document is water tight and not open to individual interpretation. Step 2: Act Swiftly: Addressing issues at an early stage can often resolve them, before they escalate. Managers must feel able to do this so provide the appropriate training and information to effectively deal with dispute resolution. Issues and concerns that are not addressed early on often worsen and progress into conflict between employee and employer before developing into a costly tribunal. Step 3: Grievances: Every grievance must be dealt with. A grievance, raised either formally or informally is an early indication of a problem. Dealing with these problems effectively will prevent a dispute developing. This needs to be ingrained into the culture and all staff in senior positions need to be aware of their potential to prevent disputes from occurring by effectively managing these situations. The chances are, by the time senior management are aware of the issue, it’s because they have been notified of a tribunal claim. Step 4: Follow Your Procedures: Having very clear procedures which are followed to the letter, every time, is vital to successfully managing a potentially risky situation to a satisfactory conclusion. In many tribunal claims, the employer is entitled to take action against employees that have been difficult to manage, but haven’t followed the correct procedure and find themselves hit with an unfair dismissal claim. The process of managing, disciplining or dismissing staff should be executed with great care and meticulous planning in order to prevent unfair dismissal claims from being made against you. Step 5: Seek Advice: If you need support with tightening up your disciplinary and grievance procedures or have an ongoing situation which is progressing to tribunal, you have a number of options. You could seek case by case advice from a solicitor, hire in-house support, or consult with HR & employment law experts, like Croner. • Croner are a corporate member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, as well as being a world-class workplace business partner and pioneer of support for human resources, health & safety, Tax, pay and benefits and so much more.


ASTON Programme for Small Business Growth is looking for SMEs based in Coventry to join their programme for early-stage growth businesses. The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth supports early-stage businesses to achieve growth through a series of workshops, one-to-one support and networking. The programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has been run in the region since 2015 and is delivered by Aston Centre for Growth alongside a range of support offered by Aston University to growing SMEs.

anticipating significant growth in revenues as a result of the programme, with 60 per cent expecting turnover growth in excess of 200 per cent and 48 per cent also projecting employee numbers to grow in excess of 200 per cent in the next three years. This highly effective growth programme for entrepreneurs has been developed by Aston University – the UK’s leading university for business and the professions. Aston Business School is ranked in the top one per cent of triple accredited business schools worldwide, is a holder of the Small Business Charter Award, and has a track record of delivering SME growth programmes with impact. ABOUT THE PROGRAMME Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is a fully funded six-month business growth programme that consists of nine core workshops covering a range of topics, including strategy and business

owners can immediately implement within their business to ensure growth. Also provided are six shorter additional workshops and up to 12 hours of one-toone support from an experienced business mentor. The programme is free to business leaders in Coventry, who would benefit from expanding their network, receiving expert advice from Aston University academics, one-to-one support from an experienced business mentor and developing a focused growth strategy. Professor Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School said: “We encourage the business owners to think very clearly about their business model, and the core thread to the whole programme is financial literacy. We enable participants to make strategic decisions for their business based on an understanding of key financial metrics.”

The Gig Economy: employers must pay holiday and sick pay By Andy Willis, Head of Legal at Croner The Government has confirmed that businesses operating in the so called ‘gig economy’ will be required to pay their workers sick and holiday pay. The changes are in response to the Taylor Review into Modern Working Practices, which was ordered following a number of landmark court cases involving workers rights with companies like Uber and Deliveroo. Under the proposals the Government has announced it will accept Matthew Taylor’s recommendations to ensure workers are aware of their rights, and that action can be taken against employers who fail to provide the correct rights. Full details will be made public in the forthcoming ‘Good Work’ plan by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. In the meantime, here is what we know so far.

How will my business be affected? • Sick pay and holiday pay will become a day one entitlement: This means all workers will become eligible to SSP regardless of their income from day one. The Taylor Review suggests SSP should be accrued on length of service, similar to holiday • All workers will get a new right to receive a payslip • All workers will get a new right to request a stable contract: Please note this is only to request, and not to receive. • A new ‘naming and shaming’ scheme will be introduced: This is for employers who fail to pay tribunal awards.

• Employment tribunal fines will be quadrupled to £20,000: This is where employers show malice, spite or gross oversight. Penalties will also be considered where employers have lost a similar case. • The Low Pay Commission: will be asked whether a higher minimum wage rate can be introduced for zero-hours workers. • A new campaign will be launched: to encourage parents to use Shared Parental Leave, as well as increasing awareness of workplace rights for new and expectant mothers

What may change? Consultations will be setup on: • Employment status: This will look at all options to make this clearer, including introducing new legislation.

• Enforcement of employment rights: Such as holiday pay and sick pay. • Agency worker recommendations: Such as removing the Swedish Derogation Model. • Measures to increase transparency: This is within the UK labour market.

What is still uncertain? The main area of uncertainty for businesses is what options the Government will introduce following the consultations. Before anything is introduced Government has indicated that it will examine the full impact on businesses, which will be many months away. An online tool will also be introduced to help self-employed workers to “come together and discuss issues”, which is not the online tool to help determine status as has been previously talked about.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Security measures make bus travel safer

Buses in the West Midlands have more CCTV cameras than any other mode of transport. A senior West Midlands Police officer has said that he is “staggered” that anyone does anything wrong on a bus because CCTV pictures are so clear nowadays. Detective Inspector Warren Hines, of West Midlands Police CID homicide investigation team, praised the quality of the CCTV footage used in the case of a fatal stabbing on the number 11 bus in January 2017. Kieran Gillespie, aged 26 from Handsworth, was jailed for life for the murder of Leon Barrett-Hazle.

DI Hines said: “Without doubt, the quality of the CCTV footage from the bus solved this case for us. It left the offender no option but to hand himself in to the police once those pictures were published.” National Express West Midlands has multiple CCTV cameras - up to 12 - on every one of its 1,600 buses. And all their new buses since 2012 have been fitted with next-generation digital CCTV units which give crystal-clear pictures. Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said: “By installing these state-of-the-art cameras and working closely with the police in the Safer Travel Partnership, we have achieved a 75% success rate in identifying the offenders responsible for anti-social behaviour and crime on our buses.” The bus company employs dedicated video operatives in each bus garage to check the cameras regularly, and qualified CCTV engineers to do repairs straight away. West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership has also installed 4G Vemotion CCTV units to National Express buses, helping Safer Travel police officers to target anti-social behaviour on buses in real time. Footage is recorded by on-bus cameras and sent over the 4G network. West

Midlands Police officers working in the Safer Travel team can then view live CCTV feeds and detect anti-social behaviour on any vehicles that are fitted with the equipment. Because the footage is realtime, police can stop the bus and quickly act upon any anti-social behaviour. Inspector Rachel Crump, from Safer Travel police, added: “We deploy targeted uniformed and undercover patrols on buses and trams in the West Midlands. "Passengers should always dial 999 if there is an urgent crime or an emergency but they can also use the Safer Travel Partnership’s See Something, Say Something text service on 83010 to report any non-emergency incidents of anti-social behaviour on National Express West Midlands buses. “These reports help to build intelligence data and that assists officers with pinpointing which particular hotspots to target.” According to Transport Focus’ bus passenger survey, 76% of passengers are satisfied with their feeling of personal security on National Express West Midlands buses. That figure is measured twice a year and has not dropped below 75% in four years.

Webropol success story continues 2017 marked ten years of Webropol UK and with the team having expanded by 25% in a year, the future looks promising. Originating in Finland, Webropol is the most used data collection tool in the Nordic countries, providing Software as a Service. Solutions include survey and data collection, reporting and analysis and additional modules such as Advanced Course Feedback, Case Management and Event Registration. Erik Romar, CEO of the Webropol Group, said: “Webropol have committed 30% of turnover to reinvesting into research and development to give customers the best user experience possible.”

Webropol UK is the company’s fastest growing office, having achieved notable successes in both the public and private sector. Webropol supply the iMatter Staff Engagement Portal to NHS Scotland, a system which identifies continual improvement within the organisation and is delivered to 160,000 employees across 22 health boards. Amy Bassi, Managing Director of Webropol UK, said: “Due to the success achieved with the iMatter Staff Engagement portal, the project has been extended to cover a Dignity at Work survey, conducted on behalf of the Scottish Government.” The data collected from these projects will be used to create the National Report, contributing to improvement on a national level.

Webropol look forward to a busy year in 2018. Building on the international success achieved with Advanced Course Feedback, it will be launched in the UK. Webropol will collaborate with universities across the UK to provide an effective feedback collection tool, establishing a commitment to invest within the young workforce. According to Amy, one of Webropol’s key objectives for 2018 is to increase engagement within the community. She said: “We plan to engage local charities to explore opportunities for working in partnership. We aim to expand our social media presence, allowing us to support our customers. Watch out for our blog posts and training sessions in 2018.”

All together now for College Graduate A musical theatre graduate from Stratfordupon-Avon College appeared as a judge on BBC1’s new Saturday night prime-time singing contest All Together Now. Nathaniel Morrison, originally from Birmingham, graduated from the College in 2002 and was accepted into Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where he gained a BA(hons) in Performance. Not only is he the founder and artistic director of The West End Gospel Choir, he is also part of newly-formed Motown revue group Affinity Soul, whose members met while filming as judges on All Together Now, and is their musical director. Nathaniel, who made his professional West End debut playing Stevie Wonder in a production of Dancing in the Streets, has had an amazing start to his career; among his

many theatre roles, his credits include Jersey Boys, Sister Act and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also finds time to return to the College regularly to work with musical theatre students. Now, Nathaniel can add talent show judge to his varied career. in the programme from the start and helped with the development of the concept. I was part of a team invited to act as the judges on the original pilot filmed while the format was still being formed.” Nathaniel credits Stratford-upon-Avon College with setting him on the road to his present career. He said: “Stratford helped me in every way possible. Without the College I wouldn’t have a clue what is required in the performing arts world.”

Eco-Clean win Business of the Year Angela Varney, managing director of Eco-Clean & Maintenance Ltd, took home the award for Business of The Year greater than 50 Employees at the 2017 Coventry and Warwickshire SME business awards. Finalists from across the Coventry & Warwickshire area gathered for the awards evening held at the Coombe Abbey Hotel in Coventry. The Coventry & Warwickshire SME business awards were a part of the Coventry & Warwickshire business festival, a fortnight of free business events put on across the region between 20th November and 1st December. Angela and her team won the award for their commitment and dedication to creating a high quality, cost effective cleaning and maintenance service with an attention to detail. Daniel Gibson, the area manager of Eco-Clean and Maintenance, said, “The award is a testimony to the way Angela runs her business, every employee matters and every customer whether big or small is of equal priority. Angela creates an atmosphere that encourages you to excel, utilise your strengths and be the best that you can be”. The award win comes at an exciting time for Eco-Clean as they recently launched their new website and online shop. Chamber members can use the code LAUNCH10 at the checkout to receive a further 10% discount on all purchases made.

Success for abm abm catering have once again passed the ISO 9001 audit, retaining the Quality Management Systems accreditation for both abm catering and Stoke City Football Club Training Ground. ISO 9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system. Organisations such as abm catering use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet the customer’s and regulatory body’s requirements. Clare Hanna, Health & Safety Manager, she said: “It is the prime objective of abm catering to provide and consistently achieve the highest possible standards of food and service. We aim to ensure that we provide excellent meals that are flexibly designed to meet the needs and expectation of our clients and customers. “Our quality goal is to continuously achieve these aims in the most costeffective manner. We are committed to maintaining a quality system that complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 and going forward with ISO 9001:2015.”


President & People

New man takes over An angel investment organisation, which has pumped £8.5 million into more than 65 companies in the Midlands, has a new man at the helm. The Minerva Business Angel Network, operated by the University of Warwick Science Park, has six syndicates across the region and, together with direct investment, has helped to lever an additional £25 million into start-up and early stage companies. Its previous head, Tim Powell, retired last summer and he has now been replaced by Alex Toft, who was previously

a Business Growth Adviser with the University of Warwick Science Park. Alex said: “I am proud to have taken on this role to continue the great work that Tim and the team have done, including Steve Martin and Carol Bull.” Alex started his career with Unilever and has enjoyed an eclectic career of mainly commercial roles including with companies such as ICI, INEOS Healthcare (which he founded), The Air Ambulance Service, NHS Wales and, for the past three years, has been a business mentor.

(L to r) Steve Martin, Carol Bull and Alex Toft

Tackling the skills Lodders announces new managing partner shortage Dear Chamber member, There is certainly no time to stand still in business at the moment. Most of the economic indicators are positive but the most recent unemployment figures did show a jump in the claimant count in the month to February in both Coventry and Warwickshire.

Law firm Lodders, which has offices in Stratford upon Avon, Cheltenham, Birmingham and Henley in Arden, has appointed Paul Mourton as its new managing partner. Paul becomes the firm’s youngest ever managing partner at just 39. Head of Lodders’ Real Estate team since 2015, one of the largest in the region with more than thirty in number, including eight partners, Paul has also been the firm’s partner in charge of its fast growing Cheltenham office since it opened in 2013. A specialist in property investment and development, particularly in the industrial and logistics sectors, Paul primarily acts for high-net-worth individuals and private family property companies across the UK.

Of course, a rise in unemployment isn’t welcome either for those individuals who are not in work or for the broader economy. That said, it shows there is a real mismatch because there are plenty of vacancies across our patch and businesses are telling us that they want to grow and take on new people. What they also say is that, in many cases, they can’t find the skills to fit the roles they need. This is not a new problem but it is being brought sharply into focus especially in our region where we have some highly-skilled sectors – such as automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing. As well as that, companies that aren’t looking for highly-skilled roles say that they just can’t find the right people to fill those vacancies either. The Chamber, through its Mid-Warwickshire Branch, is looking at this issue very closely and is looking to help address some of those mismatches. They are also highlighting other ways businesses can solve their skills shortage through apprenticeships or attracting people back into the workplace who, for one reason or another, have spent a period of time out of work. It’s a great example of how the Chamber, while acting as the voice of business, also seeks to really make a tangible difference for our members and the wider business community across Coventry and Warwickshire. There’s been a huge amount of talk about overseas trade recently in the national media – all focussed around Brexit and all quite hung up on trade deals with other countries. All I would say is that the Chamber supports companies across our region with exports into almost every country across the globe – in fact a recent report said that Coventry and Warwickshire was the top exporting region in the West Midlands. It showed that the country the Midlands exports to most, is the USA followed by Germany and France. So my advice would be to drown out a bit of the noise and speak to the team at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Hub and they will help you into new markets – the figures show it can be done but we still need more of it. Finally, there are changes to energy usage coming into force on April 1 around penalties for over-usage. Again, talk to the Chamber about this and how it might affect you and the team can refer you onto a member who will be able to give your business an energy health-check. John Nollett


Paul Mourton (right) is law firm Lodders new managing partner and picks up the reins from Rod Bird (left), the firm’s managing partner for 17 years.

Throughout his time at Lodders, Paul has not only played an integral role in the growth of the Real Estate team, he has also been instrumental in developing the firm’s senior management team. He picks up the reins from Rod Bird who has been managing partner for the past seventeen years. Paul will work closely with the firm’s senior partner Martin Green, who is head of Lodders’ Private Client team. Paul said: “I am delighted to have been elected managing partner to lead the firm into and through the next phase of its growth. “ Rod said: “Since Paul joined the firm, he has brought energy, ambition, and exceptional legal and business skill to the firm.”

“I am delighted to have been elected managing partner to lead the firm into and through the next phase of its growth.“

Changes as manager retires A new era has begun at two University of Warwick Science Park locations after a long-standing manager retired. After nearly a decade of service in her current roles, Karen Aston, has stepped down from being Centre Manager at the Venture Centre in Coventry and the Warwick Innovation Centre. Karen has been a centre manager with the Science Park for more than 17 years, building up the portfolio and reputation within the business community starting with its Binley Business Innovation Centre in 2001. But she has now retired and has been succeeded by Jane Talbot, who was previously based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Innovation Centre in Binley. Karen handed over the keys to the centres to Jane and wished her luck before saying goodbye to all her friends, colleagues and businesses she helped over the years. “I am very sad to be saying goodbye to everyone, but I feel that it is the right time for me to move on,” said Karen.

“I have had many wonderful years as manager of the Venture Centre and Warwick Innovation Centre and I will take away many wonderful memories. “But, I know that both the centres are in safe hands with Jane and she is going to do a fantastic job.” The University of Warwick Science Park offers a flexible range of offices as well as a range of business support services across Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull. Jane Talbot has been working for the University of Warwick Science Park for 17 years, but is looking forward to the challenge and getting to know all the tenants at both sites. “Karen has done an absolutely fantastic job of managing both the sites over the years and has helped to build up the excellent reputations of the two centres,” said Jane. “She will be sorely missed by all of the team and the tenants, but we would all like to wish her well for the future and hope she enjoys her retirement.

“I am now looking forward to getting to know all the tenants through the Venture Centre and the Innovation Centre and being able to help them however I can. “The University of Warwickshire Science Park excels at providing a space where businesses can grow, develop and get the support that they need. “My aim is to help more companies to thrive and both centres are the perfect place for this to happen.”

Karen Aston hands over keys to the new manager of the Venture Centre in Coventry and the Warwick Innovation Centre, Jane Talbot.

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

President & People

On the up… A leading Midlands law firm has promoted a string of senior staff to partner level. Wright Hassall has promoted property lawyers Andrew Jones and James Polo-Richards to the prestigious position, as well as immigration lawyer Tracie Udall and data protection specialist Paula Tighe. Newly promoted partners at leading law firm Wright Hassall celebrate their success

The promotion of both Andrew and James underlines the

strength of the firm’s real estate offering; as experienced property lawyers, both men will be instrumental in helping to drive the continued growth of the team. The addition of Tracie and Paula to the partnership is a reflection of their valuable contribution to the increasingly high profile areas of immigration and data protection law respectively.

New directors are appointed A Midlands property company has appointed four new directors following the continuing success of its residential and commercial departments. AC Lloyd, whose headquarters are at Tachbrook Park in Warwick, has promoted three key personnel in AC Lloyd Homes and one in AC Lloyd Holdings in the company’s 70th anniversary year. David Henley, aged 58, joined the business 30 years ago as a Site Manager. He was promoted to Contracts Manager 10 years later and now has achieved the role of Construction Director. Darrenn Meredith, aged 52, was appointed a Quantity Surveyor at AC Lloyd in 1992. After progressing through the ranks as a Senior Quantity Surveyor and Group Surveyor, he is now promoted to Surveying Director. Forty-four-year-old Darren Avern became part of AC Lloyd’s team 20 years ago as an Assistant Engineer. After gaining promotion to Engineer and then Senior Engineer and his expertise in all technical issues, he was the ideal candidate to become Technical Director.

Wright Hassall Banking Team 1: Front row, Keith Ainsworth, Judith Gershon. Back row, Chris Jones, Lucie Byron, Stephanie Elge and Myles Bennett.

Law firm adds to team

Back from the left, Mark Edwards, Alistair Clark, Des Wynne, Hans Skeat, Peter Beddoes. Front, Darren Avern, David Henley and Darrenn Meredith from

Mark Edwards, aged 49, joined AC Lloyd as a consultant last March after being Managing Director at Gallagher Estates for 15 years. He has now been appointed a Director of AC Lloyd Holdings. Current Directors Alistair Clark and Des Wynne become Managing Directors of AC Lloyd Homes and AC Lloyd Holdings respectively. Peter Beddoes, chairman of the AC Lloyd group, said:

“These four new positions underline the business’s commitment to rewarding existing staff for their dedication and skill over a long period. “This looks set to be a landmark year in our 70th anniversary and starting 2018 with these appointments highlights our determination to take the company further forward.”

Property company appoints chairman His appointment as chairman is part of a company restructure to support its growth over the next decade. James Davies, whose father, Gordon, worked alongside John Wigley and passed away in the same year of Robert Wigley is taking on the new 2008, has moved from a director to role at The Wigley Group which was managing director. founded by his father, John, in 1964 Robert said: “It is ten years since my as an agricultural plant hire company father, John, and James’ father, Gordon, and has evolved over the years into who together built the foundations of a major commercial property, risk The Wigley Group, passed away. and construction firm. “Since that fateful year, James and Robert has been involved in the I have worked closely to drive the business from a young age and company forward to where it is today. rose through the ranks to become “It is therefore poignant that a decade managing director in 2005, three on, I am taking on the position that was years before his father passed away. last held by my father and James is replacing me as managing director. “I am looking forward to this new chapter which will see James and I continuing to work side-by-side as our fathers did to ensure all areas of the company grow and flourish.” The restructure follows one of the company’s most significant years of (L to r) James Ellerington, Robert Wigley, James Davies and Charlie Brooks. growth, which

The managing director of a leading commercial property company based in Coventry has been appointed chairman ten years since the position was last held by his late father.

included its merger with UK-wide main contractor Ciexbe Limited to form Wigley Building and Development, which is headed by construction director Charlie Brooks. James said: “My father and John worked together since their teens. They were born a few months apart and died a few months apart in 2008, which is when I joined the company as estates manager and began working with Robert to carry it forward. “We have made significant strides and it is fitting that we are now taking on these new roles as part of a restructure which will set the company up for the next ten years. “It comes as we look ahead to this year moving from our current headquarters at Middlemarch Business Park in Coventry to Stockton House in Southam, the former country house we acquired in 2017. “It will mark a close return to The Wigley Group’s roots with the company having started out around ten miles away in Barby, near Rugby, and reinforces the family history of which Robert and I are so proud.” As part of the restructure, James Ellerington also moves from head of asset management to the new position of director of operations. He will oversee the new central services division which has been created to provide key support to all businesses within the Group.

An award-winning Midlands law firm has made a major appointment to help head up a new Banking and Project Finance team. Wright Hassall, which was named Regional Law Firm of the Year at the 2017 Lawyer’s Awards, has appointed Judith Gershon as partner with responsibility for real estate finance at the Leamington Spa-based firm. She has moved from the international law firm Gowling WLG and joins the new six-strong team, led by corporate finance and banking partner Keith Ainsworth. The new team has been assembled to expand the firm’s banking and project finance offering, which has grown significantly due to client demand. Judith said: “It is a very exciting time to have moved to Wright Hassall, particularly in this sector, which has become a much bigger part of the firm in recent years. “Wright Hassall works right across the UK, and we see big potential in the expansion of this area of business.” The team also includes newly-promoted banking partner Chris Jones, recently recognised by the Legal 500 directory as a “next generation” leading banking lawyer for the wider West Midlands, and partner Lucie Byron, who created the firm’s property finance practice and has overseen its recent growth. They are supported by solicitors Stephanie Elgie and Myles Bennett. Further members are likely to be recruited this year to meet the growing demand for the team’s services. Wright Hassall Banking Team 2: Chris Jones, Lucie Byron, Keith Ainsworth, Judith Gershon, Stephanie Elge and Myles Bennett.


New Members

Welcome to new members Corporate Members Alsters Kelley LLP Hamilton House 20-22 Hamilton Terrace Leamington Spa CV32 4LY 01926 356000 BBT Group Ltd Orchard House Binns Close Coventry CV4 9TB 02476 463999 Godiva Group 14 Curriers Close Canley Coventry CV4 8AW 02476 017925 Stadium TM HDTI Building Coventry University Technology Park Puma Way Coventry CV1 2TT 02476 158139

International Trade Member Antalis Packaging Solutions 1 Tara Street Hilltop Industrial Estate Bardon Leicester LE67 1TU 03702 411447 Baileigh Industrial Ltd Unit D, Swift Point Swift valley Industrial Estate Rugby CV21 1QH 02476 619267


81g Blue 81g Blue House Unit 3, The Court Holywell Business Park Southam CV47 0FS 03453 030819 Advance Logistics Support Unit 18 Gladiator Way Glebe Farm Industrial Estate Rugby CV21 1RX 01788 577877 Amadeus Food Goods Inward, Block B The NEC Bickenhill Lane Birmingham B40 1NT 01217 673329 Amba Care Solutions Dove House Farm Shawbury lane Coleshill B46 2RR 01675 481057 BI System Builders Ltd Warwick Innovation Centre University of Warwick Science Park Gallows Hill Warwick CV34 6UW 01926 623111 Cafe Rouge Coventry Unit 2 Belgrade Plaza Coventry CV1 4AJ 02476 222550

Cipher IT The Techno Centre Puma Way Coventry CV1 2TT 02476 102030 Cocoonfxmedia Ltd Unit 64 Britania Way Lichfield WS14 9UY 01543 223074 Dawn Rowley Hypnotherapy 364 Hipswell Highway Coventry CV2 5FR 02476 450017 DT Performance Cars Ltd Unit 1a Manor Road Industrial Estate Manor Road Atherstone CV9 1TE 01827 713555 Evolve Global Solutions Ltd Alscot Estate Atherstone Hill Stratford Upon Avon CV37 8NF 07496 548382 Guildhall Solicitors 242 Stoney Stanton Road Coventry CV1 4FP 02476 225556 Idvallo Solutions Eastlands Court Business Centre St Peters Road Rugby CV21 3QP 02476 970231

MCS Build Limited Station Works Station Road Claverdon CV35 8PE 01926 842500 MV Photographic Imaging 1 Fosse Way Stretton On Dunsmore Rugby CV23 9NP 02476 543945 Oxygen Graphics 33 Albert Street Rugby CV21 2SQ 01788 377951 Oxygen Graphics 33 Albert Street Rugby CV21 2SQ 01788 377951 Profitagility Limited Pooh Corner Great Rollright Chipping Norton OX7 5RR 07875 749235 SAC & Co. Engineering Design Ltd Unit 1, Charter Avenue Canley Coventry CV4 8AT 02476 421223

Cafe Rouge Leamington 95-99 Regent Street Leamington Spa CV32 4NT 01926 330565

Just Solutions Ltd Units 4 & 5 403 Broad Lane Coventry CV5 7AX 02476 717999

Sagal Consulting 4 Shepherd Close Long Itchington Southam CV47 9RE 07831 486052

Cafe Rouge Stratford 18 Sheep Street Stratford Upon Avon CV37 6EF 01789 263526

Ladies First Professional Development Ltd 185 Station Road Balsall Common Coventry CV7 7FG 07970 299660

Trend Quest Media 2 Moat Avenue Coventry CV3 6BS 01926 754038

When contacting members listed above, The Chamber request that, in line with the Marketing and Advertising Law, you provide a clear 'unsubscribe' option. Further details can be found via

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Training & Events Chamber Member Price +VAT

Non-Member Price +VAT


Jul 2018

Principles of Continuous Improvement - New



Half day - am


Problem Solving Skills



Half day- pm


Managing Effective Meetings



Half Day - am


International Documentation & Customs Procedures - New



Full Day


First Aid at Work HSE Recommended



3 full days


Understanding Export and Export Documentation - New



Full Day


Microsoft Excel - Intermediate to Advanced



Full Day

Communication Assertively



Half day - am


Complaint Handling



Half day - pm


Microsoft Excel - Basic to Intermediate



Full Day


ILM Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team Skills



4 days

17, 24

Level 3 Award in Education & Training (City & Guilds)



6 days

ILM Level 3 Diploma in First Line Management



27 days

ILM Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management



37 days

Project Management - The Basics for Success



Full Day


Managing Change Successfully



Full Day


Business Improvement Techniques - ILM (BIT) New



2 Days

Customer Service Essentials



Half Day - am


Account Management



Half Day - pm


Telesales - Getting Results



Full Day


Microsoft Excel - Advanced Plus



Full Day


Marketing - Your Action Plan to Success



Full Day


Health & Safety in the Workplace



Full Day


Emergency First Aid in the Workplace (EFAW) HSE



Full Day


Professional Telephone Techniques



Half Day - am


Business Email Writing



Half Day - pm


Google Analytics



Full Day


C&W Chamber Training Seminars

Aug 2018

Sept 2018


7, 14

10,17 10, 17, 24

4, 11

17, 24 13,20,27

8, 15

Prices subject to VAT. *Subject to optional accreditation fees. ** Plus registration

Course dates for the quarter are shown above, please contact C&W Chamber Training on 024 7623 1122 or visit for other course dates and further information

Events Branch Events Coventry Friday 16th March 8 - 9.30am The Management Suite Abbey Park Office Campus Stareton Lane Stoneleigh CV8 2LY

North Warwickshire Thursday 22nd March 8.30 - 10am Stewart Fletcher Barratt Manor Court Chambers Townsend Drive Nuneaton CV11 6RU

Mid Warwickshire Meet your MP Matt Western Friday 23rd March 8 - 9.30am Trident College Trident Park Poseidon Way Leamington Spa CV34 6SW

South Warwickshire Branch Meeting & Chamber Networking Thursday 12th April 8 - 9.30am Crowne Plaza Bridgefoot Stratford Upon Avon CV37 6YR

Rugby Meet your MP Mark Pawsey Friday 20th April 8 - 9.30am Warwickshire Air Ambulance Blue Skies House Butlers Leap Rugby CV21 3RQ

Chamber Networking with PET-Xi Thursday 22nd March 2018 08.30am – 10.30am Westwood Business Park, Coventry, CV4 8LB FREE

Older Women in Business Friday 23rd March 2018 09.30am – 1.00pm Episode Hotel, Leamington Spa, CV32 4JL FREE



Masterclass: Put Your Social Media House In Order Thursday 22nd March 2018 09.30am – 4.00pm Althorpe Enterprise Hub, CV31 2GB FREE


Business Breakfast with West Midlands MEP’s Friday 23rd March 2018 07.30am – 09.30am Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry, CV3 2AB LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE

Chamber Networking Thursday 19th April 2018 16.00 - 18.00 Heart of England Conference & Events Centre, Fillongley, CV7 8DX FREE


Women in Business Networking Lunch Thursday 26th April 2018 11.00 - 14.30 Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YR Members: £35.00 + VAT Non-Members: £45.00 + VAT

Find out more information or to book a place please see the events pages at or contact


Bridge the Engineering Skills Gap

Employ Apprentices As one of the UK's largest apprenticeship providers, WCG are experts in making them work for employers.

Winner of Training Provider of the Year 2017 at the Coventry & Warwickshire Apprentice of the Year Awards

WCG Apprenticeships have expert knowledge, extensive industry links and fantastic facilities at Rugby, Warwick Trident and Evesham colleges. Currently working with Jaguar Land Rover, BT Fleet, Cummins Engines, Greenmech, Downhurst Engineering and more…

Tackle your skills shortages and grow your own staff Reduce staff turnover and improve productivity Upskill your experienced staff to take on new roles Funding available for your staff development

We are taking the long term view that it is important to invest in the skills for the future of our company. Apprenticeships enable us to recruit people with the right attitude and enthusiasm, who want to get ahead – after a couple of years, we have a member of staff who is exactly trained to our requirements. Steve Williams, General Manager at Trelawny Ltd.

Contact our work based learning team today

Contact our work based learning team today:

For upcoming employer events visit:

0300 456 00460300 | 456 0046 |

C&W March 2018  

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Managemen...

C&W March 2018  

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Managemen...