Bringing colour to the world
GISELA PINK shares her personal story. Page 20
GISELA PINK shares her personal story. Page 20
Staeger Clear Packaging Ltd, are an Award-winning, professional packaging company based in Coventry, offering contract packing with cost-effective, innovative & timely solutions to your contract packing needs.
We pride ourselves on having expertise and flexibility to manage a wide range of products from small sampling jobs to high volume production runs.
Our contract packing area is designed to provide you with confidence that our team will manage your company’s item assortment, ensuring that all hand assembly, disassembly, and hand packing requests are carried out with speed, efficiency, and accuracy.
Our experienced and dedicated team are on hand to support you at every stage of your project.
Staeger Clear Packaging Ltd, based in Coventry, we provide secure storage for a wide range of products, whether it be: documentation, packaging, raw materials or finished goods, whether you are a large blue chip company, a public sector organisation or a small local business, we can securely manage and store your product.
We pride ourselves on having expertise and flexibility to manage a wide range of products.
Our experienced and dedicated team are on hand to support you at every stage of your storage needs.
For further details please contact our office: Staeger Clear Packaging Ltd Unit 1, Swallowgate Business Park, Coventry. CV6 4BL Office: +44 2476 58 11 97
As this edition of our magazine goes to print, young people across Coventry and Warwickshire will be starting their GCSEs and A-Levels and starting on journeys that will shape their careers and lives ahead. As recruitment has become a critical issue for most of our businesses, we’ve never needed enthusiastic, bright and modern thinking cohorts of potential employees more than ever.
Local employers couldn’t be any clearer about what they need from their future workforce. We spoke to nearly 1,000 businesses as part of our data collection for our West Midlands Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIP) - nearly all of them cited recruitment as one of their top priorities. They simply don’t have access to enough recruits with the right skills and the right attitude. As important as qualifications are, businesses say that softer skills around emotional intelligence, commitment, dedication, energy are incredibly important when looking for good candidates.
Where we really need the input of this next generation of workers is in business-critical areas of Net Zero and
Digitalisation. We already know that this generation has a greater passion for sustainability, and better knowledge of the digital agenda, than any before it.
Our challenge will be to convert this passion into skills that businesses need. Because these aren’t standalone qualifications – they need to be embedded into everything we learn and everything a business does. How we reduce our energy costs, how we recruit and train our staff, how we decide on our supply chains or design new products, when and where we invest our pension funds. If we are to transform our economy, we need to transform how we do business and what better place to look for help than with these school, college and university leavers.
Most importantly we need businesses to engage with young people through work placements, apprenticeships, T-Levels and more. Working with schools and colleges, sharing industry knowledge with students and learners and supporting more into the workplace.
This is a big commitment and the smaller the business, the less resources you have to support with this agenda, so we need to use our upcoming LSIP response to come up with creative ideas
to help businesses fund this type of activity. We’ll keep you updated.
The first weekend in May will see communities across Coventry & Warwickshire, the UK and the world, celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The historic, national occasions always manage to lift the mood of the nation. They are particularly good for our retail and hospitality sectors as we see more footfall in our city and town centres, our restaurants, bars, pubs and shops as communities, families and friends come together to celebrate.
In June 1953, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce sent a loyal message to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Coronation. Now, in 2023, we once again send our warmest best wishes and congratulations to our new King and Queen on their Coronation.
Kind regards,Corin Crane Chief Executive
Members are encouraged to send any news about their firm - new orders, staff, new products, expansions or relocationsfor publication in C&W in business. Whilst every effort will be made to publish submitted articles, we cannot guarantee inclusion.
Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Chamber House Innovation Village Cheetah Road Coventry CV1 2TL
T: 024 76 654321
F: 024 76 450242
Benham Publishing Limited
Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ
T: 0151 236 4141
F: 0151 236 0440 email@example.com www.benhampublishing.com
Karen Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
T: 07801 788880
Media Number 1965
© Benham Publishing 2023
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.
Discussing labour problems, Gareth Jones, Managing Director of In-Comm Training West Midlands, believed industry needs to “take onus on their own skill shortages”, whilst President of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Tom Mongan believed cost-of-living pressures could force the next generation out of apprenticeships unless financial support was provided.
Pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade said a long-term solution for energy costs was for the UK to mirror renewable energy work in Spain, with a greater push needed on building renewable energy sources such as onshore and offshore wind, solar, and nuclear power stations which will in turn help drive down costs.
The UK’s rising energy costs and skilled labour shortages are holding businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire back, experts have said – with fears the country could be left behind unless it is addressed.
Key industry figures from across the manufacturing, automotive, construction and engineering (MACE) sectors discussed the hurdles that are stunting economic growth at a roundtable event hosted by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
The event was chaired by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Corin Crane and Chair of WMG Margot James at WMG’s Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya building based at the University of Warwick. Inflationary pressures, the level of business rates, and delays in the planning system were among some of the issues highlighted, but energy prices and labour shortages came on top of the biggest problems facing the region’s MACE sector right now.
Corin Crane said: “There are some really tough times coming up. Energy is a big deal, access to a skilled and enthusiastic workforce is a big deal.
“Almost every single business we have spoken to – apart from energy costs – has said skills is the biggest challenge they are facing.
“They say we have got the business, got the opportunity, but have not got the workforce.
“This is not just manufacturing, but the public and private sector. These are things which are genuinely holding our businesses back.”
And some feared it could drive industry overseas unless tackled.
Tim Squires, of Squires Gear and Engineering, added: “Material is cheaper abroad. Labour is a fraction of what we have to pay. You then add on the insane energy costs we are facing.
“It needs to change soon or we will have no manufacturers left in the UK.”
Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to work more closely with the Armed Forces to help solve a recruitment crisis in industry.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a joint event with the West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (West Midland RFCA) at an Army Reserve Centre in Canley to discuss how firms could work collaboratively with the Armed Forces in the region.
The event, hosted by Chamber chief executive Corin Crane, heard how businesses can also encourage and support individuals who make up the Reserve Forces.
Corin, Richard Maybery of the West Midland RFCA, and Major Felicity Taylor, Executive Officer of 159 Supply Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, provided background to the event. Followed by a panel discussion involving Kent Thompson from Pertemps; Colonel Delroy Tucker from Warwickshire & West Midlands (North Sector) Army Cadet Force, Private Tayyabah Husain and Major Jess Marengo, Officer Commanding 118 Recovery Company.
Corin said: “I’ve never known a time like it when businesses are finding it so hard to recruit good people.
“As part of our work on the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), we’ve spoken to over 1,000 companies in recent weeks and
the message is stark. Recruitment issues are the biggest barrier to growth.
“Lots of over-50s have left the workforce, there are more mental health issues than ever in the under-30 age bracket and parents are being put off returning to work because of childcare costs.
“So, the pool of people that businesses can attract has shrunk and, yet, we have –quite literally – an army of workers who can offer incredible skills and amazing standards and values.
“And, on the other side of the coin, our Armed Forces need Reservists and they need the support of their employers to be able to commit to training opportunities and exercises.
“On top of that, there are personnel who are leaving the forces who would make incredible employees for firms and it’s yet another avenue to solving the skills and recruitment crisis.”
In the first instance, businesses are asked to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a pledge of support to the forces, including Reservists.
But, from there, they are encouraged to have dialogue with West Midland RFCA around how they can work together.
Major Taylor said: “We are looking to build the capacity of our Reservists and, in return, those individuals get some incredible training opportunities that would, ordinarily, cost businesses thousands of pounds.
WMG Exec Chair and former Government minister Margot James said: “One of the biggest problems is not that the companies do not want to commit to the UK, but the costs of energy in Spain are so much less.
“Energy costs here are more expensive than not just Spain, but many parts of Europe.
“If your cost of energy for production is so much cheaper elsewhere, it becomes a huge challenge to stay competitive."
Cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council, Cllr Jim O’Boyle, added: “The energy question is the single biggest issue.”
Referencing support needed for Coventry’s plans for a Gigafactory, he added: “If you do not build batteries in this country, manufacturers will not build the cars that need them here either. Instead, the automotive sector will go to Europe, America or the Far East where the battery manufacturing exists now and is growing. We are losing industry in manufacturing because there is no cohesive national industrial strategy.”
“The confidence, the technical skills, the leadership skills and the values and standards that emerge are a huge asset to any employer, and Reservists can take part in some amazing experiences and give back to the community and the country.”
The audience heard how Pertemps had established a specialist department to help place forces personnel into businesses. It also learned of real-life examples of how Reservists balance employment with their military duties and the standards they live by.
Corin said: “This isn’t something we are going to solve or conclude today but I believe it is so important for businesses and the West Midland RFCA to keep the conversation going.
“If we get this right, it can be mutuallybeneficial for everyone.”
Businesses can find out more about supporting the Armed Forces community by contacting the area’s Regional Employer Engagement Director, Cat Suckling, on email@example.com
The UK Corporate Games brings people together in the spirit of sport to encourage companies to support their employees’ pursuit of a healthier and more active lifestyle.
The UK Corporate Games, coming to Coventry & Warwickshire this August, is delighted to announce local partnerships with Johnsons Coaches, Go Ape and Coventry’s only slow-pitch softball club, Coventry Blitz. It is fantastic to bring together local businesses and organisations for the UK Corporate Games, uniting them through sport. Johnsons Coaches will support the Games as official transport provider offering travel solutions to companies competing from across the UK.
The Games, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, offers 21 different sports to compete in across three days – from basketball to football and from tennis to netball. The Games are open to all for the benefit of all and promote sport within the region. A key part of this is teaming up with local sports clubs and organisations and supporting them with the work they do for the local sport community.
Ryan Johnson, Sport Director at the Games is delighted to welcome local club Coventry Blitz, who will be supporting this year’s softball event. The club, established in 2014, is always welcoming new players and hosts regular training nights and competes in tournaments around the country.
The club has a team with great expertise who will be able to deliver a successful and safe event to all softball participants, whilst delivering tips and coaching techniques to those trying the sport for the first time.
Matt Evans, Chairperson Coventry Blitz Softball Club, said: “As a minority sport, the Games will provide a platform to get the Coventry Blitz name out there and showcase that the inclusive sport of softball is very much on the up in Coventry. The funding that the club will receive will go a long way towards our year-round provision whilst keeping entry costs low to reiterate that we are a sport for all.”
Companies already signed up for 2023 include national and local companies Freeths, Insight, EY, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, IBM, Safran, Coventry City Council, University of Warwick, Warwickshire County Council, Armstrongs, Go Ape and many more.
The Games have age categories in most events and there are no qualifying standards, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring work colleagues together for a fun weekend of sport and celebrations. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
A Warwickshire firm’s investment into a new conference, meetings and events space is paying dividends after securing a string of new bookings just weeks after its launch.
Stockton House on Rugby Road, in Stockton, has been transformed thanks to a major £1.5 million investment project from property and development company The Wigley Group.
A new two-storey extension has created a flexible conference and events space which can cater for 80 people seated or 120 standing, and can also be reconfigured to hold smaller meetings of 10 in a boardroom layout, with a breakout area in between.
Set in a discreet and convenient location in the heart of rural Warwickshire, near Rugby, the venue is surrounded by five acres of grounds which can also be used as an extension to meetings and corporate events.
Since launching at the end of February, it has taken bookings for a variety of events including a corporate Ascot Day and C&W Chamber of Commerce's Quarterly Economic Breakfast, and is also set to host a visit from Member of Parliament for Kenilworth and Southam Jeremy Wright.
Katie Wigley, Group Communications Manager at The Wigley Group, who is part of Stockton House’s events team, said: “Stockton House is in such a unique rural Warwickshire location, offering some calm away from the hustle and bustle of the
Coventry’s flagship Telegraph Hotel is reaping the benefits of the city’s investment in tourism, resulting in bumper sales over the past 12 months.
The team at the hotel says that the recent investment in heritage and cultural attractions combined with better and coordinated promotion of the city by Destination Coventry is having a real impact on visitors, filling rooms at the weekends.
Coventry has, historically, enjoyed a strong business and corporate market with high levels of hotel room demand mid-week, but has suffered from lower demand at weekends which impacts on hotel viability.
Guests at the boutique hotel are now coming from across the UK and all around the world to use it as their base to spend time in the city and the wider region. On top of that, Coventry’s central location and transport links mean the Telegraph Hotel is proving to be a great place for people to meet when they live at different ends of the country.
The hotel is also proving to be a hit with local visitors looking for ‘treat’ stays and it has all led to more than 26,000 room sales over the past year.
Amy Windsor, General Manager of the Telegraph Hotel, said: “For many people this is their first visit to Coventry and the overwhelming feedback we have had is that people really like the city.
“The mid-century style and high level of service of the four-star hotel impresses our guests as well as our affordable prices when compared to other weekend break destinations.
“The focus on the city’s cultural offer and its heritage buildings is really paying dividends. Many of the city’s heritage buildings have been restored by Historic Coventry Trust and we’re looking forward to increased visitor numbers now that Charterhouse is open.
outside world. That makes it perfect for a private and discreet business meeting, or a large corporate event such as a company away day which makes use of the glorious grounds outside as well as the generous spaces and breakout areas inside.
“The flexibility of our spaces means that we are able to offer a bespoke service, ensuring each event not only meets but exceeds the standards of our guests. We have already taken a number of bookings for the venue and have received some really positive feedback, so we are looking forward to taking on more bookings in the future.”
The former stately home was acquired by The Wigley Group in December 2018, and has since undergone extensive but
sympathetic refurbishment and expansion, recapturing its original glory.
The new two-storey extension is named The John Wigley Suite – after The Wigley Group’s founder – and can be transformed to suit each event, from a large board meeting or conference to a banquet or intimate dinner.
A purpose-built state-of-the-art conference and events facility, it is married to the original 19th century country house by a new timber-framed enclosed cloister, providing an internal courtyard with planting and seating areas. For more information, visit www.stockton-house.co.uk or email email@example.com
“Similarly, the Herbert Gallery and Museum is a big draw, especially now that Dippy the Dinosaur has taken up residence and St Mary’s Guildhall is a major new asset. The Belgrade Theatre, newly restored, is popular and located directly opposite the hotel. The Wave is also proving to be a major attraction for family visits.
“We are a real example of how that investment is providing a boost to the local economy.
“As the hotel approaches the end of its second year of operation, we are really pleased with the feedback we are receiving from guests.
“The Telegraph Hotel is not just a place to stay, it is an experience which keeps bringing people back. We are proud that, two years on, it still feels fresh and exciting for the team that work here and for the visitors who come through the door.”
There is no denying that it is tough out there for many UK businesses.
The cost-of-living crisis has meant households have less income and this has led to many well-known brands permanently closing their doors over the past 12 months. Here at Askews Legal LLP , we’ve seen many firms seeking guidance around CVAs. What is a CVA?
Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) provide companies in financial distress a way to avoid insolvency. For some creditors, however, they can result in their interests being unfairly prejudiced. One of the main objectors to the increasing use of CVAs are commercial property landlords.
Creditors have several rights when a debtor proposes a CVA. They need to ensure they attend relevant meetings and table their concerns/objections firmly.
CVAs are governed by the Insolvency Act 1986. It is a formal agreement and often involves the company rescheduling or reducing its debts, for example, only paying a portion of what it owes to its creditors.
No legal proceedings can be brought against a company with a CVA in place.
How are CVAs created?
For a CVA to be an option, a company must be insolvent or face a real risk of insolvency. The implementation of a CVA is normally suggested by the company’s directors. An insolvency practitioner is appointed to help them with the process. Once the CVA is approved by 75% of the company’s creditors, there is a limited period in which a creditor can challenge it on the grounds of either unfair prejudice or material irregularity.
Once the CVA is in place, all creditors are legally bound by it and will be repaid under the terms of the agreement.
Can a creditor challenge a CVA?
A CVA can be challenged in court on the grounds of unfair prejudice or material irregularity within 28 days of it being approved by creditors, or, in the case of a creditor who was not given notice of the proposed CVA decision process, within 28 days of the day on which the creditor became aware of the decision process occurring. A creditor who was not told of the CVA process may challenge the CVA on the ground of unfair prejudice after the CVA ends provided it was not terminated prematurely.
“The Isle of Cumbrae is only a 10-mile round trip, so the max speed of 15.5mph means visitors and residents can get around the whole island in an environmentally friendly way without stopping which takes approximately 40 minutes.
“Furthermore, our island has a beautiful viewpoint at the top - the Glaid Stone, which is 120m above sea level. It’s a challenging uphill route but with the Eskuta bike it’s effortless and makes it more accessible for adults of all ages and fitness abilities to get up there on two wheels and enjoy the view.”
The popular SX-250 e-bike from Nuneaton-based company Eskuta has made its way onto the picturesque Scottish island of Cumbrae on the Ayrshire coast.
The electric bike is now available to hire through legendary Cumbrae shop, Mapes of Millport. The family-run business has been serving the community on the Scottish island since 1946 and their award-winning bike hire service is particularly popular with both residents and tourists, who access the island via ferry in their droves during the summer months.
Mapes of Millport owner, Scott Ferris said: “I found the Eskuta bike when I was conducting some research for a new and innovative e-bike manufacturer to add to our current fleet- as soon as I saw the Eskuta bikes I knew they would be a great fit for our island.
Managing Director of Eskuta, Ian O’Connor, said: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Mapes of Millport. With the island being so small, it’s perfect for getting around via e-bike which also means less congestion and zero emissions, especially important in those busy summer months.
“Our SX-250 has already gained a reputation as a reliable and practical mode of transportation in other parts of the UK, with its popularity being down to its low environmental impact, affordability, enhanced safety features and ease of use for everyone.
“The addition of the Eskuta SX-250 to the rental fleet at Mapes of Millport means locals and visitors to the Isle of Cumbrae can now experience this innovative vehicle for themselves.”
To find out more please visit: www.mapesmillport.co.uk and www.eskuta.com
A solicitor will carefully examine all the facts surrounding the CVA and advise on whether a challenge is the best way forward. They can also provide retained legal support to businesses who do not have an in-house lawyer. For a fixed fee, a solicitor can act as an extension of your team, providing advice and identifying risks.
How can I recover my debt before a CVA is proposed?
It is always best to proactively try and recover any business debts you are owed before it gets to the point of the debtor having to propose a CVA. For example, using a platform such as our Debt-Claims Portal
enables you to create an account and upload information about your debtor, including how much is owed, contact details, addresses, and any informal steps taken to recover the debt. Thereafter, if you need to send a Letter Before Action, you can create it through Debt-Claims. The letter will be checked by one of our team and sent out on our letterhead, normally in 24 hours. To talk to us about CVAs and/or retained legal support, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.
One of the UK’s leading industry figures paid a visit to Coventry and Warwickshire to hear from firms in the region – before playing a part in celebrating the achievements of a local businessperson.
Shevaun Haviland, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, joined colleagues from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber and other business, education and local authority representatives at professional advice firm CTT Group’s headquarters in Leamington.
The roundtable looked at a range of issues facing firms, from skills and recruitment to inflation and costs.
Shevaun said: “It was great to be in the region, hearing from businesses and also seeing the connections with local Government, education and other partners.
“The Chamber network is strong and well respected, and that is based on the fact that we are rooted in our areas and can speak with a collective voice nationally.
“Because of our local roots, we are able to take messages direct into Government on behalf of our members which is key at this time of economic uncertainty.”
The roundtable was followed by a special presentation to CTT’s Bob Massey who has spent 40 years in the financial sector and 20 years with CTT Group since co-founding the company with Clive Ponders.
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber President Tom Mongan said: “We are delighted to commemorate this incredible landmark and pay tribute to Bob on all that he has achieved in his career.”
“The Chamber network is strong and well respected, and that is based on the fact that we are rooted in our areas and can speak with a collective voice nationally."
“I believed that technology would lead to more women being empowered to start and lead businesses and I thought it would help us to be even more of a ‘Global Britain’ that would build greater relationships around the world and lead to more trade.
“Some of the promise of technology is still yet to be realised.
“We also know that there are mammoth challenges that businesses are facing including energy costs, inflation and the tightening labour market.
Amajor event in Warwickshire has marked the start of a landmark year for the Chamber.
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held the BIG Business Celebration Lunch at the IXL Events Centre in Southam with well over 200 businesspeople and regional stakeholders in attendance.
The event marked the start of the 120th anniversary celebrations for the Chamber, which was established in 1903 and has supported businesses through world wars, depressions, recessions and the global pandemic.
Guests heard from Chamber chief executive Corin Crane followed by Atul Lakhani, of IXL Events Centre, and Richard Harrison of No Ordinary Hospitality Management, which works in collaboration with the IXL Events Centre.
The event was then treated to a performance by Imagineer Productions before an inspirational keynote speech by Baroness Lane Fox of Soho CBE, one of the founders of Lastminute.com and the president of the British Chambers of Commerce. She said: “This Chamber has seen so much over its 120-year history and continues to support businesses in this amazing part of the country.
“I did not think for a second, when I started my business that the world would look like this in 2023. There have been so many changes and unexpected events.
“I often get asked how the economy is doing and it’s not a straightforward answer as it can be different for each sector, for each geographical area and for the generation of the business.
“I am, however, an optimist and I do think there is an opportunity to improve things for the better – in some cases its taking the low hanging fruit and, in other ways, it is solving more complex problems.
“There are three areas where businesses have to be ready to adapt.
“Everything that can be digitised will be in the coming years so there is no point fighting it. Adopt it and use technology to make us the most robust, resilient economy we can be.
“Sustainability and net zero are hugely important and will continue to be very high on the agenda for the future.
“And, we must ensure we build diversity into the economy whether we are thinking about gender or ethnicity.
“If we can move on those areas quickly, we can grow the economy and we, as a Chamber network, must continue to listen you our members to make sure we know what is important to businesses.”
Corin added: “When you look back 120 years ago to the establishment of the Chamber there were issues around skills, infrastructure and global trade that business leaders came together to solve.
“And, more than a century on, we are facing new challenges but, fundamentally, they are similar issues that we are collectively working together to overcome.
“As a Chamber, we’ve supported our members through so much – through global events that have impacted us here and through boom times in the region as well as Ghost Towns. We truly are standing on the shoulders of giants and that is why it is such a privilege to serve the businesses and wider community of this region.
“Coventry and Warwickshire has some of the most incredible businesses on the planet based here as well as fantastic universities and supportive local authorities and that’s why I am confident for the future.”
UBC, a leading provider of flexible workspace, is sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship in local schools by running a fun sunflower competition.
‘Grow With Us’ is an exciting opportunity for UBC to work with primary schools across the UK and begin building the world of work into education, in a fun and inspiring way.
Centre managers at UBC’s eight locations and Inigo Business Centres’ seven locations have distributed packets of sunflower seeds to primary schools in their local area. School children, accompanied by their teachers, have been tasked with sowing the seeds and nurturing the young plants during the summer term.
The group who grows the tallest sunflower will win £1,000 in book tokens for their school. Participants will keep track of the growing plants and post progress reports on social media with the hashtag #GrowWithUs.
UBC’s centre managers will take a final measurement along with photos of each sunflower and judge the winners at the end of the school summer term.
The ‘Grow With Us’ campaign is an exciting opportunity for UBC to connect with local schools and give young people a positive early encounter of the world of work and entrepreneurship. It’s also a great way to introduce young students and their families to the idea of future employment opportunities that are available on their doorstep.
What’s more, schoolchildren will be taking part in a fun nature-based activity that builds on essential skills they will need for their future, including careful planning, good teamwork, and of course, regular care of their sunflowers.
Jane Erasmus, Sales and Marketing Director at UBC, said: “We are thrilled to engage with our local schools and work with young students in a fun yet meaningful way. We hope that pupils will enjoy getting outdoors during the final school term to take care of their plants and I’m sure they will take great pride in the end result, too. We’re excited to see the transformations from tiny seeds to beautiful sunflowers!”
Keep up to date with progress using hashtag #GrowWithUs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
When two businesses collide in a positive, planned way, how do you ensure it is as efficient and effective as possible?
That’s the challenge Julia of Leask Accountancy Solutions faced when she and her husband’s businesses merged.
In an earlier article, we shared how the business was evolving to be more advisory focussed, encompassing both Finance and IT. Since then, they have spoken to many businesses who have asked how they integrated the businesses together so quickly and seamlessly.
The simple answer is that both businesses already had well-thought-out up-to-date business plans.
Julia points out, “As a family business David and I combined a wealth of experience and ability, but we have definitely tested patience and cooperation. We had to ensure our core values and goals were aligned because we couldn’t just wing it as we do at home.”
In comparing the two business plans, we found many complementary areas. Not just in operational capability, target audiences and goals but in the softer, less tangible areas such as values, vision, mission and identity. These essential aspects of a business can’t be measured in pounds and pence but are still critical to success.
Our new plan was built on the strengths of both businesses whilst highlighting the areas we needed to prioritise. We then refined our value proposition, go-to-market strategy and, most importantly, created a meaningful set of actions encompassing anticipated events rather than just lumbering from one issue to the next.
On reflection, “When you are up to your neck in alligators, it's easy to forget the goal was to drain the swamp “. Previously we might not have taken the time to look at the bigger picture or real goal. One conscious thing we did was to make sure we had fun learning about each other’s business perspectives and desires for the business. Taking the time to step back made all the difference.
• We defined SMART personal and business goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound) not DUMB (Dull, Uninspiring, Meaningless, Boring) or WILD (Wacky, Impossible, Ludicrous, Delusional)
• We created an inspirational action plan that drove us each day with excitement, not dread.
• We measured our success with the right metrics, not concentrating on vanity numbers or wishful thinking.
• We took time to find and manage the right business opportunities, ensuring we minimised any risk.
• By breaking the goals into 30/60/90-day chunks, we easily distributed the actions so that we knew who was accountable and responsible for each task. A business plan is vital whether you are starting a new venture or looking to reinvigorate your existing one It is not just a one-off document or wish list that you keep in a dusty drawer it’s a lifeline and roadmap to sustainable success.
So if you want to short-circuit the process to regain control, contact David today (email@example.com) and learn about the benefits to you, your family and your business.
What do a day at the ICC, a former British F1 driver, Twitter and a throwaway comment have in common?
Having won the Theo Paphitis SBS award in January, we attended the SBS event at the ICC in Birmingham, an annual free event created by Theo to which all winners are invited to attend. Among the many fine speakers was F1 driver Mark Blundell. Mark has the motto 'The Will To Win' which was used by his grandfather and which he has kept in mind throughout his life.
This motto, and his explanation of its origin resonated with us and we made a throwaway comment on Twitter that we might put it on our own studio wall, along with a quick mock-up of the motto on a wall done in Photoshop. Five minutes later Mark had commented 'Make two and I'll buy one'. Sometimes the most random things can
be that easy. We set to work creating a real 1-metre-wide sign for Mark, faithful to the mock-up he'd liked with the same typefaces and spacing, from 3mm black MDF. If you want good black results this material gets you 95% of the way there and a light coat of matte black spray takes you all the way to 'extra black'.
The final sign, in a five-part interlocking frame to preserve all the spacing was also given a light coat of protective matte lacquer. The main letters were given 6mm standoffs and the 'Mark Blundell' text was flushmounted for a slight 'recess' effect from the main motto.
The use of nano tape on the rear allows us to make the whole frame and sign a push-fit mount to the surface, holding it in place for 30 seconds to allow grip to develop and then the frame can be popped away from the contents leaving the letters on the wall.
Fast-forward to mid-March and we have delivered and fitted his sign at his offices in Royston and, most importantly, he's pleased as punch with it. Mark has it mounted over the doorway in the entrance to his offices, it's the first thing you see when you enter his premises which we think is fantastic. For more information visit: surefyre.com
Sarah is an executive and leadership coach and she designs learning programmes for organisations in the Midlands, across the UK and internationally. She was asked by a Professor at Warwick Business School, Bob Thomson, to write a book in the ‘Business in Mind’ series that he is editing. Sarah has a background in writing - prior to training as a coach she worked in communications for a global healthcare company, she is also a certified positive psychology practitioner.
Local business owner, Sarah Alexander from Vivid Learning & Development Ltd, will have her first book published in May by Critical Publishing. Her book Transforming Performance at Work: The Power of Positive Psychology is an engaging and practical read for anyone looking to grow in their professional career while also improving their wellbeing and happiness, and for leaders who want to enable high performance at work but also want their teams to thrive and be happy.
Positive psychology is the science of happiness, and this book describes highly practical ideas and techniques to increase positivity, boost engagement, develop strong working relationships, build purpose, enable a sense of accomplishment and grow resilience.
Sarah put a proposal together for the publisher, then wrote a draft chapter and both were approved. Sarah said “It is incredibly exciting to know that my first book is going to be published in May. The writing has taken me a number of months, and I had to fit the research and writing around my business. I’m nervous
and build a targeted action plan for your business in the company of other ambitious business leaders.
The most recent programme ran from September 2022 – March 2023 and was workshop-based at Aston University. The course included modules about how to create a business plan, growth strategy skills and experience with a presentation in front of investors plus 10 hours with a business mentor.
Glued have taken the initiative and undertaken the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth in a bid to redefine their own business strategy.
The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth delivered by Aston University is a local initiative which supports businesses to reach new heights. The team at Glued have embarked on the mission to refresh their understanding of business growth as they look to redefine the future of Glued.
David explained: “Rob and I have been in business for over 20 years and we’re continuously refreshing our offer and approach. The programme has given us the focus to challenge our strategy and work hard to refine it for future growth.”
The course is designed to position your business for the future by joining the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth. Develop your leadership skills
Kavita Jeerh, Programme Manager from Aston University, said: “The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth is a well-established programme that supports small business owners and carefully selected SMEs to increase their management capacity and achieve growth. By providing the necessary tools and resources, we empower businesses to achieve their full potential and we are honoured to be a part of their journey towards success.”
David concluded: “I think the biggest benefit for me was learning some new techniques for business management, and better understanding how to put together a business plan: working on the business, not in the business. I think the time with my mentor allowed me to reflect on the business and its direction. We’re now working with a business coach to implement the plan and make changes to our offer.”
For more about the team at Glued, head over to their website: www.gluedlimited.co.uk Aston Centre for Growth runs a range of fully funded programmes to support business growth, find out more at: www.aston.ac.uk/research/bss/abs/centres-hubs/aston-centre-for-growth.
and thrilled about launching the book. It has been available to pre-order for a while – and it was very surreal to see my name on a book for the first time when I looked it up on Amazon.”
A key reason why Sarah wanted to write on this topic is that she believes that people should be able to thrive at work and perform well. Well-being at the cost of performance does not help people and businesses grow, and performance at the cost of well-being means people can suffer with stress, anxiety and even burnout. People should be able to have both: performance and well-being. Having studied positive psychology in lockdown Sarah knew that the ideas from it can be applied really effectively in the workplace for people to thrive, and for businesses to thrive.
Julia Morris from Critical Publishing said “We are incredibly excited to publish Sarah’s text. The workplace has changed radically over the past few years and there is a real need to support both employers and employees in navigating this new environment for the benefit of all while maximising well-being, motivation and happiness. Sarah has been a joy to work with, fully committed to producing an accessible and research-informed book, and one which we believe should be read by anyone currently in employment.”
The Power of Positive PsychologyBy Sarah Alexander £16.99
Published by Critical Publishing
Sarah Alexander is an executive and leadership coach and certified positive psychology practitioner with over a decade of experience helping individuals and teams to develop and grow.
She is founder of Vivid Learning & Development Ltd, a consultancy with a talented team of associates that designs learning programmes for organisations in the UK and internationally.
"Well-being at the cost of performance does not help people and businesses grow, and performance at the cost of well-being means people can suffer with stress, anxiety and even burnout. People should be able to have both: performance and well-being."
It resulted in high-quality videos documenting the event, strong engagement on social media, broadcast media attendance, print and online media coverage as well as a thought-leadership article.
PLMR Advent is part of PLMR Group which was named a top 50 UK communications firm by leading industry publication PR Week.
The agency, which is staffed by experienced and qualified journalists, has a reputation for news-driven PR in a wide range of industry sectors.
Lee Corden, Director at PLMR Advent, said: “We have an excellent track record in supporting businesses and organisations to raise the profile of their events.
A leading Midlands PR and communications agency is expanding with a new package to help organisations and event organisers raise the profile of conferences, exhibitions and events.
PLMR Advent, which is headquartered in Coventry, has launched an events media and PR service for event organisers.
The new service helps to raise the profile of events in advance, on the day and afterwards, including press releases, media invites, social media management, photography and videography.
PLMR Advent has 25 years’ experience in supporting clients on the delivery of events and has now introduced the PLMR Advent Media Hub.
The PLMR Advent Media Hub debuted at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Annual Business & Economic Conference and was also brought to the Compulsory Purchase Association’s annual conference in Birmingham.
Staff from the agency set-up on site, covered the event and provided a media presence in the room on the day.
“We work closely with organisers to understand their requirements, what they are hoping to achieve and ultimately get eyeballs on their event through a wide range of channels.
“The PLMR Advent Media Hub and associated events package has seen great results since we soft launched it last year.
“In the media hub area, we carry out a range of interviews with speakers and
delegates, which are utilised for social media and to create a video highlights package of the event.
“Delegates will also see a professional photographer in the room, capturing highquality images to document the event.
“The service generated significant media attention for clients but also created content which can be a lasting legacy for an event and be invaluable marketing collateral for promoting future conferences and exhibitions.
“This activity provides an identifiable media presence on the day and adds a little something extra for delegates, and when coupled with media coverage gained in key media outlets can significantly raise the profile of an event.”
For more details on the events media and PR service and the PLMR Advent Media Hub contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or call 02476 633 3636.
A nationally-renowned commercial printer with a considerable Warwickshire heritage is looking to invest in its future.
John Good, a commercial printer with an affinity for the arts, has plans in the pipeline to invest in a next-generation digital press and a specialist binding machine as it looks to continue its work to provide the highest quality products to customers.
The Rugby-based company is also focusing on energy saving, having recently invested in new LED lighting site-wide, with plans to also invest in solar roof panel energy.
John Good seeks to be a creative publishing company offering a large number of services including printing, design, editorial, picture research, account management, and mailing and fulfilment.
It is particularly notable for its leading position as a theatre programme publisher, with around one million created annually by a design studio, supported by a vast editorial library.
The print room, which features Heidelberg and Kodak lithographic and digital equipment, also serves commercial customers, ranging from sectors such as automotive, legal, finance, retail and leisure, to lifestyle, manufacturing, education, wholesale and more.
Large-format presses are also available for sheet posters and banners.
Finished products can be delivered directly to the customer, or companies can liaise with in-house JG Mailing colleagues should fulfilment be required.
John Good is heavily involved with the community, participating in Royal Leamington Spa College’s work experience programme and regularly fundraising for the local Trussell Trust foodbank.
Its efforts to protect the environment include careful material waste segregation, recycling where possible, safe disposal procedures, applying vegetable inks and drastically reducing plastic stream.
Till Siegers, a spokesperson for John Good, said: “At John Good we guide
customers on their journey. Understanding client intentions is paramount to our business development team who engage and explore requirements so that objectives are matched by affordable pricing.
“They know print deadlines can be sensitive and tight turnarounds are not uncommon.
“Print assignments are looked after by a professional account manager who can advise on file submission, paper stocks, finishes and inks.
“The John Good pre-press team then connects your account manager with the print room, before file proofs are validated.
“Our print and finishing team has over 200 years’ combined experience. Once a print run is completed, the despatch team securely packages your finished product for delivery.
“Alternately, a job may require mailing and we can liaise seamlessly with colleagues at JG Mailing. Our ample Rugby premises can accommodate warehousing and productpicking for logistic and distribution needs.
“Many of the John Good staff have been with the company for years - some even decades - not least thanks to an ethos of professional development and promotion from within.
“Our collaborative teams work tirelessly to deliver products and services that make a difference. The combination of first-rate print, outstanding customer service and the personal touch of an experienced team, make John Good a proud Warwickshire printing business with local links and national reach.”
John Good is accredited by select industry bodies, boasting relationships with International Organization for Standardization (ISO), British Print Industry Federation (BPIF), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and UK Theatre.
Further information is available by calling 0204 7665 2800 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
"The PLMR Advent Media Hub and associated events package has seen great results since we soft launched it last year."
“Print assignments are looked after by a professional account manager who can advise on file submission, paper stocks, finishes and inks."
New state-of-the-art trains are being rolled out across the West Midlands to transform the way passengers travel - the first to be introduced in the region in more than a decade.
West Midlands Trains operates West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway services, connecting the West Midlands to the Northwest and London.
New trains – the Class 196 fleet and the Class 730 fleet - are now being introduced as part of West Midlands Railway's £690m investment in new trains and infrastructure.
The first trains in the Class 196 fleet entered service between Birmingham and Shrewsbury in October last year.
Now, following a period of route testing and driver training, the trains have begun carrying passengers between Hereford, Worcester, Bromsgrove and Birmingham for the first time.
Later this year the Class 196 fleet is due to enter service on West Midlands Railway’s Leamington to Nuneaton route, serving communities including Coventry, Kenilworth and Bedworth.
This will be followed by new Class 730 fleet trains on the Cross City line.
Passenger benefits of the fleet include more seats and tables with improved underseat storage, improved accessibility, at least one accessible toilet per train, more bicycle storage and clear luggage racks to avoid passengers leaving items behind.
Technology has also been a focal point, with the trains featuring smart new digital screens featuring live journey information, plug and USB sockets at every seat, intelligent air-conditioning which reacts to the carriage environment, and free Wi-Fi.
The trains offer 25 per cent more capacity than the fleet they replace.
Ian McConnell, West Midlands Railway managing director, said: “We work hard to provide a service that is better equipped, more reliable and at a price everyone can afford.
“These brand-new trains are already providing a much-improved travelling experience for our customers, with smart air conditioning and power points at every seat.
“We have had to wait a little while to introduce the trains due to the pandemic, but I am delighted our customers are now able to experience the trains for themselves.
“We look forward to continuing to roll the trains out across our network over the coming months.
“We’re also bringing improved timetables a couple of times a year, so our networks can run even more smoothly.”
discuss his history in business, his drive to succeed and his ambitious plans for the future.
Doug appeared on the latest edition of the Chamber Talks Business podcast, which delved into his humble beginnings, growing up in Lowestoft, Suffolk, with a passion for sports and talents in science and maths.
He studied mathematical engineering at Loughborough University, before landing one of just ten management trainee positions at global company Cargill.
Having been based in the agricultural area of the business as Head of UK Grain and Non Grain Feed Ingredients, it was his interest in trading that pushed him to seek a more lucrative position in the company’s oil trading division in which he gained a number of skills and learnt lessons about risk and reward.
Wanting to utilise his skills further, he and a partner purchased a physical commodity trading business, now named RCMA Group, which at its peak in 2015 it employed between 400 and 500 people in 20 countries and were moving sugar, coffee, cotton and natural rubber around the world.
Not content with the business model, the company later went on to refocus and launch sustainable rapeseed processing firm Yelo Enterprises, based in StratfordUpon-Avon.
Speaking about his decision to buy Coventry City Football Club, Doug said that it was his passion for competitive sport and his knowledge of the trials and tribulations
West Midlands Railway services destinations across the West Midlands via Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Snow Hill.
London Northwestern Railway connects London and Liverpool via the West Coast Main Line to and from London Euston, stopping at Birmingham, Milton Keynes, and Northampton.
West Midlands Trains also offers a range of products supporting discounted travel including Student Season Tickets and Just Business.
Businesses looking to book train travel can easily compare fares using the Just Business platform.
It is a free online business train travel booking platform that is not exclusive to
West Midlands and London Northwestern train routes, with all train operators and routes listed, and the cheapest fares highlighted.
It provides businesses with a secure online account through which employees can book and pay for their travel, removing any need for paperwork or expenses.
It is easy to set up following the completion of a short form, and the West Midlands Trains Help Desk is on hand to support businesses through every step of the process.
The free service can save businesses money and streamline existing business processes.
Student Season Tickets are an easy, hassle-free way of travelling to and from school, college or university while saving up to 50 per cent on fares.
For more information on these services, visit www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk or www.londonnorthwesternrailway.co.uk
CCFC had faced which made him want to offer the club a new chapter.
The deal was highly confidential, with the majority of Doug’s family being unaware of his plans – and once made public it led those who know him to question the scale of the risk he had taken.
He said: “I spent a week mulling it over on my own and then I contacted the owners of the club. We had some discussions and within three weeks we did the deal.
“It was whirlwind. My wife knew, but even my kids didn’t know because it was under wraps.”
He added: “Everybody asked what am I doing. It’s well known that football club ownership, especially in the Premier League, is loss making in a major way, but I’m enjoying it.
“I think it’s an incredible area, I think the fanbase is unbelievable, I think there’s not been money spent there for many years and I think I have the ability, with all my history and the success I’ve had, to invest and try and run it like a proper entity and maybe give a new chapter following a difficult 15 to 20 years for the club.”
Speaking about his vision for the club over the next five years, Doug says he has ambitious plans to sustainably reach the Premier League.
“You’re competing against other clubs who are relegated from the Premier League with a much higher budget, therefore they can theoretically have better players so it becomes trickier.
“That doesn’t totally destroy us, but we need to be knocking on the door every year to hit the play-offs. We need to always be aiming for a top six position and then hoping to get through a play-off window in one of the next five years and get into the Premier League.
“You can’t do that recklessly - it has to be done sustainably and logically, which I’ve made clear with the team.”
The full interview with Doug King can be heard on the Chamber Talks Business podcast, available on streaming platforms Spotify, Amazon Music and Audio Boom. For more information go to www.ccfc.co.uk
“These brand-new trains are already providing a much-improved travelling experience for our customers, with smart air conditioning and power points at every seat."The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce met the new man at the helm of Coventry City, Doug King, to
“Everybody asked what am I doing. It’s well known that football club ownership, especially in the Premier League, is loss making in a major way, but I’m enjoying it."
We offer a variety of services to our clients including:
With the increased use of trussed roofs used in the country and nailguns, unfortunately, the art of cutting a traditional roof is a dying trade.
Chances are if you have sash windows and high ceilings, you will have prominent cornice mouldings, now apart from looking ever so grand.
From your basic up and over to Cedar side hinged wooden doors, we boast the biggest showroom in Warwickshire. I love the gadgets you can get these days.
Firstly we look for the right timber like a good chef the right ingredients make for the most exquisite dish. The design so you can visualise any creation.
Secondary glazing is quite expensive, but if your windows are listed, and single glazed casements are your only option, this is the best solution.
A lot of the time a decade or more usually after you have had your UPVC windows and doors fitted, the hinges, handles and locks may start to break.
Contact : Martin 07728 557325
Leamington Sash Ltd (@royalleamingtonsashwindows) on Instagram
advice, to ensure that apprentices have a solid understanding of the factors associated with starting up and running a business.
During one of the sessions, Wendy Brown, a Business Adviser from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, emphasised the importance of considering finance when starting a business. She advised the apprentices to use apps to track their income and expenses and to set targets to help them achieve their goals. Additionally, Wendy provided guidance on the costs that come with self-employment, such as business planning, understanding your market and marketing.
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training has recognised the need for advanced hairdressing apprentices to understand how a business runs, given the growing rate of self-employment, including ‘rent a chair’ in the hairdressing industry.
As a result, the team at Chamber Training has joined forces with the Chamber’s business start-up experts to develop an enterprise and selfemployment knowledge module to complement their apprenticeship studies. The module gave an insight into commercial business and self-employment, as well as financial
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training has designed Summer School vocational tasters for young people in Coventry to explore career paths and find out more about what it’s like to work in a range of different industries and sectors. The Summer School programmes start in July and will offer valuable insight into the world of work and help young people identify their strengths, transferable skills and areas of interest.
The Summer Schools are designed for individuals aged 15 and over who are looking to take their first steps into the workplace. The transition from education to employment
can be daunting, which is why young people can access a valuable pool of expertise that can help them to plan their future, investigate career paths and gain up-to-date knowledge of local employment opportunities.
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training are offering a range of courses including Accountancy, Early Years Care, Hairdressing and Employability Skills. Each course is designed to provide an overview of the sector and give participants a feel for what it's like to work in that field. Additionally, there will be particular emphasis on interview techniques, making successful job applications and CV development, including an insight into current opportunities.
It also covered the costs associated with public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Wendy highlighted that self-employed hair stylists are responsible for carrying out their own health and safety and insurance requirements, rather than relying on a host salon to do so. Overall, the module provided valuable knowledge to Hairdressing Apprentices who are considering self-employment as the next step on their career path. The apprentices appreciated the sessions and are looking forward to applying their learning in practice. To find out more about apprenticeships, call 024 7623 1122 or email email@example.com
Participating in a Summer School can help individuals recognise their transferable skills that can be applied in the workplace. Skills such as communication, time management, organisation and written English skills are valuable in any job setting. Moreover, the programme offers an excellent opportunity to build confidence and life skills, which can be beneficial in personal and professional life.
To take advantage of a place on a Summer School, please speak to a member of staff by calling 024 7623 1122 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
"She advised the apprentices to use apps to track their income and expenses and to set targets to help them achieve their goals."
Coventry and Warwickshire
Chamber of Commerce Training are working in partnership with CTT Accountancy, a practice of highly experienced accountants based in Leamington, to enhance their workforce through apprenticeships. CTT Accountancy provides core accountancy services to businesses of all sizes across the country.
Alana Stanley, who joined CTT Accountancy a year and a half ago on an accountancy apprenticeship, has already achieved great success, passing her Assistant Accountant apprenticeship with a distinction, including the achievement of an AAT level 3 Diploma in Accounting. The senior team at CTT Accountancy
recognised Alana’s talent and invested in her training, providing her with guidance and support to develop her skills and knowledge which led to her achievement at the highest level.
Associate Director, Amy O'Keeffe, expressed the team's pride in Alana's success, stating, "We had faith in her and her determination to do well. She's applied herself to her work and set her sights on success, so we're really proud of her."
Alana has now progressed onto a Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship at level 4, and in the not-too-distant future, she will be taking on the responsibility of training the next apprentice. Alana commented on how the apprenticeship programme has benefited her career progression: "Having a balance between working and studying has helped me to
manage my time in work. Prioritizing my time in the evenings to study or work on my portfolio. Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training has supported me through my apprenticeship, having regular contact with tutors for guidance and support."
Apprenticeships in accountancy provide a structured approach to training which develop the accountants of the future, with clear progression pathways to professional accreditation.
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber
of Commerce Training’s apprenticeship programmes work in partnership with employers and individuals to design learning solutions which meet the needs of businesses as well as develop individual career plans.
The team at Chamber Training guide and support businesses and individuals to find and access the right apprenticeship. For further information, please call 024 7623 1122 or email email@example.com
Representatives from businesses and education providers from across the West Midlands have joined together to help shape a report looking at what skills are needed to help employers grow and how this provision can be delivered.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce held a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) Regional Priorities Event at Aston Villa Football Club, in Birmingham.
LSIPs were designed by Government to put employers at the centre of the skills system in their region and to build a stronger, more dynamic partnership between employers and further education providers, and the three Chambers
of Commerce were selected by the Department for Education to lead on the region’s LSIP last autumn.
Delegates heard how detailed research, led by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, has been conducted to gather information from more than 1,000 businesses and more than 60 education and training providers across the region to identify the current and future skills needs of employers, how skills are being delivered and any barriers being faced.
Early analysis of the data has identified five key themes – strategic leadership, core and technical skills needs, identifying the right providers, identifying the right means of delivery and recruiting into education.
A total of 74 per cent of those surveyed had not worked with post-16 education and training in the last five years, and barriers identified during the research included the lack of budget for training, lack of staff time
to both undertake and oversee training, lack of knowledge about training and the training available not being suitable.
Delegates then took part in round table discussions to help devise provider and employer solutions to some of the challenges, with the responses helping to shape a report which will be submitted to the Department for Education in May.
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have been campaigning for some time to put businesses at the forefront of the planning process for skills.
“We want to ensure that businesses can identify their training needs and a system is built around this, rather than employers being limited on what they can do with funding by the time it reaches them.
“The event was a fantastic opportunity to look at the comprehensive research conducted with businesses of varying sizes across a range of sectors, as well as public sector organisations and other professional bodies, and have an in-depth discussion about how some of the barriers identified could be overcome.
“I would like to thank all of the employers and training providers in attendance who provided some excellent insights and feedback which will form a key part of our report the Department for Education.
“This crucial piece of work will enable employers across the region to tackle their skills gaps, increase productivity and further contribute to the growth of the economy.”
To find out more about the LSIP in the West Midlands region contact Adele Wheatley on 024 7665 4321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“The event was a fantastic opportunity to look at the comprehensive research conducted with businesses of varying sizes across a range of sectors, as well as public sector organisations and other professional bodies, and have an in-depth discussion about how some of the barriers identified could be overcome."
By ordering your cars through BMW Business Partnership’s company car fleet program at Rybrook Warwick, you will benefit from contract hire and leasing special offers across the entire range of BMW models, all provided by your chosen retailer.
BMW Electric Benefits.
From the new iX, iX1 or iX3 Sports Activity Vehicle and i4 Gran Coupe, the BMW all-electric range offers all the functionality your drivers need. While a BIK advantage of 2% frozen until the 2024 to 2025 tax year, it is also a smart choice. Perhaps you’d also like to take a test drive?
Get more for your money with Electric.
We are delighted to announce that all of our business customers who order a new full electric vehicle (BEV) between 1st April and 30th June 2023 will have a choice between:
A complimentary Pod Point Universal 7KW Home Charger, including standard installation. or £750 (inc VAT) Charging Credit applied to the customers BMW Charging Card Contract.* Contact.
As your dedicated business manager, I am here to help meet your business needs. Please get in touch to set up a meeting so we can find your perfect business vehicle. You can view our latest business offers by scanning the QR code below:Rob Underhay
Local Business Development Manager
Rybrook BMW Warwick, Fusiliers Way, Warwick,West Midlands, CV34 8DD
Tel: 01926 333888
Mobile: 07563 021964
genuinely engage in what’s happening around us. We have a very limited time on Earth and you have to make the most of it.”
When Gisela, who hails from Argentina, spoke at a ‘Women in Business’ event for the Chamber back in January, the audience came away in awe. Not because of any mention of commercial success but genuine wonder as to how she finds the time to be the kind of person everyone aspires to be.
She grew up in Buenos Aires and attended a bilingual school. By 14, she had her first job – and it was an early example of someone who was going to take control of life and mould her own destiny.
“Because I knew English, I found myself teaching the language in a Kindergarten – it was easy!” she said.
“We didn’t have a lot at home. My mum had three jobs and I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t work too.
“I learned to be hungry for it and to not be waiting and I’ve carried that along with me. I notice how many people wait for the hero to come through the window, someone to come and save them. I realised very quickly that noone was coming to save me, I would have to do it myself.”
By the age of 22, Gisela was teaching at Buenos Aires University and established a business offering graphic design.
She went door-knocking to sell her services, not to SMEs but to some of the world’s biggest oil giants – and it worked.
“I set up my business and rented out a tiny little office in the centre of Buenos Aires. It was like being in Canary Wharf in London,” explained Gisela.
“At the beginning, the business was doing graphic design. I had two degrees – one in fashion design and one in graphic design and it became apparent that I could help companies and also look at their transition to digital.
“I started knocking on doors – at BP, Shell and Exxon –I went to where the oil companies were and many of them became clients.
“I started doing digital design for them, then logos, then presentations. They started to ask me to design stands for their exhibitions and I began to pick up customers in the radio industry and also satellite companies.
“Then they started to ask me questions about sales. They were saying that I was good at it and they wanted to know what they should do.
“Then it was marketing, then online marketing which was very new at that time. It was clear that I had built their trust.”
When Gisela decided to undertake a Masters Degree in International Marketing it saw her ‘commuting’ to the University of Albany in New York.
“The first time I came back to Argentina, it was clear to me that my future was somewhere else so I sold the business. I was very lucky at that time to be able to do that.
“I started training really hard in international marketing, in understanding human behaviour and what makes people tick. It was a new chapter in my life.
“I was being sponsored by the Head of the University and he took me as his prodigy. He was getting me to create international marketing campaigns and getting me to look at opportunities in Latin America for his clients.
“He would give me a deadline and then said he wanted me to do the presentations in front of the clients. I was thrown in at the deep end. I was then offered jobs by his clients!
But spend an hour in Gisela’s company and there is no hard sell. There is no technical jargon. You meet a real person, to whom integrity is everything – whether it’s offering cyber security to a customer or making the world a better place by supporting kids in Africa to have a good start in life.
Gisela runs Shipston-on-Stour-based Pink Connect – a business that offers a wide range of clients everything from IT support through to telephony services – with her husband, James.
“It all starts with your word,” she said. “It’s when you say who you want to be in life and what you want to be, and you do it. We can just talk about ‘it’ or we can
“I realised that there is opportunity in everything you do. As long as you understand the market, you understand people and product – there is opportunity everywhere and it’s up to you to grab it.”
Gisela moved back to Argentina to a charity that supported people to access white goods before joining a major retailer after impressing them in a presentation.
“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” she said.
Gisela Pink might just be the embodiment of the phrase that people buy from people.
GISELA PINK shares her personal story that took her from a life in Argentina to running a communications company in South Warwickshire.
The job took a toll on her work-life balance, but there were still plenty of lessons learned along the way.
“The company had around 250 stores,” she said. “I joined and I was one of only five women working for a business with 2,500 men!
“I was flying around the country working with the different teams and I had a strong hands-on experience of what it took to work with different people of different backgrounds with different needs.
“It took me a lot of learning, adjusting and working on myself to connect with people. After four years, I ended up coming to the UK for a holiday to visit my brother and I fell in love with the autumn here!
“It was in Surrey and every day I would walk through the woods to get to the train station and I felt like that was what I was missing out on when I was running around everywhere. In Buenos Aires there was no time for that. My mobile phone would go off at three in the morning and it would be my boss saying he’d booked me on a flight for 6am that day!
“I woke up one day in a hotel room not knowing where I was anymore!
“I had two months of holidays and thought that I’d use it here in the UK. Within three or four days I said I wasn’t leaving.”
It was the next chapter in an evolving story.
Gisela enrolled on a course in London that provoked her to ask questions about her life.
She said: “It was very intense and looked at the conversations I have with myself – what I thought I deserved, what I didn’t deserve; what I thought I was good at and not good at. It was very much about self-belief and understanding yourself.
“It looked at the stories I was telling myself about all the things that didn’t work out, such as relationships and family – all those things that you sweep under the carpet. After three days, they got me lifting the carpet and addressing those things.
“I always felt like a I had to prove something, to belong. It was very intense but I enjoyed it and started training in coaching. I found it very interesting to learn what makes us human.
“The more you get in touch with other people, the more you realise that the things that matter to you matter to everybody. There is so much we have in common.”
The next key moment in Gisela’s life could have jumped off the pages of a book.
She was sat in a café drinking a cappuccino reading Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God when a friend knocked at the window.
It led to Gisela being introduced to James Pink, who she went onto coach and eventually marry, but not after she had given him a less-than-impressive review of the company he’d just established.
“He asked me to come and look at a business that he had just set up. I was honest and told him it wasn’t that great! I was thinking he might be out of business by the end of the month!
“He said that if I was so clever I should come and run it myself! I did eventually move to the Cotswolds with him and joined the company.
“It was called Pink Communications, but we rebranded immediately as Pink Connect and we virtually started again from scratch.
“Businesses previously only had the opportunity to buy their telecoms packages from BT but now companies such as Pink Connect could come along and support you. All of a sudden, you could be billed for your phone line by a third party and save money in the process.
“We started developing a relationship with Openreach and at the beginning we were offering cheap calls to customers, then it was rentals, then we had dial-up and I remember the launch of ADSL and trying to get our heads round it. None of us were from that industry.
“It started evolving and something that was just the two of us suddenly turned into nearly 20 employees. However, it remains a family run business and we’ve always grown in an organic way that everyone is comfortable with.”
The company now supports a whole range of businesses but its sweet-spot is SMEs of between 25 and 100 employees. In 2008, the firm launched a franchise model creating Pink Connect offices across the UK. And the whole business is built on the purpose and values that Gisela lives her life by.
“It’s very difficult to share the ethos with everyone and not become a large corporation where you are faceless provider,” she said. “Most of the services we provide are provided by others. It might be a larger price, smaller price, but the same product.
“The difference here is the team of people. That is where we add an enormous amount of value.
“Integrity is key. The value of your word. If we commit to something, we will give it 100 per cent effort. We do what we say we will do. If we can’t, we will communicate that.
“Some businesses talk about purpose but don’t really follow it. It matters because you cannot force a staff member to have a vision. You have to share those values in a way that will align everyone with you.
“If you ask any staff member at Pink Connect, we all want the same thing. We have the same shared values and the purpose is something we create together.
“We want to be providing extraordinary service to our clients and for them to understand that nobody else will look after them like we do.
“One thing that I always say to the team is: ‘this is it’. Life is happening today, right now. What happened in the past, we can talk about it, discuss it, understand what went wrong, what went right, learn from it.
“But today is the day, in every aspect of your life. It’s no good planning to be nice to someone another time. This is it.
Married: Yes, 20 years
“Most of my staff, I see outside of work. I invite them to my house and I cook for them. We have a gathering where I either cook for them, take them out for lunch or I cook a barbeque at the office.
“You have to have that balance that you bring across every area of your life, who you are, what you stand for, what’s your purpose?
“I also care about the balance in the world, I genuinely do.”
So much so, that Gisela changed her car from an SUV to an electric vehicle because she was challenged by her son about her commitment to the environment.
On top of that, the Pinks are hosting a Ukrainian family in their home and the business has committed to giving a portion of its profits to good causes.
“Many years ago, we started speaking to the staff,” said Gisela. “We said: Pink Connect is doing well but what are we doing with that? What do we do with the profit?
“We felt that there would be no balance in the world if we were not contributing. So, we have been sponsoring 18 children through World Vision since they were born to help them build their lives.
“It’s been nearly 18 years now so they are turning into adults. They don’t know who we are but that’s not the point. We’re trying to change the world. I cannot end world hunger or injustice but I can contribute not to create it.
“We’ve donated to a project in Africa to provide clean water to children through the Rotary.
“We also realise that our own area has issues too. We spoke to the local council about homelessness in Stratford and realised that we could support. The council was paying to book people into hotels so we have stepped in and ended up buying a few houses to take people off the streets.
“I can’t stop homelessness but, again, I can try to be a part of the solution.
“We want to leave the world a better place than we found it. What else is there to do?”
Hobbies: Karate training, I’m a Second Dan. Cooking
Favourite Book: Mmm, a good police drama
Favourite Film: The Martian
Last Holiday: Fez, Morocco
Gadget: A foot massager under my desk!
I always felt like a I had to prove something, to belong. It was very intense but I enjoyed it and started training in coaching. I found it very interesting to learn what makes us human. ❜❜
David Burton, of Spencer Gardner Dickins, said: “The West Midlands investment zone could be important for our region and it would be great if we can be part of that.
“On the investment allowance, we are back to 100 per cent and, I guess, that is as good as it gets.”
Neil Curtis, of Net Visibility, said: “The returnerships plan is interesting and I’d certainly welcome incentives to bring people in their 50s and 60s into the office.”
Gavin Bates, of Smart Business Recovery, said: “It was good to hear positive news on capital allowances. I would imagine that they have staggered the increased support on childcare to give them time to get the staff to be able to offer the additional places.”
Roger Scott, of Lloyds Bank, said: “There was a great deal for those businesses who can afford to invest but I don’t believe there was a huge amount for ordinary SMEs who need to cut costs of day-to-day business.”
Sean Rose, head of policy at the Chamber, said: “It’s very welcome to hear policies designed to get more people back into the workplace but, as ever, the devil will be in the detail that emerges later.”
Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire gave a lukewarm reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a roundtable event, supported by Prime Accountants Group, at the Telegraph Hotel in Coventry to hear the views of businesses on the Chancellor’s statement.
Jeremy Hunt MP announced that the UK was expected to avoid a technical recession in 2023 before growing by 1.8 per cent in 2024. He also revealed that inflation is set to fall to 2.9 per cent by December.
He described it as a Budget for Growth and confirmed free childcare support will be widened, extended household energy assistance and revamped the amount savers can have in their pensions before being taxed, with policies aimed at increasing investment and encouraging more people back into work.
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor made all of the right noises at the beginning of the Budget as he talked about providing stability and growth.
“The Chamber has been calling for support to help businesses recruit and there were plenty of announcements
around that. In terms of enticing over-50s back into the workplace, it was high on the agenda, but whether there was actually enough in reality to get people to get back into work remains to be seen.
“The childcare support is genuinely exciting and that could be a really big deal – it’s just a real shame that it is going to be staged until 2025 because, as we know from speaking to so many firms, there is a real need now.
“There was something really important about the sentiment at the top of the budget in terms of avoiding recession and getting inflation down. That is good for confidence and it also gives businesses a little more certainty as they look to plan.
“The changes to R&D Tax Credits puts an onus on businesses to be spending 40 per cent on R&D which is a large chunk of money and won’t apply to the vast majority of firms. There’s no real encouragement for many businesses to invest in R&D based on that.
“Of course, the potential for the investment zone in the West Midlands obviously caught our attention and it’s important that Coventry and Warwickshire benefits from that.”
Steve Harcourt, of Prime Accountants Group, said: “Overall, it was a budget for the long term rather than for some of the shorter term issues. The super deduction was not maintained and we are back to a 100 per cent capital allowance. There wasn’t much in there to encourage businesses to invest in green tech although there were big announcements around carbon capture.”
Paislei Godley, of Prime Accountants Group, said: “It wasn’t very exciting from a tax point of view but we will need to see the full detail on capital allowances and R&D tax credits to see what impact they will have.”
Kate Hunter, of Bear Cleaning & Waste Management, said: “From a confidence point of view, it was positive to hear that there will be no technical recession. It’s a big sigh of relief for businesses. We were also pleased that fuel duty has been frozen, that is good news for our business.”
Olivia Parrish, of Leap People Solutions, said: “The childcare support is welcome but the fact that it’s not coming in fully until 2025 is a shame. There was a real emphasis on how much this would help women get back into work and, in my view, there has to be a culture shift around that and a change in thinking around shared parental leave that just isn’t working.”
More needs to be done to help get the UK economy growing after new figures show it continues to ‘flatline’.
The ONS’s latest GDP figures show zero growth for February and falls in line with forecasts that the economy will drop by 0.3 per cent across 2023.
Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The latest figures come as no surprise and reflect the national picture that economic growth is going to remain stagnant.
“There are some fundamental drags on growth that are impacting businesses across all sectors, such as high energy prices, inflation and a recruitment crisis to name but a few.
“It’s vitally important that these issues are tackled to allow companies across Coventry and Warwickshire to flourish.
“On top of that, we would like to see much more emphasis, support and encouragement for overseas trade as this is a massive driver for domestic, economic growth.
“And, as ever, we’d encourage firms who need support with their growth plans to get in touch with the Chamber and ask for help.”
Reacting to the ONS GDP figures for February, David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Although today's GDP figures indicate the UK economy continues to technically avoid a recession, it’s now clear we are stuck in a prolonged period of almost no growth.
“After a sharp drop in business confidence last year, our latest research shows that optimism among SMEs is now on the way up. But this is yet to translate into an improvement to business conditions in general.
“The BCC expects GDP to contract overall by 0.3 per cent in 2023, a view echoed by the IMF forecast in their World Economic Outlook published earlier this week.
“The business environment needs to improve quickly to ensure confidence doesn't fall back to the levels we saw last year. While last month’s Budget included several positive measures for the economy, it did not go far enough to shift the dial on growth which remains stubbornly low.
“The Government has not addressed some of the major issues holding firms back, such as the unprecedented energy price shock and record tightness in the labour market. Following the attention being given to the Windsor Framework by world leaders this week, global trade also needs to be a core priority.
"UK exporters have faced major administrative costs since the introduction of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU and the focus must now be on ensuring the new customs and paperwork arrangements work smoothly for businesses both side of the Irish Sea.”
“We will continue to speak out on those many issues but, also, offer our support directly to businesses who are looking to grow and seek new opportunities.
“It’s vitally important that the Government really starts to break down the barriers to international trade for businesses as this was one area of the survey that was particularly downbeat. Firms that export give themselves a greater chance of growing and that, in turn, has a positive knock-on effect for the regional and national economy.”
The economic outlook for Coventry and Warwickshire has improved since the start of the year according to the latest survey of businesses in the region.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) shows a small uptick in the potential performance of the regional economy based on businesses’ current and future orders, their plans to invest and take on new staff and their overall confidence.
The survey, which is delivered in partnership with Prime Accountants Group, is analysed by the Economy & Skills Group at Warwickshire County Council. Its analysis uses a similar score to the national Markits Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) where 50 is neutral, anything above is positive and anything below means the reverse.
The survey showed an uplift in domestic sales in both the service and manufacturing sectors with a score of 60.2 in manufacturing, up from 58.8, and a score of 57.9 in the service sector, up from 52.0.
Overseas sales were, however, down and are below the all-important 50-mark in services and manufacturing.
When it comes to employment, there are clearly strong intentions to increase headcount among businesses in the region while cashflow issues appear to have eased slightly.
Confidence in the service sector rose from 55.5 to 59.2 and in manufacturing it jumped from 65.0 to 69.6 leaving an overall economic outlook score of 55.3.
Corin Crane, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire are, once again, proving to be incredibly resilient when faced with tough trading conditions. We’ve seen from the most recent GDP figures that the economy remains quite flat and, yet, our region continues to buck the trend.
“There are all sorts of issues that businesses are facing across our region, including high energy prices, inflation, rising interest rates and recruitment problems, but they continue to innovate and find ways to grow.
Steve Harcourt, director of Prime Accountants Group, said: “The labour market has proved to be very robust over the past three years. The huge concern when Covid first hit was that it would send unemployment spiralling and, yet, here we are three years on and the reverse is true and it is actually a case of businesses not being able to find the staff to help them grow.
“So, while the sentiment within the QES is positive around employment and recruitment, it remains to be seen whether those businesses that want to take on people and grow will be able to do so due to the very tight labour market.”
Sue Robinson, business intelligence lead at Warwickshire County Council, said: “It is great to see that there is such confidence among companies across the county and the city, particularly when there is such uncertainty in the national and global economies.
“This remains a great place to start and grow a business –in any sector – and that is why we are seeing such a positive response to the QES in Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Overall, 55.3, up from 52.9
Service Sector 54.3, up from 51.6.
Manufacturing Sector 60.6, up from 57.7.
Service Sector 57.9, up from 52.0.
Manufacturing Sector 60.2, up from 58.8
Service Sector 45.0, down from 45.6.
Manufacturing Sector 48.5, down from 54.9.
Service Sector 56.4, down from 57.4
Manufacturing Sector 65.9, up from 59.8.
Investment & Cashflow
Service Sector 49.4, up from 45.9.
Manufacturing Sector 53.8, up from 49.4.
Service Sector 59.2, up from 55.5.
Manufacturing Sector 69.6, up from 65.0.
The labour market remains tight and is dragging on economic growth, says the Chamber.
The latest figures from the ONS showed that the unemployment rate has crept to 3.8 per cent but that there are still more than one million job vacancies in the UK economy.
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “There will be some concern that the unemployment rate has risen slightly but the biggest issue for the economy is having more than one million vacancies that are not being filled.
“I’ve never known a time like it where we have businesses saying that they have orders and they have demand but they cannot get the people to fill those posts. It is affecting economic growth regionally and nationally.
“The Chamber has been making the case on this matter for months and
we are also working regionally on the Local Skills Improvement Plan for the West Midlands with fellow Chambers across the area.
“It is absolutely fundamental that we solve this in the long term but, equally, there is a short-term crisis that needs to be fixed.”
Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Government needs to fix the people problem in the economy if it is to have any hope of boosting growth.
“But despite the latest fall of 47,000 in overall vacancies, the total number is still well over 1m.
“These unfilled jobs are a drag anchor on firms, preventing them from fulfilling orders and taking on new work. People shortages are also, inevitably, feeding into upward pressure on wage demands, as seen by private sector pay growth of 6.9%. This remains a big concern for the Bank of England and a
chief reason for the continuing rise in interest rates.
“The Government and employers need to work together to shift the dynamics on vacancies. While employers can do more to make workplaces more accessible and flexible, the Government must quickly put in place its Spring Budget childcare reforms.
“It also needs to make sure there is enough high-quality supply to meet demand, and that people are supported back into work.
“When firms cannot recruit and train from the local labour market, and where national shortages are crippling sectors of the economy, they must have access to skills and labour from outside the UK. We need a pragmatic approach to immigration policy - that ensures the Shortage Occupations List accurately reflects the reality on the ground.”
A representative from the Bank of England has told businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire that the unemployment rate is unlikely to increase in the second quarter of 2023.
Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s Agent in the West Midlands, met members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on a virtual roundtable to update firms on the economy and to hear how firms in the region are faring.
He heard from a range of companies on their prospects for growth, cost rises, and recruitment and retention of staff to help inform the decision making of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.
Graeme said the UK economy has been subject to a sequence of very large and overlapping shocks but monetary policy will ensure that inflation will return to the two per cent CPI target sustainably in the medium term.
He said: “The UK is currently experiencing high CPI inflation, a tight labour market and subdued GDP growth.
“Global growth is expected to be stronger than we projected back in February and consumer price inflation in advanced economies has remained elevated. However, wholesale gas futures and oil prices have fallen materially.
“UK economic activity is likely to have been broadly flat around the turn of the year, but is now expected to increase slightly in the second quarter. CPI inflation is expected to fall significantly in the second quarter of 2023.
“Meetings such as this with the Chamber of Commerce are vital because they give the Bank a real, first-hand insight into how businesses on the ground are feeling.”
Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is always great to meet Graeme from the Bank of England as he offers members up to the minute intelligence on the economy and the latest information from the Bank.
“It’s also an ideal opportunity for businesses to explain the issues they are facing and talk about their own prospects for the months ahead.
“The details from the individual companies remains anonymous so they can talk openly and candidly to give Graeme the most accurate insight.”
Bob’s personal approach to delivering professional advice is one he inspires by example in colleagues. “As an advisor, your strength is to be a listener first,” he reveals. “A client often doesn’t know what the problem is or what they need. We help clients identify that, then offer strategies to help them achieve balance.”
Alongside his passion for resolving clients’ finances, Bob applies the same instinctive approach in his trainees. “It’s a prize every time you watch someone you’ve brought on board succeed and seeing what they become,” he smiles. “You see people with hidden strengths who lack confidence; as a team leader, you give them that confidence.”
Not only does Bob inspire others during work hours, he also sets an example when off the clock. Later this year, Bob is taking on the mammoth task of cycling from London to Paris to raise money for charity.
If you found yourself marooned in the middle of the ocean, financial advice is probably the last thing you’d be looking for. So, it must be his leadership qualities that make Bob Massey the number one choice for colleagues to be stranded alongside on a desert island. The same qualities which have seen him play a key role in changing the face of financial services over the last 40 years.
A director of CTT Group since 2003, Bob specialises in the field of taxation and trusts. With 40 years’ experience as an IFA and Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) (for which he recently received a Chamber of Commerce special recognition award), he’s perfectly placed at the helm of CTT’s Private Client, advising the group’s high-net-worth clients.
Bob’s natural leadership qualities first came to the fore on the school rugby pitch. “Rugby was important to me early on,” he recalls. “Captaining senior rugby from age 17, I was used to helping, guiding, and managing people who were older than me. I found my relationship with older clients, and providing them with financial advice, came easy,” he says.
Within seven years of launching his career as an FA, Bob became the youngest ever branch manager of
Legal and General, aged 29. But despite his early career success, Bob was keen to forge his own path. “The best decision was leaving Legal and General and setting up on my own,” he asserts. “I enjoyed teaching people, but I always wanted direct contact with clients. That’s what I enjoy and find most rewarding.”
It was his desire to work more closely with clients that led Bob to set up CTT Group alongside fellow director and rugby pal Clive Ponder in 2003.
Their shared goal was to establish a holistic, private practice that smooths the way to better financial and estate planning support for clients. Twenty
years on, CTT is a nationally recognised centre of excellence providing support to both private clients and the professional advisor community. “For professionals who don’t have internal expertise in the area, we provide that expertise,” Bob explains. “We go in and become a multidisciplinary partner.”
An extension of CTT’s professional service offering is the group’s innovative Legacy software – a pioneering business solution for those in the will-writing and estate-planning sector. “The driving force behind CTT is improvement. There's always another step ahead that improves your services, whether that's B2B or B2C,” says Bob.
A 40-year career doesn’t come without its challenges, but Bob welcomes these as opportunities for development. “We have a duty to clients – they expect a level of service – and we exceed that where we can. The biggest frustration is finding you’re not meeting client expectations,” he reveals.
“It’s easy to get pushed in a different direction – personally and for the business, but if you see that happening you bring it back to what you intended – providing great service for clients and a great environment for the people you work with,” he says.
“I’ve learnt to make any decision in any circumstance for the right reason. You’re here for a good time, not long time,” he laughs, “So make decisions that are going to benefit your family, friends, and clients. Decide what journey you’re on and be consistent in what you do, then you’ll be happy.”
• Which leader, past or present, has most inspired you? Sean Fitzpatrick
• What is the one piece of business advice you have most valued? Plan to succeed and then execute the plan.
• What one word would describe your leadership style? Encouraging
• What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? First, be a good listener before you make assumptions and decisions.
• What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today? There’s so much time spent doing and little time to reflect.
There’s no single, “off the shelf” approach when it comes to wealth planning and management. What works for one individual may be counterintuitive for another. Your financial aims are as unique as your vision for what lies ahead – for your family, your business, and your own personal goals.
That's why the dedicated team at CTT Private Client takes the time to get to know you and provide a holistic, consultative approach to wealth and estate planning.
Thanks to the team’s diverse skillset, you can draw upon their STEP-qualified estate planning and regulated financial advice without being passed from pillar to post.
CTT Private Client pride themselves on being a centre of excellence, providing an advanced and personal service based on trust and integrity. Their advisors are passionate about supporting their clients’ current business plans and nurturing their future aspirations.
The extent of the team’s collective expertise in pensions and investments, trust management, independent financial advice, IHT planning, and business succession allows CTT Private Client to offer tailored advice and a comprehensive service.
With the assistance of partners such as CTT Law and CTT Accountancy, Private Client is also able to handle more complex legal and accounting issues such as business and property sales.
Here, you’ll find everything you need to take care of your business and personal finances, and your estate, all under one roof.
More than just business advice, CTT Private Client focuses on providing carefully curated solutions to support business growth.
Whether you’re looking for ways to mitigate taxes, maximise investments, or secure a new path for business growth, Private Clients' highly qualified, experienced team offers professional business advice with a personal touch.
Hard work and dedication have enabled you to build up a sound business to benefit you and your family. But what plans do you have for it once you retire? What if you were to die suddenly? Effective succession planning can help alleviate any worries you may have for the future of your business.
Private Client can provide you with a comprehensive succussion plan that considers your personal circumstances to best serve the business and its beneficiaries when you retire from the workplace or in the event of your passing.
You’ve worked hard to build your assets and a life you love, but what will it take to secure the future you dream of for you and your family, now and in generations to come?
CTT PRIVATE CLIENT specialises in solving complex problems and providing bespoke financial and estate planning advice.
Their elite team of advisors find tailored solutions to protect your savings, investments, and business, and ensure your retirement is comfortable and your legacy assured.
The impact of the cost-of-living crisis has affected many of our lives. Predictably, the consequences for the groups that we support have been even more significant.
the crisis is set to continue, the support for our diverse groups is needed more than ever.
KEEPING PRINT LOCAL
Founded on happy customers, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Here to help
The City of Coventry Freemen's Guild has great pleasure in announcing that once again it is looking for outstanding young people to honour in its’ Apprentice of the Year Awards 2023.
The purpose of the Guild Awards is to celebrate the achievements of local young people who are either apprentices or trainees and who are currently undertaking a contracted training programme linked to a recognised career path.
Nominees do not have to be in the final year of their apprenticeship/training scheme.
This year we are looking for two Apprentices of the Year – one in the small/medium employer category (up to 200 employees), and one in the large employer category (over 200 employees).
There will be a maximum of three finalists for each award who will be selected from the total number of applications submitted to the Guild by the closing date of Monday 21st August 2023.
The finalists will then be invited to meet a panel of judges on Tuesday 12th September 2023 who will select the apprentices who in their opinion qualify for the titles of Apprentice of the Year 2023.
In addition, the judges have the option to award The Endeavour Award to a candidate they consider has overcome some considerable difficulty in their life and/or has gone the extra mile to help others.
The Awards dinner will be held at St Mary’s Guildhall on Tuesday 26th September 2023 when the winners of this year’s competition will be announced. The awards will be presented by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, who is also President of the Guild.
The Apprentices of the Year will each receive a cheque for £1000 plus a trophy.
In addition, the companies/organisations that sponsor the winners and the training providers will also receive a trophy.
The Endeavour Award winner and remaining finalists will receive a trophy and a cheque for £100.
The application form and entry criteria (including tips for completing the form) are available from email@example.com. Further information about the Guild and awards, including downloads for the entry criteria and application form can be found at www.coventryfreemensguild.wordpress.com
We would also be grateful if you would use your networks to circulate this information as widely as possible.
We look forward to receiving your applications for these prestigious awards.
City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild www.coventryfreemensguild.wordpress.com
MES Systems in Nuneaton is celebrating 35 years protecting the region’s businesses and organisations – and is now ready to build new relationships in the coming year.
The company, which installs and maintains a wide selection of fire and security products for commercial as well as domestic customers, is a far cry from the firm Andy Morgan started in 1988 as a young electrical contractor. Today, the SSAIB-approved company counts schools and colleges, councils, retailers such as Aldi, housebuilders, and leisure venues, including Twycross Zoo, among its customers.
They also look after many SMEs and global companies, including supply chain specialist GEFCO, which recently had MES Systems install a complex biometric access control
system at its 220,000 sqft logistics centre in Coventry.
Despite its growth, however, the company remains true to the values of a family-run firm, according to Andy’s son Richard Morgan, now managing director.
“In 35 years, over 96% of our work has been repeat business or referral-based and we are incredibly proud of the trust customers have in us,” he said.
“It’s the added care they appreciate, like working flexibly outside retailers' operational hours to reduce downtime.
“We also allocate engineers to specific jobs so there is always continuity for customers.”
MES Systems, a finalist in the national Fire and Security Matters Awards in June and
accredited by the Good Business Charter, also heavily supports the community.
“We upgraded Nuneaton Town FC’s CCTV system for free and are a Myton Hospices corporate supporter, looking after their Coventry, Warwick and Rugby hospices,” said Richard. “In fact, we are taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for the charity this year.
“Our employees can also take one day a year, fully paid, to carry out volunteering or take part in a community benefiting activity as part of our Thrive at Work accreditation.
“As we celebrate our 35th anniversary, we want to thank our customers and our team for making our company what it is today.”
MES currently have opportunities to join their service team, to find out more visit the careers page on the website. For more information visit www.mes-systems.co.uk
To sponsor the team in the Three Peaks Challenge, visit the MES Systems page at JustGiving. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/messystemsltd
A ground-breaking agreement has been signed between the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the Herefordshirebased New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering, leading the way to regional partnership and industrial and educational growth.
The agreement, signed by the CEOs of both organisations, marks a collaboration that will build on the strengths of each – the advanced technologies of the MTC and the academic
quality and distinctiveness of NMITE, providing its students with hands-on access to the latest in manufacturing equipment and techniques. The MTC@NMITE will also work with local businesses in transferring and adopting knowledge to boost manufacturing productivity and sustainability.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The partnership with NMITE will complement the MTC’s existing training offering, which offers professional qualifications up to post-graduate level to redress skills gaps in the high value manufacturing sector. NMITE offers a breakthrough, interdisciplinary model of
higher education which equips students with the diverse and creative problem-solving skills needed in an ever-changing world.
MTC chief executive, Dr Clive Hickman said: “We look forward to building a relationship with James Newby and his team at NMITE and exploring the synergies between our two organisations. Our discussions to date have led us to believe that there are a number of opportunities that will be achieved through our complementary skills that will be of benefit to all parties, our regions and the communities in which we work, both in terms of the manufacturing sector and the small and medium businesses which are very much at its heart.”
James Newby, CEO of NMITE, said: “By working with the expert teams at the MTC, we will be able to accelerate the
progress of our new Centre for Automated Manufacturing and our work in supporting the development of skills and productivity in our region. The MTC@NMITE brings together two organisations driving innovation in technology, higher education, sustainability and skills and we are looking forward to building our partnership further; the future is exciting.”
The MTC@NMITE is part of NMITE's Centre for Automated Manufacturing (CAM), which was founded to boost regional productivity in the manufacturing sector, and to impart the skills required for the delivery of Industry 4.0. CAM’s mission is to support the growth of a modern, productive, sustainable and competitive regional manufacturing industry which will be achieved through offers for parttime, full-time, and professional education learners, as well as degree apprentices.
Here are some questions parties commonly raise with our team here at Askews Legal LLP.
What is a divorce financial settlement?
A financial settlement sets out how matrimonial property, (any assets or income acquired during the marriage and sometimes prior to the marriage), will be divided when a couple divorce or dissolve their civil partnership. In many cases, the financial settlement is agreed between the parties, or via Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods such as, round table negotiation or mediation. Where a dispute cannot be resolved, going to court to obtain a Financial Remedy Order is the only way to achieve a resolution.
Is a financial settlement agreed between the parties legally binding?
If parties to a divorce or civil partnership negotiate the division of matrimonial property and assets between themselves, their family lawyers can draft a Consent Order (a Financial Remedy Order made by agreement) which sets out the agreed terms. Both parties would sign the document and it
would be submitted to the court for a judge to approve. If approved, it will become legally binding and the parties must comply with the terms agreed.
When evaluating whether the division of property and assets under a Consent Order is fair, the court must consider the factors under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. These include the:
• Resources available to both parties, both now and in the future.
• Needs of both parties and, most importantly, of any children.
• Length and duration of the marriage.
• Standard of living enjoyed by the parties.
• Contributions of each party (financial and non-financial).
• Conduct of the parties.
• Benefits lost by either party because of the divorce.
What if I think my spouse is hiding assets?
Both parties have a duty to make full and frank financial disclosure of all assets,
income, and liabilities. In court proceedings this is achieved through completing Form E (Financial Statement). Form E can also be used when parties are trying to reach agreement without court proceedings and if attending mediation, the mediator will require financial disclosure.
This is important because until the assets and their value have been identified, it is impossible to consider how they should be shared.
If, having exchanged financial disclosure, you have suspicions that your spouse is concealing or disposing of assets to avoid them becoming part of the settlement, inform your family lawyer immediately. Will I get spousal maintenance?
This is entirely dependent upon individual circumstances. If you are the economically weaker party and your spouse has sufficient income to make payments to you, you may be able to negotiate or secure an award from the court for Spousal Maintenance.
The court can order one party to pay Spousal Maintenance to the other for as long as it thinks fit, subject to the death of either
party or the remarriage or civil partnership of the receiving party but will usually make a spousal maintenance order time limited. This is commonly five years as this is considered a sufficient length of time for the receiving party to place themselves in a financially independent position. This depends upon individual circumstances.
To talk to our family lawyers at Askews Legal LLP, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.
We are a family run business based in Coventry. We supply very good quality line marking paints and associated products. Our range is simple and easy to understand and extremely competitive prices. We supply nationwide and international as well. Our products range includes our best seller – solvent based acrylic, single pack epoxy,
primer and thinner. We also supply anti-slip aggregates and other associated products. The colours we stock are white, yellow, black, red, blue and green.
We offer next day delivery to our customer’s warehouse, or we can deliver to site as well.
We have our own van for more local
Are you looking to make your business even better?
Do you want your employees to be more engaged and motivated?
Multiply Coaching has worked with many large and small companies over the years, including businesses that are just starting and those that have been running for centuries.
At Multiply Coaching we provide a wealth of business and team tools to help your organisation thrive and grow, including:
Accredited business coaching to help you achieve objectives. Many businesses now provide coaching for all their staff, not just CEOs, as they recognise the value of helping staff set and reach goals and become more engaged in their work.
Accredited conflict mediation and training to help bring better solutions in difficult situations. Conflict costs businesses around £1,000 per employee per year. Training for you and your staff in how to de-escalate and deal with conflict in a productive manner can save money, stress and time.
Certified in Gallup strength psychology based development to help your team work brilliantly together, understand each other and increase engagement. Gallup research has found that strength psychology based development creates up to:
19% increased sales
29% increased profit
7% higher customer engagement
15% increase in engaged employees
If you would like to increase engagement and productivity of your business, why not contact us?
We cater for your training needs, delivering half day, full day or week long courses, providing professional development for you and your employees. Topics covered include: successful conflict management, the ideal team player, developing a coaching culture and creating a more inclusive environment.
One of the popular services provided is personalised strength psychology profiling with coaching and team training for all employees. Working alongside leaders to support team success and developing people to work cohesively together to achieve that success, based on personal strengths.
Feedback from Multiply Coaching sessions includes:
I learned where I fit in and add value - it was all so good!
In all the years I’ve done this kind of profiling tool, both in corporate and personal settings, this is, by far, the most accurate profile I have ever seen.
I think this training would help everyone especially those working in a team.
I learned about other people’s strengths and how we can draw on each other’s skills in future tasks.
If you would like to Multiply your impact, contact us: email@example.com or visit our website: multiplycoaching.com
We can achieve incredible transformation by harnessing the power of our minds - removing fears, self limiting beliefs and behaviours, promoting a positive mindset and building confidence. Transitioning to a life where we can be free of limitations, have a sense of purpose, calm and balance - enjoy each day rather than just getting through it and fulfilling our potential.
The mission for Mind Warrior Coaching is to facilitate big changes through empowerment.Lisa Cressy Mindset Coach and Hypnotherapist
Founder Mind Warrior Coaching
Tel: 07494 046642
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.mindwarrior.co.uk
All packages, single sessions or workshops EMPOWER you to be FREE from your limitations, make CHANGES in your life and reset back to your NATURAL state of calm and innate WELLNESS promoting positivity and balance.
All services are bespoke to your specific needs using a variety of approaches including Mindset and Life Coaching, Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Positive Psychology techniques.
MES Systems are the chambers leading SSAIB accredited provider of fire and security systems to homes, schools and businesses in the Midlands. With 35 years of knowledge, expertise and passion for the fire and security industry, the MES team can set you up with a state-of-the-art system to keep your business safe and sound.
We design, supply, install and maintain a variety of security systems, so if you are looking for intruder alarms, CCTV, automatic gates, or fire protection, we can put together the perfect package to suit your needs.
For a service that is second to none and after-sales care that is the envy of the industry, contact MES Systems now.
MES Systems Ltd Unit 1, Watling Court, Ptarmigan Place, Nuneaton, CV11 6GX
My mission is to empower you to create a happier and healthier life - becoming the best version of yourself, aligned with your life's purpose - your Super Self!
The report says: "Apprentices benefit from a wide-ranging, rich set of opportunities to extend their interests and talents. They gain an in-depth insight into the career opportunities that exist in engineering. Apprentices work in teams to produce innovative designs and manufacture home or garden devices to improve everyday life. As a result, apprentices extend their insights into science, technology, engineering and mathematics."
David Grailey, MTC Training managing director, said he was delighted with the outcome of the inspection.
Charity challenges public to help save West Midlands’s wildlife-rich canals
People in the West Midlands are being challenged to take to the towpaths over the course of June to raise money to protect the nation’s historic canal network, home to some of the UK’s much-loved and endangered wildlife.
MTC Training's staff, learners and partners are celebrating the success of the organisation's first full Ofsted visit. The skills provider, which seeds the UK manufacturing industry with future-proof engineering skills through bespoke specialist training programmes, secured an overall rating of "Good" with "Outstanding" grades for Personal Development and Behaviours and Attitudes.
The inspection took place across MTC Training's two centres - the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre in Coventry, and Oxfordshire Advanced Skills in Culham. Inspectors rigorously examined the training centres against Ofsted's categories - the quality of the apprenticeship and education provision, the ability to develop positive behaviour and attitudes, the facilitation of enrichment and personal development
activities, and the overall leadership and management of the programme.
Ofsted was particularly impressed by the demeanour shown by apprentices, granting the centre the top grade of "Outstanding" for behaviour and attitudes.
The published report says: “Apprentices work effectively in a culture of high expectations and professionalism fostered by their trainers. Apprentices demonstrate very positive attitudes towards their learning, and their attendance and punctuality are very high. Apprentices demonstrate a robust understanding of how to stay safe when working in the workshops at MTC Training."
Ofsted also said that the centre's bespoke curriculum cultivates responsible and committed individuals with high levels of personal skills, again awarding MTC Training the top grade of "Outstanding" for personal development.
“The report really highlights the dedication of our staff, the development of our apprentices and the quality of our facilities, demonstrating the efficacy of the apprenticeship programme we have built for learners over the last seven years,” he said.
"The overall 'Good' grading is assurance that MTC Training is a safe and exciting space for learners to start an engineering career, as well as a rewarding environment to train the next generation. Later this year, we will have the capacity to deliver even more advanced manufacturing apprenticeships with our partners Lloyds Bank and the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and we will also extend our offering to MTC Liverpool."
MTC Training is now looking to strengthen its training provision and boost its ability to provide UK manufacturing industry with more highly skilled workers. As an employer, MTC Training provides a number of benefits including competitive salary and pension, support with professional development and Vitality Health Insurance. Live vacancies can be found on the MTC website.
A new course helping improve adults’ confidence around numeracy while also teaching practical life skills was officially launched at Metropolis, Coventry’s only training restaurant.
Local business leaders and funding partners were invited to the launch of the ‘Multiply - Warwickshire Counts’ programme, run by national training provider PET-Xi on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.
The government’s Multiply programme is being delivered by PET-Xi to residents across Warwickshire and aims to help a dults who do not have a GCSE at Grade C or equivalent in maths and want to improve their confidence and understanding in the subject.
The cohort of students took part in a live session of the programme’s ‘Cooking Counts’ module which covers the basics of budgeting, working out a basic spend, food prep and planning ingredients out, all of which are designed to put their numeracy skills into practice.
They also took part in a Q&A where they spoke fondly of the difference the course has already made to their confidence in maths, and how much more focused the teaching is compared to their time at school. Attendees also enjoyed a buffet and drinks prepared by the Metropolis team, who themselves are trainees working alongside professionals, learning every aspect of the hospitality industry.
Julie London, maths tutor at PET-Xi, said: “There are a lot of people in the UK who struggled with maths at school and as such have a lot of anxiety around these skills in adult life.
“Most of the time, the issue is down to the teaching they had rather than because of the individual. What Warwickshire Counts aims to do is to break down basic concepts like calculations, fractions, and measures into practical, relatable problems that people can understand.”
Students taking the courses have an initial assessment to determine their ability in maths, before undergoing guided learning with the help of PET-Xi tutors, who tailor the course depending on their skills.
They then take an assessment at the end of the course and earn either a Level 1 or 2 qualification.
Leia Welland, Head of Skills at PET-Xi, said: “Having basic maths skills is so important in most career paths, but there are many adults who are unable to access employment opportunities because they don’t have relevant qualifications.
“Multiply gives people the foundations they need to boost their confidence in numeracy and support them into the career they aspire to.
“We were really proud to promote the benefits of Multiply at Metropolis and seeing our trainees talk so fondly about the course and the impact it has had.”
Claire Williams, Multiply Programme Manager at Warwickshire County Council, added: “The skills gap is something Warwickshire needs to address, and courses like Warwickshire Counts are a brilliant way of doing this.”
Multiply - Warwickshire Counts is available to anyone aged 19 or over and living in Warwickshire who does not have a grade C in maths at GCSE or equivalent. Anyone wishing to apply should contact Kerri Bowers via email at: email@example.com
The Canal & River Trust, the charity which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales, is asking people to take part in a ‘Canalathon’ raising funds as they walk or run the distance of a marathon (26.2 miles) along their local canal towpath across the month.
Almost nine million people live less than a mile from one of the Canal & River Trust’s waterways, making them popular and accessible places to exercise. But the West Midlands ageing canals are under threat, with costly repairs required to keep them open for the communities who enjoy them and for the wildlife that depends on them. There are lots of ways to get involved in the Canalathon. Participants can walk or run the 26.2 miles all in one go or in bite-sized chunks, working at a pace that suits them, over the course of a month. The challenge can be completed solo or in a team of family, friends, or colleagues. Participants will receive limited-edition Canalathon shoelaces when they get their first donation and a free branded running vest when they reach £100 on their fundraising page.
Maggie Gardner, fundraising director at Canal & River Trust, said: “Our canals and rivers are on the doorsteps of nine million people, offering somewhere for us to live, relax, get active, spend time together and get close to nature. But these special places, many dating back 250 years, need our support if they are going to survive. Taking part in the Canalathon is a fantastic way to raise important funds to keep our canals free and accessible for us all to use and enjoy and help nature flourish in the hearts of West Midlands towns and cities.”
Paul Steele, ambassador for Canal & River Trust and Canalathon participant, said: “The Canal & River Trust’s vital work repairing centuries-old locks, bridges, tunnels and aqueducts means that millions of people can live healthier lives, with research showing that spending time by water really can make people feel happier and healthier. The Canalathon gives us all the chance to discover the waterways, clear our heads and find our inner calm, as well as raising money so future generations can continue to enjoy these benefits. I’m going to be taking part in the Canalathon and it would be great to see as many people as possible joining me in the challenge.”
People can sign up to the challenge on the Canal & River Trust website canalrivertrust.org.uk/canalathon then create a Just Giving page and track their miles through Strava.
More details about how the Canal & River Trust works to make life better by water can be found at canalrivertrust.org.uk
An event management specialist based in Coventry has won a major UK distribution deal for a security measure used to protect high-profile sites ranging from military bases to Premier League stadia.
Stadium has secured the UK distribution rights for Israel-based Mifram Security, with the deal including the leading modular barrier system, MVB 3X, as well as some new innovative products that are about to hit the market.
MVB 3X is used across the world to protect a variety of facilities, stadiums, festivals, events, military bases, hospitals and more, and has been rolled out at major Premier League football clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and world events such as New York’s Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The barriers have an innovative and unique design which means it can be assembled and dismantled by one person in just 10 minutes without the need for tools and is capable of stopping trucks weighing up to 7.5 tonnes and travelling at speeds of up to 40mph.
Stadium’s new UK partnership with Mifram comes at a time when the Government is cranking up legislation to keep people safe from the threat of terrorist attacks, with new rules on Protect Duty expected to be approved this year.
Known as Martyn's Law – in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017 –Protect Duty will create a statutory duty for the owners and operators of publicly accessible locations to take proportionate measures to protect the public from terror attacks.
Carl Taylor, Director of Stadium, said: “This is a key year for the security sector and for many businesses across the country as Protect Duty will require venues and events accessible to the public to draw up plans to prevent terrorist attacks and keep the public safe.
“We’ve seen the demand for hostile vehicle mitigation has risen substantially in the past 12 months as many businesses and local authorities are now starting to prepare for the new rules, so we’re really pleased to work with Mifram to help distribute across the UK and meet growing demand. The deal includes both the sale of Mifram products as well as rentalbased services.
“The MVB 3X is a product we know very well having previously used it as part of our own roster, where it was recently used to secure three major concerts at Anfield in Liverpool last year, the London Marathon, and 2023 St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland.
“It ticks the box for so many given it requires minimum effort to install and provides maximum protection, so it’s unique in that regard.”
The PAS68 approved measure weighs only 24kg per unit and folds for easy carrying, with Stadium offering a free demo at its offices in Coventry. Stadium was formed in 2009 and provides traffic management, event services and training, as well as rental of security barriers, the hiring of stewards and Security Industry Authority (SIA) security staff for events.
The firm supports events ranging from the Olympic Games to Premier League football matches, and sell-out concerts to high-profile conferences.
More than 2,000 innovative Safetyflex anti-terrorist bollards have now been installed in the heart of Melbourne, Australia, as part of a local government scheme launched in response to a fatal vehicle attack.
Coventry-based Safetyflex Barriers has installed its spring steel bollard system across the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) with the help of its Australian distributer Ezi Security Systems.
The city was rocked by a vehicle attack in January 2017 when a car was deliberately driven into pedestrians along Bourke Street, killing six people and leaving 27 seriously injured.
In the aftermath, a AUS$52.5 million security upgrade at Melbourne's busiest and most prominent pedestrian sites was commissioned by The City of Melbourne, with hostile vehicle mitigation predominantly featuring Safetyflex’s advanced spring steel bollards.
More than 2,000 of the slimline bollards have now been installed across key sites within the CBD, in addition to further sites in Australia, helping to keep high-risk crowded places safe from the threat of vehicle attacks.
Marcus Gerrard, director at Safetyflex Barriers, said: “Our patented anti-terrorist bollard system has been game-changing, providing unprecedented crash test certified performance in an attractive, slimline design. We are the only company in the world to use this type of technology in anti-terrorist bollards and crash rated street furniture.
“The unique thing about our bollards is they only require shallow foundations around 200mm deep, which is key in helping cities such as Melbourne navigate around in-ground obstructions, whilst still providing high-level security systems.
“The installation of the 2,000th spring steel bollard is of great satisfaction and pride, and reflects our strong experience and expertise in securing busy cities and centres worldwide. Our bollards will help ensure the safety of residents and visitors to Melbourne and Australia for years to come.”
The spring steel technology means the bollards can be installed in fixed, removable or retractable versions, while the elegant stainless-steel shrouds are also fitted
with reflective bands to provide night-time visibility.
The bollards have already proved their worth in stopping vehicle attacks, when in 2021 a stolen car fleeing police in Melbourne CBD was halted in its tracks by a Safetyflex bollard before the drivers could inflict any damage.
Pedestrians were able to retreat to the protection offered by the line of Safetyflex bollards, ensuring nobody was hurt. Safetyflex has now become one of the biggest suppliers of anti-terrorist bollards in Australia, protecting high-profile locations in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney from the threat of vehicle attacks.
business Bruce Wallace Associates is joining West Midlands full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau as part of a shared growth strategy.
The union will see Bruce Wallace Associates’ team of five, including its two directors Susan Wallace and Martha Bruce, take on the Shakespeare Martineau brand – bringing the team to more than 13.
The CoSec team at Shakespeare Martineau provides specialist corporate governance advice and company secretarial services to public companies listed on AIM, AQSE and the main market as well as several large private groups. In financial year 21/22, the team achieved 25% organic growth, with a similar trajectory for this financial year and ambitious targets for 23/24.
Bruce Wallace Associates co-founders Martha Bruce and Susan Wallace are both Fellows of the Chartered Governance Institute and are regarded as
experts in their field. Martha and Susan provide complex advice and support to AIM and main market-listed companies, as well as FCA-regulated and groups of companies. They also regularly contribute to a number of company secretarial and governance technical publications.
Also moving to Shakespeare Martineau, which has hubs in Birmingham, Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon, are Chloe Higgins and Susan Tudor-
Coulson, both associates of the CGI, and Hollie Watkins, who is responsible for the compliance and statutory filing obligations for clients.
Susan Wallace said: “Martha and I believe this is an excellent move for us and our clients, who will benefit from continuity of service and the 1,200-strong team of experts available across Shakespeare Martineau and the Ampa group. We are keen to grow our team and client base, and the infrastructure
Shakespeare Martineau offers will enable us to do just that.
“We were also attracted to Shakespeare Martineau’s empowered working principles –focused on delivery and service instead of strict working hours, which is hugely important to our team. Martha and I set up Bruce Wallace Associates in 2012 from our homes and we have continued to work remotely and build a team of professional staff to support us.”
Ben Harber, head of CoSec at Shakespeare Martineau, said:
“We are thrilled to have Bruce Wallace Associates joining our team; not only do they have an impeccable reputation, excellent networks and share multiple service synergies with us, but they also share our values and ethos to provide the highest standard of company secretarial and corporate governance advisory services to their clients.”
Shakespeare Martineau is proactively looking to recruit lateral hires and teams.
The team at the management consultancy got their walking shoes on in the month of March!
Leamington Spa-based Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Compliance Management Consultancy WA Management have raised a combined total of £1,265 for Mind by taking part in the mental health charity’s 100 Miles in March campaign.
The annual fundraising campaign aims to raise money for the vital services that Mind provide, including responding to queries on their support helplines, providing valuable information, and more. The goal for those taking part is to travel 100 miles by the end of March – but every mile makes a difference as the ultimate goal is to raise those all-important funds!
As a team, WA Management had travelled a total of 775 miles by the end of the month, with 5 out of 8 members of the team exceeding the 100-mile goal! The company matched each mile completed with
a £1 donation, meaning the team’s efforts contributed £775 towards the final figure of £1,265.
Contributions were also received from kind donations from friends, family, and customers, via both WA Management’s JustGiving page, and the private fundraiser of one of the team.
William Whittaker, Managing Consultant of WA Management, explains why the team chose to support this campaign.
“As Health and Safety Consultants, we know the importance of supporting mental health both within and outside of the workplace. Mental health affects so many in the UK, and it is vital that it is treated with the same importance as physical health.
“Employee welfare is also a current main focus of the HSE for all industries. Their ongoing Working Minds campaign means we are advising and aiding all of our customers in putting welfare policies in place and providing both in-person and online mental health training to employees.
“As such, we thought it was fitting that we turn our fundraising efforts towards supporting one of the biggest support services in the country.”
The 100 Miles in March campaign has now raised a grand total £296,314 this year, which is enough to fund 29,631 enquiries to their Infoline – 25% of all enquiries they received last year!
The WA Management team, having enjoyed getting stuck into March’s challenge (despite the rain and even snow that threatened to hinder their progress!), are now looking forwards to their next fundraising challenge, and researching potential events to get involved with.
If you’re looking to learn more about mental health, whether it be in an awareness capacity or a full Mental Health at Work qualification, get in touch with WA Management to discuss how they can help!
Coventry University is helping 1,200 Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) engineers learn the key skills in electric vehicle development and drive the company forward through new bespoke courses.
The university has delivered a pilot training scheme with JLR to build key skills within its workforce to develop systems underpinning electric vehicles as the company realises its all-electric future. This pilot has led the way for the university to continue its training courses for over a thousand workers from January 2023.
Under its Reimagine strategy, Jaguar Land Rover is on track with its plans to launch new EV models, starting with a pure electric Range Rover in 2024. To ensure it can develop, build and service client vehicles over the coming years, JLR launched its Future Skills Programme last year, to train 29,000 of its global workforce in electrification and digital skills.
Coventry University initially partnered with North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC), JLR Academy and JLR
Powertrain to create and deliver two courses – a ‘fundamental’ course and an ‘intermediate’ course tailored to the engineers being trained.
After the success of this pilot, the university and NWSLC worked together to deliver these courses from January 2023 in the hopes to have all JLR’s engineers fully trained over the next two-and-a-half years.
Paul Noon, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Enterprise and Innovation) at Coventry University, said: “JLR chose to work with Coventry University to create a bespoke course because of our close ties with the automotive industry in the region, and our successful development of courses for different private sector partners.”
FPM Group, a multi-disciplinary construction company based in Coventry, is enjoying its most successful trading year to date and the achievements don’t stop there. The organisation has recently passed the rigorous ISO audit process and been awarded two accreditations: ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
The courses will help JLR specify Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) components, perform Verification and Validation (V&V) activities and integrate High Voltage (HV) components and systems into complete electric vehicles.
JLR propulsion experts and the JLR Academy have contributed to course content, tailoring it to JLR’s needs, reviewing content created by Coventry University, all facilitated by the JLR Learning & Development Academy.
Classes are a mix of in-person learning with a subject expert, and hands-on practical learning in Coventry University’s on-campus Electric Vehicle workshop.
This work has led to the successful launch of both courses mid-January 2023, and learner feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
JLR is already in the process of planning next cohorts to satisfy the large demand within the business.
Jaguar Land Rover Engineering Director Thomas Müller said: “It's exciting to be partnering with Coventry University to help our people prepare for our new electric era. Automotive jobs are evolving as the industry transforms at pace, so it’s key for us to empower and support our employees in developing knowledge and skills in electrification.
“We are putting in place training programmes to ensure we are readying our people and preparing the business to adapt to our next generation technologies. These actions underline our commitment to developing our future engineering and manufacturing skills, as we continue to create products which will deliver a truly modern luxury experience for our clients.”
Coventry University is also finalising an advanced course which would see engineers earn a degree-level qualification, as well as developing a new course around hydrogen powertrains – another form of low-emission transport.
Dr Awinder Kaur, Associate Head Enterprise and Innovation at Coventry University, said: “The courses are completely tailored to JLR, right down to the parts the engineers use in practical lessons. We listened carefully to JLR’s needs in order to create the most useful courses for their staff.
“This is a brilliant example of how we can use our academic expertise to create and deliver practical, bespoke courses that can make a tangible difference to major companies.
“Coventry University has an important role to play in helping the private sector upskill workforces and enabling the economy to move forward and meet the challenges of an ever-changing global marketplace.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Villette, Managing Director at FPM Group, said: “I am very proud of how the company has grown since its inception 15 years ago and we remain on a solid trajectory for that growth to continue. Our ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 awards are a testament to the hard work of the whole team and their complete commitment to engage with the processes we have put in place both operationally and environmentally. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank WA Management for their support in helping us achieve these prestigious accreditations.
We are particularly pleased with the ISO 14001 award. Our industry can receive bad press about the damage construction sites cause to the environment. We have always strived to work in an efficient and environmentally friendly way and adhere to best practice to limit our carbon footprint on projects. We also expect our suppliers to do the same and will, for example, only use timber merchants who supply FSC-certified timber.
“As we begin Quarter 2, we are excited to see what the rest of 2023 brings. Alongside our project work, we also have a recruitment drive in place to expand the team further.”
FPM Group, trading as First Project Maintenance, was founded in 2008 by the current MD Robert Villette. The company expanded its name to the FPM Group in 2019 to reflect how its building services have grown over the years to form three distinct divisions – Facilities Management, M&E and Projects, Fit-Outs and Refurbishments.
FPM Group works on commercial properties across a wide range of sectors, including retail, education, office spaces, and historic buildings. Visit www.thefpmgroup. co.uk to learn more about the business and its latest projects.
Ashorne Hill, a dedicated Training and Management Centre in Warwickshire, has recently announced that they have achieved a Greengage Solutions ECOsmart Platinum accreditation – the highest industry-standard accreditation available.
Awarded to hotels and meeting venues demonstrating an eco-friendly approach, the Greengage Travel & Event Solutions ECOsmart rating is an industry-standard recognition.
ECOsmart is an industry leader in the field of environmental accreditation and operates a directory of the UK’s leading green venues, each committed to minimising their impact on the planet.
ECOsmart describe Platinum venues as having an outstanding approach with the highest possible standard of environmental sustainability applied. Platinum ECOsmart venues are leaders in hospitality and have considered sustainability in all aspects of their business.
Some of the key initiatives implemented at Ashorne Hill include an energy saving laundry system, boiler replacement programme to reduce inefficient systems, electricity from 100% renewable energy and motion sensor lighting.
Renata Homer, General Manager at Ashorne Hill, said: “Whilst we are really pleased with the progress so far, the task to reduce our impact on the environment is endless. “Sustainability is an ongoing project which takes time, effort and prioritisation to help achieve the greatest effect on reducing waste through the business. There are still plenty of opportunities for Ashorne Hill and our industry to make a positive impact on the environment and we are happy to share and learn about best practices.”
Andrew Perolls, Chief Executive Officer at @Greengage Solutions, praised Ashorne Hill on achieving the acclaimed platinum status by saying: “Congratulations on receiving Greengage’s highest level ECOsmart Platinum accreditation. Amongst the many initiatives are: a zero waste to landfill policy, a five year carbon reduction plan, healthy and local food options with 40%+ food served being vegetarian/vegan, in-house bottled water and EV charging points.”
A property solicitor in Warwick has raised £1,500 for Tommy's, the baby charity, with the help of supporters by pushing himself to the limits in a 100-mile fundraiser.
Arvi Samra started his business, Samra Legal Ltd., at the end of 2022 and decided to support the charity due to personal experience. Tommy's is a research and support charity for baby loss and raises awareness of why miscarriage happens, if it is likely to happen again, how to prevent it and appropriate aftercare. Initially, Arvi set a target of 100km as he thought that was a more achievable target.
He soon realised he could do more. Supporters surpassed his £300 goal, which he reset to £500, then £800, until he eventually reached 154% of his target. As part of Arvi's challenge, he spent several hours running 70-80 miles around the Warwick Racecourse. 'Arvi's 100 Miles Run for Tommys' fundraiser remains open so that contributors continue to add to the total.
The baby loss challenge became a timely nudge for Arvi to take part in Angela Crawley's Government petition to 'Introduce paid miscarriage leave for parents who experience pregnancy loss'. Signatories requested Parliament to consider parents who lose a pregnancy
before 24 weeks as eligible to take three days of paid bereavement leave. This proposed entitlement would be an act of compassion and provide a time to grieve.
A total of 5,500 signatories petitioned to introduce permitted time off work for miscarriages as a consideration for debate in Parliament. Currently, workers are entitled to two weeks of paid bereavement leave following a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Grieving parents who have lost a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy after less than 24 weeks must rely on either unpaid or sick leave if they feel unable to return to work following their pregnancy loss. The petition is now closed.
Arvi said: "Tommy's charitable work is close to my heart. We all know someone who has been touched by miscarriage, so I wanted to help contribute to the charity's vital research. There is heartbreak and so many questions in the event of baby loss, and so we need further research, more support and stories of hope for those who experience a miscarriage."
Arvi's paths crossed with Keeley Lengthorn, Family Solicitor and avid baby loss campaigner, who supports the Miscarriage Leave Bill after suffering three losses herself under 24 weeks - the most recent of which was her son George who was born sleeping at 22-and-a-half weeks in March 2022.
Ms Lengthorn said: "The law as it currently stands means that when I left George at the mortuary, I had to return to work at 9am the very next day. Businesses having a baby loss policy in place and supporting the Miscarriage Leave Bill goes to the heart and core of a firm's wellbeing policy and shows employee support which can only be positive in terms of businesses’ reputation and will aid recruitment and retention. Any SSP entitlement does not kick in until day three, and so the three days being proposed by the Miscarriage Leave Bill would fill this gap in offering this statutory protection. The statistics speak for themselves that miscarriage happens to 1 in 4 people. That's 1 in 4 MPs and 1 in 4 constituents.”
More than 70 children of various ages, older residents of care home and local families around the city came together at Metropolis, PET-Xi’s training restaurant on Earl Street, to celebrate the grand occasion.
There was also royal representation at the banquet with Sir John Crabtree, Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands and Lady Diana Crabtree, along with Coventry’s Lord Mayor & Lady Mayoress and many wellknown Coventry councillors and dignitaries.
The food and drink served at Metropolis, run by leading training provider PET-Xi, was prepared by students taking PET-Xi’s ‘Step into Hospitality’ programme, and funded by the PET-Xi Foundation – money raised by staff to help young people and charities in the city. Many PET-Xi staff were also there to help out.
The programme aims to help young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) learn the basics of cooking in a professional kitchen, delivering front-ofhouse service, and budgeting and delivering large catering events to achieve their level 2 qualification before they start work.
Guests were treated to an array of delicious food and drink, including carved meats, Coronation Chicken Sandwiches and King Charles favourite lemon cakes.
Fun activities such as a treasure hunt and a royal quiz were also held to keep everyone entertained throughout the event.
Fleur Sexton, CEO of PET-Xi, said: “We wanted to do something special for the community to mark the coronation
and our trainees wanted to do this as part of their Step into Hospitality programme funded by the WMCA.
“PET-Xi has worked with Coventry City Council and WMCA Community for many years to help looked-after children, as the barriers to finding work for youngsters coming out of the care system are a lot easier to overcome with good support.
“We thought it would be fitting to throw them a party for the King’s coronation as there are many people who wouldn’t get a chance to celebrate over the weekend, and
we also wanted to invite those at care homes to share in the festivities so everyone had the chance to celebrate.
“Everyone really enjoyed the food and drink and the activities during the event, and it was a lovely way for the attendees to experience such a historic moment for the country.
“It was a fantastic occasion and I’m so proud of the trainees for putting on such a wonderful banquet. They all received a thank you letter from HRH King Charles III and HRH Queen Camilla which was a really fantastic surprise!”
Looked-after children and care home residents in Coventry enjoyed a banquet fit for a king at a special event to markLady Diana Crabtree (left, standing) and Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands Sir John Crabtree enjoying the banquet with invited guests in Metropolis
The chefs have had a lot of fun making their own family recipes but now they are asking customers to contribute their own favourites.
General Manager Amy Windsor said: “The period features of the Telegraph create a peaceful space for people to relax, lounging in the comfy sofas and now have granny’s cake to finish off the experience.
The stylish four-star Telegraph Hotel in Corporation Street already has an enviable reputation for its homemade cakes – and now it is asking customers and locals to provide inspiration for further sweet treats.
The hotel, which was listed by the Sunday Times as one of the top 100 in the UK, has a thriving café lounge and in recent months the kitchen team has been providing a range of cakes and biscuits for free to customers with their hot drinks.
“Our very talented kitchen team, led by head chef Luke Wignall, create an array of different cakes and sweet treats, often from old family recipes or recreating their childhood favourites. These have ranged from Great Granny Marge’s shortbread –which is my favourite – through to the classic Battenburg.
“The ‘coffee club’ has gone down really well with guests, people just popping in to have a coffee and regulars meeting up with friends. We have had the occasional recipe request from customers in the past which we have produced, but we now want to take it a stage further.
St Basils, a youth homeless charity based in the West Midlands, has teamed up with Decision Lab, an award-winning technology company that solves real-world challenges for some of the biggest and most respected businesses in the UK, to work on a project that will help develop their understanding of the factors that influences positive outcomes for the young people they support.
The aim of this project is to identify if there are inherent characteristics about young people that make it more or less likely that they will get good outcomes after working with St Basils. They also aim to see if there are aspects of the way St Basils interacts with young people that make it more or less likely they will get good outcomes.
Chris Harper, Director of operational support for St Basils, said: “We dipped our toe into the waters of data science and machine learning with the wonderful Data Science for Social Good programme in 2022, where they investigated the factors that led to different probabilities for the young people we work with.
“Whilst it gave us some good insights, we also realised that maybe we weren’t framing the problem correctly, so the opportunity to work with Decision Lab on this same problem with a more coherent data set and more nuanced outcomes was too good to miss.”
David Buxton, CEO of Decision Lab, said: “We are proud to be partnering with St Basils to help tackle youth homelessness because we believe in their multifaceted and integrated approach to addressing this complex issue.
“We would love people to send us some of their favourite recipes for cakes. They might be from their childhood, something they have made themselves, or once eaten and really loved.
“Our kitchen team will then go through the suggestions, assess which ones would be most popular and are practical for us to create, and then start testing them.
“We will then let people know when we are serving their particular recipe, and they will be able to pop in and have complimentary tea or coffee – and of course a slice of their particular cake.”
People can send their recipes or suggestions to email@example.com
The Telegraph Hotel, which has 88 individually designed air-conditioned bedrooms including loft-style penthouse suites, has an all-day cocktail bar and restaurant that features a seasonal and locally-sourced menu, rooftop bar with views over Belgrade Plaza and versatile function rooms that can cater for up to 140 guests for conferences, weddings and parties.
Staggering sales of healthy nut bars have forced a start-up firm to redraw its business plans.
Orders from wholesalers in mainland Europe, health firm chains and large food distribution companies in the UK have swamped Stratford-on-Avon based Global Fruit and Nuts just months after the firm launched its Exotic range of nut bars.
Now the firm is looking to appointed regional representatives across the UK as the appetite for healthy eating has taken off and caught the firm by surprise.
Hassan Miremadi, Global Fruit & Nuts Managing Director, said he’s staggered at the speed at which the business has taken off. “We had a business roll-out plan but demand and reaction to our product has been so great we are having to rethink.
“I have a staff of three here in Stratford but now we realise we need to have regional salespeople across the UK to help us cope. It’s been a breath-taking start to a start-up business and exceeded our wildest dreams.” His new firm was invited to take part in the three-day UK Food & Drink Show at the NEC, Birmingham in April. The flagship trade show is held in association with The Grocer magazine.
“We are impressed by their focus on long-term impact for individuals, and their commitment to collecting data to track their progress and inform their work. We believe that our data analysis skills in machine learning, simulation, and optimisation are a natural fit for supporting St Basils in their work, and we are excited to work with them to support and discover ways to help young people avoid homelessness.”
It is hoped that that the results of this work will be another step along St Basils’ journey in using evidence-based analysis to shape their work.
CU London (Dagenham) Campus over the past 12 months.
This opportunity is more than just a catering unit. It’s about creating an environment, an event space, and an opportunity for the Students’ Union to directly support the cost of living crisis for students and the wider community.
Coventry University Students’ Union’s new café, which operates from a container located in Starley Gardens (Cox St), is open.
This venture is in collaboration with NUS and while being new to Coventry since February, it’s been built on the success of the same partnership which has been operating Union Streat Kitchen at the
Addressing the COL impact is one of the three strategic pillars. We’re providing a range of products costing £1 or less, including freshly baked (and large) sausage rolls, a range of teas and other hot food. There will be regular offers for students, staff and the community too.
Another pillar behind this new venture is authentic collaboration with local businesses (SMEs). The first example of this in action is a new partnership with Wicked Cookies which is operating a weekly pop-up on Tuesdays, returning to Coventry after previously
having a stall located at the station. If your business would be interested in potentially operating this type of complimentary pop-up with our café, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as we are looking to offer a variety of events.
The final pillar is being able to use our business model to provide suitably priced hospitality. This will provide a benefit internally for the Students’ Union where catering has had to be sourced externally for events which ultimately costs students through the cost of tickets. Having this as a provision is therefore a service we can offer for external partners as well.
As already mentioned we are curated and staffed by students, primarily for our students but we are open to the public too. We hope to see you join us as the weather improves in the beautiful surroundings of Starley Gardens.
The Exotic nut bar range won its first major order from the 132-strong Grape Tree health chain and has been followed by Aytac, a specialist Turkish, Arab, Mediterranean and Caribbean food cash and carry firm which distributes to more than 1,500 shops in the UK.
Faron Trading, one of Holland’s major food distributors, became the first mainland Europe firm to place an order for Exotic bars and a representative has now been appointed for the brand in Denmark.
Stratford-on-Avon Golf Club is the first of a number of sports clubs and leisure centres in the UK to order the nut bars.
While Hassan’s head office staff concentrate on wholesale business, the company has now launched a website where small retailers, clubs and leisure centres can order direct online at www.uknuts.co.uk
He said: “We need agents in every region of the country because, although the interest in the brand is of course wonderful, my small head office staff just can’t keep up.
“Once people taste the quality of our product they are won over. Healthy snack bars don’t have to be dull and boring and ours are packed with goodness and flavour.”
Hassan’s family can trace its connections with nuts back hundreds of years to the fertile plains of Persia, now modern-day Iran. On his 500-acre farm in Abadeh, Iran, Hassan has planted 100,000 pistachio trees.
Hassan’s family opened a food factory in Iran in 1956 to process raisons. Now there are seven production sites which process and pack nuts, dried fruits, herbal tea and honey.
He moved to the UK in 1960 to study business at the University of Westminster and liked Britain so much he decided to stay. His international business currently employs three people in Stratford-Upon-Avon and 20 farm workers in Iran.
The courtyard has undergone some significant renovation work since January this year and now includes a variety of new plants, as well as sensory areas and water features. The space is ideal for visitors to enjoy some peace and quiet with loved ones, or to have a quiet chat with the hospice’s clinicians.
The idea of the sensory garden was introduced by Sir Peter Rigby, Executive Chairman of Rigby Group (RG) Plc and Honorary Patron of The Shakespeare Hospice, designed in conjunction with Taylor Landscape & Design, and has been funded by The Rigby Foundation.
Tracey Sheridan, CEO of The Shakespeare Hospice, said: “As the hospice continues to welcome more visitors, it was agreed that our courtyard was long overdue for some care and attention. The vastly improved courtyard will, once again, provide a much-needed space for quiet reflection for patients, their loved ones, and carers, just in time for the summer.
“We are delighted with the new look and are very grateful to Taylor Landscape & Design, not only for their hard work since the start of the year, but for their perseverance with the changing weather. We are also incredibly grateful to our Patron, Sir Peter Rigby, for enabling this project.”
The show is definitely going on for a Bedworth-based entertainment business that has emerged from the devastating impact of the global pandemic to become ‘bigger and better’ than ever before.
Sarah Harding toured the likes of New York, Ibiza and Dubai as a performer before returning home in 2017 with a desire to set up her own business.
After achieving success performing as a tribute to Elsa from the hugely-popular Frozen movies at children’s parties, D’May Entertainment was launched - named after Sarah’s Grandmother Doreen May.
This swiftly grew into a brand that utilised its founder’s musical theatre background to write and produce shows for corporate clients along with tribute shows and family entertainment.
But this period of success was rocked during the Covid-19 outbreak that saw Government restrictions to limit the spread of the virus bring the entertainment industry screeching to a stop.
“It’s been really hard with Covid, as it threw a massive spanner in the works,” she said. “We were told we couldn’t work anymore and we had to stop.
“We went virtual for a while, and since coming back I have completed my Masters Degree in Musical Theatre, passing with the highest grade of Distinction at Associated Studios Drama School London, as I really wanted to keep on top of my skills and knowledge. As the world has re-opened we’ve really come back with a bang. The industry is growing bigger and better than ever before and so is the business.”
Key to D’May Entertainment’s revival was its eligibility for support through Project Warwickshire via the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s – a free recovery and growth business support programme to help companies in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the county, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. The support is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.
Chamber business adviser Helena Bassett worked with Sarah as restrictions were eased, providing support with business planning, writing bids, cash flow analysis and access to workshops.
With Project Warwickshire TLH business support, D’May Entertainment has not looked back, with a growing number of performers being added to its ranks who are contracted in on a gig-to-gig basis.
In 2022, the business won a coveted contract with the Birmingham-based Commonwealth Games and, more recently, has added a freelance business and production co-ordinator.
“Helena really helped me with the business side of things,” Sarah explained. “I have
studied business, so I had quite a good idea of what it entailed but she helped me look into areas I hadn’t even thought of and it was excellent to have somebody to bounce ideas off and talk things through with.
“We have achieved some excellent contracts at the likes of Twycross Zoo, Lichfield Garrick Theatre and the Midlands sites for Hickory’s Smokehouses. We want to keep growing from there.
“My passion is creative production shows, it’s what I absolutely love doing and want to continue producing creative and innovative entertainment solutions, working with top UK attractions and hotels.”
Helena added: “It was great to work with Sarah and be able to support her business as it re-emerged after the restrictions in place during the global pandemic were eased.
“Sarah’s passion for the industry and the business shone through and it’s great to see that with our help, D’May Entertainment is winning new contracts and taking on more people on a freelance basis too.”
A Midlands construction company has donated a total of £1,000 to support two organisations in Coventry which provide a vital supply of food and support for local people.
Deeley Construction, which is headquartered in Coventry, has donated £500 each to Hope Community Project in Lower Stoke and St Laurence’s Church in Foleshill.
The donations are part of the company’s commitment to supporting the communities where they work, with two developments ongoing in Stoke and Longford.
Deeley Construction partnered with the Community Resilience Team at Coventry City Council to link the business with two organisations which needed support in those areas.
Hope Community Project provides mental health support alongside a social supermarket. It provides food parcels for up to 70 families a week living in Lower Stoke.
Its services have been vital with the cost-of-living crisis and now, more than ever before, local people are seeking support from charities with food supply.
St Laurence’s Church in Foleshill provides a safe haven for women and also offers a food bank for people living in the area, ensuring that people that need help can get it in Foleshill.
Deeley Construction’s donation to each organisation will be used to purchase nondonated food items they need for food hubs.
The Deeley Group are currently completing a 78,000 Sq ft multi-let industrial development near Junction 3 of the M6 motorway and a refurbishment of a school near Stoke Aldermoor.
Eleanor Deeley, Joint Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “We are proud to have supported charities across Coventry for more than 85 years.
“Community is a core value of our business and we always seek to support the communities we work in. Coventry City
Council’s team identified these two causes and we were only too happy to support.
“We hope the donation will make a difference to both organisations and benefit people living in the communities they serve.”
Caroline Taylor, Manager at Hope Community Project, added: “This funding will
help us to purchase fresh food that will really make a difference to the food we provide. We cannot thank Deeley enough.”
To find out more about how businesses can support community schemes email Sharon.Thomas@coventry.gov.uk
Businesses in Rugby have been urged to take inspiration from William Webb Ellis by ‘grabbing the ball and running with it’ in the 200th anniversary of the sport.
Around 80 tourism, hospitality, leisure and retail businesses from across the town and borough attended the Rugby Means Business event at the Benn Hall.
The event was organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through Project Warwickshire in conjunction with Rugby Borough Council and south Warwickshire’s Destination Management Organisation, Shakespeare’s England. Project Warwickshire is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, forming part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale Programme. It is also funded by Warwickshire County Council.
The attendees heard from Keely Hancox and Russell Grant, from the Chamber, on the support available for businesses in the borough – from start-ups through to firms looking to access help to grow.
Delegates were then given an insight into major redevelopment plans for the town centre by Rugby Borough Council’s chief officer for growth and investment, Nicola Smith.
Nicola explained how there are 27 development projects in the pipeline with six ‘catalyst’ projects to help move the
regeneration programme forward, including Rugby Market, Rounds Garden and Rugby Central. There was also an update on some of the events coming to Rugby in the coming months – from rugby bicentenary celebrations through to the King’s Coronation.
Vicky Henderson, Rugby School’s 2023 Celebrations events manager, told businesses that they could benefit from the exciting events taking place at the school to celebrate the anniversary.
She said: “Over the coming weeks, we are holding rugby festivals and tournaments with hundreds of young people and their families coming to Rugby. While the matches will be taking place at the school, those families will be looking for other places to visit and places to eat and drink in the evening.
“We are more than happy to promote businesses in the town if they get in touch with us. They need to take inspiration from William Webb Ellis and pick up this ball and run with it as it’s such as good opportunity for the whole town.”
Plans for the Festival on The Close at Rugby School, which will take place from June 25 to June 29, including comedy, music and theatre, were also revealed to the audience.
Keely Hancox said: “We were absolutely thrilled to bring so many businesses together and everyone left feeling excited and inspired by some of the events, opportunities and developments coming to Rugby.
“It was also a great opportunity for businesses to hear about the support we can offer at the Chamber and we’d urge them to get in touch so we can help them with their plans for growth over the coming years.
“We also brought together a whole range of partners who are all working together to help the economy of Rugby thrive.”
Helen Peters, Chief Executive at Shakespeare’s England, added: “The bicentenary events are a great showcase of what Rugby has to offer and businesses were given a real insight about what is to come, how they can get involved and where they can go for help.”
For more information on how Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber and Project Warwickshire can support your business, and capitalise on the activities and events across Rugby please contact email@example.com
- has been recognised with 27 ‘Great Taste Awards’, one of which was a prestigious Golden Fork Award.
Challenges for business owners have come thick and fast in recent years with the global pandemic being followed by a cost-of-living crisis.
But despite this, and with the support of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and its Accelerated Growth programme adviser Marie Stephenson, Price’s Spices has reported fantastic growth in its wholesale business during the final quarter of 2022 and at the beginning of 2023.
An award-winning artisan preserves, sauces and chutneys business has secured increased levels of wholesale trade after lifting the lid on a package of business support.
It was back in 2013 when Warwickshire resident Michael Price first started creating and selling products made using a chilli farm from his Lillington home.
Two years later he took the plunge to take voluntary redundancy from his day job as a developer at Aston Martin to place his full-time energies into growing Price's Spices. The quality of Michael's products – which also includes pickles, chocolates, and seasonings
"I worked with Marie to help grow the business," said Michael. "We looked at our processes and procedures and we carried out a target marketing exercise to enable me to produce a comprehensive marketing plan that was linked to a sales forecast.
"It was also great just to speak to Marie over a cup of tea who put some questions to me and really coached me in some of the fundamentals of business. She pulled information out of me that's really helped us with a new approach. I now have a clear vision where to invest my time."
Last Spring, Michael turned to the Accelerated Growth programme, which
forms part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme that is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
While Michael does receive some help running Price's Spices from his wife and son at some of the local food festivals, the business remains a one-man affair from his commercial kitchen at Church Farm in Budbrooke.
"It's certainly been a journey," said Michael. "There's no regrets looking back to when I made the decision to go for it and focus solely on Price's Spices.
"During that time, we had a global pandemic which was a challenging time for everyone, especially for small business owners.
"We came through that period and now find ourselves in tough economic times when people are tightening their belts with fuel bills going through the roof and they're maybe questioning whether to pay more for a bespoke product.
"But I've remained true to the quality of ingredients and our product and I'm working hard to keep growing the business."
Marie Stephenson said: “There is no doubt that businesses have faced challenging times. It’s been great to support Michael
in diversifying his customer base and the wholesale side has grown dramatically thanks to his efforts and our meetings.
“I’d encourage businesses to get in touch with the Chamber if they need help to find new markets or whether they want support in some of the business basics that can give them the perfect platform for growth.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council said: “The Chamber’s Accelerated Growth programme helps businesses throughout Coventry and the region and businesses should get in touch if they need support.
“It’s an important programme that has the involvement of the Council’s Economic Development Service. This is all about job retention and creation, and local businesses need to know that there is help available.”
For more information about business support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, visit www.cwchamber.co.uk/business-support For more information on Price’s Spices, visit www.pricesspices.com
A leading Warwickshire distillery is hoping a series of new ways to enjoy craft gin and other spirits will help it serve up a double on last year’s visitor numbers after a flying start to 2023.
Warwickshire Gin Company has launched a pair of new spirit experiences as it looks to welcome 2,000 visitors to its distillery and event space on Neilston Street in Leamington – doubling the number of visitors that flocked for gin tasting events last year.
Almost 800 people have been or are due to visit Warwickshire Gin Company by the end of May this year, and now visitors will have the chance to enjoy a Gin Afternoon Tea and a Cocktail Experience, on top of their popular tasting experience.
The Warwickshire Gin Cocktail Experience includes a welcome drink followed by three further classic cocktails all made using the distillery’s own gin, rum or vodka.
The Gin Afternoon Tea, which will include a welcome drink, drink of choice, and a selection of cakes and sandwiches is set to launch in May, with a range of bespoke packages and corporate events also available.
Dave Blick, owner of Warwickshire Gin Company, is hoping that the launch of the new packages will encourage even more people to visit and spend time in the distillery, which uses traditional copper pot stills to make original flavours that reflect the history of the region.
He said: “We have launched these new packages in response to the incredible
demand we’ve had since the start of the year. We enjoyed a very busy Christmas period, and we’re thrilled that has continued through to the spring.
“The Chamber provides a great network for us to discuss collaborations and support corporate events, and we are always happy to discuss needs for large groups and work functions, on top of our range of packages.
“Our cocktail experience provides a more relaxed way to enjoy our events space and spirits, with table service and lots of choice. All the drinks feature spirits that we have personally made, so it’s a great way for us to show off all aspects of our craft in a fun, informal setting.
“The afternoon tea adds sandwiches, scones and cakes to the mix and is a brilliant way
to spend an afternoon in Leamington with friends or family – again giving people a chance to sample our small-batch spirits and cocktail creations.”
For more information visit warwickshiregincompany.co.uk
Shires Gate Trade Park in Tachbrook Park Drive, Leamington
A Warwickshire property company has completed the biggest investment deal in its history by acquiring an opportunity on its doorstep.
AC Lloyd Commercial has acquired
The Shires Gate Trade Park for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.
The Shires Gate Trade Park in Tachbrook Park Drive, Leamington, was previously owned by the Canal & River Trust.
The Trade Park comprises of a standalone Travis Perkins builders’ merchants and four smaller trade units occupied by City Plumbing, Tile Giant, Toolstation and Benchmarx.
AC Lloyd, whose headquarters are also in Tachbrook Park, has developed the majority of the 132-acre Tachbrook Park throughout its 75-year history.
Mark Edwards, managing director at AC Lloyd Commercial, said this was an excellent opportunity to add a high-quality asset with long-term income to its investment portfolio.
He said: “Tachbrook Park remains one of the busiest and most sought-after business parks in Warwickshire not just Leamington, and over our 75-year history we have helped to attract a wide range of businesses, across various sectors, to the location.
“The investment opportunity arose to purchase Shires Gate Trade Park and it was too good an opportunity to miss.
“We have also recently developed the £5.5 million Space Business Centre, Warwick on Tachbrook Park that is attracting occupiers from a wide range of sectors which underlines the need for units of all sizes to help businesses to thrive and boost our local economy.
“This deal represents a significant acquisition as part of our strategy for the expansion of our investment business activities.”
AC Lloyd Commercial was represented by agent Duncan MacLaren (MacLaren & Partners) and solicitor James Polo–Richards (JG Poole & Co) in the acquisition.
A former Backstage Production Arts student returned to Stratford-uponAvon College recently to speak to current students about all things Pantomime.
Ruth Porter, who studied Backstage Production Arts at the College from 20162018, came to chat to current students about her work with Imagine Theatre.
Imagine Theatre are a producer of pantomime and children’s theatre across the UK. Ruth currently works as Head of Stage Management and Props and was joined by her colleague Callum Roberts, Associate Producer.
They began by explaining how the company is run and operated. They highlighted the range of roles available in pantomimes and the fact that most venues across the country host a pantomime every year, therefore it’s an area most technicians will work in at some point in their careers.
Ruth and Callum were able to give insights into their experience, show off some of the model boxes of set design used on their shows and also gave the chance for students to participate in a quick-change exercise using some of the companies incredible costumes.
Students Adam Blake, Ollie Hayward, Sophia Wyatt and Cece Magana got the chance to try on costumes for the Dame, Comic, Princess and Ensemble.
Ruth also gave the students the advice she received whilst at college: “Don’t go into a job thinking you know everything, always be willing to learn. And I have taken that with me and still apply it today!”
The students found the experience incredibly beneficial. Scarlet Davis commented: “I really enjoyed it! It was especially interesting to see the model boxes and costumes they brought with them, and I can really imagine myself creating them.”
Astro Clack added: “It’s nice hearing about a specific part of theatre like panto and learning about how different it is.”
Ruth was happy to be back at the College and speak to the students: “We want to reach out to the next generation of students and show them what panto is really about! For a lot of students panto will be their first job so we want to inform them of what it’s all about and remind them that pantos aren’t just for Christmas but all year round. And for me as a former student it is great to be back to inspire others!”
She also described why she enjoys her job so much: “Everyday is different and it’s a job where you live and breathe glitter!” For more information on any of Stratfordupon-Avon College’s courses, please visit www.stratford.ac.uk
The gardens are situated in front of the Houlton allotments which opened to residents last year and the formal open space which is set to launch this Spring.
Residents of all ages and backgrounds submitted their designs to be voted on by the community with Vanessa’s design ultimately taking the gold.
Houlton resident, Vanessa Hunjan said: ‘My aim was to start a community garden that gave everyone the opportunity to get a taste of gardening, learn something new, add to, enjoy and unwind.’
Houlton is proud to announce the winner of its community garden design challenge, Vanessa Hunjan.
Last month, Houlton’s Master Developer Urban&Civic hosted an event for residents to take part in helping design their very own community gardens.
The budding garden designers had to consider how their new community garden should look, how they will welcome the wider community into the space, maintain it, and how the space will evolve to the future, to meet the demands of the growing community.
Vanessa’s daughter and inspiration for her garden design had this to say: ‘The news that we have won makes me excited, happy, cheerful all at the same time! I am especially looking forward to making new homes for the ladybugs, bees, caterpillars, and butterflies. Thank you for all your votes!’
Kyle Smith, Communications, Communities, and Partnerships, said: ‘We are so excited to see Vanessa’s design become a reality. It was clear to see how thoughtful her ideas were, with a focus on creating a space that promotes learning about nature and gardening as well as nurturing wellbeing and the feeling of community.
“This is just one of many events which enable our residents to get hands on and make decisions which will directly affect their local area. We are always looking for new opportunities to work in partnership with our community and these gardens are a fantastic testament to this.
Once complete, we look forward to seeing the residents gather again in their own self-designed community gardens!’
Houlton’s formal open space consists of Houlton’s first set of allotments, the first of three to be delivered, plus table tennis tables, yoga lawn, football pitches and beside all of this, residents’ very own community gardens.
Houlton is now home to over 1,000 families living in the new community as well St Gabriel’s Primary School, Houlton School and a thriving community hub home to The Tuning Fork, Old Station Nursery and Co-op. A further 5000 homes are planned at Houlton over the next 10-15 years and homes are available through a range of housebuilders on site.
But the venue is best known for weddings and is hoping to lead the way with its impressive environmental values, particularly following its recent Silver ECOsmart award, given by event and hospitality sustainability specialists - Greengage Solutions.
Andrew Perolls, CEO at Greengage, said: “Over the years, Mythe Barn have implemented some impressive initiatives which show that sustainability is a priority at their venue. We look forward to working together to continue their journey to becoming more sustainable.”
A well-established Leicestershirebased conference and wedding venue is celebrating 10 years, over 1,000 marriages and a milestone in its sustainability journey.
Mythe Barn is based near Atherstone in the picturesque village of Sheepy Magna. Owners Joanna and Joe Garland converted old farm buildings into a luxury wedding and corporate events venue, with a strong focus around sustainability.
Director Joanna said: “We took over the family farm in 2005 and spent a few years considering what to do with the majestic barn buildings which were no longer in use. Weddings and events seemed to be the right direction due to
the layout of buildings and 150 acres of surrounding countryside.”
“Mythe Barn is a labour of love to us and it’s heart-warming to be involved in creating memorable experiences for so many people, whether that be those in a couple or a team of professionals. We’ve won a host of awards during our time here and we will continue to devote ourselves to keep it up there as one of the best venues in the Midlands.”
The couple say they have had some incredible events held over the years, from automotive reveals for high end car companies – including driving the vehicle into the barn – to a pop-up Italian restaurant when eatery Zizzi held an event there.
Custodians of the land - Joe and Joanna Garland – began their journey to become greener over a decade ago and have since saved enough carbon emissions to equate to 9,000 trees being planted, thanks to numerous solar panels on site.
Local biodiversity is also something the pair feel passionate about, from beekeeping to 12,000 new trees and a wildflower meadow on site, the farm is home to some remarkable ongoings.
Joanna said: “Living in a rural community, the environment has always been a focal point for us and we are proud of our mindful team who share these values. Being certified an ECOsmart venue has given us the tools and the drive to take our sustainability approach to the next level and be able to provide a credible venue in the Midlands for the growing number of ecoconscious brides and event planners.”
Helping Hands Community Project is a charity based in Leamington Spa, who do essential work providing support for the homeless and vulnerable in our local areas.
When the team here at Simpson Financial Services heard there was an opportunity to get stuck in and help, we lay down our calculators and donned our aprons. Eight of us worked together to cook food for 50 people in need. We prepared two meals – a cottage pie and a veggie pasta bake, with cherry crumble for pudding. After prepping the meals (with only a touch of competitive team spirit), half of us served drinks whilst the other half dished up the food.
“Taking over the soup kitchen was a great experience,” said Hannah Stanley, Independent Financial Adviser.
“It was rewarding to see the impact we were having on those who needed it, and it was nice to get to know them and hear their stories. I would love to do it frequently as the regular volunteers said how helpful it is when people take over and cook meals for them.”
The evening was a great success, but it was just that – one evening. Homelessness in Coventry and Warwickshire is up 106% since 2021 (Rough Sleeping Snapshot). The official data on statutory homelessness in England that covers July-September 2022 showed that 99,270 households were staying in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2022, which includes over 125,000 children.
From operating nightly soup kitchens to the shoebox appeal at Christmas, Helping Hands are making a real difference in our local area. We greatly admire all the hard work and effort they commit to improving people’s lives. It was a pleasure to work with such a wonderful team of people, and we look forward to future charitable endeavours.
If you’d like to make a difference, we’ve kept our soup kitchen takeover JustGiving link open, and every £1 helps. Donate at www.justgiving.com/page/simpson-fs1677073462297?newPage=true
Simpson Financial Services is a firm of Independent Financial Advisers based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. We help our clients
Young people with Education, Health and Care plans are being offered a life-changing opportunity to gain Supported Internship placements working at Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust thanks to a new collaboration between North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, Warwickshire County Council and DFN Project SEARCH.
The DFN Project SEARCH programme will provide up to 12 interns from the local area aged between 18 and 24 with a variety of work-based learning opportunities at George Eliot Hospital alongside a daily employability programme designed to help them to secure meaningful paid employment.
DFN Project SEARCH is a pioneering transition to work programme for students with learning disabilities and autism with ambitions to get 10,000 young adults with learning disabilities and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade. Over 1,900 young people with learning disabilities and autism have now graduated with more than 65 percent securing full-time paid employment through DFN Project SEARCH programmes in the UK. Typically, 75 percent of interns secure employment against the national average of just 4.8 percent.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC, said: “We’re delighted to be working with George Eliot Hospital and the local authority on this fantastic project that will really help young people with special educational
needs and disabilities. We believe that education changes lives and aim to provide our students with the best opportunities to progress in their careers once they complete their time with us.
“Being part of our Supported Internships programme enables students to work within a key local organisation and to develop vital employability skills and competencies in order to be successful. It is a real privilege to be part of this programme and we look forward to seeing the interns progress, develop and achieve success in securing lifelong employment.
“NWSLC is proud to be expanding our Supported Internship programme by increasing our team of job coaches so that we can offer additional roles within the local area. Our job coaches will
work with a fantastic cohort of interns alongside our dedicated new partners, supporting them to gain valuable skills, knowledge, and experiences.”
Claire Cookson, DFN Project SEARCH CEO, said: “We are very proud to be launching our programme in Nuneaton with NWSLC and our other amazing new partners. We are delighted that our first cohort of interns will start soon as they are at the very start of their DFN Project SEARCH journey to obtain valuable work experience that will help to transform their lives. We can’t wait to see the fantastic work they will be doing here and have the opportunity to demonstrate how young people with autism and learning disabilities, when given the right support, can truly thrive and make a huge contribution to society.”
Representatives from one of the UK’s most popular restaurant chains have been sharing expert guidance with students at Rugby College about cooking up a career in the hospitality industry.
Dawn Robertson, resource manager, and Samuel Devan, regional chef trainer at ASK Italian (part of Azzurri Group), gave a talk to catering students at the college’s recently opened on-site restaurant ‘Courses’. The students asked questions about career progression, pay in the industry, how ASK sources its food and how the business helps its staff to develop.
Chris Dowling-Fennell, 19 from Southam, is a Level 1 Professional Cookery student at Rugby College. He said: “It was interesting to hear about the fresh food and how they look to source it to make the dishes as traditionally as possible in their restaurants.”
Chloe Windebank, 17 from Bishop’s Itchington, is also on the Level 1 course. She added: “I love cooking and
I want to one day own my own restaurant, so to hear about how restaurant chains of that scale work was really interesting.”
Dawn and Samuel provided insight into how ASK Italian sources its ingredients and food from producers in Italy. They also discussed the range of career paths in hospitality and how the businesses supports people to move from the kitchen and front of house team to senior level management.
Dawn Robertson said: “We want to give young people an insight into what it is like to work in the industry and how they can really move their career forward. We could speak nationally at events but we are passionate about getting out into the heart of local communities and directly reaching those young people.
Courses Restaurant at Rugby College is open to the public and helps to provide hands-on industry experience to prepare students for working in the hospitality industry.
Tracey Gibson, head of catering at Rugby College, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to get a chance to find out what it is like to work for one of the country’s leading restaurant chains.
To find out more about catering courses at WCG visit www.wcg.ac.uk/study
A business that uses data to help transform workplace cultures has gone from start-up to scale-up with support from Coventry University.
Lumien, based in Birmingham, works directly with businesses to help improve employee performance, optimise recruitment, and increase retention by improving their culture and people strategies.
Part of its offering is a workplace culture tool where employees can report on how they are feeling about a range of topics using a dedicated app. Its data analytics platform assesses this input and suggests to managers which interventions are needed, such as enhancing wellbeing programmes.
Lumien then works directly with the organisation to implement the interventions with the help of relevant tools, resources, and consultants.
It also delivers individual reports to the employees to recommend personal strategies and action plans, such as committing to taking lunch breaks and keeping a sleep diary.
Clients frequently see positive results within three to six months, with Lumien’s
services generating an average performance increase of £1,300 per employee, per year.
Lumien is building towards integrating AI into its platform in the next year.
Christopher Golby, Director, and co-founder of Lumien, said: “Often, workplace culture can fall between the CEO and HR director’s responsibility. Commonly, this means it can get neglected.
“Small businesses do not have the time or money to hire full-time employees to cope with this, so that’s where we can support.
“We’ve had success working with companies all over the country, but we needed to improve our strategy and network to really kickstart our growth.”
Coventry University met with Christopher and helped redevelop Lumien’s value proposition to potential clients and investors, as it was initially too focused on individual staff wellbeing.
Lumien received an RTO grant worth £15,000 after getting business support through Innovate UK EDGE — an innovation and growth programme delivered by Coventry University.
Steve Lyons at Coventry University said: “By securing Lumien a grant through Innovate UK EDGE we were able to enlist the help of the Connected Places Catapult who, through a series of workshops, determined that Lumien’s offering on organisational culture was of most value to potential customers.
“With a value proposition focused on improving workplace culture Lumien began to see substantial sales growth.”
Further guidance from the Coventry University team led Lumien to join Innovate UK’s Peer 2 Peer networking group which puts scaling businesses in touch with each other.
This ongoing support has led to Lumien being recognised as a scale-up by the ScaleUp Institute, getting them ready for their next round of funding, and on their way to achieving their revenue targets.
Students at a West Midlands college are set to benefit from improved equipment and facilities as the first phase of a major £1 million investment is rolled out.
Coventry College has announced plans to deliver £250,000 worth of investment across a variety of subjects this spring, enhancing facilities for learners and paying for better equipment in the first part of a larger raft of renovations and expansions over the next two years.
Science, Music, Fashion, Photography and Beauty students are set to benefit from new equipment including laptops, cameras and iPads, while Motor Vehicle students will have an influx of cars to develop their skills.
The college will also implement a nursery upgrade for Childcare learners, as well as refurbishing Performing Arts dressing rooms,
and updating the student arrival area in its construction facility.
New projectors and TVs will also be fitted in two of its studios, as well as new chairs and tables throughout the estate, and electric vehicle charging points for staff and students.
Carol Thomas, Principal and CEO at Coventry College, said: “As a college, we always have one eye on the upcoming year and how we can keep improving, and we felt it was important that our current students also feel the benefit of this capital investment.
“With that in mind, we have identified a range of key areas where we can meaningful and immediate difference to our learners, as well as setting up future students for a rich learning experience in as many curriculum areas as possible.
Christopher added: “Coventry University’s support really took us to the next level. Our new value proposition has enabled us to win more work and impress investors.
“The networking group has been fantastic for us. We’ve developed strong relationships with several great contacts, which is invaluable when looking to grow the business.
“Without their help, I think we would have struggled to grow as fast as we have.”
Steven Lyons at Coventry University added: “It’s great to see how far they have come, and we are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Lumien.”
Find out more about Coventry University’s business support.
“It is extremely pleasing to see the breadth of subjects that we have been able to include in this first tranche of investment, particularly at a time where we are looking at ways to widen the curriculum.
“This investment is vital to ensuring that, over the next couple of years, we are putting staff, learners, and anyone within the college community in the best possible position to succeed.”
The next phase of investment is set to be delivered this summer, with subsequent tranches to be rolled out during the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. For more information visit www.coventrycollege.ac.uk
relationship and barriers that may get in the way.
Plymouth Vineyard run a Children’s Storehouse and Uniform Store, giving clothes, baby and children’s equipment free of charge to disadvantaged families in Plymouth. Many recipients are vulnerable through poverty and domestic abuse; asylum seekers; young parents; and people in social isolation.
Feedback from Plymouth Vineyard CEO was very positive: "Fantastic team training delivered by Vicki, which is going to have a huge positive impact on our organisation!”
Multiply Coaching provides a wealth of business and team tools to help businesses thrive and grow. We have worked with many large and small companies, doing training, coaching, mediation and building strengths-based teamwork.
In March, we were invited to develop, launch and train members for Plymouth Vineyard’s formal mentoring programme. This training covered: understanding the role of mentoring for yourself and others, knowing what to expect if you enter a mentoring
Starting a mentoring programme within any organisation will encourage personal growth and development of all involved, can positively support mental health and improve employee wellbeing.
If you would like to launch or improve your mentoring within your workplace, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are all aware that a positive culture helps create a happy and productive workforce, and this is embedded in all that we do at Beechwood. But we realised that some of our management team had received no formal training in appraising our people and their performance.
Management team receiving their certificates.
Performance reviews are a proven and effective way to motivate staff to achieve business objectives. Effective performance management ensures staff performance supports the achievement of organisational goals.
We spoke to the training team at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training and they prepared and a delivered a bespoke training course for us.
Some of the objectives our team required training and guidance in included, understanding the role of managing and monitoring performance, plus the following:
• Plan and prepare effective assessments.
• Determine key performance indicators.
• Identify performance and the approaches to effective management.
T Level engineering students from Rugby College and Warwick Trident College visited Lisi Aerospace's factory for an exclusive insight.
Students received a presentation, a full factory tour, and process development insight including a detailed talk about the in-house development of electronics, MMS system and databases as well as a review of Lisi's Smart Factory project and a Q&A.
Simon Smithers, Head of Engineering at WCG, said: "Working with industry is very important to us. It exposes the students to the latest technologies and working practices that industry has to offer.
"Manufacturing components as efficiently as possible, ensuring that all components are accurate to a few microns, is a skill that needs to be truly admired.
"Lisi Aerospace are one of our local companies in Rugby and we are so grateful that they have opened their doors recently to show our students what the world of industry has to offer."
The organisation, based in Rugby, offers industry placements for successful students looking to enter the engineering industry.
• Select appropriate methods to improve performance.
• Lead a performance review with confidence and structure.
The day not only left everyone feeling positive about a subject that can be a little daunting for some in the workplace, but it was great as a team-building day with the management team. (We never knew that Martin was a record-breaking Jaffa Cake eater!)
This course has now helped our management team to create an environment where we have:
• Clearly focused goals.
• Objectively appraise performance.
• Motivated and enthusiastic staff.
• Targeted development of resources.
We can definitely recommend this type of training to increase morale for your team and the Chamber provided excellent facilities and a fantastic lunch.
Marcin Klaczek, Organisational Development Coordinator at Lisi Aerospace, said: "This was a unique opportunity for the T Level students to get vital insights and exposure to the real-life working environment, and how manufacturing can support their future careers.
"We believe this could be a fantastic stepping stone into our exclusive apprenticeships program and it was a pleasure to open our factory doors to the students."
To find out more about engineering courses at WCG, visit: wcg.ac.uk/engineering
Tom Mongan, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and chair of its North Warwickshire branch.
Is it me or is this year just flying by?
Easter has come and gone, and we seem to be hurtling at great speed towards the summer months!
And this year we have an extra Bank Holiday in May to celebrate King Charles III’s Coronation.
I am pretty sure that it will be a joyous and grand affair, for there is no doubt there are not many, if any nations, that can beat us when it comes to ceremonial pomp and pageantry.
With the eyes of the world homing in on the occasion, I hope all goes well and that at least the great unpredictable British weather is kind.
With that said, I can’t help but reflect on my period as President of this great Chamber.
I have had two Monarchs, three Prime Ministers, four Chancellors of the Exchequer, a worldwide pandemic and Brexit!
Not to mention the highest energy prices ever, sky high inflation and rocketing interest rates.
Throw into the mix the war in Ukraine, fuel shortages and a lack of skilled workers to help beleaguered businesses; I think it is fair to say that to date my term as President has been eventful!
I doubt that in the 120-year history of this Chamber, there will have been many Presidents that will have had to deal with such turbulent times!
I just hope that in the six months I have remaining in this post, that there are no more troubled waters to navigate, and much calmer times lie ahead.
Now what was I saying about time flying by?
Here I am with only six months left as President, of a term that will have lasted for three years. Three years that are absolutely flying by, in which I have had the good fortune to have met a lot of awesome people, promoted and supported just the most inspiring and special businesses and travelled to some amazing places.
As the clock is ticking I still have a lot of people and business to meet and places to get to, time waits for no one; so enjoy the May Bank Holidays and the extra holiday for the Coronation!
rehabilitation they need to maximise their independence and ensure the best quality of life possible.
Martin Usher, head of serious injury at Lime Solicitors, said: “We are extremely proud and privileged to have become one of the founding members of The Katie Piper Foundation’s new legal panel.
Serious injury law firm Lime Solicitors, which has office hubs in Birmingham, Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon, has been appointed as a founding member of The Katie Piper Foundation’s first national legal panel.
Model and campaigner Katie Piper OBE, who fell victim to an acid attack in 2008, set up The Katie Piper Foundation in 2009 to support adult survivors of burns and people with scars from traumatic incidents. The charity focuses on delivering and providing access to sustainable rehabilitation services and individualised care, including specialist physiotherapy, goalfocused activities, and counselling.
Lime Solicitors will now be one of the first ports of call for survivors of burns and scars seeking legal support as a result of a lifechanging injury in order to fund the
“We understand the pain and distress burn and scar injuries can cause, both mentally and physically, and recognise that many survivors may need extensive medical help, corrective surgery and therapy so they can begin to rebuild their life and a future they deserve.
“Early access to a sustainable and bespoke rehabilitation programme is crucial, so working collaboratively with The Katie Piper Foundation means we can help support more people from a very early stage in their journey and help provide better outcomes for them and their family.”
Lime Solicitors is one of four founding law firms on the legal panel and will also be supporting The Katie Piper Foundation with fundraising projects and awareness-raising initiatives.
Sarah Green, chief executive at The Katie Piper Foundation, said: “We are delighted to launch The Katie Piper Foundation’s first Legal Panel for survivors of burns and traumatic scarring.
The panel will give survivors choice when pursuing a legal claim.
“We have chosen four legal firms with a knowledge and understanding not only of the work we deliver but also of the complexities involved in burns and traumatic injuries.
“The firms all share our passion and values in ensuring that survivors have the best opportunity to move forward in their recovery and build the future they want and deserve.
“As a small charity, we believe in the power of collaboration and look forward to demonstrating this by working together over the next year.”
Amit Ghose, an inside sales executive at legal and professional services group Ampa, which Lime Solicitors is part of, has worked closely with The Katie Piper Foundation since it began.
In 2011, Amit, who has neurofibromatosis, an incurable condition where the nerve tissue grows tumours, starred in Channel 4’s Katie: My Beautiful Friends, which was presented by Katie Piper OBE.
Amit said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of The Katie Piper Foundation again and be working with the team once more. Katie has been an incredible inspiration to my life and the foundation is doing some amazing things to support individuals.”
A leading Midlands law firm has announced the appointment of four newly-qualified solicitors following the completion of their training contracts.
Chloe Gardner, Emily-Jade Hodson, Adam Morris and Charlotte Kahrman have started their now roles at Wright Hassall, based on Olympus Avenue, in Leamington Spa.
Gardner joins a growing team of more than 30 in the firm’s real estate division, while Hodson becomes the latest member of its nationallyrenowned commercial litigation department.
Elsewhere, Morris joins its leading employment team, while Kahrman arrives as the seventh member of the firm’s contentious probate team – making it one of the largest in the Midlands.
Partner Lucie Byron, who leads the trainee programme at Wright Hassall, said: “I am really pleased for our newly-qualified solicitors and would like to congratulate Chloe,
Emily, Adam and Charlotte as they start their new roles with us.
“At Wright Hassall, we have always believed in developing our own talent and providing a first-class training programme which invests in the growth and development of the next generation of talent.
“All four have brought real drive and enthusiasm to their work and
I look forward to watching their careers progress further at the company.”
Wright Hassall was established in 1846 and employs more than 245 people, including almost 40 partners.
A further intake to its training programme is to be announced later in the year.
A Midlands-based provider of compressed air services is now expanding its footprint and recruiting new apprentices to meet growing demand.
Direct Air, whose head office is based on Binley Industrial Estate in Coventry, is expanding into a neighbouring 6,687 sq ft unit on Herald Way as the business marks its 30th anniversary.
The additional space will serve as a modern two-storey office block incorporating warehousing space to complement the existing head office, which is currently the central hub for the majority of Direct Air’s 50-employee work force. It comes as the £8 million turnover business has received an increased number of enquiries and orders since the Covid pandemic from manufacturers that rely on compressed air to create products, in industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, automotive and many more.
Demand for the compressed air specialists’ services is being driven by a need for businesses to tackle rising costs and the global challenge of climate change, which Direct Air has been able to address by helping customers to save thousands of pounds annually, as well as reducing energy usage.
To ensure the business continues to have enough resources to keep up with demand, it is working with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training on an ongoing basis to recruit office-based apprentices.
Those recruited so far are supporting the business in marketing, health and safety,
and service support. Allan Dolby, Managing Director at Direct Air, said: “Chamber Training has removed the barriers of finding individuals with the right skillsets, which is helping us to continue our long-term growth.
“We’ve been able to work closely with them from the outset to tell them what skills we need for certain roles, and not only has Chamber Training been able to identify young and hungry talent, but they have been able to provide the right training for them along the way.
“Not only have we seen our apprentices grow in confidence and deliver tangible results, but they have grown to love their place of work, and as such, we are extremely proud that they are continuing to grow with us as a business.
“For any businesses seeking to recruit skilled workers – regardless of their sector – I would recommend contacting Chamber Training, as they have the knowledge and contacts to help businesses tackle what is a growing problem.”
Four existing members of staff have joined Direct Air via the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training programme in recent years.
The programme sees the Chamber working with hundreds of businesses across the region to create tailored training programmes and sees students splitting their time between theoretical learning with the Chamber, and paid work-based roles.
This includes Georgia Lucas who completed her Level 3 Business Administration qualification and is now a Marketing Co-Ordinator at the firm, while Georgia’s colleague Lauren Elstone is now
working in Direct Air’s service support team after completing her Level 2 Business Administration qualification.
Keziah Frost has also recently secured a full-time role as the company’s HSQE Administrator having passed the same course as Georgia.
Sally Lucas, Executive Director at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training, added: “Future proofing skilled workforces is going to play a key role in helping businesses to not only survive, but to thrive, and Direct Air are proof to other business owners that barriers can be overcome if they seek professional advice.
“Every business has its own unique challenges, which we take into account to give each company we work with the best chance of attracting staff that will help them to stand out and capitalise on opportunities in their respective market places.
“I look forward to seeing Direct Air go from strength-to-strength and would urge other businesses that are seeking to upskill and recruit to get in touch with us.”
For more information about Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training visit www.cw-chambertraining.co.uk
An award-winning Midlands accountancy firm has launched a Leadership and Management Programme to help 12 members of staff develop their careers and learn new skills.
Prime Accountants Group, which has offices in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry, are implementing the course to enhance the skills of Prime’s team members and prepare them to take on bigger responsibilities in the future.
The programme, led by CAPE Coaching and Development, will cover a wide range of topics, including strategic planning, effective communication, decision-making, and team management.
Taking on this new professional challenge in the first year will be individuals from a cross-selection of assistant managers, managers and senior managers.
Morgan Davies, Director at Prime and the one who is spearheading the programme, said: “This will be a 12-month programme and the plan is to have it running yearly, with a new cohort each year.
“The board will be supplying the training provider with current, real-life leadership and management scenarios we face here at Prime, so we can all learn and grow from real-life situations rather than off-the-shelf text books and literature.
“We are committed to investing in our team members' development and are extremely excited about what this new programme brings to the firm,”
The first seminar took place on 28 March, at Prime’s Birmingham office, where the team outlined the training programme and what the 12 employees could expect from the course.
Emma Abbotts, Senior Manager in the Audit & Accounts Department who is taking part in the Leadership and Management Programme, said: “This programme will be a big step forward in my career and will be pivotal in helping me to reach my goals and upskill within the workplace.
“The directors here at Prime have consistently shown an interest in helping me and my colleagues grow and develop in our roles. I’ve been at Prime for seven years and it’s this supportive culture that is one of the key drivers for my continued commitment to the company.”
Following the first seminar, Emma said: “In just two hours I really felt like I learnt so much about my colleagues that I never knew before. I am really looking forward to the programme and think it will be extremely beneficial.
“I was very optimistic coming into the meeting and the team at Cape made us all
feel at ease from the start which I think allowed us all to feel comfortable.”
Lynsey Kitching, co-founder and director of Cape Coaching and Development said: “The energy and enthusiasm from the first cohort in their launch workshop was fantastic. We're really looking forward to getting to know the team and support them in the great work they do for their clients.”
This programme is just one of many ways Prime consistently looks to invest in its team, with flexible-working available for those who ask and an ongoing stream of charity events and fundraisers throughout the year to bring comradery and a positive workplace culture.
For more information visit www.primeaccountants.co.uk
Stratford upon Avon College
Educational & Training Establishments
0121 678 7000
John Good Ltd
Pre-Treatment Solutions Ltd
Chemical Manufacturers & Suppliers
LF Consulting Group Limited Finance, Commercial 07485 071745
Marketing Standard Limited Distributors & Distribution Services 07847 436025
Apple Construction Training Ltd
Health & Safety Training
Bespoke Benefits Solutions Limited
Employee Benefit Services
0116 502 0961 email@example.com http://www.bespokebenefits.co.uk/
0151 600 7700
Charities & Benevolent Organisations
02476 964000 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.uhcw.nhs.uk/
Emvigo Solutions Ltd
Energy Efficiency Consultants
Energy Conservation Surveyors & Consultants
Future Perfect Financial Services
Educational & Training Consultants 01788 333800 email@example.com
Leamington Football Club Ltd Sports Clubs & Associations 01926 430406 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.leamingtonfc.co.uk
Computer Software 07553 013368 email@example.com https://leo24.co.uk/
Mercure Walton Hall Hotel & Spa
Hotels 01789 842424 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mercure.com
Human Resource Consultants 07584 053963 email@example.com https://musehr.co.uk/
Osprey - Couples Dynamics
Executive, Management & Business Coaching 02477 985349 firstname.lastname@example.org
Proper Golfing Sim
RH Elite Services Limited
Website Designers 02475 185533
Legal & Financial 01384 445979
Educational & Training Consultants 02476 992489 email@example.com
https://www.skillshub.com/ Solaas Ltd
Information Technology 02477 102180 firstname.lastname@example.org http://solaas.it/
Business Wellbeing 07810 01659
The Smarter Outsource Service
Business Consultants 0330 118 1016 email@example.com http://www.tsosgroup.com/ Trophystore.co.uk Ltd
Trophies & Medals 01827 304750
Warwickshire & Northamptonshire
Charities & Benevolent Organisations 0845 413 0999
Warwickshire Vision Support
Voluntary Services 01926 411331
Toys & Games 07964 130034
Askews Legal LLP Free HR support from Askews for Chamber Members Expiry Date: 31/12/2023
John Good Ltd
Discounted Printing Services exclusively for Chamber Members
Expiry Date: 25/08/2023
Discount of 40% on Multiply Coaching prices for Chamber members
Expiry Date: 30/06/2023
TDM Mobile Cleaning
TDM Mobile Cleaning is offering a 10% discount on any of our services for Chamber Members. Expiry Date: 31/05/2023
Ashorne Hill Management College
Discounted Day Delegate Package rates for Chamber Members
Expiry Date: 31/03/2024
The Jarrah Consultancy & Copy Café FREE copywriting review – ideas and pointers to boost your marketing impact.
Expiry Date: 31/05/2023
Smart Systems UK FREE Solar PV survey for Chamber Members Expiry Date: 31/05/2023
Soft-Focus Productions Ltd
Soft-Focus is offering 15% off our product photography services to all Chamber Members Expiry Date: 30/06/2023
Discover SEO – complimentary 30-min consultation
Expiry Date: 31/07/2023
Profit From Training - Special Offers on Courses for Chamber Members
Expiry Date: 31/05/2023
Like the idea of an apprentice but need a short-term solution? Take on a T Level student for a 45-day placement and help them kickstart their career. WCG now offers T Levels in: • Business • Construction
• Engineering & Manufacturing
• Craft & Design (SEPT 2024)
• Digital Support Services
• Education & Childcare
• Media, Broadcast & Production (SEPT 2024) INDUSTRY
Trial a potential apprentice or employee by offering a work placement that’s completely flexible to your business needs.