C&W in Business May 24

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Issue 101 May - June 2024

The road to success

Laura Shapiro and her rise through the ranks at Coventry-based CloserStill Media. Page 20

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Dear Member,

For a few hours on an overcast Saturday afternoon, the country watched the mounting tension of the West Midlands Mayoral elections. Recounts, rolling news coverage and one of the closest finishes imaginable and it’s all change at the West Midlands Combined Authority. We have a new Labour Mayor, in what felt like a warmup game for a general election we desperately need to get over and done with.

First, it’s a massive thank you to Andy Street for 7 years of tireless, wholehearted, hard work and constant enthusiasm on behalf of the West Midlands. Andy has done so much to raise the profile of out brilliant region and fought hard to get us the funding and powers we need to drive local regeneration. Andy was also a great friend to the Chamber’s always supporting our events and taking time to listen to our member’s issues and ideas.

But a career in politics is like no other, and our new mayor, Richard Parker, takes over immediately with some big issues to deal with. The West Midlands economy simply isn’t recovering quickly enough, and our businesses often aren’t exporting as much as we need, are holding onto investment because they are unsure

of the wider political and economic temperatures, are bogged down by the cost of doing business and can’t often find the right skilled workers for the jobs they need to fill.

But the challenges are only half the story, and Richard is mayor in one of the most exciting areas in the world. It is literally packed with entrepreneurs, global businesses, world class innovators and educators, a sporting and cultural offer like nowhere else and millions of residents ready to learn new skills, showcase their talent and help our businesses grow.

So, it’s great to welcome Richard to the new role and assure him that the Chamber of Commerce movement, whilst apolitical, is here to support whenever needed. He knows about these great opportunities as well as anyone and has been based in the West Midlands supporting businesses for a long time –what a time to get the job!

I’m a true believer in devolution and getting budgets, powers and decision making away from Whitehall and into the regions it needs to serve, so alongside the new mayor we also welcome the new devolution package being developed for Warwickshire. People outside of Coventry & Warwickshire don’t always appreciate how much the City and County

depend on each other for a healthy economy and we need to make sure that, with a new focus at the Combined Authority and a new set of powers in Warwickshire, that we continue to work as closely as possible so the businesses and residents don’t see the lines between decision makers and we get the best opportunities for everyone – the local economy is a cross party priority and we’ll help make sure that businesses are at the heart of it.

Away from politics – it’s not long now until the British Chambers of Commerce Global Annual Conference on 27th June, so book now – but not before you’ve put a team together for our President’s Golf Day which is raising money for the brilliant Myton Hospices. And finally, it’s a very warm welcome to our two new Local Business Forum Chairs, with Sarah Windrum in North Warwickshire and Olivia Parrish in Mid-Warwickshire. Thank you and I know you’ll be brilliant.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk Foreword Coventry & Warwickshire in business 3 Contents May - June 2024 Independent Authentic Agile Connected Members of AGN International Is your business ready for ESG reporting? Use our diagnostic to identify gaps in your planning to implement ESG principles within your organisation Dafferns com/ESG
Crane Chief Executive Business Support 4 News 5 News 7 Chamber Events 8-9 News 11 Business Engage Profiles 12-13 Hospitality 36-39 Education & Skills 40-42 Movers & Shakers 44-45 New Members 46 Members Offers 47 Chamber Training 14 Environment 17 Skills 18 Profile 20-21 Economy 22-23 Health & Wellbeing 26-27 News 28-29 Around the Region 30-35


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Planning game-changer as Chamber secures policy win

The government’s plan to tackle costly planning delays has been hailed a potential game-changer in the region’s employment land crisis.

Among Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s commitments in his recent spring budget was a new measure of investment for planning capacity and resourcing.

Whitehall has pledged to match industry-led funding up to £3 million to better equip local planning departments.

The move has been championed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which has long blamed the lack of commercial space up and down the country on ‘a slow planning system’.

The problem is especially acute in Coventry and Warwickshire, where the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has repeatedly called, on behalf of its members, for an increase to skills and capacity in planning authorities on the patch to help alleviate the shortage of employment land.

Sean Rose, head of policy at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Businesses have long been telling the Chamber that planning departments are under huge pressure and that is one of the factors holding back the development of employment land across our region.

“This commitment from the Government to match industry funding is a step in the right direction in supporting local authorities to get the people with the right skills into their employment to help deal with planning backlogs.

“This budget ask from the Chamber of Commerce network is a good demonstration of what can be achieved when businesses and the public sector work together to solve issues holding back the economy.”

The government is due to publish its consultation on proposals for a new accelerated planning service as well as new measures to combat time agreement extensions and identify the local planning authorities which use these excessively.

In a report released last year, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce outlined how economic growth in the region was being stifled by a subsequent shortage of employment land.

The report said companies in the region were struggling to find adequate and affordable space, in some cases preventing them from expansion. This was causing a lag in the local economy, deterring inward investment and jeopardising the creation of new jobs, the report said.

Recognising what is a frustrating constraint right across the country, the BCC announced last month plans for a new five-year industry-led programme to increase skills and capacity in Local Planning Authorities (LPAs).

The programme will pay for at least 100 undergraduate and masters’ level qualifications for people entering the planning industry and for those already working in LPAs who need to develop skills for more senior planning roles.

It will pay for the learner’s training and aim to facilitate work experience and jobs within LPAs.

In return, at the end of their course of study, the learner must commit to work in a council planning role for at least two years.

At that point, BCC President Baroness Martha Lane Fox urged the government to offer the type of support that was forthcoming in the Budget.

“The UK’s economy is being held back by a slow planning system,” Baroness Lane-Fox had said, “and we must address the lack of resource

by giving local planning authorities some hope of support.

“The Chambers membership is consistently telling us a slow planning system, due to limited resource, is blocking much-needed investment and halting growth.

“We want to work in partnership with government to take concrete steps to support them to help unlock our planning system. It is vital that businesses of all shapes and sizes across the country contribute to this initiative.”

David Penn, of commercial property estate agent Bromwich Hardy, previously lamented the West Midlands’ ‘chronic shortage’ of land for jobs. Mr Penn, a member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber’s Employment Land Panel, says there has been ‘insufficient construction’ of factories and warehouses of all sizes and insufficient land for storage purposes across many industries.

“This is at the same time as strong demand for such uses, particularly since Covid because of higher levels of online shopping and direct delivery,” he said in the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber’s report.

“Those sites that have been allocated through Local Authority Local Plans have inevitably been taken up in bulk for large scale logistics, leaving very little for the development of buildings for small to medium-sized companies.”

More information on the BCC’s overarching planning skills programme can be found at https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/policycampaigns/people-and-work/our-solutions/investing-in-talent-building-communities/ Local businesses are being urged to donate to the fund and for more information should contact Sean Rose at seanr@cw-chamber.co.uk

Business support toasted at local pub

A Warwickshire pub is growing its customer base after receiving business support to help it buck the industry trend.

The Antelope, in Lighthorne, has added to its regular clientele by introducing a whole host of initiatives – from cocktails to pizza nights – to bring in more trade from the surrounding area.

The plan is working and has helped to safeguard ten jobs at the country pub.

Its most recent help came via the Project Warwickshire - Visitor Economy and Hospitality Support Programme delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Warwickshire County Council the District and Borough Councils.

Erika Lilley, who runs the pub with her husband, Tom, attended online masterclasses on search engine optimisation to help drive more traffic to the pub’s website and on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

They also received one-to-one support from Chamber Business Advisor Marie Stephenson, who spent time working with Erika conducting a detailed target market exercise to ensure a marketing plan that would appeal to all of their different types of customers, and which included plans to attract new ones too.

The practical support helped the pub to identify ways of increasing takings and turnover to remain profitable at a time when closures have been on the rise across the country.

variety of reasons – costs have risen, Covid changed habits and people have less money in their pocket to spend.

“The support we’ve received has, undoubtedly, helped us to survive and look at new ways to increase revenue.”

Erika added: “Working with Marie helped us to see the bigger picture. When it is two of you running a business, it’s easy to keep doing the same thing but Marie gave us new ideas and new ways to think about how we could attract more customers.

“We’re also making sure our staff feel included and are asking them for ideas of how we can grow and that has helped create a really nice spirit within the team.”

we offer so that our customers want to come back again and again.”

Marie said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Erika and Tom. They’ve taken on board everything we have talked about in our one-toone sessions and have put it into practice, with amazing results.

“Every small business owner knows that they get sucked into day-to-day tasks and don’t always get chance to look at the bigger picture. Erika and Tom have managed to take a step back, plan and target new customers and it’s having a positive impact on the business.”

Councillor Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, said: “Pubs are the backbone of local communities as well as being great businesses, so I am delighted to see The Antelope has benefitted from support.

“The pandemic accelerated lots of trends –from internet shopping to drinking at home – but nothing beats the local pub for bringing people together, especially in our rural communities so it’s great to see Erika and Tom making a real success of this business.”

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.

The couple, who met on a cruise in Southeast Asia and were married 12 years ago after Erika moved to the UK from Peru, have previously received support from Warwickshire County Council’s Survive, Sustain and Grow Programme which saw them awarded a £10,000 grant to develop a new pizza oven and preparation area. Both agreed that the support has proved invaluable.

Tom said: “There is no doubt that pubs across the whole country are having a tough time for a

Tom, who is a trained chef, works with the pub’s head chef to regularly refresh the menu while the venue also holds regular special events to commemorate everything from St. Patrick’s Day through to Star Wars Day on May 4.

Erika said: “We feel very positive about the future but we also know it is important to keep our feet on the ground and to build on the support we’ve had by thinking about how to work on the business and not always in it. Also, we know it’s important to be creative about what

Malcolm Littlewood, Stratford-on-Avon District Councillor and a member of the Stratford-onAvon District Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee Task and Finish Group: Public Houses, added: “We have to do everything we can to help our pubs and it’s great to see the positive effect that the business support is having here.”

The Project Warwickshire Programme forms part of Business Growth Warwickshire which is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Warwickshire County Council. It has been developed and commissioned jointly by Warwickshire County Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwick District Council.

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WA Management raise over £1000 for Prostate Cancer UK

Leamington Spa-based Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Compliance Management Consultancy

WA Management have raised a total of £1,100 in support of Prostate Cancer UK as part of the March the Month fundraising challenge.

March the Month is an annual campaign to raise money for Prostate Cancer to provide vital support for men and their loved ones affected, along with cutting-edge and lifesaving research. The goal set for participants is to walk 11,000 steps per day, representing the

11,000 men who pass away from prostate cancer every year.

Research has been funded by donations for 25 years and has changed the landscape of prostate cancer diagnosis and medication development. Recent research includes using targeted nanomedicine to cause less side-effects with chemotherapy and improving outcomes with personalised radiotherapy treatment.

As a team, WA Management completed a total of 3,090,136 steps, and donating

£3 for every 11,000 steps achieved up to the target of 341,000 steps per person – for a total of £800 donated by the company!

Contributions were also received from kind donations from friends, family, and customers.

William Whittaker, Managing Consultant of WA Management, explains the importance of this campaign.

“As Health and Safety Consultants, we understand the importance of bringing awareness to diseases such as prostate cancer – both to raise all-important funds, and also to help reduce the stigma that may cause preventable deaths.

“Voicing any worries or concerns to a GP, so that tests can be conducted early, could make a huge difference to someone’s diagnosis. We want to fund those lifesaving tests and the support those diagnosed will rely on post-diagnosis.”

The WA Management team having enjoyed getting stuck into March’s challenge are now looking forwards to their next fundraising challenge and researching potential events to get involved with.

This fundraising event is the second WA Management has taken part in as a team, after raising £1,265 for mental health charity Mind in their 2023 100 Miles in March campaign.

‘Insta-noon Tea’: Luxury Warwickshire hotel launches dedicated package to help snap-happy Instagram generation capture the best of British tradition

A luxury hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon has launched a new ‘Insta-noon Tea’ package that enables guests to capture the best shots of their Afternoon Tea for Instagram – following the British tradition’s resurgence in popularity amongst younger generations.

Following a recent survey that revealed 43 per cent of people aged 25 to 34 celebrated their latest birthday with an Afternoon Tea, due to it “photographing well” for social media, Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa is now offering guests the ‘best seat in the house’ with its Insta-noon Tea package.

Situated by the window in its iconic As You Like It lounge, named after Shakespeare’s comedy – which the playwright is believed to have written at the hotel – the 16th century venue’s quirky offering will provide snap-happy guests with the best lighting and backdrop for photos of their Afternoon Tea.

Costing from £29 per person and including a selection of finger sandwiches, mini tarts, chocolate eclairs and scones, the historic Grade II listed hotel will also

provide a ring light to enhance those all important photos of colourful cakes and elegant teapots.

Talking about the new package, Laura Cherrington, Sales and Marketing Director at Billesley Manor, said: “With the recent increase in Afternoon Tea interest stemming from what’s being dubbed the ‘Instagram generation’, we thought we’d offer guests from this demographic the opportunity to capture the best of our popular Afternoon Tea. The historic yet modern ambience of our As You Like It lounge, matched with a quintessential and eye-catching British tradition, offers the perfect backdrop for photos, regardless of the occasion.”

Laura continued: “At Billesley Manor, we’re a venue steeped in history, yet we pride ourselves on offering progressive and modern experiences for our guests. This is the latest example of where we’ve adapted our offering in reaction to changing tastes and trends. The Instanoon Tea is perfect for any guest who’s looking to capture a favourite British pastime in its best light – while also enjoying a delicious selection of treats.”

Set in 11 acres of Warwickshire parkland, five miles from Stratford upon Avon, Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa is an ideal escape for those looking for a countryside retreat, while also being a gateway to the neighbouring Cotswolds.

To find out more about Billesley Manor, visit https://www.billesleymanor.com/.

Insights from EBC Group's Recent Cyber Security Event

Digital threats loom larger than ever, compelling businesses to bolster their defences against cybercrime. Recognising this, EBC Group hosted a significant cyber security event on 26 March 2024 at the Worcestershire County Cricket Club, highlighting the critical need for robust digital defences.

The event showcased a notable lineup of speakers, each an expert in the cybersecurity realm, including Andre Lynch from ConnectWise, Duncan Sutcliffe from Sutcliffe & Co Insurance Brokers, and EBC Group’s Mike Cook and John MacDonald.

Mike Cook launched the proceedings with startling statistics about the escalation of cybercrime, now a multibillion-pound industry. He made it clear that businesses could no longer afford to ignore the threat of digital incursions.

Andre Lynch delved into the intricacies of today’s cyber security challenges, explaining the risks businesses face and the strategies to build cyber resilience. His presentation covered various types of cyber-attacks and their significant impacts, highlighting the indispensable nature of robust cybersecurity measures.

Duncan Sutcliffe discussed the essential role of insurance in mitigating cyber risks. He pointed out how insurance is vital in protecting against the financial disasters that can follow cyber incidents, emphasizing the increasing prevalence of cyber-enabled crime.

John MacDonald concluded the event with a comprehensive reflection on the holistic approach to cybersecurity. He stressed the integration of people, processes, and technology as fundamental to strengthening digital defences, underscoring the importance of human awareness and advanced technologies in mitigating cyber risks.

As businesses navigate these complexities, the message was clear: proactive measures are crucial for safeguarding digital assets and ensuring business continuity. Through this event, EBC Group reaffirmed its commitment to equipping businesses with the necessary tools and knowledge to secure their digital landscapes.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 5 Coventry & Warwickshire in business News

Utility Stream Limited (USL) is thrilled to celebrate a momentous occasion: six years of empowering businesses with streamlined energy solutions. But the celebrations don't stop there! USL is proud to announce the launch of Wodr, a dynamic sister company poised to disrupt the commercial water industry.

Wodr isn't just another player in the game; it's a meticulously crafted water consultancy service designed to meet the diverse needs of today's industrial and commercial clients. In an era where effective water management isn't just a nicety, it's a strategic imperative. Wodr emerges as a definitive solution, promising streamlined processes, optimised costs, and elevated sustainability for businesses of all sizes.

Commercial Water: A Market Ripe for Transformation

The Business Water Market has transformed significantly since 2017 when England and Wales followed Scotland's

lead in deregulating the water supply sector for businesses.

This shift has led to a dynamic market with 21 licensed suppliers in England, 20 in Scotland, and 13 in Wales.

Competition among suppliers has intensified with everyone fighting for a market share, prompting them to enhance service quality and pricing strategies for wider appeal.

Despite this, around 80% of businesses remain unaware of their ability to change water suppliers. Wodr aims to help businesses switch suppliers, saving both time and money.

Wodr: Where Simplicity Meets Expertise

The core of Wodr's philosophy lies in its unwavering commitment to simplicity. They understand the intricate challenges faced by businesses across sectors, and we refuse to settle for a one-size-fits-all approach. Leveraging USL's six years of simplifying business energy, Wodr champions the art of personalised recommendations.

Wodr has helped businesses in many sectors including education, food production and leisure save up to 30% on their commercial water spend.

Embark on a Transformative Journey with Wodr

Wodr is more than just a consultancy; it's a transformative partner. Their dedicated team is passionate about delivering unparalleled service, guiding industrial and commercial clients towards solutions that pack a punch for their bottom line and the environment alike.

Making a Splash in Coventry & Warwickshire

The launch of Wodr extends beyond just servicing businesses; it's a commitment to the Coventry & Warwickshire community. Not only are the team excited to #makeitwodr, saving businesses money, time, and simplifying their water switch, but USL are also actively creating new job opportunities within the region. Wodr's arrival injects fresh energy into the local job market immediately.

As USL celebrates its milestone, C&W raise a toast not just to continued growth, but also to further community contribution. Wodr embodies a future where businesses thrive alongside a sustainable environment and a vibrant local economy... an exciting journey beckons.

6 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Utility Stream
Tired of Overpaying for Water? Meet Wodr, Your Business' Water-Saving Solution from USL For inquiries and consultations, please get in touch with us at hello@makeitwodr.com or call 01926 768212 Act immediately. Find out more at www.makeitwodr.com Alternatively call or e-mail their friendly team on 01926 768212 or hello@makeitwodr.com #makeitwodr

Navigating the world of criminal law

Finding yourself in need of a criminal law solicitor can be a daunting experience. The prospect of navigating the complexities of criminal law can be overwhelming, however the criminal law team at Askews Legal LLP have outlined some guidance as to what to expect.

Find the right solicitor for you

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognise the importance of finding the right criminal law solicitor for your case. Not all criminal law solicitors are equal, as some have different areas of expertise and levels of experience. Take the time to research potential candidates and consider factors such as their track record, reputation, and familiarity with the specific charges you’re facing.

What happens during a consultation?

During your consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your case in detail. It’s essential to be honest and forthcoming about your situation, including any relevant details or evidence you may have. Remember that anything you disclose during the consultation is protected by legal privilege, so you can speak freely without fear of it being used against you.

The solicitor will ask you a series of questions to better understand your case. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible, as this will help the solicitor assess the strength of your case and determine the best course of action.

In addition to discussing the specifics of your case, a criminal law solicitor will

also take the time to explain the legal process to you. This may include outlining the potential consequences you could face.

Understanding what to expect can help alleviate some of the anxiety and uncertainty you may be feeling.

Furthermore, your solicitor will discuss their approach to handling your case. This may include outlining potential defence strategies. A good solicitor will take the time to address your concerns and ensure you feel comfortable with their representation.

Once the consultation is complete, take some time to reflect on your meeting. Consider whether you felt comfortable discussing your case with them and whether

you believe they have the experience and expertise to effectively represent you.

Once instructed, your solicitor may follow up with you to provide additional information or answer any lingering questions you may have. Throughout the legal process, it’s crucial to maintain open communication and keep your solicitor informed of any developments or changes in your situation.

To get in touch, email enquiries@askewslegal.co

Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Festival travel plans made easier thanks to huge boost in coach departures

still available to book, with return tickets starting from £31.50.


Technology has grown immensely throughout the past decade and has transformed the way billions communicate.

In 2025, BT Openreach will be switching off all analogue lines and telephony as we know it. This means that, if your business is currently using a copper line or FAX, alarm systems, a CCTV or credit card machine that uses a copper analogue line or even an ISDN line, you will need to take action and replace it with an all-internet-based solution.

Many businesses have already bridged the gap and transitioned into cloud telephony.

An all-internet-based solution encourages your business to be more efficient and scalable, allowing you to easily add or remove phone lines without the constraints of physical infrastructure. Your employees can make and receive calls from any internet-connected device including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers, supporting remote working or a mobile workforce.

As the official coach travel partner of Glastonbury Festival, National Express has added 34 more departures this year to meet demand, taking the total number of locations served to 109. A limited number of seats are

National Express will be setting up a popup coach station within 100 metres of the festival gates, meaning revellers won’t have far to go with their belongings ready to set up camp.

John Boughton, Commercial Director at National Express, said: “Demand for

affordable and reliable public transport has never been greater, and that includes travel to the summer’s hottest festivals and events.

“We have over 25 years’ experience operating special services direct to Glastonbury festival and with our extensive nationwide network of modern coaches, we’re able to step up and put on additional routes to help even more people choose us as the savvy way to travel to the festival. It’s also good for the environment as the least carbon-intensive public transport option.”

In addition to regional coach services, the company will operate a fleet of double decker electric buses on a high-frequency shuttle bus service between Bristol Bus Station and Worthy Farm. Producing zero emissions at the tailpipe, each fully charged electric bus can run up to 173 miles, saving 348kg of carbon emissions compared with diesel buses.

Tickets include a generous luggage allowance of 20kg in the hold, plus one piece of soft hand luggage. Visit www.nationalexpress.com/en/events/ glastonbury for more information.

As analogue lines become outdated, embracing internet-based solutions is not just about staying ahead of the curve, it’s about future-proofing your operations and creating new opportunities for growth.

Gisela Pink, MD of communications business Pink Connect, said: “For over 20 years, Pink Connect has been digitising and modernising businesses to the latest demands, specialising in SMEs. Modernising your business means you can become more productive and have a competitive advantage.”

What happens if you don’t modernise your business?

Without modernising your business, says Pink Connect, you may be faced with communication disruptions, suffer limited growth, and be at an increased security risk, as businesses relying on outdated infrastructure are more susceptible to cyberattacks.

For more information, visit pinkconnect.com

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 7
Coventry & Warwickshire in business News
Thousands more festival goers from across the UK can enjoy convenient and affordable travel to the summer’s biggest music event thanks to increased services from coach operator National Express.
ready for the evolution of communications?

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce hosted its latest Women in Business event at Mallory Court Hotel, in Leamington.

The event was sponsored by West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, and delegates heard from Anna Zebrowska, a reservist in the 605 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, and Sub-lieutenant Laura Harpham, a reservist in the Royal Navy based at HMS Forward.

It was held on International Women’s Day 2024 which this year had a theme of Inspire Inclusion, and the speakers highlighted the work being done by the armed forces to create inclusive environments which encourage female participation.

Laura spoke to delegates about the training involved to become a reservist in the Royal Navy, the skills she has developed, and the various opportunities she has been able to take advantage of both in the UK and overseas.

Anna gave an insight into how she juggled being a mother to three young boys, navigating English as a second language and maintaining a full-time job while completing her training, and how the skills and values she developed have benefitted both her career and personal life.


Businesswomen armed with knowledge about the forces

Businesswomen from across Coventry and Warwickshire have been given an insight into the rewarding role of serving in the armed forces reserves by two inspirational female speakers.

Anna said: “The recruitment process was a challenging yet rewarding experience, but I overcame personal and professional barriers to become a part of a prestigious organisation.

“Completing my training was a moment of pride for both myself and my friends and family who supported me throughout the process.

“The skills and experience gained as a reservist are highly transferable and can help professional development in various industries. My children have also learnt the value of perseverance and the value of pursuing their passions, and they have seen the rewards that come from hard work and dedication.

“I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire other women and young professionals to consider a reservist role in the Royal Air Force and discover the incredible growth it can offer.”

Cat Suckling, Regional Employer Engagement Director at West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, also spoke to delegates at the event, and discussed how working in defence is changing and how more women are joining the forces.

of space says the time is now to create future workforce

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged take a leaf out of the book of the ‘face of space’ and be more creative, innovative and inspirational.

Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, a scientist and broadcaster who presents the world-famous The Sky at Night on the BBC, was the keynote speaker at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s BIG Business Lunch at the IXL Events Centre.

The event attracted more than 200 business people who enjoyed a two-course lunch and, after hearing from Chamber chief executive Corin Crane and IXL Events Centre’s Atul Lakhani, were treated to a whistle-stop tour of Dr Aderin-Pocock’s life and the inspirations behind her career.

She spoke about how everything from Star Trek to Gladys West set her on a path that would lead her to presenting one of the most popular TV shows as well becoming an awardwinning author, despite having dyslexia.

Dr Aderin-Pocock said it was vital to encourage more people from all backgrounds to pursue careers in STEM roles and that it was important to provide role models and relevance to young people.

“The time is now,” she said. “We are all responsible for supporting and creating the workforce of the future.

“I am living proof that even the craziest dreams can come true. We need to be role models, be relevant to young people and also tap into that sense of wonder.

“STEM needs to be much more diverse and it’s important that we show how rewarding working in science can be.”

Crane said Coventry and Warwickshire was at the heart of innovation.

He said: “It doesn’t matter what business you are in or what you do for a living, we all have to be creative and innovative because if you stand still you get left behind.

“This region has always been at the forefront of invention and innovation and that remains the case.

She spoke about the benefits of becoming a reservist, how those who have served in the armed forces can be valuable assets to businesses, and how businesses can support those within the armed forces by signing the Armed Forced Covenant.

The Covenant, which has been signed by the Chamber, is a promise to acknowledge and understand that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy, and society they serve with their lives.

Keely Hancox, head of operations at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to come together to celebrate women from across Coventry and Warwickshire.

“We heard from some incredibly inspiring speakers who gave an insight into their lives serving in the reserved armed forces, all while juggling their careers and family life.

“We are very proud to have signed the Armed Forced Covenant and would like to thank West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for sponsoring the event.”

“I only have to look at what’s happening at our universities, at the MTC, at Horiba MIRA, and within our incredible business community to know that we are still at the cutting edge of world class technology and innovation.

“My big takeaway from Dr Aderin-Pocock’s speech is that we have to keep talking about that and keep inspiring the next generation of innovators from all backgrounds to make sure we continue to be such an inspiring place to do business.”

The BIG Business Lunch was supported by West Midlands Trains and

8 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Chamber Events
Procure4. (Back row l-r) Suzanne Draper, Josefine Blomqvist, Keely Hancox, Siamha Butt and Cat Suckling, with (Front row l-r) SLt Laura Harpham, Hazel Pilling and Anna Zebrowska. Keely Hancox (Chamber), Atul Lakhani (IXL Events Centre), Steve Harcourt (Chamber president), Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, Corin Crane (Chamber)

Chamber Events

Get in the swing for charity event

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire will be pitching in for charity as an annual golf day returns for a third year – with a place in a prestigious new tournament up for grabs.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s annual President’s Golf Day will take place at Whitefield’s Golf Course, part of Draycote Hotel in Rugby, on Friday June 21, raising money for leading Coventry and Warwickshire charity The Myton Hospices.

Sponsored by Meriden fire protection specialists TBL Fire Protection alongside the Coventry office of accountancy firm Azets, the event will be played in a pairs format and to handicap, meaning seasoned golfers can compete fairly alongside newcomers.

And for the first time this year, the top two pairs in the tournament will go onto compete in a national final against the best players from other Chamber regions who qualify from their own charity tournaments.

The region which goes onto win the national final will then host the subsequent year’s national tournament.

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of

Commerce, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing back the President’s Golf Day for a third time, and we’re really excited to see which pairs will make it through to the national final.

“It’s not only a chance for talented players to potentially represent Coventry & Warwickshire on the national stage, but to raise money for a wonderful charity in Myton Hospices and to network with companies in a beautiful setting at the Draycote Hotel.

“We’d encourage golfers both novice and expert to come along, as handicaps will be enforced – and there will be a delicious barbecue to round things off too.”

Jerri Thompson, Business Development Manager at TBL Fire Protection, added: “We were only too happy to headline sponsor the President’s Golf Day as we’re incredibly proud of the great work Myton Hospices do, as well as many of our staff being keen golfers.

“We have recently set up our small works division, which aims to assist in any fire compliance issues landlords and tenants may have, within their commercial or residential buildings, so sponsoring the day will be a fantastic way to meet a whole range of potential new customers.

“We’re really looking forward to a great day of golfing and networking.”

Danielle Hamill, Regional Managing Partner of Azets, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the President’s Golf Day. It’s a fantastic event bringing together local businesses, and supporting an amazing local charity. We’re looking forward to a fun day networking and golfing and looking forward to seeing who will be making it to the national tournament!”

And Chris Willmott, Partnerships Manager at Myton Hospices, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Chamber, its sponsors and the Draycote Hotel for organising this fantastic event to raise money for The Myton Hospices.

“Eighty per cent of our funding comes from donations, with Myton having to raise a staggering £12.5million this year to continue to provide our services free of charge, so events like this really make a massive difference to our ability to provide end-of-life care to our patients, from diagnosis to death.

“It’s set to be a brilliant tournament, and I’m intrigued to see which businesses will be representing the region at the national final.”

Jo Billings, Business Development Manager at Draycote Hotel, said: “We’re

thrilled to be hosting the President’s Annual Golf Day here at Draycote Hotel and Whitefield’s Golf Club.

“We have a championship golf course with beautiful views over neighbouring Draycote Water and playing here will be an enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels. We look forward to extending our hospitality to everyone on the day.”

Chamber president Steve Harcourt said: “I would like to say thank you to those members of the Chamber who have already booked their place in what is set to be a fantastic networking and sporting occasion.

“I would like to thank all involved in organising from the Chamber team, to the course management and their teams, who are ensuring that the day will be one to remember.

“It gives the businesses of Coventry and Warwickshire a great opportunity to get together in a relaxed atmosphere, so that we can fashion new partnerships and maintain current relationships with the local business community that work so well together.

“Here’s to a great day of golf and I will see you on the course!”

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 9
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Anyone wishing to book should visit https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/annual-presidents-golf-day/
Corin Crane, Danielle Hamill, Chris Willmott, Jerri Thompson, Jo Billings.

Prime Team head out in the sun to keep Solihull tidy

A community-spirited team from a West Midlands accountancy firm took to a popular Solihull park in the sunshine to do their bit to keep the town tidy.

Ten team members from Prime Accountants Group and their families headed to Brueton Park on Sunday (April 21) and between them collected six bags of litter.

The litter pick was part of the Love Solihull community litter picking initiative, established by Solihull Council to support residents who want to play an active role in keeping their local areas clear of litter.

Managing director Kevin Johns; directors Jamie Skelding, Adrian Pym and Jeremy Kitson; associate directors Kerrie Given and Paislei Godley; senior manager Emma Abbotts and managers Joe Laird and Tom Branson all took part alongside their families and Holly Giles, formerly of Prime.

Associate director Kerrie Given said: “The litter pick was great, the sun was shining and staff and families all had a great day cleaning up Brueton Park.

“A big shout-out to the Coffee Shack who kept us all going with coffees in the park, plus the many well-wishers who came to speak to us. Also a big thanks to Love Solihull for providing us with litter pickers and bags.

“As a business which has been embedded in the local community for decades, it’s really important to us to give something back wherever we can. We hope everyone who uses the park will benefit from initiatives like this.”

For more information on the litter picking initiative, visit www.solihull.gov.uk/Roads-pavements-and-streetcare/ Love-Solihull/Litter-picking.

For more information on Prime Accountants visit https://primeaccountants.co.uk

You can support Armed Forces community – and they can boost your business

Your organisation, whatever its industry, sector or size, can become a powerful force for positive change at a regional and national level through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), a scheme which acknowledges employers that provide exceptional support to the Armed Forces community and Defence.

Once employers have signed the Armed Forces Covenant they can apply for the ERS Bronze award. The Silver level then recognises employers who actively demonstrate support, and the Gold level is for those who are advocates.

Silver and Gold employers are typically recognised for having supportive HR policies for Reserves and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs). By offering employment to service leavers, granting flexible leave for service spouses and partners before and after deployment, and supporting Reservists, you help to ensure that men and women who have done, and continue to do, so much for our nation are treated fairly and with respect.

Those in the Armed Forces are given world class training to develop essential core, transferrable skills such as leadership, management, planning, problem-solving and communication, directly benefitting those who employ them.

Best practice can look like:

• Employment of Reservists and support through flexible HR policies.

Employment of regular service personnel at the end of their engagements and support for their resettlement, in collaboration with the Career Transition Partnership.

Employment opportunities for service leavers with more challenging transitions including the wounded, injured and sick.

Employment of spouses/civil partners of service personnel.

Joint development of skills in key areas such as engineering, medical, communications and cyber security.

Career opportunities and support for CFAVs and Cadets.

Tackling disadvantages faced by service personnel in the consumer market.

Encouraging supply chain partners and business networks to do all of the above.

For more information, email Cat Suckling on wm-reed3@rfca.mod.uk or visit www.wmrfca.org.

Ask the Expert

What is public relations (PR) and what do we do? Put simply, PR increases visibility, showcases your services and products and done the right way, increases your sales too.

PR is often seen as something of a dark art, but it’s a lot more straightforward than you’d think! It's simply a service which increases awareness of your business in front of potential clients.

At R&Co Communications, we write page-ready copy and we ‘sell in’ stories to journalists for use in print and digital publications.

This includes local papers, the business-to-business (B2B) press or press related to your industry. The logic is simple: third-party endorsement is more valuable and trusted by the reader than advertising is. We’re often asked whether we can get full control over what a journalist writes, or whether we can see the article before it’s published. Our answer is always the same – yes you can, and that’s called an advert! What you lose in editorial control, you more than make up for with third-party endorsement. When a trusted news brand showcases your work and this is repeated over time, that trust passes to the consumer when they come to decide on putting their hand in their pocket. At R&Co we also specialise in search engine optimisation (SEO) – the art of making your website appear higher in Google searches than your competitors.

SEO is about optimising your own website for keywords so people searching for your services are more likely to find you.

It’s also about gaining trust by getting high-quality websites to link to you.

Why should you take this seriously? Because the first place people go to research anything is Google – and because your serious competitors are already doing it!

Our third key specialism at R&Co is social media. We’re all familiar with social media, but did you know you can also use it to advertise?

Organic social media posts don’t get the reach and engagement they used to, but paid social media puts you in front of new users.

Whether you have a budget of £10 or £100,000, we create eye-catching social media campaigns to deliver brand awareness and new business leads.

PR gets people talking about you, SEO ensures they can find you and paid social media helps drive business leads down the marketing funnel.

R&Co was established in 1979 and was previously known as Newsline PR. It is a full-service PR agency with clients in a range of B2B and B2C sectors including veterinary, property, security and logistics.

For more information about R&Co, please call us on 01926 888308, email info@rcomms.co.uk or visit www.rcomms.co.uk. You can also search for R&Co Communications on LinkedIn.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 11 News Coventry & Warwickshire in business
A team of volunteers from Prime Accountants Group and their families took to Brueton Park in Solihull to take part in a litter pick.

Global hygiene solutions company set to expand

A leading global hygiene solutions company which has achieved international success is set to expand as it focuses on growing its presence in the home market.

Mirius, based in Coventry, is undertaking a whole-business expansion – with a particular focus on its animal health division which trades internationally under the company’s original name of Coventry Chemicals Ltd. The company has welcomed biosecurity specialist David Clegg, and

will be recruiting further colleagues in the coming months to build up its UK and International teams.

It comes after Mirius experienced significant growth as a result of the Covid-19 and African swine fever pandemics, which both coincided and saw the company become busier than ever as global demand for hygiene solutions rapidly increased.

Mirius is now reinvesting its profits back into the business as part of a growth strategy which will take it to the next level.

The company was launched in 1963 and began its life as Coventry Chemicals, before re-branding it’s Retail and Professional cleaning and hygiene divisions to Mirius in 2018 to reflect its expertise in driving innovation within the industry.

Each division within the business focuses on a specific market sector. Retail, supplying into major supermarket chains; professional hygiene, which supplies to settings which require commercial-grade cleaning products such as hotels, restaurants and care homes; and animal health, which supplies to farms and related industries.

It has strong environmental credentials with initiatives including replacing plastic tape with a paper product, and creating a bottle and trigger spray made from 100 per cent recycled plastic – the first in the UK to do so.

While Mirius’ retail and professional hygiene divisions mainly focus on the UK market, the animal health division exports to more than 85 countries across the world.

This success saw the company awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in recognition of its success in the development and growth of export markets.

The company is now focusing on the UK and the animal health division will be attending the Pig and Poultry Fair, the leading event for the UK pig, poultry and egg sectors, in May as part of this.

Steve Brown, Healthcare Director at Mirius, said: “In the animal health division we’ve done the hard part first and focused on the export market.

“We export products that are used for the cleaning and disinfection of buildings, transport vehicles and general process areas to farms in around 85 countries worldwide.

“A major part of this succuss is through providing training and education in biosecurity in farming, and regularly visiting these countries to deliver in person training sessions to share our expertise.

“Biosecurity in farming is an all-round win for farmers. It supports the health and welfare of animals, keeping them disease free in nice living conditions, and can also improve productivity and profitability.

“We have a very well-developed agricultural sector here in the UK which we will now be looking to tap into.

“It is fantastic to welcome David, who has a strong amount of industry experience, and we will now be looking to grow our UK team further. We’ll also be attending the Pig and Poultry Fair at the NEC – one of the biggest events in the industry.

“All of this is part of a whole-business expansion strategy which we’re hopeful will eventually see us open another site in the future.”

Further information about Mirius can be found at https://www.mirius.com/

Accountancy consultancy advises businesses on navigating financial challenges

A Warwickshire accountancy consultancy specialising in strategic planning advises businesses to seek support early to help navigate significant factors such as the current volatile economic climate and changes in legislation.

Leask Advisory Solutions (LeaskAS), which has been operating since 2010, says that many businesses are becoming increasingly cautious and taking longer to seek help when faced with difficult situations. In fact, they should act quicker to put themselves in the best possible position to deal with changing circumstances.

LeaskAS was founded by Julia Leask, who advises and coaches start-ups and SMEs on business planning and forecasting, funding and profitability analysis, strategy guidance and international operations.

She also uses her decades of experience to advise on navigating profitable growth, act as a sounding board for ideas, and translate complex financial data into easy-tounderstand information.

Husband David Leask, who has spent more than 25 years working with global technology providers in the UK, Europe, USA, and Japan, also offers complimentary IT Strategy and advisory services to clients as part of the LeaskAS portfolio.

While LeaskAS focuses mainly on strategy, the firm also has a dedicated network of experts in areas such as payroll, bookkeeping, accountancy, tax, funding and pensions.

Julia also posts informative bite size videos on her LinkedIn profile and YouTube channel to help inform businesses on relevant topics.

Julia said: “Businesses face increasing financial pressures and navigating these complex situations can be difficult.

“We are seeing businesses wait longer to seek support when they should be acting more quickly and getting help earlier to respond to adverse situations. This is often due to clients being overwhelmed with their data and needing help interpreting it to make timely, informed decisions.

“We work alongside a client’s existing finance teams and focus on strategy—not only when times are tough but also when the business is experiencing change, such as rapid growth, diversification, or an overseas expansion.

“I also provide business coaching to help business owners understand their financial situations and advise on improving them.”

Julia was awarded the CIMA plaque in 2022 for her voluntary work for her professional institute. Additionally, she was

presented with the Woman Who Achieves Through Networking award in 2018. Passionate about connecting with others and sharing ideas, she is in the process of creating a dedicated group for women business owners.

She added: “While we have some fantastic women in business networking groups within the Midlands that attract people of all levels across different business areas, we are currently missing a space specifically for businesses owned and led by women.

“I am currently working with various partners to make this happen, and I hope to create a space where we can share ideas and best practices while having fun and as a platform for coaching and mentoring. I’d love to hear from women leaders interested in getting involved.”

Further information about LeaskAS is available at https://leaskas.co.uk/, and people can also connect with Julia directly through LinkedIn and at julia@leaskas.co.uk.

12 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Business Engage Profiles
Steve Brown, Healthcare Director at Mirius, at a recent event. Julia and David Leask, of LeaskAS.

Business Engage Profiles

Consultancy training employers to think differently about development

When it comes to innovative training and development of the workforce, Haynes Oliver is challenging the natural order.

Dave Bownes, much of the brains and brawn behind the Bedworth-based firm, is impeccably placed to advise businesses willing to shake up their approach to the learning journey of employees.

Frustrated by outdated methods in a previous professional life, Dave launched the company four-and-a-half years ago and has reinvested almost every penny of profit, as well as his highly-specialised time, ‘to prove you can do this differently’.

And by ‘this’, Dave means building software - under the banner of Titan Learning - and programmes that can ensure workers learn exactly what they need at a pace that suits them and their employer.

“A business of 50 plus employees should be doing something around their development,” he said. “The bigger the business, the more opportunity for Titan to drive benefit, because it’s all about efficiency of scale.

“We’re very commercially focused and then we bring in the learning and development solution, which is the way it should be, but isn’t the way it generally operates.

“The challenge businesses have is changing their mindset to move away from how they’ve been doing it. You’ve got to be progressive in your thinking.

“I can do the management development, training, coaching and consultancy for anybody, but Titan as a product - you’ve got to have a different mindset to really want it.”

Gone are long qualification paths and ‘confusing’ return on investment (ROI) models. Instead, Haynes Oliver ‘talks to people in a language they understand’.

“This is key performance indicators (KPIs) and business performance,” Dave added. “These are the things individuals want to know about. We’ve got to bring it to life for the employer as much as the delegate.

“Titan Learning doesn’t fix every element of that, but it addresses some of the core issues when it comes to prioritising what learning individuals should be doing.”

Dave believes his ‘broad’ L&D solutions are adaptable and can work for personnel in all sectors, no matter the stage of their career.

He added: “When you talk about people development, the principles are the same across all industries. It doesn’t make any difference.

“If I see an opportunity, even if I can’t support with it, I’ve got a team of six or seven associates who can or vice versa.”

Haynes Oliver’s clients have tended to sit within the automotive sector due to Dave’s engineering background, with Scania Trucks and Hyundai among his most high-profile clients.

But in recent years the firm has diversified its customer base. Leading construction firm Polygon has trusted the company with its senior leadership programme, while Haynes Oliver also has clients in the defence sector, food manufacturing, social care and civil engineering.

“We’re a business that does it differently and I can prove that with Titan Learning,” Dave added. “I didn’t just talk about it

conceptually, I’ve gone ‘bang, here you go, there’s a solution for you!’”

For more information, visit the Haynes Oliver website at https://www.haynesoliver.com/

Supporting employees while tightening business budgets

The UK’s ongoing financial pressures have resulted in a stalemate between employers and employees, according to a Coventry and Warwickshire recruitment specialist.

Reed, which covers recruitment across the area, says that while employers need to tighten their budgets, employees are looking for better wages - and for businesses in the Warwickshire and Coventry region, the demand for better wages can be intense.

Earlier this year, research from Reed revealed salary expectation gaps across the UK. It found that workers in the West Midlands feel they need an annual salary of £47,000 to live comfortably, however, the average national wage in the region is currently £33,000.

The research also found that 57 per cent of people in the West Midlands are currently looking for, or considering looking for, a new job.

The top reasons for this include pay being insufficient or perceived to be better elsewhere, benefits not being good enough and a toxic workplace culture. On top of this, nearly half of workers (44 per cent) are not happy with the pay they receive.

Reed covers recruitment across the Coventry and Warwickshire area for roles at all levels in sectors including HR, procurement and supply chain, hospitality, leisure and facilities, finance and accountancy, manufacturing and engineering and all business support and administration.

Rachel Oldfield, Senior Area Manager at Reed, said: “Business leaders can’t always

increase salaries, especially with rising costs, the burden of overheads and higher business rates looming.

“However, if businesses can, do so, even if it’s a small amount, as it can make a big impact to how valued workers feel.

“But there are other ways to keep employees happy, such as looking at the benefits being offered.

“What employees value varies between industries and regions. For businesses in Coventry and the wider West Midland region, aside from annual salary increments which came out on top, the most popular benefits are flexi-time (34 per cent), a four-day working week (33 per cent) and private healthcare (28 per cent).

“This time last year, an EY report stated that the West Midlands was set to be one of the UK’s fastest growing regions – and that it will be home to one of the UK’s top locations for economic growth.

“The labour market in Coventry remains active, but we’re seeing a high level of applications for open vacancies as people look to better their salary to battle rising costs.

“My advice to businesses would be to align the benefits they are offering with those that employees value, as they will be in a better position to keep talent within the company, saving costs in the long run, while also helping attract new employees when they’re ready to hire again.”

Further information about Reed is available at https://www.reed.com/.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 13
Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Administration Apprentice wins ‘Young Employee of the Year’

Kiera Turner, a Business Administration Apprentice that attends Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training, has won ‘Young Employee of the Year’ at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC).

She joined their Resources Directorate when she was 17, commenting that: “It was my first corporate job, and I had no idea what to expect.

Kiera added: “A year later, and I am planning the Mayor’s Charity Ball, setting up live broadcasts for the Director of Resources and I have been nominated for Young Employee of the Year. I have come a long way from where I started, and it is all down to the support from my employer and my tutor at Chamber Training.”

Kiera's colleague Paul Wayman, Head of Catering Services at SMBC, says that: “Kiera is a pleasure to work with and has a genuinely lovely attitude to work. She is helpful, kind and a credit to the Council!”

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training would like to say a massive congratulations to Kiera on this accomplishment.

If you are interested in finding out more about apprenticeships please contact enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk or call 02476231122.

Chamber Training prepares for Summer Schools

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.

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 is like to work in a range of different industries and sectors.

The Summer School programmes start in July and will offer a valuable insight into the world of work and help young people identify their strengths, transferable skills and areas of interest.

The Summer Schools are for individuals 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 at Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training, that will help them to plan their future, investigate career paths and gain up-to-date knowledge of local apprenticeship opportunities.

Summer Schools are being offered in Accountancy, Early Years Care, Business Administration and Hairdressing. Each course is designed to provide an overview of the sector and give participants a feel for what it is like to work in that field over a four-week period.

If you would like to attend one of the Summer Schools or find out more information please email enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk or call 02476 231122.

Apprentice achievements recognised in The Houses of Commons

Apprentices from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training were recognised at the House of Commons in London on the 5th March, for their dedication and hard work as part of the 10th anniversary of The Apprenticeship Ladder initiative.

Sally Lucas, Executive Director at Coventry & Warwickshire Training (middle of picture) who attended the prestigious event alongside the apprentices said: “The Apprenticeship Ladder is a great vehicle for championing the benefits of apprenticeships and the contributions individuals have made to their organisations and the wider community. Apprenticeships continue to make real differences to peoples’ lives, with inspirational career paths and stand out achievements.”

The Apprenticeship Ladder Initiative aims to create partnerships between training providers and employers, facilitating access to high-quality apprenticeships for individuals seeking to gain valuable skills and pursue fulfilling careers.

Abigail Gumery, an Accountancy apprentice at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training, who works at The SmallPeice Trust, was recognised for her exceptional efforts, earning the title of 'Apprentice of the Year' at the City of Coventry Freemen Guild Awards.

Additionally, she was nominated for the Endeavor Award for her contributions towards the local community beyond her professional duties. Niall Smith, an Early Years Care apprentice employed at Beatle Woods Outdoor Nursery, received the Endeavor Award for his remarkable involvement in community service. Outside of his work in a nursery, Niall is a scout leader, providing support to young children.

The apprentices were recognised as part of the 10-year anniversary celebration of The Apprenticeship Ladder, a programme aimed at bridging the gap between

employers and individuals to enhance community skills and provide apprentices with valuable on-the-job training opportunities. This milestone celebration marks a significant achievement for The Apprenticeship Ladder Foundation, which has been helping to empower individuals and businesses alike for 10 years.

If you are looking to find out more information about employing an apprentice or becoming an apprentice, please email enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk or call 024 76231122.

CJS uses Warwickshire County Council training grant to fund training with Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training have been working closely with Warwickshire County Council to realise a fantastic training grant available to businesses in Warwickshire. Available to SMEs in Warwickshire County Council, the grant has provided local businesses with the funds they need to invest in the skills of their workforce.

CJS Safety Gate Systems, who are a provider of lift shaft edge protection in the UK, providing safety solutions to thousands of construction sites across the UK, have taken advantage of these grants and used a grant of £8750 to upskill staff in a range of training including Appraising People and Performance, Mental Health First Aid and Digital Marketing.

In today's fast-paced industrial landscape, ensuring workplace safety and fostering employee well-being are paramount. Among the various industries prioritising safety measures, the construction and industrial sectors stand out due to the inherently

high-risk nature of their operations. CJS Safety Gate Systems, a leading provider of safety solutions, recognises the significance of not only implementing robust safety mechanisms but also investing in comprehensive staff training programmes. Their emphasis on Appraising People, Mental Health First Aid, Customer Service and Digital Marketing training underscores an integrated approach towards

safeguarding both physical and mental well-being whilst enhancing organisational efficiency.

Among the current economic challenges, the grant has provided a crucial avenue for CJS Safety Systems to focus on upskilling initiatives and to enhance their workforce capabilities. With added pressure to recruit new talent, the emphasis on investing in existing staff has become even more important for the organisation.

Louise Castledine, Operations Manager at CJS Safety Systems comments that: “The team at Chamber Training have been really helpful in delivering the right courses to benefit our staff and company.” Further adding; “we look forward to putting the skills gained through this training into use in the future.”

To find out more information about the training grants available then please email enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk or call 02476231122.

14 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Chamber Training
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Logistics specialist Rhenus launches new sustainable warehouses in Nuneaton

Entrepreneur Lisa Witter, Chair of Green Innovation Challenge Group, said: “The UK has the potential to lead the world in Green Innovation. We believe our report gives policymakers a springboard to unlock that potential.

A major new sustainable warehousing development has been officially opened at Baytree, Nuneaton, by third-party logistics (3PL) provider Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK.

The ‘Rhenus Campus’, was officially opened in a launch ceremony on Thursday, April 18.

square feet across 64 acres. The first warehouse is 210,000sq ft, whilst the second warehouse totals 771,000sq ft.

“All of our recommendations are pragmatic and with political support can be implemented in a timely manner.

The campus reaches high levels of sustainability by being certified “BREEAM Outstanding” and is setting new standards for environmental protection, helping Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK to put sustainability at the forefront of its operations.

“I’ve been delighted to chair our meetings over recent months, bringing together some of the UK’s most prominent businesses alongside leading academics. The message is clear – business can, and will, play a leadership role in sustainably transforming our economy.

Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK, which won the 2023 UKWA Award for Excellence in Sustainability, and Baytree are committed to bringing forward pioneering environmental and social advancements associated with logistics buildings, and to be creating new benchmarks in the sector.

Significant reductions in whole-life carbon are being achieved, such as the CLT timber floors being 64 per cent lower embodied carbon than a standard floor. Three air source heat pumps, enough to heat and ventilate the campus’ offices and provide frost protection for the warehouses, and 80 electric car charging points have been installed.

“Critically the report also recognises the role of green jobs and skills in driving change and echoes IEMA’s call for a body to be established at the heart of government to advise on green workforce matters over the longterm.”

Ronny Sassen, CEO of Rhenus Warehousing Solutions, said: “The Rhenus Campus is one of the best examples of sustainable warehousing, and forms an important part of our global commitment to positively impacting the environment. Energy efficiency is being improved throughout and biodiversity initiatives are being implemented wherever possible.”

James Close, Head of Climate Change at NatWest Group, and member of the BCC Business Council, said: “As the first major economy to enshrine net zero into law, the UK has already seen strong progress on our decarbonisation journey.

Renewable energy is being generated on-site via 2,288 415-watt solar panels, which give a total system size of over 949 kWp (kilowatt peak). The system will feed an estimated 870,000 kWh per annum into the campus – the equivalent power consumption of approximately 250 homes for a year.

“The UK is on the right track. This report’s recommendations can propel British businesses into a global leadership role, seizing the opportunity of becoming the agents of change.”

The Rhenus Campus is home to two warehouses, measuring a total of one million

Ross McKenzie, Corporate Affairs Director at Drax and member of the BCC Business Council, said: “The climate crisis is the critical challenge for the UK and the world. The foundations of this report are built on the expertise of businesses of all sizes and we were delighted to support its development.

“The report sets out practical recommendations which, if adopted, could further catalyse the country’s journey to reaching net zero and accelerating the development of carbon capture and storage.”

The site features extensive green spaces, homes for local wildlife, and between 700 and 900 native trees. Employees can utilise on-site allotments, sports pitches, a walking/cycling trail and outdoor gym.

“However, we know that the next stage will require greater collaboration across the public and private sector to reach net zero by 2050.

Rhenus is also running a Community Outreach Programme, in which it has partnered with Nuneaton Borough Ladies and Girls FC, Attleborough Sports JFC, the Nuneaton branch of the British Gurkha Veterans Association and Dare2Dream Foundation, allowing them to use the company’s facilities.

lot of work has gone into making the Rhenus Campus reach such impressive sustainability goals, and we are proud to have officially opened the development with our customers, partners and stakeholders. We are looking forward to providing our customers with innovative solutions from this environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art facility.”

During the launch ceremony, the solar panels were switched on by UKWA Member Benefits Manager, Tracey Starkey.

Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Green Finance Institute, said: “Extreme weather brought by the climate crisis is increasingly disrupting lives and the economy. The collective ingenuity of British businesses can provide the solutions the world needs.

“At NatWest, and as highlighted in the Green Innovation Challenge Report, we see that many businesses are determined to play their part in supporting both decarbonisation and green innovation and have the potential to unlock significant revenue for themselves as well as enable the country to meet its climate commitments.”

Alison McRae, Senior Director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and member of the BCC Green Innovation Challenge Group, said: "It is fitting that the Green Innovation report is launched here in Glasgow at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland ahead of what will be another critical year for our economy and the sustainability agenda.

Mike Gamble, Rhenus Managing Director, said: “This is a hugely significant milestone for us. A

Amit Babbar, UK Development Director at Baytree, said: “We are proud to have delivered the Rhenus Campus project at Baytree, Nuneaton. The project incorporates numerous industry firsts on a development of this scale.”

Sustainability firmly on the agenda as law firm celebrates Planet Mark recognition

"The British Chambers of Commerce's report highlights the importance of innovation in a resilient, net zero future. The UK's financial ecosystem should nourish green businesses with capital, and support them with a robust institutional framework underpinned by longterm vision, clear goals, and the agility to adapt."

A Midlands law firm has been awarded sustainability certification in recognition of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

Wright Hassall, based in Leamington, has been awarded Planet Mark certification, an internationally-recognised sustainability award for organisations acknowledging continuous progress, encouraging action and committing to cut carbon emissions by an aim of 5 per cent, and continue to do so year-on-year.

Ben Goodwin, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, said: “The role of businesses in the transition to a greener economy is fundamental, but for this to materialise the appropriate policy and regulatory conditions must be in place. The BCC’s report carefully sets out what is required on this front so that businesses right across the UK can succeed.

Yasmin Diamond, Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs at IHG Hotels & Resorts and member of the BCC Business Council, said: “IHG is committed to supporting our owners and hotels with decarbonising their operations and giving them the tools to become more sustainable.

more energy efficient by encouraging staff members to turn off electrical items such as lights, monitors and electric heaters when not in use, increasing the firm’s focus on recycling, encouraging staff to only travel when necessary and educating them on the most effective ways to travel.

“To achieve this, we’re actively engaging in conversations with governments, the hospitality industry and business communities around the world, advocating for stronger options and innovative technology to make decarbonisation easier and more cost-effective.

The announcement came on Earth Day –a global event which aims to highlight the importance of protecting the environment.

The year-long certification process involved submitting a range of data to measure the firm’s carbon emissions before taking a number of steps to reduce this. This has included being

“As a group it’s important to have the BCC’s support, helping the industry, advocating for change and together, we can continue to create a more sustainable future for hospitality.”

“Innovation will continue to be at the core of the city region’s ambitions both through the work of our network of Innovation Districts, our UKGOVT Innovation Accelerator Status and of course the ongoing work our businesses - and particularly our SME community - are doing to unlock the innovative solutions we need to see to realise our climate targets.

efforts to reduce carbon emissions across the business.

“As the host of COP26, this city has been championing green innovation and circular economy and we at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce have been at the forefront of fighting for the right economic and policy conditions to empower businesses to accelerate and scale action supporting the move to net zero.

Going forward, Wright Hassall will be working with its landlord to improve the overall energy efficiency of its building, moving to renewable energy sources, and will look at introducing further multi-use tenancies within the building to ensure the space is being used as effectively as possible in a bid to continue to reduce emissions.

Mark Shrimpton, HR Director at Wright Hassall, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce our Planet Mark certification in recognition of our

“Businesses produce an incredible amount of carbon – often more than people realise – and it is extremely important to look at ways to reduce this and improve environmental performance.

“Each individual plays a part in helping to reduce carbon emissions, and we have been working hard to improve our processes, educate our employees on what they can do to support this and ask them to ensure that they do the right thing to help us achieve our goals.

"As we approach the Congress of Business summit to again be held in Glasgow on 14 May, as part of Glasgow Climate Week, this report provides a perfect overview of the challenges and opportunities business face and what support is still needed to achieve our ultimate objectives."

“Now we have achieved our first certification, we are already looking at ways we can do more to ensure we continue to reduce our carbon footprint in order to receive certification year-onyear and achieve our environmental goals.”

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 17 Environment Coventry & Warwickshire in business ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------,---------www.cw-chamber.co.uk 17
Coventry & Warwickshire

Seize apprenticeship opportunity

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to seize the opportunity of taking on an apprentice after the Government set out £60 million of investment to create thousands of new posts.

The Prime Minister set out the Government’s renewed focus on apprenticeships in a major speech delivered at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and said the funding would enable up to 20,000 more apprenticeships, including for small businesses.

The announcement included more flexibility in the apprenticeship levy system and the removal of the need for small employers to meet some of the cost of training for apprentices under the age of 22.

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said “Businesses have been telling us through our Local Skills Improvement Plan and in our policy focused roundtables that skills are a barrier to their growth.

“Apprenticeships are such an effective way of getting people into your business while learning and earning. This focus from government will be welcomed by businesses who need to get the skills for growth in their firms.”

Sally Lucas, Executive Director of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training, said: “This is a much-needed boost to support businesses in taking on apprentices as a viable way to boost their workforce.

“As a regional supplier of apprenticeships, we know the impact they have on the individual but more importantly on the business which can shape and mould the exact skills they need.

“This announcement is welcome because it enhances the funding available and means smaller businesses will no longer need to contribute to the training costs.

“On top of that, it raises the profile of apprenticeships and I’d urge businesses to get in touch with us to see how we can support them in hiring and training apprentices and really seize this opportunity to boost their workforce –and the skills of young people.”

For more information go to www.cw-chambertraining.co.uk

Bringing business and education together

Efforts in Coventry and Warwickshire to bring business and education together to help deliver the skills the economy needs – now and in the future – have been praised in the House of Lords.

The West Midlands and Warwickshire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) was produced by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

The plan, which sets out three key priorities, was devised after around six months of research and consultation including engaging with more than 1,000 employers as well as skills and training organisations such as FE and HE institutions and other private providers.

It has identified where there are shortfalls in provision and, also, a lack of knowledge of what is available both by individuals and employers, and makes recommendations on how they can be addressed.

Funding for the plan was announced in the autumn, with Coventry and Warwickshire awarded £10.4 million to deliver its plan through a partnership between business and HE.

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, the president of the British Chambers of Commerce, praised the work that is happening in Coventry and Warwickshire to address the issue during a debate in the House of Lords on the importance of skills for success in the UK economy.

“In Coventry and Warwickshire, the Chamber has been working with more than 3,500 different employers and 74 per cent of them say that they have never sat down with any Higher Education providers in the last five years,” she said.

“This unlock has been fundamental in helping businesses and the providers decide what both sides need in the next two to three years. It is interesting to me that there seems to have been an extreme drop-off post-Covid on how much collaboration happens across these areas of the economy, and the sectors that are serving the skills part of the economy.

“These Local Skills Improvement Plans are a really tangible way to encourage this collaboration to happen. When the providers have mapped out

their needs, they will then come up with a plan both on the business and on the education side at any level to do what is needed to plug those gaps.”

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted that Baroness Martha Lane Fox raised the work that we are doing in this region on the Local Skills Improvement Plans.

“There is a real appetite to work towards a solution to an issue that has dogged businesses and the whole economy for many years.

“It’s only through collaboration and flexing to what employers and the economy needs that we will truly be able to provide the skills needed both now and in the future.”

“These Local Skills Improvement Plans are a really tangible way to encourage this collaboration to happen. When the providers have mapped out their needs, they will then come up with a plan both on the business and on the education side at any level to do what is needed to plug those gaps.”
18 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Skills
A British Chambers of Commerce evaluation report into LSIPs can be found here: https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/2024-LSIPs-Evaluation-Report-FINAL27-Feb.pdf
www.cw-chamber.co.uk 19

The road to success

Laura Shapiro has risen through the ranks at Coventry-based CloserStill Media during a period of exponential growth for the company.
C&W in Business caught up with Laura to find out what has been the driving force behind that success.

Profile: Laura Shapiro

Laura Shapiro can often be found displaying a classic Porsche at the weekend, but it’s during the week that she’s truly driven.

Laura is a portfolio director with international events and exhibition company CloserStill Media, working out of the Coventry office located at the Coventry University Technology Park

She was the company’s 21st employee when she joined 13 years ago as a sales manager. Six promotions later and Laura is one of several female leaders within the Coventry office, which is now home to 70 staff. The wider company has grown through acquisition and now employs more than 700 people.

It’s been an incredible journey for a business that was started in a Warwickshire pig shed, and Laura’s own rise has been similarly meteoric after she ‘fell into the industry’ after being made redundant by a Midlands publishing company.

“The company was closing the title I worked on,” she said. “It was the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and we were the media partner for the Pharmacy Show which was run by CloserStill.

“Matthew Butler, who is still my boss now, asked if I’d like to join the company because I had all of the contacts and all of the knowledge. I’d never worked in exhibitions before and I had to learn all of that when I got here but I had the inside knowledge of the industry and the little black book.

“That was over 13 years ago and the rest is history.”

Laura had studied Chemistry at Glasgow University. Both her parents were medics and she says she has ‘lived and breathed’ the sector all of her life.

Her journey to the Midlands after graduating took in detours to Southampton, London and Cambridge before she settled in Leicestershire with her car enthusiast husband-to-be and, hence, the move to the Birmingham publisher which was just about commutable.

But it was at CloserStill Media that Laura found her calling. It led to regular promotions which means she now oversees 12 exhibitions in the medical sector looking after 16 staff who do everything from selling the space at the events to delivering the shows.

“In my portfolio, we’ve launched three new events in the past year – Women’s Health Professional Care; Best Practice; and the Clinical Pharmacy Congress, which we launched in Manchester,” she said.

“The Best Practice event won ‘best brand expansion’ at the recent Exhibition News awards. We certainly celebrated the win afterwards!

The growth of Laura’s own portfolio – mirrored by the wider company’s expansion which has moved it to being in the top 10 in its field in the world – means she is nearly always looking to recruit. The challenge is finding people who match her passion and drive.

“If we are being honest, we want people who want to come in and make money for the business and also to make money for themselves,” Laura admits.

“That’s what will happen if you are good at your job.

“I wouldn’t be here 13 years later if I didn’t enjoy what I do and if I didn’t have a passion for the business.

20 www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Profile: Laura Shapiro

"But we are private equity owned so we have to be sales driven, it is as simple as that.

“We are very much about giving people ownership. When I started working here, I launched a brand-new event and I still work on that now.

“We want people to be synonymous with their brands. We don’t really promote CloserStill Media in our sectors, it tends to be the brand of the show and the person behind that brand is just as important. I want people to work for me who want to own their brand.

“In the events industry, everyone knows that it’s like an oscillating line. One week, it might be mad busy and you have to put extra time in, while the next week might be quieter and that’s where you can take your time out. You have to understand that people want a work/life balance.

“For me, I’m always looking for excellent salespeople. They need to be willing to get their hands dirty – picking up the phone, and using all methods of communication. We are a sales-led business. We have to be. Bringing in money is king and if anyone tells you differently they are not in the right trade!”

Like every business, the company faced an uncertain period when Covid hit but it bounced back quickly, with shows taking place at the end of 2021 and revenue returning to normal by the end of 2022.

“Two years later, as a business we are flourishing,” she said. “We are backed by an American fund who are in a position to support the acquisitions department within the company and they’ve been working in overdrive.

“We’ve just acquired another majority stake in an exhibition business which runs luxury shows for cruise ship interiors in London and Miami, making it our fourth acquisition in the last six months, which is very exciting.

While the business has gone beyond pre-Covid levels, Laura says the pandemic has brought the challenge of

changing work patterns but believes CloserStill has settled on a good balance of a ‘three days in, two days from home’ hybrid model.

“It’s so important that people get to spend time with their colleagues,” she said, “particularly in the sales department. If you have a bad call, you don’t want to let it linger with you as it will take down your whole day. You need to learn from colleagues, you need to vent, or celebrate if you’ve had a good call. All of that stuff.

“When everyone was at home all of the time it was much more difficult. You can work from home, but it’s different. You need to have one-to-ones with your team and it has to be in person as you get so much more achieved.

“We run face to face events so there is a method to our madness in getting people to be in the same room as one another.”

Laura admits she is working on her own work/ life balance which includes growing produce, Zumba classes and displaying a 1986 Porsche 911 Targa at events at the weekend.

But, even then, she doesn’t switch off.

“If I’m at a show or an event, I’m always keeping an eye on how everything is working and how it has been organised,” said Laura. “It means it’s difficult to get away from the day job and when I do, I just sleep!”

“We want people to be synonymous with their brands. We don’t really promote CloserStill Media in our sectors, it tends to be the brand of the show and the person behind that brand is just as important. I want people to work for me who want to own their brand."

Profile: Laura Shapiro

Married: For 13 years

Children: None, three nephews under four

Hobbies: Gardening, Arsenal FC, travelling, reading (when I get the chance) and classic cars

Favourite Book: Way too many to choose from

Favourite Film: Shawshank Redemption

Last Holiday: Panama Canal Christmas and New Year Cruise

Gadget: My phone!

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 21
Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Employment Law Changes

April 2024 has seen a raft of employment law changes. With so many changes they are easily missed by busy business owners. To guide you through the changes, the Employment team at Askews Legal LLP have outlined some of the key updates.

Increase to National Minimum Wage (NMW)

• From 1 April 2024, the following increases will apply to the NMW:

For people aged over 21, the National Minimum (Living) Wage will rise from £10.42 to £11.44. For people aged 18-20 the National Minimum (Living) Wage will rise from £7.49 to £8.60.

• For people aged 16-17 and apprentices, the National Minimum (Living) Wage will increase from £5.28 to £6.40.

Holiday pay calculations

Employers can choose to:

• pay a worker holiday pay when they take their holiday; or pay a worker “rolled-up” holiday pay.

These new changes can be applied from holiday years starting on or after 1 April 2024. For example, if a business’s holiday year runs from January to December, the business will be able to implement the new rules from 1 January 2025.

Protection from redundancy for pregnant woman

Pregnant employees have priority over other employees in being offered an alternative role if their role is being made redundant, however from 6 April 2024, this protection will remain in place from the date they notify you of their pregnancy until 18 months after the birth. In the case of adoption, the protection will last 18 months from the placement date.

Introduction of carer’s leave

Employees will have a right from day one of their employment to take five working days unpaid carer’s leave every year. Carer’s leave can be taken in single or half days. Employees must give three days’ notice or a period of notice that is twice the length of the leave requested, whichever is longer.

Although an employer cannot refuse a carer’s leave request, you can delay it to a time that would cause less business disruption, provided approval is given within one month of the request.

The right to request flexible working Employees are now entitled to make two flexible working requests within a 12-month period. As an employer, you must consider such requests and explore other options before turning the request down.

If you require legal advice concerning the changes to employment law commencing in April 2024, please email enquiries@askewslegal.co

Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Is the economic outlook improving? Our survey says: yes!

The economic outlook for Coventry and Warwickshire has improved after the first three months of the year.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) says the region is in better shape than it was at the turn of the year.

The survey, which is delivered in partnership with Prime Accountants Group, is analysed by the Economy & Skills Group at Warwickshire County Council. From the responses of businesses across the services and manufacturing sector, it gives scores out of 100 where anything above 50 indicates growth and anything below 50 is negative.

The overall economic outlook now has a score of 60.1 based on the survey results compared to 55.2 at the end of 2023.

The outlook is calculated based on a range of questions around orders, both at home and abroad, employment prospects and investment and cashflow.

The survey showed that domestic orders in both the service sector and among manufacturers have risen significantly among those firms surveyed. However, it also revealed a dip in overseas sales.

Employment prospects in both sectors was still in positive territory but remained fairly flat compared to three months before, which may suggest a cooling in businesses’ desire to hire new staff.

There was also a significant rise in the potential for investment and general cashflow with both the service sector and manufacturing moving above 50 having been below at the end of 2023.

Business confidence in the service sector hit 70.7 and although it fell in manufacturing in the region, it was still well above 50 at 59.5.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “When you consider that the national economy slipped into technical recession at the end of 2023, this survey would indicate that Coventry and Warwickshire is still in good shape.

“This area has always been a dynamic, forward-thinking place to do business and that remains the case despite a whole host of challenges that firms have faced over many years now.

“We know that there are aspects of our economy that need fixing to help businesses to grow – such as more land for employment, closing the skills gap and support to make the transition to net zero – and we will continue to speak up on those issues and also help to find solutions to them.”

Economic Outlook:

Overall, 60.1, up from 55.2

Service Sector 60.9, up from 55.2 Manufacturing Sector 55.8, flat from 56.0

Domestic Sales:

Service Sector 66.1, up from 58.4 Manufacturing Sector 54.5, up from 33.3

Overseas Sales: Service Sector 43.2, down from 50.0 Manufacturing Sector 53.1, down from 58.3

Steve Harcourt, president of the Chamber and director of Prime Accountants Group, added: “Businesses have had a tough few years and we all know that global circumstances remain fragile. We will continue to highlight some of the barriers to growth that are preventing companies from expanding.

“That said, the business outlook for the region based on the latest QES looks positive, with more exciting developments on the horizon.”

Todd Williams, Business Intelligence Analyst at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Quarter one at a national level improved slightly with continuing strong growth in services output, and early signs of a potential return to growth for manufacturing output.

“Meanwhile, the latest QES results show the local economy maintaining optimism alongside a significant reduction in spare capacity.

“The results show that the overall economic outlook index for Coventry and Warwickshire aligning with the national trend. Local services businesses are positive about the domestic market, however sentiment about the services overseas market have fallen. The local manufacturing business sentiment is solidifying around growth in both domestic and overseas markets.

“While there are local short-term concerns, especially around recruiting, labour costs and interest rates –both the local manufacturing and service sectors show strong confidence that business is expected to improve over the next 12 months.”


Service Sector 56.3, flat from 56.3

Manufacturing Sector 56.8, down from 58.3

Investment & Cashflow

Service Sector 56.1, up from 47.1

Manufacturing Sector 53.3, up from 38.9

Business Confidence

Service Sector 70.7, up from 61.8 Manufacturing Sector 59.5, down from 83.3

22 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Economy
Steve Harcourt (left) with Corin Crane

Chancellor’s Budget offered little for business

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say there was ‘very little’ for firms across the region in the Chancellor’s Budget.

Jeremy Hunt MP, the Chancellor, reduced employee National Insurance by two per cent which had been widely forecast, froze duty on fuel and enhanced support for childcare to encourage more people back to work.

There were other announcements around alcohol duty being frozen as well as investment in creative and green industries.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a budget roundtable with a cross section of businesses in the region at the offices of Prime Accountants Group.

There was strong interest in the Chancellor’s announcements on additional funding for culture in Coventry and for devolved powers going to Warwickshire, but Corin Crane, chief executive of the Chamber, said there was little for business.

He said: “The feeling in the room was that there could have been more for businesses. The cut in National Insurance will provide a boost to staff who are still feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis but that wasn’t matched by the same kind of help for companies.

“There was very little for our manufacturers and construction businesses, who are still feeling the pinch from the rising costs that they faced over recent years. It was a similar story for hospitality.

“One of the most positive announcements for companies across the region wasn’t a policy change but the fact that inflation is expected to fall to less than two per cent in the next few months as this will, hopefully, have a stabilising effect on businesses and give them a platform from which to grow.

“The announcements on Coventry and Warwickshire were of keen interest to

everyone in the room – including £5 million for culture in Coventry which will help to support the legacy of City of Culture.

“Equally, more devolved powers for Warwickshire could help to level the playing field over the likes of adult education, which is welcome.

“As with every budget and fiscal event, it is often the case that we learn more when the detail emerges but I think it is fair to say that the initial reaction from businesses was fairly muted.

“The economy slipped into technical recession at the end of 2023 and, while that isn’t anticipated to last very long, more is going to be need to build sustainable economic growth. We all wanted to see a budget that would support that growth and I’m not sure that’s what we have been given.”

Mixed picture means erratic unemployment

Unemployment levels will remain unpredictable after it leapt to its highest level for six months.

The unemployment rate hit 4.2 per cent in the three months to January according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Corin Crane, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said that many firms are, however, still struggling to find the staff they need to be able to grow.

He said: “The level of unemployment has risen and there is still a huge swathe of people who are not including in those figures because, for a number of reasons, they are not actively seeking employment.

“Clearly, some businesses have cut back on staffing levels – hence the reason for the jump in unemployment and the reduction in job vacancies.

“But we are still speaking to companies every day of the week who want to employ more people so that they can grow but they simply can’t get hold of the skills they need.

“Therefore, we can expect the unemployment rate to be quite

unpredictable in the months ahead and this is why it’s so important that we continue to tackle the skills issue head on.

“The Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) is a really good start at doing that in this region and it is vital that we continue to build momentum so we can give people the skills they need not just for the jobs of today, but tomorrow too.”

Jane Gratton, Deputy Director Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “With the number of vacancies continuing to fall, and unemployment ticking up, there are further signs that the labour market is cooling.

“But we are certainly not out of the woods yet. Too many firms are still struggling to

Rates could come down soon!

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been told that there is a strong belief in financial markets that interest rates will come down by the end of the year – but that the Bank of England is weighing up a range of factors when it sets base rate.

Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s Agent for the West Midlands, met members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in an online forum to get a sense of how firms from different sectors are performing in the current economic climate. The event came hot on the heels of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voting eight to one to keep interest rates at 5.25 per cent.

Graeme said: “Meeting businesses and hearing how they are doing and what challenges they are facing is crucial to the work of the Bank.


find the people and skills they need to fill job vacancies. At the same time, real wage growth continues to rise, ramping up the cost of employment. All this acts as a brake on activity, profitability and investment.

“Government and employers need to find ways to bring more people back into the workforce and to train them for our current and emerging skills needs. As well as investing more in skills, it means removing barriers to work and ensuring job seekers are well prepared to succeed in the workplace.

“Employers offering fairer and more flexible workplaces are often more successful at attracting and retaining talent in a competitive labour market.

“However, we are concerned by the growing number of people not looking for work, with a large chunk of those out of action due to long-term health issues. More must be done to help people with ill health stay in work and to help employers understand how best to support them.

“Until we get more people permanently back into the workplace then the upside risks of higher inflation and interest rates will remain.”

“It also gives me a chance to let business owners know the MPC’s thinking when it is setting rates and the factors that affect its decisions.

“Consumer price inflation fell to 3.4% in February, and there are indications that the labour market is loosening, but private sector wage growth is still at around six per cent.

“It is important to be clear that inflation falling doesn’t mean prices on average are going down – it just means they are going up less rapidly!”

“Bank Rate will need to remain restrictive for sufficiently long to return inflation to the two per cent CPI target sustainably in the medium term.”

Sean Rose, head of policy at the Chamber, said: “We are always grateful to Graeme and the team at the Bank of England for listening to businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and for using that intelligence to inform their decision-making process.

“It is still a very mixed economic picture and we’d urge businesses in the region to ensure they are talking to the Chamber if they need support to help them grow even in challenging times.”

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 23 Economy Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Safeguarding children a priority in Special Guardianship Orders

A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) can help to ensure that vulnerable children are placed in nurturing and stable environments where they can thrive and flourish.

Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) in England and Wales are a legal mechanism designed to safeguard the welfare and stability of children who cannot live with their birth parents. These orders confer

extensive rights and responsibilities upon the appointed guardian, ensuring the child’s needs are met in a nurturing environment. However, navigating the complexities of SGOs can demand expertise in family law. Here, the team at Askews Legal LLP outline how solicitors can assist this process.

An SGO is a legal arrangement made by the court, granting individuals—often family members or close acquaintances—specific guardianship responsibilities over a child. Unlike adoption, which severs legal ties with birth parents, SGOs typically maintain some form of contact or relationship between the child and their biological family.

Solicitors can play multifaceted roles throughout the SGO process, serving as legal advisors, advocates, and facilitators, from initial consultations to courtroom representation.

One of the primary roles of solicitors in the context of SGOs is to offer comprehensive legal counsel to prospective guardians. This entails explaining the intricacies of SGOs, outlining the rights and responsibilities,

and elucidating the potential implications of seeking such an order. Furthermore, solicitors can prepare and submit SGO applications to the court, ensuring all legal requirements are met and therefore minimising the risk of delays or complications in the application process.

In cases where disputes arise between prospective guardians and birth parents or other interested parties, solicitors can facilitate negotiations and mediate conflicts.

Solicitors should prioritise the best interests of the child above all else throughout the SGO process, advocating for arrangements that promote the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs and taking into account their individual circumstances and preferences.

If you require legal advice concerning Special Guardianship Orders, please email enquiries@askewslegal.co

Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Partnering up to combat youth homelessness with one-stop hub

Coventry Building Society, alongside youth homelessness charities St Basils and Centrepoint, has established a one-stop youth hub in Coventry to aid young people facing homelessness.

Operating from Harp Place on Sandy Lane, the hub provides comprehensive support services for single individuals or couples aged 18 to 24, including housing, benefits, education, and training advice. Notable attendees at the opening included local council members and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Recent data from Centrepoint highlights the pressing need for such services, with more than 13,700 young people experiencing homelessness in the West Midlands in a year. In Coventry alone, 1,945 individuals sought

assistance from the council, marking a 17% increase from the previous year.

The hub is a pivotal component of Coventry Building Society's multi-million-pound partnership with St Basils and Centrepoint, aiming to combat youth homelessness over three years.

Kip, one beneficiary of St Basils, expressed gratitude for the hub, emphasising the relief of accessing consolidated support rather than repeatedly recounting their upsetting circumstances to multiple agencies.

Jean Templeton, CEO of St Basils, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the hub's role in providing holistic support and expressing delight in participating in the multi-agency partnership, sentiments echoed by Coventry Building Society's CEO, Steve Hughes.

26 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Health and Wellbeing
“Nothing is Too Much” Granddaughter of Resident, Hallmark Anya Court Pop in & see what’s possible Hallmark Anya Court, Rugby, CV22 6JA 01788 462 000 hallmarkcarehomes.co.uk/anya-court Customer review score correct as of May 2024

Health and Wellbeing

New health and wellness podcast offering positivity and hope to those living with a chronic illness

The Chronic Illness Coach has launched its brand-new podcast, The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast, which combines personal stories of those living with chronic illnesses, discussions of key topics such as what happens during a diagnosis process and interviews with experts in the health and wellness industry.

The Chronic Illness Coach, founded by Alex Morris, specialises in helping those living with chronic illnesses to thrive in their health and life. It combines Rapid Transformational Coaching and Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching to tackle the mind and body simultaneously. Alex is passionate about showing those living with a chronic illness that they can still have the life they dreamt of and that it is possible to thrive, be healthy and happy.

The podcast offers a refreshingly honest and unfiltered recollection of the daily


challenges those with an illness face. It highlights the ripple effects of a chronic illness from the individuals to their relationships, careers, health, and happiness.

It is also a beacon of hope for those navigating health challenges, as each episode offers a lifeline with practical strategies, emotional support, and a sense of community. Whether you are grappling with a recent diagnosis, managing someone with a chronic illness, or supporting a loved one through their journey.

Alex Morris, Founder of The Chronic Illness Coach, said: “Launching a holistic health and wellness business has been a dream since I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.”

“After my diagnosis I was advised to go to a hospital support group, where I was met with an overwhelming wave of fear, loss of hope and resignation that this is all life has to offer. This experience lit a fire within me to ensure that anyone living with a chronic illness knows it does not need to be the end to their hopes and dreams.”

“I genuinely believe that anyone living with a chronic illness can still create a healthy, happy, and inspired life for themselves. This is why I started the podcast to make it easy and accessible for anyone to get the expertise they need to take control of their own health.”

The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

Are you up to date on paternity leave changes?

April has been a busy month for employment law. The government has confirmed significant updates to many existing regulations, including the rights surrounding paternity leave.

What are the key changes?

The new regulations allow all fathers or partners to split their two-week leave into two blocks of one week each. This flexibility enables them to take their leave at any point within the first year following the birth or adoption of their child, rather than the first eight weeks as previously specified.

The notice period has also been reduced. The regulations now state 28 days before the ex-pected week of childbirth rather than the previous requirement of 15 weeks.

These changes will apply from March 8 this year to all babies born or children adopted from April 6.

What do employers need to do?

1. Amend any relevant documentation or templates, including employee handbooks and communicate the changes internally to all employees.

2. Ensure management are aware of the changes. This will ensure requests are re-sponded to correctly and in a timely manner.

3. Identify any management training needs regarding these updates and implement an appropriate programme.

Do these amendments go far enough?

Despite these improvements, the UK’s paternity leave policy offers some of the least generous benefits compared to other European countries. In Sweden, paternity leave is paid for the first 90 days, alongside an advantageous parental scheme. Parents in Ice-land are entitled to six months’ leave. There have been calls to align paternity leave with maternity leave and provide six weeks’ leave at 90% pay.

Employers offering an enhanced paternity package can foster a culture of loyalty, improve retention rates amongst working parents and attract a more diverse workforce. https://ahrconsultants.co.uk/

you a Carer-friendly Employer?

Unpaid carers play an important role in families, communities and broader society by supporting others to have a better quality of life.

While caring can be extremely rewarding, it can also be stressful and isolating if carers don’t get the support they need. Caring can be physically, psychologically, emotionally and financially difficult, and undertaking caring responsibilities alongside paid work may worsen these difficulties.

Almost a third of working carers in the UK have not discussed their caring role with anyone at their workplace, most commonly because they believed that nothing would change as a result. 600 carers leave their jobs every day because of the pressure of combining work with their caring responsibilities.

By creating a carer-friendly workplace, employers can attract and retain talent and realise the organisational and social benefits of supporting carers.

Carers Trust Heart of England is a charity that supports unpaid carers in Coventry and Warwickshire delivering the service on behalf of Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.

As an employer, you will know just how important it is to keep skilled and experienced staff. Carers Trust Heart of England is here to help you support and retain them. The Carer Friendly Employer Award is designed to support you throughout your journey towards building a positive and inclusive workplace for all staff who are, or who will become carers.

To find out more about our Carer Friendly Employer Award and how we can support your business, email contactus@carerstrusthofe.org.uk or call 024 7663 2972.

If you would like to know more about Carers Trust Heart of England and how you can support us, visit www.carerstrusthofe.org.uk.


Carers Week 2024 is an annual campaign in the United Kingdom that aims to raise awareness of caring and support unpaid carers.

This year, it will take place from Monday, June 10th until Sunday, June 16th, 2024. The theme for this year’s Carers Week is “Putting carers on the map.”

During this campaign, the focus is on highlighting the challenges faced by family and friend carers and recognizing the significant contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

We’re holding several events that companies can support or sponsor:

Walk for Carers 9 June Packington Estate. A 4 mile walk around Packington Estate

Carer Information Fair 12 June at Broadstreet Rugby Club 11am-6pm – an information day for carers to find out what support is available to them

Carer Awards 13 June where we recognise the unsung heroes in our community

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 27
Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Collaboration streamlines running of business for Spaghetti Agency

Bosses at an online marketing firm are thrilled with a new collaboration that has helped the business to streamline its processes and truly focus on its clients.

Spaghetti Agency, known for its bold spirit and unique approach, is excited to share the significant impact of teaming up with local IT experts Magnetar IT and using Zoho One software. Staff feel the collaboration has hugely boosted Warwick-based Spaghetti Agency's efficiency and organisation.

Spaghetti Agency’s Co-Director, Todd, described the way the business previously worked, juggling a variety of apps and tools, as being "like holding things together with sticky tape," leading to duplicate data and inefficiencies. Looking for a fix, Spaghetti Agency reached out to Magnetar IT, who recommended Zoho One.

The digital makeover started by smoothly connecting Zoho CRM with Outlook 365 and Vonage. This combination captures every client interaction, making their sales process more efficient, said the agency. They also added Zoho Bookings to simplify scheduling and Zoho Flow to link their website forms with CRM, so they can respond faster to client enquiries.

The company has streamlined its business operations, creating an integrated system. But it's more than just smooth running. This tech upgrade allows Spaghetti Agency to deliver their "Everywhere Package," ensuring their clients stand out across all platforms, from blogs to social media, and email marketing to video podcasts.

Todd, delighted with Zoho's impact, said: "It's saving us thousands; it's paid for itself and more."

Fellow Co-Director, Jo Ciriani, recalls the business before Zoho, stating: "Life was way more chaotic!"

Quartet of award nominations for R&Co Communications

A West Midlands communications agency is celebrating a quartet of award nominations just weeks after taking home its first national prize.

R&Co Communications has been shortlisted for the national CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Excellence Awards in the Healthcare/Wellbeing Campaign category, for its ongoing work with Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (AMVS) around a deadly dog disease known as Alabama Rot.

R&Co represents AMVS as part of its work for Mars Petcare-owned Linnaeus, one of the UK’s biggest veterinary groups.

In the same week, Leamington Spa and Birmingham-based R&Co was also nominated for the Low Budget Campaign Award, Media Relations Award and Small

Consultancy of the Year Award in the Midlands PRCA Dare Awards.

The latest string of nominations for the family-run agency follows its first national award, the PR Campaign of the Year, which it collected at the Veterinary Marketing Association Awards in London in March.

R&Co Managing Director Peter Robinson said: “The success of our agency in recent years is thanks to a deliberate strategy of appointing outstanding talent to our team.

“This is paying off not just in terms of our client growth, but in the recognition we are starting to gain through award successes such as these.

“We’re up against some real industry heavyweights in these awards, which is a

sign of how far we’ve come and where we are heading.”

R&Co was established in 1979 and was previously known as Newsline PR. It is a fullservice PR agency with clients in a range of B2B and B2C sectors including veterinary, property, security and logistics.

Surprise 1st birthday party for IT business to mark successful first year

An experienced IT consultant who took the plunge to launch his own business in Coventry received a surprise on its 12-month anniversary.

René Wheeler, who has 30 years’ experience in the IT and telecoms sector, set-up SolaaS (Solutions As A Service) from an office at the Coventry Transport Museum in the city centre to provide customers with flexible monthly contracts instead of fixed three-to-five-year deals for telephones, retail security and connectivity services, and has grown to achieve a turnover that has surpassed expectations.

Within 12 months, the business has secured more than 30 clients throughout

the UK including school and college academies, a leisure and tourism organisation, and commercial and industrial businesses as well as becoming partners with global, awardwinning cloud telecoms company Wildix.

René’s wife, Michaela, who is also Operations Manager, decided to throw a surprise birthday party to mark SolaaS’s achievements which have included the business being voted Start-up Business of the Year for the West Midlands at The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards.

René said: “I’ve just been super lucky with recruitment. Every position we’ve recruited we’ve just got the best people. We wouldn’t have achieved what we have had it not been for the people we have. It’s been fundamental.

“I’ve had challenges over the year, but I’ve got such a loyal base of people around me that they’ve made it really quite plain sailing.”

SolaaS now employs six people including two apprentices to develop the business’s skills for the future and more recruitment is on the horizon.

“We’ve laid the foundations for many more years in business,” he said.

“We’re twice the size of what I expected so goal-setting for next year, we’ve got to think much bigger. We’re building a community of customers and that’s how we want to grow the business.”

Since launching the business from scratch, René has received mentoring and guidance from Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub’s Jim Vithanage.

“Jim has proved to be a fantastic mentor with his sound advice and guidance every step of the way,” René added.

“He has encouraged me to attend networking events and I’ve joined CW Champions which I’ve found really helpful.” Jim Vithanage, Account Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, said: “Grant funding is not always necessary because knowledge and mentoring are equally important, if not more so. The Growth Hub provides this through our experienced Account Managers.

“René has been so open to developing, expanding and stepping out of his comfort zone and he wants a business that fits his standards.”

Warwick HR firm partners with global brand to boost local businesses

Five years on from establishing Warwick HR, Kathryn Brooks, HR Director, has relocated her business to larger premises for the second time – a necessary move to cope with strong growth and to facilitate face-to-face workshops and training.

In addition to offering outsourced HR and recruitment support to firms of all sizes and sectors across the UK, Warwick HR is proud to have become an independent Everything DiSC Authorised Partner in 2024.

You may have heard of DiSC assessments being used during the recruitment process, as they give people a quick and intuitive way to understand themselves and others. They enable employers to evaluate applicants for compatibility by identifying them as being one of four basic behavioural styles — Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness — but as valuable as this application is, there are other great ways to utilise this insight beyond recruitment.

Business owners and management can use DiSC profiling to significantly improve team communication, as strategies can be tailored to match the preferences of each behavioural style, leading to more effective and efficient interactions. Additionally, conflict can be more easily resolved within teams, with managers able to address disagreements by utilising everyone’s DiSC profiles. Members of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber can now achieve all this and more with a local independent Everything DiSC Authorised Partner in their midst.

Now they’ve settled into their new, larger premises, both existing Warwick HR clients and those new to the company can access this vital insight and benefit from face-toface DiSC training, helping an increasing number of businesses to encourage a more positive and productive culture.

This partnership with Everything DiSC will give Warwick HR clients the opportunity to enhance teamwork

and reduce misunderstandings within their teams, and create a more cohesive, understanding and resilient environment – it’s the key to unlocking the full potential of so many local businesses, empowering everyone to work better together.

You can now find Warwick HR at Charles Court on Budbrooke Road, or visit warwickhr.com to learn more about the company’s partnership with Everything DiSC.

28 www.cw-chamber.co.uk News

Global hygiene company extends partnership with pallet pooling experts

One of the world’s largest hygiene and health companies has extended its supply chain partnership with one of Europe’s leading pallet poolers.

Essity has signed a new contract with IPP, taking a collaboration which began in 2009 into its 15th year.

IPP delivers more than two million pallets per year into 21 locations across the UK and Ireland, Benelux, Germany and Slovakia for Essity, which owns tissue and paper towel brands including Cushelle, Tork, Tena and Plenty.

The two companies have developed a strong partnership focused on innovation and sustainable ways of working, with IPP establishing an operational presence at two of Essity's largest UK manufacturing sites, in Trafford and Prudhoe, to mitigate costs and help operations run smoothly.

This work includes incentivising transporters and identifying empty running legs where additional Essity products could be decanted and trans-shipped.

The partnership continues to go from strength to strength, achieving a milestone of almost 30 million pallets serviced at IPP’s on-site depots since 2010, plus a saving of almost 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2019.

Shelley Pierre, Commercial Director at IPP, said: “The relationship with Essity works well because of the service, flexibility and quality we offer.

“We share a commitment to responsiveness, agility and sustainable agendas, meaning we have aligned values and ethics in business.

“As well as being easy to work with, our commitment to sustainability was a key reason behind Essity signing with us again.

“Our ambitions for the next few years include using new technology alongside our digital transformation agenda to streamline processes and create new efficiencies within our businesses.”

Terry Scott, factory logistics manager at Essity, said: “We're happy to have renewed our long-standing partnership with IPP. The extended collaboration underscores a shared dedication to environmental responsibility, delivering quality products, and prioritising customer satisfaction.

“IPP has always stood out as very customer-focused, which has cemented this relationship and resulted in our continued alliance.”

Spotlight on Ivor King Training’s Katie King

Meet Katie King, of Warwickshire’s Ivor King Training.

Being first point of contact for Ivor King Training, if you call to book a course or have any questions about any of their training programmes, chances are you’ll be speaking to Katie.

As Training Admin Manager, Katie looks after the smooth day-to-day running of this increasingly popular Nuneatonbased construction plant training centre, planning which courses will take place and making sure everything is organised for the successful delivery of their range of CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) and NPORS (National Plant Operators Registration Scheme) courses.

Katie is granddaughter of Ivor King, founder of the main business, of which training is now a part, and a thirdgeneration member of the King family dynasty. Joining the team full-time in the summer of 2022 after college and a spell in retail, it’s fair to say she’s excited about flying the company flag and the prospect of growing the training centre.

“Our legacy is decades of real-life experience working in the piling industry, so who could possibly be better at delivering construction training than us?’, said Katie. “Customer service is everything, but I don’t just want our clients to be satisfied, I want them to leave feeling delighted with the experience they’ve had, enough to go and tell all their mates. After all, there’s no substitute for experience!”

Outside of work, Katie loves spending quality time with family and friends, and interests include films and music.

Katie has also recently been getting to grips with a few of the training courses herself, including how to operate a crawler crane, and says this helps her to develop a better understanding of their customers’ needs. “I was a little daunted, as driving a crane is definitely out of my comfort zone, but it was great to experience the training first hand,” she said. “I may be biased, but I can certainly recommend our training instructors, who are both patient and professional, and really know their stuff.”

in business

Collaboration has never been smoother

In today's fast-paced world, staying ahead of the competition requires more than just hard work; it demands efficiency, collaboration and adaptability.

Business communications company Pink Connect specialises in transforming businesses using the power of Microsoft 365, offering a comprehensive suite of tools and services designed to streamline operations.

Your business can harness the power of the cloud to access files and collaborate from anywhere, at any time, whether employees are in the office, on the go, or working remotely.

Communication is key to any successful business, and Microsoft Teams is the ultimate solution for bringing your team together. You can chat, meet, call, and collaborate in real-time, keeping everyone on the same page.

Microsoft 365 also offers Office apps, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, designed to streamline your workflow and boost productivity.

In today's digital landscape, data security is non-negotiable. With the increase of cyber-attacks on businesses, it is important to implement security measures, safeguard your business against cyber threats, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

“Collaboration is at the heart of every successful business, and Microsoft 365 makes it easier than ever to work together seamlessly,” says Gisela Pink, MD of Pink Connect.

With SharePoint and OneDrive, you can store, share, and collaborate on files in the cloud, enabling your team to access the information they need, whenever they need it.

To find out if Pink Connect can help you, contact tellmemore@pinkconnect.com

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 29
News Coventry & Warwickshire

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North

Sarah will fill big shoes by showcasing regional strengths

The new chair of a business group that serves the north of Warwickshire has vowed to showcase the region’s strengths at every opportunity.

Sarah Windrum, the future mobility cluster lead at HORIBA MIRA – which sits on the A5 on the Warwickshire and Leicestershire border, is the new chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s North Warwickshire Local Business Forum.

The Local Business Forum meets every quarter to discuss issues in the region that firms are facing and to help raise those with key decision makers, as well as sharing updates.

Sarah, who is a Chamber board member and previously chaired the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said she was delighted to be taking on the role and paid tribute to her predecessor.

Sarah said: “I have very big shoes to fill. Tom Mongan, the previous chair of this Local Business Forum and former president of the Chamber, did so much to promote this area and particularly its manufacturing industry.

“We thank him for the many years of service and for everything he has done for businesses in this area and for the Chamber.

“It is clear to me that the north of Warwickshire has so much going for it and I am keen to use this role as a way of really showcasing everything that is great about our region.

“When there are barriers to growth, we will use the Local Business Forum and the Chamber’s voice as a way to make sure the message is heard loud and clear by decision makers at a local, regional and national level.

“But I really do see a very bright economic future for the whole region and particularly this area of it, especially when we look at our capacity for Research & Development and our role in the supply chain when it comes to manufacturing, new technology and net zero.

“Manufacturing is our heritage but it is also very much our future too at a global level and I’ll take every opportunity I can to highlight everything we have to offer.”

Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Sarah has been involved with the Chamber for many years and, through her work with the LEP, has played a pivotal role in the region’s economy so we are thrilled that she is the new chair of our Local Business Forum in North Warwickshire.

“They play a key role in giving businesses the opportunity to find out more about what’s happening in their area but also to raise any local issues they might be facing.”

Bright future for the north of the county

There are exciting times ahead for Nuneaton and the north of Warwickshire, a business meeting has heard.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s North Warwickshire Local Business Forum was joined by Marcus Jones, the MP for Nuneaton, at its latest event at the MIRA Technology Institute.

The meeting heard how the latest phase of the Transforming Nuneaton project has been given planning permission and will see the creation of a new library, business centre and 65 homes as part of a wider development of the town centre.

Marcus Jones said: “I am so pleased to see the Transforming Nuneaton programme continuing to move forward.

“I have been a big champion of the project for many years now because you only have to look at town centres up and down the country to see they have to change.

“This latest announcement is a further step into the realisation of this wonderful opportunity to really transform the town centre to make it fit for the future and create jobs, homes and investment for Nuneaton.

“The first Hampton-by-Hilton hotel will be opening later in the year and we’ve also got a new cinema, an exciting food court concept and a digital skills hub all on the way.

“These are really exciting times for Nuneaton and the wider region and it’s important that we get that message out there.”

Sarah Windrum was recently appointed as the chair of the Chamber’s North Warwickshire Local Business Forum and she

said there was real opportunity for the north of the county to put itself on the map.

She said: “It was great to see such a wide mix of businesses in attendance at the Local Business Forum and we were very grateful to Marcus for coming along and updating us on topics at a local, regional and national level.

“It was also a chance for businesses in the room to feedback any concerns or issues they are having.

“Broadly, there was a real sense of optimism about what this area is capable of

because there is so much untapped potential in terms of people and place.

“As well as the exciting news regarding Transforming Nuneaton, we also talked through how the area is becoming a hive for companies in clean technology and manufacturing and that there’s a belief that this could become one of the north of Warwickshire’s key sectors for many years to come.

“I look forward to continuing the conversation further at our next Local Business Forum.”

Verity finds her voice leading audio tours of Coventry

Ventures with Verity is a small independent tourist guide service, based in Coventry and set up in 2016 by Verity Tiff.

Following a career in education, which had included working in a variety of different school settings as well as student support work at Warwick Business School, Verity retired from full time work.

However, one of the things that she had always enjoyed doing was meeting people. With a love of history and heritage, Verity decided to take the opportunity to learn more about the region which she had made her home in 2004, by training as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for the Heart of England region (a region which stretches from Staffordshire, through

Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire).

The Blue Badge Tourist Guide qualification is an internationally recognised qualification and is assessed by both written and practical exams. These exams not only focus on knowledge, but also on practical guiding skills.

As Coventry was scheduled to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and with the uncertainty regarding travel, both overseas and within the UK, Verity decided to focus her tours on Coventry and Warwickshire, and in particular outdoor walking tours of the city and the surrounding countryside.

Verity was soon approached by VoiceMap about producing a self-guided audio tour, and after finding that the walking tours were difficult to manage and to generate enough revenue as a sole trader, Verity took on the challenge.

Embracing new technology and a new way of working, including having to set up a ‘recording studio’ in the spare bedroom under a duvet to record the audio tracks, the VoiceMap tour of Coventry entitled Coventry’s Cathedral Quarter; a tale of Riches, Destruction and Rebirth was born. After four months of fairly intensive work, working with an editor who guided her through the process, it was finally ready for publication in the middle of March.

The tour not only takes visitors on a journey through the historic centre of Coventry as well as going inside the cathedral ruins, but it also encourages visitors to spend more time in the city, visiting some of the other attractions such as St Mary’s Guildhall, The Coventry Transport Museum, Holy Trinity Church and of course the cathedral itself.

Now that Verity has found her voice through this new medium, she is already planning further tours, including one following the route of the medieval city walls, which will also take visitors out towards the Charterhouse and London Rd Cemetery. However, due to the city south redevelopment, that one is temporarily on hold and she is concentrating on a tour of Warwick.

Visit www.ventureswithverity.co.uk for more information.

30 www.cw-chamber.co.uk
South Warks - Rugby
Warks -
Sarah Windrum with Sean Rose Sarah Windrum and Marcus Jones MP with the North Warwickshire Local Business Forum

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks -

Luxury hotel helping to reward our unsung heroes

The Windmill Village Hotel, Golf & Spa, a luxury leisure experience located on the outskirts of Coventry, has announced its partnership with Room to Reward, a unique charity that gives back to hard-working volunteers.

Through Room to Reward, hotels donate unsold rooms, which are then passed on to deserving volunteers nominated by charities. Throughout this partnership, the hotel will provide those who commit their lives to helping others with well-deserved hotel breaks.

"Our partnership with Room to Reward aligns perfectly with the hotel’s values of community and wellbeing," said Silvio Faller, General Manager at The Windmill Village Hotel, Golf & Spa.

"We are proud to support those who continuously dedicate their time to making a

difference, providing them with a sanctuary of peace and relaxation at our hotel."

Offering a combination of luxury leisure, scenery and hospitality, the hotel provides the perfect escape to say ‘thank you’ to those who give so much of themselves. With a golf course, serene spa facilities and gourmet dining, The Windmill Village Hotel, Golf & Spa promises a rejuvenating retreat from the demands faced by charity workers.

Adam Terpening, Director at Room to Reward, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with The Windmill Village Hotel, Golf & Spa. The hotel’s generous offer not only provides respite for our hardworking charity community but also raises awareness of the critical work they do every day. It’s partnerships like these that enable us to continue our mission and expand our impact."

Customer Service Awards honour is ‘testament to hard work of team’

A Coventry business is brimming with pride after being named Customer Service Awards finalists at BizX 2024.

Simon Rotheram, Managing Director of Beechwood Trees & Landscapes, was delighted with the honour. Reflecting on the “inspirational” event, held in Liverpool over three days, Simon said his team gained invaluable experience and connections as well as being awarded finalists.

Speakers who graced the event stage to share their insights and wisdom included Dame Kelly Holmes, and businesswoman and TV Dragon Deborah Meaden, whilst the event was hosted with flair and finesse by the charismatic Stephen Mulhern.

"The experience at BizX 2024 was truly inspiring," said Simon. "We had the

opportunity to learn from industry leaders and connect with like-minded professionals, which has greatly enriched our perspective and approach to customer service."

The crowning moment for Beechwood Trees & Landscapes came as BizX reached its crescendo with the much-anticipated awards ceremony. "Being named Finalists in the Customer Service Awards was a proud moment for us," added Simon. "It's a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, and it reinforces our commitment to delivering exceptional service to our clients."

Looking ahead, Beechwood Trees & Landscapes is excited about the future and eagerly anticipating BizX 2025.

"We're already looking forward to the next chapter of our journey," said Simon.

"BizX has become a cornerstone event for us, and we're excited to continue learning, growing, and connecting with fellow industry professionals."

City centre hotel celebrates third birthday

As Coventry’s Telegraph Hotel approaches its third birthday in May, its team is celebrating an incredible success story.

The four-star boutique hotel in the city centre has sold more than 82,000 room nights and the hotel regularly has a waiting list for rooms, such is its popularity.

The hotel is themed around the MidCentury design of the former Telegraph offices, which were completed in 1959 as part of Coventry’s post-war reconstruction. The hotel has retained the building’s many features and added original 1950s furniture and new artwork that celebrates the period when Coventry led the world in urban design.

General Manager Amy Windsor said that the attention given to the detail of the design is a huge part of the success story.

She said: “Feedback from guests is that they really love the design of the building, and it keeps them coming back.

“To younger people, Mid-Century design is now uber-cool, and to the older ones, I expect it reminds them of the houses they grew up in.

“People certainly feel very much at home here. Whilst most new hotels are all the same, with a few bolt-on local ‘artefacts’, The Telegraph is already a classic. Staying here is seen as something special.”

The hotel which now employs up to 80 staff, has been host to 20 weddings so far, as well as many business conferences. The glass roofed restaurant provides a mix of fine dining and home-cooked favourites with over 5,000 fish & chip dinners served. Meanwhile

in the bar the Lady Godiva and Covmopolitan cocktails are the most popular.

Amy added: “People come from all over the world, and they also come from just down the road. You could walk into the restaurant on any day of the week, and you could meet somebody from the Far East, France or Foleshill.

“We have a wonderful team who put the customer first every step of the way and, it wouldn’t be the hospitality industry, if we did not have to accommodate some unusual

requests. I have been asked if we can ensure we provide someone with a room without the colour yellow anywhere in it right through to a diner who wanted to face north when sitting in the restaurant!

“The team works so hard to make sure each guest feels special – whether they are just popping in for a coffee or if they are holding their wedding with us. We faced so many challenges when we opened during covid, but the team have given their all to make our first three years such a success.”

There were cheers all round as a Kenilworth gin distillery was declared New Business of the Year.

East Chase Distillers was honoured with the title at the Midlands Service Excellence Awards, to the delight of business owners Luke Weetman and Richie Bartle.

The two friends, who had been at Kenilworth school together, decided over a few drinks in their local pub that a gin distillery was something they wanted to achieve together. Seven years later, following meticulous planning and research and after overcoming challenges along the way including building their own premises and COVID difficulties, Luke and Richie began trading successfully in November 2022, launching alongside Luke’s family Christmas tree sales operation. It was an opportunity for Luke (sixth generation) to further diversify on his family farm, alongside one of his best friends who had had firstly been in the Royal Marines, followed by 10 years in UK Special Forces, and was looking for a new career.

East Chase Distillers (ECD) produces Heritage Gin using a blend of botanicals sourced both locally and further afield, including juniper berries, coriander, citrus peel, and rhubarb from their farm garden in Kenilworth. The distillery, which uses traditional distilling techniques, offers a range of gin products, including its flagship product, a London Dry Gin, and flavoured seasonal gins including Citrus Orange, Rhubarb and Apple, and Summer Berries. Due to be launched in next few weeks are three vodkas.

Among the judges’ comments were: “ECD offer a well-thought-out and researched proposition with a strong emphasis on sustainability – an example of this is the underfloor heating that can be heated from their still. Great Ideas including ‘Gin,Tonic and Tales’ evenings, with one of the founders telling his back story from being in the Special Boat Service and Marines. The company uses UK-manufactured glass to reduce their carbon footprint.”

The distillery is open every Friday night from 4pm until late and hosts a variety of events as well as being available for corporate events, weddings and other engagements.

For more information, visit the website at www.eastchasedistillers.com

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 31
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Let the success story be-gin! Distillery celebrates being crowned New Business of the Year
Richie Bartle on left, Luke Weetman on right with the award at East Chase Distillery

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks -

Olivia leaps into Chamber role

A Warwickshire businesswoman has taken a ‘Leap’ into a new role to help support other local firms in the county.

Olivia Parrish has become the chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Warwickshire Local Business Forum, having recently joined the board of the Chamber.

Olivia has run Leap People Solutions in the area for the past five years, helping companies of all sizes and sectors with organisational development, HR and workplace culture.

She started the business after well over a decade working in the professional services sector when she decided it was time to go it alone.

Now, Olivia will bring all of that experience to the role of chair of the Local Business Forum, which meets every quarter to discuss issues affecting firms in the region and share updates with one another.

Olivia said: “I am delighted to be taking on this role. I know what it’s like to be in business and understand the ups and downs.

“The Chamber offers a huge amount of support to companies and organisations across a whole range of sectors – from owner managed businesses through to major corporations – it really is where business belongs!

“The Local Business Forum has an important role to play within that by understanding the very specific issues that are being faced by businesses in MidWarwickshire and feeding those through to the wider Chamber and to decision-makers at a local, regional and national level.

“As businesses, our voices are much stronger when we come together and I’m looking forward to meeting more and more businesspeople and helping to make this an open, honest network in order to get a true reflection of how firms are faring.”

Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Olivia on board. Our Local Business Forums across the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire are well respected and regularly attract MPs, councillors and other key decisionmakers who want to hear from local businesses.

“Olivia has great knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for business and the region and will be a great force for good for the Chamber and businesses in the areas.”

Heart of England Co-op links up with Macmillan to help local cancer patients

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has announced that Macmillan Cancer Support will be its new corporate charity for 2024 and 2025.

The charity received the lion’s share of votes after a shortlist of worthy causes was circulated to more than 700 staff.

Catherine Evans, Heart of England Co-op’s Community and Charity Adviser, said the charity’s work truly resonated with her colleagues.

“Statistics show that one out of every two people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. Nobody here needed any convincing that this is a charity which deserves our support.

“Macmillan move mountains to help people with cancer live life as fully as they possibly can, but we know they constantly need support. We are delighted to be able to play our part in that. The funds we raise will help people suffering with cancer in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

To celebrate the new partnership, members of staff were encouraged to wear green on the launch day to reflect the organisation’s colours.

Collection tins have been distributed to the society’s food stores and several in-house fundraising activities have already been arranged, including an Easter raffle, coffee morning, quiz evening and car wash. There will also be a sponsored walk between the Attleborough and Coniston Way Co-op food stores in Nuneaton.

Macmillan Relationship Fundraising Manager Sarah Harker welcomed the link-up with the Heart of England Co-op. She says around 5,000 people living in Coventry and Warwickshire are diagnosed with cancer every year.

“It is vital that these people and their families receive the support they need from Macmillan Cancer Support and have the opportunity to access our services,” added Sarah.

Macmillan has 101 professionals based across the region at the Rigby Centre in Stratford Upon Avon, the Aylesford Unit at Warwick Hospital, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire.

“Macmillan information and support services are based at all of our hospitals, where people affected by cancer will find expert advice from our staff and volunteers. From questions about treatment to advice on benefits and finances, they are there to help and signpost patients to the right person,” said Sarah.

She added: “Our relationship with the Heart of England Co-operative Society will ensure we continue to best support people throughout the whole of their cancer journey.”

In addition to its corporate charity, the Heart of England Co-op donates at least £50,000 a year to community groups as part of its Helping Hearts awards scheme. More than £1.2 million has been handed out to hundreds of charities and organisations since the project was launched in 2000. Chief executive Ali Kurji said giving back to local communities was one of the Society’s founding principles when it was first set up in 1832. Ali said: “Our link-up with Macmillan to help cancer patients in Coventry and Warwickshire is another example of how we embrace that ethos to this day.”

Crime on the agenda at Local Business Forum

Companies in mid-Warwickshire have been given an insight into how the devastating effects of business crime are being tackled in the region.

Philip Seccombe, the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, was the guest speaker at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Warwickshire Local Business Forum, which took place at St John’s House in Warwick.

Businesses heard about the history of the building before a roundtable discussion on the current economic climate.

That was followed by an update by the Police and Crime Commissioner on the work

his office is doing to tackle business crime.

He said: “In Warwickshire we are supporting a joined-up approach between police, retailers and licenced premises, with the aim of tackling prolific offending in shops, bars and pubs across the country.

“We have been speaking to representatives across the whole retail sector to understand how they are affected by crime, what works well in tackling it and where improvements are needed.

“I’m encouraged by the work that Warwickshire Police and forces nationally are already undertaking to raise the profile of business crime, and bring offenders to

justice, which is starting to show some really positive results.

“We will have five new town centre police officers in place by April, working across the main town centres in each district and borough. The aim is to further boost visibility and engagement with retail businesses.

“We are now putting twice as many offenders before the courts than we were six months ago, which is significant. We’ve also doubled our positive action rates in Warwickshire for retail crime.

“Of course, digital and cybercrime is a very clear and present danger to businesses of all sizes and sectors too, that is why I provide funding to Cyber Safe Warwickshire where residents and businesses can go to learn about the latest threats as they emerge and how they can keep safe when they go online.”

Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our local business forums are a great chance for firms in our area to share any issues they are facing and, also, their success stories with one another.

“It’s also an opportunity to hear from local leaders on topics that affect businesses on a day-to-day basis. We were delighted to be joined by Philip Seccombe and it was a chance to get under the skin of what is happening with business crime in the area, ask questions and gain valuable insight on how it is being tackled.”

32 www.cw-chamber.co.uk
South Warks
Olivia Parrish with Sean Rose The Chamber’s Mid-Warwickshire Local Business Forum meet at St John’s House, Warwick

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks -

Historic venue hailed for inclusivity following £6m revamp

A historic Coventry venue has been recognised for making heritage more accessible at a major ceremony celebrating the region’s tourism industry.

St Mary’s Guildhall, operated by No Ordinary Hospitality, has been awarded Silver in the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism category at the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024, held at the Bear Grylls Adventure, National Exhibition Centre Birmingham.

The achievement follows the 14th Century venue’s £6 million restoration programme which levelled the courtyard floor, installed new lifts and a hearing loop throughout the building and improved access throughout.

The accolade also recognises its work in improving visitors’ access to the building’s history through their community and education programmes.

The venue picked up the gold prize in the same category at last year’s awards.

Niamh Carton, Community Engagement Manager at St Mary’s Guildhall said: “We’re so proud to have been recognised a second year running. Access and inclusion are the cornerstone of what we do at St Mary’s Guildhall.

“We want to make certain that this amazing historical space is open to everyone, and we are constantly working to continue to improve on what we do here.

“From the physical access features such as lifts, to our sensory friendly time slots, and sensory bags, to our community work with groups and partners, everything we

do is to celebrate the diversity of Coventry’s communities and welcome everyone in.”

As part of its National Lottery-funded community engagement programme, the historic attraction offers a range of talks, exhibitions and workshops designed to keep the Guildhall at the heart of the community.

It hosts a monthly Queer writing group and has delivered co-curated exhibitions for South Asian Heritage and Black History months, working alongside local artists and community groups.

The venue also offers family-focused and sensory-friendly experiences for visitors including quiet days, relaxed seasonal events, accessible guided tours and 360-degree photo tours for inaccessible areas.

The recent major package of restoration and refurbishment at St Mary’s Guildhall has been made possible through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund resourced by Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, and the Government’s Getting Britain Building Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

Subscription legal service launched to give clarity to growing businesses

With early-stage businesses encountering more legal and compliance hurdles than ever, law firm Lodders has developed a new service to provide companies with access to same-day commercial legal advice on demand.

The new offering – CLEAR – aims to provide effective, affordable legal advice covering commercial law, commercial contracts, and intellectual property. Suitable for businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to well-established firms, CLEAR has been designed for companies that need legal advice from time to time but have limited budgets for legal spend or lack in-house support.

Stuart Price, partner and head of Lodders’ Commercial Law team explains: “Commercial and contract law can be a minefield. Increasingly, we are seeing smaller businesses facing challenges with their legal arrangements, whether these are non-existent or ineffective contracts that are leaving them open to disputes with customers or suppliers, or unintentional infringement of other companies’ intellectual property. CLEAR has been designed to enable

business owners to protect and grow their businesses through solid and responsive legal advice at a fixed monthly price they can afford.

“With unlimited calls per month, monthly contract reviews, and a range of essential legal documents to choose from, CLEAR gives our clients access to bespoke advice, benefiting from our technical excellence, commercial insight, and a common-sense attitude. Businesses can reduce their exposure to chance by letting us evaluate and manage their legal and commercial risk.”

CLEAR offers three different levels of subscription and gives businesses access to a range of legal documents such as non-disclosure agreements and terms and conditions.

“It is essential that businesses do not just muddle through with their legal documents,” Stuart adds.

“A healthy business is built on strong foundations, and the importance of expert legal support when developing and growing a business cannot be overstated.

“For early-stage businesses that may be unsure about whether they require legal support, our free business health questionnaire is a great place to start, providing a holistic overview of their overall business set-up and areas for improvement.”

To complete the free business health check, visit: https://www.lodders.co.uk/businesshealth-check/

Shakespeare Distillery launches ‘1588’ gin, named after legendary naval clash

Stratford-upon-Avon independent artisan spirits producer Shakespeare Distillery is pleased to launch ‘1588’, its new navy strength gin.

Named after the year that England confronted the formidable Spanish Armada in a pivotal naval clash, Shakespeare Distillery honour the resilience of the English fleet with the 57 per cent ABV navy strength gin, a homage to the courage and fortitude of those who defended the realm against overwhelming odds.

Inspired by the fruits and spices of 16thcentury trade routes, the team have combined orange and currant flavours with the warming spices of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, rosemary, coriander and angelica. The team suggests serving 1588 with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, plenty of ice, and a slice of orange.

Apex Connected celebrate office move

After growing out of its old premises, Apex Connected Midlands has moved to a new home within the Squab Group in Bishops Tachbrook, Leamington Spa.

Apex Connected works with local businesses, schools and charities, providing office copiers, printers and more. Already having a well-established customer base and an office in Cheshire since 2016, it was in September 2022 that they opened their first office in the heart of Leamington Spa. Since then, both customer and employee numbers have grown considerably.

Richard Wilson, Apex’s Operations Director said: “Since relocating to our new office at Squab Hall, our work efficiencies have already improved. The Squab Group, a family-run business, shares Apex’s commitment to providing high-quality service while maintaining a close-knit community atmosphere.

“Our strategic location allows us to serve our customers promptly, and in addition to our modern office space, we now have a dedicated warehousing unit for stock storage and pre-delivery machine inspections. This extra space enables us to be more organised and respond even more swiftly to customer needs.

“Our team benefit from a bright, airy and creative working environment, with beautiful views across the fields. As well as an onsite café, there is a communal breakout room, decorated in bright colours, furnished with comfy sofas, a kitchen area with tea and coffee making facilities – and a beer fridge for special occasions! Lunch at your desk is officially outlawed!

Simon Picken, Director at Shakespeare Distillery said: “We’re delighted to launch our 1588 Gin. Here at Shakespeare Distillery, we wanted to craft a really juniper-forward gin, full of flavour. At 57 per cent, this navy strength gin boasts a wonderful fruity and robust finish that packs a real punch. It seemed apt to name it after the year of one the most legendary naval triumphs of the Shakespearean era!”

For more information, visit https://shakespearedistillery.com/ product/1588-navy-strength-gin/

“Squab Hall also offers us flexibility. As Apex continues to grow, we have peace of mind that our needs will be accommodated with minimal disruption by taking on additional onsite office space and warehousing.

“It’s great to work with a like-minded innovative business. A big thank you to Andy Kay, Squab’s Manager and his team for looking after us so well.”

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 33
Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Lloyd Ltd joins Mecalac’s UK dealer network

Mecalac has announced the appointment of a new dealer to its UK and Ireland distributor network. Headquartered in Carlisle, but with dealerships both sides of the border, Lloyd Ltd will retail Mecalac’s latest range of compact construction equipment across Northern England and Southern and Central Scotland.

Founded in 1964 as a tractor dealership, the business has grown considerably from a small sales operation to a leading plant retail, service, parts and finance specialist for the agriculture, groundcare, materials handling and construction sectors. Led by managing director George Lloyd, Lloyd Ltd is renowned for its expert equipment knowledge and exceptional customer service.

Focused on meeting customer needs, Lloyd Ltd has a comprehensive understanding of the issues and demands of today’s construction market. Alongside new product sales, the business will be responsible for parts supply and field service provision, providing end-to-end support for its loyal customer base.

Commenting on the announcement, Mark Royse, Head of Sales at Mecalac Construction Equipment UK, said: “We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Lloyd Ltd to our UK and Ireland distributor network. With more than 60 years’ experience in equipment sales, we’re confident that this new partnership will help to further improve our reach across these territories.”

George Lloyd, managing director at Lloyd Ltd, added: “The Mecalac range is innovative, versatile and designed to set the standards in both performance and capability. There is huge demand from our customers for next-generation construction equipment, so we’re looking forward to working as part of the Mecalac network and introducing more customers to the brand.”

For more information about Mecalac, visit www.mecalac.com/en. For more information about Lloyd Ltd, visit www.lloyd.ltd.uk

Shakespeare Martineau takes strides to support namesake hospice

Law firm Shakespeare Martineau has stepped up to the mark by sponsoring and running in Stratford-upon-Avon’s annual Shakespeare Full and Half Marathon –raising money for The Shakespeare Hospice.

The firm, which has sponsored the event for more than a decade, joined forces with planning, design and development consultancy Marrons to field a dedicated team of runners.

For this year’s event, which took place on Sunday, April 21, Shakespeare Martineau raised crucial funds for its hub-nominated charity The Shakespeare Hospice. Since 1999, the hospice has been caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their carers and loved ones across South Warwickshire, providing day services, hospice at home, adult counselling, transitional care, and children and family support.

Andrew Smith, head of Shakespeare Martineau’s Stratford-upon-Avon hub, said: “We are thrilled to have been part of this fantastic event once again. I’m extremely proud of my colleagues for lacing up their running shoes to raise money that will make a real difference to the lives of those supported by The Shakespeare Hospice.

“The hospice gives people in our community who are affected by a life-limiting illness or bereavement access to compassionate care. We’re lucky to have such a fantastic charity on our doorstep that provides vital services to the region.”

Runners from Shakespeare Martineau included corporate partner Lisa Botterill, commercial and IP partner Nicholas Briggs, agricultural law partner Jennie Wheildon, commercial property legal director Ben

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/page/shakespearemarathonrunners-1707307905291.

A killer way to boost business meetings

An award-winning hospitality operator says more companies are looking to combine business with leisure after a rise in demand for a unique history-inspired experience.

No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM), which operates Coombe Abbey Hotel, has reported an increase in companies looking to book its acclaimed Murder Mystery experience on the same day as conferences and all-staff meetings.

The events have been popular with visitors of all kinds since launching in 1995, and now businesses are consistently hosting exclusive events to tie in with AGMs and all-staff days held at the 12th century venue.

Ron Terry, Group Operations Director at NOHM, which also operates St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry city centre, said the rise in private bookings is part of a wider trend of businesses looking to add a social element to essential meetings.

Kathy Nakra, Director of Sales said: “Coombe Abbey Hotel has been a popular location for business functions of all sizes over the years thanks to its unique spaces and excellent location, and it is only natural that more organisations are looking to take advantage of our acclaimed dining and entertainment when they come here.

“Our Unique Private Events are designed to meet the rising demand to tag a more

informal element to corporate functions –this could be as a way of getting everyone together and boosting morale, or simply as a way to let off some steam – and the interest we have had from a variety of organisations this year has been brilliant to see.”

The experience, which includes a threecourse dinner, live entertainment inspired by a medieval tale and a post-show disco, can be tailored to suit parties from 10 to 200– with corporate parties taking place in every month of 2024 so far.

In the experience, which begins as soon as guests enter the Courthouse, visitors are summoned to dinner with the news that a crime has been committed.

Scenes are performed between courses, with diners becoming detectives as they attempt to work out who the culprit is.

For more information visit www.coombeabbey.com/visit/eat-and-drink/dining-types/bespoke-live-events

Accountancy firm celebrates 20th anniversary by strengthening team

A Coventry-based accountancy firm is celebrating its 20th anniversary – and is expecting to hit the 50-staff mark in 2024.

Spencer Gardner Dickins (SGD), which is based at the Coventry Innovation Village, was established in 2004 and specialises in tax support for businesses and individuals.

The company has announced a raft of new appointments and promotions at the tail-end of 2023 to take it to 43 members of the team and is looking to progress beyond 50 over the course of its anniversary year.

Paul Spencer, a Founding Director of the business, said: “I’d spent 15 to 16 years with one of the ‘big six’ accountancy firms but I could see that its commitment to Coventry and the business community here was diminishing.

“Myself and two colleagues Bryan Gardner and Paul Dickins spotted an opportunity to set up on our own with the aim of growing a business that could really support companies and individuals in Coventry and the wider Warwickshire area.

“Twenty years on, and we’re still here, we’re still serving our clients and we are offering great careers to over 40 people within the team.

“Also, we’re offering a great place to work that understands the pressures of modern life – whether that’s being a parent or a carer – and we have worked hard to be flexible and adaptable to make sure we get the best people.

“We had people working from home long before it became widespread with the pandemic because we could see that it was a great way of attracting and retaining talent.

“That said, we’ve made sure that we have maintained a great culture and team ethic within the business and the office and, again, we were ahead of the game from that point of view.

“It’s hard to believe that we have been in business for 20 years now. When you set up, you’re not sure how successful a practice like this is going to be but both clients and staff have bought into what we wanted to achieve.

“And I am so pleased we’ve been able to do it here in Coventry. The city has been good to us and, despite all of the challenges, I am delighted to see the improvements that have taken place over the years and still believe it is very much a city on the up.”

34 www.cw-chamber.co.uk
Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby
Area Focus: Coventry -
Darlow, litigation trainee solicitor Gabriella Norton, contentious probate administrator Eleanor White, employment legal assistant Jessica Bentley, commercial property paralegal Kieran Pope, real estate and finance legal assistant Drew Thoirs, and social housing conveyancing executive Benedict Shepherd. Planning director David Fovargue represented Marrons in the race.

Coventry aerospace supplier builds on King’s Award success with multi-million-pound contract wins

Arrowsmith Engineering (Coventry) has secured a string of new multi-million-pound contracts – just a few days after it was named as a King’s Award for Enterprise winner for International Trade.

The manufacturers of precision aerospace are part of the rapidly growing ASG Group and have sealed long-term agreements with ITP Spain, Incora and Rolls-Royce in the UK and Germany, delivering the largest order book in its 57-year history.

It marks what has been a strong export period for the business, with overseas sales rocketing by nearly 400 per cent following the pandemic and accounting for 35 per cent of the firm’s annual £8.3 million turnover.

Precision components manufactured at its Bayton Road factory in Coventry are sent to global customers in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Singapore, and Spain for end use in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames.

Jason Aldridge, Managing Director of Arrowsmith Engineering, said: “Civil aviation - a major market for us - literally dropped off the cliff (40 per cent reduction) with the pandemic and we had to show good oldfashioned resilience and a fair bit of business innovation to get through it.

“But now we are back and targeting our best-ever year of over £11 million sales. We have also successfully moved with changes in the sector when it comes to the location of customer production facilities.

“Thanks to our technical expertise, our ability to add value in design and the financial strength of the ASG Group, we have been able to secure contracts in new countries, as well as securing these long-term agreements with ITP, Incora and Rolls-Royce.”

Arrowsmith Engineering, which has been reaccredited for the Silver SC21 supply chain award for quality and delivery performance, has recently taken delivery of two further dual spindle Lynx 21000ISLYA/B CNC Mills machines.

This £300,000 investment follows the success of the recently installed 3 Lynx machines and the 5-axis DVF5000 and 4-axis DNM4500 cobot systems.

A strong commitment to new technology and robotics, coupled with the creation of 10 new jobs, has given Arrowsmith the capacity and capability to win work against rivals 10 times its size.

Plans are now in place to take annual sales past £25 million over the next two years to

Construction Site Manager shortlisted for three awards

A rising star of the construction sector has been recognised after being named on the shortlist for a trio of regional and national industry awards.

Jake Bishop, 29, from Solihull, is a Site Manager for Coventry-headquartered Deeley Construction and has been nominated for three major awards.

He has been shortlisted for Emerging Property Person of the Year at the Insider Midlands Residential Property Awards, UK Construction Week (UKCW) Role Model and Rising Star at the National Federation of Builders (NFB) Construction Awards of Excellence.

Jake joined Deeley Construction as a trainee Site Manager in 2019 and completed a HNC qualification in 2021. He is now nearing completion of a degree in BSc Construction Management.

He has helped the business in implementing Lean Construction principles over the past three years, including the delivery of an £11 million Extra Care Scheme for Housing 21 in Didcot.

Jake was also Site Manager for the £13 million Extra Care Scheme for Housing 21 at Dawley Road in Telford, and has remained in Telford to deliver a £5.2 million care home for Exemplar Health Care.

Jake said: “Being shortlisted for awards isn’t something I ever expected but it is certainly a really proud moment.

“I’m still learning every day, progressing and seeking to improve. Deeley couldn’t have been more invested in me and my development for the last five years.

“I’ve had numerous opportunities to step up and the senior team has had the confidence in me to deliver difficult tasks in challenging circumstances.

“It’s been a brilliant five years and I hope that I have been able to repay the business for the faith they have shown in me. I hope to continue that development and move into project management and contract management roles further down the line in my career.”

The business is a member of The 5% Club and 20 per cent of its workforce have come through a trainee, apprenticeship or graduate programme.

Chris Newman, Operations Director for Deeley Construction, also joined the business as a trainee and has mentored Jake over the past five years.

He said: “Jake has developed into an important member of the construction team over the last five years and we are all very impressed in the progress he has made since joining as a trainee.

“He has developed into a well-rounded and skilled Site Manager, and we look forward to continuing to support his development in the years to come.”

Insider Midlands Residential Property Awards will take place on June 6, UKCW on May 9 and NFB Construction Awards of Excellence on November 7.

create a further 15 positions, with the focus on getting more women into engineering.

Simon Weston, Managing Director of ASG Group, said: “ASG Arrowsmith was one of our first acquisitions and continue to be a very important strategic member of our group.

“The company operates to the highest world class manufacturing standards, and this is reinforced not only by the King’s Award, but the long-term customer agreements it has secured. It really is a British manufacturing success story.”

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 35
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Area Focus: Coventry - Mid

Nothing beats good hospitality and conducting business face-to-face

The hospitality sector in Coventry and Warwickshire is seeing a welcome rise in face-to-face business events. From business networking events in the county’s variety of sector-leading hotels to quirky team-building activities, there is a venue to suit every kind of business event.

Talking to professionals at business lunches, conferences and networking events, there is always a positive buzz in the room with several different conversations taking place and members enjoying refreshments as they exchange business ideas and leads.

Listen carefully and there is always an undercurrent murmuring of ‘You can’t beat actually being in a room with other businesspeople’. Putting faces to names, exchanging pleasantries, and finding things in common, solving a business problem with the help of supportive interventions – they all help build stronger, more meaningful connections in a way that LinkedIn interactions or virtual networking events simply don’t do as well.

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce holds a variety of face-to-face events from business lunches

to networking gatherings, including the annual Chamber conference to name but a few.

The Chamber has also recognised the importance of providing virtual events such as training webinars and online networking as the way the business world works has moved on too since Covid with the efficiency and time-saving benefits of online meetings proving a draw for many.

The return of face-to-face networking and team-building events to boost morale and strengthen teams has had a positive effect for the hospitality sector as businesses and networking organisations have returned to – and increased – their use of a variety of venues including hotels, event centres, conference facilities and teambuilding facilities to cater for both small groups and large ones. This, in turn, is providing a welcome boost to the local economy.

“Amongst our face-to-face networking events, ideas are shared, and collaborations are formed. Business challenges are overcome, and strong leads are developed.”


36 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Corporate Hospitality

Corporate Hospitality

147 Nightclub


Whether you need a venue for a corporate event, a birthday celebration, a club night or simply to dance, drink and party with friends and work colleagues. 147 Nightclub is the premier venue to meet any event needs.

Located in the heart of Coventry a few minutes’ walk from Coventry University, 147 offers great music, the best fun and party atmosphere and drinks all night!

Now taking bookings for corporate business Christmas parties and events.

To find out how you can book an event visit: www.147nightclub.com

Heart of England Events and Conferencing

We are a Conference and Events Centre based in Coventry, Warwickshire in the West Midlands.

We offer Conferences, Events, Team Building, Product Launches, Exhibitions, Fun Days, Festivals, Weddings, Parties, Proms, Christmas Parties. In addition to our Conference Centre, we have onsite 4* accommodation with Old Hall House and glamping pods, restaurant and so much more.

To find out more, visit www.heartofengland.uk

As the Corporate Christmas booking season commences, we invite you to reserve your spot at our exclusive Christmas party. Presenting the 'Viva Las Vegas' theme, we offer businesses the opportunity to revel in the holiday spirit without the hassle of last-minute arrangements.

Ensure your attendance by securing your place today at www.christmasattheheart.co.uk

Warwick Conferences

Warwick Conferences was named Business Events Venue of the Year at the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024, hosted by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC).

Being named Business Events Venue of the Year, recognises Warwick Conferences’ excellent understanding of the market, exceptional customer service and commitment to innovation

through its strategic plan and future growth ambitions. Additionally, as a result of Warwick Conferences’ achievement at these awards, it has automatically been entered into the annual Visit England Awards for Excellence, where the team will have the opportunity to be recognised at a national level.


www.cw-chamber.co.uk 37
Coventry & Warwickshire in business

The Heart of England: Your Leading Destination for Unforgettable Corporate

Events and Festivals

Located amidst picturesque landscapes with open spaces, woods, lakes, and parks, The Heart of England Conference and Events Centre offers a unique venue for corporate gatherings and festivals. Recently launching their new Team Building Brochure, the venue is ready to elevate corporate fun days and personalised festivals to new heights.

The Heart of England teams’ dedication to exceeding expectations is reflected in the venue's ability to transform any vision into reality, providing customised menus, live music performances, and even fairground rides for added excitement. Its commitment to tailoring each event to perfection sets The Heart of England apart. Whether it's a corporate team-building day or a corporate/family festival, every detail is carefully planned to create lasting memories. The venue's expansive grounds serve as a canvas for creativity, allowing for diverse activities and themes. Companies looking to promote team spirit and boost morale will find The Heart of England an ideal setting. With a range of team-building activities and facilities at their disposal, businesses can host engaging and impactful events tailored to their specific goals. From adventure challenges in the woods to friendly competitions by the lakeside, the possibilities are endless.

For those seeking a memorable family outing or a community celebration, The Heart of England offers a dreamlike setting. Imagine a festival atmosphere with vibrant decorations, live entertainment, and gourmet food stalls set against the backdrop of serene natural beauty. The venue's versatility ensures that festivals can be customised to cater to guests of all ages, ensuring a day filled with joy and excitement.

If you envision a personalised festival or corporate event that goes beyond the ordinary, The Heart of England invites you to collaborate. Contact The Heart of England today to begin crafting an experience that will leave a lasting impression. Call our dedicated Sales Team on 01676 540333 or email sales@heartofengland.co.uk www.heartofengland.uk

38 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Heart of England
01676 540333 www.heartofengland.uk Welcome to a new era of TEAM BUILDING at The Heart of England Wellness through Unity in Diversity Open Air Wellness Programme 160 acres of Park, Woodland, Lakes
www.cw-chamber.co.uk 39 Attractive corporate packages available. For more information please email info@147nightclub.com Coventry's premier nighttime hotspot is now available for Corporate Events and Christmas Parties 07897 033147 | www.147nightclub.com 147 Far Gosford St, Coventry CV1 5DY47 Whether your team want a themed private party, an informal drinks event with nibbles or perhaps your smaller team wants to join a party to ring in the festive season. We have everything and more to make your festive memories happen. Scan QR code for more information and to book Make your Christmas memorable with Warwick Conferences

Motor Group donates car and provides career advice to motor vehicle students

An award-winning car dealer group has spoken with college students about careers in the automotive trade and donated a car to support the motor vehicle learners in their studies.

Arbury Motor Group, which has 14 locations across the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, has been speaking with students at Warwick Trident College about career opportunities when they complete their college course.

Warwick Trident College is part of WCG and more than 60 students from across its motor vehicle courses attended the session with Arbury.

Four members of the Arbury team visited the college to deliver a presentation to students and donate a Ford Fiesta for training use in the college’s workshop.

Jenny Stenning, People Manager, Brad Beasley, Dealer Principal, Andy Draper, Master Technician and Apprentice Dylan Clare were at the session to provide insights from various areas of the Arbury business –from the workshop to the sales floor.

Andy Draper, master technician at Arbury’s Leamington branch, spoke with the students about his journey from apprentice to master technician over the last 10 years, while Dylan Clare discussed what it’s like to be a current apprentice.

Joshua Saul, Motor Vehicle Instructor and Technician at Warwick Trident College, said it’s important for the students to know about the potential pathways after leaving the college.

“It was clear the students were interested in learning about the potential career opportunities out there for them and they had a lot of questions for the Arbury team,” said Josh.

“It is important to see that there is a goal at the end of the course and the pathway they can follow if they excel in their course.

“I know some of the students have already applied for apprenticeship openings with Arbury which is fantastic.”

Brad Beasley said: “At Arbury we firmly believe in investing in the future and in the youth of the motor industry. We thank you for the opportunity to have held this presentation locally, where we hope to have a positive impact on the careers of all of the students.”

To find out more about motor vehicle courses at Warwick Trident College visit www.wcg.ac.uk/study

T Level students gain vital experience with Stepnell

A major regional construction contractor is providing vital experience for students at Rugby College.

Stepnell, which is headquartered in Rugby, is working with college group WCG to provide work placements for T Level construction students.

It further strengthens the relationship between Stepnell and WCG, with the construction business having taken on three apprentices from the college group’s Moreton Morrell College in the last two years.

T Levels are two year courses which are developed in collaboration with employers and businesses to ensure the content meets the needs of industry.

Students are required to complete 45 days of industry placements across the two years to prepare them for entering the skilled workforce after completion of the course.

Stepnell started supporting its first two T Level students last year and has now brought on board a further two learners.

The students have been given an opportunity to experience the breadth of jobs within the construction firm, working with the planning department, design team, commercial team and also out on construction sites.

Jayne Suthard, Training Manager at Stepnell, said: “We’re proud to continue to offer a range of opportunities for young people to enter the construction industry.

“We have been working with WCG through apprenticeships for a couple of years and when we heard about T Levels we knew we would be in a great position to help.

“The college have been very supportive throughout the process and we’re pleased to continue strengthening that relationship.

“It can be a big transition from college to the world of work, but T Levels help to make that transition smoother and in many ways the work placements are like an extended interview process.

“We’re giving the students as much experience as we can across a wide range of departments and we have seen the students grow in confidence week-on-week.

Louise Hugill, Industry Placement Coordinator at WCG, added: “Stepnell deliver a well-designed scheme to support their trainees, apprentices and work placement students. That groundwork has led to consistent results and is helping to develop well-rounded and employable individuals.”

To find out more about T Levels at WCG visit https://wcg.ac.uk/tlevels

Upskilling staff in maths could equal further success

A course aiming to help Herefordshire companies upskill their staff in maths at no cost to them is being launched by a leading training provider after great success in the West Midlands.

The ‘Multiply’ programme, which helps working adults upskill in numeracy to support them in the workplace, is being run by national Coventry-based training provider PET-Xi in the county after the firm was contracted by Herefordshire Council.

PET-Xi is aiming the course at various business and organisations in Herefordshire who may not have the time or capital to enrol their staff on a typical training programme.

The firm will be delivering the programme in different variations to be accessible to workers of different abilities – including a ‘maths homework club’ to give parents confidence in helping their children with maths and an ‘essential skills’ variation which combines numeracy, ESOL and digital skills.

PET-Xi will begin delivering Multiply in Herefordshire on behalf of companies after successfully training more than 300 people in the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Kate Manola, Multiply Contract Manager at PET-Xi, said: “Maths is a subject that plenty of people may have found difficult during their school days, and subsequently pushed it to one side.

“It means that companies may employ a number of people who lack confidence in their numerical skills. Certain companies may recognise this as a problem, but cannot afford to pay for extra training.

“What Multiply does is refreshes learners with basics maths skills at no cost to their employer. This enables learners to not only build their confidence in maths again, but also benefits the businesses they work for.

“Completing the course makes it more likely they can progress onto more complex maths skills which may be required to excel in certain jobs, and businesses that invest in their employees’ numeracy skills tend to see increased productivity and higher retention.

“We’ve already had great success delivering the programme in the West Midlands and Warwickshire, and we’re delighted to be bringing it to Herefordshire as well.

“We hope to see similar results in Herefordshire and look forward to welcoming new learners onto the course.”

Learners taking Multiply 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 skills. The learners then take an assessment at the end of the course and earn either a Level 1 or 2 qualification. Courses are either delivered in-person in Hereford, or in online classrooms.

For information, contact Kate on amanola@pet-xi.co.uk.

40 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Education and Skills

Elevating electrification skills for a thriving UK future

The UK is undergoing a significant transition to technologies which will enable decarbonisation of our economy through electrification.

The skills gap for electrification is well recognized and documented. There is a significant workforce development requirement to ensure that we can effectively deploy electrification across many sectors to meet the UK’s net zero commitments, and this is where the Electrification Skills Network comes in.

The UK’s transition to electrification involves many technologies such as batteries, power electronics, machines and drives, hydrogen fuel cells, materials extraction and processing and end-of-life and recycling technologies, digitalization and automation. The UK must develop, manufacture and employ these technologies so that it can prosper from this transition.

It is vital that we address the skills needs to support the transition to electrification through the creation and implementation of a framework for electrification workforce development. The implementation of an electrification workforce development framework will attract foreign direct investment as companies select

the UK as their manufacturing location, will enable businesses to grow through the availability of a trained workforce, and ultimately enable us to meet our net zero commitments.

Coventry University will lead the National Electrification Skills Framework and Forum in collaboration with Enginuity, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the UK Battery Industrialization Centre (UKBIC). The consortium, which will also work closely with the Innovate UK Workforce Foresighting Hub, will harness its members' combined strengths and experience to deliver a National Electrification Skills Framework and Forum to benefit the UK electrification industry, and society.

The vision for the Electrification Skills Network is to enable the transition to electrification through a coordinated approach to workforce development. The aim of this intervention is to create an independent body that can lead the ESN initiative and facilitate a coordinated approach to workforce development.

To find out more, visit https://www.electrificationskillsnetwork.co.uk/

College set to modernise automotive training thanks to Council funding

Stratford-upon-Avon College is delighted to announce that it will be launching an Automotive Electric Vehicle Training Academy thanks to funding from Stratford-upon-Avon District Council.

The Council’s Cabinet has approved the capital funding of £625,000 to the College as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The College is seeking to ensure that the automotive training facilities are upgraded to meet the transition of the industry to supply and manufacture hybrid and electric vehicles.

Adding green sustainable skills to its curriculum portfolio is also high on the College’s agenda. Vice Principal for Business Growth, Skills and Partnerships, Nancy Buckley, comments: “A key strategic ambition of the College is to deliver a high-

quality curriculum that enhances the life opportunities of our learners, the inclusive growth of our communities, and the productivity of the employers with which we work.

“The College is also committed to making a significant contribution to the local and regional economy by enhancing the technical skills, knowledge, and industry professional standards of individuals. This investment will support these objectives and compliment well with other similar projects the College is embarking on at Stratford, such as a heat-source pump workshop.”

The award of funding will also help Stratford-upon-Avon District Council meet its objectives - including funding gaps in local skills provision, supporting the unemployed to progress into work, and supporting those who need upskilling or retraining.

Cllr George Cowcher, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “This is an extremely important opportunity for the district to invest in people and development. Even more so because the course delivery will continue beyond the final year of the current SPF programme (March 2025) for a further two years until March 2027.”

Local school leavers, apprentices, employers, and part time adult learners will benefit from these new facilities from mid-2025.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 41 Education and Skills Coventry & Warwickshire in business
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College set to modernise automotive training thanks to council funding

Stratford-upon-Avon College is delighted to announce that it will be launching an Automotive Electric Vehicle Training Academy thanks to funding from Stratford-upon-Avon District Council.

The council’s Cabinet has approved the capital funding of £625,000 to the college as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The college is seeking to ensure that the automotive training facilities are upgraded to meet the transition of the industry to supply and manufacture hybrid and electric vehicles.

Adding green sustainable skills to its curriculum portfolio is also high on the college’s agenda.

Vice Principal for Business Growth, Skills and Partnerships, Nancy Buckley, said: “A key strategic ambition of the college is to deliver a high-quality curriculum that enhances the life opportunities of our learners, the inclusive growth of our communities, and the productivity of the employers with which we work.

“The college is also committed to making a significant contribution to the local and regional economy by enhancing the technical skills, knowledge and industry professional standards of individuals. This investment will support these objectives and complement other similar projects the college is embarking on at Stratford, such as a heatsource pump workshop.”

The award of funding will also help Stratford-upon-Avon District Council meet its objectives - including funding gaps in local skills provision, supporting the unemployed to progress into work, and supporting those who need upskilling or retraining.

Cllr George Cowcher, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “This is an extremely important opportunity for the district to invest in people and development. Even more so because the course delivery will continue beyond the final year of the current SPF programme (March 2025) for a further two years until March 2027.”

Local school leavers, apprentices, employers and part-time adult learners will benefit from the new facilities from mid-2025.

College group praised by Ofsted for residential provision

Residential provision at a leading college group has received a positive Ofsted report with praise for wraparound services that provide support to students.

WCG (Warwickshire College Group) has received a “Good” rating from the education watchdog for its residential facilities for 16 to 18-year-old students. The college group has residential facilities at Royal Leamington Spa College, Pershore College and Moreton Morrell College.

Ofsted’s inspection took place over three days and focused on the residential provision at Moreton Morrell College.

This marks the third successive inspection where the college has received a “Good” rating, with the previous inspection being held in February 2020.

The college group was judged on the experience it provides to young people, how well they are safeguarded and the effectiveness of leaders and managers. The report praised WCG for how residential students settle into college life quickly and are well prepared to move on to further education or employment.

Staff at the college received a mention for how they build positive relationships with students and parents, with individual development plans which help students to progress and succeed during their time at the college praised. It also highlighted the services available to students, such as

welfare services, counselling and health services, as a key strength.

The leadership team and residential managers were also singled out for praise for their commitment to invest in residential facilities, consultation with students and focus on staff training to ensure a high level of provision.

Safeguarding and wellbeing of students at the college received positive comments.

Peter Husband, Interim CEO of WCG, said: “This is a great recognition for our residential services. We are pleased with the feedback

and will be considering recommendations which can see the college take the step up to Outstanding at the next inspection.

“The college group is continually investing to maintain high standards across our residential provision, providing enjoyable, educational and safe experiences for students who stay with us during their studies.”

At the time of the inspection in February, there were 35 full-time and part-time students at Moreton Morrell College. The report only reflects the provision for students aged under 18 years, with the college also housing students aged over the age of 18.

Fusion Fest takes University of Warwick Esports to the next level

It’s the start of a new era for games and esports at the University of Warwick as Warwick Esports celebrates its move to central campus.

The centre’s new location at Fusion in the Rootes Building includes state-of-the-art esports equipment and games, and a bar offering food and drink. The centre is open to students and staff as well as members of the public and community groups.

Amber Hassan, Equal Opportunities Officer at Warwick Esports said: “The Esports

Centre’s new location at Fusion represents the perfect blend between innovation, cutting edge technology and passion. Now in the heart of our campus, the centre is the beat of our community, creating an unparalleled gaming space that redefines the esports experience for everyone.”

The University of Warwick is committed to developing esports and other creative industries including content creation, immersive technology, and broadcasting, and kicked off its official launch with an actionpacked programme of activity.

The Fusion Fest programme included free play on PCs, consoles and racing sims. It also featured a demonstration showcasing HADO, a team sport played with up to three people using head-mounted displays and armband sensors, racing tournaments, society tournament takeovers and casual consoles and board games.

Through a dynamic blend of tournaments, workshops, and keynote speeches, attendees delved into the fascinating world of games and esports, exploring its impact on education, technology, and business.

Mick McLaughlin, Business Development Manager (CreaTech) said: "Fusion Fest represents a pivotal moment in our journey towards innovation, excellence, and CreaTech. With the relocation of our new Esports Centre to a more prominent location, we are not only creating a destination, but we’re also embracing emerging technologies and fostering a vibrant community where creativity thrives, and boundaries are pushed."

The centre is open Monday-Friday 11am11pm and Saturday-Sunday 2pm-11pm and bookings are open for pay to play sessions, social events, business events, skills programmes, and school experiences. Enquiries can be made through warwick.ac.uk/esports/fusionfest.

42 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Education and Skills

President of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

The start of May saw local elections take place across Coventry & Warwickshire, along with the elections for the Mayor of the West Midlands and the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner.

Whilst the Chamber of Commerce is apolitical, we work closely with colleagues across the political spectrum to ensure our members’ voices are heard on a local, regional and national level and that our region remains a great place to locate and trade a business.

We welcome a new Metro Mayor for the West Midlands, Richard Parker, who will take up the mantle from Andy Street CBE, who has served as the first Mayor of the West Midlands since 2017. Our congratulations go to Richard, who we look forward to working with, and our thanks to Andy for his public service and dedication to the West Midlands.

We will await the announcement of a General Election…!

On an economic front, as Director of Prime Accountants Group we’re pleased to continue our support for the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES). It was promising to see that the latest QES results, from Q1 2024, showed the economic outlook for Coventry and Warwickshire has improved after the first three months of the year.

The overall economic outlook now has a score of 60.1, based on the survey results, compared to 55.2 at the end of 2023. This reflects a level of continued optimism for businesses in our region, however we will continue to highlight some of the barriers to growth that are preventing companies from expanding and growing.

Looking ahead to the summer, I am excited to be hosting my first President’s Golf Day, on 21st June at Draycote Hotel & Whitefields Golf Club in Rugby and look forward to welcoming a range of members to the event.

We will be raising funds for The Myton Hospices and supporting the fantastic work they do across Coventry & Warwickshire. If you haven’t booked your place yet, head to the Chamber’s website for more information. Finally, I would recommend all businesses based in our region check out the range of fully funded Business Support programmes available through the Chamber of Commerce. The programmes are designed to help your business succeed and give you free access to an experienced business advisor, as well as offering a range of workshops and events.

I hope to see many of you at the Golf Day!


Law firm’s duo ‘shining examples’ of career progression as they earn promotions

Consumer champion law firm Lime Solicitors has announced three promotions across its medical negligence and contentious probate teams, including two in the West Midlands.

Effective as of May 1, the firm has promoted James Anderson to Partner and Alistair Spencer to Legal Director.

James manages the medical negligence team in the firm’s Birmingham hub and runs a large caseload dealing with the full spectrum of medical negligence claims, including catastrophic birth injury claims, surgical errors, GP negligence, cancer delayed diagnosis, diabetic complications, and negligence resulting in death.

Alistair, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, specialises in contentious trusts and probate, acting for private individuals, charities and trustees in a wide range of matters, including claims for financial provision under the Inheritance Act 1975 and disputes concerning the validity of wills. He has a particular interest in claims involving agricultural estates, forged wills and capacity issues.

Tony Hannington, Partner and Head of Lime Solicitors, said: “We are extremely proud to have promoted James and Alistair, who are both hugely valuable and knowledgeable members of the Lime Solicitors team. Their contribution has been exceptional, and they are shining examples of how our people can build or continue successful careers with us.

“I am looking forward to seeing them flourish in their new roles and supporting us as we continue with our aim of becoming the recommended firm for consumers in need of expert legal advice and support.”

CTT Law Ltd celebrates double win at Warwickshire Law Society Awards

When the Warwickshire Law Society reviewed nominees for its esteemed Young Lawyer of the Year award, a certain firm with its head office in Leamington Spa repeatedly surfaced.

Not only did CTT Law secure two of three finalist slots – an impressive achievement in itself – but their own Emma Bolochowecki (who is one exam away from being a qualified Conveyancing Technician) was announced as the winner and her manager Laura Toner, Head of Conveyancing, was the first runner-up.

To say their Managing Director and Head of Legal Practice, Anthony Mbanefo, is proud of the dedication and talent within his conveyancing team would be an understatement.

“We place a lot of emphasis on the identification and development of talent at the firm,” Anthony said. “It was my privilege to be able to nominate Laura for the award, and Laura, of course, nominated Emma. I already considered them both winners, and I believe this award hasn't fully explored their potential. I hope this marks the beginning of numerous awards for them and the entire staff at the firm."

With 12 years’ experience as a conveyancing legal secretary, Emma made the move to CTT Law in 2021. She made an immediate impact with her outstanding performance. “It was very obvious that Emma was capable of handling more complex work than she was doing,” said Laura.

Upholding CTT Law’s commitment to provide training and development, the firm soon included Emma in more specialised legal tasks.

In just two and a half years, Emma moved from a paralegal position to that of Junior Fee Earner and most recently Emma was promoted to a full Fee Earning role. Laura emphasises the excellence in Emma’s journey: “To have that progression in just over two years is amazing!” she added.

Despite her remarkable progress, Emma was surprised by the nomination. She said: "I suffered from a lack of confidence prior to joining CTT Law, so to have been nominated and recognised in something that I love doing is fantastic!”

Laura, a Licensed Conveyancer, assumed her role as Head of Conveyancing at the age of just 26. Since joining CTT Law, Laura has played a pivotal role in the conveyancing department’s growth.

"When I started, we were a small team; since then, we’ve almost tripled in size," she said. Entering her managerial role with personal goals and aspirations, Laura succeeded in increasing the lender panel membership to include mortgage work and obtaining the conveyancing industry gold standard, Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation for the firm.

Currently, Laura's focus is on steering the team's expansion into associated areas of property law while ensuring the ongoing development and training of staff.

Highlighting the broader significance of the two nominations for the team, Laura said: "To be recognised with an award from the Law Society in this region is fantastic. It shows that CTT are amazing, and so are our people.”

From apprentice to partner: firm strengthens leadership team in success story

Now with over 16 years of experience, Danielle joined the firm (previously Baldwins) at 16 years old as an apprentice. Having progressed her career with Azets, she is now a partner within Azets’ Coventry office and an ACA-qualified chartered accountant. Danielle provides a range of services to her clients which include accounts, taxation, audit and business advisory. Whilst working with a wide range of clients, Danielle specialises in ownermanaged SMEs and UK subsidiaries of foreign groups. Danielle manages a diverse portfolio of businesses, across a range of industries including construction, engineering, legal & professional services, and retail.

Of her appointment, Danielle said: “I’m delighted to be taking on the role of Regional Managing Partner for East and West Midlands, as we continue to grow in the region. We have an established office network in the area that includes teams in Tamworth, Coventry, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Stourbridge, and the next stage of our journey looks incredibly exciting.

“We’re looking forward to expanding within specialist areas of accounting such as medical

audit, so that we continue to meet the needs of our expanding business, as well as supporting the regional business community.”

Richard Goddard, Regional Managing Director of Azets Central and West, added: “Despite the challenging economic background, as a region, we continue to go from strength to strength thanks to a collaborative approach from our teams and clients.

“The appointment of Danielle reflects our commitment to support continued growth, so we can continue to meet the needs of our expanding business, as well as helping the growing number of SMEs in the country across complex areas of accounting and business services.”

Danielle’s appointment comes after Azets announced Gurj Sandhu was to become the Regional Managing Partner for Azets Birmingham. Both Danielle and Gurj join Azets’ senior leadership team for the Central region. Azets Group has 88 offices in the UK and 189 across Europe.

44 www.cw-chamber.co.uk Movers & Shakers
Accounting and business advisory firm Azets has strengthened its regional senior leadership team by appointing Danielle Hamill as Regional Managing Partner of East and West Midlands. The appointment comes at a pivotal time of growth for Azets, as the business looks to double total revenue to become a £1 billion firm by 2027.

Warwick Science Park announces promotions amid growth plans


it focuses on an ambitious growth strategy over the next five to 10 years.

The University of Warwick Science Park (UWSP) has announced Victoria Lynch as its new Head of Commercial and John Roberts as its new Head of Property.

Both roles are new, and were created as the Science Park embarks on a major plan to grow and enhance its sites in the near future and the long term.

Victoria was previously Centre Manager at the UWSP’s Business Innovation Centre in Binley, where occupancy doubled during her tenure.

She will lead on commercial letting of its existing and new buildings, while also hosting viewings for potential new tenants, boosting

relationships with current tenants, and connecting more businesses with the talent available at University of Warwick through hiring students or working on research projects.

Victoria said: “I’m delighted to take on this important new role at a key juncture for the Science Park.

“We will enhance the external environment of our sites and the interiors of our many buildings to make the Science Park more attractive than ever to cutting edge companies, improve our business support offering even further, and ensure we are doing everything we can to make tenants’ occupancies at the science park as good as they can be.”

John, who has been involved in property management for 29 years, joined the Science Park on secondment from WMG at the

University of Warwick in January 2023 before stepping up into the new role.

He now manages the Science Park’s current property portfolio, identifying and delivering on redevelopment and improvement options along with new sites for expansion.

John said: “After my secondment from the university, I felt being part of the senior management team for the Science Park was an excellent opportunity to fully use my experience from both the public and private sectors to deliver on the future strategy of the business.

“I’m excited to get stuck into this role.”

Further appointments made by UWSP include Emma Turner, who is now Centre Manager at the Business Innovation Centre after Victoria vacated the role, Joseph Dadson, who becomes Property Surveyor, and Kerry Ward, who is now Administration Coordinator across all its sites.

Mark Tock, Chief Operating Officer, said: “These are key appointments for the Science Park, which having delivered incredible success in its first 40 years is now focussed on achieving greater things in the coming decade.

“Creating the two new roles of Head of Commercial and Head of Property and hiring Victoria and John will play a vital part of those ambitious growth plans.

“We’re equally delighted to have hired Emma to manage our Binley Business Innovation Centre, Joseph to assist John in his role, and Kerry to oversee the sites’ administration. This is a deliberate development talent in the team which I’m confident will drive the Science Park’s ambition to grow and continually improve the experience of our innovation community.”

Lodders boosts senior leadership team with appointment of duo of directors

Law firm Lodders has boosted its management board with the appointment of two new directors.

HR specialist Grace Walton joins Lodders as People and Culture Director. In her role, she will lead and coordinate the delivery of the firm’s strategic and operational HR function, people initiatives, and talent management activities, as well as growing the HR team.

James Hamilton also joins the firm as IT Director. He will deliver a technology strategy that is aligned with Lodders’ overall business aims and lead a high-performing IT team.

With a strong background in IT, James joins Lodders from Wright Hassall LLP, where he worked for more than 16 years. During this time, he built a multi-disciplined IT team and progressed to head of the IT function, leading on all aspects of the firm’s IT infrastructure and support, development, reporting, and training.

Grace brings years of dedicated HR experience, as well as legal sector expertise, having worked in-house at law firms since 2017. Prior to Lodders, Grace was head of HR at law firm Wiggin. She has also worked in various HR roles across a number of professional services businesses including Browne Jacobson, Parexel, Capital One, and a forensic accounting firm.

Commenting on the new appointments, Paul Mourton, Lodders’ managing partner said: “We are really pleased to welcome these high-calibre individuals to the firm. With a strong background and in-depth understanding of the legal sector, both Grace and James are proven candidates, who will help drive the next stage of Lodders’

development and growth. Grace and James represent significant additions to our leadership team.”

Grace said: “I am delighted to be joining Lodders at what is an exciting phase in the firm’s growth and development. HR has always felt like a natural fit for me – it is a privilege to be able to problem-solve and help people be the very best they can be.

As People and Culture Director at Lodders, I will nurture a strong company culture and ensure this is consistent across all our offices, providing an environment where our people can develop and thrive.”

James said: “I was attracted to Lodders’ approach to IT service delivery, as well as its team and technologies, which present fresh opportunities to develop and improve. Lodders is a business that clearly cares about its people and clients and is always looking to evolve. Implementing relevant emerging technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, will ensure the business is on a contemporary journey, with technology at its heart.”

New head chef appointed to Weston Hall Hotel

Weston Hall Hotel in Bulkington is delighted to announce the recent appointment of its new Head Chef, Stuart Hiorns.

Stuart is married with a young daughter, aged 8 months, and lives locally in Coventry. In his spare time he also loves playing golf and has a handicap of 10.

Stuart has worked at many Rosette restaurants throughout the UK. As Head Chef at The Mug House Inn & Angry Chef Restaurant, Bewdley, he was one of the youngest chefs at the time to be awarded a Rosette. At the Chequers Inn, Ettington, he contributed to the Michelin Guide for a Bib Gourmand Award. As a business owner – of Osco’s Fine Foods Limited, Bidford-on-Avon, a European style café –his main focus was healthy, organic and specialist dietary cuisine, and working at Seven Mile, he secured event catering experience and has catered for events for Tyrells, Superdry and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Stuart’s claim to fame is that he cooked for the film ‘Faint Heart’, released in January 2009.

Following the appointment, Weston Hall owner, Simon Evans, said: "We are really excited to announce this new appointment. Stuart has a proven track record in fine cuisine and leadership and is working hard on developing all aspects of cuisine at the hotel, including our new restaurant due to open later this month. It is an exciting time here at the Weston Hall and we are all looking forward to opening the doors to this new space very soon.”

The new restaurant – name yet to be revealed – will be a 50-cover restaurant specialising in modern British cuisine with Mediterranean influences.

Graduate welcomed to new role at Tann Law Solicitors

Daniel is excited to step into the role of an employment and business law paralegal. After recently concluding his undergraduate law degree at Coventry University, Daniel brings enthusiasm, adaptability, and a hunger for practical legal experience to the firm.

At Coventry-based Tann Law Solicitors, Daniel is poised to work alongside an accomplished team that showcase more than 100 years of combined experience. In joining the experienced team, Daniel will bring his academic acumen and a fresh perspective to the firm’s work. As Daniel starts this new chapter, he looks forward to contributing to the firm and showcasing his commitment to the legal profession. Tann Law Solicitors thrives on its handson engagement and innovation; something Daniel

looks forward to being part of. As a paralegal, Daniel will be tasked with a multitude of responsibilities including legal research, document drafting and client consultations. This opportunity will broaden and refine his skills across many aspects within the legal field. Daniel’s journey exemplifies his desire to apply his law degree to make a positive impact on the community while embracing the exhilarating opportunities ahead.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk 45 Movers
Shakers Coventry & Warwickshire in business
A Midlands science park has revealed two key as Tann Law Solicitors proudly welcomes Daniel Leonard Bassant as the newest addition to their team.

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wcg.ac.uk/employers Th e Queen ’s Annivers ary Pr izes 2021 For Higher and Further Educ ation

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New head chef appointed to Weston Hall Hotel

pages 45-47

Lodders boosts senior leadership team with appointment of duo of directors

page 45

Warwick Science Park announces promotions amid growth plans

page 45

From apprentice to partner: firm strengthens leadership team in success story

page 44

CTT Law Ltd celebrates double win at Warwickshire Law Society Awards

page 44

Law firm’s duo ‘shining examples’ of career progression as they earn promotions

page 44

Fusion Fest takes University of Warwick Esports to the next level

pages 42-44

College group praised by Ofsted for residential provision

page 42

College set to modernise automotive training thanks to council funding

page 42

College set to modernise automotive training thanks to Council funding

page 41

Elevating electrification skills for a thriving UK future

page 41

Upskilling staff in maths could equal further success

page 40

T Level students gain vital experience with Stepnell

page 40

Motor Group donates car and provides career advice to motor vehicle students

page 40

The Heart of England: Your Leading Destination for Unforgettable Corporate

pages 38-40

Corporate Hospitality

page 37

Nothing beats good hospitality and conducting business face-to-face

page 36

Construction Site Manager shortlisted for three awards

pages 35-36

Coventry aerospace supplier builds on King’s Award success with multi-million-pound contract wins

page 35

Accountancy firm celebrates 20th anniversary by strengthening team

page 34

A killer way to boost business meetings

page 34

Shakespeare Martineau takes strides to support namesake hospice

page 34

Lloyd Ltd joins Mecalac’s UK dealer network

page 34

Apex Connected celebrate office move

pages 33-34

Subscription legal service launched to give clarity to growing businesses

page 33

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Historic venue hailed for inclusivity following £6m revamp

page 33

Crime on the agenda at Local Business Forum

page 32

Heart of England Co-op links up with Macmillan to help local cancer patients

page 32

Olivia leaps into Chamber role

page 32

City centre hotel celebrates third birthday

page 31

Customer Service Awards honour is ‘testament to hard work of team’

page 31

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Luxury hotel helping to reward our unsung heroes

page 31

Verity finds her voice leading audio tours of Coventry

page 30

Bright future for the north of the county

page 30

Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North

page 30

Collaboration has never been smoother

page 29

Spotlight on Ivor King Training’s Katie King

page 29

Global hygiene company extends partnership with pallet pooling experts

page 29

Warwick HR firm partners with global brand to boost local businesses

page 28

Surprise 1st birthday party for IT business to mark successful first year

page 28

Quartet of award nominations for R&Co Communications

page 28

you a Carer-friendly Employer?

pages 27-28

Health and Wellbeing New health and wellness podcast offering positivity and hope to those living with a chronic illness

page 27

Partnering up to combat youth homelessness with one-stop hub

page 26

Safeguarding children a priority in Special Guardianship Orders

page 26

Rates could come down soon!

pages 23-25

Mixed picture means erratic unemployment

page 23

Chancellor’s Budget offered little for business

page 23

Is the economic outlook improving? Our survey says: yes!

page 22

Employment Law Changes

page 22

Profile: Laura Shapiro

page 21

Profile: Laura Shapiro

page 20

Bringing business and education together

pages 18-20

Seize apprenticeship opportunity

page 18

Sustainability firmly on the agenda as law firm celebrates Planet Mark recognition

pages 17-18

Logistics specialist Rhenus launches new sustainable warehouses in Nuneaton

page 17

CJS uses Warwickshire County Council training grant to fund training with Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training

pages 14-15

Apprentice achievements recognised in The Houses of Commons

page 14

Supporting employees while tightening business budgets

pages 13-14

Business Engage Profiles Consultancy training employers to think differently about development

page 13

Accountancy consultancy advises businesses on navigating financial challenges

page 12

Global hygiene solutions company set to expand

page 12

You can support Armed Forces community – and they can boost your business

page 11

Prime Team head out in the sun to keep Solihull tidy

page 11

Get in the swing for charity event

pages 9-10

Face Businesswomen armed with knowledge about the forces

page 8

Festival travel plans made easier thanks to huge boost in coach departures

pages 7-8

Navigating the world of criminal law

page 7

Insights from EBC Group's Recent Cyber Security Event

pages 5-6

‘Insta-noon Tea’: Luxury Warwickshire hotel launches dedicated package to help snap-happy Instagram generation capture the best of British tradition

page 5

WA Management raise over £1000 for Prostate Cancer UK

page 5

Business support toasted at local pub

page 4

Planning game-changer as Chamber secures policy win

page 4
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