C&W in Business November 2022

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Issue 92 Nov - Dec 2022

FLEUR SEXTON DL Rising to the challenge Page 20

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Foreword

Contents

November - December 2022 Christmas in Coventry & Warwickshire

Dear Member, In October, we took a delegation of members from Manufacturing, Automotive, Construction and Engineering sectors (the excellently named MACE group) to the House of Commons to talk through the issues these sectors are facing. Whilst all of them were optimistic that order books were busy and that they had confidence in their products and services, all were being held back by the big issues of our modern economy – shortage of staff, high inflation, supply chain gaps, raw material costs and complicated import and exporting rules. Many of the businesses gave examples of orders that were being turned down because of a shortage |of parts and quotes for aggregates that only had a 24-hour life because of spiralling costs. We are now in a political environment that promises growth but knows that cuts are inevitable and if we see the plans for infrastructure, for investment zones, tax cuts and business support all being rolled back we need to think of innovative ways of driving growth without breaking the bank. So here are 5 ways we can drive growth without spending too many public funds:

1) Urgent review of the Home Office’s visa system and shortage occupation list: They simply aren’t working, and we have a huge gulf between the skills of our unemployed and the vacancies our businesses need filling. We need overseas workers to help fill short- and medium-term vacancies in hospitality, tourism, care, manufacturing and logistics. 2) Revamp and refocus the apprenticeship system: We need a review of the apprenticeship levy to ringfence any unspent funds for use by smaller businesses and not disappearing back into the treasury. We also need to de-couple a young person’s apprenticeship wages from their household benefits which discourages the take up of offers and we need to end the shameful disparity between apprenticeship minimum wage and the national minimum wage. 3) Energy Generation: A local planning policy that supports investment in onsite energy generation and allows businesses to install wind and solar quickly and economically. 4) Manufacturing Strategy: Remove our manufacturing industry from politics and develop a long

term, sustainable manufacturing strategy, with cross party support and a Minister of Manufacturing dedicated solely to delivering it. 5) Get better at telling our story: Across the UK, and particularly in the Midlands, we have some of the best businesses of anywhere in the world but we need to bring sparkle and colour to our stories and focus the eyes of the world on the opportunities to buy our goods. ‘Made in the Midlands’ should be a badge of quality, value and innovation. As a Chamber of Commerce, we consistently campaign for the businesses of Coventry and Warwickshire and we will use our links in British Chambers of Commerce offices, across the globe, to make the connections between businesses and focus on finding solutions and new customers. If you’d like to be involved in this work – please get in touch with us: 024 7665 4321.

Corin Crane Chief Executive

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Coventry 2021 Legacy

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Annual Business & Economic Conference 2022

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Business Talent

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Business Start Ups

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Events

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Business Engage Profiles

12-13

Chamber Training

14-15

Economy

18-19

Profile

20-21

Environment

22

News

26-28

Around the Region

30-37

News

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Education & Skills

41-43

President & People

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New Members

46

Members Offers

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Earlsdon Park 53-55 Butts Road Coventry CV1 3BH www.bandhattonbutton.com info@bandhattonbutton.com 024 7663 2121

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Christmas in Coventry & Warwickshire The official publication of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce ••••

Festive-filled activities are set to boost the local economy throughout Coventry and Warwickshire this Christmas

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

At the publishers Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ T: 0151 236 4141 Advertising Contact Karen Hall karen@benhampublishing.com T: 07801 788880 Production Manager Mark Etherington Accounts Director Joanne Casey Media Number 1885 © Benham Publishing 2022 C&W in Business is produced on behalf of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by Benham Publishing Limited and is distributed to members free of charge. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in C&W in Business, neither Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, nor the publisher can accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies it contains. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber.

A wide range of events to appeal to all sections of the community have been organised from Stratford-upon-Avon to Leamington and Warwick to Coventry to boost retailers who are still experiencing difficult trading conditions postpandemic. Among the highlights will be Christmas lights switch-ons in town and city centres across the area, the annual Warwick Victorian Evening in Market Place in Warwick between 3pm and 9pm on Thursday, November 24, and the Lantern Parade in Leamington on Sunday, December 4 as well as the Winter Wonderland in Coventry. Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said Christmas was always an important time of the year for businesses – and even more so this year. He said: “2022 has continued to be a tough time for businesses in many sectors

because there are so many issues that they are having to deal with right now. “Retailers are still experiencing difficult trading conditions after the lockdowns during Covid-19 since some consumers became used to buying online so we need to continue to encourage them to return to our city and town centres. “Christmas trading will be particularly critical to retail and hospitality businesses which is why we are encouraging everyone to support local businesses since it will boost Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy. “The activities that have been organised in city and town centres throughout Coventry and Warwickshire will help to drive footfall over the festive period to our High Streets and retailers over the coming weeks. “There will also be a positive knockon effect for the hospitality sector since

when people are busy buying Christmas gifts, they may have something to eat, or a drink, in a local café, restaurant or bar so it is a win-win situation. “Busy High Streets with strong footfall attracts inward investment, new businesses and big brands which, in turn, encourages more shoppers.” The festive fun starts this month in Coventry when skates will be at the ready from Friday, November 25 for the festive ice rink and Winter Wonderland which runs in Broadgate until Sunday, January 8. Coventry City Council is partnering with Visit Coventry and Coventry Business Improvement District to bring this festive experience to the city centre. As well as the ice rink, there will be festive food stands, Christmas music and a magical light curtain backdrop to get everyone in the mood for Christmas. The ice rink will be open seven days a week, operating throughout the day and into the evening and only closed on Christmas Day. To find out more and book your tickets, visit www.visitcoventry.co.uk/skate Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, said: “We want to encourage local people and visitors to support local businesses this Christmas and I am sure the ice rink in Broadgate will draw in the crowds. “There is no doubt this will be a tough period for many. But putting on events like this means we are doing what we can to boost footfall and support the local economy.”

GET READY for Rugby’s Christmas Light Switch-on! Make sure you put Sunday 20 November in the diary as that is the date for the big Rugby Christmas light switch-on! The festive family annual event, organised by Rugby First, will take place between 12 noon and 6pm, with around 8000 people expected to enjoy the lights and Christmas celebrations. As well as the switching on of the lights and a full programme of live music and dance, there will be a funfair, children’s entertainment, Santa’s Grotto, street food, stalls, plus a spectacular firework display that will bring the event to a close.

Activities will take place on North Street, Church Street, Market Place, Regent Street, Henry Street, Albert Street, Bank Street and other areas of the town centre so make sure you don’t miss anything! Jo Kemp, Rugby First Operations Director, said: “The Christmas Light Switch-On is the biggest annual event in Rugby town centre. Thousands of people come into the town to enjoy the event and provide a much-welcomed boost to the town centre economy, through shopping, eating and drinking – a great way to support the local business community!”

Jo continued: “The town centre is a great place to pick up your Christmas gifts, with a fantastic choice of national and independent stores offering a wide variety of interesting and unique gifts for friends and family. We also have some great food and drink offers from the many cafes, pubs, and restaurants in the town centre.” For all the latest information and further updates on the Christmas light switch-on please visit www.rugbyfirst.org or follow us on our social media platforms.

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Christmas in Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

An award-winning Midlands hotel has unveiled its new Christmas 2022 events programme early after seeing demand for corporate festive events surge As many companies, family groups and friends missed out on Christmas parties last winter due to Covid-19, Coombe Abbey Hotel near Coventry has already received an influx of bookings for December. Ron Terry, Group Operations Director for No Ordinary Hospitality Management which operates the historic four-star hotel, said: “Christmas has always been a special time of the year for us at Coombe Abbey and we are delighted this year to launch an even bigger programme of events for all types of festive parties and celebrations. “These range from small intimate Christmas private dining in some of our most regal period rooms to raucous medieval feasts, a Festive Murder Mystery inspired by Die Hard and a grand-scale Gatsby Glamour Ball. “This winter we are relaunching our hugely popular Party Nights in partnership with Free Radio to include more of a festival vibe. For the first time on arrival guests will be greeted up the impressive driveway and lobby by firebreathers, carol singers and Santa. “Also returning are the UK’s top wartime choir, the D-Day Darlings, for a Festive Afternoon Tea for two dates only and our extravagant New Year’s Eve Ball with fireworks and traditional Highland piper to welcome in 2023. “It’s set to be a December to remember with nine different options to choose

from to celebrate Christmas and New Year in style with friends, family or work colleagues. Early bookings are recommended.” JD, from the JD & Roisin Free radio Show, will be hosting ten exclusive Party Nights between December 3 and 23 incorporating an evening of fun, theatre and dancing with bubbles on arrival, a set three-course meal catering for special diets, and an after party and silent disco from 7pm – 1am (Monday to Thursday), and 7pm – 2am (Fridays and Saturdays). Throughout December bespoke private Christmas parties can also be organised for groups to include a private dining room, reception drink on arrival, a set three-course meal, half a bottle of wine per person and a DJ. Other major events perfect for businesses or groups to celebrate the season in style include a roaring 20s Gatsby Glamour Ball on December 2 and 15 with cocktails, a four-course meal, live entertainment and casino tables. Die Hard fans will enjoy a new specially written Festive Murder Mystery inspired by the 1988 US action film starring Bruce Willis on December 8, 16, 22 and 30. Scenes will be performed between three courses as guests seek to solve a crime. Groups could also choose to book into one of eight festive Medieval Banquets held on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 15, 17, 18 and 21. These include a drink of mead on arrival, a four-course Christmas feast,

goblets of wine and ale and medieval attire. The force’s favourites sweethearts, the D-Day Darlings, are back for Festive Afternoon Tea this Christmas on December 13 and 19 at 12.30pm. Following the release of their debut album and special appearances on ITV’s Lorraine and Radio 2, another sell-out is expected. Festive Afternoon Teas with Carols will also be returning from November 27 until Christmas Eve. Christmas private dining in one of the hotel’s exquisite historic dining rooms is another option for a choice of festive lunches or dinners with canapes and sparkling wine on arrival, coffee and mince pies.

One of the season’s biggest highlights is set to be a New Year’s Eve Ball to welcome in 2023 on December 31 in the grand Marquee with Champagne and canapes on arrival, a set six-course dinner, casino table, live entertainment, disco, traditional Highland piper and a firework display at midnight. There will also be a New Year’s Eve Medieval Banquet to encompass a stage show, a four-course feast, goblets of wine and ale, mead and canapes on arrival, as well as an after party, traditional Highland piper and firework display.

For further information and the full festive programme at Coombe Abbey Hotel visit https://www.coombeabbey.com/ product-category/christmas-2022/

Hatton to host a brand-new magical Christmas immersive experience! Hatton Adventure World is to host a brand-new magical Christmas immersive experience. The ‘Enchanted Christmas Kingdom’ will take place every weekend from 26 November and every day from 17 December to 24 December when the popular family attraction will be transformed into a winter wonderland. Covid has made close-up visits to Father Christmas impossible over the last 2 years, but Father Christmas is back big time this year with his new specially built Grotto. In the New Woodland Grotto Experience families will have the opportunity to meet Father Christmas and his Elves and have their picture taken with him. Children will receive a key to gain access to the secret Toy Shop where they can choose a present of their choice. The Woodland Grotto takes families down an enchanted winding trail through icy tunnels, with festive lights and dazzling Christmas scenes featuring one or two Polar Bears! If children don’t wish to choose a gift from the Toy Shop, they can instead take part in the Create-a-bear experience where they can choose a bear, and dress it from a selection of outfits. Mr Holly and the Magic Key Show will entertain families with cheeky giggles, festive joy, and exciting mystery. His show will be bursting with puppetry, jokes, and laughter. Also new this year is the Gingerbread Factory where families can help Mother Christmas create some beautifully festive gingerbread designs. Children can find a tray, choose their

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decorations, get creative and take their own gingerbread home. The Enchanted Christmas Kingdom’s huge Indoor SuperSlide Mania also provides fun for the whole family, from the very bravest of children to the most adventurous of adults. Children can get into a spin on the Teacups, take to the skies on the Flying Bugs and go on the Merry Go Round, Swings and Trampolines. The animals are also getting into the festive spirit and have been busy decorating their homes. Visit the Kingdoms Farmyard Favourites, Scales and Tails and Guinea Pigs where children can feed, hold, and cuddle different animals, from Snakes to Donkeys. Buck, Father Christmas’ chief reindeer handler, will teach children how to make reindeer food from his secret reindeer flying mix to help the nine reindeer fly. Accompanied by Blitzen, this interactive experience includes a little piece of Christmas magic for children to take home and treasure. Children can also take part in the Reindeer Quest and help Father Christmas find his lost reindeer with clues sprinkled throughout the Enchanted Christmas Kingdom. Families can visit The Owl & The Orient King and witness a breath-taking falconry display that brings the amazing ancient art of falconry into the modern age. Children will be captivated by amazing owls, falcons and hawks and their interesting association with Christmas throughout history and around the Globe!

Johnnie Arkwright, owner at Hatton Adventure World said, “Our Enchanted Christmas Kingdom is far more immersive than in previous years with lots of brandnew exciting activities. There is something for everyone, so grab your scarf and gloves, wrap up warm and make this trip to see Father Christmas a memorable and magical experience this Christmas”. There are plenty of options to eat at Hatton including at Mother Christmas’ kitchen, a brand-new addition serving pulled pork baps and hot chocolates, along with Snorty’s Restaurant, the Spinning Jenny, The Gardeners’ Retreat, and the Hatton Arms.

Visitors will need to spend a minimum of 3 hours at Hatton to enjoy the full experience. Price for children start from £30 and prices for adults start from £20, depending on the date. The all-inclusive package takes away the worry of finding any hidden extras as all the activities are included. Timed slots to visit the Woodland Grotto Experience must be pre-booked via the website. For more information on Christmas, please call 01926 843411 during office hours or email hatton@hattonworld.com For more information, please visit the website at www.hattonworld.com/adventure-world.

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Coventry 2021 Legacy

Partners are key to Coventry’s City of Culture legacy Coventry won the prestigious title with the backing of local and regional organisations that recognised the benefits it would bring to the city and its people. Fast forward to today and we look back on an extraordinary 12 months of celebrations that saw over a million people engage with 700+ events across every ward in the city. The support of our 160 corporate partners was fundamental in delivering on our promise to ensure a meaningful legacy for the city. That work is not yet complete; the support of new and existing partners is key to writing the next chapter of the story for the city that moves. Partnerships between the cultural sector, communities, private sector and anchor institutions are stronger than ever and fundamental to the collective city endeavour to ensure that Coventry continues to be a culturally attractive, vibrant and prosperous city to live in,

work and enjoy beyond our year as UK City of Culture. In this next phase we are operating as a commissioning organisation, supporting the creation of ambitious, engaging, interactive and playful arts and culture projects that contribute to a better, greener, fairer future for Coventry. As part of our devolved model of delivery, we will focus on connecting communities, businesses, artists and creatives to achieve shared ambitions and lasting change. To reflect our new way of working, we are relaunching our corporate membership model. Rooted in research and shaped by the motivations and needs of our supporters and local cultural sector, the model includes four distinct tiers. Each tier is shaped to reflect the ambitions of partners and support the ongoing activities of the trust, the

delivery of ambitious and impactful community led programmes across the city, investment in local arts associations and venues and an annual award supporting artists into the future.

If you would like to find out more or attend our upcoming networking event, please contact Senior Development Manager, Emily Coleman at: emily.coleman@coventry2021.co.uk

This new model of membership will support us to build on the work that has already taken place, offer a lasting funding opportunity for local artists and facilitate new relationships between businesses and the local cultural sector.

In addition, Coventry City of Culture Trust will be attending the Chamber’s Annual Conference on Friday 11th November where you will be able to chat with the team and find out more about legacy plans and how to get involved.

Quartet of Coventry City of Culture films receive major award nominations Four films commissioned during Coventry’s City of Culture year and the creatives behind them are in the running for a series of major industry awards. Coventry City of Culture Trust’s Ghosts in the Ruins has been nominated in the Specialist Factual category in the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards. Full Fat TV’s 2tone: The Sound of Coventry and Widow’s Might – from Coventry writer Alexandra Johnson have also been recognised across multiple categories. Also nominated was Irish, Blacks and Dogs by Coventry filmmaker Jack Norris in the Short Film category. Ghosts in the Ruins, a site-specific commission performed at Coventry Cathedral in January 2022, was produced by Coventry City of Culture Trust and created by Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement recipient Nitin Sawhney CBE alongside the people of Coventry. The commission marked the 60th anniversary of the consecration of Coventry Cathedral, for which Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece ‘War Requiem’ was created, with Coventry City of Culture Trust capturing one of the performances for broadcast on BBC 4. 2 Tone: The Sound of Coventry, a co-production between Coventry City of Culture Trust and Full Fat Television, received a trio of nominations in Documentary, Craft – Post Production and Creative Community. The BBC England commission used music, archive footage and a rare interview with 2 Tone founder Jerry Dammers as well as comments from The Specials’ Neville Staple, Pauline Black and Neol Davies of the Selecter, and proud Coventrian and music mogul Pete

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Waterman to explore the musical phenomenon that exploded out of Coventry in 1979. During Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, Sky Arts partnered with Arts Council England, Coventry City of Culture Trust, The Space and Shoot Festival, the city’s emerging artist platform, to provide creative broadcast opportunities to ten Coventry artists. The work of local artists Alexandra Johnson and Jack Norris, part of the Sky Arts Unlocked series, was recognised in the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards. Widow’s Might, by Alexandra Johnson, which has been nominated for Short Film, tells the story of a Coventry woman who has given up everything to look after her dying husband. Alexandra Johnson, supported by the City of Culture Trust through the Cultural Leadership Programme, was also recognised for her work behind the scenes with a pair of nominations in the Best Breakthrough (off screen) and Writer categories. Irish, Blacks and Dogs by Jack Norris, which has been nominated for Short Film, tells the story of an ageing Irish immigrant with prejudiced views who suffers a fall. When a young black paramedic comes to his aide; he is forced to confront his worldview. Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of the creative skill and talent showcased in each of these films and would like to congratulate all the nominees. “So many incredible creatives call the West Midlands home, and these nominations further demonstrate what was achieved in partnership with some fantastic people and organisations during the City of Culture

year. We are delighted to have supported their creation and see their work recognised in these prestigious awards.” Hayley Pepler, former Head of Content & Digital Broadcast at Coventry City of Culture Trust and Producer of Ghosts in the Ruins for BBC4, said: “These nominations demonstrate that there is a thriving creative community in Coventry of writers, directors and producers delivering programmes for broadcasters of real quality and purpose. “Foundations laid by these commissions during the City of Culture year will support the city's creative economy as it develops into a destination for new production talent to tell their stories onscreen and grow successful businesses at this same time.” The full list of nominees can be found here: https://rts.org.uk/award/rts-midlands-awardsnominees-2022

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Annual Business & Economic Conference 2022

The line-up for the highlight of the business events calendar in the Coventry and Warwickshire region has been announced The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is hosting its

Annual Business & Economic Conference

T

he conference will focus on the current challenges facing businesses, including rising interest rates, energy costs, inflation, raw material sourcing and costs, recruitment and retention issues and other barriers to growth.

It will also explore some of the opportunities that businesses in the region can take advantage of. More than 200 delegates are already booked to attend the event, which has two main sponsors – PET-Xi Training and Prime Accountants Group. Supporting sponsors are WCG and Help to Grow, while PLMR Advent is the conference’s media partner. The event will be hosted by Chamber Chief Executive Corin Crane, who will also chair an Economic Panel which will include Liam Conway, from Control Energy Costs; Steve Harcourt, from Prime Accountants Group; and Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG. They will discuss issues that are holding back growth and what businesses want from new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. A Business Confidence panel will be chaired by Professor Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, and will include

on Friday, November 11 Monica Fogarty, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council; Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust; Dr Fleur Sexton, founder of PET-Xi; and Atul Lakhani, CEO of IXL Events Centre. The panel will look at some of the exciting developments on the horizon for Coventry and Warwickshire around inward investment, investment zones, innovation, a potential Gigafactory and the legacy of Coventry 2021. It will also explore opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, growth in business and leisure tourism and social mobility. The conference will close with a keynote speech from Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, who was homeless on the streets of South Wales at the age of 15 before starting a career with the fire service at the age of 18. She went onto study at the Open University followed by Cardiff University, completing a PhD in Psychology. While climbing the ranks within the fire service Dr Cohen-Hatton continued her academic work, and her research into decision-making in high pressure situations in the emergency services has won awards and influenced global policy. Corin Crane said: “I am really looking forward to this year’s conference –

my first as Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. It’s a chance to get businesspeople and decision makers from across our great region in one room and look at the issues we’re all facing. “Not only that, we can start to look at some of the opportunities for businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire to grow and to come up with real and tangible solutions to the problems that companies across the patch are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. “We’ve already had a great response from businesses booking on to the conference but there is still time for firms to secure a ticket for what is the biggest economic event on the business calendar in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

For more information or to book a place at the Chamber’s Annual Business & Economic Conference go to:

https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/annual-business-economic-conference-2022/

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Talent It was fantastic to see many of our Business Talent members attend our 'Strategic Thinking' webinar, delivered by Sarah Alexander of Vivid Communication. At a time of so much chaos and confusion from our national government, this workshop seemed extremely timely. Businesses are navigating the waves of announcements that are continuing to have huge impacts on their future plans and investment choices. One of the many areas that were a in this session was taking a step back from the day-to-day workload and giving yourself a different perspective on the direction of your work. That advice is crucial at a time of ever-changing circumstances to really help you stay focused on the big picture and not the distraction of the revolving door of Number 10 Downing Street. As we hurtle towards the end of 2022, it also will bring with it the end of the year's Business Talent programme. Using the tips and tools developed in

this workshop, myself and the Business Talent Board are looking over the horizon at what we, as a group of young professionals, can achieve together in 2023. It is with that message that I ask you if you have the capacity and want to take on a new challenge, why not put yourself forward to join our Business Talent Board which leads this young professional peer-to-peer network? I look forward to seeing you at our final event of the year our Christmas social, delivered in partnership with our Business Talent sponsors, West Midland Reserve Forces Cadet Association. Sean Rose Business Talent Lead

Business Talent Blog: Thinking Strategically for Better Outcomes Northern Ireland, Iraq and Bosnia, and through his years of service he has learnt a lot about thinking strategically. As sponsors of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Business Talent Membership, West Midland RFCA asked him to share his top strategic tips with you.

By Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Richard Pugh Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Richard Pugh is the Youth Engagement Warrant Officer at Army Headquarters, West Midlands. Having joined the Army in 1991 WO2 Pugh’s first posting was with 12 Regiment Royal Artillery in Germany as ground-based air defence. During his career WO2 Pugh has been deployed on operational tours in

“In the military we think strategically to win wars and tactically to win battles. Although you do not need to win wars or battles you can still think strategically to win that first job interview or that sought after promotion. Thinking strategically means ‘in a way that is intended to achieve a particular purpose or to gain an advantage’ (Oxford English Dictionary). My intention is to introduce you to some basic strategical thinking. “The five P’s (Prior, Planning and Preparation, Prevents Poor Performance) are a great way to prepare for any challenge. Things will not go as expected so anticipate it. Military planning calls this Courses of Action (COA); generally there would be three COAs, best, worst, and most probable outcome.

To enable COAs to be generated an Intelligent Preparation of Battlefield (IPB) may be produced. Although you are not preparing for battle an IPB can still be helpful. IPB is produced by: • Identifying the risks, likely objectives, and desired end state. • Identifying the full set of COA available. • Evaluating and prioritising each COA. • Developing each COA in the amount of detail requires and time allows. • Identifying high value targets for each COA. A simpler method is to use SWAT analysis which is a very useful tool to prepare for the event or activity. Preparing for a job interview has been used as an example.

Internal Factors • Strengths – Your strengths, why an employer would employ you? • Weakness – What I need to improve on before the interview? Practise being interviewed by a family member or friends.

External Factors • Advantages – What advantages would the employer have employing you? They think I’m young with fresh ideas. • Threats – What threats are possibly going to come up in the interview? Turn them into advantages. Another similar method is SMART Objectives, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time (constraints). This method can be used in the same way as SWAT. By using these strategic tools to tie down objectives you can start thinking strategically and start the process of the five P’s. You should think critically and creatively to solve complex problems to accomplish missions or objectives and address challenges. It is the process of determining direction by breaking the problem down. As the saying goes, KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t try to overthink your strategy, often the simplest and most flexible plan is the one that is successful.

Business Talent

Christmas Social Wednesday 7th December 5.30pm - 7.30pm Boom Battle Bar, Cathedral Lanes, Coventry www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Business Talent Members are invited to join us to enjoy a festive catch up with your fellow Members. Enjoy a Christmas drink and plenty of networking as we head towards the end of 2022! 9


Business Start Ups

Campaign to encourage more start-up businesses individuals who have recently started a business, and want help to grow or diversify. Keely Hancox, operations manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Start-up businesses are the lifeblood of the economy as they have the potential to grow, take on staff and become bigger businesses over the course of time. “In some cases, they want to start small and stay small because it’s a lifestyle choice. “Either way, they are great for the economy and here at the Chamber we can offer advice and support to those individuals who are taking the plunge. September always sees a spike in the number of people looking to start a business as they’ve had the summer holidays to think about what they want to do and might decide to take a new direction. “We are particularly seeing more and more people who have an existing ‘side hustle’ – so a business that they run in their spare time and are considering how to pursue their venture full-time. “We also have some great examples of people who are retired – or older-preneurs as they are affectionately known – using the knowledge they have built up during their career and turning that into a business.

A

campaign to showcase the free help available for individuals who want to realise their dream of starting a new business in Coventry and Warwickshire was launched this Autumn. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is encouraging individuals across Coventry and Warwickshire to set up a new venture – and there is help at hand for them to turn their dream into a reality.

During the campaign, the Chamber has been providing practical tips on starting up, as well as showcasing some of the businesses that have been supported over the last few years. Chamber advisers, who understand that starting a business can be daunting, especially considering the economic climate, have been on hand to talk through potential issues but also highlight the rewards both personally and financially. Increasingly individuals are approaching the Chamber for support with a ‘side hustle’, where they currently work in a regular job but also have a business interest on the side that they may look to take more seriously and grow.

The Chamber has been sharing top tips and information from advisers and entrepreneurs who have started their own successful businesses. It culminated in two events at the end of September where start-ups were able to network with likeminded individuals and hear from advisers on the support that is available.

The Chamber can also provide lots of support for those individuals who have a skill or interest where they’ve always dreamt of starting a business but have never quite had the courage to make it a reality, as well as providing support and advice to those

“The key to making it a success is getting the right advice at the right time, and we have a great team of advisers here at the Chamber who can offer advice and support to individuals who are setting up in business, including all the basics of how to get started. “We can even support those people that started their business recently, and are now needing advice with their marketing, sales and just generally getting the word out. Starting a business can be really rewarding, exciting and enjoyable, but we know it can be lonely and daunting at times. And sometimes that sounding board, and some impartial advice can make a massive difference. “So, if you are coming into the Autumn and thinking about setting up, get in touch!” For more information on starting a business, get in touch with the Chamber on 024 7665 4321 or email businesssupport@cw-chamber.co.uk

are particularly seeing more and more people ❛❛whoWehave an existing ‘side hustle’ – so a business that they run in their spare time and are considering how to pursue their venture full-time. 10

❜❜ www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Events

Women in Business event offers inspiration

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wo female leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire called upon their experiences of resilience to inspire a group of businesswomen at an event in the region.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest Women in Business networking event at the Best Western Plus Windmill Village Hotel, just off the A45 in Coventry. The guest speakers were Laura Shapiro, Group Event Director at Coventry-based CloserStill Media, and Carol Thomas, Principal and CEO of Coventry College, after being introduced by Keely Hancox, Operations Manager at the Coventry, and Warwickshire Chamber. Laura spoke of how she had studied Chemistry at Glasgow University but wanted to work in the events industry and moved 450 miles to Southampton to get her foot in the door. She described how family and work matters had tested her resilience – from redundancy through to dyslexia – and how she had overcome those to be with CloserStill Media for more than 11 years, where she has risen through the ranks. Laura was employee number 21 when she joined the business. Now, it employs around four hundred globally. She said: “When it comes to resilience, I have a few tips. Firstly, have a happy email folder. Keep emails where people have praised you for the work you have done. It is a great reminder when you are having a bad day, that you are really good at what you do. “I would also suggest trying to create a support group of peers. It is invaluable to have people who you can talk to who understand what you are going through. “And, I’d say try to be positive as much as possible – even on those days when you really don’t feel like it!” Carol described the path that had seen her take on the role at Coventry College in August 2020 and how it is now known as the ‘fastest turnaround college’ in the FE Sector. But she also described how a family bereavement had taught her that whatever her job throws at her, in terms of perspective, nothing would ever be as bad. Carol spoke of how climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was an example of her determination to overcome any challenge. She said: “A few days before the climb, I cleaned my teeth and must have swallowed some water without thinking.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Paula Moran, Keely Hancox, Carol Thomas, Laura Shapiro

“I was so ill that nothing but water could pass my lips for the whole nine days of the trek and the lead guide said I wouldn’t be able to make the final climb. There was no way I was going all that way not to reach the summit, so I managed to force a tiny bit of food down and although it didn’t really impact on my depleted oxygen levels, after some persuasion they allowed me attempt the summit - and I did it! “Was it resilience or just sheer determination not to be beaten? We have to start to better understand that if we step outside our comfort zone, we will undoubtedly feel anxiety but it is only then that you can start to develop a growth mind-set and ultimately develop your resilience. “One of my favourite sayings is life begins at the end of your comfort zone!”

❛❛

Keely Hancox said: “It was a wonderful, inspirational Women in Business lunch and we are so grateful to Laura and Carol for sharing their personal stories. The fact they were so open about their careers and their personal lives really brought their stories to life and made each and every one of us leave feeling inspired and uplifted. “Resilience is hugely important in business – especially in challenging times – and that really shone through at the event.” Paula Moran, Hotel Group Sales Manager of the Best Western Plus Windmill Village Hotel, said: “It was great to host the Chamber’s Women in Business lunch at the hotel. It was a great chance to hear two fascinating stories and to network with fellow businesswomen from across the region.”

It was a wonderful, inspirational Women in Business lunch and we are so grateful to Laura and Carol for sharing their personal stories. The fact they were so

open about their careers and their personal lives really brought their stories to life and made each and every one of us leave feeling inspired and uplifted.

❜❜ 11


Business Engage Profiles

Canal & River Trust West Midlands Businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire are being invited to get involved in a ground-breaking project to help smarten up the region’s canal towpaths. The Canal & River Trust in the West Midlands has recently completed improvement works on a 2km stretch of towpath in Brewood, near Wolverhampton. The works have helped transform a stretch of towpath along the Shropshire Union Canal, and make it suitable for use all year round by people on foot or bike as well as those with wheelchairs or buggies. The Trust is looking to mirror the project across canals in Coventry and Warwickshire. The original project has been described as the first scheme of its type for the Trust

as it has received significant support from the Central Rail Systems Alliance (CRSA). Fifty volunteers were provided over an eight-week period by CRSA – an alliance between Network Rail, Balfour Beatty, Atkins and TSO – who have been helping on improvement programmes all around the country, while The Veolia Environmental Trust donated £45,000 to pay for materials and machinery.

Terry Hodgetts, Business and Corporate Engagement Partner for the West Midlands Region at Canal & River Trust, said: “We have been so thankful of the support from the CRSA and The Veolia Environmental Trust. “We have more than 559 miles of canals across the West Midlands and as a charity we rely on all the help and support we can get to keep our historic waterways in a condition for everyone to enjoy. “This particular project in Brewood has been the first of its kind for us and highlights the fabulous community spirit of some of the local companies in our area, and we are now looking to expand this into

“We strive to always work in sustainable and economical ways and also leave a positive environmental footprint and do things that will benefit our community."

Coventry and Warwickshire as we continue our improvement programme.” Stephen Welsh, CRSA Operations Director, NW&C, added: “Working in our communities and creating social value is something that is very important to us as a company. “We strive to always work in sustainable and economical ways and also leave a positive environmental footprint and do things that will benefit our community. “We supported the Canal & River Trust from our Aston depot on this occasion and were delighted to offer our highly-skilled workers. “Our volunteer programmes are all about encouraging our workers to give their time to good causes, and we are delighted to have helped.” For details on how to get involved, email terry.hodgetts@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Raising a glass this Christmas An award-winning Warwickshire distillery is looking forward to a bumper Christmas after two years of feeling ‘on hold’. Independent business Warwickshire Gin Company is seeing strong interest in its range of corporate gift sets that can include a mix of its five distinctive gins, one rum and one vodka that are all distilled in Leamington using a traditional copper pot still. The boxes for the sets can be designed to include corporate logos and make the ideal gift for clients or staff. And David Blick, who founded Warwickshire Gin Company in 2018, said a successful festive period would be the perfect sign-off to a year that has seen the business begin to put the Covid-19 pandemic behind it. He said: “It was really tough. We established ourselves in 2018 to create a range of products inspired by the spirit of Warwickshire, developing flavours that represent the county’s unique history. “But then Covid hit and a lot of our customers – such as bars and hotels – had to close and it was a battle to survive.

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“This year has seen lots of those venues back open and we’ve had some great support from a range of local hotels that wanted to utilise the services and products of a local supplier like us. We also take bookings from businesses that want to do gin tasting sessions and from individuals too, which again was something that was difficult to do at the height of Covid. “It felt like we were on hold so soon after starting the business, so 2022 has been a bit of a relaunch for us and we are hoping that Christmas is going to prove popular for our product range. “We have some great gift sets that start at £18 and really offer a high-quality, distinctive gift for clients and staff alike.

“We can distribute directly so it takes all the strain from our customers. It’s something we’ve done in previous years but, this time, we’ve had more opportunity to market what is available and we hope it will pay off and make the end of 2022 a positive one.”

The Philosopher’s Daughter, Pelota and Peeping Tom – alongside its Kingmaker vodka and The Pugilist rum.

The company stocks five gins – Leamington on Parade, Kingmaker,

He added: “We joined the Chamber because we thought it was a great way to get the message across of what we can offer to fellow local businesses and we would love to help them treat their staff and customers this festive season.”

“We can distribute directly so it takes all the strain from our customers. It’s something we’ve done in previous years but, this time, we’ve had more opportunity to market what is available and we hope it will pay off and make the end of 2022 a positive one.”

David employs two members of staff and says sales are up 15 per cent compared to 2021.

For more information on Warwickshire Gin Company and to find out about its product range go to www.warwickshiregincompany.co.uk

www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Business Engage Profiles

Consultancy set for further growth A long-established Warwickshire health, safety, quality and environmental management consultancy is continuing to expand its services online and across the UK. WA Management was set up in 1979 by George Alan Whittaker to focus on quality management in engineering and he was succeeded by his son, Rodger, in 1989. Rodger’s son, William Whittaker, the present Managing Consultant, took the reins 17 years ago and has shaped the business into its current guise as a specialist in health and safety services, the implementation of management systems and providing in-person and online training. And it is online training which is experiencing a real boom with WA Management now providing over 65 e-learning courses covering key health and safety, wellbeing and business protection topics ranging from asbestos awareness to mental health awareness. The business, which is based in Dormer Place, Leamington, is also extending its UK reach into the North East. William said: “We’re a compliance consultancy which means we can

provide health and safety audits, quality management such as implementing ISO:9001, environmental management and data security. “It’s very common that when companies are bidding for work or are added to a suppliers list such as the NHS or a large manufacturing business such as Jaguar Land Rover, they are sent a pre-qualification questionnaire and that’s when young or growing companies come to us to ensure they have the necessary documents in order. “In addition, we are contacted by companies as they become larger and working in potentially high-risk industries such as construction or manufacturing. “That’s because they want to do the right thing by their staff to make sure their work procedures are as safe as they can be by carrying out risk assessments, training or occupational health courses - particularly those exposed to noise, vibration or dust.” The vast majority of WA Management’s clients are based in the Midlands from Warwickshire to Staffordshire and Northamptonshire to Oxfordshire, with their remaining customers in London and Manchester – but that is about to be extended further north.

From the left, Jack Stevens (SHEQ Consultant), Neil Ward (Training Consultant), and William Whittaker (Managing Consultant) from WA Management

“One of our team, Jake Sansom, hails from Northumberland and we are supporting him since as well as going to London, he is going to be heading up our new office in the North East,” William said. “Much of our work can be carried out remotely and that has been demonstrated by the demand for our online training courses. “We used to do 100 per cent face-to-face training and you still need that for the practical elements of a first aid course but on a three-day first aid course, 33 per cent

of the course which is the theory can be carried out before you arrive so it is great in terms of saving staff time. “Other courses such as asbestos awareness and mental health awareness are really flexible and can be carried out totally online. “We also source PPE such as gloves and masks which is adding value for our health and safety customers.” For more information on WA Management, please visit www.wamanagement.co.uk

“Much of our work can be carried out remotely and that has been demonstrated by the demand for our online training courses."

Celebrate the gift of giving this Christmas - and help change families’ lives by funding an amazing Cuddle Bed Christmas is a time of joy, of celebration and of thanks.

giving them the most special of cuddles at a time when they need it most.

And nowhere are these emotions felt more than at The Myton Hospices.

And we hope the support of our fellow Chamber members and businesses across the region will enable us to unwrap this wonderful present and make Christmas even more special for our patients and their loved ones.

Many patients and their families will be facing what will most likely be their last Christmas together – doing all they can to make sure every moment of every day is as special as it can be and making everlasting memories. Which is why the season of goodwill is especially important to us – and why we’re hoping to do something extra wonderful this yuletide. This year, we’ve added a very special item to our Festive Fun Days Christmas Wish List – an amazing Cuddle Bed – but we need to raise £14,500 to make that dream a reality, and your help to do it. Cuddle Beds are a bespoke type of Hospice bed, which fold out to enable a patient’s loved ones to lie alongside them,

www.cw-chamber.co.uk

So how can you help? Simply get into the Christmas spirit by wearing a festive jumper, flashing tie, sparkly earrings (or anything else suitably festive) on a day of your choosing in the run-up to Christmas. And if that’s not your cup of egg nog, why not host a festive quiz, hold a party, or simply make a donation to help us realise our Cuddle Bed dream? What better gift to give this Christmas than the gift of a most precious cuddle? You can donate your Festive Fun Days proceeds in all the usual ways – but for

anyone wanting to make a straight-forward donation to the campaign, you can do so here: www.mytonhospice.org/cuddle

Or why not get involved and help us raise as much money as possible on #GivingTuesday on November 29.

We rely almost entirely on the support of the local community across Coventry and Warwickshire to fund the amazing work we do, having to raise a staggering £9.1 million each year to run our three hospices in Coventry, Rugby and Warwick, our patient and family support services and our community services through Myton at Home.

Ever-popular is the seasonal calendar highlight that is Myton’s Santa Dash, taking place in Victoria Park in Leamington on Sunday, December 11. Also, back by popular demand this year is Myton’s Santa Sleigh, which will be hitting the streets of Warwick this December.

Throughout the festive season – and beyond – there are so many ways you can support.

Details of the Festive Fun Days campaign, all the above events, how you can sign up, or how you can make a donation to Myton can be found on the website – www.mytonhospice.org

You could remember a loved one through our fabulous Light up a Life remembrance services at all of our Hospices.

Thank you in advance – and wishing you a very Merry Christmas from everyone at The Myton Hospices.

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Chamber Training

An Early Breakfast for Early Years Success opportunities for learners in Coventry and Warwickshire.” Furthermore, Sophie and the team would like to give a special thanks to guest speaker Stacy Mann from NCFE who Sophie describes as being “absolutely amazing”, with her knowledge of the early years care industry being “second to none.” This week Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training hosted a breakfast (complete with pancakes & hot chocolate!) designed for early years professionals to network and share valuable information surrounding Apprenticeship Standards and progression routes within the industry.

Keeping up to date with the latest industry standards is vital for the staff at Chamber Training, with recruitment advisor Sophie Florance saying that “events like this are really important to us here [at Chamber Training], they allow us to ensure we are offering the best and most innovative training and

While working toward nationally recognised certifications in child care, an apprenticeship offers a fantastic opportunity to obtain real-world experience, learn new skills, and increase knowledge. There is no better place to start building your career than in the workplace, combining learning and employment.

Chamber Training has a track record of assisting businesses to build and deliver learning plans that match their unique needs. Chamber Training is a major provider of apprenticeships and business-to-business training programmes in Coventry and Warwickshire. Apprenticeships help businesses develop their own talent and increase productivity since they are created to meet the needs of employers. To further information about Chamber Training’s Apprenticeship Programme, call 024 7623 1122 or email enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk

Chamber Training Scores Platinum as Investors in People A platinum ‘Investors in People’ award has been achieved by only 5% of over 50,000 companies assessed. With Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training recently achieving this prestigious platinum award, how exactly does this longstanding, local training provider invest in people? Let’s speak to some of the team to find out! Sophie Florance, Recruitment Advisor, has been with Chamber Training for over 20 years and says that she believes that the “amazing learning opportunities and experiences I’ve had at Chamber Training have equipped me with the tools, knowledge and dynamic training I need to help others in making positive career choices and securing exciting employment opportunities.” Sophie adds that “I’m proud to work for a company who have achieved such a prestigious award.”

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The Platinum award means policies and practices around supporting people are embedded in every corner of Chamber Training. And in a platinum company, everyone knows they have a part to play in the company doing well, and is always looking for ways to improve. Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People, said: “We’d like to congratulate Chamber Training. Platinum accreditation on ‘We invest in people’ is a remarkable effort for any organisation, and places Chamber Training in fine company with a host of organisations that understand the value of people.” Marketing Assistant at Chamber Training, Riley Powell, highlights how since working for the company his marketing, digital and professional skills have been “greatly enhanced and supported.” Furthermore, Riley talks of how “whilst working for

Chamber Training, [he has] been able to take advantage of many professional opportunities, including some of the excellent digital marketing commercial courses on offer here.” Riley has also enjoyed liaising and networking with other members from the Chamber of Commerce; saying that “these interactions have really raised my confidence and made me aware of my potential as a young professional!” Adele Wheatley started as Recruitment Advisor at Chamber Training, before progressing to the role of Training Advisor. She stresses “just how far I’ve come in the short time since beginning work here- overcoming challenges and uncovering skills I didn’t even know I had!” Adele also says that “she loves to work with such a devoted and passionate team”.

Sally Lucas, Executive Director at Chamber Training, concludes that “The IIP Platinum award is a testimonial to the devotion, dedication, and consistent professionalism of our employees, who have always been our greatest asset. We are really honoured to have received the renowned Investors in People (IIP) Platinum standard, the top honour given internationally for supporting and advancing the careers of employees.”

For more information, call in to our training centre in Radford anytime or contact our Recruitment Team on 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk

www.cw-chambertraining.co.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Chamber Training

New Year, New You:

Chamber Training has launched its 2023 Course Directory Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training (CWCCT) are excited to announce the launch of their 2023 Course Directory. Upskilling yourself and your workforce to improve productivity and broaden skill your base is a valuable investment that will open up new business opportunities. Our specialist team can offer courses to suit all training needs. This includes Apprenticeships, other formal qualifications and training courses on a broad range of topics, including ILM accredited Management courses, Social Media, Sales and Customer Service. Following on from the success of our 2022 programme, our face-to-face training delivery is appreciated by learners and employers.

As the recent recipients of a prestigious Investors in People Platinum Award, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training fully appreciate the benefits of workforce development. Our team have the benefit of many years’ experience delivering training to many local businesses, including bespoke solutions to meet your business and workforce development needs. Here is some feedback from our customers about the value of Apprenticeships:

On top of our industry-leading training and development courses our team can help your business to unlock local funding (eligibility criteria apply) to minimise your costs. The course directory booklet is available in digital format or in physical form by post, please do not hesitate to get in touch to receive your copy today as we anticipate high levels of demand for the course dates shown.

To find out more about Chamber Training’s Apprenticeship Programme, qualifications and training support programmes, please contact our Recruitment Team on 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk Alternatively scan the QR code to go straight to our website for more details.

Chamber Member Price + VAT

Non-Member Price + VAT

Duration

Jan 23

Manage Customer Expectations

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - am

11

Key Account Management

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - pm

18

Microsoft Excel Basic to Intermediate

£150.00

£180.00

1 Day

18

Microsoft Excel - Basic to Intermediate

£150.00

£180.00

1 Day

25

Communicating Assertively

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - am

25

Complaint Handling

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - pm

Starts 31

ILM Level 2 Award in Leadership & Team Skills

£650.00

£650.00

4 Days

7/14/28

Time Management

£240.00

£265.00

1 Day

01

Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems

£500.00

£500.00

3 Days

01/08/15

Digital Marketing Advertising

£240.00

£265.00

1 Day

16

Website Optimisation (SEO)

£240.00

£265.00

1 Day

23

Effective Communication

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - am

01

Building the Team

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - pm

01

*NEW* Introduction to LinkedIn

£240.00

£265.00

1 Day

02

*NEW* ILM Level 2 Award in Effective Mentoring Skills

£650.00

£650.00

4 days

06/13/20/27

Understanding Workplace Stress

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - am

08

Resolving Workplace Conflict

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - pm

08

Dealing with Underperformance

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - am

15

Motivating the Team

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - pm

15

Microsoft Excel Intermediate to Advanced

£150.00

£180.00

1 Day

15

Professional Telephone Techniques

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - am

16

Professional Email Writing

£125.00

£150.00

Half Day - pm

16

Digital Marketing Analysis

£240.00

£265.00

1 Day

30

Training Courses 2023 Q1

Feb 23

Mar 23

Prices Subject to VAT

www.cw-chambertraining.co.uk

15


David Craddock Consultancy Services

How the

Employee Ownership Trust

Offers the Ideal Exit Strategy at ZERO Tax David Craddock is a recognised authority in the UK and worldwide on employee share schemes and the author of Tolley’s Guide to Employee Share Schemes. In this article, David identifies the role that the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) can fulfil in facilitating the ideal tax-efficient and cost-effective exit strategy as an alternative to a trade sale or an initial public offering. The Latest Triumph for Employee Ownership The initiative to introduce the EOT through Schedule 37 of Finance Act 2014 emerged from the Coalition Government as the single most significant triumph in the development of employee ownership since Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) and the Share Incentive Plan (SIP) were introduced by New Labour in 2000. Unlike EMI and the SIP, which deliver direct employee share ownership to individual employees, the EOT offers indirect employee share ownership. The unique feature of the EOT is that the sponsoring company’s shares are held in a discretionary trust as a collective arrangement for the long-term benefit of the company’s total workforce in stabilising the company’s ownership structure and securing its independence. Although different in kind from EMI and the SIP, either of these two scheme arrangements can, if the company so chooses, operate alongside the EOT and offer direct employee share ownership to complement the collective ownership by the EOT. Notably, the grant of EMI options to senior employees, properly implemented and communicated, can act as a motivational empowerment for executives, thereby ensuring that the shareholder succession is matched by a management succession that is so essential for a successful exit. Nevertheless, the EOT can operate without any accompanying tax-advantaged (tax-approved) employee share schemes, and still offer, courtesy of its own 2014 legislation, if the company so decrees, tax-free bonuses to its employees.

The Headline Capital Gains Tax Exemption: ZERO Tax Charge for the Selling Shareholders Under Section 236M, TCGA 1992, the Controlling Interest Requirement secures a complete exemption from capital gains tax for the seller of the shares for the sale of the 51% (or more, up to 100%) controlling share interest to the EOT in a defined single tax year. This exemption is available for persons who are not companies. Provided the statutory requirements are met, notably that the shares are in a trading company or the parent company of a trading group, then the capital gains tax exemption is available to an unlimited extent.

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The fact that the exemption is unlimited is a particularly attractive feature, even if the seller has access to Business Asset Disposal Relief, for the simple reason that the sale of shares to the EOT attracts zero capital gains tax on an unlimited amount of value.

The Income Tax Exemption for Qualifying Bonus Payments to Employees Chapter 10A within Part 4 of ITEPA 2003, introduced as a new EOT insertion, is devoted to the rules for the tax-free status which accord to qualifying bonus payments to employees. The tax-free status is given as an exemption from income tax for up to £3,600 for each employee in any given tax year, operated for all employees on a same-terms basis. Although it is the establishment of the EOT that provides the opportunity for the company to introduce qualifying bonus payments, it is the company that pays the qualifying bonus payments to the employees and not the EOT trustees.

The Deferred Consideration The Sale and Purchase Agreement for the sale of the shares is between the existing shareholders and the EOT trustees acting on behalf of the EOT. Although the company is not a party to this agreement, it is the company that funds the EOT through an arrangement that must be non-binding in order to ensure that monies received by the EOT from the company are not subject to income tax.

The whole of the sale proceeds, linked to the whole company value, will be paid to the existing shareholders immediately following the sale if the EOT has the available funds, albeit supplied by the company. Alternatively, though, the sale proceeds may be paid as a series of deferred consideration payments over whatever time-period is manageable for the company to fund the EOT. Given that the deferred consideration does not have to appear on the balance sheet, the creditworthy status of the company is protected in the eyes of the business community. This piecemeal payment profile is an appealing feature for a company that, at the actual date of the sale transaction, does not have the full amount of the available cash to fund the EOT.

The Growing Popularity Since 2014, some 550 companies have taken the EOT route to a company sale. The ownership by the EOT of the shares of the company in perpetuity stabilizes the independence of the company and reinforces the employees’ confidence of continuing employment. In a consultation on exit, as well as discussing the advantages of the EOT, discussion should also be given to the Employee Share Trust (“EST”) which allows a more gradual sale approach over several years. The capital gains tax rate for the sale of shares to the EST (as distinct from the EOT) is the Business Asset Disposal Relief rate of 10%.

David Craddock welcomes an opportunity to discuss with you your interest in the Employee Ownership Trust idea and initiative Please feel free to contact David at: T: 01782 519925 • M: 07831 572615 E-mail: D.Craddock@dcconsultancyservices.com • Visit: www.davidcraddock.com

DAVID CRADDOCK CONSULTANCY SERVICES

* Expertise and Experience *

Specialist in Employee Share Ownership and Reward Management, Share Valuation, Management Buyouts, Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs) and Investment Education www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Heart of England

Take a bite out of the ALL NEW Quicken Tree

T

he Quicken Tree is a modern, funky, and popular restaurant / bar & grill based in The Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry.

It has seen many changes over the years but none more significant than right now. The Managing Director and Owner of The Heart of England – Stephen Hammon said, “things have been challenging over the past couple of years for this industry to say the least and what our customers want and expect has evolved with the changing times. To address that, we have listened to feedback and set about revamping the Quicken Tree. We have brought in new management, new chefs, new processes, and new furnishings to help keep our customers

happy and the Quicken Tree as busy as ever." The Quicken Tree has always been a ‘destination’ as well as a place to eat and drink. It boasts stunning views across parkland and lake, offers parties and private dining in its Posh Pod, Dome and Cedar Suite and has a comfortable bar area with cosy log burner. In the warmer months out in the park, they have bouncy castles, a double decker fun bus, a pirate ship and pedalos out on the lake plus lots of open space to let the kids run free. With decking and terraces surrounding the Quicken Tree, a watchful eye can be kept from a short distance away meaning the adults can enjoy a relaxing meal or drink too. The new manager Lucy will be heading up the changes along with the Managing Director. Lucy has already made an impact introducing a Kids

Halloween Spooktacular event which was so popular, additional dates had to be added. The new Head Chef – previously working at Turpins joins the team along with new kitchen staff and is working on an all-new menu. New décor has been introduced with very nice seating, lighting all adding to the ambience. A new website will be launched early next year so it is all go. If you fancy taking a bite out of The Quicken Tree, they open from noon every day. As well as their standard menus, they are offering their ‘Cosy Christmas Festive Meals’ too from 28th November up until Christmas Eve which are perfect for office and family meals.

To book call 01676 543300 or visit www.quicken-tree.co.uk for further details.

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PARTIES & NEW YEAR’S EVE IN TOWN SPECTACULARLY THEMED PARTY ROOM GLASS OF BUBBLY ON ARRIVAL 3 COURSE FESTIVE FEAST AMAZING ENTERTAINMENT GAMES MARQUEE & THE DODGEMS NIGHTCLUB DJ, LIGHTS AND SOUND The Heart of England Conference & Events Centre, Meriden Road, Coventry, CV7 8DX

TO BOOK CALL 01676 540333 | WWW.CHRISTMASATTHEHEART.CO.UK PRE BOOKING ONLY www.christmasattheheart.co.uk

Meriden Road, Fillongley,Coventry, CV7 8DX Giant marquee full of games & activities. Send a letter to Santa, make reindeer food with Santa’s Elves. Then it’s all aboard the train or supertruck as the Elves take you to meet Santa in his magical snow covered Grotto in the enchanted woodland All children visiting the grotto will receive a small token gift from Santa

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For your festive office or family get together 28th November - Christmas Eve 12 - 9pm Book now to avoid disappointment Call 01676 543300 www.quicken-tree.co.uk Meriden Road, Coventry, CV7 8DX

17


Economy

‘What’s next on energy?’ Chamber asks Chancellor

Firms call for economic vision from new PM provide a solution to the problems with recruitment. “On top of that, businesses across the region want to see a long-term plan that brings investment and growth.

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire are calling on the Chancellor to reveal how firms that are hardest hit by crippling energy costs are going to be supported beyond next April.

“We have been on a path of short-term fixes over recent years – due to Brexit, Covid and global events – but firms are crying out for a strategy that gives them confidence to invest for the future.

In a mid-October statement, Jeremy Hunt stated that a treasury-led review is being launched into what support can be offered with energy bills from April onwards when the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme is set to end. It was also confirmed that plans to reverse the scheduled 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance for the next tax year have been retained, while corporation tax will continue to rise to 25 per cent for larger businesses.

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have called upon the new Prime Minister to offer a long-term vision to allow firms to thrive – and to back a major project for the region.

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “While we appreciate that the government has had to act to reassure the markets, once again businesses are being left in limbo and unable to plan for their medium-to-long-term futures.

Rishi Sunak becomes the new Prime Minister after Liz Truss’s resignation last week and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has urged him to balance short-term issues with providing a long-term plan.

“Energy bills are one of the biggest worries for many of the region’s businesses, and while we welcome that the government’s recognition that further help is needed beyond April, a lack of detail around any review or when it is likely to conclude with its recommendations, does nothing to ease our concerns. “Now more than ever, the government should be consulting with businesses from a variety of sectors as part of this treasury-led review so they can truly understand the reality business owners they face on a day-to-day basis, and provide a tailored support package that will help businesses to plan further ahead.” Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor’s buzzword was stability. But what we’ve seen from him is a plan for today and nothing for tomorrow. “Following the economic turmoil of the last few weeks he had to press the reset button. “But businesses will be dismayed by the decision that looks set to strip back the energy support for firms from next April. This will be a hammer blow for many who were already worried about how they will survive. “The government must commit to a full consultation with firms ahead of that cliff-edge to provide some certainty on where any targeted support will go. Energy costs keep business owners awake at night, alongside rising inflation and interest rates. “Keeping support for the NICs reversal in place will be some relief for hard-pressed firms, but on its own will not be enough. “The Chancellor has a delicate balancing act to carry out. He must restore order to the markets if he is to prevent further damage to business and consumer confidence. But if he is serious about stability and growth, he must speak to our Chamber Network to truly understand the pressures firms face. “People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The Government is failing to fully understand that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin. We still need a clear vision on how it will support firms and the communities that rely on them to thrive. “It must be clear in how it plans to do this, to prove it is serious about helping businesses through the difficult months ahead. Time is of the essence.”

18

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It has been a tumultuous few months and businesses across the region are hoping for a period of calm and stability. We wish the new Prime Minister well and hope that he can achieve that in the short-term. “There are so many issues facing businesses right now and his first task will be to reassure companies that they will get continued support with rising energy costs and also that the Government will be able to

“Part of that has to be reaffirming a commitment to investment in regional infrastructure, including investment zones, because we believe there is an extremely strong case for the Gigafactory development at Coventry Airport to be one. That would be a real game-changer for the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire.” Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “We would like to congratulate Rishi Sunak on his appointment as Prime Minister. “The political and economic uncertainty of the past few months has been hugely damaging to British business confidence and must now come to an end. “The new Prime Minister must be a steady hand on the tiller to see the economy through the challenging conditions ahead. “This means setting out fully costed plans to deal with the big issues facing businesses; soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation, and climbing interest rates.

“We cannot afford to see any more flip-flopping on policies - the UK’s businesses need a sustainable, longterm economic plan they can believe in. “The BCC is writing to the Prime Minister to set out the action needed to tackle the main challenges facing business. It is vital we see progress made in these areas to keep doors open and promote investment. “Firstly, the Government must provide more certainty on the energy support package for businesses and quickly communicate how the system will work from April. Firms need to know what support to expect in the medium and long-term. “Secondly, they must fix the extremely tight labour market. Without the skilled people to do the jobs businesses need, the economy will stagnate. “Thirdly, to grow the economy, Government must set out a strategy to boost our international trade and exports. “People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The new administration must grasp that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin.   “We need a clear long-term vision of how the new Prime Minister will deal with the challenges ahead and create the business conditions that allow firms, and the communities that rely on them, to thrive.”

Fall in unemployment brings a challenge for businesses Another fall in unemployment – to its lowest level for nearly 50 years – highlights one of the biggest issues facing firms in the region. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 per cent in the three months to August – the lowest since 1974 – with overall vacancies now standing at 1,246,000. Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Falling unemployment has, on the one hand, been an economic success story of the past couple of years particularly when you consider the fears that it would rise severely at the height of the Covid lockdown. “However, it is proving to be a real drag on growth for businesses in a range of sectors across Coventry and Warwickshire who are struggling to fill the vacancies they have. “The new Government has adopted a ‘growth, growth, growth’ mantra and businesses will be the driver for that.

“But there are so many issues that are holding companies back from being able to grow and the labour market is one of them. It is an area where reform is needed to help firms to bring in the staff they need to help deliver the growth that everyone wants to see.” British Chambers of Commerce Head of Research, David Bharier, said: “Once again, today’s data confirms that the UK is facing the tightest labour market in years. Our own research shows that labour shortages are holding back the ability of many businesses to service existing customers and grow. “Despite a further decrease in the number of job vacancies to just under 1.25m, the overall level remains very high. Businesses are currently facing multiple external shocks, from global supply chain disruption, rampant inflation, and rising interest rates. Labour shortages are yet another issue weighing down on business confidence.

“While the unemployment rate of 3.5 per cent stands at the lowest level since 1974, the increasing economic inactivity rate, now standing at 21.7 per cent, should be a cause for concern, with long-term sickness cited by the ONS as a key driver of this. Average weekly earnings also continue to be outstripped by inflation for workers overall. “If Government is serious about growth, it needs to get serious about jobs. There are key reforms it should adopt to help ease tightness in the labour market. These include supporting greater business investment in workforce training, adopting flexible working practices, expanding the use of apprenticeships, and a comprehensive reform of the Shortage Occupation List to allow sectors facing urgent demand for skills to get what they need.”

www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Economy

Message taken to Westminster Businesses in the manufacturing, automotive, construction and engineering (MACE) sectors in Coventry and Warwickshire took their message to Westminster. Firms from across those industries have been brought together by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce over the past two years to talk about specific issues that are affecting them. The MACE group originally met at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to look at the challenges facing their businesses, such as grappling with the covid guidance which affected many firms who needed their staff at their place of work for their operation to continue. They continued to meet online and came together for their second face-toface event at HORIBA MIRA this month to discuss ongoing issues such as rising cost, recruitment and overseas trade. The group – led by the Chamber and including major employers through to SMEs – went to Parliament where they were

due to meet MPs and ask for the creation of a new Minister for Manufacturing to enhance its voice at the highest levels of Government. Ahead of the trip to Westminster, Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Just in the last few years we have seen the energy crisis, coronavirus and exiting the European Union which has had an adverse effect on the manufacturing, automotive, construction and engineering sectors. “Therefore, it is right that the Chamber brings together the leading voices in these sectors to discuss the challenges faced but more importantly the practical solutions that can be presented directly to the government. “It was very clear from these discussions that the business community wants to get on with doing what it does best but needs the government to clear the red tape that is holding back growth and provide a platform of certainty allowing firms to plan for the future.

“The energy price cap guarantee is a move in the right direction but the uncertainty of it coming to an end in six months' time is just another example of the challenging times businesses find themselves in. “As a Chamber of Commerce, we will continue to speak up on behalf of businesses throughout our region and ensure that the voice of business is being heard loud and clear by the new prime minister in Number 10.” Declan Allen, of Horiba MIRA, said: "It was great to host the MACE roundtable event at HORIBA MIRA.

“Bringing business, academic and government leaders together to discuss the economic challenges and opportunities is hugely important. This means we can debate and agree one voice that goes forward to influence policy, strategy and delivery frameworks to build a strong future. “Yes, we have many challenges but we also have a unique combination of enablers in the Midlands to deliver great products and services to a global customer base. The MACE events help to build key relationships and collaboration.”

Everyone has an interest in rates is high, one of the Bank of England tools at its disposal is to push up rates to try to decrease spending which in turn creates less demand. This happens because people tend to be more cautious when times are hard and try to save rather than spend. As spending decreases, demand for goods and services falls, and the pace of price rises slows thereby reducing inflation. The Bank of England’s target for inflation is 2% and they will adjust interest rates accordingly until we get back to target.

John RImmer

Interest rates are on the rise, good for savers, bad for borrowers. Interest rates have been unusually low since the financial crisis in 2008. This created one of the cheapest ever times to borrow money. This was great news for borrowers but terrible news for savers…until now. The low rates will no doubt have created some of the most casual approaches to borrowing from those that have not experienced higher interest rates before. Pre financial crisis interest rates peaked at 5.75% in 2007. For those that remember much further back to the previous peaks of almost 15% in the late 80s/early 90s and 17% in the early 80s make the current situation pale into comparison. One of the big drivers of interest rate changes is inflation. When inflation

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For business owners who rely on borrowing to support their cash flow, be that in the form of overdrafts, loans, asset/debtor finance or credit cards then the cost of that finance will, in turn, rise. This creates a greater squeeze on cash and without proper planning or management can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Whilst we are not monetary policy experts we do understand the pressures that businesses face. If any of your clients are in business and unsure which way to turn next, be that as a result of a lack of cash, disruption in supplies, historic Covid debt, or for any other matter, then please do recommend that they pick up the phone for support on 02476 226839. We always offer a free of charge, without obligation and confidential chat to discuss their position and talk about the options available to them so that we can help them to stay in business and fight another day.

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Profile: Fleur Sexton DL

I

f anything, she’s more determined than ever to rise to the next challenge that comes her way and solve the latest skills crisis facing businesses.

It means Fleur, who runs the hugely successful Coventry-based PET-Xi Training, rarely has time to sit back and take in what she’s achieved after setting up the business in 1995 offering a language programme to schools on floppy disks. “I am not great at reflection,” she said. “I work hard to be better at it but I’m much more of an action person. What we’ve achieved so far has been amazing and the team are such great people, doing great things to change lives. They are committed and they care.” Too modest to admit, that commitment and caring nature – as well as the drive to meet challenges head on – comes from the top at PET-Xi, with Fleur setting the example for others to follow. She, along with husband, Chris, started the company to solve a problem – and she has continued to do so for nearly three decades. “I used to work at a school for children who live with visual impairment,” Fleur said. “I was a French teacher and if you are learning a language and don’t have sight, it obviously makes a big difference and is a big challenge. “My husband and I put together a product to help people with barriers to learn a language. It was initially on a floppy disk and when we were first selling it, schools would be saying ‘we only have one computer in school, in the library!’ “Eventually Coventry City Council heard about what we were doing and asked me to come in and do face-to-face training and that was where PET-Xi Training, as it’s known today, all began. “I think that’s a great way to start a business, because it was all about solving a problem that needed solving rather than setting out with a business plan and balance sheets. “I’ve always done that. I’ve seen a challenge or a problem and tried to fix it.” As anyone associated with skills, employment and training will tell you, there are no shortage of problems that need fixing in the current climate.

Rising to the challenge After 27 years in business, you could forgive Fleur Sexton DL for starting to slow down – but there is absolutely no chance of that! 20

Record unemployment figures and over one million vacancies in the UK jobs market are, it could be argued, an incredible success story when many were forecasting record levels of joblessness at the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown. But that only tells half the story. Covid, along with many European workers returning home after Brexit, has left businesses scrambling to find new staff to be able to grow and has widened an already gaping skills gap. And the work PET-Xi does across the country is at the heart of the solution. The business has three distinct areas. Through the Schools Division it works directly with more than 500 schools helping children to catch-up after missing so much time through Covid and lockdowns, while its Skills and Employability divisions support businesses to find the staff they need and support younger and older people to find employment through contracts with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Profile: Fleur Sexton DL “I’ve been working in one of our schools on Covid catch-up one day a week and it’s a tough challenge out there right now,” Fleur said. “The big feature of a postCovid world is skills gaps – whether in schools, with young people, or in businesses. “We’ve got this combination effect of Covid and Brexit which have caused huge skills gaps. You’ve got a lot of people who have retired because they’ve decided they have had enough – that there is more to life and want to do something else. People have also gone back to Europe. “The fact that older people have retired in such big numbers has meant that there aren’t the people training up the younger ones, so skills gaps are the key feature of everything as we move forward. “Throughout the 27 years of PET-Xi, it has been about reinvention to address the challenges which exist at the time and, right now, that means looking at what the skills gaps are and how it is impacting on an economic and personal recovery. “For us, it’s about understanding what different communities need and applying what we do to those needs. We are lucky that we have devolution as WMCA and local councils really understand local need at ground level and can fund accordingly. “The skills catch-up is huge for us in schools and is something that we are working extremely hard on. “WMCA has just chosen us to do one of the trailblazer pre-apprenticeship projects and since lockdown we have opened our Leamington office which is the centre of our Employability division, funded by the DWP to get long-term unemployed people back into work.

it in for businesses who recognise that they need it but don’t know where to start. “There aren’t enough people out there with the right skills so we are solving the problem in a creative way rather than waiting for people to go to university, learn these skills and then come out the other side. We are saying that there isn’t the time to do that and so we are training people up within a business’s team as this is the most efficient way for businesses to acquire the skills they need. “We’ve had quite a few businesses coming to us saying they are offering hybrid working to all staff and they are concerned that they have those systems running with no cyber security knowledge within the team so they are needing fresh skills. “It was businesses telling us what they wanted and needed that made us to decide to go down that route. Again, it’s solving a problem that is already there rather than inventing something and testing the market.” She added: “One of the big challenges is that, as a country, we are not quite where we need to be with digital skills for businesses to be able to grow and get the stability we need. “If we are going to develop our businesses and our economy, we need to improve digital skills across the board. “Apart from young people learning them through the education system, businesses can take responsibility themselves and get people trained up in work. “WMCA is funding this area and there is a commitment to support businesses with it.

“Generally, people who have started a successful business probably did so at a time when a lot of the skills that are now required didn’t even exist so they need to take advice from organisations such as the Chamber and ourselves to identify the gaps and give people the opportunity to improve which in turn allows their business to grow.” And, for good measure, the company has just launched a new recruitment arm called PET-Xi Professionals which helps match candidates with vacancies as well as offering any training they need to make sure they have the skills to fill the role. “We ask businesses what they need and then we will find the right person, train them up and support them into work,” Fleur said. “It’s about giving people a sense of optimism. People have had a tough time and we want them to know that there is an opportunity for something better and help them to achieve it.” In an ever-changing world, Fleur and the team at PET-Xi stand ready to meet whatever challenges are around the corner after emerging from the events of the past two-and-a-half years in good shape. She said: “We have come out stronger – we’ve grown – and there are a lot more problems that need solving now! That has always been PET-Xi’s position in the market. We solve the problems others can’t or don’t want to solve and work in the hardest and newest areas of the sector. “My skillset is to find solutions and work at pace. You can’t solve the sorts of problems we are dealing with now by only taking a long-term view. The solutions are needed now!”

“In everything we do, we want to bring optimism to the people we work with and help them to realise their potential.”

About Fleur Sexton DL

Nothing underlines this more than the decision to launch a restaurant in the centre of Coventry ahead of the UK City of Culture year to help with a shortage of workers in the hospitality sector.

Born:

Leamington

Live:

Coventry

Married:

28 years to Chris Sexton

Hobbies:

Piano, cello (play in Coventry community orchestra), books & our six dogs

Children:

Jake 23, Kate, 17, Lara 12

It was an issue that was highlighted as the country emerged from lockdown, but as others talked, Fleur and the team acted and launched Metropolis. “It came about during the lockdown to try to get young people into hospitality because businesses wanted people who were ready to work – but they were few and far between,” she said. “So, we started Metropolis as a training restaurant to give young people the experience and skills they needed. “They ended up either staying with us or moving on to get a job elsewhere. It’s up to 380 people that we have now trained at Metropolis, in conjunction with our Skills division, since January which is a fantastic achievement and they’ve gone all over the place!” So, what’s next? PET-Xi has its eyes firmly set on solving another issue highlighted by so many businesses – a lack of digital skills in the workforce, including widespread ignorance on the importance of cyber security, particularly as more and more firms are offering hybrid working where files are accessed off-site on a daily basis. “The cyber security skills crisis is a global problem. It’s still relatively new, and people are scared of it. In response to the problem, we’ve just launched a cyber security apprenticeship,” Fleur said. “We are bringing

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Favourite Book: My Family and Other Animals Favourite Film: Because of Winn-Dixie Last Holiday:

The south coast with my lovely family and the dogs

Gadget:

Night sky projector

❛❛

Generally, people who have started a successful business probably did so at a time when a lot of the skills that are now required didn’t even exist so they need to take advice from organisations such as the Chamber and ourselves to identify the gaps and give people the opportunity to improve which in turn allows their business to grow.

❜❜

21


Environment

WORK COMMENCES on major new

sustainable development in Nuneaton for logistics specialist Rhenus Leading logistics provider Rhenus Warehousing Solutions Lutterworth, developers Baytree Logistics Properties and AXA IM Alts have officially broken ground on a major new development at Baytree, Nuneaton, which will create hundreds of new jobs for local people. Construction work has now begun on the site, which will be known as the ‘Rhenus Campus’ and be the equivalent of 36 football pitches. The site will consist of two warehouses, totalling one million square feet. The first warehouse is completing this year and will be 210,000 square feet. The second is due to complete in early 2023 and will be 771,000 square feet. The state-of-the-art, sustainable warehouses will offer a range of warehousing and distribution services, benefitting from the latest in robotics, AI and warehouse management systems. Upon completion the development will be certified BREEAM Outstanding, creating a highly sustainable environment that enhances the health and well-being of employees, protects natural resources and is completely carbon neutral.

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Solar panels, air-source heat pumps and electric car charging points will all be installed. The site will also become home to numerous trees, log piles, bat and bird boxes, as well as a pond, wildflower grassland and meadow, which will support biodiversity. Employee allotments, outdoor seating areas, sports facilities and walk and running tracks will also be installed, providing staff with green, open spaces for them to enjoy outside of work. Kerry Delaney, Managing Director at Rhenus Warehousing Solutions Lutterworth, said: “We are very proud that construction has begun on our new warehouses at Baytree, Nuneaton.

❛❛

“The brand-new facility will reach the highest level of sustainability in warehousing, creating a site that’s environmentally diverse and that promotes happiness, health and well-being amongst our employees. At Rhenus, we put our people at the heart of all we do and operating from a flexible space where they can boost their work life and mental health is hugely important to us. “We’re very excited about our business expansion and are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with Baytree.” For more information about Rhenus, visit https://www.rhenus.group/

Solar panels, air-source heat pumps and

electric car charging points will all be installed. The site will also become home to numerous trees, log piles, bat and bird boxes, as well as a pond, wildflower grassland and meadow, which will support biodiversity.

❜❜

www.cw-chamber.co.uk


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News

Sandler. The next evolution in sales “Sandler’s vision is to elevate the stature of selling to the next level,” said Sandler West Midlands Managing Director, Martin Hill. “It is in this pursuit that we are rebranding our company to better align with the expectations of the modern buyer and seller, serve our clients with innovative learning technologies and methodologies, and continue our evolution as an organisation offering more than ‘training’.” I’m happy to share the news with you that Sander Training has announced a corporate rebrand and launch as of June 1, 2022. Throughout our 50-year history, Sandler has pioneered the concepts of discovery-based, consultative selling, reinforcement training, and a holistic view of personal and professional achievement in sales and leadership. The rebrand embodies Sandler’s ongoing commitment to better align with the expectations of modern buyer and seller, serve our clients with innovative learning technologies and methodologies, and continue our evolution as an organization offering more than “training.” Along with our new look and name, we’ve re-established the core elements that elevate the Sandler experience and drive results for our clients, including:

It's full speed ahead for a new skills and employment partnership between Warwickshire County Council and HS2 Main works construction on the first phase of HS2, between London and Birmingham, began in September 2020 and Warwickshire County Council's Employability and Skills Team began playing an active role in promoting HS2 jobs locally. As HS2 work programmes and Warwickshire HS2 job opportunities were set to rise, the WCC skills team (also known as the Warwickshire Skills Hub) wanted to do more to showcase the greater employment opportunities this presents to the county's communities. HS2’s construction partner for the region, Balfour Beatty VINCI, forecasts that it will need a workforce of around 7,000 people to deliver its 90km stretch of HS2 which stretches from Warwickshire, through Birmingham and on to Staffordshire. The opportunity to become a HS2 Job Brokerage Partner is an ideal partnership opportunity for HS2 and the Warwickshire Skills Hub team to work together and build a skills and careers strategy to a boost employment activity across the area. Fay Winterburn, Warwickshire County Council's Employability and Skills Lead Commissioner, said: “We are delighted to become a HS2 Job Brokerage Partner and very much looking forward to collaborating on joint activity across Warwickshire and threading HS2 themes through many strands of our work such

as Careers, Employment and Inclusive recruitment." Julie Venn-Morton, Skills Manager at HS2 said: "We're delighted to have joined forces with Warwickshire County Council and look forward to working closely with the team at Warwickshire Skills Hub to ensure local residents are supported to access jobs on HS2. Our construction partners are actively recruiting for hundreds of roles and we want to see local people benefitting from these opportunities." Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place,

cultural and historic venues in and around the city, the first commission will be ‘Cosy Creative Sessions’, providing creative activities for targeted groups, individuals and families alike.

• Customizable learner journeys

The sessions aim to engage over 1,000 people in a high-quality, responsive, and sustained programme of creative activity ranging from upcycling and sewing to visual art and craft.

• Collaborative coaching • Ongoing reinforcement • Technology-enabled solutions

Ruth Hollis, CEO, Spirit of 2012, said: “Coventry City of Culture Trust delivered some incredible projects, from the Reform the Norm to the Story of Us, Little Amal to Cardboard Citizens and the Ruff Tuff Community Choir.

• Personal transformation

I hope that you will join me in taking the next step forward with Sandler.

Coventry City of Culture Trust has been awarded a grant of £75,000 from Spirit of 2012 to build on the successful work as part of the UK City of Culture year and fund a series of creative commissions.

Martin Hill, Managing Director – Sandler West Midlands

Spirit of 2012 is the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy fund. Spirit awards grants for inclusive arts, sports

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"We believe HS2 employment opportunities are such a good fit for so many of our communities and we are very committed to playing an active role in showcasing such opportunities."

Coventry boosted by £75k Spirit of 2012 grant

• Connection with the modern buyer

Our mission remains to provide ongoing guidance and resources to enable anyone in a revenue-generating or leadership role to reach new levels of success.

Cllr Martin Watson, said: "We welcome such a great opportunity to build on our existing partnership with the HS2 team and their partnership network. It was abundantly clear that the synergy and alignment between both teams works and their joint priorities meant that taking steps to formalise a joint approach for Warwickshire was a logical step and one we are really keen to embrace.

and volunteering activities in communities that bring people together to improve their wellbeing. The grant will continue to engage people in the city who, because of their circumstances, are often excluded from being able to lead or be part of cultural activity. Working in partnership with key

“Participation in activities such as those we saw in Coventry, has a positive impact on people, communities, and places, and we’re delighted to award this grant to the Trust to not only continue this work but to find ways of making these inclusive cultural projects sustainable for many years to come.”

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

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How does circular economy unlock potential in the supply chain? While COVID-19 gave the much-maligned single-use plastics industry a free pass because of consumer health fears, the debate around the supply chain potential for circular economies hasn’t stalled. This is the view of Shelley Harris, commercial director of Coventry-based pallet pooler IPP, who says the debate continues to roll on. Shelley argues that the hygiene focus rather than ‘greenwashing’ of plastics is only a temporary setback for a realisation that circular economies are inevitable, not just from a profit and loss point of view, but a reputational standpoint. This is despite only 9% of global businesses currently being engaged with them. Why? Shelley says it’s thanks in no small part to the current Generation Z being far more forensic in their ethical

buying habits. “As consumers and future investors, they not only want to know where things originate from and where they end up, but will actively use the digital means at their disposal to name and shame those who fall short in their environmental hygiene”. “What we have always described as ECOnomics is playing out on a global supply chain stage. This is where the environmental sustainability of circular models ultimately costs less than their linear equivalents in cash terms as well as reputational risk”. “Rampant inflation, cost of living crises, war in Europe and general geo-political instability has seen essential commodity costs”. Shelley adds: “In our own sector, the humble wooden pallet has been the

subject of over-inflated global timber prices, but at least it is already part of a circular economy where those costs and collateral reputational damage can be more effectively managed. It has, for a long time, been part of the solution rather than the problem”. According to Shelley, older established supply chains need to wean themselves off linear dependency, while new starters and business disruptors need to re-design the archaic supply chains of yesteryear to release the full potential economically and environmentally.

This means prioritising the replacement of high-risk products, packaging and materials with safe, secure and sustainable alternatives, to create a new value proposition that includes, for example, the reduction of unnecessary delivery legs to cut emissions, CO2 and NOx outputs. To achieve this unlocking of potential, we need to work with suppliers to share their vision, as well as good and best practice. This helps build sustainable and collaborative partnerships for the future on trust and open-book relationships to leverage value for all.

Debt recovery – why it is so important SMEs lose millions of pounds every year due to late payment of invoices. According to the Federation for Small Businesses, 62% of small businesses report being affected by late payments at some point and around 50,000 small companies are forced to close as a result.

and automated invoice chasing in place to keep track of what customers have or have not paid.

Coventry-based accountants Aksews points out that once an invoice passes 90 days overdue, you are 50% less likely to be paid.

Despite the right to collect interest on late payments, research has shown that an estimated 50-80% of SMEs do not charge interest on late payments.

The Late Payment Act 1998 provides creditors with the right to charge 8% interest plus the Bank of England base rate on overdue payments for goods or services, plus administrative costs, provided they are fixed and reasonable.

The main reasons are attributed to business owners being unaware of their rights under the Late Payment Act 1998 and the reluctance to upset commercial relationships and lose future business.

There are several support options to help you recover debts, from online portals that generate letters before action, through to retained support from debt recovery experts.

Therefore, it is vital to put measures such as cloud accounting

Photo exhibition highlights life on Coventry’s streets A group of people with experience of homelessness joined visitors, academics and charity partners to celebrate the arrival of Constellations of HOME – an exhibition of photography and personal reflections on life on the street.

The launch comes one year after Agency by Anthony Luvera was first exhibited in October 2021 as part of

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Local e-mobility company, Eskuta is in the running to be crowned Small Business of the Year Eskuta, based at the Bermuda Park Innovation centre, Nuneaton is amongst 1 of 5 companies hand selected by a panel of expert judges to be in with a chance of winning this year’s Coventry and Warwickshire Live business award for, Small Business of the Year.

The exhibition, held at the University of Warwick’s new Faculty of Arts Building, including artefacts and photographs chosen and co-curated by the participants alongside assisted self-portraits. The participants, the Agency Group, created the work alongside Anthony Luvera, Associate Professor of Photography in the Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities at Coventry University.

Eskuta in line for prestigious SME award

the HOME: Arts and Homelessness Festival during Coventry’s City of Culture year. The group of participants who worked with Luvera have continued to meet regularly ever since.

Managing Director Ian O’Connor said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted, we’ve had a great 12 months, with the business scaling dramatically, so to have this recognised is wonderful for both me and my team. “We all have our fingers crossed for the final and are very much looking forward to meeting the other nominees.”

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News

Are HR consultants covered by legal privilege? Although HR advisors provide an invaluable service to SMEs, employers need to be aware that any legal advice they provide is not covered by legal privilege. Coventry-based law firm Askews explains that in situations where an employee has a grievance or is subject to a disciplinary investigation, you, as an employer, are likely to seek legal advice well before Tribunal proceedings are contemplated. Your questions and the advice given can contain sensitive information which may, if disclosed by the employee’s solicitor, prejudice your side of the case should the matter end up in the Employment Tribunal. If you receive such advice from an HR consultant, although the advice may be excellent, it will not be covered by legal privilege, and nor will any other communications between you both. To protect your best interests, in situations where a matter has even the slightest potential to end up in court, Askews suggests contacting an employment law solicitor for advice.

West Midlands law firm enhances support to charities with new legacy administration service launch and specialist hire Leading full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau has expanded the support it provides to charities with its newly-launched legacy administration service – helping organisations maximise the gifts they receive in wills. Alongside interim or permanent legacy administration services, the offering provides charities across England and Wales with strategic legacy project work, legacy forecasting and budgeting, procedure reviews, and team training. As part of the launch, the firm, which has office hubs in Birmingham, Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon, has welcomed specialist solicitor Gaynor Lanceley to head-up the service – bringing with her almost 20 years’ experience in legacy administration. A highly experienced solicitor who has both the STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly accreditations, Gaynor has joined Shakespeare Martineau from Catherine Higgins Law. Prior to this, she worked at Jackson Lees Group and Morecrofts Solicitors. Over the years, she has supported multiple charities, including the Yorkshire and North West air ambulance charities, and was previously a trustee for the Woodlands Hospice.

Gaynor, who will be primarily based at home in Liverpool but working with clients and teams nationally, said: “There are very few law firms in the UK that offer a legacy administration service, particularly in the midlands and the north, so this launch is a fabulous experience, venture and opportunity for us. “I am passionate about working with charities to help them to recognise the importance of legacy income, which is growing year on year. Gifts to charity are very personal and mean so much to the donor who kindly included them in their will – the importance of even the smallest such gift should never be underestimated. “As a solicitor, I can explain the terms set out in wills and trusts and decode legal jargon. I can answer complex tax and accounts issues, and provide updates regarding the legal administrative process. For me, this is the best job in the world and it is a privilege to be able to work with charities to maximise the gifts they receive in wills and ensure their supporters’ wishes are carried out. “I am looking forward to supporting charities – making sure they get the gift that is intended for them in its entirety.”

Research by charity legacy consortium Legacy Foresight shows the total UK legacy income grew from £800m in 1990 to £3bn in 2020. It also estimates that legacy income will be worth £19.6bn by 2025 – climbing to £23bn in the second half of the decade. As well as broad expertise in charity law, Shakespeare Martineau’s fullservice team is able to support charities with employment law, funding and corporate advice, intellectual property considerations, and real estate advice. The team also has particular and unique expertise advising charities on contentious probate issues. Andrew Wilkinson, partner and head of contentious probate at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “We are delighted to welcome Gaynor to the firm. Her experience, knowledge and expertise will be a real asset as we look to grow our charities and not for profit offering, starting with our new legacy administration service.” Shakespeare Martineau is proactively seeking talented people to join the firm on its growth journey, including mergers, team recruitment and lateral hires nationally.

Serco Restart Scheme Coventry: Supporting people in the local area find sustainable employment The Restart Scheme is part of the Government’s wider ‘Plan for Jobs’ programmes to help long-term unemployed people develop their skills so they can find sustainable and meaningful employment. Serco are the provider for the Restart Scheme in West Central England, which covers Coventry and Warwickshire. The Scheme aims to break down employment barriers that could be holding people back from finding long-term, meaningful employment. To support the cost-of-living crisis, the Coventry Restarts Scheme Team have been working on several initiatives to

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support Restart Scheme Participants, including: - Providing healthy, easy-to-cook, food recipe meal bags to take away and cook at home (the recipes all have short cooking times). - A harvest festival mini foodbank for Participants to help themselves to fresh fruit and tinned/dried produce.

As well as this, they are running a ‘Cost of Living’ Roadshow in collaboration with the Department of Work and Pensions and various partners at Coventry Job Shop on the 29th of November. The roadshows are a chance for Participants to meet local and national organisations and get real advice that can help them to manage their money, and to know where and how help can be found.

The Restart Scheme also works with business in the area to help fill recruitment needs. In Coventry, they are currently finding that Warehousing and Retail are hot industries and they are holding insight sessions for employers in these industries to demonstrate how the Restart Scheme can help, which is followed up with tailored support for Participant to make applications and present their skills at interviews.

- Having a stock of thermal socks to give to Participants in need.

Looking after the welfare of Participants on the Restart Scheme is just one of the areas the programme covers.

- Holding coffee mornings in November for Participants to come and have a cuppa, biscuits and general chat.

Want to know more about how the Restart Scheme can help your business? Contact us today https://www.serco-ese.com/restart-scheme/employers

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Hattie hits the target with Bromwich Hardy help Coventry-based commercial property specialist Bromwich Hardy is supporting 15-year-old Hattie Cloves with her Olympics shooting aspirations by sponsoring her competition kit. Hattie, who took up the sport when she was 10, has been competing for the past 12 months and includes a second place in the women’s world 410 competition amongst her impressive achievements. Bromwich Hardy founding partner Tom Bromwich said: “Hattie is an exceptionally

talented young shooter and I’m delighted that we are able to play a part in helping her to achieve her dreams. “I look forward to cheering her on when she steps onto the Olympic stage one day!” Hattie has made a stunning start to her competitive shooting career, she is a member of the Warwickshire team and is working towards the GB team under the guidance of 11-time world champion Cheryl Hall.

Heart of England Events Centre given major website revamp Heart of England Conference and Events Centre has spent the past few months building a newer, more user-friendly website.

visiting the website was: To be able to find what they wanted quickly; to get a sense of what the venue offers; and to see the rooms available.

The journey to get to the newly launched site was not easy but the site is now live and working well. Feedback from booking agents, corporate clients and the public indicated that the key priorities for those

The new website has certainly delivered - slick ‘megamenus’ are used across the top navigation bar with information popping out clearly when hovered over.

On recent testing, all information was findable in two clicks or less. Virtual tours have also been introduced offering an interactive exploration of the centre with floorplans, videos and pictures of the rooms popping up as you navigate. The site can be visited at www.heartofengland.uk

Azets ensures sale of AW Repair to Steer runs smooth Azets, a regional accountancy and business advisor to SMEs, has advised on a multi-million-pound sale of specialist accident repair centres, AW Repair Group, to Chiltern Capital backed Steer Automotive Group. Founded in 1996 by Andrew Walsh, AW Repair Group operates a group of specialist accident repair centres across South Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

With over 30 years of experience within the body shop industry, Steer Automotive Group is now the new owner of AW Repair Group. Exiting Founder and CEO of AW Repair Group, Andrew Walsh, commented: “I started the business at the age of 24 and to negotiate its sale was, at times, emotive, frustrating and also exciting.

Thanks to the guidance from the Azets’ team, namely Martin Poole, Tom Eastwood and Doug Allan, who were always calm, diligent and consistent in their approach and any alternative proposals were always explored. They had a really good understanding of all the intricacies, and worked in partnership with our legal advisors”.

Halfords welcomes Nuneaton e-bike into Cycle2Work scheme

Nuneaton based electric mobility company, Eskuta has partnered with cycling store Halfords. The Eskuta SX-250 bike is a welcome addition to the Halford’s Cycle2Work scheme as it provides a design of e-bike that has never previously been offered. The new partnership means that employees of the 1,500 companies currently signed up to the popular scheme will now be able to purchase the Eskuta SX-250 at a subsidised cost. The Halford’s scheme is part of a wider government initiative that aims to encourage more people to commute by bike, enabling people to make healthier choices and reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. This is achieved via salary sacrifice which allows employees to make savings of up 48.25% on the cost of a new bike with payments spread across 12 to 18 months.

The Metaverse is it too soon to invest? Morgan Davies, director at Prime Accountants Group, which has offices in Solihull, Coventry and Birmingham, has urged businesses to hold off investing in NFTs and the metaverse during the cost-of-living crisis as they are yet to prove they can survive the economic decline taking place across the UK. The metaverse is a complex world, where laws, money and relationships

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take place in simulated scenarios; a world that tech moguls are calling the future. More and more people are investing, or using the metaverse and the subsequent growing phenomenon of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in their everyday lives. However Morgan said it could be too soon to invest. “As the economic state of the UK continues on its downward

trajectory, we don’t know how these platforms or digital tokens like NFTs or cryptocurrencies work alongside inflation, interest rate rises and a possible recession. None of these things have been stress tested against these digital tokens. He added that it would be wise to ride the recession wave before investing in something that is yet to prove its success and longevity.

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u o y p l e h n a c e W Businesses r e t h g i r b a d n i need f stability . e r u to plan for fut

Burgis & Bullock Chartered Accountants

rising costs Sound advice in an uncertain world

When there is uncertainty you need someone you by Sean Farnell, Client Services Partner can trust – whatever the challenge – as multi-award the Government can foster at least Not cutting the dividend tax rate but still cutting National Insurance by in safe a few months of stability to give us. winning Accountants you’ll be hands with 1.25 per cent is a difficult one to

While some of the measures announced by Kwasi Kwarteng in September were certainly going to benefit businesses, I don’t think you can really argue with the reversal of any of the measures, given the market pressures they brought. Growth in the economy is driven by investment from businesses and the increased costs of borrowing would have had an impact on business investments, from large corporates down to SMEs.

C

ertainty is the one quality that businesses prize above all, and it is without doubt something that has been lacking in Government policy in recent months.

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been standing on shifting sands of late and even for professionals like us at Burgis & Bullock it has been incredibly difficult to plan ahead. In terms of the changing picture, it is reminiscent of the height of lockdown when the goalposts moved for businesses on a weekly basis.

Something had to be done, and while many of the moves could be viewed as positive, they were done too quickly and shocked the markets. The last thing businesses in this country needed was market volatility. Businesses like certainty and if they know the circumstances facing them, they will work out a way to continue doing business in those circumstances. We have to now hope that Jeremy Hunt keeps on this course and allows managers and owners to plan for what is to come. The scrapping of the promise to cut income tax to 19p by 2024 is quite a big change. It is also significant, and perhaps unfair, that the proposed 1.25 per cent dividend taxation rate cut for basic rate and higher rate tax payers has been scrapped.

comprehend.

Burgis & Bullock are Chartered Accountants

IR35 reforms have returned in the At Burgis & Bullock we continue latest U-turn and means that businesses who offer more to than basic be on hand to offeraccounting client support will remain responsible for determining and guidance on business planning If you’d like to deal with a local firm the employmentservices. status of freelance through these uncertain times. workers - a big hit for self-employed There are still funding opportunities who are not simply interested in your history, people who saw their tax bills rise with out there for businesses looking to bigger costs from directare employment but more focused future – invest andon even your in this current climate for businesses. people are willing to good your business growth, yourto lend ambitions, businesses. Corporation tax is now set to rise to planning your retirement and making sure 25 per cent again, another of the We are working with clients to U-turns, and this will have a negative your assets are adequately protected, set their plans for the next 12, 24you impact on businesses. and 36 months, and will continue to need to talk to us. provide support to navigate the We’re still in a period of total difficult economic landscape. uncertainty and we can only hope that

With over 125 years of helping Warwickshire businesses, our team of specialists are committed to your success and as members Growth in the economy is driven of TAG Alliances, one of the top three service by investment from businesses and associations in the world, we have access to international support you need it most. the increased costswhen of borrowing

❛❛

So for help on securing your financial would have had an impact on future, tax planning, raising finance, cloud business investments, fromonlarge accounting or simply keeping the right side of HM Revenue and Customs, talk to us. corporates down to SMEs.

Contact us today or visit our website for more information.

Tel: 0345 177 5500

businesses a chance to plan and forecast for the future.

❜❜

www.burgisbullock.com

Offices in Leamington Spa, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Nuneaton, London and Rugby.

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

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Re-imagined corporate spaces and meeting rooms are now available for hire at the newly renovated St Mary’s Guildhall St Mary’s Guildhall new corporate venue hire options have created spectacular spaces within Coventry city centre that suit all kinds of events. From meetings and conferences to receptions and banquets, invite your guests to leave their mark in the history books alongside the Kings and Queens who have enjoyed St Mary’s Guildhall over the last 700 years. St Mary’s Guildhall located in Coventry’s historic Cathedral Quarter within Coventry City Centre, is one of the finest Guildhalls in the country and a rare survivor of the English Civil War and the Blitz. With its rich history of partying, power and propaganda, the Guildhall has acted as the centre of power in England during the War of the Roses and even housed the crown jewels. It is also home to the famous

Coventry tapestry which still hangs in its original spot after 500 years. The majestic medieval great hall can cater for 70 to 150 guests and if you are looking for a smaller meeting room with all the latest technology, the newly refurbished Tanners and Fullers suites which cater for up to 14 guests with stunning views over Coventry Cathedral Ruins, won’t disappoint. Also available for hire is the Drapers room, where it is believed Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner, and the newly unveiled Medieval kitchen now on view of the first time in 100 years. Private dining is also available in our atmospheric Tales of Tea located in the Undercroft which is the oldest part of the Guildhall. Find out more at www.stmarysguildhall.co.uk

First Project Maintenance is flying high! First Project Maintenance (FPM), a building maintenance and refurbishment contractor based in Coventry, is continually looking for ways to use the latest technology to improve how the business operates. The company’s latest investment is a drone, to assist with building surveys as well as capturing videos of completed projects to enhance the material for their project portfolios. To ensure that the drone is operated safely and in accordance with the latest regulations, the company followed the Civil Aviation Authority guidelines which requires the owner of a drone being used commercially, to apply for an Operators ID and any individual who will be flying the drone to complete a training course to obtain a Flyer ID certificate.

Robert Villette, Managing Director of FPM explains: “Health and safety within construction is paramount and our number one priority, whether this is us working on site or operating a drone. Members of the FPM team successfully completed the online accreditation for their Flyer ID certificates.” Robert continues; “Getting the team trained means that any one of us can safely operate the equipment. The drone will make the initial surveying of bigger sites much easier, helping us to scope and price projects more efficiently and competitively. And in terms of showcasing our work, the images the drone can capture from up high are so much more effective than those we take with a camera.”

Coventry Cathedral awarded a VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Accolade Coventry Cathedral is absolutely thrilled to share the news that we are one of the 97 attractions across the country to have been awarded a VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Accolade, designed to celebrate excellence within the visitor attraction sector and showcase those businesses in the VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme that go the extra mile to provide a high-quality day out. Our award is in the Welcome category and is a reflection of our on-going commitment to provide a warm and genuine world-class welcome to every single person who visits. We are so proud of everyone whose hard work made this possible – it was a real team effort.

Members of the FPM team (from the left) Jacky Cook, George Dunkley, Robert Villette and Jane Polter

You can read more about the awards athttps://www.visitbritain.org/ visitengland-attraction-accoladewinners-announced

Midlands M&A advisers one of region’s ‘most active’ Shakespeare Martineau’s corporate team has been named as one of the most active legal advisers in the Midlands mergers and acquisitions (M&A) sector during the first half of 2022. Experian Market IQ’s latest M&A Review placed Shakespeare Martineau as the seventh most active legal adviser by volume after the team completed 13 deals in the first six months of the year.

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The corporate team has advised on a wide-range of international and domestic M&A and private equity transactions – ranging in size from seed investments in start-up businesses to multi-million-pound acquisitions across a variety of sectors. Michael Stace, corporate partner at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “Notwithstanding the current macroeconomic climate and the many

challenges facing businesses at the moment, we are still seeing a very healthy level of transactional activity, particularly in the sustainable energy, healthcare and technology sectors. Shakespeare Martineau has six office hubs in the Midlands, including Birmingham, Solihull, Stratford-uponAvon, Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln.

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

Safer environment for local community R&D grants and tax relief making business growth a reality Business growth plays a vital role in strengthening the economy and creating jobs. Often this kind of growth goes hand in hand with innovation. However, innovation nearly always requires upfront investment, yet what many companies don’t realise is that there is financial assistance available to help fund it. This takes the form of Research & Development (R&D) tax relief and grants, and these can help unlock a project and make business growth a reality. Tax relief is available to any company investing time and money in new products or processes that meet HMRC’s definition of R&D. Firms can claim for either a reduction in their company’s corporation tax bill or a cash lump sum.

A long-established Leamington property company which has transformed Sydenham over the last 60 years has continued its links by upgrading two play areas. AC Lloyd, whose headquarters are at Tachbrook Park, built its first home in Sydenham in 1964 and since then has masterminded the residential and industrial development in the area which has involved creating over 2,000 homes, 50 acres of commercial buildings, transport infrastructure, schools, a nature reserve and a community centre. When Cllr Will Roberts, who represents the Willes Ward for Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council, got in touch with AC Lloyd Homes to ask them to fund muchneeded improvements to play areas at Calder Walk and Fallow Hill, the business was only too happy to help. AC Lloyd has spent £22,000 adding fencing at both play areas along with installing a seesaw at Calder Walk and a bench at Fallow Hill.

Businesses in the West Midlands have received grant awards totalling nearly £1.5bn over the past five years.

Cllr Roberts said the improvements were fantastic and had been wellreceived by local families.

It can be difficult sourcing the best grant funding streams and applying, but experts such as Catax can help you navigate this minefield.

He said: “I am extremely grateful to AC Lloyd for providing the District Council with additional financial support

From the left, Alistair Clark (AC Lloyd, Cllr Will Roberts (Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council), Steve Piper (AC Lloyd) and Simon Richardson (Warwick District Council)

to make these upgrades to both of these popular local parks in South Leamington." “The residents I have spoken to are really pleased with the improvements because the fencing makes it easier for parents with several children or really young children to allow their children to play safely.”

Alistair Clark, managing director of AC Lloyd Homes, said families living nearby and pupils of Sydenham Primary School had a much safer environment to play in. He said: “We are proud to be associated with the Sydenham area which has such a significant part in AC Lloyd’s history.”

Hotel thrives despite tough economic times The hotel, which was created in the former offices of the Coventry Telegraph building and is a celebration of its mid-Century design, was the result of a £21 million investment, and has won national recognition and a string of positive reviews. In the last three months, it has had an occupancy rate of around 90 per cent – way above industry norms – and has nearly sold out its Christmas Party Night Events in its Editors Suite. More than 52 per cent of room bookings are for stays within a three-day time period, while 17 per cent of bookings are made on the day of stay – indicating a high volume of corporate trade. The team behind one of Coventry’s four-star city centre hotels believes the results of five years’ work is helping the city thrive despite tough economic times. The Telegraph Hotel, which opened 18 months ago, has scored several major successes since the end of Coventry’s reign as UK City of Culture and the returnto-work post Covid.

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Amy Windsor, General Manager of the hotel, believes that, coupled with major events in the city and work to boost visitor numbers are paying off. “We are extremely busy on a variety of fronts and certainly our room bookings are very healthy. The booking pattern indicates a high-level of businesses stays and that is underpinned by increased leisure trade which has come off the back of UK City of Culture and other events.

“For example, once Harry Styles was announced at the CBS Arena, we sold out every room – and that was before the concert tickets even went on sale. “Our six Christmas nights have almost sold out well in advance – with several reaching capacity even before our season’s brochure had been printed! “We established a very high profile before and after opening and we have had fantastic support from the local market, so the fact we are also performing well with visitors from further away from Coventry bodes very well not only for us but also the for the city as a whole. “It also reflects a great deal of hard work which has gone into boosting visitor numbers. There has been massive investment in the city in terms of infrastructure and the built environment since landing UK City of Culture, while organisations such as Destination Coventry and Shakespeare’s England are working hard to attract business and tourism. “That, combined with the quality offer we have, is producing the results.”

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

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

EV charging points installed at Dollman Farm Eighteen brand-new EV charging points are now live at Houlton’s local centre, Dollman Farm. Installed by leading EV specialist Rolec, the suite of new EV charging points is part of Houlton Master Developer Urban&Civic’s ongoing commitment to sustainable placemaking. Dollman Farm Centre, situated in the heart of Rugby’s growing neighbourhood, is already the longstanding home of The Tuning Fork and community space, The Barn. The Co-Op and The Old Station Nursery, both of which have recently celebrated their 12-month anniversaries on site, will soon be joined by collaborative co-working space The Exchange, due to open in October. A busy hive of community life at Houlton, Dollman Farm has been

designed to bring together amenities for residents in one central space, and this latest addition, further bolsters that existing offering. Situated within the car park outside The Co-Op, the newly installed charging points are just one of many new additions set to strengthen the local centre’s offering over the next six months. Kyle Smith, Communities & Partnerships at Urban&Civic said: “We are delighted to unveil the new suite of Rolec charging points at Dollman Farm. “It remains Urban&Civic’s ongoing commitment, alongside our partners both on and off-site to develop communities that will flourish and thrive for many years to come. “We know Electric Vehicles and the provision to charge EVs is fundamentally important to

power the transition towards a greener future, with legislation from Summer 2022 now in place stipulating that EV charging points must be installed at all new residential homes and buildings. “This latest addition to Dollman Farm affirms our long-term goal of creating a sustainable sense of place at Houlton and there’s still so much more to come.” Houlton is now home to over eight hundred families living in the new community as well St Gabriel’s Primary School, Houlton Secondary School and thriving community hub home to The Tuning Fork, nursery and Co-op. A further 5000 homes are planned at Houlton over the next 10-15 years and homes are available through a range of housebuilders on site.

Social media, the school gate and new business! New business is not the usual outcome of social media discussed at the school gate. But for Kajul, Glued’s engineering development client, that was the case. A member of the team at Kajul shared a post promoting an article for Kajul posted by Glued on their web site. A fellow father at the team member’s school saw the post and expressed interest in Kajul’s investment in new technology investment that allows for ‘portable reverse engineering’. That school-gate chat led to a conversation with Karl Hamlin, Managing Director of Kajul, and as they say the rest is history. Kajul are now supplying a new customer with jigs and fixtures as a result of a school-gate conversation. Truth be known though, that conversation would never have happened without the post on social media; the post on social media would never have happened without the article on Kajul’s investment

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being written and posted on the Kajul web site; and that article would never have been written had Karl Hamlin not commission Glued to prompt and regularly research and write content. Karl Hamlin said “I was keen for our communications to have more substance, and Glued have certainly done that. Their research-designmarketing approach works a treat, and we are committed to continuing with that regular activity.” Proof indeed that regular, relevant, and engaging content does lead to a return on investment. Glued’s Consultancy Partner was keen to add “What we do is all to nothing if our clients are not actually doing something of substance. Kajul are a great example to other small businesses of how effort, ingenuity and positivity can garner success.” More about the new portable measurement device, and other Kajul news, can be found at www.kajul.co.uk/news

The post that led to the school-gate conversation

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

Coombe Abbey Hotel geared up for busy Xmas season

Growing demand for flexible office space post-pandemic

As many companies missed out on Christmas parties last winter due to Covid-19, Coombe Abbey Hotel near Coventry has already received an influx of bookings for December.

A housebuilder has chosen newly converted offices in Leamington Spa to become its first permanent home in the West Midlands. William Davis Homes has moved into 11 Waterloo Place as the third tenant at the Grade II listed Regency building since opening this year.

Ron Terry, Group Operations Director for No Ordinary Hospitality Management which operates the historic four-star hotel, said: “Christmas has always been a special time of the year for us at Coombe Abbey and we are delighted this year to launch an even bigger programme of events for all types of festive parties and celebrations.

The move is part of the Leicestershirebased firm’s plans to accelerate its growth in the West Midlands, which will see further expansion of its new regional team. The company is the second new tenant announced at 11 Waterloo Place in the space of a month following on from office supplier Apex Connected and joins law firm JG Poole & Co LLP.

“These range from small intimate Christmas private dining in some of our most regal period rooms to raucous medieval feasts, a Festive Murder Mystery inspired by Die Hard and a grand-scale Gatsby Glamour Ball”.

The historic building is owned by Midlands property investment company The Wigley Group, which has seen high levels of interest in the site since completing a major internal refurbishment to facilitate modern office space and state-of-the-art meeting rooms.

One of the season’s biggest highlights is set to be a New Year’s Eve Ball to welcome in 2023 in the grand Marquee with Champagne and canapes on arrival, a set six-course dinner, casino table, live entertainment, disco, traditional Highland piper and a firework display at midnight.

Its refurbishment has created nine modern office spaces, with meeting rooms and other facilities available on flexible terms to suit the tenant.

Jess Wood, Asset Manager at The Wigley Group, said: “When we acquired this building in 2021, we knew from our research that there was growing demand for flexible office space in a postpandemic world. “Employers and employees are looking to more flexible spaces that can, among other things, reduce the need for commuting to large central offices. “It is really pleasing William Davis Homes has chosen 11 Waterloo Place and Leamington Spa as the ideal fit for its expansion plans. Almost half of the office space here has now been taken and we are expecting it to fill up soon.” Matt Colloby, who has been appointed as the company’s West Midlands Land Director and will lead the new team, said: “Waterloo Place is the perfect location for our new base in the West Midlands. We are looking forward to building upon our existing operations and further strengthening our relationships in the region.” 11 Waterloo Place is a six-storey building which forms part of an early 19th

The Wigley Group Asset Manager Jess Wood with William Davis West Midlands team (l-r) Matt Colloby, Andrew Morgan, and James Chatterton

century terrace of former houses that are said to be named in honour of the Duke of Wellington who visited Leamington Spa in 1827, 12 years after his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Waterloo. Located in the town centre, it is a short walk away from the train station, offering direct links to London, Birmingham, Manchester and beyond, while it is also close to the motorway network. For more information visit www.elevenwaterloo.com

TruTac urges operators to earn their stripes Operators can benchmark themselves against the Earned Recognition scheme KPI’s – which are included free of charge within TruTac’s tachograph analysis and fleet management software – to compare themselves against in real time. The dashboards provide a great indicator against the scheme metrics to enable focused improvements prior to going through the application process. Many fleets have begun using these KPIs as a benchmark for driving compliance improvements for drivers and vehicles, while others have applied them to operational objectives and key results leading to greater efficiencies for the business.

TruTac, part of the Microlise Group, is highlighting the benefits of the DVSA’s Earned Recognition scheme to vehicle operators, following the success reported by many of its customers. The scheme is open to both HGV and PSV operators and is designed to promote best practice for fleet operators, majoring on driver and vehicle safety.

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Those who go through the application process and are awarded Earned Recognition status are reaping other benefits including winning tenders where it’s a required standard or from reductions in vehicle downtime through better monitoring of their fleets. In certain cases, drivers have simply told their employers they are happy and proud to be working for an organisation that values high standards. “There is no shortage of tangible benefits to joining Earned Recognition.”

says TruTac’s Managing Director, Jemma James, “Any operator in pursuit of it is clearly keen to do a good job, and let their customers know as much.” “Those who qualify for the scheme often discover improved techniques to make their drivers and vehicles safer and more complaint along the way; giving a clearer view of exactly what’s going on with their fleet, so they can focus on key areas.” TruTac was the first systems provider with dual drivers and fleet systems accredited under Earned Recognition and their specific dashboards are designed to help operators achieve the status. As a DVSA-approved supplier, its systems such as TruControl – an all-in-one compliance module – and TruAnalysis PSV – tachograph analysis reporting specifically for passenger vehicle operators – and TruFleet, their fleet management software – among other products, are pre-configured to help users boost safety and compliance to the high standards required by the scheme. Earned Recognition operators are also less likely to have their vehicles stopped at the roadside for inspections and the

same applies to site visits from DVSA enforcement staff. They are recognised as DVSA-accredited operators on the Gov.uk website and can use the Earned Recognition logo as part of their publicity materials. Also, they have direct access to the DVSA’s dedicated Earned Recognition team. “The Earned Recognition scheme presents an opportunity for operators to demonstrate they are at the forefront of driver and vehicle safety,” says Caroline Hicks, Head of Regulatory Services and Transformation at the DVSA. “Operators benefit from access to DVSA’s Earned Recognition team who offer support and expert insight in identifying trends or potential issues on compliance and work with them to deliver solutions. Earned Recognition-approved systems also provide a comprehensive overview of an operation. This offers operators live and accessible data to enable them to streamline processes and maximise resource within the rules. “I believe the scheme provides those in the heavy vehicle industry with the tools and opportunities to be the best in the business on safety.”

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

WM5G launches programme to help SMEs unlock the power of digital technologies and seek inspiration from health & care sector on digital transformation in health and care, and how these learnings can be applied to any sector.

• Exploring use cases in health and care and how these learnings can be applied to any sector

Lesley Holt, director of Acceleration & Adoption at WM5G, said: “Connectivity and digital technology has the ability to revolutionise the way that healthcare businesses grow and adapt to ever-changing operational environments.

• Discover how you could pivot your business or create products for the Health and Care sector

“By supporting the progression of their digital journey and taking inspiration from other sectors, businesses in all industries can future-proof themselves, and be matchready for their next growth phase.” Lesley Holt, director of Acceleration and Adoption at WM5G

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) has launched a free, two-day programme to help SME businesses in the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire regions discover the transformational benefits of digital technologies to drive efficiencies and growth. The CPD-accredited ‘Coventry & Warwickshire Connected’ programme is designed to inspire and equip business owners, and those interested in accelerating tech in their business, with the skills and knowledge they need to apply a range of tech solutions. Businesses will hear from speakers from the NHS, BT, Vodafone and more, focussing

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the programme is available to SMEs interested in embracing digitisation and improving operations through tech, digitisation and connectivity. With over 500 businesses already supported, WM5G’s programme is open to all types of qualifying small to medium sized enterprises in the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire areas. The programme, consisting of six modules, will be held on 10 and 17 November, with each day of the programme covering a range of speakers, topics and content setting out why it’s important to stay ahead with all things digital and tech.

• Understanding the NHS Strategy and the implications of the NHS ambitions for connectivity and broader digital developments • Hearing from industry heavy weights on how they have worked with health and care partners to deliver connectivity solutions • Learning how you can work with Partners to accelerate growth The programme is designed to support business owners and those interested in tech and innovation at all levels, and participants do not need to have a tech background to join the events. Lesley continued: “The purpose of the programme is to drive adoption and advancement of tech and connectivity and our content is designed to facilitate this in an interactive and supportive environment.

Some of the key themes covered as part of the programme are:

“We are looking forward to meeting with the organisations at our events and supporting them on their journey to digitalisation.”

• Discover how different digital connectivity technologies can help address your business challenges

You can read more about the programme and sign up to attend at www.WM5G.org.uk

AIM Professional Services Ltd has a brand-new website! After months of hard work, AIM Professional Services Ltd have just launched their brand-new website to exhibit their new products and services at www.aimproserv.co.uk.

The goal was to create a user-friendly resource that can be used across all platforms; the site now features updated information about AIM Professional Services and includes an ‘On-line’ learning platform, a Shop Page, and a Blog Page. The ‘Shop Page’ offers the popular and informative ‘15-Minute Guide’ booklets written for businesses, and for those who don’t have the time to read more detailed texts. These short guides include useful practical examples for a range of business topics.

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The shop also offers some novel accessories that give visual impact to key business topics like carbon reduction and productivity improvements. In addition, the ‘Blog Page’ has all the latest updates and thought pieces to prompt your interest.

and Management Development programmes designed specifically for Small to Medium Enterprise companies and have been accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management. This online facility is supported by our partner company Wylde Connections.

“The launch of aimproserv.co.uk allows our audiences to get a better understanding of what we can offer their businesses,” said Glyn Jenks, Senior Partner and founder of AIM Professional Services Ltd. “The addition of the shop page is also allowing us to provide wider access to our 15-Minute Guides and relevant accessories.”

“Our online learning is supported with webinars, workshops, and consultancy days where appropriate. The programmes incorporate leadership theory with insights into the leadership styles of some of the most successful and influential industry leaders,” noted Glyn. “An ILM certificate is awarded on successful completion of the course.”

Customers can also access the online learning platform which offers Leadership

For more information, please contact us at enquiries@aimproserv.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Colleges key role in boosting economic growth North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) is joining colleges across the UK to showcase the impact that further education can bring to economic growth as part of the fifth annual Colleges Week. NWSLC is highlighting the opportunities it offers to businesses to upskill and re-skill their workforce. Marion Plant, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “Our college is an essential part of the employment and learning infrastructure and the culture of Warwickshire and Leicestershire where we have around 8,000 students enrolled in college programmes. Ms Plant added: “Colleges play a central role in local communities by delivering the skills that the labour market requires and enhancing life chances for thousands of students. “We support employers across all sectors with the skills development and innovation they need to grow, improve opportunities and jobs, and increase productivity”. NWSLC is seeing an increased demand for skilled individuals in the digital and IT, health and social care and entertainment sectors. Last month, the college launched its latest campus in partnership with industry that is dedicated to skills for the logistics and supply chain sector. The Centre for Logistics Education and Research (CLEAR) is based at the heart of skills demand at Magna Park in Lutterworth.

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

The Leadership Coaches launch three new programmes

New director of people and culture for local college North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has appointed Colin Butler to its executive team. Colin is the new Executive Director People and Culture, and his brief is to lead on workforce and organisational development. Colin has a strong background in working within the further education sector, most recently for Loughborough College.

The Leadership Coaches have launched three new courses for individuals, leaders, and managers who are interested in taking their leadership and coaching skills to the next level. Titled Developing a Coaching Style, Managing with a Coaching Style, and Leading with a Coaching Style, the coaches have ensured there is a course suitable for all levels. Comprising five modules, four of which are two hours long and the final which

either to introduce coaching as a skill or to develop this skill for leaders and managers.

To support individuals in developing their practice, these courses are additionally interspersed with one-toone coaching supervision.

“With this in mind, we designed these three programmes so they can be deployed from peer-to-peer conversations to key challenges faced by managers in using coaching as a practical everyday management tool. They can also support leaders in looking through a strategic lens using a coaching mindset”.

Speaking about the new courses, Director of Coaching Zoe Lewis said: “Increasingly we were being asked to develop and deliver programmes

Edgbaston hosts firm’s annual golf event for first time

With a background in retail management and more than 12 years in the logistics sector, Colin led the HR division of DHL Aviation in the UK and Europe, gaining industry plaudits for his work to develop maths and English skills in the workplace. In addition, Colin spent time teaching on a master’s level HR programme at De Montfort University in Leicester.

is spread across half a day, these three new courses can be delivered virtually or face-to-face.

Lodders Golf Day 2022 Winners (l to r): Lawrence Roberts (Christie Finance), Lee McBride (Lodders), Kevin Rendell, Oliver Thompson (Cameron Homes)

Law firm Lodders hosted its annual golf day at Edgbaston Golf Club for the first time ever.

Finance) recorded the best score to take the overall Golf Day winners title and a luxury hamper each.

Eleven teams of four players took to the Club’s fairways on 7 October 2022.

“It was a fabulous - if not rather rainy – day of golf at the famous Edgbaston Golf Course,” said Graham Spalding, partner in Lodders’ Corporate and Commercial team, “and very enjoyable to spend time with so many clients and contacts from across the region.”

The four-ball led by Lodders Lee McBride, partner and head of the firm’s Environmental team, and Oliver Thompson (Cameron Homes), Kevin Rendell, and Lawrence Roberts (Christie

Is it too late to cash in on Black Friday? Black Friday has evolved into an international, multi-day online shopping festival that finishes on Cyber Monday. Amazon may be a favourite for many merchants – but it’s certainly not the only option for e-commerce sellers. Most western marketplaces offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Customers start researching their Black Friday deals as early as October,

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so you need to get your brand out there and on their “wanted” lists as soon as possible. There’s no need to despair if it’s a little too late to get on board with Black Friday 2022, many of the tactics and strategies that apply to Black Friday can be extended to your e-commerce on a whole, especially for major shopping events like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Decide well in advance

what offers you’re going to make and ensure you have the necessary stock and manpower in place. Use sales figures and analytics from throughout the year to better hypothesise which of your products will sell best and focus your efforts on top sellers or products you want to showcase. Learn more about how to cash in on Black Friday on the WorldFirst website.

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

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Google’s Performance Max Tool:

“The best Lead Generator that has ever existed.” Be one of the first to use it!

With 46% of business owners responsible for new leads, it’s one of their biggest worries. This lead generation tool is transformative in that sense. Marketers looking to expand their customer reach and place a greater emphasis on conversion won’t want to ignore all that these campaigns have to offer.

The best Lead Generator that has ever existed arrived last month. Google’s Performance Max Lead Generator is a game-changing digital tool that uses automation to help marketers drive more conversions. The result? A cutting-edge lead generation solution that can scale organically, helping any business to generate leads at a much faster rate than ever before. It’s a new goal-based campaign that aims to increase online sales, generate more leads and drive more store visits to physical business locations. Sarah Whitticase, Sales Director of AIM Internet said: “We are very excited. All businesses need leads, they are their

lifeblood. All business owners, in terms of the 4P's of marketing, are naturals at Product, Price and Place (distribution). But where they tend to struggle is in Promotion”. A typical ‘Promotion type’ scenario is a company's doors being battered by lots of companies promising "the marketing silver bullet", which more often than not fails, resulting in disillusion and the owner stating that it ‘didn’t work’.

Performance Max campaigns will leverage automated bidding and targeting technology, data-driven attribution, and automatically tailored ads to help you find more customers wherever they are across Google Ads. Automation can help you invest your budget more effectively and dynamically allocate spend where the highest ROI opportunities are. The Internet, the greatest marketing medium that has ever existed, is evolving yet again. Quantum-based artificial intelligence is about to be unleashed on local businesses. Do you want to be part of one of the biggest game-changers in the history of the Internet and business?

In a lot of cases the reality is that the business owner gives the agency too much credit and the agency doesn’t work with the business owner closely enough.

AIM Internet can set it up for you, deliver creative messaging and identify the best conversion rate to deliver leads on a regular basis.

Fortunately, all that’s about to be resolved.

Product enquiries: Sarah.Whitticase@aiminternet.co.uk

Workations: what you need to know With major tour operator TUI offering ‘workation’ packages and some countries introducing remote working visas, combining business and leisure is becoming increasingly popular. Neha Thethi, head of employment at law firm Lime Solicitors, explains that whether extended weekend breaks to temporarily relocating to another area, the growth of remote working has introduced many new freedoms for workers. “Workations offer obvious benefits to employees as they do not have to use up their annual leave to visit friends and family who may live abroad or to see new parts of the world. The concept, however, is still relatively new, so persuading an employer of its feasibility could be challenging”. For many organisations, their HR departments are already busy, and this www.cw-chamber.co.uk

additional administrative burden may not be welcome. Neha says: “With this in mind, any employee looking to take advantage of this way of working would be well advised to do their research, gather the relevant information and make the process as smooth as possible when starting a dialogue with their employer”. Considerations include choosing a work-friendly destination - a place’s time zone to ensure attendance at meetings is feasible and accommodation that has strong WiFi connectivity In some instances, you may be required to pay tax in both your home country and the one you are working from. Before you travel, ensure you are not going to fall into any double tax pitfalls. Also ensure that any details around workation requests are captured in writing.

Rugby First passes CCTV Audit with Flying Colours! Rugby First has passed, with flying colours, a recent British Standard Audit (BS7958), that looked at its management and operation of the town centre’s Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV). The one day-audit, involving the close scrutiny of the CCTV system, its operation, the Control Room and staff, was carried out by the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSIAB), a leading certification body for organisations providing security systems and monitoring services. The British Standard gives recommendations for the operation and management of CCTV within a controlled environment, such as a control room. It applies where data that might be offered as evidence is received, stored, reviewed or analysed. It also applies to the monitoring of traffic regulations. Luke Phillips, CCTV and Operations Manager for Rugby First, who operates and manage the towns CCTV system, said: “To be audited to British Standards is not a requirement by law, but we feel it is important as it shows local businesses, residents, and visitors that we are compliant with the GDPR Data Protection Act 2018, regulations & guidance set out by the Surveillance Camera Codes of Practice, and the Information Commissioner's Office – in short we are running a professional, safe & secure operation. It’s also worth noting that certification with the SSIAB is a mark of excellence, as they are a Security Industry Authority (SIA) approved certification body.” Jo Kemp, Rugby First Operations Director, said: “I am so pleased for Luke and the CCTV team as they work extremely hard throughout the year - the control room operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year! The team are the ‘eyes of the town centre’, highly skilled and very motivated. Although rarely seen, as they watch the screens from behind closed doors, they work very closely with the Rangers, town centre businesses and the Police, to help keep the town centre safe for all.” For further information on the town’s centre CCTV system please visit www.rugbyfirst.org

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News

Another economic warning

A leading business organisation in Coventry and Warwickshire says August’s drop in economic activity is the latest warning sign for Government. GDP – the measure of economic output – fell in August by 0.3 per cent after a slight rise in July. Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said businesses across the region were battling against a range of factors that are holding back their ability to grow. He said: “There have been lots of warning signs in the past few months and the GDP figures for August are the latest. “I’ve been listening to businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire a great deal since taking up this post in the summer and they are facing so many different issues, including recruitment, rising costs, rising interest rates and confidence generally. “When you put all that together, it is incredible to see the resilience of businesses across the region and we, as a Chamber, are here to support them through this period. “The Government support on energy costs was welcome but it’s vitally important now that it balances that help with a plan that can help to provide confidence to the markets and bring about greater stability here in the UK.” David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The 0.3 per cent fall in monthly GDP for August 2022 is a warning sign that the economy was already stalling before the market turmoil of recent weeks.

WM5G wins £10m tender as part of a consortium to create the UK Telecoms Innovation Network to boost telecoms R&D and innovation West Midlands 5G Limited (WM5G) – the UK’s largest 5G innovation company – has won a £10m Government tender to create the UK’s Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN). WM5G won this tender as part of a UK wide consortium led by Digital Catapult and also including CW (Cambridge Wireless) and the University of Bristol. UKTIN, first announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in March, aims to make the UK the easiest place in the world to access and take part in telecoms research, development and innovation. It will guide businesses and researchers looking to access funding or testing facilities in the UK and enable the best use of public and private investment in R&D, as well as ensuring that knowledge is effectively and efficiently shared across the telecoms industry. WM5G will utilise its unique experience to deliver UKTIN with a key focus on driving economic growth and inward investment by addressing key market challenges hampering innovation and new entrants into telecoms. To address these opportunities and create social value, WM5G will lead the creation of a National Telecoms Entrepreneurship,

Employment and Training network, at the heart of UKTIN. UKTIN is expected to be up and running in September, at which point it will begin to take over from UK5G to help organisations get the most out of what the UK has to offer. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I’m pleased to hear that WM5G and the consortium have won the tender to lead on the creation of the UK Telecoms Innovation Network – building on WM5G’s formidable track record having already helped to establish the West Midlands as the best connected 5G region in the UK. Fast and reliable digital connectivity is an important element in delivering

Levelling Up here in our region so I’m delighted that WM5G continues to play a vital part in helping us to do just that.” Robert Franks, Managing Director of WM5G, said: “We’re delighted to have won this tender along with our consortium partners and DCMS. The UK already invests over £1 Billion a-year in telecoms research, development and innovation. Through UKTIN we will turbo-charge this investment – helping the UK extend its leadership in open networks and vital new technologies such as 5G and 6G – building on the strengths of our regional clusters to create more skilled jobs, attract more investment and deliver economic growth.”

Foreign exchange business supporting good causes

“Our research indicates that business confidence is falling at an alarming rate. Volatility in the currency and bond markets following recent Government announcements will have only exacerbated this. “The six months energy support package will have provided some breathing room for businesses facing eye-watering energy costs. “To build business confidence, Government must rapidly provide more detail on its fiscal policies and supply side reforms, particularly at a time when businesses face the twin crises of rising interest rates and high inflation.”

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RationalFX has been at the forefront of international payments for over 17 years. They are a global payment services provider offering financial infrastructure solutions to any business that wants to move money across borders. RationalFX’ involvement in good causes is ingrained in the company’s ethos.

Over the years, they have supported different charities and initiatives, including a long-lasting partnership with Global Giving. Last May their teams participated in the annual JP Morgan Corporate Challenge - the world’s broadest corporate running event for charity. www.cw-chamber.co.uk


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Give the gift of a lifetime, and save lives, by including a donation in your Will. E RECEIVE N

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Email legacies@theairambulanceservice.org.uk Part of The Air Ambulance Service. Registered in England and Wales as a limited company by guarantee. Registered Company No. 4845905. Registered Charity No. 1098874.


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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Education and Skills

Celebration of achievement Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, opened the ceremonies with an address and was also on hand to present scrolls signifying the former student’s graduation from the college. She was joined for all three ceremonies by newly-appointed WCG President Louise Bennett, who spoke to graduands about her career and experiences, before joining Angela Joyce to present the scrolls.

Graduates from a university centre which operates across Warwickshire and Worcestershire have been celebrating their achievements in a trio of graduation ceremonies. More than 160 graduates from Warwickshire College and University Centre (WCUC) attended the ceremonies at St Mary’s Church in Warwick. WCUC is the Higher Education arm of college group WCG and the three ceremonies saw students from Royal Leamington Spa College, Rugby College, Moreton Morrell College and Pershore College graduating. The ceremonies, held over two days, were followed by a procession through the heart of Warwick in the historic parish church. The graduates came from a wide range of courses, including business, counselling and psychotherapy, early years, business management, performing arts, game design, engineering, floristry, equine therapy and rehabilitation, veterinary physiotherapy, veterinary nursing and many more.

Louise led Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as its Chief Executive for nearly 20 years, is a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands and was High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands for 2021. Louise said: “My first duty as President was to join everyone in these celebrations in Warwick, joining amazing graduates from a wide range of subjects which are so relevant to today’s world of work. “When you talk to a business owner or manager, top of their wish-list is to get the right people into their jobs with the right skills and qualifications. Therefore, the work of WCUC is so critical to this local economy and the wider regional economy. “Graduation day is such a special occasion. It’s a day of celebration and to recognise everything that has been achieved to gain these qualifications.” In 2021, WCG became the first college in the UK to be granted both Bachelor's degree awarding powers and Foundation degree awarding powers by the Office for Students.

Angela Joyce added: “It was wonderful to see the beautiful St Mary’s Church filled with students, family and friends for what was a very special couple of days. “The ceremonies were a celebration of the hard work, dedication and commitment of our graduates here at WCUC. “Each and every graduate should take great pride in their resilience. They have completed their studies in a turbulent time with significant disruption brought by the pandemic. “We are proud that 90 per cent of our graduates go on to further study or employment, and we hope that our graduates will now go on to have a positive impact on the regional economy.” The college group also awarded three Fellowships during the three ceremonies, with individuals recognised for their external achievements and significant contributions to the college. Peter Manford, a governor of the college group for 14 years, and David Darling, CEO of Kwalee and co-founder of Codemasters, were both recognised on the first day of ceremonies. Judy Edwards, who was chief executive of The Pony Club for a decade and has been a long-standing supporter of the equine faculty at Moreton Morrell College, also received a Fellowship. WCUC offers higher education courses in a wide range of subjects through full time and part-time options. To find out more visit www.wcuc.ac.uk

David Darling - key architect of the UK video games industry and Founder of Kwalee, honoured with Fellowship from WCUC A key architect of the UK video games industry has been honoured with a Fellowship from Warwickshire College & University Centre David Darling, Founder & CEO of mobile game development studio and publisher Kwalee and co-founder of Codemasters, has been named a Fellow of Warwickshire College and University Centre (WCUC). The Fellowship was awarded in a ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Warwick on 13th October, which also saw students graduating from across the university centre. WCUC is the Higher Education arm of college group WCG, which includes Royal Leamington Spa College, Warwick Trident College, Moreton Morrell College, Rugby College, Pershore College, and Evesham College. Royal Leamington Spa College is based in the heart of Silicon Spa, a moniker for Leamington Spa, one of the biggest clusters of games developers in the UK. The college runs a series of Games Design and Games Art courses from Level 3 up to degree level, with many of its graduates going on to work for games developers including Kwalee. David Darling is recognised as one of the founding fathers of ‘Silicon Spa’, having founded Codemasters with his brother Richard in the region in 1986. Codemasters launched classic game series, including Micro Machines, Dizzy, and

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Colin McRae Rally, which have gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide. In 2007, the Darlings sold their interests in the business. David Darling founded Kwalee in Leamington Spa in 2011 and has grown the business into one of the world’s most successful hypercasual game publishers. Since its inception, their games have been installed over 900 million times. Darling is still innovating after decades in the industry and he remains as committed as ever to bringing great games to millions of players on mobile, PC, and console platforms. Kwalee employs approximately 300 people across its studios in the UK, India, Portugal, and China and remote team members worldwide. The company’s success has seen more than £1.5 million in profits paid directly to its employees. Currently, Kwalee has over 180 open roles on its careers portal. David Darling opened up about his shared history with Warwickshire, saying: “It was a great surprise and I’m really proud to have been made a Fellow of WCUC. I’ll try and motivate the students and take a particular interest with those on the games art and games design courses. My daughter studied at the college and really enjoyed and benefited from their creative, practical, and hands-on approach.” “We’re always looking for new talented people at Kwalee and the educational system’s role is very important in developing that talent.”

“It’s great that people have the opportunity to learn about games now, that wasn’t really an option when I was a student back in the 1980s.” “When I was a child, we moved around the world. I went to 14 different schools and lived in a lot of countries. We settled here in Warwickshire and have been here for 30 years now. It’s home to me, a beautiful place, and I love living here in the heart of the country.” Angela Joyce, CEO of WCUC, said: “The title of Fellow is the highest accolade we can award as a college group and university centre. Fellowships are presented after great consideration, and we were delighted to recognise David Darling this year.”

College to fast-track school leavers into digital and education careers A further education provider in Coventry has announced its first T Level qualifications to help fasttrack school leavers into digital and education careers. A pair of T Level courses in Childcare & Education and Digital Production will be delivered by Coventry College from September 2023 as part of the College’s new T Level provision. The two-year courses, which are equivalent to three A levels, are aimed at school leavers aged 16 to 19 as a way to gain technical or vocational experience post GCSEs before heading into employment or higher education. Enrolment for the courses, which have been developed in partnership with local employers including nurseries and game production companies, is now open, and Coventry College will be hosting an open day to help potential students find out more on Wednesday, October 19 from 5pm to 7pm. While studying T Levels, students will spend 80 per cent of their time in the classroom and 20 per cent or roughly 45 days on an industry placement with employers. Gemma Knott, Vice Principal for Business Growth, Engagement and Partnerships at Coventry College, said: “We are thrilled to be launching the first ever T Levels at Coventry College, building on our excellent digital and education provisions to offer practical and industry-focused qualifications across two incredibly popular subjects. “By partnering with local employers, we are able to offer future learners an innovative programme that will provide them with both the skills and experience to make the strongest possible start to their careers.

“David is one of the most influential figures in the nation’s video game industry of the last 40 years and is still innovating and creating great games for millions of players worldwide.”

“For year 11 students, school leavers, and parents and carers who want to find out more, our open day on October 19 will be a great way to hear about how things work, the opportunities that are available, and why T Levels could be the right choice.”

“His work has had a significant positive impact on the economy in Leamington and wider Warwickshire, and we are pleased to welcome David to our select group of Fellows.”

For more information visit www.coventrycollege.ac.uk/courses/t-leveleducation-childcare or www.coventrycollege.ac.uk/courses/t-leveldigital-production-design-development

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Education and Skills

Two key appointments at a leading Midlands college group An international business leader and nationally acclaimed Chamber of Commerce chief executive have been appointed to two key roles at a leading Midlands college group. Anna Daroy, who lives in Worcestershire, has been appointed to Chair the Corporation Board and Louise Bennett OBE, also Worcestershire based, has been appointed as President for college group WCG – which includes six colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire. The board chair ensures the board effectively discharges its duties and that the board works with the senior leadership team to execute strategy, while the President is unique to WCG and is focused on working with the CEO and Chair to build external relationships with stakeholders. Anna will be following in the footsteps of Peter Manford, whose term of office ended after 14 years’ service to the college group. Peter was Chair during challenging times including the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anna started her career with EY, before joining IBM and then becoming Vice President of Mercer Consulting. She was most recently interim CEO/Director General of the Institute of Directors and interim COO of the Government of Jersey. For more than 30 years, she has worked in both the private and public sector, leading organisations and industries through complex and transformational challenges, and is currently a council member of the UK Rural Policy Group. “I’m very excited to have taken this new role and it is an honour to follow Peter Manford, who has done fantastic work for the college group during his time as Chair,” she said. “WCG is rich in what it offers, its rich in its staff, its students and its access to local employers. I’m proud to have been appointed as Chair and look forward to continuing to support the development of the college group.” Louise Bennett was awarded an OBE for her services to enterprise and led Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as its chief executive for nearly 20 years – a role which has seen her work closely with WCG.

She had previously spent four years with Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, following a varied career which saw her hold senior management roles in an acute hospital, retail and running her own business. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands and is the immediate past High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands 2021 Louise has recently been appointed as Chair for the British Chambers of Commerce Local Skills Improvement Plans Group, in response to the Skills Act 2022. Louise added: “I’ve always been passionate about the need for people to be supported with learning, development and training opportunities. “Our colleges underpin the economy, they are the foundations of everything businesses do – supporting innovation, creativity and much more. “I’m flattered to have been appointed into such a unique role and will be working in partnership with the board and senior leadership team to support the group’s strategic goals and enhance its reputation with Government and national decision makers.”

Anna Daroy, Angela Joyce and Louise Bennett.

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “We would like to thank Peter for his incredible service to the college group as Chair for the last five years and Vice-chair for nine years before that. “He has been a trusted advisor to myself and the senior leadership team during that time and played an integral role in getting the college group to where it is today. “The President role is a great addition to our governance structures and Louise brings a wealth of knowledge from her business links, especially of current national skills policy. We are very fortunate that Louise is joining us after her longstanding and successful career at the Chamber of Commerce” “I look forward to working with Anna, Louise and the Corporation Board as we implement the ambitions set out in the Corporate Plan.”

Getting the science right cryopreservation’ technology – as it is scientifically known – over the past five years and the pair launched the business in March 2021.

Dr Tom Congdon, Cllr Martin Watson, Dirk Schafer

A high-tech business that has developed new techniques for freezing cells and is a spin-out from the University of Warwick is aiming to raise £500,000 of additional investment after receiving support. Cryologyx was formed by Dr Tom Congdon and Professor Matt Gibson after their research led them to find a new way of freezing cells which minimises post-thaw damage and enables them to be used directly from the freezer, therefore, dramatically cutting down on testing time and allows scientists to conduct research more efficiently. Matt and his team at the University of Warwick developed the ‘monolayer

They have been working to commercialise the technology after completing the Innovate UK ICURe programme and drawing in £150,000 of early-stage venture capital funding and £275,000 from Innovate UK. The company, which is now based within Ignite office and lab space at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Venture Centre, has been working with the Business Ready programme to identify potential clients for their first product, the PlaqueReady Thaw and Test Assay, and get ready for further investment Business Ready delivers support to expanding businesses managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.

It has helped the business to develop a product aimed at virologists that could lead to them selling up to 200 units a week and the support has also encouraged Cryologyx to draw out its green credentials as a selling point as it massively cuts down on plastic waste. The aim is now to land £500,000 of additional investment to help add sales and lab-based staff to the team. Dr Congdon said: “We are very close to being ready to go out for another round of investment and the work with Business Ready has been invaluable. “It has been brilliant to be able to get advice and support for developing the commercial offering of the business. We have spent so much time on the research and development to create truly ground-breaking technology and Business Ready has been the jump-start that we needed to commercialise and sell it. “Getting the science right was the first part and now we are focussed on the business reality of creating and selling the product.”

Dirk Schafer, Business Growth Adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “Cryologyx is a wonderful example of a business that has incredible people at its heart, who have developed something that could revolutionise the way cells are frozen for testing. “However, like so many, they needed external skills and support to move it from an academic idea to becoming a commercial business. “We’ve helped to focus their efforts on a commercial product that has a strong potential customer base and, now that they have done that, the business will be very attractive for investment.” Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place, said: “The Council prides itself on encouraging innovation and creativity. We’re delighted to support Business Ready and encourage developments like Cryologyx which not only create jobs but enhance the area’s reputation to potential investors.”

College to offer ongoing wellbeing support to students Coventry College has become the first FE provider in the UK to partner with a digital mental health platform designed to offer comprehensive, ongoing wellbeing support to students. Students at Coventry College will be the first in the country to have access to the withinu Mental Health Playbook. The platform will help learners build and maintain their mental wellbeing by sending them weekly, actionable tips that they can incorporate into their daily life, alongside signposting individual support offered by the college. Weekly email communications will be delivered to learners throughout the year, with messaging also set to appear across campus in various print formats and digitally through the college's social media channels. Learners who subscribe to the Playbook will also receive support materials including

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a gratitude journal, a health and wellness journal, and a self-care workbook. They will also receive discounts and offers from leading Coventry organisations including CV Life, and the opportunity to attend monthly webinars led by leading UK experts on mental health and motivation. Danny Matharu, founder at withinu said: “Coventry is the first college in the UK to launch this ground-breaking, proactive mental health initiative, all about showing its learners that their mental wellbeing is at the forefront of its priorities. “By supporting and educating learners through continuous exchanges of information, expert guidance, and simple, actionable ways for them to build and maintain their own mental health, we hope we can empower the learners to make a real difference to their mental health. “We are delighted to be working with Coventry College – an institution that is truly

committed not only to providing excellent educational opportunities but also supporting learner welfare holistically. It is widely recognised that early intervention is key when it comes to maintaining good mental health, so we hope this playbook makes a real difference for learners. Carol Thomas, Principal at Coventry College said: “Our students’ wellbeing is a huge priority for us, and we are thrilled to be launching this new initiative on World Mental Health Day. “We are passionate about ensuring our learners have access not just to cutting edge learning and facilities but also top-quality welfare support – which is why we are really excited about teaming up alongside withinu on this innovative new project. “The Playbook will give learners guidance around theirs and their peers’ mental health and wellbeing needs, and part of that is to continually remind our them of the various support mechanisms that we have throughout

the college that they can access anytime, regardless of the size of the issue. “We hope that by providing our students with access to these kinds of resources we can make a real difference not just during their time here at college but also long into their future careers too.” Learners can get the Playbook via the bespoke web page which can be accessed by scanning QR codes displayed throughout campus and via links on the college social media channels. www.playbook.withinu.net/coventry-college

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President & People

Local Business receives prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise On Tuesday 27th September 2022 Staeger Clear Packaging Ltd of Coventry hosted the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr John Crabtree OBE, to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation. It was a tremendous achievement for this Coventry company and follows on from previous successes having won Packaging Business of the Year twice in the past! The award was received by Mr Ian Jamie who founded the company in 2000. The business was sold to Staeger of Switzerland in 2009.

Tom Mongan, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and chair of its North Warwickshire branch. As this is my final column for 2022 all I can say is, “What a year”! At time of writing, we have a third new Prime Minister in as many months, having gone through four Chancellors of the Exchequer! There is nothing I can add, or even adequately describe the feeling of utter disbelief, at what has unfolded in Westminster over the past few months. Other than I think it is fair to say that history will not be kind to those in Government when it looks back in the fullness of time. Therefore, I will park the political shenanigans here, as I have wasted enough column space already on this impasse!

The award comes after tremendous efforts carried out by the local company especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The team had been working on using British Recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) made from British recycled water bottles, as opposed to Continental Recycled PET, and had developed the use of a specialist sheeting machine to enable them to do this. During the Covid crisis, because of this Innovation, Staeger was able to make visors for the NHS out of Ocean Plastic Waste, which not

Armstrongs has promoted Curtis Watson to the position of Manager. Curtis, who is based at the firms Nuneaton office, has been with the practice since January 2022. In this short time, he has gone the extra mile delivering exceptional services to clients and has become well respected by his peers.

As President of this great Chamber, I can tell you it has been one roller coaster of emotions. I was bereft when I got the news that Louise Bennett OBE DL, our inspirational CEO for the past twenty years was standing down. Louise has been instrumental and the driving force that has made the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce one of the best in the country. She has been a guiding light and friend to me as I embarked on my role as President and for that I will always be grateful.

The process of replacing the irreplaceable was unbelievably difficult, however one individual had a passion and a light that shone brighter than all the others, and that individual was Corin Crane our new CEO and I look forward to working with Corin for the remainder of my term in office. Which I am immensely proud and honoured to say has been extended for a further twelve months, I will be only the second person in the Chambers hundred plus year history that will serve a third term. So what a year, the highlights for me being MIPIM, the BCC Global Conference, the closing ceremony for the City of Culture and the Opening & Closing ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games. There are numerous other highlights which have been organized by the incredible Chamber team which unfortunately are far too numerous for me to document here, but a big thank you to Chris, Sophie, Hazel, Sean and all the Chamber staff! I can’t let this year go of course without mentioning the death of our beloved Monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. If ever there was a role model for dedication to duty, then she was unique and I doubt if there will be anyone like her again. God bless you Ma’am and quite simply thank you! Finally, as President of the Chamber and my final column of 2022, I want to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.

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The award signifies a huge boost for Staeger Clear Packaging and in fact the local area. To be acknowledged with this award will most undoubtedly aid the

company progress and secure the jobs of many. Also in attendance was the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr Kevin Maton (and Bernard), and the CEO of the Coventry Chamber of Commerce along with many friends and staff.

Promotion and exam success at local accountancy firm

So, what a year it has been as I sit here reflecting on 2022.

And then the task to find a replacement, wow, that was a job and a half, due to the exceptional caliber of the people applying.

only enabled us to keep the NHS going with valuable PPE, but also helped our environment by removing plastic waste from our seas!

Manager Curtis Watson and Armstrongs Director Sarah Van Ristell

A national award-winning firm of chartered accountants based in Coventry & Warwickshire has promoted one of its accountants, demonstrating its commitment to employee career progression.

Curtis has worked in accountancy for over eight years, so bought a wealth of knowledge and experience to Armstrongs when he joined the team. He works with a wide portfolio of businesses, from sole traders through to larger businesses across a range of sectors. Curtis also has experience in preparing both incorporated and unincorporated charity accounts. In addition to the new role, Curtis has another reason to celebrate, after recently passing his final Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exam to become a fully qualified

chartered accountant. Curtis said “It has been an amazing year so far. I am delighted to be promoted to Manager and it was a great achievement to complete my ACCA qualification. “As well as servicing my existing clients, I am looking forward to my new role and raising the profile of Armstrongs in Nuneaton to help more local businesses to thrive.” Speaking about the promotion, Sarah Van Ristell, Armstrongs Director said, “At Armstrongs, we pride ourselves on providing clear career paths for our employees. We invest heavily in the training and development of our staff, supporting them to achieve their potential as accountants and business advisers. “Curtis’s promotion is well deserved, and we wish him every success in the new role.”

Key appointment for Amy An expanding Warwickshire accountancy firm has made a key appointment as it bolsters its presence in Stratford-upon-Avon. Burgis & Bullock, which has offices in Leamington, Nuneaton, Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon, has appointed Amy Mather as personal tax assistant manager. Amy will take a leading role in the firm’s Stratford-upon-Avon office and the appointment is part of a planned expansion of the team based in the town. She joins from leading UK tax consultancy service Markel Tax and supported the business on its tax helpline, providing trusted advice to accountants across the country. Amy, who is Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) qualified, has worked for a range of mid-sized practices across the Midlands during her 12-year career,

specialising in personal tax, inheritance tax and also working with trusts. Amy said: “I’m pleased to be joining such a reputable agency and being part of the expansion of the office in Stratford-upon- Avon. “The firm has great values and has a superb approach to working with its clients. It’s important for me to know that I am doing the absolute best for the clients I work with, and I know Burgis & Bullock will enable me to do this. “I have developed expertise in a variety of areas of tax, but primarily with trusts, agriculture, healthcare and law. “My previous role has given me great grounding the range of tax conundrums facing practices across the UK every day and I’m looking forward to bringing that experience to this role.” Phil Stevens, Head of Tax at Burgis & Bullock, said: “We’re delighted to be

welcoming Amy to the team. She has great experience working across a wide range of tax roles and will be a real asset as we continue to expand our presence in Stratford-upon-Avon. “Our established personal tax team has been working tirelessly to support clients through what has been a period of change and uncertainty, and we’re confident that Amy’s appointment will further strengthen our tax service offer for individuals.”

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business

President & People

Promotions at Azets Coventry

Ellen Boakye, Robert Lee, Lucy Compton

Azets, the UK’s largest regional accountancy firm and business advisor to SMEs, has demonstrated its commitment to nurture its network with two promotions in the Coventry office. Chan Landa has worked at Azets Coventry for over seven years and has been promoted to Associate Director. As an ACCA qualified accountant, Chan has vast experience advising SME’s and OMB’s throughout his time at Azets and primarily focuses on growing businesses, to look for solutions to their accounting and taxation needs. He specialises in industries including

retail, hospitality construction and manufacturing.

to members of international group companies.

Having joined Azets in January 2022, Ben Fahy has been promoted to Senior Manager. Ben is an ACCA qualified accountant with over five years’ experience in the accountancy industry.

Ben is a keen advocate of cloud accounting software, in particular Xero.

He has a broad background of experience from management consultancy and corporate audit, through to general accountancy and tax advisory. As a Senior Manager in the Accounting and Business Advisory team, Ben works with a wide variety of clients and industries, ranging from sole traders

On the promotions, Danielle Walmsley, Partner at Azets Coventry, said: “It’s an exciting time for us as we continue to support our teams to match business demand. These promotions are incredibly well deserved and reflect the talent and expertise within the office. Growing and developing our team allows us to further support our clients across a variety of service lines and sectors as we look to expand.”

Glued’s new starter gets stuck in! Vicky began her first day at Glued by getting stuck in at The Midlands Business Network Expo. Vicky Brown joined Glued last week and was thrown in at the deep end by hosting the marketing firm’s stand at The Midlands Business Network Expo. As visitors and exhibitors will have noted, Vicky is wellequipped to work the stand as she already has brand experience. Beginning in entertainment companies such as Warner Bros, Vicky became involved with properties such as Harry Potter and Looney Tunes. From there, Vicky moved into a marketing and communications role in the 'Games for Learning' sector and now joins Glued to become digital and operational executive. Vicky is values-driven and a 'good egg'. She says: “I feel very lucky to have found Rob and David, who are brilliant at what they do, great to work with and so supportive regarding my own development. I am looking forward to getting stuck in, taking on lots of varied new challenges and playing my part in helping Glued continue to grow and flourish.”

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Wright Hassall Law Award A leading Leamington law firm has announced the winners of a bursary - the Wright Hassall Law Award, to celebrate its 175th anniversary. The one-off award by Wright Hassall offered disadvantaged young people - who may otherwise struggle to afford university - the opportunity to study for their undergraduate law degree. Candidates had to write an essay on how they thought the legal profession would culturally evolve over the next 75 years. Their efforts were judged by Andrew Nyamayaro, President of the Warwickshire Law Society and Professor Kai Peters, Pro Vice Chancellor of Business & Law at Coventry University alongside Wright Hassall partner Robert Lee. After a competitive process, Lucy Compton and Ellen Boakye were selected as the Award’s joint winners, receiving £13,500 to part-fund their law courses, and becoming the first generation in their families to attend higher education. Ellen is undertaking a full-time course at University of Nottingham and will work with Wright Hassall over the summer, while Lucy is studying part time through the Open University alongside her current role as a paralegal within Wright Hassall’s family team. Ellen, who recently completed her A-levels at President Kennedy School, Coventry said: “I began thinking of law as a career path in school when I entered a mooting competition, which I really enjoyed, and I then gained further exposure through work experience and webinars. “Applying for the Wright Hassall bursary made me think about how my background can help shape my future as a lawyer. Lucy said: “I became interested in studying the law from an early age, because the sector is constantly changing and evolving.

Vicky Brown starts her future with Glued Agency at The Midlands Business Network Expo.

Rob Harrison, Consultancy Partner, agrees: “Vicky is fantastic! Her experience speaks for itself, so we knew she would be a great asset to our growing team. At the Expo, she rolled up her sleeves and got on with the job! We are very grateful and look forward to supporting Vicky with her future at Glued. Please give her a very warm welcome when you meet her at the next expo or networking event.”

“I was attracted to Wright Hassall due to the talent within the company, the breadth of work they undertake, and the great reputation of the family team. Wright Hassall partner Robert Lee added: “We wanted this Award to give people from every background the opportunity to pursue their dreams to qualify as a lawyer. “We had an exceptional number of entries, and I would like to thank everybody who took part; however, Ellen and Lucy were the standout candidates and are both thoroughly deserving winners. “I look forward to following their journeys.”

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New Members Business Influence Members Birmingham Airport Travel Agents & Tour Operators 08712 220072 communications@birminghamairport.co.uk www.birminghamairport.co.uk

Business Engage Members Knights Professional Services Ltd Legal & Financial 01213 140000 sarah.perry@knightsplc.com https://www.knightsplc.com/

PLAYERS KTV Limited Corporate Venue/Hospitality 02476 941001 events@players-entertainment.co.uk https://players-entertainment.co.uk/

Ramada Hotel and Suites Coventry City Centre Hotels 02476 238110 lgardner@ramadacoventry.co.uk www.ramadacoventry.co.uk

St Basils Charities & Benevolent Organisations 01217 729623 pauline.clarke@stbasils.org.uk http://stbasils.org.uk

Business Global Members Esawayra Naturals Goods Exporters & Importers 07534 466671 esawayra@gmail.com

Miro Logistics

PTCL LTD

Spectrum Outfitters Ltd

Logistics Management

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rob@miro-logistics.com

Jason.ashley@ptclpipesource.com jack@spectrumoutfitters.co.uk

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Business Connect Members AJW Careers Careers Advice 07784 888862 hello@ajwcareers.co.uk https://ajwcareers.co.uk/

Heathcote Recruitment Limited Recruitment Advisers 07923 491837 Bill@heathcote-recruitment.co.uk https://www.heathcote-recruitment.co.uk/

Raiven Information Technology 07557 876079 tom@raiven.xyz http://www.raiven.xyz/

Coventry United Men’s Football Club Sports Clubs & Associations 07788 562274 npward@live.co.uk

Little PR Rock Marketing Public Relations 07966 712017 abbi@littleprrockmarketing.co.uk https://www.littleprrockmarketing.co.uk/

EGO Performance Company Ltd Arts/Performing Arts 02476 251035 kyle@egoperformance.co.uk https://www.egoperformance.co.uk/

Riqueza Business Solutions Ltd Finance Brokers 07944 340793 simon@riquezagroup.com https://riquezagroup.com/businesssolutions

PrintGiants Ltd Printers, Digital 02476 714118 sales@printgiants.co.uk https://www.printgiants.co.uk/

Rollasons Solicitors LLP Solicitors 01327 301771 kvara@rollasons.com https://rollasons.com/

HD Storage Solutions Limited Warehouse Management Systems 02477 981189 k.bateman@hdstoragesolutions.co.uk https://www.hdstoragesolutions.co.uk/

Qualitig Motor Vehicle Body Repairs & Spraying 07561 315713 qualitig@email.com https://www.qualitig.co.uk/

Welcombe Hills Vineyard Microbrewery/Drinks Manufacturer 01789 628075 hello@welcombehills.co.uk https://www.welcombehills.co.uk/

Business Builder Members Epic Proportions Ltd t/a Beat The Property Agent Property Services 07452 733359 enquiries@beatthepropertyagent.com https://beatthepropertyagent.com/

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GET THE APPRENTICESHIP ADVANTAGE

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes For Higher and Further Education

2021

Do you need to expand your workforce? Do you want to develop skilled and loyal employees? WCG is the largest provider of apprenticeship training in the West Midlands area, training over 2000 apprentices each year in over 60 occupational sectors, including land-based engineering, horticulture, landscaping and engineering operations. Apprentices give you lots of advantages in a competitive marketplace, including greater loyalty and staff retention, lower initial costs and the ability to build your skilled future workforce.

Find out how an apprentice could help your business gain a competitive advantage today by contacting John or Navneet in our Business Development Team:

0300 135 6940 employerenquiries@wcg.ac.uk

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