Page 1





40 years on from the closure of city’s dockyard – pages 8&9

High flying mid-sized firms share secrets of success – page 10

Firm’s approach is ‘like flexible working on steroids’ – page 5






HOW TO CLIMB THE PROPERTY LADDER Woman in charge of one of Bristol’s biggest property consultancies talks TV, glass ceilings and early starts



Wednesday, April 1, 2015


England cricket star praises team spirit as he opens for SSC A LASER cutting company celebrated its new factory in Yate with an official opening by Gloucestershire cricket captain and England 2005 Ashes winner, Geraint Jones. SSC Laser Cutting, a subcontract company, started operating from the new 18,000 sq ft base in January. The firm has invested £600,000 in the latest laser cutting and press braking machinery. Geraint, whose cricketing career has seen him play for England in 34 Test matches, scoring 1,172 runs, including a century and six half-centuries, said “SSC Bristol’s new venture is very similar to my new venture with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club. There is a great team spirit, which can only be a good thing.” The firm is supporting the club through sponsorship this season. SSC managing director, Andy Evans, thanked the firm’s staff for all their hard work setting up the manufacturing division. He also thanked all of the customers who deal with the Bristol division, saying: “Establishing this new factory would not have been possible without the unprecedented support SSC has received from our South West customers.” To mark the occasion, Andy presented a £1,000 donation to children’s charity the NSPCC.

● Gloucestershire County Cricket Club captain Geraint Jones, centre, and SSC managing director Andy Evans with members of the team at the new plant in Photo by Dan Regan Yate



New law seals Adam’s victory in loans battle


● A BUSINESSMAN is celebrating a David and Goliath-style victory with the passing of a law to help small firms borrow the money they need to grow. Clifton Asset Management chairman Adam Tavener became a key player in the drive to force banks to refer businesses they turn down for funding to alternative lenders. He set up the online portal, a website that highlights a range of potential sources of lending, and has lobbied the Government on the issue, including attending meetings at Downing Street and writing a briefing paper for the Prime Minister’s special adviser. Now the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act has received Royal Assent, making it law. The Act requires banks to refer those firms rejected for loans to online platforms that can introduce them to alternative funding providers. Speaking of the scale of the achievement, Adam said: “One small business in Bristol was behind a scheme which has implications for the national economy. This one idea will have a hugely positive impact on the small businesses sector.” It has topped off a good month for Clifton Asset Management, which employs 100 people at its Ham Green offices in North Somerset. It was named as one of the UK’s top disruptive SMEs in The Everline Future 50 Awards and a finalist in the Credit Today Awards in the Best Alternative Funding Provider category. It was highly commended for innovation in the SME finance sector at the Business Moneyfacts Awards.

On right track New stars building head of steam at the Engine Shed Oh}pu \ovtwzvu

Assistant Editor (Business)


HE Engine Shed business centre has added £8 million to the Bristol and West of England economy after its first year. The business hub, in Brunel’s original Temple Meads station building, generated just over £7 million of net added value, plus the £800,000 invested in refurbishment before it opened. It also supported 115 new jobs, according to a study by Zeta Economics, a Bristol-based economics consultancy. So who are the companies creating those jobs? We highlight some of the rising stars from the shed.

CLUSTERHQ ● ClusterHQ Inc started as Hybrid Logic Ltd, run by a few friends working over the Internet to create the next generation of web hosting services. Luke Marsden, in Bristol, joined SETsquared after working at a similar institution in Boston, and founded the first offices at SETsquared’s Woodland Road

NEIGHBOURLY ● is a social network that connects community projects with companies that want to make a difference. On one side it provides sharing tools to help a project tell its story and get the community involved. On the other it provides search tools to help a company look for projects where they can make the

greatest difference. An algorithm makes intelligent introductions, in theory ensuring everyone wins. So far more than £1.7 million in funds have been pledged for good causes and 6.611 days of time across 204 projects. (www. #nbrlyuk). ● Pictured is chief executive Nick Davies

MUDDY BOOTS ● Muddy Boots, specialists in software for the food supply chain, has a head office in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. But talent around the rural office became harder to source, and the firm came to Bristol to fill a skills gap for software developers and testers. It initially took a three-person office whilst still in Clifton, growing to five people when we made the move to the Engine Shed.

A spokesperson said: “We quickly filled this space with local talent, and in June last year moved across the road to TempleStudios to support the 10 (and increasing!) employees we now have in Bristol; demonstrating that this was the right decision for our company.” Since the firm has been in Bristol, turnover has risen by 25 per cent to just short of £4 million. (

facility. Six months later it secured its first round of venture capital funding, and became HybridCluster. It moved into the Engine Shed building when it opened and while there the company grew to 14 staff and landed £8 million in venture capital funding to create ClusterHQ, and power the next generation of

data centre infrastructure. A spokesman said: “Without SETsquared we wouldn’t have had the support and knowledge to build a thriving Bristol software company, and we were very sad to leave them two months ago as we sought even bigger accommodation in Bristol’s Tech City.” (

WRIGGLE ● Wriggle is a mobile app that brings users on-the-day opportunities. All businesses, even the most successful, have unsold capacity, and Wriggle has created a mobile app platform to allow these businesses to find buyers for this excess capacity at the last moment. It’s a fun and spontaneous tool for users to find opportunities at high-quality local businesses. Wriggle is operating in the food & drink sector in Bristol, and is raising funds to expand both geographically and into other sectors. It is available on Apple Store & Google Play. Wriggle came to Engine Shed through WebStart Bristol and kept its opportunity for support by becoming a virtual SETsquared member. (

AND MORE.... ● A host of organisations are members of the Business Lounge at the Engine Shed, which allows them to use the funky orange lounge with its industrial decor for meetings and impressing clients. They include the four universities in Bristol and Bath, Bristol Media, Institute of Directors (IoD), Business West Initiative and Next Gen Skills Academy.|zpulzz

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Business awards


Buoyant Water Babies going to new whole level after brain wave Oh}pu \ovtwzvu

Assistant Editor (Business)


HEN national franchise business Water Babies wanted to expand its customer base, the obvious step might have been to look to older children. The business specialises in swimming lessons for mums and babies and toddlers aged up to four, so older children seemed the obvious step. But that was a crowded market. So instead, led by Bristol entrepreneur Ali Burlingham, they have gone younger. At the end of last year the firm launched a pilot programme offering swimming classes for mums-to-be. The innovation has proved a success, so far growing to currently offering eight pre-natal classes across two locations, in Henbury in North Bristol and Wraxall, south of the city in North Somerset. It’s early days, but Ali, 43, is weighing up putting the idea forward for the Innovation Award at the Bristol Post Business Awards. If she doesn’t

enter this year, she certainly will next. Perhaps the main difference between Water Bumps, as the fledgling firm has been named, and its big sister Water Babies, is the focus on mum more than baby. “It’s about giving them some ‘me time’,” said Ali. “A bit of time for them to think about themselves and baby. “They also learn techniques that can help them in labour and throughout pregnancy, such as breathing exercises. It’s good exercise and there are lots of benefits for mum and baby, such as increasing oxygen to the baby. “And for some, it’s social. Lots of women don’t have other friends who are pregnant at the same time so they do it to meet other people.” They offer a post-natal class too, offering the new mum that bit of rare down time. The focus in the early stages has been educating mums-to-be as well as physiotherapy clinics, children’s centres and the kinds of places that will have contact with pregnant women. Eventually the goal is to expand Water Bumps as a franchise to other

● Below left, Ali Burlingham, who founded Water Bumps, which runs swimming sessions for pregnant women cities, once it has a bit more success under it’s belt in Bristol. But Ali is confident, partly based on the preparation done before they even launched. “We carried out a massive research project using our customer database,” she said. “We emailed 36,000 customers and had 25 per cent reply. That means we had 8,000 people and 75 per cent of them said they would use or would have used the service if it had been available.” Her own background has been with

“ It’s about giving mums-to-be some ‘me time’. A bit of time for them to think about themselves and baby. They also learn techniques that can help them in labour and throughout pregnancy. Ali Burlingham

Sponsor profile

‘We help clients get most out of their investments’


flected in our entrepreneurial spirit, commercial acumen and integrity, underpinned by an accessible, pragmatic and joined-up approach to financial services. When it comes to business support, we offer a range of tax, corporate finance, audit, assurance and recovery services which you would expect from a ‘Top 10’ accountancy firm. Our business clients include ambitious, growing companies, well-es-

tablished, family-owned SMEs and large, multi-national or international businesses with a South West base. We have locally-based specialists to support businesses in the sectors which contribute most to the South West economy including food and drink, farming, aerospace, manufacturing, media and technology and professional practices. We also advise entrepreneurs, business owners, families and individuals on how to manage and grow their personal wealth, offering specialist financial services and advice. The Bristol team draws on knowledge, skills and research from across Smith & Williamson which has 1,500 people based in 11 principal offices and is a member of Nexia International, one of the world’s top 10 networks of independent auditors, advisers and consultants2. We would like to take this opportunity to wish those taking part in the Bristol Post Awards every success, both on the night and in their business ventures.

Exeter, Devon. And when the company was looking for a new direction, Ali saw the chance to use all her experience to deliver something new.

● Visit businessawards to enter or nominate. Entries close on April 17.

THE CATEGORIES ● Innovator of the Year, sponsored by Aon ● Export Award, sponsored by Mazars ● Marketing Campaign of the Year ● Best Creative or Technological Business, sponsored by Next Generation Data ● Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Renishaw ● Lifetime achievement award, sponsored by Punter Southall ● Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Broadmead Bristol BID ● Family Business of the Year, sponsored by BOM Group ● Large Business of the Year, sponsored by Smith & Williamson ● Small Business of the Year, sponsored by Lloyds Bank ● Start-up Business of the Year, sponsored by Jordans ● Environmental Business Award, sponsored by Nuffield Health ● Contribution to the Community, sponsored by First Great Western ● Customer Service Award, sponsored by Destination Bristol ● Leisure and Tourism Business of the Year, sponsored by QBE ● Business of the Year, sponsored by UWE Bristol, chosen from the other category winners.


MITH & Williamson is once again pleased to be involved with the Bristol Post Business Awards and looks forward to celebrating the entrepreneurialism, innovation, good management and strategic thinking which have become the hallmarks of many businesses based in this great city. Smith & Williamson is sponsoring the Large Business of the Year Award again this year which recognises the achievements of Bristol’s biggest employers. Smith & Williamson itself has grown steadily over the years to become one of the UK’s leading, independently-owned accountancy, investment management and financial advisory groups, with around 170 people based at its offices in Portwall Place, Bristol. The firm works closely with businesses, often as an extension of their own team, as well as with private individuals, building long-lasting relationships and helping them to get the most out of their assets and investments. Our commitment is re-

Water Babies as a coach, something she started after the birth of her second child, as well as being an anti-natal reflexologist. In recent years she was head of aquatics at Water Babies, in charge of running the programme and training those carrying it out across the business, which has its head office in



Natalia leads way for women in property ● CONSTRUCTION and engineering solicitor Natalia Sokolov has been elected chair of the Association of Women in Property (WiP) in the South West. Natalia, who specialises in construction procurement projects and engineering disputes at Bristol law firm Thrings, will assume responsibility for the strategic direction of the South West branch of WiP, which seeks to enhance the profile of women in the property and construction industry sectors. During her 12-month tenure, Natalia, pictured, will manage a programme of more than 30 events for the branch’s 151 members in Bristol, Bath, Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire. Membership, which includes professionals from construction companies, cost consultants, architects and designers, property developers, housebuilders, engineers, planners and legal and financial specialists, grew by 17 per cent last year. Natalia said: “Membership numbers of WiP in the South West have increased significantly and, as an organisation, we remain focused on motivating, inspiring and encouraging more women to consider a career in property.” Warren Reid, head of commercial property at Thrings, said: “Natalia has been an active and dedicated member of Women in Property for a number of years, during which time she has been able to build lasting relationships with industry colleagues and add further depth to her knowledge of the construction and commercial property sectors. “Thrings recognises the significant benefits that getting out into the market and spending time with clients and peers can have for its solicitors, and actively encourages them to develop close working relationships with reputable independent professional organisations. Natalia is one such example of this and, under her stewardship, WiP South West’s members can look forward to a successful and exciting year.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Animal care


Many firms ‘not set for new accounts’

● Vet Maria Lowe of Henbury based Viking Vets celebrates the opening of the company's new Feline Centre of Excellence, funded by Barclays Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

Cat’s whiskers Vets purr about new feline centre Oh}pu \ovtwzvu

Assistant Editor (Business)


VETINARY practice is investing £100,000 to launch a new centre of excellence for the treatment of cats. Viking Vets has expanded its Henbury surgery with help from Barclays, in creating a new 900 square foot state-of-the-art centre specifically designed for the well-being of our feline friends, including a new separate entrance, waiting area, consultation room and cattery. The new wing is separated from the dogs. Established in 2000, Viking Vets is owned and managed by husband and wife team Maria and Andrew Lowe. Maria, who featured in the original BBC Vets in Practice series, and Andrew, a former farm manager for a

3,000 acre estate in Gloucestershire, have seen the practice experience double digit annual growth since setting up in business a decade and a half ago. Maria said: “The new Viking Feline Centre is just a continuation of what we aim to deliver to all our clients, however, research tells us that cats are particularly unique in how they should be handled and treated, which is why we’ve invested in the practice to be able to offer and provide the highest standards of care for these magical creatures.” Maria, now heads up a team of 15 full and part-time vets, nurses and students, providing a veterinary service that tailor makes every treatment for each client and pet that come to Viking Vets from across the city. Future plans for expansion are currently under discussion with the practice keen to develop more space for pet classes and staff facilities. Paul Flower, Barclays business

“ Research tells us cats are unique in how they should be handled, which is why we’ve invested in the practice to offer the highest standards of care for these magical creatures. manager, Bristol, added: “Viking Vets is a highly professional and progressive practice and by working closely with our customers we are pleased to have the opportunity to assist this forward thinking business, helping them to bring their aspirations to fruition. “We look forward to supporting them through their next phase of development.”


Friends found recipe for success after setback


NUTRITIONAL therapist Claire Stone has stumbled across an appetite for a new business idea. After a friend’s planned bread baking retreat fell through, they found themselves with an empty cottage booked in Wales with nothing to do. So Claire and friends business coach Zoe Richards and mentor Magdalena Marsden organised a lastminute business and diet course. Claire, 40, said: “We had a discussion and felt that we could perhaps run a mini-business – a planning and healthy eating retreat for a couple of days for business women in our networks. “Before we knew it, our little retreat has become a two-day business planning/training event.

“Our goal with the retreat was to help business women brainstorm and plan for their business away from the every day side of life, and to eat and learn about what foods will help them be even better in their work and businesses.” Rachel Brastock, of Understanding Talent, said she found the course worthwhile. “Taking time out to focus on my new business, in the company of likeminded women, with healthy food to boot, was the perfect combination,” she said. “The results since the retreat also speak for themselves, I have secured a new client on a six month project, got clarity on my website offering and feel altogether more confident in cre-

● Claire Stone and her friends came up with a business idea after a planned bread baking retreat fell through

ating a successful business.” Claire’s own nutrition business came about after been made redundant following several years working for Penny Brohn Cancer Care. She built on her interest in healthy food and retrained as a nutritionist in 2010. Claire, from Emersons Green, now sees clients one to one both in person and via Skype, with customers as far away as Cyprus and Australia.

● THE most significant change to UK financial reporting in recent years is now a reality but a recent survey by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and investment management group, reveals that many Bristol businesses are not prepared for the changes. The survey of finance directors and chief financial officers reveals that only one of the 22 businesses polled was ready for the new financial reporting standard FRS 102, with almost 45 per cent admitting they had not even begun to consider it. Carl Deane, partner and head of assurance and business services at the Bristol office, said: “FRS 102 is the new, single accounting standard that replaces UK GAAP for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015. Given the potential impact it will have on the preparation of accounts, it is surprising that so many companies appear to be ill prepared. Our survey showed that many were unaware of the implications while others are struggling to implement the changes, with less than 10 per cent of those canvassed having the necessary skills in-house.”


‘Now’s a good time to ask for pay rise’ ● MORE than half of workers in the South West are unhappy with their salary, yet under a third asked for a pay rise in the last year, according to new research from Hays. Despite increasing salaries in the past year, many employees are dissatisfied with their pay but only 31 per cent asked for a pay rise in the past year, and of these only 10 per cent of these were successful. With so few successful pay rise negotiations taking place, UK workers planning to ask for a pay rise this year should do their research and brush up on their negotiation skills. Hays South West managing director Simon Winfield, said: “With an improving economy and salaries increasing, now is a good time to negotiate with your employer over the pay, benefits and career opportunities they have to offer.”

RECIPE A one-pot risotto for the busy businesswoman Saute an onion until soft but not browned. Add a clove of garlic, saute for a minute or two longer. Add some chopped up mushrooms and some sliced courgette, and saute a little longer. Add around 50-75gms of risotto rice per person and cook for another couple of minutes. Make up some stock, add this to the risotto as well as a couple of sliced carrots and a carton of chickpeas. Add some chopped parsley, cover and simmer until the rice is cooked. You may need to add extra water/stock depending on how quickly the water is absorbed. Serve with some lovely green salad. Enjoy!|zpulzz

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Market research


Making a difference Flexible work gives staff new sense of purpose Z|wly{ Rhupzjo


ORGET set working hours, a market research company is reaping the rewards of “output-only working”. Consumer Intelligence, based in the city centre on George Street, is enjoying unprecedented levels of staff retention and attendance since setting up the initiative, whereby staff are given greater autonomy and financial targets for performance, job descriptions and set working hours are abolished. The embryo of the project started back in 2011 when Blaire Palmer, Chippenham-based chief executive of That People Thing, helped Consumer Intelligence establish team contracts amongst its staff. Through discussion and debate, each team identified their unique contribution to the success of the business, showing all staff the part they played within the company and supported by the company’s sense of values and purpose. Team contracts at the city centre firm developed into the Output-Only Working initiative which has been running since 2013, under the stewardship of Jane Ginnever, the company’s head of talent. Jane said: “Think flexible working on steroids. Giving people the autonomy to work in a way that they want and need to work to deliver results is far more powerful than what is written in a job description. “People bring their brains to work rather than just coming to do their day job and then go home. “Most companies are designed around the premise that people are bad and therefore they need to have rules in place to monitor and control people and tell them off when they are late. Here we treat people like responsible adults. “After all, when you run your own company or freelance you work around your clients and you do what needs to be done. We’ve brought that attitude in to our company.” Blaire said: “The only thing that distinguishes one business from another today is the unique DNA of the people in that business. Technological superiority is quickly copied, prices can be met or undercut by the competition. But the people in your company can’t be copied. So it makes sense to liberate the talent of the people in your business anyway you can. “Sometimes is it hard for staff to see how their daily toil makes a difference to their

employer’s business. “This becomes de-motivating over time. People are busy but their work has no meaning, no sense of purpose. “But when a team decides, for instance, that embracing the spirit of Brunel in terms of innovation and pushing boundaries will help the company grow, that’s a far more engaging sense of purpose than financial targets that they feel they can’t influence unless they are in sales.” Blaire said the impact on the bottom line is now beginning to become apparent: “Both staff retention and attendance are higher now than when we started. There’s a real financial benefit of that given the cost of recruitment or having people off sick. Engagement levels and overall satisfaction are also higher. “When you consider all the research connecting staff engagement with discretionary effort and bottom line results there’s a clear commercial driver for all this as well as being a nicer place to work.”

● ANOTHER digital company is opening an outpost in Bristol as the overpriced London talent market continues to overheat. Wazoku, a provider of collaborative innovation software, has opened its second UK office in Bristol. It chose the city primarily because of the strength of the development talent here. It has started with four people based at the Orchard Business Centre and plans to double that numbers by the end of 2015. Wazoku is a fast growing B2B technology firm and its online platform Idea Spotlight is designed to help firms work together to solve business challenges. It gives organisations the process and structure to capture, evaluate and select ideas from relevant internal or external stakeholders – staff, partners, manufacturers or customers. Chief strategy and product officer Rosemarie Diegnan said: “As a technology firm our success is dependent on the strength of our product, and the development community here is among the best in the country. “That community, Bristol’s four universities and potential for growth made it the number one choice for our second UK office. “Not only will our new development team be making the Wazoku platform even better, but we also want to become active in the Bristol business community and play a role in promoting that.”




£7m grant sets Dymag wheels in motion “There was stiff competition to win this investment so I am delighted Dymag has been successful in protecting jobs and will potentially create up to 263 new jobs over the next five years,” said Chris. “We have designed and built the next generation carbon composite car wheel that is both light and durable. Lightweight carbon composite wheels dramatically enhance vehicle handling and performance whilst cutting fuel consumption and emissions. “The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative funding will enable us to greatly accelerate our development programme to improve the manufacturing process and ultimately mass produce high quality carbon composite wheels for the global automotive industry.”


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A MANUFACTURER of carbon composite wheels for high performance cars and motorbikes has secured a £7 million government grant and loan package. Run by Bristol entrepreneur Chris Shelley, pictured, Dymag is based in Chippenham, Wiltshire, but plans to open a new factory in Bristol as it builds links with the National Composite Centre in Emersons Green. The money will help the firm develop its niche products and move them towards mass production. Carbon fibre is becoming more commonplace in aeroplane manufacture where light weight and fuel efficiency is vital, and Chris believes the top end auto market will follow as customers and governments nudge them towards more fuel efficient and greener models.

Another firm lured by what Bristol offers

● Jane Ginnever and Blaire Palmer



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Big Interview


Jo Davis is the first woman to take the top regional role at Billfinger GVA, but it’s not a fact she dwells upon, reports Gavin Thopmson


ETWEEN 6 and 9am you can do all the things that you said to your clients you would do in the meetings that start at 9 and run through the day,” says Jo Davis. It’s fair to say the regional senior director at Billfinger GVA is an early starter. But that doesn’t mean the first woman to hold the top position at the Bristol office of the property agency expects everyone to follow her on hours at least. “I do it because it works for me,” she says. “You have work in a way that works for you. I absolutely don’t want the people working for me to start at 6am. “I have an architect I work a lot with who’s a night owl and we only know things have gone to far when we cross. “I don’t expect anybody to work long hours, I would hate them to feel pressurised to do those hours. “I expect them to do what they’ve

“ What about Bristol, Newport and Cardiff and the idea of a Great Western Powerhouse? We’re just starting on that journey and there’s a lot of work to done.

Vital statistics Name: Jo Davis Age 45 Born: Newport First job: Worked in Woolworths on a Saturday, I loved it. My first career job, it was in the recession I did a pub management course and ran a pub in Newport before going to a local council and working in the forward planning team. Job: Regional senior director for the South West and senior director for planning and regional development nationally


told clients they will do in a timely manner.” Jo’s work ethic and ambition, breaking the glass ceiling while bringing up two now teenage children, perhaps reflects how she started out. She came into the workforce during a recession, training in pub management before moving into planning. “Coming in at the bottom of the last recession there wasn’t a lot of choice,” says Jo. “Just as we are seeing over the last few years, there were very few jobs so the people who ended up in property were very hungry for those jobs because there had been very tough competition. “We then went through a period where people came in with expectations and less ambition. Now, as we’ve come through this recession, I’m seeing the graduates coming out again with that ambition and hunger and that’s great for the industry.” Opportunities may have been more limited in recent years, but Billfinger GVA – recently renamed after the former bought the latter – now has 80 people in it’s Bristol office, more than before the crash. As the first women in the senior regional director post, Jo agrees she

is a role model in an industry that isn’t the most gender balanced, but she doesn’t want to be distracted by that. “I’m the first Jo Davis in this job,” she says. “I’ve never seen it as ‘wow this is the first woman’. I haven’t seen any glass ceilings, GVA has been very supportive. “But it’s good to see property moving on to see succession planning and progression. There’s great ambition in Bristol and I’m honoured to be leading an office that has that ambition. “Gender in property is something we are seeking to tackle with mentoring, flexible working and getting into those students and talking about property. I don’t think we sell property in the way the lawyers sell law. We have a collective responsibility to do that. But it’s also that higher level and how you get those qualified people where there is a gender balance, how do you get them to continue on the journey.

My working day Start: I usually start about 6am. I’m an early morning rather than late night person so I start at 6 and finish by about 7pm. Typical day: I tend to do meetings throughout the day, every day either within the region for clients or regional and national meetings in terms of management. It takes me longer to write a report at 7pm than 7am, I am not as productive in the evenings so that doesn’t mean I don’t answer emails if it’s important but I try to have the evenings to recharge. I do work long hours because that suits me. I can do functions after 6pm because they are just talking. There is a lot of that, it’s about profile for the office and maintaining market position.

“I’m not underplaying how proud I am to be the first woman. It is a real honour and I do feel a role model responsibility.” She comes in at a pivotal point in the property market in this region, whether in office, industrial or residential and perhaps that means she brings a fresh perspective on the challenges now and those further ahead.

“We are seeing absolute under supply in the office market,” says Jo. “We’ve got 1.74 years of grade A office space left. It’s a tipping point leading to increasing rents, we’ve got occupiers coming through so I think we’ll see a big increase in speculative development. We’ve got the huge impact that permitted development rights allowing office to residential conver-

sions has had on the city centre so we’ve seen some real exciting accelerated regeneration of the city centre by the relaxing of the planning consent.” That relaxation is due to end soon, which could cause a bottleneck in the planning process as developers rush to beat it. And Jo is already seeing local authority planning officials struggle to cope with growing demand. “There’s a huge pressure on resource and the council has not been able to catch up to manage the amount of development coming forward,” she says. “There’s a logjam there as the developers all pile back in. That will be frustration and affect the speed at which the market can recover.” Another worry in the short term is politics. The general election is looming but perhaps more important in planning terms is all the local elections. In Bristol only a third of council seats are up but in South|zpulzz

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

THE FIRST WOMAN My downtime My hobby and my passion is my kids and my husband, I think it’s a real privilege to be part of a family unit. And I run a lot. That’s my thinking space. My children are 15 and 13, they are fab ages they are such fun. Boy and a girl. I do lots of sport, hockey, rugby, ski-ing. More outdoors than cultural. We play cards a lot, I’m a bit of anti-TV person but I am happy to watch on Saturday night with the kids, something like The Voice. I used to manage the girls’ football teams.

â—? Jo Davis ran a pub before working in the forward planning team at a local council Pic: Dan Regan

Dave targeting major growth in role ‘crucial to the future’ THE HR Dept is targeting 50 per cent growth in two years with the appointment of Dave Marsh as operations manager. He will help the thriving Bristol company – which provides HR services to SMEs in a network of territories around the UK – achieve ambitions to grow its number of licensees from 66 to 100 in the next two years. Born in Yorkshire, Dave worked as an industrial chemist before joining the Royal Navy as an officer in 2001. He worked on submarines, with the Royal Marine Commandos and trained recruits before leaving the Navy in 2010, joining a global firm of couriers as a security manager covering corporate investigation, loss investigation, security and disciplinary investigations. Now living in Cardiff, Dave will be based at The HR Dept’s central office in Winterbourne, Bristol, focusing on supporting the company’s nationwide network of licensees. His work will involve ensuring compliance and improving infrastructure, enhancing the variety and quality of services which The HR Dept’s licensees are given, as well as adding to the already wide range of services offered to the SME clients the licensees work with. Part of Dave’s responsibility will also be to work on compliance and systems so that the business has scalable processes in place. He said: “One of the pressures on the business has been rapid growth, and some of the processes which have worked up to now need to be redeveloped. I’ll be hitting the ground running – it’s going to be an interesting and varied role and I’m excited to be involved. “It’s great to be in a vibrant company which everyone wants to see progress, with an ethos which is based on good service and ethics.

� Gemma Tumelty and Dave Marsh “There are also some fairly significant gaps in the UK which aren’t covered by The HR Dept’s territories yet – we’re looking at the East Midlands and West Yorkshire, Cornwall, North and South Wales, Glasgow and Edinburgh as places where we can develop the business.� Gemma Tumelty, director of The HR Dept, said: “We have 66 territories around the UK covered and as we grow we need to make our operation more efficient and effective. We need to standardise our processes to enable us to develop from organic growth to something more structured. “Dave’s role is going to be crucial to the future of the company. We would love to get to covering 100 territories within the next two years. “To enable us to grow as well as carrying on delivering excellent customer service we need those supporting mechanisms in place, and Dave will be perfect at delivering those. We are delighted to have him on board.�



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Gloucestershire and Bath and North-East Somerset Council, elections are in full swing. “We’re into an electioneering spell,� says Jo. “And there are some big projects being pushed through the planning system against that backdrop. Politics brings uncertainty into the planning process.� In essence, it means the decision makers are more focused on what’s popular locally rather than the strategic picture. And that’s where Jo believes we need to be looking. “Where is the next Avonmouth?� she asks. “You have to look at the M5 junctions from Gloucester to Taunton and decide where is the land and capacity and make those strategic decisions. (The new nuclear reactor at) Hinkley Point will have such a big impact, you’ve got Oldbury, there’s going to be a change in dynamics of the M5 spine going forward. “Big (residential) projects that have taken 10 to 15 years like Filton Airfield and Harry Stoke the other side of

UWE are now reality. So the big issue is where are those next big urban extensions. We need to think about those now and that’s a really interesting dynamic. “The West of England four authorities have gone out with a call for sites but politics will play a big part. We need to think about how does the region look? What about Bristol, Newport and Cardiff and the idea of a Great Western Powerhouse? We’re just starting on that journey and there’s a lot of work to done. That cluster is a hell of a lot more difficult than Greater Manchester or Leeds and Sheffield.� Another bugbear of Jo’s is that there’s only one decent road into the South West. “The resurfacing work on the Avonmouth Bridge a few years ago should have been a real wake-up call,� she says. “There isn’t a second strategic route into Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. If you take the Avonmouth Bridge out you have huge implications for South West trade. We saw it with the Dawlish railway last year. “We need to think strategically where we should be in 10-15 years.� She may only have been in the job a short time, but Jo is looking into the future at some big challenges and opportunities. The question is, will the policy makers be willing to do the same?

Human resources



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Property matters |


Bristol Docks officially closed 40 years ago today, setting into motion the transformation of the area into a popular social destination, as we report


N April 1 1975, the Port of Bristol was officially closed to commercial shipping, bringing to an end the industry that had once been integral to the city. It was a moment that received little public attention. The last trading ship had already left the port some months earlier, in November 1974, and Bristol’s docks – six miles inland down the River Avon – had been in decline for decades as Royal Portbury Dock and Avonmouth provided deeper waters better suited to large modern vessels. Andy King, senior curator of Industrial & Maritime History at the M Shed, says: “There was absolutely no fuss at the time.

“ The centre of Bristol

has now become a haven for business people and students, as well as the increasing number of residents drawn back by an appetite for city living. Paul Williams


“Responsibility for the Harbour passed from the Port of Bristol Authority to the Land & General Purpose Committee on 1 April 1975. Both the Authority and the Committee were part of Bristol City Council, so it was a sort of internal transfer.” Yet although little sense of occasion marked the transfer of responsibility for the Port of Bristol from one council department to another, this moment marked the start of a transformation of the functional working docks into the successful social and leisure hub that exists today. Bristolians who visit today’s lively restaurant and cafe scene at the Harbourside are well aware that

‘We knew we were taking a risk as the first restaurant to open here’ ● WHEN Suzanna Ho, above, launched Zen in 2009 it was the first restaurant to open on the newly-created Harbourside. She says: “I grew up in Bristol but worked in the City of London and saw how Canary Wharf as a concept first failed but then, after a decade, turned around to be not only the main financial centre of London and the UK, but of the world. “I saw parallels in Bristol’s Harbourside when I first considered it for opening Zen restaurant. The area was very much a large building site, but we were shown artists’ impressions of what the development would look like. “I wanted something that overlooked Millennium Square, because of the hustle and bustle there. All the ground floor units were taken up at this point, so we took the upper floor with a narrow entrance. Including the mezzanine we have over 10,000 square feet and with the high ceilings it means a beautiful and spacious dining area. “We knew it was a risk when we opened. There were no precedent businesses at that point. But there

the former docks area was predominantly a bleak post-industrial wasteland for decades, apart from piecemeal changes to some former warehouse buildings. All that changed in 2005 when one of Europe’s biggest inner city regeneration projects began with the

Case study was potential as Harbourside was so central in location, and with so many strong corporates – mainly banks – in the area, we felt we could succeed. “The growth of the area was rather stunted to be honest. The development unfortunately could not escape the harsh reality of the recessionary economy, and so many businesses had to close between 2008 and 2012. “We saw many people come and go. I believe we are the only remaining establishment to have survived. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen many great independent businesses come on board. “Restaurants such as Steak of the Art and The Cuban offer variety and quality to the local community, and helped put Harbourside on the map of Bristol. “I do believe over time Bristolians and tourists will become more drawn to the area and it will offer the vibrant and exciting development that was first intended!”

£500 million redevelopment of a 16-acre site known then as Canons Marsh, which was dominated by two gas towers, numerous storage sheds, and a vast, empty expanse used as a car park. The 10-year programme by Crest Nicholson Regeneration brought into being the Harbourside area, with restaurants and cafes, new business premises, mixed housing, leisure fa-

● Left and right, the changing face of Bristol’s Harbourside, from

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cilities and new contemporary public spaces – and it has transformed not only the former docks area but also Bristol itself. Paul Williams, left, head of agency at Bruton Knowles, said: “The centre of Bristol has now become a haven for business people and students, as well as the increasing number of residents drawn back by an appetite for city living.

“This has been driven at least in part by the improvements in the environment and facilities. “To attract leading businesses including Lloyds, HBOS, and CMS Cameron McKenna to the city, while retaining hugely successful Hargreaves Lansdown, has helped place Bristol right on the map from a commercial and business perspective, and the positive impact on the city|zpulzz

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Expert eye

In association with

Xh|s Uh{{ol~z


industrial wasteland to a place where people work, socialise and live

I knew how much people enjoyed being by the waterside in Bristol

● The Harbourside from the air as it is today

● Steve Bowen, above, is one of the restaurateurs who have come to Harbourside in recent years, opening Steak of the Art in 2013. He says: “My parents live in Bristol, so I’ve witnessed how the former docks area has changed. I used to enjoy watching the power boat racing years ago, and I always returned to visit Bristol for the Harbour Festival. “I knew from my own experiences that people enjoyed being by the waterside in Bristol, so the question for me was not whether it would be a good place to open a restaurant that would attract people but whether it would attract people all year round. “I decided to do something a bit different to appeal to customers, and came up with the idea of Steak of the Art, which is a restaurant with an art gallery. The aim is to showcase the creativity that is so

each business has had cannot be underestimated. “The result of these businesses locating on Harbourside has also had a ripple effect out across the city, resulting in an improvement of commercial and office accommodation. “The presence of these businesses and their staff has also meant the need for quality residential and retail space to service their needs, result-

ing in various shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities opening up and helping to raise the area and city.” Crest Nicholson Regeneration sales and marketing director Susan Young said: “Harbourside re-defined what people think of as the heart of Bristol, shifting the emphasis west from the old city centre and opening up an entire new quarter.

Case study much part of Bristol. “We’re planning an exhibition by local artist Paul Weaver in the summer. He recently won our Steak of the Art Harbourside competition and his winning entry is presently on display. Paul is one of a number of local artists we are planning to engage with this year. “In many ways opening on the Harbourside was a bit of a leap of faith, but it resulted in Steak of the Art being created, and has exceeded our expectations and justified our decision to move there. “Now we are seeing new openings, including a new branch of Friska just across from us. The last building is now being constructed, which is the final piece of the construction jigsaw and will bring another 500 or 600 people to the area.”

“Canons Marsh had been abandoned and left semi derelict since the last war – criss-crossed with old railtracks, scarred by derelict gas works and mainly used as a coach and car park. “We are immensely proud of what has been achieved transforming an old coach park into a thriving area for people to live, let alone work, rest and play.”


“ Harbourside re-defined what people think of as the heart of Bristol.

Partner Bruton Knowles 0117 287 2101 paul.matthews@

Conversion boom to go on until at least 2019


HE conversion boom which gives property owners virtual carte blanche when it comes to changing the use of commercial premises to residential use will continue at least until 2019. The Government has decided to extend permitted development rights by a further three years to enable owners to press on with conversion works on private homes and agricultural buildings along with storage and distribution units. PDR had originally been due to expire in May 2016. This meant conversion works would have had to be completed and the units occupied by that date – otherwise the property would not benefit from PDR. We are still waiting for clarification on whether PDR relating to office-resi conversions will also be extended. The new changes, due to come in to force on April 15, include a three-year extension of the date for the expiry of the existing time-limited PDR for significant home extensions and also provide further clarification on the conversion of agricultural buildings into homes. The new guidance notes allow for agricultural buildings to be converted to flexible, educational or residential use and gives a great deal more detail on exactly what will and won’t be allowed. This can’t come soon enough for property owners as half of the agricultural-resi conversions put before councils last year under PDR were rejected. This outcome is clearly not what the Government intended when it loosened the regulatory requirements in the first place. A spokesman for Eric Pickles’ office said it is not yet certain whether office-to-residential permitted development rights will be extended or not. Critics have claimed relaxing PDR had triggered unintended and damaging consequences in some locations. The office-to-resi boom has had unintended consequences in several locations – going way beyond simply reducing levels of second or third rate office stock. The scheme has been widely taken up in Bristol but has caused concern to the local authority in Cheltenham, which is concerned at the amount of sub 500 sq m of Regency office space which has been snapped up for residential accommodation or leisure use.

Susan Young



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In pictures Mid-sized business summit, Tortworth Court Hotel near Wotton-under-Edge

● From left, Chris Gibbs, The Growth Hub, Darren Pace, Mears, James Morter, Grant Thornton, and Alex Reilley, Loungers Pics: Professional Images/@ProfImages

● Mike Warburton from Grant Thornton speaking with delegates at the summit

Don’t miss out the middle man! ‘There’s huge potential in mid-size firms sector’



ACKLING skills and education is the number one barrier to growth, according to a summit of mid-sized businesses that was held just outside Bristol. More than 50 representatives from industry gathered at Tortworth Court Hotel near Wotton-under-Edge to discuss the priorities of the often under-rated mid-sized economy. Alex Reilley, co-founder of the fast-growing Loungers café bar chain, said society needed to value on-the-job training more highly. “People need to understand that it’s all right not to go to university,” he said. “We have lost the sense that people can learn a trade without going to university.” Fellow panel member George Davies, the Cotswolds-based founder of Next, George at Asda and Per Una, also rated education as top priority. Better broadband infrastructure came second in the straw poll. For Tim Westwell, co-founder of Hartcliffe-based Pukka Herbs, exporting is the key to driving growth. The firm has been growing at more than 35 per cent a year. It now employs 80 people, expects to turn over £22 million this year and now produces one million teabags a day. “From day one I thought about exports,” said Tim. “I thought, maybe one day people in Japan and China

● Alex Reilley speaking at the Grant Thornton “Agents of Growth” summit

will buy our tea while I am in bed at night.” And if making money in your sleep sounds appealing, Tim says there is help out there to get you started. The firm has found grants through the Government agency UK Trade and Industry as well as advice and practical support. “When you have got people on your side in UKTI, it’s definitely worth it,” he said. “The more we export, the more jobs we create.” For fellow Bristol company Loungers, its growth now – about 20 new sites a year – is built on an aggressive approach during the recession which means it now has enough profits to reinvest in further growth. Alex explained the founders had discussed what to do whenever the next recession came and implemented their plan when it happened in 2008. “We grew very aggressively during the recession,” he said. “We saw the opportunity. There were more sites and landlords were more desperate.” But he said the strategy was only possible with support from the bank. The firm switched to Santander when state-owned RBS began to get jittery about its levels of debt and Alex says they see that relationship as an important partnership. “Santander saw an opportunity in the recession a bit like us,” he said. “It’s critical to find the right partners

● Speaker George Davies, from FG4, and Tim Lincoln, managing partner at Grant Thornton

and to see them as partners.” The final panellist, Darren Pace – group business development director at Mears Group, talked about how his firm was looking outside its own sector to find the right talent as it grows. “We had been guilty of always looking within our own industry but now we have started looking at different sectors,” he said. “For example we have been recruiting journalists because they are fantastic at writing bids and proposals.” The event was staged by the Bristol office of accountants and business advisers Grant Thornton. Managing partner Tim Lincoln called on the Government to do more to back the mid-sized firms which employ 317,000 people across the South West. He said: “There is a huge potential in this sector of the economy but policy makers talk about small businesses and large corporates. We seem to struggle to create an identity for the mid-market. “Mid-market businesses consistently out perform small and larger businesses. Turnover per employee is up 11 per cent in mid-market business, compared with 7 per cent in larger firms and a fall of 3 per cent among smaller businesses.” “We will raise the profile of firms like yours with investors, deal makers and policy makers.”

● Delegates at the Agents of Growth summit|zpulzz

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In pictures event here


Business diary Helping tech firms protect their intellectual property: Natwest and Microsoft host free workshop run with asset finance specialists Lombard and IP experts Inngot. Takes place on April 16 at the Engine Shed. First slot 9am-noon then 1-4pm. Book via Eventbrite. Digital Challenge Final and Awards: Finalists from the hack weekend in February will compete for a £50,000 cash prize to develop a software application or game addressing one of five environmental challenges – energy, transport, food, resources and nature. Colston Hall, April 20.

● From left, Gemma-Jane Ogden, Lauren Reynolds and Amy Bracey Pictures: Jon Craig

● From left, Charlie Chami, Gemma Alaway, Sam Rosoman, Alexandra Wyatt and Ben St Quintin

THE Bristol Junior Chamber held its 66th annual dinner at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel. There were close to 200 attendees at the black tie dinner including BJC members and their guests as well as local civic leaders such as the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bristol

“It has been a true honour to serve as BJC president and I hope my presidency has not only added value for the BJC members but also been a positive contribution to my home city of Bristol.” The BJC is a networking organisation for business minded people

Time to reflect for outgoing chamber president Councillor Alastair Watson and his wife Sarah. President Karl Brown said: “The dinner was an opportunity to reflect on the many great BJC meetings and events which have been held over the last year, but more importantly for guests to enjoy a great event.

under the age of 40 working in the Bristol region. Thirty-nine year old Karl, who works for Clarke Willmott, hands over the presidency of the chamber to Ben St Quintin of Alder King next week at the Bristol Junior Chamber annual meeting.

Finance and business briefing: The Bristol office of accountancy and investment management group, Smith & Williamson, is hosting a briefing to help SMEs get to grips with the latest changes to accounting practices, tax, regulations and company compliance procedures at the firm’s offices in Portwall Lane on April 21 from 8.30am to 11am. Email rebecca.walford@smith. 20 Ways to Grow Your Business: Seminar on how to structure a business for sustainable and profitable growth. Ashton Court Mansion, BS41 9JN, 7.45am on April 22. Contact Mazars.

● From left John Hirst of Destination Bristol, Michael Holder, Karl Brown and Alexa Charles

● From left, Paul Brown, Sue Atkinson, Gavin Hall and Mimi Avery

In pictures Go Green

Young Enterprise West of England Area Final: Thursday May 7, 3.30-8pm. Eight finalists from West of England schools battle it out to represent the area at the South West final on June 19. To attend, contact Caroline Tarbuck, caroline.tarbuck

Some top tips on eco-friendly travel

● Andrew Garrad, Bristol 2015, Huw Robson, The Design Programme, and Amy Robinson, Low Carbon South West

● Amy Nicholass, Go Green, talking to Fiona Ladic, Ashfords LLP; right, Elemchi Nwosu, of Copper Consultancy, test rides an electric bike Some delegates got the chance to test drive a Nissan Leaf electric car or have a go on an electric bike. Go Green project manager Jessica Ferrow said: “Everyone knows that transport in Bristol is a major issue, so it’s great to see so many businesses here today who are looking to be part

of the solution.” She added “It seems fitting that we are here today at the ss Great Britain; we are sure Mr Brunel would have approved of us coming together today at his fine ship as we look at innovative transport solutions that are fit for Bristol as a future city.”

Go Green is running a number of business events throughout 2015 to celebrate the Bristol business community’s contribution to creating a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all. You can find out more at

Business Showcase South West: Two-day showcase of business across the region with exhibition stands, networking and speakers including Gerald Ratner, former Apprentice winner Stella English and Levi Roots. Thursday and Friday, May 14-15 at Colton Hall. Email Friday, May 14-15 at Colton Hall. Email Venturefest: Showcase for innovation comes to the Engine Shed and Passenger Shed at Temple Meads. June 9. Find out more at venturefest Email your business events to Events are sometimes cancelled without us being notified so please check with organisers before travelling.


BRISTOL businesses gathered at the ss Great Britain to learn how to make their business travel and transport options greener. More than 100 delegates attended the event put on by Go Green, the new network for businesses who are looking to get involved and be more sustainable during Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015. Attendees heard presentations from organisations such as First Group, Travelwest and the University of Bristol, and were given top tips on how to encourage their staff to travel to work and meetings in more eco-friendly ways. Around a dozen exhibitors also attended the event, representing companies and organisations that provide sustainable solutions such as car clubs, cycle couriers and electric car finance schemes. Travelwest also brought their travel roadshow with cycle maps and bus timetables and explained how they can provide businesses with grant funding for workplace improvements that encourage sustainable travel through the government-backed Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

The Lord Mayor’s Charity Dinner: Business leaders will enjoy a drinks reception followed by a three-course dinner, entertainment and an auction, in aid of The Lord Mayor of Bristol’s Children Appeal, on April 30. Add your name to te waiting list at https://galadinner and email for sponsorship opportunities or to donate auction and raffle prizes.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The back page


Your digest of the week in business

People ● Engineering and contracting specialist Hydrock has strengthened its building performance engineering team in Bristol with a new appointment. Chris Puttick has joined the team based in Queen Square as an associate. Chris’s expertise is in providing low energy design solutions across a broad range of buildings, including residential, educational and public buildings. Director Henry Easterbrook said: “I have no doubt Chris will help us continue to grow and develop our business.” ● Property finance provider Cambridge & Counties Bank has hired a new member and is promoting another in its business development team based in Bristol. Paul Howard is promoted to senior business development manager after opening the Bank’s South West office in Victoria Street last year. He is joined by newly arrived business development manager Nigel Key, who joins after 34 years at NatWest. Paul said: “I am a Bristol lad. I’m enjoying applying my extensive banking experience for our customers.” Nigel, who lives in North Somerset, added: “I am looking forward to putting to work my broad knowledge of SME businesses.”

Deals ● Arrow Cars has been awarded a five-year contract to provide private hire vehicles for passengers travelling to and from Bristol Airport, making it the UK’s largest airport taxi provider. From today, the firm will run a fleet of dedicated on-site taxis, ensuring that vehicles are available to passengers 24 hours a day and can be pre-booked both to and from the airport. Passengers will be able to book online, by telephone or in person at the airport and a new app will be available soon to provide updates on bookings. The number of staff employed as part of the dedicated taxi operation at the airport will rise from 60 to 85. Liz Macnaughton, ground transportation manager at Bristol Airport, said: “Several improvements will be introduced as a result of passenger feedback, including self-service check in which allows pre-booked customers arriving at the airport to access their taxi without attending the booking office.” Arrow Cars’ chairman David Richmond said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to operate the private hire concession at Bristol Airport.” ● Bristol-based Punter Southall has been appointed to provide services to the pension trustees of Tiverton-based textile manufacturer Heathcoat Fabrics Limited. A team from Punter Southall will provide actuarial, administration, risk and investment services to the £45-million,

Lh}l Kyl~

Business Development Manager for Services for People City of Bristol College

Dave Crew is Business Development Manager for Services for People which includes Business and Professional Services, Retail and Logistics and Health, Social Care and Education. The service sector is so vibrant and important to the people of Bristol offering so many different services and jobs for local people.

● From left Tom Hack, of Bristol Airport, Liz Macnaughton and David Richmond

● Staff in the new WSP-Parsons Brinckerhoff Bristol office; below from top, Paul Howard and Nigel Key of Property finance provider Cambridge & Counties Bank 850-member scheme. Chris Mapp, principal at Punter Southall’s Bristol office, said: “We believe our collaborative, tailored approach and ability to bring in new ideas, together with our strong actuarial, investment and administrative experience, help to make Punter Southall a natural fit for the John Heathcoat Pension Scheme.”

Places ● WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff, the combined global professional services consultancy, has opened its first joint office in Bristol. The office will have around 260 staff. Mark Naysmith, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff UK chief operating officer and managing director for property, transport and infrastructure, said: “Both WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff have strong track records of contributing to this city and this is another great first for us in Bristol. “Combining our teams is a clear demonstration of the combined strength of our business and our intent to integrate quickly. This is a complementary merger of minds and talent and there is huge potential for growth in Bristol and the South West for our services, working on local, national and international projects.” ● Workplace and interior design consultancy Wylde IA has revealed the shortlist in its bid to find the happiest workplace. Sift Media, Immediate Media, Shiner PR,

Aardman Animation and Opus Recruitment Solutions made the shortlist. Director Maxine Bennett said: “We’ve had a fantastic selection of different organisations enter including several big name companies that are real Bristol institutions. We’re delighted companies have engaged with our competition and the response pays testament to the fact the South West is a hotbed of happy, creative teams.” A snapshot of all shortlisted entries can be found at ● Legal expenses insurer Temple Legal Protection has chosen Bristol as the location for its South West office as it expands its operations. The company, based in Guildford, Surrey, is responsible for underwriting more than £50 million of legal expenses insurance a year. “We have strong relationships with law firms and brokers throughout the South West region” said managing director Chris Wait. “Our Bristol location gives us excellent opportunities to further develop our services in response to the needs of our clients in this area.” The new office, at One Temple Quay, is headed up by underwriting director Phil Bellamy. Phil said: “I had a number of interesting opportunities to explore but chose Temple as they have an excellent reputation among law firms for providing robust insurance products that enable companies and individuals to afford to litigate.”

“I am fortunate to work with over 200 local employers from schools and hospitals to marketing companies and high street retailers. It certainly does give me variety in my job! It’s a pleasure to work with so many local businesses who have a partnership with the college and offer apprenticeships.” How is City of Bristol College building relationships with local business communities? As a college, we are fortunate to work with some of the largest employers in Bristol but we also work with a substantial number of small businesses in the city. We regularly host business networking events to connect our employers with each other and we also support local business campaigns which raise the profile of small and medium sized businesses in Bristol. The College supports Bristol Independents’ Day which celebrates local independent retailers as well as supporting Small Business Saturday in December 2014. We work in partnership with Bristol City Council and the Federation of Small Businesses and these partnerships allow us to be accessible for local companies looking to offer Apprenticeships. Which business sectors are currently recruiting the most apprentices? We have seen real growth in the apprenticeships that support most businesses such as administration, accounting and marketing. These apprenticeships are now some of the most popular apprenticeships that we offer here at the College. The Health and Education sectors are now investing in apprenticeships which is fantastic to see. Our Early Years (Childcare) apprenticeships are offered within schools and nurseries across Bristol. Why are apprentices appealing to these employers? When employers are looking to expand their business this is often seen as growth, however expanding your workforce is a significant financial commitment. Apprenticeships enable employers to offer career opportunities to local peoples at a low cost to the business. The apprentices will develop their skills through training and gaining experience and become an integral part of the business. Our apprentices frequently progress in their careers to higher level roles which is great to see and very rewarding for us. How are apprentices selected for vacancies? At City of Bristol College we offer a free vacancy matching service to ensure that all applicants meet the requirements of the employer. We also work closely with the candidates to make sure that they have the abilities to complete the qualification and have a good understanding of the job they are applying for. Employers do not have to recruit a candidate until they find the right person for position. Our team will support both the apprentice and the employer throughout the recruitment process. ● If you would like more information on recruiting apprentices or training opportunities for your existing employees contact our Employer Advice team at City of Bristol College on 0117 312 5020 or email


WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP SHAPE THE FUTURE OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND? The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is looking to recruit new business members onto its Board – for more information go to


Business 1 April 2015  
Business 1 April 2015  

Business Bristol Post, Big interview. How to climb the property ladder. Woman in charge of one of Bristol’s biggest property consultancies...