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Celebrating our unsung heroes of lockdown Pages 16 - 17

Freezone will unlock millions for region Page 28

NEWS: Secret of business growth in new book FINANCE: Six tax planning considerations SKILLS: Award-winning apprentices

southdevon.ac.uk | 08000 380 123 2

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile






New Plymouth and South Devon freezone will unlock millions for region



Chamber Chief Executive Stuart Elford reflects on 2021 so far and looks ahead to life after lockdown


Pushed team nails ground-breaking 3D animation


Thomas Westcott and Riley announce merger


Secret of business growth revealed in new book

10 Kickstarting an exciting full fibre future in Plymouth 11

Babcock announced as Devon & Plymouth Chamber Patrons

15 New supplier directory open for business in Plymouth 18-19 A warm welcome to all our new Chamber members

CHAMBER NEWS 20 Finance to fuel your recovery in a world after lockdown 25 Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 with Dr Suzanne Sparrow 26 Vision for culture to support a vibrant ‘world’ class’ city for all 27 Swimming pontoons to make a splash in Plymouth



Go behind the scenes of our exciting new series of podcasts with Fresh Air Studios

29 FINANCE Six tax planning considerations for businesses after Spring Budget 30-31 INTERNATIONAL TRADE What the trade agreement really means to businesses 32 LEGAL An update on Business Interruption Insurance


33 LEGAL Can you stop sellers setting up against you?

16-17 Celebrating the South West’s unsung heroes of lockdown

34 LEGAL A firm of chartered financial planners has benefitted from a management buyout


35 TECH Four ways to keep on top of your IT during the digital transformation

22-23 Our Profile sponsors South Devon College offer an in-depth look at the New Skills for Jobs White Paper

36 CONSTRUCTION Steps to rebuild construction recruitment plans for 2021 37 SMALL BUSINESS TOOLKIT What solution should you put in your e-commerce basket? 38 CHARITY Nations join together to fly former soldier for treatment for brain cancer 39 SKILLS Inspiring new education centre takes shape in Plymouth 40-41 SKILLS Award-winning apprentices recognised at glittering virtual ceremony

CHAMBER PEOPLE 43 Olivia Paterson, Team Administrator at Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile




CONTACT DETAILS Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Unit 5 Derriford Business Park, Brest Road, Plymouth, Devon PL6 5QZ T: 01752 220471 E: chamber@devonchamber.co.uk W: www.devonchamber.co.uk News and articles should be sent to: E: marketing@devonchamber.co.uk Front cover: New Plymouth and South Devon freezone will unlock millions for region See page 28 Published by Cornerstone Vision Ltd 28 Old Park Road, Peverell, Plymouth PL3 4PY T: 01752 225623 W: www.cornerstonevision.com Managing Editor Chris Girdler Designer Leah-Maarit Jeffery Advertising David Simpson E: dave@cornerstonevision.com Printed by PDS Print W: www.pdsprint.co.uk PRIVACY NOTICE Cornerstone Vision Ltd process personal information for certain legitimate interest purposes, which includes the following: • To provide postal copies of this publication to Chamber member and Cornerstone Vision Ltd customers; and • To offer marketing and promotional opportunities within this publication to Chamber members an prospects. Whenever we process data for these purposes, we always ensure we treat your Personal Data rights in high regard. Chamber Profile is produced on behalf of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce by Cornerstone Vision Ltd and is distributed without charge to more than 1,500 key businesses and all Chamber members in Devon. The publisher is committed to achieving the highest quality standard. However, views expressed in the magazine are independent and while every care has been taken to ensure that the information it contains is accurate, the publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any omission or inaccuracies that might arise. The publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format without the prior written permission of Cornerstone Vision Ltd.

SOCIAL MEDIA Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/@chamber_devon

It’s hard to believe that spring is already upon us and, as we all prepare for life after lockdown, the past few months have given me the confidence to strike a much more positive tone as this jam-packed edition of Profile arrives at workplaces preparing to reopen across the region. Firstly, I must pay tribute to South Devon College for sponsoring this year’s editions of Profile. I can highly recommend the College’s in-depth look at the New Skills for Jobs White Paper by Principal and CEO Laurence Frewin. The White Paper crucially highlights vocational and technical qualifications and the need for strong links to the business community. This is nothing new to many of our education institutions – South Devon College alone works with more than 1,200 employer partners. But it is gratifying to see the importance of the link between business and skills so highly stressed at the highest levels of Government. On that very subject, the Chancellor himself had Devon and Plymouth in mind in his Budget announcement, revealing the bid to create a Freeport here had been successful. We will now become one of eight new zones around the country to benefit from import and export tax reliefs, with the aim of helping create jobs, growth, and innovation. The Devon & Plymouth Chamber called for and supported this bid, which was led by Plymouth City Council in partnership with the South Hams District Council and Devon County Council. The Government says the new freeports - including Plymouth - will begin operations from late 2021. Our freeport will offer vital long-term benefits once the full effects take hold and could be worth upwards of £100 million to our economy. It is truly fantastic news for the city, county and region and is an opportunity to attract significant investment, as well as providing a major boost to our businesses that import and export and putting us firmly on the map as an ambitious growing port city. The future of our region certainly looks bright, and our Devon & Plymouth Chamber Patrons play a unique role in developing that future. We’re thrilled to welcome our newest

Like us on Facebook Devon Chamber of Commerce Join us on LinkedIn Devon Chamber of Commerce


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile


Patron, Babcock International Group. The company continues to invest its wide range of long-established and awardwinning apprenticeship programmes – particularly here in Plymouth - and the next group of apprentices are set to start with the company at Devonport Dockyard in September 2021. Babcock’s position as a Chamber Patron reflects its status as a regional leader and a supporter of hundreds of businesses throughout the South West and beyond. I should also say thank you to everyone who has been listening to our ‘In Conversation With...’ podcasts. Created in partnership with Fresh Air Studios in Plymouth, each episode contains two interviews with personalities and business owners from across the region. These podcasts are all about being able to hear from a whole variety of people, finding out more about them as individuals and talking about our region. We’ve been lucky to hear from some really interesting characters so far, with a new episode being released every two weeks. We’ve also spoken to one of the South West’s leading businesswomen, Dr Suzanne Sparrow, for this very magazine about International Women’s Day and how people’s attitudes to women in business have greatly changed over the years - for the better. Speaking of ‘Unsung Heroes’, we’ll also be recognising those amazing individuals who have helped businesses through lockdown. We hope you enjoy these truly inspirational stories of courage and selflessness. Lastly, I’m thrilled to confirm that we now have an official date for our Devon & Chamber Awards ceremony. We do hope you’ll all be able to join us (in person) on Friday, 24 September to honour the very best in local business. Together we are stronger, so please keep working hard and we will be there to support you every step of the way.






On track to reduce food waste Great Western Railway (GWR) has launched an exciting new scheme to help tackle food waste in the rail industry, while supporting families in need. Teaming up with food-sharing organisation Olio, GWR is working to redistribute in-date food leftover from its on-board catering service to local communities and charities across the Great Western Network.  GWR Business Assurance Director Joe Graham said: “Through working with Olio, GWR can be sure any extra food from our services goes straight to people in need.  “This scheme allows us to continue to support our local charities and communities, while maintaining our commitment to being a sustainable business by sending zero waste direct to landfill.”  Launched in 2015 by friends Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, Olio’s free app allows people to connect with neighbours and local businesses so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Olio now has more than 2.8 million users with 13 million portions of food shared since the app was launched.  To ensure none of this food went to waste, GWR decided to partner with OIio at the end of 2020, with a trial taking place in Paddington and Plymouth, using trains to transport surplus stock from across the network to both locations. Now the scheme is being rolled out across the entire Great Western network, allowing more families to benefit. 

Pushed nails ground-breaking 3D animation An eLearning series, produced by animation and video production company Pushed, has become the beauty industry’s gold standard for nail technician training and qualifications. The Nail Knowledge training course, devised by Professional Animated Learning is the first ever Government-approved and globally recognised industry qualification. The training consists of three masterclasses with 16 lessons and a total of nearly six hours of interactive e-learning. The content was written by three of the nail industry’s biggest names Marian Newman BEM, Doug Schoon, inventor of Shellac, and Vitaly Solomonoff. In its first week alone, more than 100 industry professionals have taken and passed the diploma. Interest in the new courses continues to be positive, and is expected to reach several thousand per month globally. “We chose Pushed for the project because they offered all the services we needed under one company, including project management, copywriting, design and animation,” said Marian Newman BEM, leading nail industry expert. “The finished lessons needed to be used across a wide range of online applications, and the final product exceeded our expectations and was the perfect end-toend solution for the business. This was a long and complicated project and Dave and his team have been unendingly pleasant and patient. He has also been very reactive and sorted technicalities and changes with no delay. Dave Meadows , MD at Chamber

members Pushed, based in Plymouth, added: “This was an exciting, complex and ground-breaking project for the nail industry. Creating the equivalent of two feature films worth of 3D animation was no mean feat and it was a huge privilege to be involved. “Animation is a great tool because it desensitises difficult or graphic topics – that would be very tricky to film or show in other mediums.”

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Thomas Westcott and Riley announce merger Chamber Patron Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants has announced a further investment in its regional business by welcoming longstanding Plymouth-based accountancy practice Riley Chartered Accountants into the firm. The move is part of the firm’s continued growth across the South West and the ongoing success of the Plymouth office, which has grown rapidly since the merger with Parkhurst Hill in 2016. Riley’s 14 team members, including three partners and a director, will relocate to the office at Marsh Mills, creating a 55-strong team in Plymouth and bringing together the considerable experience and expertise within the two firms for the benefit of existing and new clients. Thomas Westcott Managing Partner Shona Godefroy said: “Joining forces with Riley Chartered Accountants represents our continued growth and investment in Plymouth. It is an exciting opportunity for us to enhance our team and grow our client base in and around this vibrant city.

“Riley is a very well established firm and we already have a strong relationship with the team. Our firms are very like-minded in ethos and approach and, like us, Riley serves a diverse client base. “Both firms are passionate about offering an outstanding personal service to all our clients, as well as being forward looking, embracing new technologies and innovation. Combining our teams enables us to combine our strengths and skills to continue to offer our clients a truly first class service.” Riley Chartered Accountants Partner Jon Stacey said: “For 40 years, Riley has been serving business clients across the South West. However, in the modern business world it is necessary to build a depth of resources and skills to wrap our clients with a professional service team. Being small and

Legal firm fights poverty and rallies community spirit


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

niche means that this is much more difficult and therefore for our clients, the team and our partners, we are better off becoming an influential part of a bigger business. A business where our modern ideas, knowledge and skills can benefit clients and the bigger team and where change happens because it is right. A business that really cares for its people, strives to be on your side and is involved in building success for clients and for the firm. “This is a merger that has been carefully planned for more than two years and we are really looking forward to the benefits that come from combining the two teams and being able to offer a really caring service to our clients.”

The Plymouth office at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has pledged its support to a number of organisations working in the community to tackle the impact of the pandemic, including foodbanks, homeless charities and schools. This follows WBD’s fundraising and volunteering efforts last year as part of its COVID-19 emergency response which saw thousands of pounds donated to a wide range of charities around Plymouth. The firm has continued its support for organisations working to tackle food poverty, with donations to the Plymouth Foodbank. The initiative is part of a firm wide effort to fight against hunger in the community, with the firm donating £30,000 to UK foodbanks and other food charities in 2020. Some of the donations were made up of personal contributions from WBD staff with the total amount raised matched by WBD’s Charitable Incorporated Trust which manages funds aimed at

supporting the firm’s responsible business activity. Staff from the office also supported the Plymouth Pie Club throughout the pandemic, buying and delivering groceries to the most vulnerable in the community. Plymouth Pie Club is a local volunteer group set up in partnership with Age UK and Eldertree to support the elderly and the vulnerable. The firm also worked with local schools including St Peter’s School and Torbridge High by donating a number of laptops to support those pupils homeschooling who have no access to technology. School laptop donations were made across all WBD offices as part of a firmwide initiative. Clare Elliott, head of responsible business at WBD’s Plymouth office, said: “We’ve witnessed some remarkable examples of what can be achieved when people work together and the communitywide response to the pandemic has been admirable in what was a very difficult 2020.”

MEMBER NEWS Justin Smith and David Gadd of Plymouth’s Vertical Plus

Plymouth tech firm sees e-commerce boom drive turnover hike A tech firm in Plymouth has seen its turnover hit £2.5million as the coronavirus pandemic created an e-commerce boom. IT and investment company Vertical Plus, a member of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber, saw nearly all of its 50 client businesses generate increased sales due to the demand for home shopping. The company, headquartered at Plymouth Science Park, invests in e-commerce businesses with potential and in return gets a percentage of their sales. This investment includes building clients’ platforms, their inventory and their market edge by providing all-encompassing strategic consultancy, inventory and technical support. David Gadd, Vertical Plus chief executive, said: “We think of ourselves as investors. Some call us an agency, some call us an IT company, but we don’t give them (partner firms) cash, but do give a website and fully managed service.” Clients include Plymouth-based and national firms such as Roof Giant, jewellery company Catherine Best, and The Pet Express. With lockdown forcing the closure of “non-essential” retailers Vertical Plus has seen its clients’ e-commerce turnover hit £25million through its platform. Mr Gadd said 48 of the firm’s 50 clients had seen turnover double during the past year. He said: “The increase in turnover for most of our partners has double and in some cases trebled. “So it’s been a successful year for us, we

did not expect to hit these sales figures until 2024/5, so it has brought our growth forward three years.” Vertical Plus employs 28 developers, inventory specialists and consultants, most of them local to Plymouth. And it has already supported several local charities and wants to help more. It has been involved in a European Union funded project helping additional businesses in the South West to achieve their growth potential by providing free consultancy. “We had 500,000 euros so we could give free advice to local businesses,” Mr Gadd said. “The project ends in July, but has enabled a further 12 businesses to grow and we are still looking to see how many more of these sorts of businesses we can bring onboard.” And Vertical Plus is looking for new partners outside of this project, with Mr Gadd saying: “We have been working with some e-commerce companies for 10 years, but have taken on some new companies. “The focus for us at the moment is to try to bring in new entrepreneurs in Plymouth with good brands, great ideas and ambition so we can work with them to grow. “But we work intensively and do not take on hundreds, only one a month. We have 50 at the moment and will probably stay on 50. We don’t really engage in extensive marketing of ourselves as the work we do is very intensive and focuses on a small number of rapidly growing businesses.”

New £200k research fund The University of Plymouth has launched a new funding programme for the business community as part of its continued support during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Research and Development Solutions Fund is designed to stimulate industrial collaborations and knowledge transfer opportunities between researchers and businesses, and aiming to solve specific ‘business problems’. The £200,000 fund, delivered in partnership between the University’s Research & Innovation directorate, and Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants, will also be a catalyst for enabling businesses to gain even greater access to the University’s facilities such as the COAST Lab, the Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre and the Digital Fabrication Laboratory. Adrian Dawson, Director of Research & Innovation, said: “The Research and Development Solutions Fund is designed to stimulate industrial collaborations and knowledge transfer opportunities between university researchers and businesses. It will not only address specific and immediate issues and opportunities, but it will forge new relationships – and strengthen existing ones – resulting in longer term collaborations.” Grants of up to £20,000 will be available during two funding rounds opening this spring and in March, next year, and the programme is open to businesses from any industry sector or geographic location in the UK.  The funds can be used to cover a variety of costs including academic research time to focus on a specific opportunity or challenge to a business; research time of the industrial partner; and access to specialist University facilities or equipment. Professor Judith Petts CBE, ViceChancellor, said: “The Research and Development Solutions Fund demonstrates how universities can be engines for change in their communities, and drivers of R&D, knowledge exchange and ultimately, economic growth. This fund represents an investment in that collaborative dynamic, and demonstrates our commitment to the civic university mission.” To find out more contact enterprisesolutions@plymouth.ac.uk or call 0800 052 5600.

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile




An entrepreneur and business mentor has published a new book that aims to help businesses ‘explode’ with growth. Benn Davis, CEO of Devonbased Bigwave Marketing, is aiming ‘Annihilate your Competition’ at business owners with a turnover of between £1m £20m who want to grow exponentially.   Bigwave Marketing one of the leading creative agencies in the South West, a Chamber member and a fast-track business growth and digital marketing agency.  They employ over 40 staff across three Devon offices located in Exeter, Plymouth, and Torquay.     Drawing on his extensive knowledge spanning two decades of buying and selling numerous businesses with combined turnover in the tens of millions across a diverse range of sectors throughout the UK, Benn is using his experience and the expertise of senior members of his team to help other business owners reach the ultimate goal of being the best within their industry or market sector.   He said: “The book has been created using my own experience in running multimillion pound companies and how we can help other businesses to achieve this level of success.  It is only for true entrepreneurs who want to discover the real secret to building


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

companies and teams with the ambition of experiencing explosive growth. “Many well-known and longestablished brands have fallen by the wayside in these unprecedented and challenging times for the British economy. “It is tougher than ever for many business owners who are looking to survive the current climate; they know they need to take positive action but just cannot do it alone.  I know first-hand what it is like to run a business, dealing with the daily pressures which can stop you focusing on the real goal. “Like it or not, competition comes hand in hand with running a business.  This book will give company owners a step-by-step guide to ensure they do not just survive but thrive! Unless you are 100% focused on acting now to exponentially grow your business, then you like many of your competitors, will continue to just tread water and in a worst-case scenario ‘sink without trace’.”   The 204-page gives an expert’s guide on the secret of winning and is available from Amazon in both digital E-reader and hardcopy, or in PDF free of charge via website: www.explosivegrowth.co.uk  Benn added: “Growing a business is not just about marketing, it is about strategic planning and without this you are genuinely wasting your cash.  Gone are the days you work with a marketing business and spend it on Paid Paper Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), being dazzled by graphs and your click throughs and no proven ROI.  As an astute business owner, you need to implement a programme across the whole business. “At Bigwave we call ours Insight360, creating a six-step strategy. If you cannot monitor your business, how can you manage it? “The aim of monitoring ROI is to make sure that for every pound you spend on a marketing campaign or a business consultancy service, you get back substantially more. What is considered an ‘ROI target’ varies based on the agreed strategy aligned with your internal processes and monitored

against your industry sector. “Our job is to ensure that we monitor and manage the spend with a view to at least doubling your return, however, most clients get a massive increase on ROI by working on their explosive growth strategies using the six-step Insight360 programme we have designed in line with the book.”

Benn Davis CEO of Devon-based Bigwave Marketing


Marilyn and Steve strike a deal with Dragon slayers A well-known supplier of school uniforms has struck a deal to provide graduation clothing with a business who recently emerged victorious from the Dragon’s Den. Saltash Uniforms, run by Marilyn Grose, has been unveiled as the South West ambassador for Churchill Gowns, which provides specialist items such as graduation caps for hire. Churchill Gowns recently appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, picking up a lucrative offer from Deborah Meaden while turning down Touker Suleyman. Marilyn, who also runs the long-

established costume businesses Encore The Show Business and Encore Kids, said: “It is with great pride and huge honour that we are finally able to announce Saltash Uniforms as South West ambassadors for Churchill Gowns. “This relationship allows Saltash Uniforms to supply high-quality, flexible and affordable graduation services to students and universities across the South West, our shared core beliefs being ethical manufacturing, environmental sustainability and social responsibility.” The deal was developed thanks to the help and support of Marilyn’s close friend Steve Whiteway, who sadly died last year after suffering from cancer. Steve was also a much-loved director of Devon & Plymouth

Chamber, a remarkable charity fund-raiser and well-known musician. Marilyn added: “All of this has been achieved with support and guidance from my very dear friend and business partner Steve Whiteway, who very sadly passed away recently before seeing our work fully come to fruition. “Steve’s wealth of environmental knowledge and experience not to mention his innumerable contacts were invaluable in setting up the agreement with Churchill Gowns.  “To ensure Steve’s commitment and contribution to this venture is never forgotten, an amount from each sale will go towards helping others, just as he always did.”

Justin puts the Spotlight on Marjon Justin Leigh may have disappeared from our TV screens since leaving BBC Spotlight in October, after almost 20 years in the hotseat, but you can still watch him live in the studio. There’s just one catch. You might need to enrol on a Journalism degree at Plymouth Marjon University, after he announced he will be taking up a role as an associate lecturer.  He said: “When I started it was just television and radio. We didn’t even have the internet, so you only had a fixed bulletin time to tell the news stories. “Now the news cycle is endless, people can be their own TV channel on their phone, streaming live to whatever platform. But the fundamentals of telling a story haven’t changed. “To stand in front of a TV

camera and talk to it naturally, as if you were talking to the person at the other end like they were in the same room as you, is not an easy thing to do. “I’m hoping that having spent the last 25 years or so doing just that every night, I can pass on some of the ways in which I was able to look beyond the camera and talk to the

person at home.” Justin joins a strong team of lecturers on the Journalism programme, with Match of the Day commentator John Roder, renowned environmental journalist and freelance Anna Turns, former Sky Sports producer turned trainer Dave Miles, and PR and marketing guru Tom Godwin already on board. Plymouth Marjon University has developed a brand new Master’s in Management for a Sustainable Future. An innovative alternative to a traditional MBA, this course is fully accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and examines traditional management subject areas such as finance and strategy through a modern lens.  

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Kick-starting city’s full fibre future Plymouth is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation as work begins to extend its full fibre network to reach almost every home and business locally. As part of a £52m private investment from CityFibre, Plymouth will benefit from a citywide full fibre network roll–out that will build on the third national digital infrastructure platform’s earlier investment in Plymouth’s business connectivity, making it accessible to residents too. According to research from economic consultancy Regeneris, full fibre connectivity will have a major impact in Plymouth over the next 15 years. It shows that up to £83m could be added to the value of local homes, while Smart City initiatives could add as much as £52m locally. Access to full fibre could also unlock £23m in business productivity and innovation, while a further £14m in growth could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently. Construction work has officially commenced in Plymouth’s Estover area, with the rest of the city set to follow over the next three to four years. Oakway Limited

is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf, using modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly. The team is also working closely with CityFibre, Plymouth City Council and local communities to manage disruption and ensure a fast and successful roll-out. Meanwhile, residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works in their streets. Kathryn Askew Smith, CityFibre’s City Manager for Plymouth, said: “Plymouth’s residents’ digital future is just around the corner. Work is now underway and that is something to be celebrated. Full Fibre broadband will help households access all the latest entertainment at lightning speed, but the benefits are far deeper than that – from enabling smart home technology to giving people the freedom to work from home with ease. “The investment also comes at a critical time for Plymouth’s forward-thinking business community. Next generation Full Fibre connectivity can drive innovation and productivity, ultimately giving businesses the platform they need to realise their growth ambitions. And it won’t just improve business locally – it will also help businesses take

their products or services to an international audience.” Stuart Elford, Chief Executive at Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s fantastic news to learn that build has finally started in the city. CityFibre’s investment will help ensure that the power of digital technologies are fully harnessed in Plymouth. Full fibre broadband will benefit the people and the business community by unlocking new forms of economic and social value and ensure that Britain’s Ocean City builds on its reputation as a great place to live and work.” Currently, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is available to less than 20 per cent of premises across the UK. It is revered as the best in connectivity for its speed, near unlimited bandwidth and reliability. By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users will be offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps). The full fibre network is not yet live, but once activated, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers, including Giganet.

Solar ferry creates a buzz on the water A vessel from the Mount Batten Ferry service fleet has had her engine replaced with a new electronic drive propulsion system and solar charging capability. This is an excellent environmental addition to the Cattewater, and a further boost to reducing emissions from water transport in the Port. Copper, the smaller of the Mount Batten Ferry business’ fleet, has undergone her transformation to electric power over the last few months as the service has been closed to passengers due to the ongoing pandemic. The Mount Batten Ferry usually runs daily, all year round between The Barbican and Mount Batten. The electric drive install was designed and fitted in-house by Universal Marine Services Ltd., which owns and operates the Mount Batten Ferry service, with the help of a local engineering company, Flint Engineering. Universal Marine Services can now carry out a range of electric drive installs. Copper’s sister ferry, Sulphar, has also had her diesel engines replaced with two fuel efficient smaller Beta engine units. MV Copper has been re-fitted with an electric drive install. CEO and Harbour Master for Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Captain Richard Allan says:


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

“A year ago we launched the Port of Plymouth Air Quality strategy and invited our stakeholders to input into the strategy and consider and implement any new ideas that they may be able to adopt to improve air quality. With the installation of the Plymouth City Council charging points on the Barbican Landing Stage, and Copper’s new electric engine and solar charging capability, this is another hugely positive step forward as part of the Port’s commitment to improving air quality. We congratulate Captain Stevens and his team for making this conversion

to electric and look forward to welcoming Copper back into service in the coming months.” Captain Dan Stevens, owner of Universal Marine Services Ltd, said: “Copper was chosen for an electric drive retrofit as it is one of Plymouth’s busiest ferries and operates daily between The Barbican and Mount Batten. She made an ideal vessel to trial a new electric drive and will hopefully make a great addition, and leap forward, to Zero Carbon Emission transport for Plymouth’s waters.”


BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCED AS DEVON & PLYMOUTH CHAMBER PATRONS Babcock International has been announced as an official Patron of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce. The aerospace and defence company, which operates Devonport Royal Dockyard, is a leading provider of critical, complex engineering services supporting national defence, saving lives and protecting communities. Babcock delivers its services through four sectors: Marine, Nuclear, Land and Aviation. As well as offering marine technology solutions to improve customers’ complex, safety-critical operations, the firm supports the Royal Navy’s ships and crew and navies around the world through the delivery of complex ship and submarine sustainment programmes. Babcock’s position as a Chamber Patron reflects its status as a regional leader and a supporter of hundreds of businesses in the South West. Patrons of the Chamber are some of the best-known and respected names Derr in the ick business community. They are woven into the Chamber’s extensive lobbying activities and become one of the region’s principal voices. Paul Foster Managing Director Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited (DRDL), is pleased that Babcock is now a patron of the Chamber,

and said: “Devonport Royal Dockyard is an integral part of Plymouth’s business community in its capacity as a major employer within the city, but also with its rich maritime heritage. The site has a fascinating past and an exciting future, with a pipeline of work in the decades ahead. “Contributing to the growth of the region’s economy is also an important priority for us. Our aim is to continue to work closely with local businesses and suppliers and to increase spending on, and investment in, companies in the area. This is not only beneficial to our local communities, but also supports our sustainability agenda. “We offer a wide range of apprenticeships and career opportunities, and with many innovative technological based projects being trialled at Devonport, along with major investments and building projects underway, there has never been a better time to showcase the great work that we’re delivering and I’m proud to be a part of it.” Babcock played an active role in National Apprenticeship Week 2021, which took place earlier this month, and is recruiting more than 100 apprentices in Plymouth as it continues delivering critical defence projects for its customers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, the number of apprentices recruited at Devonport doubled, with 145 starting their careers and fulfilling a variety of roles, including welding, electrical, mechanical and marine pipefitting, and fabricating. Similar numbers are being sought for this year. Chamber Chief Executive Stuart Elford said: “Babcock continues to invest its wide range of long-established and award-winning apprenticeship programmes – particularly here in Plymouth. “With the next group of apprentices set to start with the company at Devonport Dockyard in September 2021, their position as Patron underlines just what an asset they are and will continue to be to our region’s businesses. “Our Patrons play a unique role in developing the future of our region and the Chamber is far stronger with Babcock’s support and Patronage.” As well as its huge recruitment drive, Babcock is currently working on a number of multi-million pound ship and submarine refit and upgrade programmes, as well as investing in and modernising on-site facilities.

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Inspire your business to the next level and scale-up with Vitality A new fully-funded programme of expert strategic mentoring, help and resources is being offered to entrepreneurs whose businesses are ready to grow. Business owners are being invited to apply to the Vitality programme, launched by the Devon & Plymouth Chamber in partnership with Inspire, an expert organisation dedicated to scaling up businesses in the South West. It is designed for businesses who are ready to take the next step – organisations who have established themselves but are struggling to understand how to break the glass ceiling to growth. Ideally, a business will employ at least five people and have minimum £250,000 turnover with real ambitions to grow. The Vitality programme can help you truly scale a business that produces higher profits, is more efficient and follows a strategic plan that leads to success. It is delivered by Inspire, who have worked with dozens of businesses in the South West, helping them realise their ambitions. Their network of experts has a track record in helping businesses: • Working with you to develop a strategic plan designed for accelerated growth. • Connecting you to the best resources to deliver your strategy. You tap into a network of more than 100 strategic partners aimed at growing your business. • Networking designed to grow your knowledge, producing rich, longlasting and valuable relationships. The programme, which comes completely free of charge to Devon & Plymouth Chamber members, gives you the knowledge, strategy and practical expertise you need to break out of being a start-up and mature into a business that delivers your entrepreneurial dreams. Stuart Elford, Chamber Chief Executive, said: “This fully-funded programme gives you the guidance you need to grow.


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

Business owners cannot do it alone. “If you have dreamed of growing a business that runs itself so you can concentrate on strategy, growth and yourself – this programme gives you the keys to unlock that potential.” The world of business coaching is saturated with advice and wisdom aimed at helping small- and medium-sized businesses grow. But often it results in little end product because: • It’s not specifically designed to help your business. • Little in the way of proven results. • Hints and tips that result in small wins but no concrete long-term strategy. • One-track thinking rather than a network of experts working with you. Inspire works differently to create a solid strategy for growth based on the input of not one but a network of experts who will work with you to build your business. The programme includes: • One-to-one support in creating a strategy, supported by an expert network and resources designed for you. • Guidance in accessing finance and applying for grants aimed at boosting your growth. • Valuable introductions hand-picked to help you grow a network that supports you for years to come. To be part of the scheme you need to be a member of the Chamber, which gives you a wide network of valuable connections, entry to the Chamber’s rewarding events and an ongoing programme of business support. It’s easy to become a Chamber member, simply enquire by contacting our Membership Executive Samantha Kerswill on 01752 273884, or email samantha.kerswill@devonchamber.co.uk To apply to be part of the fully-funded Vitality scheme, register online at devonchamber.co.uk/inspire


Dan’s Engineering Ltd continues to grow Established in 2003, Dan’s Engineering is a steel fabrications company which specialises in the construction of high-quality, cost-effective steel work solutions for the utility sector. Its main areas of expertise include project management, site surveys and 3D CAD design services, fabrication and welding, CNC machining, finishing and site installation. Based in Bridgwater, Somerset, the company has grown steadily throughout the years and now employs 30 staff. Dan Puddy, founder and Managing Director, decided to onboard two non-executive board directors from Inspire to assist him with accelerating the growth of the business. With an annual business turnover of £1.2m, Dan’s Engineering was struggling to generate consistent net profit and was keen to initiate a program of business improvement. The Inspire Non-Executive Directors, Paul Holmes and Tim Yorke-Dunne engaged with Dan’s Engineering in June 2020 and applied their complimentary skills sets to evaluate the entire business and identify key areas for improvement. This included assessing company structure, operational and production processes, quality

systems, financial controls, management information and governance. Another primary focus was to fully understand Dan’s personal ambitions and consider these within the overall growth strategy, while planning to gradually remove the founder from operational tasks in all levels of the business. As a priority, the Inspire team quickly identified the root causes for poor profit performance and recommended several changes including a revised pricing model. This had an instant, positive effect on the profitability – providing a firm foundation for business growth and investment. Within subsequent months, the Inspire team helped deliver change management over several areas of the business including revised business growth strategy, implementation of a continual business improvement plan and introduction of a strategic development plan. Despite the current economic backdrop, Dan’s Engineering Ltd is now projecting to exceed £1.7million turnover and is enjoying consistent and record-breaking net profit. Puddy can continue to build his business with added confidence and expert advice by his side.

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Subscribe to our exciting new podcast series

The Devon & Plymouth Chamber has joined forces with Fresh Air Studios in Plymouth to launch a brand new series of podcasts for the South West business community and beyond. ‘In Conversation With...’ features personalities and business owners from across the region, with each episode containing two interviews. In ‘Chamber Chat’, podcast host and Chamber CEO Stuart Elford chats with wellknown local personalities such as Pete Goss, David FitzGerald and Luke Pollard MP, to find out more about them as people and discuss our region. Meanwhile, ‘Chamber Made’ will see Stuart talk with members of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber about their businesses, how they started out, the highs and lows, and what their plans are for the future. This series of podcasts was recorded at and produced by Fresh Air Studios’ production


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

centre in Plymouth. Fresh Air Studios was established in 1998 and provides a wide range of audio production services for internal communications, IVR and podcasting. It is recognised throughout the UK as a respected independent audio agency and has won numerous awards for content and advertising production. Paul Philpott, the company’s CEO, explains the inspiration for the new podcast and why Fresh Air Studios is happy to be involved: “This region has a wealth of business expertise, firms that have diversified in the face of adversity, companies that are innovating every day, and our fair share of entrepreneurs, too – all with exciting and interesting stories to tell. “We are really excited to provide a new source of inspirational business content, and some great interviews with ‘the powers that be’ where they have the opportunity to face some challenging questions.” Stuart Elford, Devon & Plymouth Chamber CEO, adds: “Our new ‘In Conversation With…’ series contains some fabulous interviews with some really interesting characters. “These podcasts are all about being able to hear from a whole variety of people, finding out more about them as individuals and talking about our region. “You can listen to our podcasts and

subscribe at any time by searching for ‘Devon Chamber In Conversation With’. “Three episodes are already live, with a new one being released every two weeks.” In episode one, Stuart talks to Johnny Mercer MP about the highs and lows of being an MP, his opinions on politics and politicians, and ‘that’ shower scene, while the first ‘Chamber Made’ guest is Howard Davies from Salcombe Distilling, home of Salcombe Gin. Episode two features an hilarious and enlightening conversation with David ‘Fitz’ FitzGerald about his career so far in broadcasting, his varied achievements as a writer and his love of birds and Devon. Stuart also talks to Claire Oatway about her experience of entrepreneurship, leadership and a surprising Olympic sporting past. And in episode three, Paul Winterton, Managing Director of Langage Farm, gives a highly personal interview about his career, family and aspirations, while entrepreneur Kate Dowsett from Peace and Coffee (and more) talks about the move from battleships to coffee beans. You can subscribe now via Apple iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts: Apple iTunes Podcasts: www.apple.co/3sNeoyf Spotify: www.spoti.fi/39ZmHP3


New supplier directory open for business Plymouth City Council has launched a one-stop online shop to encourage local businesses to find local suppliers and to help keep the pounds in Plymouth. The directory is a free online platform that aims to bring local business buyers and suppliers together to increase the chance of spending in the city so that Plymouth, its businesses and its residents benefit. Council leader Tudor Evans OBE said: “As a council, we have massively stepped up our efforts to buy local and want to make it as easy as possible for other big organisations and businesses and smaller ventures to tap into the expertise, talent and skills right here in Plymouth. “Keeping the pounds in Plymouth and maximising the benefits of our spending for the city’s economy, community and environment has never been so important. “We do not yet know the full impact the pandemic will have on our economy but we are doing all we can to make sure Plymouth can bounce back better when the time is right.” The aim of the directory is to have all the suppliers and companies in one place. It is like an online ‘yellow pages’ to serve the Plymouth area. It is open to any business that offers goods, services or works to other businesses, from massive health providers to horticulturalists, stationery supplies to demolition experts. Cllr Evans added: “This is information is out there - but it is not always easy to find. We want to bring it all under one umbrella. The launch is just the start. We want to encourage more suppliers and companies to check it out and get involved. You have nothing to lose

and a lot to gain.” It’s been a city-wide team effort to get the directory from an idea to reality. The Council has worked closely with the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Business, Plymouth Social Enterprise Network, Building Plymouth and the University of Plymouth. The directory is a key part of Resurgam, Plymouth’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan and will help businesses to ‘Spend 4 Plymouth’. The directory aims to be: • A sourcing tool for buyers to identify suppliers to invite to procurement activity • An advertisement tool for suppliers to advertise their capabilities and capacity to buyers • An opportunity for suppliers to make connections to support each other and form potential partnerships • An opportunity for directory partners to explain how they do business such as links to procurement platforms and advertised opportunities • A market intelligence tool to identify gaps in the local market for subsequent stimulation Stuart Elford, Chief Executive of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber, said: “The Chamber welcomes and fully supports the Plymouth Supplier Directory, which will go a long way to helping businesses and the local economy by keeping spend in our area. “Encouraging local procurement is a key strategic priority for the Chamber and we are delighted to work alongside the City Council

in this innovative initiative, especially at this difficult time for so many businesses.” Chair of Building Plymouth’s Procurement Group, Mike Borkowski, of Midas Group, said: “We have been seriously impressed by the level of engagement with industry and community groups from Plymouth City Council. “Together, we’ve got the city pulling together to focus on local spend, crucially not just what the council spend on services, but also making sure other spend and businesses in the city understand how valuable it is to support the local economy. “There is a wealth of construction expertise based in Plymouth and one of the quickest wins is to make sure that we encourage local businesses and social enterprises to list their details in the new online directory – making sure they are readily available to other businesses and all of the public sector clients looking for local suppliers. “Every pound spent locally has such a significant impact in local investment, training and employment opportunities for local people, and money re-circulating in local communities.” Gareth Hart, Director of Plymouth Social Enterprise Network, added: “This directory is super important and I urge businesses to get using it. “We want more people, public authorities and businesses, big and small, to buy from Plymouth’s social enterprises, co-ops and community businesses which will be listed in the directory. “This will create good local jobs and help the city’s economy recover from COVID in a greener, fairer and healthier way.”

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Celebrating our Unsung Heroes of Lockdown This has undoubtedly been a year of extreme challenge for business owners across the South West and beyond. Here at the Devon & Plymouth Chamber, we have been absolutely blown away by how you have all supported one another during the past 12 months.

The crisis has truly brought out the best in our communities. Our NHS and frontline workers continue to go above and beyond every day – doctors, nurses, bus drivers, teachers to name just a few. And beyond the frontline, there are the unsung heroes who have kept YOUR business running.

Stacey Turner and Jo Clarke

Lea Petherbridge

Events Officer and Marketing and Communications Officer respectively at The Box Plymouth

Field Supervisor at Home Instead Senior Care Tavistock and Tamar Valley

In Lockdown 1.0, these two women took the initiative to take the annual Plymouth History Month in May and ensured it still ran by making as much of the content as possible available online. They devoted hours of additional time to support Tricia Stubberfield, who was on a short-term contract as Festival Producer, to totally transform the programme, content and delivery mechanisms of this much-loved annual event. Their personal commitment, passion, enthusiasm and determination created a sustained month of wonderful and engaging content that kept many people interested and entertained while shielding in their homes. Nominated by Louise Walsh

Lea has been at Home Instead for a yearand-a-half and has a wealth of knowledge on just about any complex care need that comes up. Lea’s responsibilities fall under training CAREGivers and going to care for a range of clients herself to assess their needs. She is extremely perceptive, and the care she provides is totally catered towards the individual. She really thinks ‘outside the box’ to come up with the best solutions possible to the various challenges that crop up. Lea suffers from migraines on a weekly basis, yet she is always joyful and has a great sense of humour. She truly wears her heart on her sleeve, is down to earth and no matter what, takes on challenges in a positive way.

They are the glue that has kept your office, factory, shop or company alive – without them you simply might not have survived. Thank you to everyone who has nominated their Unsung Heroes of Lockdown. We hope you enjoy reading these inspirational stories as much as we have.

Esme Curtis Account Manager at Big Ant Group Esme has been so awesome during all lockdowns. She is a single mum with a young son at home, but has never complained and is always a true professional. We dealt with so many key workers in Plymouth and she recruited them, kept them going when they needed it and supported other branches, all while juggling her son’s welfare and family issues - and always with a fantastic smile on her face. We cannot thank her enough for the brilliant passion she not only shows for her job, but also the people she deals with. Nominated by John Renton

Nominated by Lynn Roddy, Owner of Home Instead Senior Care Tavistock and Tamar Valley

Andy McCreadie Managing Director at Sandler Training

Sarah-Jane Tyas-Peterson Prison Coordinator at bthechange CIC Relentlessly pursuing the well being and welfare needs for women leaving HMP Eastwood Park, Sarah has gone above and beyond to ensure that all who come into contact with her are given the best possible transition from prison to the community. Nominated by Josh Stunell


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

Paul Molyneux Owner at Molyneux Associates Paul put me through my training and transformed my life, enabling me to be my own boss in the financial services. He’s such a kind-hearted man as well and believed in me. It takes just one person to do that, and how life-changing that can be. Nominated by Caroline Wilson

When it comes to unsung heroes, Andy immediately springs to mind. When lockdown was announced, Andy and his brilliant team were quick to spring to action and offer fantastic support to their clients. This included incredibly valuable complimentary online leadership masterclass sessions, specifically tailored to the lockdown challenges. The support and enthusiasm to help was remarkable. Andy and his team deserve the recognition. Nominated by Ollie Jackman, Sales Manager at Taurus Clearer Communication


James Laughlin and Johnathan Bradbury

Sam Biddlecombe Client Experience Manager at Home Instead Senior Care Tavistock and Tamar Valley Sam joined Home Instead office in early 2019 after moving back home to become the primary CAREGiver for his elderly parents. Straight away, we realised that his empathy, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity filter through into his passion for care. Not only does he work so hard for the people he cares for, but he clearly has a very personal experience with care that has undoubtedly given him the knowledge and sensitivity to provide such high-quality care in the community. Sam works in the office as the scheduler, a huge role as we have over 70 CAREGivers out in the community to look after. Yet he takes this task in his stride, and consistently goes the extra mile for clients and CAREGivers. Sam is without a doubt an unsung hero. He never complains, he takes everything in his stride, and is unquestionably heartfelt in both his care and his everyday actions. Nominated by Lynn Roddy, Owner of Home Instead Senior Care Tavistock and Tamar Valley

Mike Jones Business Engagement Manager at City College Plymouth Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Business Engagement and Apprenticeships Team at City College Plymouth have had to react and adapt to support all of our apprentices and employers, more so than ever - with those being made redundant, businesses in difficulty and education at the forefront. Mike has single-handedly supported the whole team in ways I do not think he even realises. He not only cares about every single apprentice/employer who the team supports individually, but has raised morale, improved processes and our financial income (impressive in a difficult time) and is exactly the kind of leader we need. He has supported those who are working at home with children, while doing the same himself, and brings laughter and encouragement everyday. We are such a close team and cannot wait to celebrate our successes together, when we finally see each other again.

Regional Director for Exeter and Associate Electrical Engineer respectively at Services Design Solution Ltd James and Johnathan led the Services Design Solution (SDS) team in delivering the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Exeter. Designed and built in less than 57 days, the hospital is a true testament of design and build collaboration between SDS and the wider supply chain. The pair worked continuously and tirelessly throughout the project to deliver this time-critical project, which was recently recognised in the CIBSE 2021 Building Performance Awards - winning a COVID19 Achievement Award. There was an impressive collective desire and positivity from the team throughout to make this happen and it should be recognised as a huge achievement. John and James’s dedication and commitment to this project was outstanding and we are immensely proud of them both. Nominated by Katherine Archer

Nominated by Emma Chivers

Mark Rowland Managing Director at CUTEC

The Acronyms IT Engineers When the pandemic first hit, calls to our support desk jumped by over 260%. Whilst there were some long days (and often nights, too!), the team has worked fantastically since last March to ensure that businesses across the South West could remain operational. They not only helped many organisations transition to home-working and adapt to the challenges of such, but they’ve started helping businesses get ready for the future as they start to think about the role remote working might play in a post-pandemic world. Pictured are Corey Owen, Tim Radcliffe and James Kent. Nominated by Frazer Lloyd-Davies

Mark and the CUTEC team provided seamless and extensive support when the country first went into lockdown. CUTEC previously offered advice and ensured our IT infrastructure was prepared for such an event which enabled our staff to work safely and effectively from home. The team successfully and efficiently set up VPN connections for users on the relevant equipment, including setting up computers and remote desktop connections for those who needed to connect to their PC’s in the office. CUTEC provided a high level of customer service and enabled our business to continue with our operations with minimal interruptions to our servers and IT equipment. Nominated by Katherine Archer, Business Support Manager at Services Design Solution Ltd

Julia Samuel Marketing Co-ordinator at Sarah West Recruitment Julia has been a rock this year, and at points it was just the two of us working full-time. Our industry was hit by the pandemic, and most of the team were in furlough as our work all but disappeared. However, Julia and I kept the wheels turning and looked after the business until it was flourishing again. Always one to take a positive stance, Julia was a great support emotionally and practically during a crazy year. And all while juggling homeschooling! She is an incredible support to myself and the Sarah West Recruitment team and steps away from the limelight - very deliberately shining that on the team and their achievements through the marketing she does. Nominated by Sarah Knight

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile






Market 2 Media

KE Costs Lawyers

Lang & Potter Ltd

Myriad Business Services

www.market2media.co.uk 2 Morton Avenue, Crownhill Plymouth

www.kecosts.co.uk Liverpool Business Centre, 23 Goodlass Road, Liverpool

www.langandpotter.co.uk Galileo Close, Newnham Industrial Estate, Plymouth

www.therecruitmentgeeks.com Office 40, Airport Business Centre,

City of Plymouth Credit Union



www.cpcu.co.uk 14 Cumberland Street, Devonport Plymouth

www.nspcc.org.uk Brunswick House, Holborn Street, Plymouth

www.umbrelladev.com The Loft, Vauxhall Quay, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth

Bee@one Coaching

Gordon Oliver

Funky Media Agency

SmartPA Alexandra Ionescu

Frontline Image

www.funkymedia.agency Victoria Cottage, Blachford,

www.smart-pa.com Plymouth

www.frontlineimage.co.uk 10 Sisna Park, Estover Road, Plymouth

Sound Financial Management Limited www.sound-financial.co.uk 5 Windsor Villas, Lockyer Street, Plymouth

Wolseley Community and Economic Development Trust


www.batemansprayers.com Bycott Lane, Chulmleigh

Jet Engineering

Manico PR

www.jet-eng.com Oceansgate, Enterprise Zone, Devonport, Plymouth

www.manicopr.com Molesworth Road, Plymouth


BLOCK Pines Hill Business Park, Pines Hill, Exeter

www.bowelcancerwest.com 12 Colebrook Road, Plympton, Plymouth

www.encoreshowbiz.com 21C Brunel Road, Pillmere, Saltash

Kinetic Jam www.kineticjam.co.uk 15 Cherry Park, Plympton, Plymouth

Business Computing and Network Services Limited

www.citysecurityplymouth.co.uk 46a Underlane, Plympton, Plymouth

Rebecca Bastin - Professional Business Support www.rebeccabastin.co.uk Unit 1, The Watermark Business Centre, Ivybridge

City Cycle Couriers

www.bcns.co.uk 11 Kingswood Court, Long Meadow, South Brent


The Training Partnership Ltd

King Welsh Ltd


www.kingwelsh.co.uk Unit 2, Delamore Park, Cornwood, Ivybridge


The Cadman South West www.thecadmansouthwest.co.uk 31 Tregenna Close, Chaddlewood,


Algram Group Ltd

A B Consultancy

www.manicopr.com Eastern Wood Road, Langage Industrial Estate,

54 Colesdown Hill, Plymouth

Willmott Dixon Construction Limited www.willmottdixon.co.uk Aperture, Pynes Hill House, Pynes Hill, Exeter

www.gjcadvisory.com Mount Wise House, Discovery Road, Plymouth

Exeter College City Security Ltd

Encore The Show Business

Langage Industrial Estate, Plymouth

Gavin Jones Consultancy Bowel Cancer West

Let Lucy Help www.letlucyhelp.co.uk 12 Piper Street, Derriford, Plymouth

www.olympus-europa.com Eastern Wood Road,

MSubs Ltd www.msubs.com 42 Sisna Park Road, Estover,

Earlswood, Plymouth Road, Plymouth

www.beeatone.net 115 Byron Way, Exmouth

Gloucestershire Business School R J. Bateman Engineering Ltd

www.wolseley-trust.org 3 Wolseley Close, Wolseley Business Park, Plymouth


Thornbury Road, Estover, Plymouth

The Business Centre, 2 Cattedown Road, Plymouth

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

www.exe-coll.ac.uk Hele Road, Exeter

Maker Coating Systems Ltd www.makercoating.com 5 Oak Business Units, 18 Thorverton Road, Exeter

Coast & Country Cottages www.coastandcountry.co.uk Sykes Cottages Ltd, T/a Coast & Country Cottages, Hannafords Landing, Island Street, Salcombe

Vertical Plus Limited www.verticalplus.co.uk 1 Plymouth Science Park,

Davy Road, Plymouth Virtuallight

Axe Valley Accountancy Ltd www.axevalleyaccountancy.co.uk 3 Swan Road, Seaton

Home Instead Senior Care Tavistock and Tamar Valley www.homeinstead.co.uk/tavistocktamar-valley Kilworthy Park, Tavistock

www.virtuallight.co.uk 288 Outland Road, Peverell, Plymouth

Neon Juno www.neon-juno.com Plymouth

Ginga Business Consultancy Ltd www.gingabusiness.co.uk

The Recruitment Geeks www.lizreesaccountant.co.uk 9 Venn Court, Plymouth

New Continental Hotel www.newcontinental.co.uk Millbay Road, Plymouth

CHAMBER NEWS Fair Winds Mortgages

Highway to L

www.fairwindsmortgages.co.uk 7 Harlech Close, Plymouth

www.highwaytolplymouth.co.uk 23 St. Georges Avenue, Plymouth

The HR Dept

Comedy Matters - Dr Maggie Irving

www.hrdept.co.uk/plymouthtorbay-sw-devon Unit MSU9A Level 1.1, Charles Street, Plymouth

Blok ‘N’ Mesh Global Ltd www.bloknmesh.com Hottot Transport Yard, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot

www.drmaggieirving.blogspot.com Exmouth

The Devon & Plymouth Chamber’s strategic priorities for 2021 Everything we do here at the Devon & Plymouth Chamber is built around our strategic priorities, which enable us to focus our efforts where our members need us most. We have surveyed our members and directors as to what they thought were the most important areas for our businesses, and now we want to hear from you, our members. As a result, we have identified eight key strategic priorities, with a director and staff member being nominated for each priority. We are also inviting members to get involved, too.

Skills, Education and Training What: Ensuring skills, education and training meet the strategic needs of business and are responsive to the prevailing situation. Helping people in our area have the best chance of employment and life chances. Ensuring growth is inclusive. Lobbying to ensure skills, education and training are affordable for business. Who: Pauline Hands, Rich Adams, and Helen Hart

Sales, supply chains and local procurement What: Helping make local procurement easy and building resilient supply chains. Keeping the pound local where possible. Who: Linda MiddletonJones and Stuart Elford

New markets and international trade What: Accessing new markets, advice and training, especially considering Brexit and supporting our businesses to trade internationally. Who: Linda Middleton-Jones and Nick Byrne

Environment and climate change What: Helping our businesses take practical steps to reduce their environmental impact. Who: Ian McFadzen

Transport infrastructure What: Improving access to and from our region as well as travel within to improve productivity. Lobbying for increased investment. Who: Richard Stevens and Stuart Elford

Digital What: Improving infrastructure, skills and access to digital resources. Lobbying for the best connectivity of digital and mobile networks. Who: Paul James and Stuart Elford

If you would like to give feedback on any of our strategic priorities, please email Helen Hart, our Head of Member Services, at helen.hart@devonchamber.co.uk

Strategic priorities

Access to finance


What: Supporting businesses with information, advice, events and training to make them aware of every opportunity and ensure they are resilient and sustainable. Who: Emily Beaumont and Helen Hart


Education and training Digital


Building business resilience and offering opportunities

New markets and international trade



What: Informing and educating businesses about finance and the opportunities available. Who: Tim Jones and Helen Hart

Local procurement & supply chains

New opportunities


Sustainable growth/ environment

Transport infrastructure


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Finance to fuel your recovery An exciting online event giving you an exclusive insight into accessing the finance and support you need to grow in a world after lockdown is being hosted by Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce this spring. Introducing Access to Finance Live – a packed virtual event of expert exhibitors in a unique new format streamed live to the Chamber’s Facebook page in collaboration with Fresh Air Studios. The event will be hosted and presented live in Fresh Air’s Plymouth studios with back-toback content from exhibitors and sponsors. Access to Finance Live is an opportunity not just to get the latest insight on accessing funding but also accounting, tax and employee advice. It promises to be an fascinating finance marathon with invaluable financial advice and support for making a success of 2021 and fuelling your post-COVID recovery. The 2021 virtual Finance Expo is aimed at aspirational businesses seeking investment and support as they look to grow as well as students and entrepreneurs alike. It’s sponsored and backed by leading organisations including Western Union, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), TS Partners and Start Point Finance. Experts from across the finance and investment sectors will give a series of practical and impartial seminars throughout the event, unravelling the sometimes-complex routes to commercial support, business accountancy and explaining super capital allowances announced in the recent budget. It will also help you understand the new world of finance and how it’s been impacted by International Trade and Brexit. Historical funding routes have changed, with high-street banks operating under new lending guidelines and new entrants now offering a range of viable alternative options.

In a marketplace confusing for businesses who might lack a specialist finance director, this is an opportunity for businesses to: • •

• • •

Find new sources of financial investment best suited to you Learn how historic funding routes have changed and viable alternatives to traditional funders Meet their new lender Meet their new accountant Meet new employers

Exhibiting will be a diverse and highly knowledgeable selection of organisations specialising in finance and investment who cover an array of sectors. As the percentage of businesses with appropriately qualified finance directors is very small, it has been increasingly difficult for smaller growing businesses to identify appropriate sources of financial investment, with the financial articulation of requirements and projection of impact falling largely upon third parties, such as accountancy practices.

Exhibitors Thomas Westcott Barclays SWIG Finance South West Foreign Exchange

Sponsors Western Union Business Solutions Heart of the South West Growth Hub TS Partners Ltd Start Point Finance

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Thursday, April 15

Wednesday, June 30

Access to Finance Live, a virtual event

Charity Golf Day at Boringdon Park Golf Club in aid of Jerimiah’s Journey. Enquire for sponsorship opportunities, entry via our website.

Wednesday, June 9 83rd meeting of the PABC (members only)

Plus our regular online events including City & County Conversations, Chamber Live and Virtual Networking will all be continuing weekly and monthly - be sure to check devonchamber.co.uk/events for more details and registration.


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

SAVE THE DATE Friday, September 24, 2021 The Devon & Plymouth Chamber Awards 2021 will take place on 24 September 2021 this year - so save the date! We’ll be revealing details of how to enter very soon along with venue information, so keep an eye on our website, Chamber Bytes and social media channels for news!


Creative minds and businesses collaborate to champion culture and tourism in Plymouth

With an ever-growing network of organisations, entrepreneurs, emerging talent and a track record in delivering engaging, high-value events, the Plymouth Startup Weekend is back this spring with a big question for business brains and creative thinkers everywhere: How can our cities rejuvenate culture and tourism post pandemic? For Britain’s Ocean City - which was picked as one of the top ten places to travel in 2020 by Condé Nast Traveller magazine - this is an even bigger question. Organised by the University of Plymouth, as part of the iMayflower project, and part of the globally-renowned Techstars Startup Weekend movement, this year’s digital event is being held from April 23-25. Its focus is to find the bold and innovative ideas that will make Plymouth a prime cultural destination of 2022 - at the same time supporting the flourishing entrepreneurial community in the city and connecting businesses

with entrepreneurs and talent. Stuart Elford, Chief Executive of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber, said: “The Plymouth Startup Weekend has become an important fixture in the business calendar, when we get to witness some of the brightest minds and creative thinkers of our business future tackle some of the most pressing issues in Plymouth today.

“The Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is proud to support the Weekend and equally proud to support the positioning of our cultural sector as a driving force for the city economy.

“I’m genuinely excited to see how the participants apply entrepreneurial solutions to rejuvenating tourism and growing our cultural identity for the benefit of all.” The Culture and Tourism industry in Plymouth accounts for nearly £70 million of economic output per year, with a vast 365 businesses in the city classed as arts, entertainment and recreation. In line with Plymouth Culture’s recently announced strategy, over three days, teams of ambitious minds will be challenged to solve problems and forge creative ideas to protect the arts, live music events and iconic attractions for future years. Last year’s online edition saw around 40 attendees, with 15 original ideas pitched and seven teams formed. The network surrounding the event consisted of 18 various industry connections, with eight supporting business sponsors. In this new edition the Plymouth Startup Weekend team are looking to work with more innovative leaders and organisations across the South West, and beyond, in order to support the citywide cultural strategy at this crucial time for the industry - forging a lasting impact on our economy by supporting some of the region’s brightest and boldest entrepreneurs. Emily Barrett, Knowledge Exchange Officer at the University of Plymouth, and lead organiser of Plymouth Startup

Weekend, commented: “An important part in everything we do is collaborating with the local business community and these events are no different.

“It is wonderful to have the involvement of so many local organisations supporting the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and inspiring emerging talent and aspiring entrepreneurs from the city and beyond.” Hannah Harris, CEO of Plymouth Culture, added: “Plymouth is uniquely positioned to grow dramatically as a cultural and tourist destination over the course of the next decade thanks to several years of significant investment, development and hard work in the sector. “As our 10-year Culture Plan demonstrates - culture can be the engine that drives Plymouth’s economy. We see the cultural and creative sector interwoven with business and enterprise, which is why there couldn’t be a better time to focus this year’s Plymouth Startup Weekend on Culture and Tourism as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are very much looking forward to seeing the entrepreneurial talent on show that this fantastic event invariably produces and would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck.”

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



New Skills for Jobs White Paper calls for ‘seamless and strong relationship between further education and industry’ Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO at South Devon College reflects on the opportunities and implications within this important Government publication In January, the Government’s Department for Education published a white paper, Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity & Growth. This sets out how skills will be at the heart of driving the recovery of our economy after Covid19 and meeting the needs of the UK following Brexit. Importantly, the focus of this paper is on vocational and technical qualifications and apprenticeships. It positions lifelong education and skillsbased training at the centre of the Government’s plans for economic recovery. The publication proposes putting employers at the heart of our skills system so that education and training leads to jobs that improve productivity and fills skills gaps. Additionally, it lays out plans to invest in

higher-level technical skills qualifications that provide a valuable alternative to a university degree. An ambition is also set out which will make sure people can access training and learning flexibly throughout their lives and are well informed about what is on offer through great

careers support. In his foreword, Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, states: “To give ourselves the best chance of success we must make sure everyone has the skills which will allow them to get good jobs, both now and in the future.”​

Before referring more specifically to the challenge in upskilling our workforce to keep up with technological advances: “As the rate of technological change increases, further education will be crucial to building an agile and adaptable workforce…. Everyone will have the chance to retrain, update their skills and move into growth sectors, when they need to.” ​ As our thoughts turn to reopening the country after lockdown in an economy that is, according to many economists ‘poised like a coiled spring’ to recover, what does this White Paper really mean for local businesses and employers? Putting employers at the heart of our skills system so that education and training leads to jobs that improve productivity and fill skills gaps ​ The publication calls for a ‘seamless and strong relationship between further education and industry’.


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE Developing strong partnerships with our local and regional business community is nothing new for most colleges and at South Devon College we already work closely with over 1,200 employer partners supporting apprenticeships and bespoke

professional training amongst many other things. Employability and improving employability skills is at the heart of everything we do as a College and a driving force behind the strategic development of our curriculum and the facilities that support them. The College’s Hi-Tech & Digital Centre opened in 2019 and is already supporting progression of skilled individuals into digital, engineering and creative industries. The forthcoming relaunch of the South Devon Marine Academy in its new purpose-built centre is set to support strong growth and

new opportunities in the marine sector. Encouragingly, it is suggested that there will now be more support for the further education sector and the way colleges already work closely with businesses, with the introduction of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs). Additional funding for College Business Centres to lead business development and innovation will be made available. There may also be an opportunity for Devon to be one of the proposed Trailblazer Areas and, if this presents itself, we should all work together to grab this with open arms. Following the announcement from the Prime Minister in Exeter in November last year, the White Paper details the new Lifetime Skills Guarantee for adults – an entitlement to free study at Level 3 (A level equivalent), together with the introduction of employer-led Digital and Technical Bootcamps to help more adults enter education and find higher skilled, better paid and more secure employment. ​ The new Bootcamps focus on generating interest in growth industries where skills gaps exist across the South West. The college has moved quickly in setting up its series of Digital and Technical Bootcamps, with four

courses starting in March and April for Automotive Engineering, Photonics, Optics and Microelectronics in partnership with global employers from within Torbay’s world class technical cluster, including Effect Photonics and Gooch & Housego, who will guarantee an interview for those who successfully complete the 12-week course. This initiative, along with the exciting new Kickstart scheme which provides funding for employers to create new job placements for 16- to 24-yearolds who are at risk of long term unemployment, is a first step towards achieving the Government’s aim to align ‘the vast majority’ of post-16 technical education and training to employer-led standards by 2030.

Investing in higher-level technical qualifications that provide a valuable alternative to a university degree ​ ​The College welcomes this pragmatic approach that sets out to address the gap in perceived value of Further and Higher Education. Williamson says that, “…too many people – and too many employers - wrongly believe that studying for a degree at university is the only worthwhile marker of success.” Over the past five years, we have seen significant growth in higher apprenticeships for programmes run from our highly regarded University Centre South Devon (UCSD), far beyond that even of our traditional degree level programmes. Higher apprenticeships are an excellent route for young people to secure a degree, “earning and learning” and also provide an opportunity for those already in work, perhaps in lower paid roles, to develop with their existing employer – adding value to their business by aligning personal development and formal qualifications to business needs. This minimises risk and costs for individuals and their employers in developing important skills and knowledge and gaining a relevant qualification. Making sure people can access training and learning flexibly throughout their lives and are well-informed about what is on offer through great careers support​ Students come to us from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds and for many, studying a degree level

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile


SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE programme straight from school may not have been an option. We are finding increasing numbers of adults approaching us for advice on a change in career later in life, perhaps returning to work after a break to care for family. Others return to education in search of a more fulfilled and meaningful career or improved opportunities. According to an internal survey run by South Devon College in 2019, concerns over funding and affordability was the second most common barrier to returning to education. Further education must be accessible to all and initiatives like the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and the introduction of a new flexible Lifelong Loan Entitlement (the equivalent of four years of post-18 education from 2025) as well as the launch of a single portal for lifelong careers advice should make this a reality.


Supporting excellent teaching in further education​ Steps are proposed by the Government, and early plans are already in place, to raise the profile of further education to attract the very best talent into this increasingly highly regarded, fast moving and exciting sector. Although there is still a lot of detail to be worked through, The Skills for Jobs White Paper has done more for the further education sector than any other initiative in the last 10 years. It is clear that whether across our post-pandemic recovery, the urgent transition to a net zero carbon economy or the levelling up agenda, colleges have a critical role to play… and we are ready! 

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile


Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 with Dr Suzanne Sparrow International Women’s Day offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate the South West’s leading businesswomen. As well as highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, this global day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Sharing knowledge, support, best practice and lessons learnt is invaluable to young, aspiring and inspiring young women leaders. And there are few in the South West - men or women - who have inspired more people than Dr Suzanne Sparrow. Born and bred in Plymouth, Suzanne joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17. She even survived her home being blitzed in 1941. After being released from service at the end of World War II, she worked in various jobs - including being secretary at the Marine Research Laboratory at Newton Ferrers. During her time there, she met many visitors from overseas, some of whom had limited spoken English. She says: “At home we also had young overseas students staying with the family to help improve their English, and it was through this I realised that Plymouth did not have a professional language school.” In 1978, Suzanne founded the Suzanne Sparrow Plymouth Language School, which this year celebrates its 42nd year. “We’ve taught some really extraordinary people over the years,” she says. “We get some very nice calls from people overseas telling us how much they’ve enjoyed being at our school and how much we’ve helped them. “I had one lovely call the other day from a lady who lives in Paris and said she’d just found some photographs of the school. “She came to us in 1997/98 with her young daughter, and the daughter is now one of the diplomats in Brussels. Now aged 96, Suzanne has handed much of the day-to-day running of the North Roadbased business to her daughter, Hilary - who is now principal - but she remains very much involved. Suzanne admits the past 12 months have been among the toughest she can remember. She says: “Language schools have been very badly affected by the aftermath of the

Covid-19 pandemic and the Brexit situation. “Like all other schools we’ve had to close the building, but we’ve been grinding our way through this difficult situation and we’re opening again on Monday (March 8). “Now we’re in our 42nd year and throughout I’ve maintained my office here at home, so that’s been a huge benefit because we’ve been able to send messages and emails throughout lockdown. “So, we have continued the school online, which has brought an enormous transformation in our methods of teaching and it seems to work.

“It’s obviously been very difficult as we’ve been employing people who we’ve now had to let go, but it will improve and we’ll keep going. Suzanne admits people’s attitudes to women in business have greatly changed over the years for the better. She reveals: “When I started, I was very

badly treated - like a second-class citizen. “When I became chairman of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce (Suzanne is still only the second woman to hold that position), there was definitely an attitude of, ‘Oh dear, what’s going to happen now?’. “But we were the pioneers of language schools in Plymouth, and we were ten years ahead of everybody else.” In 1989, Suzanne opened up the Chamber to an international section which she ran for more than a decade. She explains: “We chaired meetings for businesspeople who were working with businesses abroad. We also linked up with Plymouth City Council so that when overseas delegations or individuals came to the UK, we were there to greet and entertain them. “We also had a group of people from our local Chamber visit Brussels and Strasbourg. “It was pretty early days back then, but Audrey Cook booked all our coaches and hotels – it was that I believe had never been done before.” In 2016, Suzanne won the 2016 Lifetime Achievement honour at the Plymouth Business Awards, given to the businessman or woman who has made a considerable, profitable and lasting contribution to business in the city. Suzanne says: “I have certainly learned a lot over the years, and I have made a lot of very good friends - particularly from overseas. “What surprises me most is how underestimated our English language is. How would Boris Johnson have got on with Brexit if the others didn’t speak English? “For a number of years, we ran the Words and Music Festival with the University of Plymouth to try and stimulate interest particularly for schools teaching English and to encourage people to listen to the music of the language. “Our focus is on educating people who come to the UK to live and work, and language schools like ours contribute greatly to the English language being used abroad and in this country.” Find out more about the Suzanne Sparrow Plymouth Language School here: www.sparrow.co.uk

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Vision for culture to support a vibrant ‘world-class’ Plymouth for the benefit of all •

The Hatchling An ambitious vision to put culture at the heart of Plymouth’s development has been revealed, supporting and creating hundreds of jobs and businesses while building a world-class cultural offer that attracts visitors and connects communities. Plymouth Culture – the organisation that supports the city’s cultural sector – has united businesses, stakeholders and city leaders as well as artists, creatives and performers to develop the Culture Plan, which sets out how culture can give Plymouth the economic and creative support it needs to truly prosper. Culture is vital to Plymouth’s future in a world after the Covid-19 pandemic - the sector currently employs more than 1,500 people, with an estimated 600 indirect jobs supported by it. It accounts for nearly £70 million of economic output per year, and 365 businesses in Plymouth are classed as “arts, entertainment, recreation and other services”.

Despite the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Plymouth has continued to innovate culturally through the crisis with major developments such as The Box opening and projects like the Speedwell ‘No New Worlds’ installation attracting global attention. This is as well as eye-catching community projects such as impromptu giant puppet parades, guerrilla knitting and a human seagull wandering the city centre – all part of Plymouth’s relentless creative spirit.

Barbican Street Theatre Puppets

Increasing the number of outdoor and indoor spaces used to host cultural initiatives. Helping develop new music venues and support current venues, as well as creating music-led events in innovative new spaces. A new digital platform under the banner of Culture is Alive that celebrates culture, provides a comprehensive cultural guide, puts the spotlight on the city’s many creatives and helps attract and retain cultural talent. Making sure Plymouth’s cultural offer reaches every community, neighbourhood and person. Using digital technology to make Plymouth the number one city in the UK for immersive experiences. Making sure equality and diversity of voice is embedded at every level of Plymouth’s cultural development. A cultural forum that involves communities in decisions about our cultural programme, including public art and the city’s events programme. Continuing to attract millions in vital funding to the city, building on a trend of investment from important bodies such as Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Box Plymouth The Culture Plan builds on this spirit, aspiring to channel it into making the city an international beacon for culture. It includes: •

Still Moving (Speedwell)


An annual world-class programme of citywide public events that connect communities. Immediate investment in the city centre.

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

The Culture Plan comes after a year of battling the unprecedented effects of the Covid-19 pandemic but gives an optimistic vision for the city’s future. Hannah Harris, CEO of Plymouth Culture, said: “This is not simply a strategy for how Plymouth bounces back from the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit it

Look II

Theatre Royal Plymouth

Plymouth Dance

Plymouth Arts Cinema comes at a time when we can consider how we want Plymouth to be in the future, and how we embed culture in it. “With the opening of significant developments such as The Box, and the arrival of the British Art Show next year – as well as Mayflower 400 putting us in the international spotlight – it is important we put culture at the heart of the city’s future.” Plymouth Culture has worked with dozens of cultural and creative organisations over the past 12 months to develop the plan – but also businesses and entrepreneurs. Cllr Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “Quite simply, this strategy is about making great stuff happen. It’s all the things we are really missing right now. “I want our cultural offer to define us as a playful, welcoming city; a brave city that doesn’t shy away from the global challenges we face and instead continues to take risks, stand up and stand out.”


Swimming pontoons to make a splash Plymouth’s wild swimmers will be able to rest on and jump off new swimming pontoons due to be installed as part of a raft of goodies to help the city make waves as the UK’s first National Marine Park. The floating pontoons, which could be moored off Tinside by early summer, are among new facilities that will appear this year, thanks to a grant worth £625,000 from the Getting Building Fund. As well as the pontoons and associated services on the Hoe Foreshore, other work is planned including physical improvements to the waterfront, steps and slipways as well as the installation of electric vehicle boat charging points to improve key access points to the water. The project worth over £1,150,000 in total also includes investing in digital infrastructure to enable Plymouth to host the exciting SailGP event which is due to hit the waters here in July. The remaining sum will be match funded by the Council. Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This is just the start. The national marine park is all about getting more people to enjoy the Sound - either on it or in it. “We have a vision of what we want the park to be and like any national park, we want to make it easy for people to get in it. These are practical measures that mean more of us can enjoy and feel safe in the water of Plymouth Sound. More importantly

this news sends a very strong message - the national marine park is on its way.” As well as the swimming platforms, repairs to at least three public slipways around Plymouth Sound will mean paddleboarders, kayakers and other water users will get easier access to the water. The project is not just about people getting into the water to have fun, it will support the creation of 28 jobs and apprenticeships, as well as 13 temporary construction jobs. The project signals the start of capital investment to unlock the economic, social and environmental benefits of the National Marine Park. Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund aims to support shovel-ready projects that will contribute to our area’s post-COVID recovery. We are delighted to agree funding towards Plymouth’s national marine park, which will support the local economic recovery, create jobs and provide fantastic new facilities for the community and visitors to enjoy.” The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership was allocated money from the Government’s Getting Building Fund to invest in major infrastructure projects to support economic growth across

the city. The project is one of a number to be successfully submitted by the Council and partners across the city. The projects, chosen after a robust selection process, will play an important role in Plymouth’s economic recovery programme, Resurgam, by supporting employment, regeneration, skills and innovation in the region. 

About the National Marine Park The NMP aims to connect people to the Sound’s rich marine environment; an environment that can be difficult to access through physical and cost barriers. It also closely aligns with the development of the Visitor Plan for 2020 to 2030. Tourism is one of the big success stories in Plymouth. Over the last decade tourism has seen visitor numbers and visitor spend grow by over 20 per cent. Over five million visitors make a trip to the city every year spending £347m. On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund. The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK. The Heart of the South West LEP – strategic partners of Devon & Plymouth Chamber - secured a total allocation of £35.4 million from the Getting Building Fund – the highest allocation in the South West.

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Plymouth and South Devon freezone will unlock millions for region Plymouth is to become a Freeport, unlocking million pounds of funding for the area - both within the city’s boundaries and across the wider South Devon area. Plymouth City Council led a partnership with Devon County and South Hams District Council, as well as the Heart of the South West LEP, on a bid to become a freezone which would include sites at Devonport South Yard, Langage Energy Zone and Sherford Business Park. The Plymouth and South Devon freezone would aim to create space for businesses to import goods and materials, add value to them (by manufacture), and export them and leverage Plymouth’s marine innovation strengths to attract big marine sector tech companies. Industry giants Babcock and Princess Yachts have already backed the bid. A key factor in the bid is the city’s commitment to high tech marine innovation with a focus on carbon zero technology. Up to 1,000 new jobs could be created in the first two years and up to 9,000 over the next 10 years and 50 new apprenticeships and 10 internships every year by 2027.


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

More than 70 local businesses are expected to benefit from the scheme, which is forecast to bring in over £100m investment in the next six years. Cllr Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “This is a big deal with big numbers. While we are waiting for the detail, I am beyond chuffed that our thriving marine sector has been recognised as a strength and something to build on. “It also shows that working with our neighbouring colleagues pays off. Bottom line this means jobs, job security, opportunities and significant investment. “We are calling our Freeport a freezone because it is about much more than a port. This will benefit a lot of people across this area. “This is also much needed recognition that levelling up is as important for us in Plymouth in the far the South West as it is to the North of England.” Devon County Council’s Cabinet member for economy, Rufus Gilbert, said: “I am delighted that the Government has approved the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport.

“The County Council was pleased to join this bid along with Plymouth City Council and South Hams District Council and it will provide a multi-million pound boost to economic recovery. “With the success of the vaccination programme and the Chancellor’s support for Devon’s vital tourism and hospitality businesses, it is really important that we join together to drive economic recovery. “The Freeport will help level up the regional economy and provide good jobs for local people as well as welcome apprentice opportunities for our young people.” Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “This is great news for us in South Hams because it could bring thousands of jobs and millions of pounds of investment to our doorstep. “I am delighted that once again our collaborative efforts to work across local authority boundaries has proven successful, and I look forward to continuing our work with Plymouth City Council and Devon County Council as this exciting opportunity unfolds.”




Six tax planning considerations for businesses following the Spring Budget The Spring Budget announcement on 3 March provided businesses and individuals with more certainty when considering any tax planning opportunities ahead of the end of this tax year on 5 April. Some of the measures could also help as we look further into the future. So, what should you be considering? Mark Tibbert, of Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants, has six areas to look at.

1. Have you made full use of your pension allowances? Every individual has an annual pension allowance of £40,000. If you are looking to reduce your company’s tax liability, remove or reduce a higher rate tax liability, or, for high earners, restore your personal allowance, then pension contributions should be considered.

2. Are you planning capital expenditure on plant and equipment? If so, then the decision for companies is now more complicated. If spend can be delayed until after 1 April 2021, it may delay the tax relief, but could mean obtaining an additional 30% tax deduction or the equivalent of a further 5.7% real tax saving.

3. For company owners, have you declared dividends to make use of your available allowances this year? Assuming the company has retained profits brought forward or available profits this year, have you: • Declared dividends to make use of the personal £2,000 dividend allowance? • Declared dividends to make full use of the individual earnings limit of £50,000 before paying tax at higher rates? This is relevant even if you do not intend to take the cash out of the company now.

4. Can you carry back any losses? In recognition of the difficult past 12 months, there is now scope for businesses to carry back losses by up to 36 months. Businesses should consider if this is a

possibility to recover taxes already paid and give a much-needed cash injection. Alternatively, with the prospect of potential future tax rises, the losses may generate greater relief by being carried forward, given we already know corporate tax rates will increase to 25% from 1 April 2023.

5. Will you benefit from the extended SDLT holiday? The Spring Budget brought good news for residential property transactions. The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday on properties less than £500,000 will remain until 1 July 2021 before being phased out. That means buyers have longer to complete purchases at the lower rate. From a planning perspective, there is now an extended window to look at transfers between spouses without incurring an SDLT liability where any debt is involved.

months and then a reduced rate for the rest of the year. Business restart grants will be made available, including up to £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses, £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses and discretionary grants for businesses that do not fall into these categories.

For further information on any of these measures, or to discuss how Thomas Westcott can help with any planning, please contact us at events@thomaswestcott.co.uk or call us on 01392 288555.


6. How do the other measures impact on you and your business? There are a number of other measures to support businesses and individuals impacted by the pandemic. It is worth considering which of these may help you over the coming months. •

The extension of the furlough scheme until 30 September, 2021, with businesses only having to contribute more from July 2021. A fourth and fifth round of support grant for the selfemployed, including extending the scheme for those newly selfemployed in 2019/20. The extension of the VAT-reduced rate for hospitality until 30 September 2021 and then a new 12.5% rate through to 31 March 2022. 100% Business Rates relief until 30 June 2021 for three

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



What does January 1st and the trade agreement really mean to businesses?

For those that didn’t head off on Christmas Eve to seek a copy of the new trade agreement that the UK and EU have negotiated for bedtime reading, Linda Middleton-Jones unwraps the key points. I am also motivated to write this from a little dissatisfaction with media reporting. To be fair to the mainstream media, they have a very tough job to do. They need to take pages and pages of legal text and make it meaningful for the average man (and woman) in the street. That is a tall order when most are not


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

business owners and don’t normally encounter the practicalities of importing and exporting. This article is therefore an opportunity to cut through the media summaries we saw at the start of the year and put some important information about the trade agreement into some practical contexts.

Customs Declarations – this is not news! This is getting a lot of media attention because there will, indeed, be increased

procedures for importing and exporting goods between the UK and the EU. For any business trading with countries outside of the EU, you are doing these already. If you are a small- or medium-sized business, the chances are that your transportation partner is organising this for you. When you book your transport, whether it is through a broker site or direct with a courier or freight forwarder, they are asking you the right questions and taking care of the customs declarations. They are charging you for the service, but

SECTOR FOCUS: INTERNATIONAL TRADE it is probably lost on your invoice and merely considered an administration charge. Goods worth over £300bn are exported from the UK to the EU and a little more than that are imported – this is a dramatic increase in the volume of customs declarations that will need to be done so expect some teething problems. Very few IT systems could cope with such a huge increase overnight. But we have all known about this for months and grant programmes have been in place to help everyone prepare. And, good news, for most imported goods, you can choose to delay declarations six months. Customs declarations are, therefore, not news!

Tariffs – this is the good news! What is news – and very welcome news – is that there will be no trade tariffs or quotas between the UK and the EU. Tariffs are taxes and quotas are limits. No tariffs mean, for some, very considerable cost savings, and no quotas means no limits on the amount of trade. I have worked with businesses in recent weeks who were facing anything from a potential 6% tariff to as much as 30%. What that meant to them is that if they sold goods to the value of, say, £1,000 to customers in the EU, the customer would have to pay an additional amount from £60 to £300 on top of the price of the goods. Businesses were having to consider whether they could absorb the additional cost to remain competitive or pass them on to their customers. And the same was true for goods they were importing – leading to potentially significant cost increases. Happily, all that uncertainty is gone. Goods can be bought and sold between the EU and the UK completely free of trade tariffs (taxes). This is, indeed, very good news.

from any country, not just EU countries. This products you sell to determine their origin. is therefore a benefit to cashflow for all your Only then can you safely declare Country Of imports. Definitely good news! Origin on your sales paperwork and benefit The challenge with VAT is for small from tariff free trade. businesses who are not registered for I am often asked by businesses if it’s OK VAT, and – whatever their size – for those to confirm that their goods are of UK origin businesses selling to consumers. You can only simply because they manufacture them claim back VAT if you are VAT registered. If here in the UK. The answer is no! Proving you are a small business below the threshold origin with a costed bill of materials, and for VAT registration, you will still have to pay, certainty about the origin of components, is but be unable to claim it back. This might the only way to confirm origin. It is be the time to consider registration not adequate to assume that even if you are below the current because you manufactured threshold of £85,000 turnover the finished article here, The trade per year. you have definitely agreement is over But here’s the rub – if you’re produced an item of UK VAT registered you will have origin. 1,000 pages long to charge VAT. That’s fine if It is completely to be for a very good your customers are businesses expected that the trade – they will, in turn, just claim it agreement applies to reason back. But if your customers are goods originating in the UK. consumers, that’s a portion of your But putting the processes in income that now becomes a tax that place to demonstrate this, and has to go to the government. Or a price rise. declare origin with certainty, is a piece Neither are good outcomes! And if you have of work than many businesses will now be consumer customers in the EU, they are now undertaking. This is news! facing sales tax (VAT) on the goods they are importing from you. There are some lower And there’s more limits and, of course, there are goods that The trade agreement is over 1,000 pages don’t attract VAT. So, each business will need long for a very good reason. It covers to analyse this for themselves. As I say, mixed numerous aspects of trade and activities news. between the EU and the UK. I haven’t

Showing Country Of Origin – this is the REAL news!

Hidden in amongst the detail of the trade agreement and missed by most of the mainstream reporting that I’ve seen, is the critical issue of Country of Origin. This is both completely logical and frequently not managed well enough in many businesses. This ensures that the goods subject to the highly advantageous trading position of no tariffs are definitely from the UK. Completely reasonable – no There will be one ever intended that the UK became a back door to allow VAT no trade tariffs entry of goods from other – mixed news! or quotas between countries that do attract Local sales tax – VAT in tariffs. Therefore, to benefit the UK and for members the UK and the from tariff free trade, you of the EU – will become must declare that your goods EU payable on goods that are of UK origin. And, most attract VAT when they are importantly, if ever challenged or imported or exported. Again, this scrutinised, prove that to be legitimate. is the same as the local sales tax that This will mean that you need to know goods attract when they are sold to other where all the components that you use in countries, it is just referred to by other names your products originate. That’s not where in some other places in the world. But it is you bought them from – it’s their Country payable. Of Origin. Just because your supplier is in If you are a VAT registered business, you the UK does not mean their supplier is in can claim the VAT back. More good news – the UK. Your purchasing folk will need to the UK government announced postponed obtain written confirmation from each of your VAT accounting from 1st January so that suppliers declaring the origin of each of the businesses can declare their import VAT products you buy. When you know the origin, at the same time as they recover the VAT. you can build a costed bill of materials for the Interestingly this applies to goods imported

touched on road freight, services, digital, or the many aspects that your HR teams will be looking at affecting employees from the EU. I haven’t covered all the aspects of international trade that are included – I have only drawn out the key issues for most of the businesses I’ve worked with. We can all agree that a trade agreement is a good thing – but must also agree that now the work starts to truly see its impact on our businesses.

The small print and how we can help For each of the schemes that I’ve mentioned above, there are exceptions. There are thresholds, some goods, some goods are outside of the scheme that allows you to delay your import declarations, and so on. Therefore, it is vital that you analyse the impact of our departure from the EU and the new trade agreement for your specific business circumstances. Please get in touch – we’d like to help you with that and it’s what we do every day with a very wide array of different types of business. Linda Middleton-Jones is part of International Trade Matters and a director of Devon & Plymouth Chamber. She has more than 25 years’ experience in international commerce across manufacturing, nuclear and aviation sectors from her base in South West England. Get in touch via internationaltradematters.com

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Business Interruption Insurance – an update By Jamie Carr, Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution, Nash & Co Solicitors

What happened? The High Court made two important rulings. In respect of the “disease” policies, these should have been interpreted far more widely than the insurers had done. The court found that most of these policies, many of which had sought to limit their cover to precise diseases occurring within a limited radius of the insured, would provide cover. The court disagreed with the insurers that a policy could be limited, unless the wording is very clear, to paying out for losses resulting from localized Covid-19 outbreaks only. Equally, the court found against the

insurers for many of the ‘access’ policies addressed in the claim. Such policies are much more dependent on their precise wording, and whether cover is provided will largely depend on how affected the business has been by the Government’s response to the Pandemic. For example, businesses ordered to close or those subjected to mandatory closure orders, are more likely to successfully argue that they are covered. The decisions were subject to various appeals and the Supreme Court handed down its final Judgment on 15 January. The Supreme Court’s view was unanimous in

dismissing the insurers’ appeals. The court was very clear that it would not reverse its finding that most of the policies which it looked at should pay out. It is notable that the court, in its judgment, refers to the principal that the polices, as with any other contract, must be interpreted objectively by asking what a reasonable person would have understood the language used in the policy to mean. Only in this way could any interpretation of the policies be ‘fair’ to policyholders.

What does this mean for me? The Supreme Court’s decision confirms that many policyholders, who have made claims, should now have their losses paid. It is worth bearing in mind that the judgments will not apply to all policies and whether the court’s decision effects your claim will ultimately come down to the wording of your own policy. Equally, it was not the purpose of the court proceedings to look at the value of any payment, which


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

may remain a point of dispute between policyholders and their insurer. However, if you have made a claim (or intend to still make a claim) and have not received payment, the matter should be addressed to your insurer, if you have not been contacted by them since the Supreme Court’s decision. Equally, if your business is considering an offer from its insurer, any proposed settlement may need to be

reconsidered in light of the judgment. Should you need any advice about your rights to claim under a policy, any continuing dispute with your insurer or if you have questions concerning your BII policy generally, our team would be happy to have an initial conversation with you to discuss how we can assist. Please contact myself on 01752 827014 or jcarr@nash.co.uk . Thank you.


Can you stop sellers setting up against you? Liam Toulen, Associate at Ashford’s Exeter

owners, often with decades of experience

The Court recognised the need for caution

office, examines how you can protect the

and intimate knowledge of the Company, its

but considered that the need for the Court’s

value of your business purchase when sellers

employees, clients, suppliers and the sector

protection was fully justified on the evidence.

set up in competition

were to set up a similar (and often “carbon

Having been ordered to provide statements

It is not uncommon for the former owner/ directors to be retained to lead a business following the sale of the Company. Typically, service contracts will be put in

copy”) business. A recent High Court judgment demonstrates the powers of the Court to protect the value of a Company where there

setting out the fullest possible details relating to the claim at the outset of this matter, the Defendants will be firmly on the backfoot. Anyone who has purchased a business will

place with the former owners for this role

is evidence of wrongdoing. It is a good

want to protect their investment to the fullest

as part of the sale process and will set out

example of just how fast paced these matters

extent possible. If there is evidence that the

certain restrictions limiting competition

can be.

sellers of a business have breached (or are

with the Company if the former owner later decides to move on.

The first solicitors’ letter was sent on 15

planning to breach) the SPA or their service

January 2021 and two weeks later, the parties

agreements, it is essential that the buyer acts

were in front of a Judge with the Defendants

urgently, obtains specialist legal advice and

will typically offer the purchaser a suite of

being ordered to preserve evidence, deliver

gathers as much evidence as possible to put

contractual protections limiting the former

up confidential information and provide

before the Court if that becomes necessary.

owners competing for a certain period

affidavits setting out “the fullest possible

following the sale of the Company.

details of the results of all inquiries conducted

often can lead to an early resolution without

as to the matters raised by the Claimant”.

the need to go to trial.

The Share Purchase Agreement (or SPA)

Restrictions will typically seek to prevent setting up in competition, soliciting clients

An interim injunction is a powerful tool and

The Defendants tried to resist on the basis

and poaching key employees. On the whole,

that “judges do not grant injunctions merely

Liam Toulen can be contacted at

the Courts readily accept these sorts of

because they will do no harm but grant them


restrictions as a necessary element of a

only if there is evidence before them of the

business sale to protect the value of the

likelihood of the wrong complained of being


repeated and evidence before them that the

The Courts recognise that the Company could be irreparably damaged if the former

[Claimant’s] need protection against those wrongs” .

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Management buyout for financial planning firm A Tavistock firm of chartered financial planners has benefitted from a management buyout with five new shareholders being brought into the business. Hansford Bell, an established firm with 15 members of staff and a 20-year history, has modernised its board with five new members buying into the business. The two founding directors have stepped down, with one retiring and the second continuing to work on a consultancy basis. The management buyout, which was advised upon by GA Solicitors, brings a young and dynamic team to the board who plan to expand the business and continue to grow its already substantial client base. The new board is led by majority shareholder, Chris Palmer, who has been with the firm since 2012. Chris was also the firm’s managing director for two years. Commenting on the buyout, majority shareholder Chris Palmer, said: “I have


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

worked alongside founding directors Steve and Nikki Marker for nearly a decade. They have built a sound business and, with a new and motivated team in place, we hope to build on this success and grow the business and expand our reach. We will not however, lose the core values which are in place. We will continue to provide a bespoke service to our clients with the highest levels of client care. With his decades of experience, we are also delighted that Steve will continue to work alongside the team on a consultancy basis. “This was a significant investment and a complex matter. The commercial team at GA Solicitors proved invaluable from start to finish. James and Serena guided us through the process and were on call whenever they were needed. We couldn’t have asked for more.” James Peterson, partner and the company commercial solicitor who advised on the acquisition, added: “Hansford Bell

is an established business with a loyal and growing customer base. We were delighted to aid Chris and the other new shareholders on the purchase and to guide them through the various stages. There were three parts to the business which meant three acquisitions in one from a legal perspective. With strict timescales in place we worked hard to meet the desired deadline and keep all parties happy. “It was a successful completion, helped by the friendly and supportive relationship between the original directors and the new board coming to the fore. We wish them the best of luck in taking the Hansford Bell name forward.” There are now six directors of Hansford Bell: Chris Palmer (managing director), Becky Adams (financial planning director), Ross Biddiss (financial planning director), Emma Jones (financial planning director), Janine Palmer (HR director) and Gemma Grice (operations and compliance director).


Four ways to keep on top of your IT The last 18 months have seen many businesses move online faster than they would ever have imagined, bringing with it a rise in demand for e-commerce platforms, new websites and social media management to keep sales pipelines flowing. John McGill of BCNS explains. In many cases, the speed of the digital

case! Old versions of your data are deleted

end up in real trouble. BCNS can advise

transformation moved faster than the need

in most cases after no more than 90 days,

on an implementation process that avoids

to plan and project manage the move to

leaving you vulnerable if a file becomes

falling into the trap of jumping in before

e-commerce sites or into cloud-based

corrupted or if you need to retrieve files

you’re ready.

systems, bringing in its wake a fresh set of

for statutory reasons. Invest in a back-up

problems for business owners to contend

system at the same time as you migrate to


the cloud.

BCNS has been working with schools,

A suitable cloud backup solution will

4. Look at leasing IT A mistake we see many businesses make is trying to upgrade or replace IT systems

colleges, businesses and charities for over

also protect you from the consequences of

bit by bit, when investing in the new

20 years, helping to align organisational


system properly would be more efficient

objectives with IT requirements and systems.

and effective. Usually, this is because

2. Think about archiving

they’re trying to avoid capital expenditure,

Our MD, Rodney Freeland, explains how

As part of your data storage systems, you

we do this: “Most organisations have a fair

should be looking at archiving data that you

option; just as most cars are now leased,

idea of where inefficiencies might lie and

don’t need all the time while keeping it safe

BCNS has a ‘Tech as a Service’ leasing

what their business goals are. It is our job

from malware, phishing or viruses. You’ll

option for clients, including the hardware,

to plan and implement changes in their IT

be paying significant amounts of money

software, project planning, support,

which will solve those problems, and which

for data storage, archiving data can make

insurance, and implementation of new IT

the people actually doing the work, will see

a substantial impact on your operational

systems. It also means clients can plan

as an improvement and not just as new-


effectively for the future since, after two

fangled technology.” Here are my top tips for businesses as

Investing in archiving software, which

especially now. Leasing can be a great

or three years, they can add to or upgrade,

strips out repeated data like forwarded

keeping their IT at optimal performance

they grow - it’s essential to plan for IT

emails and duplicated documents retaining


changes, project manage the change, and

only the original data, can also save you a

then constantly review and invest in IT. IT

lot of money over the years!

its return, so a five-year plan is a must.

3. Planned your migration One of the biggest pitfalls is not planning

1. Build in a backup system when you move to the cloud. Businesses assume that data stored in the cloud is there forever. That’s not the

BCNS are based near Plymouth and offer managed IT support across the South

needs to be updated regularly to maximise

West. Please contact John McGill for more information on jmcgill@bcns.co.uk.

the migration to new systems. Clients who turn off the old on-premises systems before thoroughly testing new processes and procedures or fully training their staff often

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Steps to rebuild construction recruitment plans for 2021 The view from Womble Bond Dickinson’s Sarah Wales and Michelle Essen Keep up-to-date on Government guidance

The construction industry was quick to adapt and carry on working in 2020, but it continues to struggle with labour levels. And this is a problem that’s not going away any time soon as, due to Brexit and the new immigration system now in place, we are likely to see a reduction in the number of available EU national workers – workers which the industry has traditionally relied upon. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that up until now more than nine per cent of the UK construction industry workforce have been EU nationals, with that rising in London to account for 30 per cent of construction workers. Many EU nationals have now returned to their home nations to be with family and to cut the cost of living. New immigration rules are set to be extremely challenging with regard to the sector’s recruitment process and migrant worker eligibility in 2021, meaning it is likely to be more difficult to get these workers back to the UK. The impact is two-fold. An increased labour shortage could affect the ability of companies to deliver projects on time or to take on new work, and it’s likely that the cost of labour will go up, both in terms of wage levels and also taking additional costs of recruitment and training into account. While it seems the construction sector is frequently calling for additional Government support to bridge the skills gap, there are some practical steps that employers and contractors themselves can take to mitigate the long-term risks.

Brexit-proof your recruitment process The new UK points-based immigration system kicked in on 1st January 2021 and it’s highly likely that this will reduce the number of lower skilled workers coming to the UK. Increased bureaucracy, and lead times, around the new points-based immigration system will create delays in the short-term. Get your recruitment process Brexit-compatible by understanding and implementing new visa criteria and processes, and be prepared to factor longer recruitment lead times into project planning.


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

It’s important to keep on top of the latest Government guidance on matters such as health and safety. Encourage consistent use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure the team feels safe. This will not only encourage productivity and minimise absence due to sickness or injury, but is also likely to have a positive impact on staff retention in a competitive market place.

Reflect on lessons learned during the pandemic Take time out to understand the lessons learned by the sector during the pandemic. Some construction companies have found that by carefully planning and reorganising their programmes and how some jobs are carried out, and by being more focused on critical path activities, work could still be carried out efficiently and effectively, even with fewer than normal workers on site. The post-pandemic rise in technology take-up and use has changed the way manual roles are carried out too. For example, some companies are carrying out site inspections with drones, allowing for safer remoteworking and more efficient processes. Drones are also being used for 3D modelling, volume measurement and topographical surveys, and are predicted to fulfil an essential role in construction companies of the future, from planning to build. This in itself means a new set of skills is now required for the industry. Similarly, there has been increase in the use of offsite, modular construction during the pandemic, which again requires a development in design skills and logistics expertise.

Look to youth Figures released by the Office of National Statistics in October 2019 show there were 334,332 skilled construction and building trade workers aged between 50 and 64 and 44,681 over 65 in the UK – most of whom will typically be expected to retire over the next 15 years. Meanwhile, the industry is struggling to attract young people. This is not a new problem: in 2018 it was widely reported that construction had, for the first time, dropped out of the top 10 career choices for people aged 22-292. According to YouGov Omnibus research in 2015, only three per cent of young people aged between 18-24 have recently searched for a job in the construction industry. Construction firms do still have the opportunity to take advantage of

Government incentive payments for the hiring of new apprentices, though this scheme only applies to apprentices hired before March 31st 2021. Perhaps, then, it will fall to the construction industry itself to do more to appeal to young people, or the skills shortage might never be fully bridged and critical skills that need to be passed on to a new generation of workers could be lost.

Embrace equality, diversity and inclusion It is also worth broadening the scope of which parts of society future workers could come from to help improve the number of workers and breadth of skills in the industry. Women remain under-represented in construction: in Q2 2020, there were 1.9m men in the industry in the UK compared with 289,000 women. Research by Microsoft reveals that in the UK, girls have a fiveyear window between 11 and 16 when they are really interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) after which their interest drops. The industry also under-employs BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) groups. Exact levels of BAME employment in construction vary according to different sources, though one report suggested around 7.4 per cent of construction workers identified as BAME. Figures released by the Government’s Ethnicity Facts and Figures Service5 in 2020 took a different approach, and analysed the percentage of ethnic groups that work in each industry sector. While 7.7 per cent of surveyed White British people worked in construction, the figures were lower for Asian (3 per cent), Indian (3.8 per cent), Black (4 per cent) and Pakistani & Bangladeshi (2.5 per cent) groups in the UK. With the UK’s pool of talent more diverse than ever, it is important that companies make a conscious shift towards diversifying their workforce now.

Become UK industry champions The sector needs to inspire the workforceof-the-future by engaging with schools, colleges, industry leaders and training bodies to shake up the traditional image of the construction site and wider construction industry. Apart from the digitalisation of the industry, the sector is encouraged to recruit younger generations and minority groups to help fulfil future skills needed.


What solution should you put in your e-commerce basket? Anna Bailey of Freeway Projects explores the best options for embarking on an e-commerce strategy. website is actively maintained, with any updates being applied in a timely manner to mitigate security issues and protect your customers and business. Ensure your site is performing at its best in regards to loading speed and search engine results and that it is mobile friendly.

Customer payment options

What payment services can it integrate with? How do their transaction fees compare and are there fixed costs per transaction? Anna Bailey of Freeway Projects explores the best options for embarking on an e-commerce strategy The UK e-commerce market is one of the biggest in Europe and is still growing rapidly, driven in part by the increase in usage of mobile devices, the convenience and trust in online shopping. Here are some core factors to consider to put you at a commercial advantage over your competitors, whether you are a startup, already have an online business or are considering changing platform.

What to consider when deciding your platform

There are many e-commerce solutions available and your particular circumstances will dictate which is the most appropriate. Each platform provides different tradeoffs of flexibility, ease of use and total cost of ownership. We can help you choose a platform that meets your needs. If you already have your own website and want to add e-commerce functionality, there are several platforms that can integrate with your existing site or act as their own standalone website.

Tech support

Look for an e-commerce platform that offers good customer support.

Ensure your site is easy to use, search and navigate, and has an engaging design which presents your business in the best light. If you would like advice or recommendations on choosing the right platform, please get in touch. Likewise, if you already have an online business and wish to optimise it, better maintain or move to a different platform, we can help. Contact us at info@freewayprojects.com or call 01752 267090 to speak to a member of our team. For more tips from our Small Business Toolkit, visit devonchamber.co.uk

Hosting and backups

Choose an experienced hosting provider that has a comprehensive backup and recovery plan that is regularly tested.


In-depth analytics can provide you with a wealth of information to refine your customer experience. Tools like Google Analytics allow you to gain insight into how your site is used, how changes affect your sales and ultimately generate more revenue over time. Photography and user experience - Invest in good quality photography to make a strong immediate impression on the buyer. Show multiple angles of your product so buyers can fully understand and visualise the item.

Future growth, flexibility and integration

Are there limitations to the number of products and product lines? Can you scale up as your business grows and add extra features to the site without a big additional expense? Does the platform integrate with your existing systems and marketing channels? Website security, maintenance, performance and SEO - It is essential your

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Nations join together to fly former soldier for treatment for aggressive brain cancer An Army veteran is undergoing lifeextending treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer in Germany thanks to an extraordinary co-operative international group effort involving business leaders, MPs and the charity Brain Tumour Research. James Flint is currently receiving highly specialised immunotherapy treatment after a routine scan just over a year ago revealed the brain cancer, which was effectively in remission, had returned. Devastatingly, it had returned as the most aggressive type of brain cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), and James – who served in Afghanistan with 6 Rifles – was given just months to live. James, aged just 34 and now a researcher and associate lecturer at the University of Plymouth, needed to travel to Germany for treatment if he was to have any hope of extending his life. His family, led by his wife Nicola, have raised more than £30,000 for the immunotherapy treatment through a Go Fund Me page (https:// gofund.me/241e3969). They were told by the German clinic, CeGaT, that James’ personalised peptide vaccine was available in January – but a travel ban on entering Germany in the midst of a global pandemic made the journey almost impossible. The charity Brain Tumour Research, a member of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, called on the Chamber’s help to see if it could help open doors to travel. Chief Executive Stuart Elford called on the help of Plymouth MPs Johnny Mercer and Luke Pollard, while the British Chambers of Commerce directed the Chamber to their counterparts in Germany, who in turn managed to call on the German Embassy in London to help with the case. What followed was international cooperation between nations, MPs, Chambers of Commerce, the Foreign Office and the German Federal Border Police to allow James to enter Germany on the basis of humanitarian medical reasons. Registering with the German authorities, and a negative


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

Covid-19 test meant the final hurdles were overcome. Melanie Tiley, of Brain Tumour Research, said: “I cannot thank the Chamber and all those who rose to the Flints’ aid enough. The speed at which we were able to find a way to get James to Germany has been astonishing. “We have proved that even in the darkest of hours we can come together as a national and international community and help our fellow human beings. “It’s such a shame that families like the Flints are having to resort to raising thousands of pounds to access pioneering treatment abroad, unavailable in the UK on the NHS. It’s only through research that we will identify more effective treatments and ultimately find a cure.” Stuart Elford, Chief Executive of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “When Brain Tumour Research got in touch I knew this was an opportunity to make the impossible happen for a family that have been through things we could never imagine. “The response up and down the country and internationally has left me flabbergasted. Doors have been opened in diplomatic corridors that have given James the chance of fighting a horrible, horrible disease. “I truly thank all those involved who pulled together in James’ hour of need.” James was originally diagnosed in 2015, when doctors found a 5.7cm tumour in his brain, which James named Kenneth. The news came out of the blue but had followed episodes of

memory loss and a seizure, for which he was taken to Derriford Hospital. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, James enjoyed a respite but knew the cancer would likely return – and their worst fears were realised after a scan in December 2019 found another tumour. It was removed in March 2020 but doctors found the cancer had advanced into a much more aggressive form, known as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). The German treatment, administered at CeGaT in Tübingen under the pioneering scientific expertise of Dr Saskia Biskup, offers him the best chance for life extension. In an update to the Go Fund Me Page before they left for Germany, his wife Nicola said: “My James is witty, intelligent, kindhearted and fiercely loyal. He is a veteran of Afghanistan, serving with The Rifles, as part of 3 Commando Brigade (on Operation Herrick 9), and an accomplished associate lecturer in International Relations and Politics at the University of Plymouth. “We are at the start of our married lives and careers, but instead we are seeking every possible treatment option we can. When James was first diagnosed, he told me that the two important things on his bucket-list were to make me happy and to complete his PhD. “He has achieved both of those things, but at just 34 years old he has so much more to give and to live for. “The Covid-19 situation has inevitably made travel to Germany so much trickier with the border closed. “We have been supported by many friends with arranging the challenging logistics. We will keep you posted and I hope that the next update will be from Tübingen!” Nicola & James’ Go Fund Me fundraiser can be found here: www.gofund.me/241e3969


College investments to support higher-level training Staff at City College Plymouth are delighted to confirm that the College will be opening a new site at the city’s Oceangate Marine Enterprise Zone with delivery from the site expected to commence in September. As part of the College’s commitment to building a vibrant and exciting curriculum that is distinctive, market-led and responsive, it will be delivering new universitylevel courses that will provide high-quality and up-to-date training to those working in the marine and engineering industries. The waterfront facilities will enable students to access specialist equipment such as Smart Sound Plymouth, a proving area for designing, testing and developing cuttingedge products (including CAD, VR, CNC, composites and marine autonomy) and services for the advanced marine sector. Jackie Grubb, Principal and CEO at the College, said: “Plymouth is a world-leader in marine technology and engineering. The facilities on offer to students at the new Oceansgate site will be world-class, and the training on offer - that has been developed with guidance of industry experts - will equip our students with the skills necessary to continue to take this industry forward. The marine industry has played a vital part

in Plymouth’s history, and City College Plymouth is committed to ensuring it is a vital part of the city’s - and wider region’s future.” The College is committed to being a key player in helping to grow the Plymouth economy, and with the very best in training facilities such as those to be provided at Oceansgate, it hopes to support the growth of high-skilled jobs in the area. Alongside the development of a new state-of-the-art building, new degree programmes have been developed as part of the South West Institute of Technology project. The College has worked closely with local employers to build a needs analysis, and from this it has developed four Bachelor of Science degrees linked to naval architecture, marine engineering, integrated technologies and autonomous engineering. These programmes will further shape the future workforce, and allow students to continue their studies on a part-time basis beyond levels 4 and 5. Lance Chatfield, Academy Manager for Higher Technology Skills, said: “Oceansgate unit 1.6 will have traditional classroom spaces upstairs; however, these have been developed

with flexible and agile usage in mind, allowing both students and their employers alike to utilise the building and its IT systems across multiple spaces. “Downstairs will see the development of three bespoke lab areas to enable the delivery of the College’s new Marine Autonomous Vehicle Foundation Degree and a new Higher National Certificate for the manufacturing maintenance sector, along with its existing provision in relation to electrical, marine and mechanical engineering university-level qualifications. Two new workshops will also be created following feedback from industry to create and develop innovative composite material structures.” Oceansgate will be pivotal in utilising a number of high-profile grants that have been awarded to the College. Last summer, the College was awarded £52,000 in funding to support the development of green marine technology. The work, which will involve testing a range of marine hybrid power and propulsion systems, will contribute to the Government’s aim of finding credible, creative solutions to enhance the maritime sector and supporting regional, green growth. The new facilities are already being welcomed by local businesses. Managing Director of Sport Environment, Conrad Humphreys, said: “Plymouth is an important player in the marine technology space with a number of significant investments being made across the South West. Oceansgate will be a crucial part of this, if we are to realise the opportunities for apprentices and young people to be part of this exciting development. “Oceansgate will provide our apprentices with an array of opportunities for further consolidating their learning and how they implement this into their work.”

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Award-winning apprentices revealed Outstanding local construction and manufacturing apprentices have been recognised for their efforts and abilities at a virtual awards ceremony held as part of Plymouth’s National Apprenticeship Week 2021. The Awards were led jointly by Building Plymouth and the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group (PMG), with nominations submitted by local employers and training providers, with 30 finalist apprentices celebrated, and five overall winners presented top awards. Tommy Burr was awarded the prestigious Building Plymouth Construction Technical Apprentice of the Year 2021. Tommy is undertaking a Higher Level 4 in Construction Contracting Operations/ Construction in the Built Environment Level 4 with Midas


Spring Winter 2021 2020Chamber Chamber ChamberProfile Profile Profile

Construction and Exeter College. On winning his award Tommy Burr, Trainee Quantity Surveyor at Midas Construction, said: “I am very happy and proud to have won this award. To be nominated and then to win this particular award is really gratifying and makes all the hard work worthwhile. “After just three years in the industry, I understand the importance of having experienced mentors at Midas to assist in my development and I thank them for all their support.


“I believe this award will help me going forward in the industry and develop my career in exciting and challenging areas. Having had the opportunity to be part of the teams delivering projects of significant value and undertaking a number of different roles, I consider the attainment of the award to be one of my biggest achievements working for Midas, but hopefully not the last.” Andrew Faulkner, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Midas Construction and Tommy’s line manager, said: “I am delighted for Tommy and this award is well-earned recognition for his dedication and hard work. In all my career I’ve never worked with such a promising and well-balanced individual. “The cornerstone to Tommy’s success is his exemplary attitude towards life; approaching work, education and his private life in a balanced and complementary fashion. Tommy has maturity, wisdom and professionalism beyond his years and the ability to operate and contribute at every level in the workplace. “The high regard in which Tommy is held by everyone at Midas, our supply chain and client teams is inspirational and a reflection of his impressive ambition and desire to continuously learn, progress and contribute every day. I’m very proud and grateful to have Tommy in my team and have no doubt that in years to come, he will be a leading light in our industry.” Sophie Graham was next up, winning the highly respected Ron Simmonds Construction Trade Apprentice of the Year 2021 Award. Sophie is undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 in Painting and Decorating with JWB Décor and City College Plymouth. Sophie said: “I am so proud to have

achieved this award, it shows that it is never too late to go back into education and change career for the best. I am so happy in my job at BLKC and having the education and competitions alongside it makes me strive to be the best I can be. It’s what we do as a great team at BLKC Decorators.” Employer Jamie Both said: “Sophie is an outstanding student who prides herself in her work and will always go that extra mile to make sure it’s perfect.” 2021 marked the second year that the PMG has run an apprenticeship competition. This year three apprentices were recognised as overall winners. The first award announced was the PMG Manufacturing Rising Star Apprentice for 2021 which was awarded to Cleopatra Thatcher, a Level 4 Higher Level Mechanical Apprentice at Babcock International, studying with City College Plymouth. Cleo said of her award: “I am so proud to have represented Babcock International Group at the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group Apprenticeship Awards and I was completely taken aback to find out I had won the Rising Star Award. A huge thank you to everyone at Babcock who has supported my development. Joining the apprenticeship programme was the best decision I ever made!” Next up was the award for PMG Business Rising Star Apprentice for 2021 which went to Beth Tout from Collins Aerospace, who is undertaking a L4 Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprenticeship with Achievement Training. Beth said: “Choosing to pursue an apprenticeship was one of the best decisions I have made. It’s a great way to learn and achieve a qualification and I’m very grateful

to have been recognised with this award.” Donna Aldridge, Training Coordinator at Collins Aerospace, was delighted for Beth and said, “It’s fantastic to see Beth recognised for her hard work. She is an asset to the team.” Last but by no means least, the Award for PMG Manufacturing Final Year Apprentice for 2021 went to Owen Baylis, who completed a Level 4 Higher Level Apprenticeship with Babcock International and City College Plymouth in September 2020. Owen, who is now a Junior Technical Engineer at Babcock, said: “I am absolutely delighted to have received the PMG Manufacturing award! For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an engineer so it means a great deal to me. To anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship, I could not recommend it enough. It has given me essential practical engineering knowledge and experience, including a number of qualifications that I now use every day.” Paul Foster, Managing Director Devonport Royal Dockyard, commented: “Babcock is proud to continue investing in a wide range of long established apprenticeship programmes. Last year we recruited 145 apprentices, fulfilling a variety of roles, including Welding; Electrical, Mechanical and Marine Pipe Fitting; and Fabricating, with similar numbers being sought for the next cohort of apprentices to start in September of this year. “Our apprentices work across our business alongside a variety of knowledgeable and passionate employees who pass on their skills and experience to help build the capabilities we need for the future. We’re extremely proud of Cleo and Owen and everyone that has supported them in the business.”

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile



Ambitious project to tackle flooding in Millbay finally completed

It has been more than a decade since the Millbay area of Plymouth was identified as one of the zones most at risk of tidal flooding. Now, work has finally been completed on the long-awaited Millbay Boulevard which includes an ambitious project to tackle flooding in the area. As part of a ‘Sustainable Urban Drainage’ system, underground tanks have been installed beneath the road which are capable of holding 240 tonnes of water - equal in volume to seven standard shipping containers. Part of Plymouth City Council’s Climate Emergency Change Action Plan, this exciting project will help prevent flooding episodes in this part of the city centre, particularly when times of high rainfall coincide with high tides.

Situated above these tanks will be ‘rain gardens’ – sunken beds planted with coastal grasses and flowering plants arranged beneath an avenue of trees – which will be irrigated using the rain and flood water. Cllr Mark Lowry, cabinet member for finance and city centre champion, said: “This is an extraordinary project both above and below ground. “It is about bringing new life into this part of Plymouth and helping to address potential problems that climate change may bring us in the future. “Before we started we looked at what measures we could instigate now to make life that bit easier later on. “I know there will be people saying, ‘So what, what’s in it for me?’ “Well, lots! We are opening up this part of the city to new development, new homes and new businesses.

Millbay Boulevard has been transformed from a dingy backwater lane into an airy boulevard which will have homes and businesses along it


Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

Underground tanks have been installed beneath Millbay Boulevard which are capable of holding 240 tonnes of water “We are strengthening the link between the city centre and the waterfront - which is again good for the city’s economy. And bit by bit, we are taking steady steps to help tackle the consequences of climate change.” The system has been developed by the Council in partnership with the Environment Agency and South West Water as part of the Water Resilient Cities Interreg Programme. Also beneath the ground, there is now a District Heating Network with more than 600 [SJ1] sq m of pipework and two thermal boreholes tapping into Plymouth’s warm water aquifer. It means that when developments do progress, the buildings will be able to tap into low-carbon energy. This can be rolled out across the city centre in the future.


CHAMBER PEOPLE Name: Olivia Paterson Role: Team Administrator What do you do and why do you enjoy it?

How do you balance life and work?

I work with businesses across Devon to ensure that they are continuously making connections which strengthens the South West’s business voice. I do this by sharing advice and guidance from local authorities, facilitating virtual events and administrating membership with our businesses. This is such a rewarding job and the network is thriving with strong, passionate and innovative organisations.

By keeping the two as separate as possible.

What inspires you? People. Creating relationships and learning from others never gets boring.

What drives you? I have high expectations of myself and this motivates me to strive for achievement.

Where do you see the future of your organisation? The Chamber has and will continue to support businesses to maintain resilience, provide opportunities, sustainability growth, improvement of skills, education and training, access to finance and trading advice and guidance for all businesses in Devon.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Never let your fear decide your fate.

If you could sum up your CV in one word, it would be..? Flexible.

When it comes to business, do you follow head or heart? My head for the practical aspects but my heart for the relationships.

What’s your favourite quote? “Your life is as good as your mindset”.

Who has been the greatest influence on you? My parents have had a great influence with their wealth of experience and knowledge. They have supported me with all my aspirations.

What are you most proud of? My ability to embrace challenges and still produce a successful end result such as my recently completed apprenticeship at distinction level.

Businesses must be flexible to move with the time and reap what opportunities come along. And just as businesses are flexible, so is undertaking an apprenticeship these days. Devon & Plymouth Chamber’s very own Olivia Paterson successfully dealt with studying during the Coronavirus pandemic, attaining a Distinction in her Level 3 City & Guilds Business Administrator apprenticeship. Olivia can testify exactly how flexible apprenticeships can be – she moved employer during her qualification period, and moved training providers to follow her tutor/assessor Stacy Harrall-Phillips to Swatpro Academy. “Stacy’s been a star,” says Olivia, who is membership events and communication administrator for Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce. “She’s really helped me in so many ways. I spoke to Stacy most days, and her advice has been invaluable.” At Swatpro Academy, Stacy and her team used distance learning to help hone Olivia’s knowledge and build her confidence ahead of the three-part End Point Assessments for her apprenticeship. “The constant communication was really helpful,” says Olivia. “As well as Stacy, I’d like to thank Donna Stuckey and the rest of the team at Swatpro who all helped so much.” The experience has given Olivia, who is 20, real future aims for her career. “I really enjoy my job at the Chamber. It’s a great way to make contacts and speak to businesses of all sizes and sectors,” she explains. “At first, I was quite overawed running events that would attract CEOs and senior executives from big companies – but the apprenticeship helped boost my confidence. Now I enjoy the experience.”

Describe yourself in five words

Olivia says her apprenticeship has made her realise that her forte is the marketing side of the job, and she now intends to undertake further training to specialise in that sector.

Kind, Integrity, Focused, Open, Creative.

“The apprenticeship has really helped me grow in my job and see my career path clearly,” she concludes. “Last year was a very difficult time for many of us with the virus: but among the negatives, there were positives: you can still train and develop in your profession and look with confidence to the future.”

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile


Apprentices who joined your organisation from 1st April 2021

Employers will receive £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship from 1st April to 30th September 2021.

You can apply for incentive payments for these apprentices from 1st June 2021*

@apprenticeSDC 08000 380 123 | employers@southdevon.ac.uk 44

Spring 2021 Chamber Profile

Profile for Cornerstone Vision

Chamber Profile Spring 2021  

The Official publication of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Profile Spring 2021  

The Official publication of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

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