Business Direction 46

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Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Issue 44 46 July/August November/December 2018 2018



Our Real Time Accountancy service helps you make tough business decisions on the spot.


November/December 2018


Business Dire

46 Issue 44 cember 2018 gust 2018 November/De July/Au

BUSINESS DIRECTION Business Direction, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s full colour bi-monthly publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to 4,000 businesses.

EDITOR Lucy Allen 01905 673 639


PRODUCTION & DESIGN Distinctive Publishing, 3rd Floor, Tru Knit House, 9-11 Carliol Square, Newcastle, NE1 6UF

ADVERTISING John Neilson Commercial Director, Distinctive Group 0191 5805990 | 07813 874970


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher accepts no responsibility for omissions or errors within this publication. Editorial submissions are included at the discretion of the editor. The opinions expressed in articles and letters within this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber. All offers, promotions and competitions appearing in Business Direction are the sole responsibility of the advertiser/ promoting party and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce does not accept any responsibility for any representations made within them.



First Word


Chamber News


Business News


2018 is now drawing to an end after a challenging twelve months of political uncertainty, rising interest rates, and the triggering of the transition period before the UK formally leaves the EU on Friday 29 March 2019.



Business News




In the first half of the year, we witnessed a Cabinet reshuffle which led to Theresa May appointing Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, as Home Secretary following Amber Rudd’s resignation. We also saw two key ministers, including former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, resign in protest at the government’s plans for a free trade area with the European Union.

Business News


Chamber Training


Chamber Events


Big Interview


With no trade deal established between the UK and the EU [at the time of publication], the next few months are expected to be a turbulent time for the local business community in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and across the UK as a whole. As the Chamber of Commerce, we are proud to see our Members unyielding in the face of adversity – continuing to grow and flourish, and demanding clarity for businesses about the future of the UK. As we head into 2019, we will continue to support firms in the two counties by lobbying for the transparency needed to keep our region a prosperous place to do business.

Cover Feature


Business News


Business News


Visit Worcestershire


Visit Herefordshire


Throughout the challenges, this year has provided businesses with a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Chamber Members in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The First Class Pet Company and Metrasens Ltd were honoured as winners in the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, recognised for their pioneering work in their respective categories. The Chamber Business Awards recognised the hard-work and perseverance of firms from all sectors and sizes; and I am delighted to share that six businesses have been crowned as winners of the West Midlands heat of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Business Awards 2018. ETL Systems Limited, Kingspan Insulation, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, OLPRO, Phoenix Group and Worcestershire Training Provider Association will now all go forward to represent the West Midlands in the national finals, which take place in London on Thursday 29 November. On behalf of the Chamber and our network, I would like to wish you all the best of luck! In this last issue of the year, we celebrate “Year of the Engineer”, and the fantastic engineering and manufacturing Members in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The Big Interview is with Vision Labs, with interesting cover features from Spin UK, NMiTE, Lesk Engineers and Warwickshire College Group.

Worcestershire Business Central 38 Movers and Shakers


International Trade


Business News


New Members


Charity News Timeline of Business Last Word

51 52-53 54


I would like to take this moment to wish all of our Members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Best regards, Sharon


Our Patrons are:

November/December 2018

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



LOCAL BUSINESSES LEAD SUCCESS AT REGIONAL CHAMBER AWARDS Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is delighted to reveal that six businesses from across the two counties have been crowned as winners in the West Midlands heat of the Chamber Business Awards 2018.

Provider Association have all been recognised in the regional awards for their outstanding work in their respective industries.

Now in their 15th year, the Awards are a highlight of the business calendar, recognising the key role that local businesses play in driving the UK economy.

All six companies will now go forward to represent the West Midlands in the national finals, which take place on Thursday 29 November in London. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and its network, we would like to wish all firms the best of luck!

ETL Systems Limited, Kingspan Insulation, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, OLPRO, Phoenix Group and Worcestershire Training

To find out more, please visit www. chamber-awards



The Chamber is delighted to share that Mike Forrester, Business Development Director at Orchard Valley Foods Ltd, has been announced as the next President of the Chamber Board. Before his current post, Mike served as Vice-President for Herefordshire. The majority of Mike’s career has been in the food industry, running manufacturing businesses and heading up sales and commercial activities in export markets. Speaking of his appointment, Mike said: “It’s always a delight to support the Chamber team across the two counties where we have a multitude of dynamic and innovative businesses. To take up the Chamber President role is a great honour, and I’m looking forward to continue working alongside our very talented board and team, promoting our business community. The Presidency also brings the opportunity to discuss at regional, national and international levels how the Chamber can influence and support the economic development of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. I’m looking forward to carrying out my duties and meeting more of our Members”.

A group of college teachers and employers from Finland, Iceland, Holland and France visited Hereford as part of a European project to look at best practice in apprenticeship training.

WORCESTER STANDS TALL RAISES OVER £210,000 FOR HOSPICE! Worcester Stands Tall, a Wild in Art event brought to the city by St Richard’s, captured the hearts of the community and attracted thousands of visitors this summer. The auction at drp Group, in Hartlebury, was a towering success – with people bidding to give their favourite giraffes a forever home. Tricia Cavell, Fundraising Director at St Richard’s Hospice, said: “The funds raised will make a huge difference to our project to expand and redevelop the hospice – ultimately allowing us to extend our care to more patients and families.

The group visited both Arctic Circle and the Business Solutions Centre in Skylon Park, to discuss how young talent can become valued members of their workforces, and the role of degree apprenticeships as work-based progression routes. With the introduction to the Apprenticeship Levy, the current skills shortage and Brexit combined – it's been increasingly difficult for businesses to find apprentices, especially in the vocational sector. The Chamber’s Policy team will continue to lobby for a better apprenticeship system, but the VET @Work programme sets out to be a great initiative that will help young people develop the skills needed for today and the future. Project Coordinator for UK, Philip Broomhead said: “We are pleased to be working with the Chamber of Commerce to get feedback and involvement from employers in this project.” The project will continue over the coming three years to explore good practice across the European countries, and provide examples of excellence in the approach to work-based training.

The Chamber is delighted that Bumble raised £6,000 towards the total, and we hope that he enjoys his new home near the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC ground. To find out more information about St Richard’s Hospice’s Build2020 campaign, please visit their website at


November/December 2018



in partnership with

ABOUT ME, ABOUT MY PEOPLE AND ABOUT MY BUSINESS The Chamber is delighted to announce the launch of a brand new Leadership Development Series for 2019, in partnership with 3WH. The six-part personal leadership development programme will allow delegates to learn more about what it takes to be an exceptional leader, build high performing teams and lead change with confidence and conviction.

The highly interactive sessions are designed to develop the future leaders of business, to help unlock hidden potential in future CEOs, and invest in the future of the people at the heart of businesses. Throughout the sessions, attendees will also have access to an exclusive Facebook group and bi-monthly webinars to encourage peer to peer learning and interaction between the events.

When starting the six-part programme, delegates will receive a FREE DISC leadership style analysis worth £99*. On completion of the series, attendees will have created a detailed study portfolio to takeaway, and receive a certificate. The series will be held at The Bank House Hotel, Spa & Golf Club, Bransford, Worcester WR6 5JD from 8.30-11.00am

The six sessions will consist of... About Me Inspirational Leadership Lucy Barkas and Heidi Blakeway

Wednesday 23 January

Delegates will identify their own leadership strengths and be inspired and motivated to make a positive impact; empower and develop their teams and to create a culture based on trust and transparency.

About My People Communicating with Impact Sylvia Baldock

Wednesday 10 July

Learn how to communicate with clarity and purpose plus how to align your people to create commitment, purpose and ultimately results.

Spaces are limited, so we’d like to encourage those interested to book early to guarantee your place. The cost for the complete series is £299+VAT Members and £399+VAT Non-members.

About Me The Emotionally Intelligent Leader Sean Foley

Wednesday 20 March

In this session you will understand, recognise and manage your own emotions and influence the emotions in others.

About My Business Leading with Strategy for results Ian Thomas

Wednesday 18 Sept

About My People Leading and Developing Talent Antoinette Oglethorpe

Wednesday 22 May

In this session you will learn to create a more positive culture, empower and energise your teams to become more self-reliant and less dependent upon you, enhancing pro-activity and personal relationships within the team, ultimately resulting in improved employee retention and company performance.

About My Business Leading Change Teresa Boughey

Wednesday 20 Nov

Introducing the 5 behaviours of a cohesive team model, you’ll be given the keys steps you need to build a compelling strategy and build a team who are committed to achieving results.

During this session you’ll be guided on a journey through the Change House, where you’ll gain a deep understanding of the process and impact of change.

*The DISC profile is FREE when booking onto the complete programme (all six series).

choosing this option will not be eligible for the Facebook webinar, certificate or FREE DISC profile).

**Options available to participate in individual sessions are priced at £59+VAT Members and £79+VAT Non-members (however delegates

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

For more information and to secure your place, please contact




DRP FURTHER INVEST IN GROWTH WITH THE ACQUISITION OF HMX drp has announced the acquisition of HMX Corporate Communication Ltd. This acquisition extends the reach of the business and increases the total team count to over 280, further enhancing drp’s position as leaders in the industry. Tim Horrox, Managing Director at HMX, commented: “This is an exciting transition for us at HMX and I am hugely excited about where this partnership can take us. With the experience and expertise of the team at drp in digital projects and live events, and their established track record in video, this is a very beneficial move for us all.”

Ce Solutions was honoured to be able to volunteer its time, expertise and product to the BBC DIY SOS team to help create a new, purpose-built community centre and boxing gym in Grenfell, London. The new centre is dedicated to the residents whose lives were tragically affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, providing a safe and inviting space so that the community can continue to flourish. Ce Solutions Operations Manager, Dale Humphries, oversaw the project from start to finish: “When we first received the enquiry from the BBC team we agreed it was something we really wanted to be involved in. By putting our heads together, we managed to design, build and install the partitions within a week. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our suppliers, who also pulled out all the stops to make this happen.” The DIY SOS two part special, featuring movable walls by Ce Solutions, was aired on Wednesday 5 September and Wednesday 12 September.

Dale Parmenter, Group CEO of drp, commented: “We are thrilled to have HMX on board as part of the drp team and we are looking forward to expanding our capacity and extending our capability as a business, helping to support our mission statement of being the company of choice. HMX is an established, creative and distinguished agency which we are very much looking forward to welcoming into our team and bringing their expertise into our business.”

MACNEIL’S SMOKEHOUSE CELEBRATE GREAT TASTE AWARD SUCCESS The Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food or drink from the Midlands was presented to Macneil’s Smokehouse from Droitwich, Worcestershire for its Macneil’s Beech Wood Smoked Salmon. Macneil’s Smoked Salmon was awarded 3 stars when initially judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers. It then went on to be nominated, and then win the Golden Fork for the Midlands. Golden Fork Awards are given only to the top handful of products across the country each year selected from the 3* winners. Tony Macneil, Owner and Head Smoker, said: “As one of only 3 companies to achieve 3 stars this year in the Worcestershire area we couldn’t have been prouder of our stars when we found out, but to be then nominated for a Golden Fork was incredible and to win feels like such a huge achievement”. The awards were presented at an annual celebration dinner at London’s Park Lane Intercontinental Hotel.



Xreach Limited is proud to announce the launch of its new Cyber Consultancy division, headed up by Eddie Edwards, Chief Information Security Officer.

for companies to follow focusing on 5 key areas – Firewalls, Secure Configuration, Access Controls, Malware and Patch Management.

“Our goal is to work with companies to help them protect their businesses. Cyber-attacks are growing in prominence - from stealing personal information to crippling businesses overnight. Our initial offering will be to help companies both with their new GDPR obligations and to gain certification to Cyber Essentials”, says Eddie. Cyber Essentials is a checklist of best security and personal data practices

“Gaining certification not only protects your business but it also sends a strong signal to your customers that you take cyber security (and their information) seriously. Rather than a box-ticking exercise, we take a holistic approach to truly embed cyber-security into clients’ everyday way of thinking”.

November/December 2018


Your local, award winning legal experts

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR BREXIT? Agriculture is perhaps a sector which will be impacted more than most following BREXIT. On average last year a farmer claiming under the payment scheme in England received around £230 per hectare farmed by way of money coming out of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. With lobby groups debating the importance of ongoing financial support for farmers following BREXIT, the Government has now published the long awaited Agriculture Bill. What does it mean for English farmers following BREXIT:n Farmers will be entitled to make a claim under the existing Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in 2019 and 2020. Whilst the application process is likely to remain unchanged for these two claim years, the Government is keen to ease administration of the scheme so we may see some changes along the way. For example there is talk of dropping the “greening” requirements. n Following 2020 we will then enter a 7 year transition period. Between 2020 and 2027 the Basic Payment Scheme will be phased out with a reduction in the amount of payment received. n The amount of the reduction of the payment received will be linked to the amount of the claim. For example those farmers who are making a claim for support in excess of £150 000 will see the greatest reduction in their payments. n Farmers will experience a specified % reduction on the amount of support

received within a relevant band. For example payments up to £30 000 will be cut by 5%. The proportion of support received between £30 000 and £50 000 will experience a 10% reduction and such proportion in excess of £150 000 as much as 25%. n There is also a proposal to “delink” the Basic Payment Scheme from farming activities to encourage diversification and business growth. The details of “delinking” are yet to be confirmed but it may be that carrying an “agricultural activity” will no longer be necessary for the land to be considered “eligible” for the payment. n The Government may also allow claimants to essentially capitalise the payment due throughout the

transitional period by taking a one off lump sum payment. This could have interesting implications for divorce or partnership settlements where access to capital plays an important part in negotiations. n Following the 7 year transitional period the Government’s vision for the future is a payment model for public goods such as land, animal and environmental management. Interesting times ahead! Be prepared for the changes and call us to discuss succession planning for your agricultural business. Sarah Denney-Richards, Director, Head of Agriculture and Estates Telephone; 01905 730486 Email;

Worcester 01905 730450 | Kidderminster 01562 820575 Stourport 01299 827517 | Halesowen | Sedgley | Solihull | Birmingham Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



Advertorial Feature Recently published results from the Competition & Markets Authority’s (CMA) Independent service quality survey show that Handelsbanken has been ranked top for overall quality of service amongst the 14 largest providers in Great Britain. The survey asked SMEs about their willingness to recommend their bank to other businesses, with Handelsbanken being most recommended in four of the five categories*. This comes after Handelsbanken was rated number one for customer satisfaction for the ninth year running, in an independent survey of British banks’ personal and business customers conducted by EPSI Rating (, October 2017).

Mark Turner, Branch Manager for Handelsbanken Bromsgrove commented, “The results are very encouraging for us, and we shall continue to strive to provide excellent service and attentive local relationship management to all our customers. We believe that our local branch-based model means that staff get to know their customers very well, and that they are able to offer services based on needs and requirements, by being available and empowered to make swift, on the spot decisions and by dealing with matters in the branch.”

This year, Bromsgrove branch celebrates its fifth anniversary serving customers in North Worcestershire, and they have expanded their operation with the appointments recently of three new team members. Bev Harrison has joined Published the 15 August 2018 office from Walsall branch as a Corporate Banking Manager, whilst Emma Smith, Independent service quality survey an results As part of a regulatory requirement, independent survey was conducted to ask customers previously therecommend branch in Newhall –ofBusiness current accounts (published the 14 largest business current account providers if theywith would their provider Street, Birmingham, is now an Individual August to other 2018) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs*). Banking Manager. Jessica Roberts is the third ‘newcomer’ in the role of Account Overall service quality Online and mobile banking services Management Support.

responsible for making day-to-day banking decisions and providing advice based on customers’ needs, free from product and lending targets or bonus incentives. Originally from Sweden. Handelsbanken now has over 800 branches in more than 20 countries and was named the world’s third safest commercial bank, by Global Finance Magazine (November 2017). This reflects Handelsbanken’s strong financial position, long-term focus and a prudent & consistent approach to banking through all economic conditions. The team at Handelsbanken Bromsgrove would be pleased to discuss your business and personal banking needs and can be contacted as follows;

6, Topaz Business Park, Birmingham Road, Independent service quality survey results Unit Bromsgrove, B61 0GD, Tel: 01527 837735 | Email: Business current accounts

We asked customers how likely they would be to recommend their business current account provider to other SMEs.

We asked customers how likely they would be to recommend












their provider’s online “I andam mobile banking services to other SMEs. Mark continued, delighted to welcome Bev, Emma and Jess to the branch, where Ranking their presence not only allows us to 1 continue to serve the needs of our existing76% customers, but also provides capacity for 73% 2 us to assist new customers across North 3 72% Worcestershire in the months ahead.”

4 Handelsbanken is built on traditional values, financial strength and having 5 very satisfied customers. Branches are 6


SME overdraft and loan services

Relationship/account management


*Independent service quality survey for business current accounts, published 15 August 2018. To find out more, visit www.BDRC-group. com/business-banking-service-quality. Handelsbanken is the trading name of Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ). Registered Office: Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ), 3 Thomas More Square, London, E1W 1WY. Registered in England and Wales No. BR 000589. Incorporated in Sweden with limited liability. Registered in Sweden No. 502007-7862. Head Office in Stockholm. Authorised by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) and the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority, and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority are available from us on request.

68% 63%

November/December 2018


Birmingham expansion as mfg Solicitors seal merger deal Suzanne Lee, partner and managing director of Chamber patrons mfg Solicitors, discusses mfg's high-profile summer merger with Birmingham's Pearson Rowe. We were delighted to announce our merger with historic Birmingham legal firm Pearson Rowe this summer. Based in the city's St Paul's Square, Pearson Rowe is one of Birmingham's oldest law practices and the merger was extra special as it was finalised just as Pearson Rowe marked its 100th birthday - after being founded in 1918 by Geoffrey Pearson. Their historic background also fits well given that mfg's own history stretches back well over 400 years.

Importantly, the merger not only introduces the mfg brand to Birmingham, but it also builds on our own historic roots here in Worcestershire and in neighbouring Shropshire. It makes us a truly West Midlands firm - and one that is constantly challenging itself to grow and innovate. Overall, it is another really proud moment for everyone here at mfg Solicitors and represents the start of yet another chapter. It also comes just over five years since we expanded into Ludlow, and extended our offering in Bromsgrove. But Birmingham, the largest and most vibrant city outside of London, adds a whole new dimension.

Suzanne Lee Partner and Managing Director


Apart from bringing 13 new colleagues into the growing mfg family, the deal was a landmark for us as it propels mfg right into the centre of Birmingham's nationally respected legal market. It is already creating opportunities. I spoke in the region's media back in August about the merger and how, for some time, we had been considering the best and correct strategic opportunity in Birmingham. To gain that foothold with such a respected city law firm is perfect for us - especially as Pearson Rowe is known for the quality and depth of its private, corporate and commercial advice.



Now in Birmingham

iliel: 08�5 55 55 321! Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

.@r.nfgsol icitors 09


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November/December 2018


QUARTER 3 2018 ECONOMIC RESULTS The Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is Britain’s largest and most authoritative private sector business survey with over 7,000 responses from the UK. This invaluable survey enables local businesses to have their voices heard and to influence key policy decision makers who follow the results closely. The figures you see below reinforce what we're hearing from local firms.



48% Services 51% Manufacturing

66% had trouble in recruiting suitability skilled staff, 60% currently operate below full capacity, which is up by 6% since the last quarter, with tourism and agriculture firms struggling the most



40% said that UK sales had increased this quarter despite the uncertainty of Brexit

33% expect the price of goods to increase with 55% feeling the pressure to increase due to the cost of doing business



42% said that export sales had increased, a record high this year

37% Competition, 32% Exchange Rates, 24% Inflation

To find out more about the Quarterly Economic Survey talk to our Policy Team: Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



LOCAL SUCCESS AMID BREXIT UNCERTAINTY However you source your daily news intake, be it TV, radio or increasingly social media, one topic continues to dominate the domestic headlines – Brexit. Furthermore, many of the stories that come out around the subject are overwhelmingly negative regardless of which side of the fence you sit…whether it be Mark Carney warning of a crash in house prices in the case of a “no deal” Brexit, criticism of the Chequers deal put forward by the PM or general uncertainty around what a post-Brexit UK economy looks like.

Ben Mannion (Director)

At a macro level there are certainly challenges within the UK economy. Despite better than expected growth in the quarter to July of 0.4% and record lows for unemployment of 4.2%, wage growth continues to be sluggish and we have seen significant casualties on the high street within the retail sector. This picture looks set to continue, with Graeme Chaplin, West Midlands Agent for the Bank of England, outlining a subdued growth forecast for the foreseeable future. Graeme was speaking at the annual Bank of England Breakfast held in Hereford by the H&W Chamber of Commerce and these estimates were set against a background of an “average” Brexit outcome. One can only imagine what an “average” Brexit looks like but the overall take was that the UK can stay in positive growth mode assuming that when Brexit comes it does not take the form of a singular shock. There is no doubt some uncertainty ahead but it doesn’t have to lead the UK in to recession. Further to this, the “UK Plc” picture doesn’t necessarily have to cast a cloud over what is going on in the local economy. Demand for Permanent employees – particularly in specialist sectors such as IT and Engineering – remains high and Hewett Recruitment have seen this translated in to a record quarter (July to September) for Permanent Recruitment. Temporary demand remains strong too, with many


businesses needing to add extra heads in order to meet customer requirements. A great example of this local success can be found in Kidderminster where Vision Labs, part of the Specsavers Group supply chain, are forging ahead with significant developments. This includes substantial capital investment in new machinery as well as a commitment to take on an additional 50 Permanent employees over the next 6 months. Vision Labs were recently named “Manufacturer of the Year” and overall “Business of the Year” at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards and as such move on to the regional awards due to take place soon. Vision Labs are just one example of a host of businesses across the two counties performing well and investing in the future despite the uncertainty surrounding the “B word”. Whilst it is difficult to protect any business against the type of global shock that was experienced back in 2008, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have a

thriving business community, with local SMEs through to multi-nationals who operate on a global scale, leading the way in local productivity and success. There is also a huge amount of work going on to “futureproof” this economic success. Key initiatives to provide the skilled workforce of the future to support growth can be found across the 2 counties. In Herefordshire, the New Model in Technology and Engineering – what will be the first new University in the UK for 40 years – is soon to be recruiting its first cohort for a Masters in Integrated Engineering. Over the border in Worcestershire, WLEP & WCC recently secured Careers Hub status – one of only 20 awarded in the UK – providing significant levels of funding to invest in careers guidance in schools and colleges right across the county.

November/December 2018


KEGSOFT BRINGS AUTOMATION TO IT APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT In the last BD we introduced Kegsoft Business Language (KBL) & outlined a new more productive approach to task solving & application design. Here we fill in some details.

so changes now become far less disruptive even for late-stage & complex projects. KEGSOFT APPLICATION PRODUCTION LINE METHOD replaces swathes of conventional software ‘hand crafting’ but we still utilise specialised functions & skillsets appropriately. To support automated build we compartmentalise data architecture, business functionality, navigation & styling so each component can be worked on independently. Besides flexibility, this approach has many advantages including: standardisation, integrated QA, identifiable business IP and not least, significant reductions in costs and delivery time.

Creating business IT applications requires painstaking business analysis & design, there are no short-cuts as the further a development project progresses, the more difficult & expensive it becomes to make changes – many a project has foundered due to scope changes and ‘revisiting’ requirements. Although poor management is often blamed for failures, even well-run IT projects are difficult to steer when faced with unavoidable amendments & ‘scope-creep’ as conventionally, processes for analysis, design & build are comparable to a building site - once the concrete is poured to the architect’s specification, changes become progressively difficult to implement & costs rise exponentially. ITERATIVE DESIGN ALTERNATIVE: Kegsoft is introducing an innovative new development life-cycle that integrates best-in-class design methodology with new software tools

that enable a much more flexible way of developing business applications. AUTOMATION: Our advanced analysis & design process delivers a ‘blueprint’ to automatically build an application to a high level of completion. Amendments and fine-tuning that may affect both data structure and functionality are applied as revisions to the blueprint and the application can be regenerated in seconds. Our method combines both design rigour AND flexibility

Kegsoft has many more advanced features up its sleeve - which we will expand in the next BD. TALK TO US: if you’ve a particular problem to solve, have urgent business requirements to fulfil or think that our methods could help improve your IT - call us on 01568 613272 for a friendly chat or visit

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Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce




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November/December 2018


Bring your - wellies Oldcastle is set in 50 acres of beautiful grounds set within panoramic backdrop views of The Malvern Hills. Said to be the original settlement of Colwall village it was Founded by Sir John Oldcastle, a good friend to Shakespeare who was a character reference for Henry IV’s Falstaff. The Jacobean family house is a charismatic, dog loving, friendly country house destination within easy reach to a direct London train line in the village and regional motorways. Surrounded by natural Malvern spring fed water features, lakes and ponds the location boasts many beautiful pub and dog walks right on your door step! Offering a very attractive setting for private events, civil wedding ceremonies and corporate events, including guest accommodation. Private and tranquil, the venue can comfortably host intimate or large events when needed for up to 300 guests inside and several thousand outside, with the use of private grounds around the venue and several modern and traditional spaces within the property. Equipped with all the benefits of 21st Century technology within a traditional setting, the venue can accommodate any event F&B needs with our own in house licensed bar and catering team. Oldcastle, Evendine Lane, Colwall, Worcestershire, WR13 6DT 07955 179114 | |

If you are looking to add an element of class and individuality to your special occasion, then Aspens Vintage Events will deliver to your exacting requirements. Hetty is available for private, corporate and public events to bring that touch of vintage glamour to your catering. We also cater at a number of Community Cafes in the area. Pop and see us at the following locations:

Bridgnorth Endowed Leisure Centre

Droitwich LIdo

Pershore Civic Centre

For further about our catering contact: or 0800 688 9778

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

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KEEPING OUR ECONOMY ON THE RIGHT TRACK Worcestershire has one of the fastest growing economies in the country and it shows no signs of slowing.

Artist's Impression of Worcestershire Parkway Railway Station

The aim is to continue to grow Worcestershire’s economy by one third, creating an extra 25,000 jobs by 2025 and the County is well on track with that goal. To support this aim, being Open for Business, investing in local companies and in turn supporting the local economy remains a key priority for the County; Worcestershire County Council works closely with the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, the University of Worcester and local businesses. There are currently a number of different schemes running which support businesses of all sizes. They include LEADER, Enterprising Worcestershire, WINN and finditinworcestershire just to name a few. All these programmes have so far supported over 1,800 local businesses, which has in turn helped deliver over £60million GVA growth, created over 1,000 new jobs and have given over £5.5m in grants and loans to businesses. Also continued investment in the county’s

transport networks is also a key factor. Worcestershire Parkway rail station, which is currently under construction, will significantly enhance Worcestershire’s connectivity with the UK’s key economies and encourage economic growth and development within the county. Located to the east of Junction 7 of the M5, the station will be accessible for commuters from all over the county. Currently, some commuters travel outside of the county to Birmingham or Warwickshire Parkway to get a train to London or the North.

reliability, is continuing on schedule. Improved digital networks will also help to deliver a connected county. Worcestershire was recently chosen by the Government as the home of a new 5G Testbed, putting the county at the forefront of technological innovation. It means the county will pave the way for a future rollout of 5G technology in the UK. Greater digital connectivity across the county will drive the economy with a high quality environment for both urban and rural areas.

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November/December 2018




70 YEARS OF ENGINEERING SUCCESS AT LAND ROVER EXPERIENCE EASTNOR Jaguar Land Rover is celebrating its 70th anniversary and looking back at its history.


In the early 1960s Land Rover visited the Eastnor Castle Estate and, after discovering the rugged woodland, invited its engineers Gordon Bashford and Spen King - to perform a benchmarking exercise for Range Rover vehicles.

You Do Better has grown from strength to strength since its launch in October 2017 – and is now enjoying 1 year in business and an exciting plan for the future.

The exercise proved successful, and led to Land Rover choosing the estate as its engineering proving ground for vehicle off-road capability and durability.

With the addition of a summer intern and a cache of associates, Ruby and the team at You Do Better are firmly establishing themselves as a very popular PR Agency in Worcestershire – and beyond! Business Owner, Ruby Edwards said: “It’s great to see You Do Better flourishing – I really enjoy working with a variety of clients; no day is ever the same and I love the challenge that each day brings! It’s great to be able to work alongside such a talented team of associates and see my model working in real-time. With a number of new initiatives being launched soon it’s an exciting time to be working in collaboration with so many brilliant Worcestershire-based businesses.”

Today, Eastnor is recognised as the heart of Land Rover, and every new vehicle is tested at the site. In addition, the Eastnor Estate houses a Land Rover Experience centre, which is more than 25 years old. It allows visitors to get behind the wheel of one of Land Rover’s iconic British vehicles, take on the challenging terrain, and discover exactly what the technologically advanced vehicles can do.

PIP PRINTING SWITCH TO BIO-DEGRADABLE FILM PIP Printing have always strived to be as eco-friendly as possible. As well as ensuring all of its papers are FSC certified, the Hereford-based firm has extremely high recycling ethics – with all of its waste paper and cardboard collected. However he company felt it wasn’t enough... The firms acknowledges that single use plastics have been in the news a lot lately, so PIP has taken a long hard look at its processes and questioned how the team could be doing better. PIP is cutting single use plastics where they can... From Wednesday 1 August, PIP have switched all of its matte and gloss laminated print to a new bio-degradable film. The new “bio” film looks like regular lamination and feels lovely – when the print reaches the end of its useful life, it composts. Within two years it is gone, without leaving contaminates in the soil. For further information please contact the PIP team in Aubrey Street, Hereford.

SURFTECH IT JOIN FORCES WITH WRIGHT STAFF RECRUITMENT When Chamber Members Matthew Parsons, SurfTech IT, and Ross Wright, Wright Staff Recruitment, attended a recent Chamber Breakfast at Gaudet Luce Golf Club, they knew they were in for quality business conversations and, that all important bacon sandwich. When conversation struck up between Ross and Matthew, it soon became apparent that SurfTech IT had the expertise that Ross had been looking for. Matthew was also able to fill Ross in on the details of the Growing Secure Business in

Worcestershire, which is provided through the Be Cyber Secure Programme. The pair met and went through the project in detail, enjoyed another bacon sandwich and, with Matthew’s support, Ross was able to apply for match funding of 45% of the total project costs. Matthew said: “It’s been a real pleasure to work with Wright Staff and support this thriving business. We’re also providing proactive support and patch management which means the team at Wright Staff can be confident that their IT solutions are well maintained whilst they focus on their day to day activities.”

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



OPENING OF LUCTON SCHOOL SHANGHAI Lucton School in Herefordshire has joined a select group of UK schools following the opening of Lucton School Shanghai on Monday 3 September 2018. The Chairman, Dr Tony Paterson, and Vice-Chairman, Peter Morris, of Lucton UK’s governing body, along with Mrs Gill Thorne, Lucton UK’s Headteacher and Lucton’s Bursar, Paul Thorne, who manages Lucton’s overseas developments, were all in Shanghai to be part of the opening celebrations. The opening ceremony included praise and support for the new school from John Edwards, the British Consul-General of Shanghai.

extra-curricular offering designed to provide much of the breadth of activities available in typical UK independent schools, such as Lucton.

Lucton School Shanghai will take in pupils at the age of 15, straight from the Chinese compulsory stage of education and they will study IGCSE exams, followed by A Levels, together with an exceptional

HEREFORD COLLEGE OF ARTS STUDENTS ACHIEVE EXCEPTIONAL UCAS POINTS College-level students at Hereford College of Arts have achieved high-grade results significantly above the UK national average for UCAS point equivalent A-Levels. The College’s focus is to empower students to achieve their greatest creative potential through collaboration, innovation and explorative practice. Students are empowered to shape their own creative futures and once again, their hard work and determination has been rewarded. Ben Gamble, Head of Further Education said: “Congratulations to all our students on their success. These outstanding results reflect the hard work and commitment that has gone into their studies and we would like to wish them well as they take up their places at university. After such a strong year, we are excited to be expanding our course portfolio – for September 2019 entry, HCA will be offering a new digital curriculum for students interested in exciting careers in the buoyant digital realm.”

Neil Clayton, the founding Headmaster of Lucton School Shanghai is also keen to see continued innovation and development in the curriculum as he ensures that China’s cultural and national preferences are fully integrated with Lucton School’s heritage and the British curriculum. All of these developments do not just raise Lucton’s international profile, but represent great news for Herefordshire and UK education in general.


APPRENTICES CELEBRATED AT GRADUATION CEREMONY Apprentices, employers, family and friends celebrated at WCG’s Apprenticeship Graduation and Celebration of Awards ceremony at a packed Old Shire Hall, Warwick on Thursday 13 September. The apprentices were celebrating completing a range of apprenticeships from engineering and horticulture to farriery and business administration at companies large and small, local and national. The college group’s fourth graduation ceremony began with a drinks reception at the historic Grade 1 listed building in Northgate Street, before guest of honour Paul Johnson, from the Warwick Manufacturing Group (part of the University of Warwick) gave a keynote address on the importance of apprenticeships in driving the growth of the Midlands economy.

S&A Group has been out and about in the local community in Herefordshire. Colleague Jude Norcott visited the local school Kings Caple Primary Academy to give two new tablets to the children for use in lessons, as well as a set of “Kidsafe” packs. The “Kidsafe” programme helps to educate children on topics such as stranger danger and road safety. S&A is committed to supporting neighbouring communities and it enjoys helping out local schools where possible. The pupils were very excited to receive the tablets and Sarah Watkins, Head of School, said the resources will really help the students with their learning.

The apprentices then took to the stage to receive their official scrolls from WCG Group Principal and CEO, Angela Joyce. Awards were also made to Outstanding Apprentices in three industry sectors. WCG offers a wide range of apprenticeships in a variety of industries. For more information, go to apprenticeships or call 0300 456 0049.


November/December 2018



SUCCESSFUL YEAR AT MALVERN PANALYTICAL As we approach the close of 2018, Malvern Panalytical is reflecting on a successful 2018. This year has seen the conclusion of its award from the Regional Growth Fund, which has helped the firm successfully develop both its employee profile and technology capabilities. The refurbishment to the main building in Malvern was completed in March. The building has been redesigned to provide technology nursery cells, enabling its research and development teams to work hand-in-hand with production, ensuring Malvern can launch innovative products to the market more quickly and efficiently. 2018 has seen 3 product launches from its Malvern site: the flagship Zetasizer Pro and Zetasizer Ultra, the Morphologi 4 Range, and the NanoSight Sample Assistant – all designed to help its customers solve the challenges associated with maximizing productivity, developing better quality products and getting them to market faster. These products are used in Nanomaterial and Biopharmaceutical applications - the target markets for its Regional Growth Fund application.

Making it nine years at the top for the leading boiler manufacturer, Worcester Bosch has achieved the highest brand score in the 2018 Which? Boiler Brands report, and secured Best Buy status across its gas and oil boilers. Following glowing feedback from boiler owners and installers, the Which? report revealed that Worcester Bosch boilers are the clear choice across the country, with the brand sitting above its nearest two rivals. Worcester Bosch also achieved five-star ratings where it counts - reliability, customer score, build quality and the likelihood that its products would be recommended by a professional. Which? summarised this year’s results by describing Worcester Bosch as a “Consistent chart topper. Very reliable, delighted customers, [and] backed by engineers who praise its build quality.” Worcester Bosch’s oil-fired boilers also received the top spot in this year’s review, beating the competitor brand. Again, excellent results for reliability, customer satisfaction and the quality of the product all contributed to this enviable top-spot position.

INCORPORATING IN A POST-BREXIT BRITAIN “Whatever your business, investing in a post-Brexit Britain will give you the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20” – this was the prominent phrase from Theresa May’s September speech in New York to the Bloomberg Global Business Forum. It is the clearest indication yet that the government intends to follow through with its pledge in the 2016 Budget to lower the main rate of corporation tax to 17% by April 2020. Coupled with other benefits, such as limited liability for debts of the business and separate legal entity, a lower level of corporation tax will provide a huge incentive for unincorporated entities to consider incorporating. Choosing the correct company structure can be complex so it is vital that any documentation is drafted carefully and appropriate tax advice is obtained. For further information on company incorporation matters, members can call Jack Morley on 01562 516131 or email

NEW-LOOK SIXWAYS HOSPITALITY FACILITIES PROVING POPULAR Warriors’ new-look East Stand Hospitality facilities are proving popular this season, with supporters taking advantage of the luxury surroundings on match days. Over the summer, a new carpet was laid in the Pitchview Suite, Duckworth Suite and Business Lounge – and guests are already enjoying the updated feel. The EBC XV Club has sold out for the entire season and match-to-match Hospitality places are selling fast for upcoming games. Away from the rugby action, the first-class facilities will be in use at a string of exciting

innovative catering to meet all dietary requirements, the facilities are also ideal for any business or corporate meeting, product launch, exhibition, corporate day, regional meeting or team building event.

events Warriors have got coming up at Sixways, including a series of Christmas Party Nights throughout December. With

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

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COLLABORATION SUCCESS FOR MEMBERS “YOU DO BETTER” AND “WORCESTER WEB STUDIO” Business Direction recently met with two Chamber Members, You Do Better and Worcester Web Studio, to discuss how they have managed to join forces and collaborate in order to boost both their businesses. You Do Better is a Worcestershire-based PR and Communications agency, managed by highly experienced business consultant, Ruby Edwards. You Do Better joined the Chamber in March this year, although Ruby had been a Member for several years prior to this – through Funny Blood. Ruby has an innovative approach to making business connections, putting collaborative working at the heart of the business. It was this pioneering approach that to led to the start of a brilliant working relationship with Worcester Web Studio, and Director Ray Gillespie. Worcester Web Studio joined the chamber in 2017 after speaking to one of the Chamber’s Business Engagement Executives, Kathy Winnell. Based just outside Worcester city centre, Worcester Web Studio has gone from strength to strength, experiencing great business growth in the last 18 months alone, which has allowed the firm to recruit new team members to help with the increasing flow of business. With the two companies based on different sides of the county, they work together to support each other and collaborate on projects right across Worcestershire and beyond. With considerable experience in raising the profile of local firms, You Do Better was a

Ray Gillespie, Worcester Web Studio (L), Lucy Allen, H&W Chamber (M) and Ruby Edwards, You Do Better (R)

natural choice for Ray when deciding how he could be sharing his achievements and spreading the word about the business: “Ruby’s connections and PR-focused mindset have really helped us get the message out in ways and places that we wouldn’t have previously. In addition, working on clients’ projects as well as your own business requires an enormous amount of time and energy, so having someone like Ruby to help really lifts a weight off my shoulders.” “Doing business with people you respect is more prosperous”, says Ruby, who genuinely enjoys shouting about the success of Worcester Web Studio. “I believe that respect is the key to all

good communications and we have it in bucket-loads. Ray and the team at Worcester Web Studio are truly talented and I’m always impressed with their standard of work and creativity.” Both Ruby and Ray are looking forward to celebrating their first collaborative birthday early next year, and are hopeful that the working relationship will only continue to strengthen. When asked what makes a successful collaboration between companies, Ruby and Ray both said that it is based on loyalty and trust, and true collaborations are also fun. Working together brings another resource to their businesses, which ultimately helps them to connect and grow.

MEET YOUR NEXT BUSINESS CONNECTION THROUGH YOUR EXCLUSIVE MEMBER’S DIRECTORY Members of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce have access to an exclusive Members Directory online.

offering Member to Member discounts.

Our online business directory provides a search facility for our entire membership – made up of over 1500 businesses.

If you would like to update your profile, or want more information before offering your first Member to Member discount, please contact the Membership department on 01905 673 600.

Members can search for future connections by sector, number of employees, location and by those


Don’t forget to keep your Business Profile up-to-date so the Chamber’s network can find you easily.

November/December 2018




If yes, then grant support of up to ÂŁ100k may be available The Marches Building Investment Grant is a scheme part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Its aim is to help small to medium sized enterprises, who supply products and services to other businesses, to expand and grow. If your business is constrained by your current premises and workspace you may be eligible to receive grant support. Subject to job creation, grants of up to 45% of eligible project costs and a maximum of ÂŁ100k may be available to renovate, extend or reconfigure premises in the Marches area (Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin). The grant is unable to fund core farming operations, residential development, purchase of buildings and businesses involved in the retail sale of goods and services to the general public. To find out if your company is eligible to apply, and to discuss your proposal further, please contact the programme team on 01432 260662 or email


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Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



TRAINING WITH THE CHAMBER As 2018 is drawing to a close, we have taken the opportunity to reflect upon the changes we have made to the training department throughout this year. We are a small department of 1.5 staff (that 0.5 of a person makes all the difference!) and deliver over 120 public training courses and 50 bespoke in-house training days per year – we like to keep ourselves busy! If your business requires any type of training, coaching or consultancy, the Chamber Training department should be your first choice throughout 2019. Whether you need a one off course to solve an immediate skills gap or a longer term training provider, we can work with you to deliver suitable training to the highest standard by professional and highly qualified trainers and consultants. We are keen to continuously expand the courses we have on offer and meet local businesses training requirements; having listened to our customers we are pleased to now be offering 4 new courses.



This half-day course is presented as an interactive workshop, using live website and WordPress demos throughout. The course is suitable for those who would like a clearer understanding of how to use WordPress and create and maintain a website, delegates needing a WordPress refresh or if you’d just like a greater understanding when choosing a hosting provider. Covering site structure including; how to add posts, pages, media and menus, updating and editing posts and pages, themes, customisation and plugins, this course gives delegates the knowledge to actively update and add new content to their WordPress website.

Customer service should be one of the businesses top priorities. This course focuses on the importance of customer service and what makes customer service both good and bad. On attending this course you will have greater awareness of who your customers are and what they really want, giving you the ability to handle every situation confidently. To be able to go the extra mile when delivering great customer service and tailor the customer experience to individual customer needs.



Accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health and delivered by Mental Health First Aid England, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course designed to teach attendees how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. Adult MHFA courses can be attended by people aged 16 upwards and are relevant to anyone in any business and sector. On successful completion of the course, all delegates will receive a certificate to confirm they are a trainer Mental Health First Aider.

This one day course is suitable for attendees working in either a catering or retail environment, who handle, prepare or serve food in the catering industry or wider field. It is essential that employees working with food understand how to work safely to protect the food they serve from contamination to their customers. This accredited course gives delegates a greater awareness of food handler’s responsibilities within the law and an understanding of the basic principles of food hygiene such as; controlling temperatures, food storage, food preparation, personal hygiene and cleaning of premises.

The Training department is pleased to now be delivering courses from both our Worcester and Hereford offices. We are continuously updating our Hereford course portfolio and are always keen to hear which courses you’d like to see in Hereford. Please email any suggestions to


November/December 2018




Employment Law Update

Role of the Team Leader

Introduction to Digital Marketing & PR

Thursday 1 November - 10.00am-3.00pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Tuesday 27 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Wednesday 5 December - 9.30am-1.30pm FREE for Members / £100+VAT Non-members

Successful Telesales

Search Engine Optimisation

IOSH Managing Safely

Wednesday 7 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Tuesday 27 November - 9.30am-1.30pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members

Tuesday 11 – Friday 14 December - 9.30am-4.30pm £495+VAT Members / £595+VAT Non-members

Effective Professional Proofreading

7 Steps to Closing the Deal

Email Marketing

Thursday 8 November - 9.30am-1.30pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members

Thursday 29 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Tuesday 11 December - 9.30am-1.30pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members

Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering - NEW

Effective Use of Social Media

Introduction to Project Management

Tuesday 13 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Thursday 29 November - 9.30am-1.30pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members

Wednesday 12 December - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Advanced Microsoft Excel

Internal Auditor Training

Wednesday 14 November - 9.30am-4.00pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Tuesday 4 December - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members

Google Analytics

Wednesday 14 November - 9.30am-1.30pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members Understanding your Customers - NEW

Tuesday 20 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members Mentoring in the Workplace

Wednesday 21 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members Writing Effective Marketing Copy

Friday 23 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members Emergency First Aid at Work

Monday 26 November - 9.30am-4.30pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members Intermediate Microsoft Excel

Monday 26 November - 9.30am-4.00pm £150+VAT Members / £188+VAT Non-members Fire Marshal Training

Tuesday 27 November - 10.00am-4.00pm £80+VAT Members / £100+VAT Non-members

For more information and bookings contact us on 01905 673 611, or Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



APPRENTICES CELEBRATED AT GRADUATION CEREMONY Apprentices, employers, family and friends celebrated at WCG’s Apprenticeship Graduation and Celebration of Awards ceremony at a packed Old Shire Hall, Warwick on Thursday 13 September. The apprentices were celebrating completing a range of apprenticeships from engineering and horticulture to farriery and business administration at companies large and small, local and national. The ceremony began with a drinks reception before guest of honour Paul Johnson, from the Warwick Manufacturing Group gave a keynote address on the importance of apprenticeships in driving the growth of the Midlands economy. The apprentices then took to the stage to receive their official scrolls from WCG Group Principal and CEO, Angela Joyce. Awards were also made to Outstanding Apprentices in three industry sectors: Engineering and Construction, Land-based and Service Industries. Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO of WCG, said: “Our Apprenticeship Graduation is a wonderful opportunity for

us to recognise and reward apprentices in the same way as those who have studied for a degree. We were delighted to see so many family, friends and employers coming together to celebrate the apprentices’ achievements. “We absolutely believe apprenticeships are great for businesses and individuals alike. By choosing an apprenticeship, you not only gain the vital academic grounding in your chosen sector, but the experience of putting what you have learned into practice. “At WCG we have made a strong commitment to apprenticeships which are proving to be an excellent way of developing the skills and behaviours that businesses require. By working with employers directly, we have created programmes that are responsive to their specific work-readiness needs.

WCG offers a wide range of apprenticeships in a variety of industries. If you are interested in employing apprentices, go to apprenticeships or call 0300 456 0046.

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November/December 2018



The Herefordshire economy remains positive, despite uncertainty caused by Brexit, with more businesses pushing ahead with joint ventures, succession and expansion plans. Corporate solicitors at Lanyon Bowdler are busier than ever working with clients across Herefordshire and The Marches on a variety of transactions - which they say is an indication of a strong confidence in the economy. Ed Burrell, of the corporate and commercial team, who covers Herefordshire, said another sign of the economy doing well was an increase in the number of shareholder exits from businesses across the region. He said: “It may seem strange, but a growth in shareholder exits is actually an indication that people have confidence in the economy. “People are usually less keen to leave a

“This has been great to see because it is a clear demonstration of businesses doing well and having faith in the local and national economy.” Meanwhile, GDPR may have dropped down the national news headlines, but businesses are still taking time to get to grips with the new regulations. Edward added: “There has been a significant rise in demand for updating terms and conditions to ensure they comply with the new data protection laws.

business when times are harder because they will get a smaller return and will have less confidence that any new venture will succeed. “We have been extremely busy with a wide variety of both commercial and corporate work for our clients during this year. “For instance, we have seen a big rise in the number of joint ventures between businesses, where clients are looking to move into new sectors which complement their own, or where they see potential

“Much of this demand is due to the implementation of GDPR in May and businesses are now taking the opportunity to review and refresh the terms of their contracts with suppliers, agents, distributors and customers. “GDPR in itself has led to a lot of work, as the new regime is quite complicated and we have been helping to simplify it for clients.” For more advice about corporate and commercial law, contact Lanyon Bowdler on 0800 652 3371 or visit the website at

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Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

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CHAMBER BUSINESS AWARDS - YOU’VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT! Date: Wednesday 12 December Time: 8.00-9.30am Venue: Worcester Racecourse, Grand Stand Road, Worcester WR1 3EJ

BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR SPRING BUSINESS EXPO The Events team would like to thank all those who attended the Autumn Business Expo, in association with Hewett Recruitment, on Thursday 11 October. It was fantastic to welcome so many new businesses who exhibited on the day, and we hope that guests took advantage of the delicious Food and Drink Producer Zone, and enjoyed the entertainment on offer at all 120 stands. We would like to extend our thanks to Mo Bro’s, from BBC’s Dragon’s Den, for delivering an insightful presentation on their business journey from concept to creation. The beard products brand began

in-house creating its own formulations, before winning the largest investment from Dragon’s Den in the last two years. The company now turns over £1.3m, selling in 78 countries and winning over 300,000 online customers.

The opportunities that come alongside entering an award are invaluable including a great boost to staff morale, a powerful tool to raise your profile and a way to stand out against your competitors. This new for 2019 workshop has been designed to encourage and assist Chamber Members with writing their Awards Entries, which will launch in January 2019. Hear from previous award winning businesses and take away top tips from judges. FREE to Chamber Members and Non-Members

If you missed their seminar, please head to our Twitter page (@HW_Chamber) to catch the live stream from the day. The Chamber is delighted to announce that stands can now be booked for the Spring Business Expo on Thursday 7 March 2019. To find out more information, please contact our Events team on

LIMITED SPACES REMAINING FOR HR PROFESSIONALS CONFERENCE IN ASSOCIATION WITH HEWETT RECRUITMENT Now in its 6th year, the conference is aimed at HR professionals from companies of all sizes and sectors. The event is not one to be missed for those wanting to understand the current and future innovations, and challenges facing businesses.

Relations. She has considerable experience in large scale resourcing and has been the leader in many system implementations and change programmes.

Date: Thursday 22 November Time: 9.00am-3.00pm Venue: The Bank House Hotel, Spa & Golf Club, Bank House Hotel, Worcester, WR6 5JD

the Confederation of British Industry, leading the CBI’s work on the labour market, skills, energy and infrastructure.

This year we will welcome:

Andy McBride – Head of Resourcing and Shared Services at Halfords Andy is currently Head of Resourcing and Shared Services for Halfords Ltd, a well-known Retailer of Cycles and Automotive products. Andy is responsible for all Group Talent acquisition, HR transactional services and Employee

Keynote Speaker – Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC Neil Carberry was appointed as Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation in June 2018 having been managing director at


Sally Morris – Partner and Head of Employment at mfg Solicitors Sally Morris joins the conference line up once again as one of the leading employment law solicitors in the county. Sally is a respected media spokesperson on all employment and HR law issues regularly contributing legal commentaries and legislation warnings for the region’s business leaders and key media. The cost for Members is £37.50+VAT and is priced at £50.00+VAT for Non-members. To book your place now, please contact events@

November/December 2018


NETWORKING CALENDAR NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018 NOVEMBER Herefordshire Locals Race Day Monday 5 November - 12.00-4.30pm Hereford Race Course, Roman Road, Hereford HR4 9QU £20.00+VAT for Members and £35.00+VAT Non-members Worcester Women’s Business Forum Thursday 8 November - 9.30-11.30am Hogarths Stone Manor, Bromsgrove Road, Kidderminster DY10 4PJ FREE for Members and £20.00+VAT Non-members On the Border Networking Breakfast Tuesday 13 November - 7.30-9.30am Sapey Golf & Country Club, Upper Sapey, Worcester WR6 6XT FREE for Members and £20.00+VAT Non-members WE HAVE A 100% SUCCESS RATE IN IMMIGRATION APPLICATIONS

Thursday Connections in association with Harrison Clark Rickerbys Thursday 15 November - 5.30-7.00pm Talk to us: 01905 612 001 | Website: Cellar Door, 25 Widemarsh Street, Hereford HR4 9EA FREE for Members & £10.00+VAT Non-members Our unique approach combined with the expertise of our team ensures that we submit the best application for our clients to the Home Office for consideration. Claire Thompson, Partner, Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Malvern Curry Club in association with Sharpmonkeys Tuesday 20 November - 6.00-8.00pm Anupam, 85 Church Street, Great Malvern WR14 2AE £20.00+VAT Members & £35.00+VAT Non-members HR Professionals Conference 2018 in association with Hewett Recruitment Thursday 22 November - 9.00am-3.00pm Bank House Hotel, Bransford, Worcester WR6 5JD Keynote speaker: Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC Speaker: Andy McBride, Head of Resourcing and Shared Services at Halfords Speaker: Sally Morris, Partner and Head of Employment at mfg Solicitors £37.50+VAT for Chamber Members or clients of Hewett Recruitment & £50.00+VAT for Non-members

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Sustainability Forum Wednesday 28 November - 8.00-11.00am West Midlands Safari Park, Spring Grove House, Bewdley, DY12 1LF FREE for Members & Non-members WE HAVE A 100% SUCCESS RATE IN IMMIGRATION APPLICATIONS Our unique approach combined with the expertise of our team

Meet the Neighbours Event intheassociation ensures that we submit best application for our clients to the Office for consideration. with Harrison ClarkHome Rickerbys Talk to us: 01905 612 001 | Website: Wednesday 28 November - 10.00-11.30am Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Coldnose Road, Rotherwas, Hereford, HR2 6JL. FREE for Members & Non-members Claire Thompson, Partner, Harrison Clark Rickerbys

DECEMBER Herefordshire Networking Breakfast Tuesday 4 December - 7.30-9.30am Leominster Golf Club, Ford Bridge, Leominster HR6 0LE FREE for Members and £20.00+VAT Non-members Redditch HR Forum in association Hewett Recruitment Wednesday 5 December - 9.30-11.30am Thorlux Lighting, Merse Road, Redditch B98 9HH FREE for Members and clients of Hewett Recruitment £20.00+VAT Non-members Worcestershire Networking Breakfast Tuesday 11 December - 7.30-9.30am The Office Canteen, Unit 9, Great Western Business Park, McKenzie Way, Worcester WR4 9GN FREE for Members & £20.00+VAT Non-members Maximise Your Membership Event Friday 12 December - 8.30-11.00am Hindlip Suite, Worcester Warriors, Sixways Stadium, Warriors Way, Worcester WR3 8ZE FREE for Members To book your place on any of these events visit, email or phone 01905 673 600



FOCUS ON VISION LABS In this issue of BD, we take a look at Vision Labs, a Kidderminster-based business producing prescription ophthalmic lenses, which has seen striking growth in recent years. General Manager Lee Timbrell gives us an insight into their journey as a business, and the secrets of their success. Founded in 1990 as an independent lens manufacturer, the business became part of the Specsavers group in 1997. Soon after which, they moved into new, purpose-built manufacturing facilities on the outskirts of Kidderminster. To meet the increasing demand for their services, the site was substantially expanded in 2012, when a new coating department was added, with further growth in 2017 when a smaller site was consolidated into Vision Labs. Today, the facility stretches over 4,936 sqm and is home to 360 employees.

million lenses a year. What may surprise you is that each lens is bespoke precision engineered – none are mass produced.

Rapid growth can prove a challenge, from the increase in employees to changes in the working environment and keeping up productivity throughout. The 2017 consolidation saw an additional 110 employees join the Kidderminster site.

Specsavers is one of the largest privately owned businesses in the UK and Ireland with its own supply chain – and Vision Labs is a key part of that chain – one of only two labs which manufacture lenses for all of their stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.


Such is the demand for their products, that the Kidderminster team delivers up to five million bespoke ophthalmic

lenses each year - that’s about 100,000 each week, with their ‘sister’ facility in Southampton producing a further 4

Building a reputation on delivering quality and a personal service, Specsavers has achieved high customer retention figures, with the aim that customers will look to them for their ophthalmic care from the cradle to the grave.

The work of Vision Labs is integral to this success, with finely honed processes which mean orders are typically fulfilled in two days. The newly installed coating tracking system is one such process, which allows orders to be tracked when they are going through the manual coating process – allowing for complete visibility of every customer order at all times. Vision Labs is steered by a team who

November/December 2018

BIGINTERVIEW are a mixture of optical experts and manufacturing industry specialists. Central to their success, as Lee explains, is their “understanding of the need for change and what shape that change should take”. Their manufacturing site is one such example, constantly evolving, with £2-3m invested each year in upgraded equipment – on the understanding that technology does not stand still. It is this willingness to adapt, that allows Vision Labs to stay ahead of the curve and meet the staggering demand for their services that has seen the business grow by over 40% in a year. Rapid growth can prove a challenge, from the increase in employees to changes in the working environment and keeping up productivity throughout. The 2017 consolidation saw an additional 110 employees join the Kidderminster site – many of whom were trained from scratch. Central to meeting the challenge was “effective planning and project management, combined with good communication.” explains Lee. Vision Labs is clearly committed to developing their team, in addition to their initial training – great emphasis is placed on employees’ continued professional development. Support is given to staff at all levels to develop their skills, with the business investing heavily in apprenticeships and NVQs. Training is provided for those in management roles too, with help at hand for everyone from those stepping into a supervisory role for the first time to the leadership team. The nature of their work means that many staff are also given bespoke optical training too, with a heavy emphasis on maths and physics. “Development is the key to everything we do”, explains Lee. “In addition to our apprenticeship levy, we invest heavily in training, providing lots of opportunities for our employees at all levels. “Our team is a huge part of our success, they are the driving force that makes our success possible and we are immensely proud of them. Together, we are proud to be a part of the Specsavers Group and proud to be recognised independently as Vision Labs too.” Such is their commitment to developing their team, that they’ve attained the Gold Investors in People award – in addition to which they collected the 2017 Gold Employer of the Year (250+ employees) award. Over the years they have also won a number of Chamber awards too, including ‘Business of the Year 2018’. What speaks volume about their approach to business is their corporate social responsibility. Meeting the strict criteria necessary to gain the ISO 14001:2015 accreditation for environmental management, is just one

Lee Timbrell, General Manager

example, meaning they provide evidence annually of how they’ve reduced their environmental impact. At the moment, they are working with Cambridge University on a project to find the best use for the plastic waste from their lens cutting process. Support for charities is also important, with three charities in our region receiving assistance from Vision Labs: Kemp Hospice, the Midlands

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Air Ambulance and Macmillan Cancer Support. Staff are invited to contribute ideas for additional charitable activities throughout the year, with recent examples including a ‘Jeans for Genes’ day. Vision Labs, it is clear, is a business with a huge respect for their customers, their team and their local community – with their commitment to service driving far more than business success.



INSIGHT INTO ENGINEERING 2018 is the Year of Engineering – so it’s fitting that we shine a light on the sector in our region and take a look at what’s being done to train the engineers of the future.

ADDRESSING THE SKILLS GAP TODAY Tackling the critical shortfall in engineers is a priority if we are to support the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

after by both industry and students alike. Apprenticeships provide business with a steady stream of ‘homegrown’ talent equipping employers with the engineering skills they require and apprentices with the professional skills and competencies to be immediately successful in the workplace.

One organisation addressing the challenge is further education and specialist college group WCG with the launch of its new engineering centre at Evesham College. A joint venture between the college and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, the project represents a combined investment of over £430,000. Providing a real-life engineering environment, the facility includes a workshop with CNC units, bench fitting, turning and milling machinery, a metrology and mechanical science laboratory, plus a fully equipped CAD suite with a 3D printer. With new and advanced engineering technology companies currently developing facilities in Worcestershire, a state-of-the-art engineering centre is timely, so it’s never been more important

to bridge the skills gap. WCG has a long track record of working with advanced manufacturing employers, training to advanced apprenticeship standards. It offers a broad range of apprenticeships covering a variety of engineering disciplines, so is well placed to meet the challenge. Advances in technology mean its highest level engineering apprenticeships the equivalent of bachelor’s degree qualifications - are particularly sought

Through higher and degree apprenticeships, individuals are offered the opportunity to get a degree and differentiate themselves by gaining crucial work experience as well as earning money along the way. WCG is spreading the message to young people and careers advisors that modern engineering is a high tech, exciting and rewarding career choice with a programme of outreach. Open days, industry days and talks in schools are just some of the activities that illustrate the great opportunities a job in engineering affords.

UK REMAINS A MANUFACTURING POWERHOUSE Lesk Engineers has provided precision engineering services for over 60 years and collectively their small team has over 300 years of engineering experience - so it’s no wonder that today, the business continues to grow. Founded in 1952 by Harold Bosworth, immediately after he’d completed his apprenticeship, the company was incorporated in 1965. Lesk continued after Harold’s death under the stewardship of his widow Sylvia Mary Bosworth, with Peter Brown serving as Managing Director for over 50 years. Today, Jim McBride, our Chamber Chairman, stands at the helm after purchasing the business some years ago - bringing with him a breadth of experience across several industrial sectors and a deeply held belief in the UK’s manufacturing prowess. “We don’t give the UK enough credit for our manufacturing output, we


The aerospace industry, as Jim observes, is brilliant at continuous improvement and it is the attention to detail, accuracy and high standards of firms like Lesk that make this possible.

are 9TH in the world rankings of manufacturing nations, yet we don’t think of ourselves as a manufacturing nation. In fact, we produce and add value to a huge amount of products.” A subcontracting engineering firm, Lesk specialise in the aerospace and machine tool Industries, meeting the stringent criteria required for Aerospace accreditation – a painstaking process which necessitates the complete traceability of all their products for 15 years.

Speaking of their success Jim is adamant that “Your greatest asset is your people – you need to look after your people. Our team takes pride in their work and we take pride in them.” “Engineering offers fantastic opportunities for both businesses and individuals, so it is crucial that we show the next generation the great prospects that engineering affords, that we support apprenticeships and help address the skills gap. Society will always need engineers.” Moving forward, Lesk continues to move with the times, keeping abreast of technological advances, bringing more jobs in-house and inspiring the next generation of engineers.

November/December 2018


SPIN UK CELEBRATES SUCCESS One business making a mark in their sphere of expertise is Worcester-based company Spin UK. Step into manufacturing plants as far afield as America, Brazil, China and India, and you’re likely to find their testing systems installed. For this advanced engineering company, design manufacture and commissions test systems utilised by leading automotive and heavy engine manufacturers across the UK and beyond. Spin UK recently received a prestigious accolade for their work in the form of a Ford Powertrain Manufacturing Excellence Global Award. Winning the ‘Safety Improvement Achievement’ category, the award recognises the significant advances in safety brought about by their new engine test system – the Hot Run Pod. The Hot Run Pod is a new testing

Spin UK representatives Mark Jones (Engineering Director) and David Wood (Managing Director) receiving the award from Chris White

concept for Ford engine plants. It improves the safety of operating technicians by keeping them outside the test cell, thereby isolating them from the running conditions within the cell. “This award is something for the whole company to celebrate, we are a relatively small business and everyone at Spin has contributed to this achievement,” explains Sarah Pow, Operations Manager of Spin UK.

In developing the self-contained test cell, Spin UK worked closely with Ford’s PTME Engineering and Purchasing teams on the specifications for the unit. It is this consultative approach that has led to Spin UK building up long-standing relationships with their clients. Ensuring that safety, quality and productivity standards are maintained at the highest levels in their clients’ manufacturing facilities is a priority. Established just 20 years ago, as a firm providing mechanical and electrical engineering expertise for Spin Group originating in Barcelona, Spin UK has gone from strength to strength. Many of their employees have been with the business since the early days - which speak volumes about the esteem with which employees, as well as customers, hold the company.

NEW ENGINEERING UNIVERSITY TAKES SHAPE Work continues apace on Hereford’s proposed new university, the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE). Founding a university from scratch is a rare occurrence and one which hasn’t happened in Britain for some time, but given the link between economic growth and higher education institutions, there was widespread support for a university in Hereford. Research highlighting the shortage of engineers – with an estimated 1.8 million needed by 2025 - led to the focus on engineering. Steering this ground-breaking project is Acting Chief Executive Officer Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, who is well placed to take the lead given her background as Professor of Enterprise and Engineering Education at the University of Sheffield. What marks NMiTE out from other universities is their new approach to recruiting future engineers and delivering their training – hence the ‘new model’ cited in their name. Firstly, students will be supported in gaining the necessary grounding in maths and physics - thereby attracting a broader

pool of students – including those who had to choose between the arts and sciences at an early stage. Secondly, the university will deliver a MEng in just three years – by utilising longer term times – maximising the campus usage and making more engineers available sooner. Thirdly, training will go beyond the theoretical, producing engineers equipped to join the workplace when they graduate - minimising the training prospective employers will need to provide, and improving graduates’ job prospects.

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

“When you teach someone the violin, you give them a violin – you don’t give them a book about playing the violin,” explains Elena. “Students at NMiTE will be involved in practical engineering projects right from the start - solving real-life problems. “Understanding that engineering makes a difference to society is crucial in encouraging more people to take up the subject and ensuring underrepresented groups – like women - are better represented in the future.”



FREE OFFICE 365 FOR CHARITIES Local company Worcester Web Studio is urging local charities to make the most of Microsoft’s offer of free Office 365 email hosting for non-profit organisations.

BISHOP FLEMING BECOMES PATRON MEMBER OF THE CHAMBER Chris Walklett, Partner in charge of Bishop Fleming’s West Midlands office, says: “I’m very excited about the opportunity to partner with Chamber in this way. So much of how we support and advocate business in the area mirrors the Chamber’s ambition, and patron membership will enable us to work with Chamber on a level that will be a game changer for both organisations.” In November this year the Chamber will be co-hosting an international joint event with Bishop Fleming, with a focus on signposting support to businesses looking to export, or structure internationally to manage Brexit.

Director Ray Gillespie is hoping to spread the word so that good causes, both locally and nationally, are able to make the most of the free email hosting service. Ray said: “If you own, run or work for a charity, you may be interested to know that Microsoft offer a very generous discount for non-profit organisations (up to a maximum of 300 users). They offer the non-profit version of Office 365 Business Essentials (known as ‘Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials’) completely free of charge, and offer the non-profit version of Office 365 Business Premium (known as ‘Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium’) at a substantial discount (£2.30 per month per user). Find out how you can get free Office 365 email hosting from Microsoft by heading to: or give the team a call on 01905 641232.

Chris Walklett says: “The Brexit roadmap is reaching some key milestones, but the political noise and furore surrounding it is not helping businesses focus on what they can be doing now to evolve their international strategy. The event we will be hosting with the Chamber will hope to address that; featuring speakers from the US, Ireland and The Netherlands, it underlines how we can work with the Chamber to benefit business in the West Midlands and beyond.”

HEREFORD RACOURSE DIGS FOR WATER Work has started at Hereford Racecourse to build a reservoir that will provide the course with its own independent water supply for the first time in its 200-year history. Having access to water as and when it is needed will mean the ground staff can keep the ground in the best possible condition for racing, and support in particular the provision of safe jumping ground at the start and end of each season. Rebecca Davies, Executive Director said: “It really is an historic moment as for the first time in the racecourse’s history we will have our own water supply, and be in control of our destiny when it comes to irrigating. I’d like to put on record our enormous thanks to Cargill who have provided water to us in the past.”

EBC GROUP NOMINATED FOR NATIONAL AWARD EBC Group are pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted for “Channel Business of the Year”, at the national SVC (Storage, Virtualisation, Cloud) Awards. The ceremony honours those businesses working in the IT sector, recognising the achievements of end-users, channel partners and vendors, and for EBC Group highlights their continuing development in this area.


‘‘We are once again thrilled to be nominated for another national award’’ says EBC Group Managing Director Richard Lane ‘‘Having previously won ‘UK Managed Service Provider of the Year’ in 2017, we are hoping repeat the same success again this year’’. The awards will be held in London on Thursday 22 November, and decided by public vote. To vote for EBC Group visit

November/December 2018


MANUFACTURING THE FUTURE... Gardner Aerospace is one of the UK aircraft industry’s largest and most diverse manufacturer of finished machined and fabricated parts made from hard and soft metals. The company currently has manufacturing operations in the UK, Europe, and India, with plans in place to expand into China. Firmly positioned in the UK’s engineering manufacturing sector – Gardner Aerospace Group’s success relies on being highly competitive in a world market, adopting the latest manufacturing equipment, processes and methods. One of Gardner Group’s sites based in Pershore, Worcestershire is a world class specialist manufacturer of precision die tooling for the aerospace industry. The site exports 90% of its products to the US, Europe, and Asia. The tooling made by Gardner Blade is used to make turbine components for aero- engines and Industrial gas turbines for the Power Generation sector, and it relies on a highly skilled workforce of designers, specialist toolmakers and machinists. This knowledge, and the employee skills built up over many decades are the foundation of the business. Retaining and growing employee skills in this specialist sector is an ongoing business priority, and vital to the continuing success of the company. The company relies on engineering expertise in Die design using different Computer Aided design software platforms, multi axis CNC programming and machining, and Electro-Discharge machining as well as toolmaking. Even though the Hereford and Worcester area has a strong legacy of engineering, it can sometimes be difficult to recruit highly skilled engineering staff, so it is important to plan for the future. The Pershore site is actively involved with apprentice and development training under the Government’s apprentice levy programme.

Our Toolmaking apprenticeships start with a year of basic Engineering machining skills training - typically at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association Centre. The apprentice route allows for further study and academic qualifications to higher T-Levels 4 & 5 (ONC, & HNC / HND) or higher Levels 6 & 7 (Degree & Masters) on a part time basis whilst working on site. The apprentice Levy scheme is designed to incentivise companies to actively prepare for their future skills requirements by training apprentices and developing the workforce. The full training period for a die toolmaker can be up to 4 years after completing the 3 year engineering apprenticeship. As a relatively small site of 45 employees it is encouraging that 3 former apprentices are now embarking on further business management training. Brad Hughes and Jacob Robertson both completed their apprentice training. Brad is working on Business Improvement Training modules, and Jacob is gaining experience on Toolmaking production at Blade. Gardner Blade welcomed another new Toolmaking apprentice this year - Sean

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Leahy, as well as apprentice Business Administrator, Rebecca Jones. Sean is just starting his first year of basic engineering skills training at the Hereford and Worcester Group Training Association. “I’d like to thank Blade for giving me the opportunity & I’m really excited to get started and start working for Gardner Blade.” Sean Leahy – Apprentice Toolmaker with Ian Cerrone, Gardner blade’s site Director. “It’s great to see parents taking the time to support their son and we are sure Sean has a bright future here.” - Ian Cerrone, Gardner blade’s site Director. “I joined the Blade site at the start of September as the first business administrator apprentice they have taken. Looking back from the first time I met them at the interview I was welcomed by the site team and knew I wanted to be part of this team. Being trained at Gardner is great as the team were so helpful, with starting my career. I can’t wait to complete my apprenticeship and grow with the business. “– Rebecca Jones Gardner Blade Business Administrator Apprentice.

a Gardner Group company



Join the debate for regional businesses In less than five months, the UK will officially leave the European Union, and while a new order offers new opportunities, there are still many questions unanswered – will employers face a recruitment crisis if EU workers cannot come here? Will exporters struggle or divert their attention to new markets? What about the inevitable paperwork linked with trading abroad – will it all have to change? What kind of support is on offer locally for companies preparing for Brexit? Whatever your views on Brexit – and I think it offers some real opportunities for the UK to take a world view again, rather than focusing on the closest continent – UK commerce is going to change. Being ready to meet that change, go through the inevitable transition period and emerge on the other side with new commercial relationships, will be the mark of success. Our regional Brexit conference for business leaders on 21 November at the Three Counties Showground will tackle all these questions and give delegates the chance to contribute to the debate throughout the day. With panel sessions through the morning after a networking breakfast, a lunchtime round table will bring leaders in similar industries together to share views and concerns in their own sectors. There’ll be a chance, alongside colleagues, to tackle issues facing each of the following sectors: •

agricultural and rural affairs

defence, security and the forces


advanced manufacturing


health and social care

construction and engineering


professional services

Each group will have a chance to feed back to the conference so that conclusions and views can be shared. We’ll be polling the audience on key questions throughout the day to create a snapshot of the region’s businesses, their concerns and their preparations. Add your voice to the debate – to book in, please go to


With decades of experience in international legal issues, our team can help you to build your business abroad. Nicolas Groffman, Partner, Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Talk to us: 0118 911 1206 | Website: Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd is authorised and regulated by the SRA


November/December 2018


DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE VISITS ACORNS CHILDREN’S HOSPICE IN BIRMINGHAM His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge paid a special visit to Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham, to see first-hand the charity’s vital work. The Duke was led on a tour of the hospice’s specialist facilities and given an insight into the charity’s work by Acorns Young Ambassadors, Assya Shabir and Bradley Addison. His Royal Highness met families using the hospice multisensory room and taking

part in a hydrotherapy session with a Physiotherapist before meeting children and families enjoying a stay-and-play session in the hospice lounge. Commenting on the visit, Acorns Chief Executive, Toby Porter, said: “It was a day none of us will ever forget at Acorns. It was quite magical for us to see the pleasure it gave the children and the families to meet the Duke at the Birmingham hospice opened by his mother 30 years ago. What a fantastic 30th anniversary present for everyone at Acorns.”


LANYON BOWDLER SHORTLISTED FOR NATIONAL AWARD Lanyon Bowdler’s Clinical Negligence team has won through to the final stages of the Personal Injury Awards 2018, with the winners being announced at a glitzy presentation ceremony in Manchester in November.

AMCO Services International is delighted to announce that it has been appointed by Morgan Motor Company to ship and distribute finished vehicles to its world-wide dealerships. The AMCO partnership with Morgan began with the transport and shipping of 1983cc V-twin engines from the USA which are fitted into the new 3 wheeler. AMCO now transport and ship finished vehicles to the Morgan Cars Dealer network world-wide, with the AMCO International Logistics team taking precious care of these beautiful and handcrafted cars, ensuring safe, secure and timely delivery to their new owners. Graham Storry, Executive Chairman of AMCO, said: “I am personally delighted that Amco is associated with this historic and prestigious marque. When I started Amco in 1983 we were heavily involved in motorsport as Amco Services Motorsport, a specialist shipping and freight forwarding agency for the motor sport industry, shipping F1 cars, teams and equipment all around the world.”

UNIDOC SOLUTIONS AWARDED CANON GOLD PARTNER ACCREDITATION Unidoc Solutions is very proud to announce that they have recently been awarded GOLD partner status by Canon. Richard Harvey, Sales Development Manager at Canon, came to the office to congratulate Chairman John Hooper personally, and present him with a certificate. Managing Director, Chris Goff, said: “Gaining the Canon Gold partner status demonstrates Unidoc Solutions’ continued commitment to develop our business to meet the needs of our clients. Canon was selected as our premier manufacturer partner, their established reputation for advanced technology coupled with robust build quality enabling Unidoc to deliver class-leading, seamless service across all machines in the field.”

The awards, now in their 11th year, are held to recognise high standards of practice and encourage others to emulate the success story of those firms that make the shortlist. Lucy Small, Partner of Lanyon Bowdler who leads the clinical negligence team at the firm’s Hereford office in Offa Street, said: “It’s great to be shortlisted for an award which recognises the experience and expertise of our team.” The firm arranges drop-in clinics and events in Hereford for people interested in pursuing a clinical negligence claim, and is holding a forum focusing on brain injury in December. A previous brain injury forum proved popular with families of people recovering from brain injury, who said it was a valuable way of finding out about the support which was available to them.

“We believe that the additional solutions we now offer allow us to provide real value to our customers and really drive the power of their documents and data. I believe Unidoc Solutions are the partner of choice for the changes facing both UK incorporated and the print industry in particular.”

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



THE WORCESTERSHIRE WINNERS ARE: Best Conference Venue Sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central Worcestershire County Cricket Club


Best Drink Producer Sponsored by mfg Solicitors The Hop Shed

Best Eating Out, Sponsored by Worcestershire County Cricket Club Feli’s Restaurant & Bar

Best Festival or Event Sponsored by Arena Entertainments Broadway Arts Festival

Best Food Producer Sponsored by Worcestershire Ambassadors Croome Cuisine

Best Guest Accommodation Sponsored by Quality in Tourism Sidney House

Best Hotel Sponsored by Thomas Carroll The Abbey Hotel

Best Self Catering Sponsored by Baldur Digital Hop Picker’s House at Brook Farm

Best Sustainable Business Sponsored by Forest Holidays Churchfields Saltworks

Best Touring, Camping and Holiday Park Sponsored by OLPRO Hidden Valley Camping

Best Tourism Pub Sponsored by Celtic Marches Queen Elizabeth Inn

Best Visitor Attraction Sponsored by Glide Media The Commandery With thanks to overall sponsors Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).


Finalists of Visit Herefordshire and Visit Worcestershire’s Tourism Awards for Excellence 2018 were invited to an exclusive awards ceremony held at The Bank House Hotel, Spa & Golf Club on Tuesday 11 September. Over 100 people from tourism businesses in the two counties arrived at the event, ready to hear the announcement of the Winners, Highly Commended and Commended for each of the 12 categories unveiled for this year’s awards. Earlier this year, Visit Herefordshire and Visit Worcestershire announced the addition of two brand NEW categories for the 2018 awards, allowing businesses to

apply for Best Sustainable Business and Best Tourism Pub for the first time. Both Visit Herefordshire and Visit Worcestershire were delighted to welcome Professor Kate Williams, Author, Historian and TV Presenter, to host the event – entertaining guests with her discussion of history, heritage and maximising visitors. The event was opened by Pauline Knott, Director of Sales and Marketing at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, and attendees also heard from overall sponsors Glide Media and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) before the announcement of the winners.

November/December 2018



THE HEREFORDSHIRE WINNERS ARE: Best Conference Venue Sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central The Courtyard Centre for the Arts

Best Drink Producer Sponsored by mfg Solicitors British Cassis

Best Eating Out Sponsored by Worcestershire County Cricket Club Cellar Door

Best Festival or Event Sponsored by Arena Entertainments Hereford Cathedral – Poppies Weeping Window

Best Food Producer Sponsored by Worcestershire Ambassadors Old Granary Pierogi

Best Guest Accommodation Sponsored by Quality in Tourism Castle Hill House

Best Hotel Sponsored by Thomas Carroll Castle House Hotel

Best Self Catering Sponsored by Baldur Digital White Heron Properties

Best Sustainable Business Sponsored by Forest Holidays The Riverside Inn Speaking at the awards, Neil Lavender-Jones from the Queen Elizabeth, who won Best Tourism Pub, said: “I think it’s recognition of the hard-work that the team and the community have put in to running this community pub in Worcestershire. We can already see the benefits in our visitor numbers through being a finalist, so I’m hoping that now being a winner will encourage even more people to visit us. Onwards and upwards – it’s been a great experience!” Visit Herefordshire and Visit Worcestershire would like to congratulate all Winners, Highly Commended and Commended businesses in the Tourism

Awards for Excellence 2018, in what is being regarded as the most competitive year yet. Winners at the Tourism Awards for Excellence now have the opportunity to go through to represent the counties nationally at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2019. Good luck to all finalists and we look forward to hearing the good news! To view the full list of finalists, including those who won their category or were awarded Highly Commended or Commended, please visit and

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Best Touring, Camping and Holiday Park Sponsored by OLPRO Pearl Lake Leisure Park

Best Tourism Pub Sponsored by Celtic Marches The Crown Inn, Woolhope

Best Visitor Attraction Sponsored by Glide Media Westons Cider Visitor Centre With thanks to overall sponsors Pear Communications.



AND THEY’RE OFF... WBC would like to thank all exhibitors and guests who visited its stand at the Chamber’s Autumn Business Expo on Thursday 11 October, at the Three Counties Showground.

Following the success of the Inspiring Growth Conference, WBC is expanding further on the event by offering a series of Business Development seminars.

Whilst being able to network with a difference, guests were invited to take part in a horse racing event for a chance to win a personalised goodie bag.

Using the shared wisdom of our fantastic speakers, the aim is to explore the various aspects of marketing using in lead generation and best practice in converting these into sales.

Speaking at the event, Randesh Kalar, Business Engagement Manager, said: “It was a brilliant day, and a great chance to speak to people about the role that WBC plays whilst enjoying the entertainment. We look forward to seeing you again at the Spring Business Expo!”


After being inspired by the practical ideas and solutions to engender business growth, delegates took part in WBC’s Dragon’s Vault – inspired by BBC Two’s Dragon’s Den. Attendees joined forces to think of a brand new business idea to pitch to a panel of judges including; Cassie Bray, H&W Chamber of Commerce, Linda Smith, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Jane


The next events are:

SPEAKERS James Vincent, Hot Source Creative – Marketing Alison Atkinson, Worcestershire County Council – Doing Business with the Council Andrew Lavoipierre, Action Coach – Sales Conversion

Held at the Chateau Impney in Droitwich, WBC’s conference took on a new approach to problem solving – filling the morning’s event with interactive and fun-filled sessions.

Guests also had the fantastic chance to hear from two high level speakers; Daniel Walton, Managing Director at OLPRO, and Ben O’Sullivan, Partner Manager, at Facebook, who took to the stage to discuss business success and the challenges faced on the way.

The sessions are designed to be heavily interactive, with the emphasis on companies to set three month objectives that will be discussed with peers at a follow-up meeting in 2019. Date: Wednesday 7 November Time: 9.00am-1.00pm Venue: Worcestershire County Cricket Club, New Road, Worcester, WR2 4QQ

Worcestershire Business Central (WBC) is delighted to reveal that over 150 delegates from 80 local businesses took part in its Inspiring Growth Conference on Thursday 27 September.

Attendees took part in an exciting business challenge, drawing on their knowledge and experience as business leaders to consider the obstacles, threats and opportunities for their business. The conference was designed to generate tangible solutions for improvement and business growth for firms of all sectors and sizes, focusing primarily on “Customers, Cash and Capacity”.


Bishop, Malvern Panalytical, Chris Walklett, Bishop Fleming, Jim McBride, Lesk Engineers, Stephanie Cooper, Handelsbanken, Jennifer Appleton, ISO Quality Services and Dom Portman, Fancy Fresher’s. As well as working within a team, guests had to be quick to alter their business plans when fictional challenges from the “outside world” arose – from rising interest rates to multinational cyber attacks. After the winning team was announced, guests had the opportunity to take part in an Entrepreneurs Q&A session with Rob Newton, Managing Director at Print Strategy, and Colin Fulford, Operations Director at Bee Lighting.

Date: Wednesday 14 November Time: 9.00am-1.00pm Venue: Boardman Performance Centre, The Valley, Evesham, WR11 4DS SPEAKERS James Vincent, Hot Source Creative – Marketing Alison Atkinson, Worcestershire County Council – Doing Business with the Council Emma May, Real World Coaching - DISC Behaviours and How they Affect Sales All events will provide a complimentary buffet lunch

WBC would like to thank all those who were involved in the day, and hope that you thoroughly enjoyed the activities and networking opportunities the morning presented. To find view all upcoming events, please visit

November/December 2018

Worcestershire Business Central Worcestershire Business Central, part of the government-supported Growth Hub network, brings all aspects of business support into one place

With access to a helpline, website, business events calendar, and one-to-one sector focused support and guidance, we can offer free support at any stage of your business journey



Contact our team today on 01905 677888 or email









EFFECTIVE ECOMMERCE Arrange a free audit or consultation meeting with a member of our team by contacting us on 01432 268175 or Visit

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ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A CLEANING SERVICE THAT YOU CAN TRUST? All-Clean Support Services (ACSS) will offer your businesses or organisation, large or small, a cleaning service tailored to your requirements. Our service will be reliable, of a consistently high quality and we will be professional in everything that we do. In fact, ACSS have such confidence in the standard of cleaning services that they provide that they offer what they believe is a unique guarantee within the industry. ACSS’s Managing Director, Simon Dixon: “Our unique Service Pledge means that if you are not delighted with any of our services you simply won’t pay – no arguments, no hassles, no quibbles. Our customers can be assured that our office cleaning staff are vetted, trained and motivated to provide a top-class cleaning service.” For a free, no obligation quote contact Simon who will arrange to visit your site in order to discuss your requirements, advise and provide you with a tailor-made proposal.

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Business Direction WorcestershireChamber Chamber of of Commerce Commerce Business Direction published publishedby byHerefordshire Herefordshireand & Worcestershire



FREEAGENT247.COM APPOINTS MANAGING DIRECTOR AN INQUISITIVE NEW STAFF MEMBER FOR CURIOUS FOX COMPANY Local business, Curious Fox Company has recently acquired known marketing professional, Natasha Bowen, to drive sales and raise brand awareness. As a successful family business, Curious Fox Company are experts in early years learning, resources and treasure baskets. Mary Horn, founder of Curious Fox Company explained: “Fighting for attention in such a competitive marketing place is no easy task, it’s our hope that Natasha will provide us with fresh insights and new ideas”. has appointed joint-owner Daniel C Lewis as Managing Director. The rapidly growing Worcestershirebased Agency welcomes Daniel as the ideal person to structure and drive the growth of this bold and imaginative company. Daniel commented: “I am proud to acknowledge the responsibility of engaging a ground-breaking company with a traditional marketplace. At the heart of any service is the happiness of its customers and that has been and always will be my personal and FreeAgent’s primary focus”.

OAKLAND INTERNATIONAL APPOINTS GROUP IT DIRECTOR LEADING REGIONAL PROPERTY GROUP APPOINTS FOUR Oakland International has GRADUATES TO ITS GROWING appointed Shaun Devey as TEAM its Group IT Director, a new boardroom role focused Kristian Xavier-Nicholson, on enhancing information Benjamin Farwell, Ethan Hicks technology across group and Connor Shaw will all be operations. working with the pioneering Commenting he said: “Oakland International has a very exciting couple of years ahead as we mature the customer proposition, develop stronger strategic partnerships and transform the Group’s technology platforms. These developments are exciting and will significantly add to the bottom line; however I am also looking forward to being part of a business which really cares for its people and the social impact of the service we provide.

land and property management company following the completion of their university degrees. Andrew Pollard, Managing Director of Place Partnership, said: “We’re keen to develop a programme where we recruit apprentices and graduates to our team so they can learn from our experienced officers whilst at the same time bringing fresh perspectives.”

CHAMBER APPOINTS NEW VICE PRESIDENT QUALIFIED SUCCESS FOR SME SOLICITOR ELLEN CONRY SME Solicitors in Sansome Walk, Worcester has announced the qualification of Ellen Conry as a Solicitor within its residential property department.


H&W Chamber is delighted to announce that Alison Holmes has been appointed as Vice President for Herefordshire.

Ellen has worked at SME Solicitors since 2015, and has recently successfully completed her training contract - choosing residential property as her area of legal specialism. Ellen comments: “I am very pleased that the partners have asked me to stay with SME now that I have qualified and I am very excited about my future here, working as part of our flourishing residential property team.”

Alison said: “I have many years’ experience in the B2B world, particularly dealing with the people side of businesses. My passion is about helping Leaders to understand their employees on a deeper level - this helps to attract the right person fit, improve retention and create high performing teams. The majority of my clients have come through building trusted relationships at Chamber networking events, so I’m absolutely delighted and feel privileged to become the new Vice-President of the Chamber’s Board and Chair of Herefordshire Area Council.”

NEW PRODUCTION MANAGER FOR XITEK CYBER SECURITY APPRENTICE JOINS XREACH LIMITED Xreach is delighted to announce Layla Gammon has joined the team as a Cyber Security Apprentice, having completed a 6-month work placement and achieved outstanding A-Level results in the summer. As part of the post, Layla will be undertaking a part-time degree apprenticeship programme at Weston College.

Due to expansion of business at Malvern based electronic engineering company Xitek Limited, a Production Manager has been recruited. Agnieszka Matuszyk joined Xitek at the beginning of the summer this year. Agnes brings great strength through her experience in production scheduling and managing customer orders, drawing on her experience within the industry.

Layla said: “I can’t wait to get started and develop high level technical skills whilst gaining a degree level qualification”.

Agnes said: “I am delighted to have joined Xitek and look forward to contributing to the fantastic work and delivering excellent ongoing support to the business.”

November/December 2018


THE GREEN DRAGON HOTEL The Green Dragon Hotel has 83 bedrooms, representing nearly a quarter of Hereford’s hotel bedroom inventory, and contains some of the city’s largest internal hospitality spaces. As a Grade II-listed building, it retains many of its original interior and external features. The hotel has been acquired by a consortium of predominantly Herefordshire-based investors who intend to restore it to its former glory. The project has been led by Julian Vaughan, supported by Christian

a leading hotel branding and marketing company.

Dangerfield, acting for Blue Sky Corporate Finance. Julian has spent much of his life in the hotel industry and he was, until recently, Commercial Director of Journey,

Robin Sheppard, Founder and Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, and Chairman of The Green Dragon Hotel’s new Board of Directors, said today: “The Green Dragon Hotel is a real gem and its restoration should be a tremendous boost for Hereford and Herefordshire. Julian and Christian have some very exciting ideas about how to reclaim its position at the heart of the city with broader national appeal”.



Davies Archytas Accountants Ltd is a new firm of chartered certified accountants which have commenced trading in Redditch. The company is headed by Daryl Davies who has 27 years experience of working in general practice.

Marches Business Consulting is a husband and wife team providing professional and pragmatic advice to local businesses in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and beyond. They specialise in Finance Director (FD) and Human Resources (HR) solutions that can be tailored to meet the organisation’s circumstances and budget. With many years of experience and a friendly, business-focussed approach, Tony and Lisa Hornik help businesses get the best from their human and financial resources.

No specific industry is being targeted as the Davies Archytas team have a wealth of experience with businesses of all sizes and structure, in many industries. The team work hard to remain fully up to date with the ever changing accountancy and taxation landscape, to ensure that the best relevant advice can be provided. The firm strives to be proactive and really cares about providing the best possible bespoke service to their clients, whilst recognising that no two businesses’ circumstances are the same. Davies Archytas Accountants Ltd was only formed in September and has sprung from an opportunity to link with a firm of Independent Financial Advisors – Cardiff based Archytas Strategic Planning Ltd. The two companies are building on the natural synergy which exists between the accountancy and financial advisory industries and there will be a reciprocal link within their websites. 01527 362070

MORE THAN JUST SIGNS Red-Penguin offers more than just the supply of signs, from the sole trader to the blue-chip multinationals - they offer a wide range of products and services. For the smaller business Red-Penguin offers the complete package; designing your logo, printing your business cards and flyers, print site boards and banners, print or embroider your workwear, and then graphics for your vehicles ensuring standardisation throughout your whole business. As modern manufacturing methods change the process of Lean Manufacturing is paramount in ensuring continuous improvement within your business, Red-Penguin work alongside companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, DHL and Syncreon to assist in producing the visual standards to ensure those businesses become safer and more efficient in the workplace. They can produce custom shadow boards or complete safety academy areas to help evolve training and safety within the workplace.

Tony advises businesses on managing company cash flow and profitability. He also has experience of supporting owners through the sale of a business. Lisa helps organisations to develop positive and productive workplaces. She provides a comprehensive range of HR advice, including training for managers and HR teams. She is a coach and qualified workplace mediator. Lisa is proud to have been appointed as a Board Trustee for the Herefordshire based charity and social enterprise Halo Leisure, creating healthier communities.

Red-Penguin can visit your site to work with you to audit your current signs, advise on health and safety sign legislation and ensure that any work that is undertaking means creating standards to be reproduced within a single site or multiple depots.

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



WHAT MAKES A GREAT BUSINESS SOFTWARE For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by what makes a good piece of software. As the first iterations of Windows and Apple OS were released, the world was awash with questions, ideas and brainwaves as to the utopian future computer software would bring. Fast forward to 2018 and software is a major part of our lives, both personally and professionally and for many of us, something we now believe we couldn’t live without. But with many business software packages, including ours by the way, bringing a myriad of time and cost saving benefits, I wanted to share the 4 key components you need to consider to ensure any software is truly worth it’s investment.

TAILORED FUNCTIONALITY It may sound simple, but your software has to actually do what you need it to. A fully featured solution is a must, ensuring it can meet the needs of your business even when those needs may be subject to change as you grow and evolve. I’ve seen many people get blown away by fancy marketing campaigns and sales teams who promise the earth, only to find out what they need simply isn’t available often after they’ve parted with their cash. I’d always recommend taking the time to work out the objectives you need to achieve, mapping against your business processes where possible. As you engage in the buying process, ensure the functionality is all there, either asking for a demonstration or taking a test drive of the system yourself. In the end, to bring the benefits your investment deserves, the software needs to deliver. In the same way you would only hire a new team member who shows they can bring the desired output, make sure you put the software (and the provider) to the test first to ensure you have all the functionality you need!

INTUITIVE DESIGN With the functionality assured, you need to actually enjoy operating your new software and that often has a lot to do with the interface. Take some of the most popular email clients around such as Outlook or Google - the core functionality of what they do hasn’t changed in a while, but they’re constantly updating their interface to make the experience slicker. We recently released a new version of OpenCRM, incorporating a brand new interface design to provide a modern and refreshing experience to our customer base.


It’s amazing what slight tweaks in colours, fonts and layout can do to make a big different to the overall enjoyment of a system.

software packages to speak with one and another to provide a harmonious experience between different processes.

So, when you’re looking at a new software package, remember to ask yourself if the experience is a good one. The goal is to make your business life easier and more enjoyable. After all, if it’s software that’s central to your working day, you’re going to be staring at it for many hours a week.

Whether it be as simple as capturing communications or more complex operations like syncing large data quantities, the modern software should always have the ability to work with others. If your data is held ransom in a single system, it’s going to mean a lot of duplication of effort, with the initial benefits of taking the system on becoming completely redundant.

Failure to pick something you truly enjoy will leave you feeling a little miserable in the workplace and will most likely mean your back on the market for a change in no time at all.

CUSTOMISATION OPTIONS In a modern business climate, organisations need to be dynamic and adaptable to stay relevant in their marketplace, so why should their software be any different? The software you land on needs to have an inherent level of customisation to ensure it really does fit your business, both now and in the future. Let’s take an example imagine if in your business, you referred to your end users as ‘clients’ but your software system called them ‘customers.’ Seems like a small difference, but you can probably deal with it, right? Wrong! Your systems need to fit your business, they need to reflect what you do, say and feel to give you and your team the most value. Even something as small as having the right terminology makes the user experience 1000x better and helps to slot straight into your business as though it was just another member of the team.

We live and operate in an interconnected world, so ensure whichever new piece of software you adopt has the power and functionality to collaborate with systems you’re currently utilising. Combined with the previous points, a system that has the ability to be part of an overall integrated solution is really the key difference between being just a good piece of software, and being a great one! To talk to a member of the OpenCRM team about how CRM software can benefit your brand, call 01748 473000 or visit the website: Graham Anderson, is the CEO and founder of OpenCRM, one of the UK’s leading customer relationship management systems.

There are many ‘off-the-shelf’ systems out there that are highly malleable to give you and your business exactly what you need. If your needs are really unique, don’t be afraid to ask about Custom Development options or even consider a bespoke software solution to give you the maximum benefit!

INTEGRATION CAPABILITY With us all operating in such a technology driven landscape and so many different software packages on the market, one single system is never going to do it all. You need your different

November/December 2018


ACCOUNTANCY FIRM ATTRACTS TOP TALENT Worcestershire firm of Chartered Accountants, Ballards LLP have continued their growth with the recruitment of five University graduates. The new hires will undertake a rigorous three-year training programme of exams, case studies and working experience ultimately becoming qualified Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers. The recruitment drive, which includes graduates from Worcester, Bristol and Cambridge Universities, takes the firm’s headcount to over sixty. Business Development Director, Steven Jones said “We are delighted to have attracted such top talent to join our graduate programme. It is a tough programme as it requires balancing studying for their professional exams whilst carrying out their roles within the firm too. That said, these are very bright young people and I am sure they are going to fly.”

L – R: Matthew Ager, Michael Fletcher, Lauren Quinn, Sylvija Gineityte, Steven Jones, Dean Griffin

The firm recently carried out a major refurbishment of their Droitwich based offices. CEO James Syree said, “It is important that we continue to invest in our environment and the technology that we

use in our workplace. Not only does this mean that we can attract some of the best talent in the area, but also allows our staff to perform at the highest level and means they actually enjoy their time at work.”

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Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Mindfulness is an effective tool increasingly being offered by employers who recognise the importance of reducing burnout and retaining staff. Mindfulness enables us to make choices and act with purposeful awareness, helping things to unfold in a creative way, rather than a more limiting, stressful, reactive way (Burch,2017) Benefits of Mindfulness in the workplace include: n Reduced stress and illness related absenteeism n Reduced staff turnover n Stronger teams and leaders n Reduced workplace conflict n Improved productivity n Confidence around change n Greater resilience (Chaskalson, 2011). Bespoke mindfulness skills training provided for your business requirements. To discuss further please contact us at: or

About us: Jean Nash, RMN(Retired), BSc (Hons), PG (Dip) CMRP. Accredited by the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations. Sonia Eastwood - RMN (retired), Trained MSC teacher (CMSC in San Diego) References Burch, V; 2016 Mindfulness for Women Chaskalson, M; 2011 The Mindful Workplace Health and Safety Executive



UPCOMING TRAINING COURSES NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 International Trade Compliance Management Thursday 15 Nov - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members AEO Awareness Tuesday 20 Nov - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members What’s New – Changes in International Trade, Union Customs Code & Brexit Wednesday 28 Nov - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members

BREXIT PLANNING: REVIEWING THE SUPPLY CHAIN IMPACT A CHANCE TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF BREXIT ON YOUR BUSINESS On Friday 29 March 2019 at 11.00pm GMT, the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. Planning, assessment and understanding is fundamental to British businesses prospering within the Brexit transition period. Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is presenting a unique bridging course to enable a positive changeover to the deal or no deal transition. This is a time critical course with spaces for the dates below already limited: Friday 7 December 2018 Friday 18 January 2019 Friday 8 February 2019 The course will give businesses a chance to analyse their current international trade activities and evaluate the impact of Brexit on their own business. The course has be created and will be delivered by Strong and Herd LLP, who work closely


with HM Revenue & Customs and other international trade bodies. Until absolute structure to Brexit is given by the government, the course will prepare for all possible scenarios. Analysing the key areas of customs and export compliance currently in place will enable firms in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to be prepared, and have a clear stance towards business operations. Delegates will take a step-by-step guide on how to assess their business and gain an understanding of key challenges and opportunities. Costs for the course are £250+VAT for Members, and £275+VAT for Non-members. Each course includes a tasty buffet lunch.

Basic Export Documentation & Procedures Tuesday 11 Dec - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 Surviving a Customs Audit Wednesday 16 Jan - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members Basic Important Documentation & Procedures Thursday 17 Jan - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members Advanced Export Documentation & Procedures Monday 4 Feb - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members INCOTERMS (2010) Tuesday 19 Feb - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members IPR (Inward Processing Relief) Thursday 21 Feb - 9.30am-4.30pm £250+VAT Members / £275+VAT Non-members

In the event that all course dates are fully booked, there is the possibility of more dates being booked in due to demand. To find out more information, please contact Fiona on 01905 673 600 or fionam@

November/December 2018


DELL HOUSE INVESTS £15,000 ON ECO MEASURES The Dell House, an accommodation and micro-conference venue in Malvern Wells, has invested extensively in improving its environmental footprint this year. Kevin and Elizabeth Rolph bought the 1820’s property in 2014 and have been developing their new business alongside renovating the house and garden (the garden is now open through the National Garden Scheme). This latest phase of work involved several local businesses to provide secondary and joinery-made double glazing, boiler replacement, thermal barriers, LED lighting and

extensive insulation. Kevin and Elizabeth explained: “In the winter of 2014 we were spending £1000 a month on gas alone. We’d already implemented measures to reduce that by 60% but are looking to even greater savings, and greater comfort for guests and conference attendees, this winter.” The work was supported by Severn Wye Energy Agency who surveyed the Dell House and provided a ‘Target 2020 Carbon Saving Grant’ of £5,000.

GJS DILLON TO MANAGE LOCAL CHARITY’S PROPERTY PORTFOLIO Chartered Surveyors GJS Dillon has taken over the management of a charitable foundation’s commercial property portfolio. GJS Dillon will manage four properties on behalf of the Elmley Foundation, collecting the rent and the service charge from the tenants and managing the fabric of the buildings. The Elmley Foundation is an independent grant-making charity which supports the arts in the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, providing grants and sponsoring schemes to develop the arts scene, totalling some £300,000 a year. Endowed by the late Countess Beauchamp of Madresfield Court near Malvern, it seeks to encourage all forms of arts, crafts and design in the two counties upon which the occupants of Madresfield have had a large influence over many generations. GJS Dillon’s Commercial Property Manager Michelle Whitehead said: “This is an important new instruction for our Property Management department as we seek to expand this side of our business and take on the management of more properties.” management/

SUTCLIFFE RECOGNISED AS TOP SPECIALIST BROKER FAMILY CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF SERVICE Family-run local firm, the Heming Group, celebrates 50 years of service and is aiming to celebrate in style later in the year. The family run business has grown from strength-to-strength, now employing over 35 team members and receiving accolades including Agricultural Apprentice at Youth Skills Olympics at Lyon in 1995, Small Employer of the Year at the 2016 Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards and the EIC Award for Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2017. Robert Heming, Founder of the Heming Group, said: “It’s been an amazing journey for me to see my business grow from strength to strength, from one small office to such a large, local and well regarded company. My aim was to create a successful family business and I’m really proud to have achieved that.”

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Strategic Member Sutcliffe & Co Insurance Broker’s Director, Duncan Sutcliffe, has been recognised as a Top Specialist Broker for his passion and dedication within the arena of cyber security and data protection insurance by industry peers. Insurance Business UK announced the top specialist brokers in all sectors for 2018 and Duncan was one of only a handful of professionals to make the cut. Duncan commented: “I was delighted to be acknowledged for my work with cyber & data insurance, something I have been championing across the UK for years. For many businesses cyber & data risks are their most significant threat so much of my work has been centred on education & training.”

Peter Heming, Managing Director of Heming Group, said: “I am proud of what my Father has achieved and work hard to head up the Group in a way that will continue to make him proud, working alongside my family and a fantastic team.”

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



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Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



COMMUNITY FIRST PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH Community First continued its keen focus on supporting mental health in 2018. Worcestershire Wellbeing Hub, managed by charity Community First, has continued a steady and significant increase in demand again for this year. By December, a conservative estimate is that Community First would have supported over 6,500 people in 2018 to find help for low level mental health

WYEVALE NURSERIES TO INTRODUCE RECYCLABLE PLANT POTS In 2019, Wyevale Nurseries will be replacing its black plastic pots for taupe coloured pots, which will be supplied by Aeroplas in the West Midlands, to fight the war on plastic. Steve Reed, Production Director of the Container Division at Wyevale Nurseries, explained: “The taupe coloured plant pots will be used next year for our retail plants and we plan to use more than 700,000 of the new recyclable pots. “The general public can then recycle the taupe pots kerbside with other household waste, which has not been possible before. The black pots would previously end up in landfill because they contain carbon black pigment.” The team at Wyevale Nurseries are also interested to see if there’s an alternative to their A3 correx boards, which they supply as part of their retail promotions. Steve added: “We want to hear from our customers about the correx boards and if they feel they really help generate more sales or if a small bed card would have the same effect. We welcome any feedback from our customers on the topic of our correx boards.”

problems. The reasons why for this may well be linked to the fact that this year saw the launch of a number of national and local health campaigns, such as “Time to Change Worcestershire” and “Now We’re Talking”, both aimed at breaking down stigma, getting people to talk about their mental health and to seek help sooner.

why Community First is delighted to have worked with many local employers to help to keep people well and working through the provision of Mental Health First Aid Training.

Managing good mental health in the workplace can be challenging which is

BETADEN – WORCESTERSHIRE’S FIRST EVER TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATOR Worcestershire’s first ever technology accelerator, BetaDen, has recently been launched. Funded by Worcestershire LEP and supported by leading local technology and cyber businesses including Titania and DeepSecure, BetaDen, will offer up to ten individuals, SMEs or scale-ups a nine-month programme of intensive support designed to build their innovative idea and prepare it for market launch, or catalyse the growth of their existing business. As well as having their own space at the BetaDen Hub in Malvern Hills Science Park, participants will be able to access industry-leading technologists, lab spaces, handpicked business mentors, investment coaching, proof of concept grant funding, events, workshops and commercial meetings offering real routes to market.

CHANGE TO MEMBERS SERVICE “QDOS” From September 2018, Qdos Consulting Ltd has rebranded to Quest Business Services Ltd, to be known as “Quest”. Following the redesign of the company website, the major shareholders chose the new identity to better reflect the company’s commitment to delivering innovative and market-leading people management services. In recent years, the group has invested significantly in building its own HR software, which has given Qdos Consulting the opportunity to deliver a number of highly effective and compliant people management solutions through user driven technology. Quest will continue to provide mission critical human resources, health and safety and people management services to a diverse range of businesses, trade bodies and membership organisations across the UK. Ashley Horton, CEO, said: “As a company and group of people, we’re dedicated to leading the way and delivering innovative, game-changing people management solutions that make a real difference to our clients.”

The three-day per week programme, lasting across nine months, will see BetaDen’s cohort develop alongside Worcestershire’s 5G testbed project. To find out more and to apply, visit or contact the team by phoning 01905 672700 or emailing


November/December 2018


WORCESTERSHIRE AMBASSADORS WALKERS SMASH £50K FUNDRAISING TARGET FOR ST RICHARD’S CROWDS FLOCK TO OPEN DAY AND RAISE THOUSANDS FOR AIR AMBULANCE An incredible £24,000 was raised at Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s annual Open Day at Strensham airbase in Worcestershire on Sunday 16 September. £9,000 was donated from over 3,000 members of the general public visiting the event, with a further £15,000 given to the charity on the day through cheque presentations. The day included tours of the EC135 helicopter based at Strensham, and visitors also had the opportunity to watch the arrival of the charity’s new H145 air ambulance, an Alouette ex-military air ambulance and an R44, that all flew in to support the day. Jason Levy, fundraising and marketing director for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “It’s always brilliant to see so many people turn out to find out about the lifesaving work of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and support our cause.

Fifty walkers from the Worcestershire Ambassadors have this week smashed their £50,000 fundraising target by walking 50 kilometres on Saturday 8 September towards the St Richard’s Hospice Build 2020 campaign. The ‘Amazing Adventurers’ team of 50 completed the 31 mile course as part of a 359 strong field walking the Thames Path Challenge from Egham in Surrey to Henley on Thames. To date, the total raised is in excess of £57,000 including Giftaid. The project was driven by the Worcestershire Ambassadors’ Board Member Philip Fowler, who said: “As a group, we were committed to not only raising as much as possible but to walking every step in loving memory of Ambassadors’ Founding Member and former Vice Chair Derek Fradgley, who passed away in July 2017. The route was stunning along the Thames and we were lucky to have good weather which assisted our challenge. Thanks to everyone who has donated - and supported our training and efforts on the day itself.”

“In order to keep our three helicopters in the air and our aircrew savings lives, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity needs to raise over £9 million each year, and with no Government or National Lottery funding, raising awareness at events such as this are vitally important.”

Free Radio is delighted to launch its Cash for Kids project; which aims to help children in the two counties who could be living in poverty, with an illness or disability, or be subject to neglect or abuse. Free Radio would like to invite local firms to get involved... WHAT IS OUR MISSION? Very simply, Free Radio need YOU to donate an extra Christmas present for those children who would otherwise wake up with nothing on Tuesday 25 December. WHO DO WE HELP? We have relationships with local social services, Councils, women’s aid groups, financial inclusion partnerships, police and fire services, youth groups and local foodbanks who all ensure that the gifts we give out go to those most in need. HOW DO WE HELP? There are 3 ways to help: 1. Take your (brand new) gift donation to Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce before Sunday 16 December 2. Fundraise or donate money that will enable us to buy more gifts. We need this money to buy gifts for children 0-3 and 10+ who we always have a shortage of gifts for. Get your employer involved, or invite your work colleagues to do a Christmas Jumper Day, Christmas Bake Sale or something else. Get your personalised fundraising page at 3. Get REALLY involved! For sponsorship and corporate opportunities whatever your business size, please contact Tom Reeves on – maybe you can supply a van for deliveries and pick ups? Maybe you want your logo on the boxes and bags we deliver our presents in? Align your business next to the biggest gift collection in the region!

For more information about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, visit

DUCKING AND DIVING FOR LOCAL HOSPICE The River Severn in the heart of the city.

St Richard’s Hospice annual Duck Race raised a fabulous £2840. The event, sponsored by main sponsor Puddle Ducks and in association with Worcester Festival, took place along


Those who took part were able to adopt their duck online or on the day at the quay side, thanks to a team of volunteers who helped out. Jayne Sargeant, Fundraiser at St Richard’s Hospice said: “The event is always such an enjoyable occasion and we are delighted to have raised such worthwhile funds for our care. Thanks to all those who took part!”

We can’t end poverty, but we can make life just that little bit better for local children who aren’t having the childhood they deserve, especially at such a magical time of year. We sincerely hope you’ll join our Mission!

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce




Chamber officially launches its Business Manifesto for 2018, outlining its main policy objectives as; skills, Brexit, road infrastructure, connectivity, reducing the cost of doing business and cyber crime at exclusive event at Worcester Bosch Rural Media APRIL travelled to East China, visiting Ningo and Shanghai, to explore international business opportunities Local businesses raillied together to support those affected by Carillion going into liquidation



The new GDPR regulations come into enforcement


Theresa May appoints Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, as Home Secretary following Amber Rudd’s resignation The First Class Pet Company and Metrasens Ltd are named as winners in the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2018

H&W Chamber and Bishop Fleming are named within The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies Survey

Finalists for the Chamber Business Awards 2018 are revealed

drp launch first ever drptalk live webinar at its 212 studios ahead of new data laws

Celtic Marches win five awards at the 2018 International Cider Challenge

Chamber Business Awards 2018 celebrate the best in business at a lavish awards ceremony Siemens announce investment in new 3D-printing factory for Worcester-based Material Solutions Ltd Yamazaki Mazak is presented with Industrial Cadet Employer of the Year accolade by HRH the Prince of Wales

The local business community celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March


The iconic poppy sculpture “Weeping Window” by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper opened at Hereford Cathedral as part of the final year of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the poppies The Riverside at Aymestrey won Gold in Toursim Pub of the Year, in VisitEngland's Tourism awards for Excellence


November/December 2018



Heming Group celebrates 50 years of service



Chamber signs Time to Change pledge to transform how we all think about mental health at work

Jim McBride, Chairman of the Chamber, and Ben Mannion, Chamber Vice President for Worcestershire, team up to canoe the River Severn to raise funds for Megan Baker House

Applications for the Chamber Business Awards 2019 get ready to go live Chamber hosts “Meet Your Merry Neighbours” event with Hereford Business Solutions Centre and Marches Growth Hub

Mike Forrester becomes President of the Chamber of Commerce’s Board

Alimenti Food Sciences celebrates #UKFOODHOUR’s first birthday Work scheduled to begin on a £7.3m redevelopment of Hereford’s Shell Store, transforming the historic building into a flagship business incubation and innovation centre

CE Solutions take part in BBC's DIY SOS to help create a new, purpose-built community centre and boxing gym dedicated to the residents whose lives were tragically affected by the Grenfell Tower fire (June 2017)

Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre returns

OCTOBER EBC Group help Talbots Law target expansion plans after a £1m investment in their IT and Technology Hazelton Mountford celebrate 10 year anniversary


Worcester Stands Tall brings 57 giraffe sculptures to the city centre to raise money for St Richard’s Hospice

The EU Chief Negotiator states negotiations must be complete before the end of October to give the 27 EU countries time to sign off the deal

Worcestershire is successfully chosen as a Time to Change Hub by national social movement, Time to Change

Business WorcestershireChamber ChamberofofCommerce Commerce Business Direction Direction published publishedby byHerefordshire Herefordshireand & Worcestershire


Sunday 11 November marks 100 years since the end of the First World War The Chamber partners with Bishop Fleming to deliver a brand new International Business Conference Winners of the British Chambers of Commerce Business Awards 2018 are announced Chamber collects results from the final Quarterly Economic Survey of the year



JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 FOCUS: CHARITY AND NOT-FOR-PROFIT! For the first issue of the year, we will put a spotlight on local charities and the work businesses in the two counties do to raise awareness and funds for special causes. The deadline for the January/February edition of Business Direction magazine is Wednesday 21 November. Please send us your 150-word editorial articles and a high resolution image to for consideration. If you would like to find out more about guidelines and the magazine, please contact Lucy, Editor, on


November/December 2018

BREXIT CONFERENCE FOR REGIONAL BUSINESS LEADERS Whatever shape the final decisions around Brexit take, UK commerce is going to change. Being prepared to meet that change will be the mark of success. Join us and other business leaders and get ready for the future by asking the questions that matter to you. • Will we have the kind of workforce we need? • How do we start to access trade outside the EU? • How will we manage the disruption? Hear from regional government agencies and find out what support is on offer locally. Contribute to the regional viewpoint, join the debate, share your concerns and successes so far.

21 November

9:30am-4pm Three Counties Showground To book your place visit:

Business Direction published by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce



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November/December 2018