Lanarkshire incommerce iss14 issuu

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Contents Welcome...................................... 3 News in Brief................................ 4 Business Travel: a Jigsaw approach......................... 8 Motherwell: a town that’s winning the economic race........ 12 Council refuses Airvolution’s investment.................................. 19 On your marks…get set!!........... 22 University of the West of Scotland.................................. 26


A taste of Lanarkshiire................ 32

I didn’t get where I am today..... 39 Ask The Professionals................. 40 The Political Column.................. 42

Front cover photo Dalziel North Church, Motherwell.

Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce Suite 4, West Stand New Douglas Park Cadzow Avenue Hamilton ML3 0FT t: 01698 426882 f: 01698 424699 e:

For advertising contact DTech on T: 01436 678808 E: Editorial management by Blueprint Media E:


he Commonwealth Games are over, Scotland is still basking in the glow of an unprecedented success and, of course, Lanarkshire once again put in a sparkling performance. Strathclyde Country Park at Motherwell has never looked better as the friendly crowds cheered on the world’s top triathlon athletes when they swam, cycled and ran through this lovely 400 hectares of woodland, park and wetland on our doorstep. Motherwell is in the spotlight again in this 14th issue of InCommerce. In our regular town feature, we examine how businesses large and small are pulling together to create jobs and stable future prospects for the 59,000 people living in the immediate area. It is also good to record the effort that is being out into improved education and skills levels, as well as increased business and infrastructure investment, as Motherwell continues to go for growth. Talking of excellent performances, another Scottish success story which really deserves a gold medal is our burgeoning food and drink sector. In a major feature in this issue, we look at how the country is building a £16.5 billion industry. More than 360,000 people now

work in the sector, R&D has more than doubled since 2007 and £5.3 billion of Scottish food is exported to 100 countries as well as £4.3 billion of whisky which is exported to nearly 200 countries. And, of course, Lanarkshire is playing its part. We look at the many local companies which are contributing to a great industry – and creating hundreds of high quality jobs Still with the Games, Anita Brown of LifeSKILLS gives us a personal insight into what it was like to be a part of the great celebration of sport - and meet wonderful sporting ambassadors such as Dame Mary Peters. We also spotlight Lesley Millar, of successful Hamilton travel company Jigsaw, who has seen huge changes in the sector and who has cornered a significant niche market in high end business travel. There’s much, much more in InCommerce this quarter - but remember, we also want to hear from you. Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Neil Kennedy Chief Executive, Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Publisher: DTech Distribution: DTech Distribution InCommerce is published by DTech. 20 East Argyle Street, Helensburgh G84 7RR. Telephone 01436 678808. E-mail: Editorial management by Blueprint Media E: InCommerce is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed wholly or in part without the written permission of the publishers. The proprietors of this magazine are publishers and not agents, or sub-agents of those who advertise therein. They cannot be held liable for any loss suffered as a result of information gained from this publication. The views expressed by authors of articles published in this magazine are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of or shared by the editor, nor the publisher or the directors, shareholders and/or employees of DTech Publishing Ltd.

The Chamber is grateful to our partners for their financial support.

lifeSKILLS c e n t r e s


Lanarkshire plays its part in Scotland’s sparkling performance

Modern apprenticeships............. 36


Southern’s advice can benefit employers and employees.......... 29


News in Brief...

Get in touch with your stories

Reputation is the key for a family firm which has stayed the course D

BS Scotland prides itself on seeing its business from a different point of view – the client’s. And the philosophy has paid off – after 19 years in a highly competitive marketplace, it is offering its customers the most comprehensive and advanced source of document management and production equipment and services in the world. DBS – it stands for Direct Business Systems – is the leading distributor of multi-functional copier/printer/scanner products in Scotland. Run by Eric Chambers and his wife, it provides systems from global names such as Ricoh, Sharp and Olivetti. Eric Chambers said: “DBS is a family business, and we prefer face to face deals rather than doing business over the phone. We are known for being local, trustworthy and competitively priced – but quality service is at heart of business.” The Uddingston-based company, which has been a Lanarkshire Chamber member since its formation, has a staff of 12, seven of whom are engineers, guaranteeing customers a fast and efficient response. Customers include Whyte & Mackay, the Malcolm Group and the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as an impressive list of SMEs and charities. Mr Chambers said: “We may not be the cheapest in the market, but our service and reputation are beyond price.”

Local Derbies set to excite Lanarkshire football fans H

amilton Academical FC’s promotion to the top flight of Scottish football is set to boost the prospects for local businesses since it will lead to a series of hard-fought encounters between Lanarkshire’s two leading football clubs. Motherwell FC will host the first Premier League derby at Fir Park on 27th September 2014; the first match in Hamilton is scheduled for New Year’s Day 2015. These games are important for the local economy not least since they will inject excitement into a division missing three of Scotland’s big clubs, and the substantial crowds, which support Hearts, Hibernian and Rangers. Scott Struthers, Secretary of Hamilton Accies, said: “We are delighted to be back playing in the top flight. Between the 1950s and the 1980s we had a total of four seasons in the top flight. This is our fourth season in the top division since 2008. “This season most of Lanarkshire will be buzzing since there will be a minimum of three encounters, with the Ne’erday game here in Hamilton, a major highlight for us.” And, as a note for football historians: the first recorded match between the two clubs was held 117 years ago, on 1st July 1897: The score was 3-3.



Cross-Clyde rivalries are set to thrill fans this season

The Chambers: “seeing things from the client’s point of view”

East Kilbride’s Ichor Systems creates new jobs and triples manufacturing capacity with move to Blantyre I

David Craig and Scott Robertson: Leading the Clyde Valley Tomato team

Ichor has global reach from Blantyre

hey might have originated on the west coast of South America and have been first cultivated in Mexico, but tomatoes from the Clyde Valley are highly-regarded by food connoisseurs as one of Lanarkshire’s finest contributions to the culinary world. And for David Craig, MD of Clyde Valley Tomatoes Limited which has been operating since 2012, the cultivation, packaging and distribution of his tomatoes to such big name supermarket names as Morrisons and Waitrose, not to mention Whole Foods Market, is a satisfying endorsement to the quality of his products. Based near Carluke on the south facing slopes of the Clyde Valley, David’s company operates a greenhouse the size of a football pitch to keep his customers satisfied. While the business started just two years ago it has a heritage of fifty years in the Clyde Valley, courtesy of the company’s mentor, Jim Craig. Said David: “We grow 15 types of tomatoes. The bulk of our crop is a cocktail vine called Annamay plus a large tomato on the vine called Roterno. The rest are a mix of specialist varieties which we grow for a wide range of specialist retailers.” With up to twelve people employed at peak times and strong supply contracts in place the future looks shiny bright for Clyde Valley Tomatoes.


Ripe tomatoes: delicious and healthy


Talking tomatoes T

chor Systems, Scotland’s primary manufacturer in the global semiconductor equipment market, is set to create new jobs and triple its capacity with a move to new 36,600 square foot premises at Hamilton International Park near Blantyre. The company, formerly known as Semi Scenic, was founded in East Kilbride in 2003 and was acquired by California-headquartered Ichor Systems Inc., in April 2012. Don Nicolson, MD of Ichor Systems Limited, said: “We have recently secured a global product licence from industry giant Lam Research which means that in future we will sell specific licensed legacy products directly to end-users throughout the world to develop our Scotland-based operation in the face of tough competition from other locations. “As a result, and with steadily increasing worldwide demand across the industry for our services, we are forecasting an 80 per cent growth in turnover this year. “We are obliged to move if we are to fulfil our ambition and with the support of both our parent company and SDI we have been enabled to do just that.” The new facility will deliver up to ten new jobs as well as securing the future of Ichor’s existing staff.


News in Brief...

Get in touch with your stories

New training business meeting the needs of Lanarkshire’s youngsters S



kills Exchange Scotland, based in East Kilbride works with a range of partners and employers across the private, public and voluntary sectors with the aim of improving employment opportunities for young people aged 16 – 24. Set up by highly-experienced training professionals, Ann McCracken, Graham Lamont and Maxine McClintock, the company designs and delivers bespoke employability skills programmes focusing on identifying and improving the individual skills of learners to prepare and equip them for the modern workplace. Business has got off to a flying start with New College Lanarkshire contracting with the company to deliver Employability Fund training for it in South Lanarkshire; a steady stream of young people are already attending courses. Ann said: “We really had to hit the ground running. We had two weeks to source a training venue, set up the course and recruit young people but we managed and haven’t stopped since.” Working with local employers is integral to the success of Employability Fund training and Skills Exchange Scotland is already working in partnership with a number of employers, including Kwik Fit and Sainsbury’s, to raise awareness of local opportunities, to place young people on work experience and to deliver the Certificate of Work Readiness, but it continues to increase significantly the quantity and scope of employers and companies it works with.


SSVQ: small enough to care, big enough to be effective M

Ann McCracken and Graham Lamont, both directors of Skills Exchange Ltd, in the garden of the Village Centre where their office is based.

odern apprenticeships are an important way of getting people into work and SSVQ Ltd, run by Samantha Selbie from Motherwell is helping young people achieve a quality-based, nationally recognised qualification that will benefit them in the future. Based in offices in Merry Street, Motherwell, Samantha has seven assessors and an administrator in her busy team. As well as managing the training and development of her team, Samantha also manages the day to day administration of the company. Samantha founded the company in 2006 after learning to be an assessor while she was working with Oxfam. In the early days, she lived out of a suitcase while she travelled the length and breadth of Scotland putting young people through their qualifications. SSVQ, which is recognised by the Scottish Qualifications Authority centre, provides modern apprenticeships in retail, storage and warehousing and business and administration. Recently the company achieved approval to deliver the new assessor and verifier awards. Samantha recognises SSVQ is a small fish in a big pond. She said: “We will never be as big as the big boys. However, we hope one day that the SSVQ name will be recognised by even more employers who want a great, quality-based service.”

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How Lesley has put the pieces together to make Jigsaw solve the business travel puzzle


Lesley Millar: “Jigsaw filled a gap in the market”.

Since then, Jigsaw has taken off, taking on three new staff in the past three years and adding conference organising to its ever-expanding portfolio of services. It recently organised a two-day conference in Prague for 120 partners in a chartered surveying firm and has arranged events in places such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Lesley, who regularly books airline tickets costing between £6000 and £7000, has take full advantage of a long-term association with Hays Travel, the Sunderland based leisure giant, which brings invaluable economies of scale. “As a small independent,” she said, “my buying power is limited, but by partnering with Hays I can tap into their contract deals with airlines. Under their umbrella, I can achieve a far better trading discount.” She has seen customers desert en masse when corporate PAs discovered the novelty of booking on the Internet and she has seen them return in the same and greater numbers as the risks of online booking and the comparative benefits of using a professional became glaringly apparent. She said: “I just abhor the business model of the budget airlines – which is designed to put banana skins in people’s way and then, when they trip, charge them extra for helping them up. That’s just not the way we work. “In the 16 years I’ve been operating, I have never lost a customer. Clients’ companies have disappeared or merged, of course, but I have never lost a client because he was unhappy with our service. I have never advertised and all our business is repeat or word of mouth.” Jigsaw now serves major Scottish companies such as Clyde Blowers and its many international subsidiaries, Linn Products, Terex and Peak Scientific as well as national enterprises across the UK, including London. She has a young staff and believes strongly in giving young people a good and thorough start in business life, including hands-on training. She said: “My people make all the difference. I’ve lost count of the number of business people who have said that they come to me because when they want to get in touch a real person – who knows what to do – answers the phone.” For further information, contact Lesley Millar at Jigsaw Travel Ltd, Philips Complex, Wellhall Road, Hamilton ML3 9BZ. T: 01698 283115. F: 01698 283515. E: W:


“My people make all the difference” – Lesley and the team


ew businesses in Lanarkshire have an owner like Lesley Millar, who is happy to say of her successful corporate travel company Jigsaw Travel: “Thank heavens for the recession.” The reason? That will be explained below. But after five years of the worst business conditions in living memory, her thriving, sevenemployee business has posted a record turnover of £4 million for the year ending December 2013 and is forecasting a 40% rise to £5.6 million this year. It’s an exciting time for the former British Airways sales and marketing executive, who has seen the travel industry undergo the most cataclysmic changes since Cook’s Tours and has come out of the transformation with a smile on her face and continuing excellent profitability. Lesley, from Hamilton, has been in charge of Jigsaw Travel – the name refers to piecing travel needs together – for 16 years, first in Glasgow and then in offices in the Philips Business Complex in Wellhall Road in Hamilton. She got her first taste of the arcana of executive travel when she began working for BA’s high-yield customers – Gold and Silver travel club members who were used to the extra perks which make business travel tolerable. When BA’s internal structures changed – and after the birth of her first child – Lesley decided to branch out on her own. “After surviving the trauma of giving birth,” she explained, “I took the view that I could accomplish anything.” Jigsaw filled a gap in the market to which other travel companies – including BA – had not yet woken up. She said: “In these days, airline just sold airline tickets. They didn’t offer car hire, transfers, hotels and so on. I was able to provide all these services – as well as offering the alternative airlines which were emerging at that time.” The company survived comfortably until the bottom fell out of the business world in 2008 during the banking crisis and the subsequent economic flatlining. But where others bemoaned the tough hand they had been dealt, Lesley sought out the downturn’s opportunities. She said: “The corporate travel market at that time was dominated by a number of really big players – American Express, Hogg Robinson and Carlson Wagonlit. But suddenly travel was high on the cost-savings agenda for many companies and finance directors were all over it. “I didn’t ask companies to sever their relationship with their longterm travel partners. I just suggested that they could take me on as an additional supplier and benchmark my costs against theirs.”


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Motherwell, a town that’s winning the economic race M



any British towns have been shaped and altered by the remorseless vagaries of economic fortune, but few have undergone such radical surgery – and emerged in such surprisingly good health – as Motherwell. It is enormously to the credit of the business community and the civic leadership that this proud town in the heart of the Clyde Valley remains a strong and cohesive community supporting jobs, families and irrepressible local enterprise. Towns such as Motherwell often have a history dating back to the mists of time, and a visitor looking at the venerable Victorian buildings and stately churches which interleave the modern shopping centres might consider this Clyde Valley community to be among their number. But until the 1830s, when the first railways puffed up the strath to disturb the pastoral peace, Motherwell was simply a collection of


From scenes like these….old Motherwell’s grandeur springs

farming communities surrounding a small hamlet at the junction of the Hamilton to Edinburgh road and the highway which followed the course of the Clyde. The railways, as in the rest of Britain, changed everything. Few people in Motherwell need a resumé of the industrialisation of the area, or the sharp, and many consider brutal, decline following the steel strikes of the eighties. But it is worth reflecting that at the height of steel production in the seventies, the British Steel Corporation was rolling out three million tonnes a year from its blast furnaces and the Ravenscraig complex employed 13,000 people. No enterprises in Motherwell, or elsewhere in Scotland for that matter, can match these kinds of numbers – or are ever likely to again. The economic landscape as well as the physical landscape has changed irreversibly.


Terex is another big name which will remain in Motherwell following the acquisition of its off-highway hauler business by Volvo Construction Equipment in a £100 million deal which will see 500 staff transfer on completion. Under the deal, Volvo will continue to market rigid and articulated dump trucks under the Terex brand for a transitional period. The Terex Equipment deal includes five models of rigid dump trucks with payloads of 32 to 91 tons and three models of articulated dump trucks added to the Volvo portfolio, with payloads ranging from 25 to 38 tons. Volvo CE’s president, Pat Olney also spoke of the advantages of a Motherwell location. He said: “We believe that the Motherwell facility and its global team members, as well as the current distribution partners, are valuable to the success of the business in the future.” Other major employers include North Lanarkshire Council, which has its headquarters in the town, and Motherwell Football Club which has retained its loyal following in the top flight of sporting success. And on the subject of sport, Strathclyde Country Park, 400 hectares of woodland, park and wetland on Motherwell’s doorstep is playing host to the Triathlon competition in the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games. The venue is a popular destination for recreation and a range of sporting events, including rowing, sailing and cycling. For the Triathlon competition, Strathclyde Loch will be used for swimming, with the cycling and running stages taking place along the surrounding network of roads and pathways. By the time InCommerce goes to press we will know who has won the medals in the Trialthlon, but Motherwell is already a winner in the economic race.


But that does not mean to say that enterprise has been idle and the unemployment caused by the collapse of heavy industry has been largely eradicated with the growth of call centres, business parks and large-scale employers. The latest Scottish Economic Outlook from PwC said that maintaining recent relatively strong growth will require increased productivity, which also requires improved education and skills levels, as well as increased business and infrastructure investment. That could almost be a job description for the recent endeavours of businesses large and small in the Lanarkshire town to create jobs and stable future prospects for the 59,000 people living in the immediate area. For instance, MB Aerospace, which employs 105 people in Motherwell, has recently been involved in a multi-million pound deal to acquire Norbert Industries’ operations in America and Poland. It will allow the company, which makes aircraft components for clients such as Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, Boeing and the US Defence Department, to continue building an efficient and customer service-led organisation. MB Aerospace’s existing management took part in the acquisition last year of a majority stake in the company by Arlington Capital Partners – a deal which won the Scottish Business Insider Deal of the Year award. And there was more good news on the employment front when three former BeCogent executives launched Ascensos in the former Lloyds Banking Group site in Motherwell with an initial 100 jobs and the promise of 600 more within three years and 1000 in five years. At the time, Ascensos managing director John Devlin paid tribute to the skills available locally, saying his plan was to create “high-quality, long-term jobs in an area with tremendous skills availability”. He said: “The management team we have at Ascensos is extremely experienced in this field and we are all really enthusiastic about building this business using next-generation technology, fully embracing social media as a channel to deliver outstanding customer care and creating a truly fantastic place to work for our employees.” Brake Brothers, the multi-national catering and logistics business, also recently gave a vote of confidence in the area by signing up for a 172,600 sq ft built-to-suit unit at Motherwell in Scotland’s largest pre-let logistics deal of the year. It is taking a 25-year lease on the unit at the Prologis M8 site at Newhouse, with entry this October and the opportunity to expand by another 50,000 sq ft. The Co-op also has a 503,000 sq ft at the facility, emphasising the area’s growing reputation as a food and logistics centre.


Your business is amazing… … isn’t it a shame no-one can see it here? InCommerce is read by business owners and decision makers … people who buy all kinds of services … if you’re not in here they won’t be contacting you! It’s too late for this issue but there’s always next time Call our Advertising Team on 01436 671133 or 673777

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Out with Summer, in with Autumn The Car Fashion Wardrobe WELCOME to a new Season. In the car fleet industry, our business lives revolve around quarters in the year. This is due to the manufacturer strategy of managing our business supply into quarterly sectors. So with the leaves changing on our landscape, another car supply adventure arrives. With the woodland and bushes now showing us their end of season colours, there is no better time for us to go ‘green’ and showcase the new A3 e-tron. The A3 e-tron features 4 models of driving, EV, Hybrid Auto, Hybrid Hold and Hybrid Charge, whilst maintaining the A3 sporty design and driving performance. Audi are delighted to become part of the new ‘green’ world by producing our most sought after model in an eco-friendly engine. The features you would normally find are still on the label, such as LED Headlights, MMI Navigation Plus, Light and Rain Sensors and Rear Parking Sensors. For the discerning fashionist, the New TT will be the must have ‘hanger’ value in 2015. Our factory order is open and we can now order this new label. No doubt most of you will have seen the pictures

and read the articles and reviews, so naturally now you want to see the car. If you would like to be first to view the all-new Audi TT our Glasgow Centre will have the New TT in the Centre for a one day only on the 16th of October. Please contact us on 0141 565 4689 or your Local Business Development Manager in any one of our four Centres and we will endeavour to assist in this viewing.



A living wage for South Lanarkshire A


s part of its wider drive to tackle poverty and inequality, South Lanarkshire Community Planning Partnership will be promoting the Living Wage to local employers this year. The Living Wage is independently calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and is updated annually. Calculation of the Living Wage takes into account the Joseph Rowntree Minumum Income Standard (MIS) research in which members of the public identify what is needed for a minimum acceptable standard of living. The current rate for the UK (outside of London) is £7.65 per hour. Interest in the Living Wage is growing among the general public in Scotland and the UK, and there is support for the Living Wage across the main political parties. Increasing numbers of employers are agreeing to pay their staff the Living Wage, with over 700 employers in the UK already accredited Living Wage Employers. The Council is currently working with the Poverty Alliance as part of a national Living Wage Accreditation Intiative, which is funded by the Scottish Government. A consultation event involving the Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce took place recently which provided feedback to the Council and Poverty Alliance and this will help inform further progress and publicity material. South Lanarkshire employers who are interested in finding out more about the Living Wage and the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative should speak to either Julie McGahan at the Poverty Alliance (; Tel : 0141 353 0440) or Kay McIntosh at South Lanarkshire Council (kay.mcintosh@ ; Tel 01698 454843).

EK’s Konecranes providing essential equipment for Panamanian copper mining development E

ast Kilbride-based manufacturer, Konecranes UK, is currently undertaking the construction of six giant cranes for mining concession owner First Quantum at Cobre Panama, one of the country’s largest open-pit copper mining developments. Two cranes are scheduled for completion by the end of 2014 and will be on site by February 2015, with the remainder scheduled for installation in May. The Industrial crane division of Konecranes UK has already supplied similar cranes for First Quantum mining projects in Zambia and Ghana.

A similar Konecranes full Goliath operating at another First Quantum mine with a cantilever extension for the double leg.


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In an isolated spot: a wind farm somewhere in Scotland

pinion on the advantages and disadvantages of renewable wind energy remains divided in the UK and while some ambitious projects are up and running – providing clean, efficient electricity to thousands of homes – others are meeting local opposition. One of the most recent to fall foul of a planning committee was the Shotts Wind Farm, located between Eastfield and Shotts, where six turbines were planned with the capacity to serve the energy needs of more than 11,000 homes. It had been backed by Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce. More than a third of the construction contract value would have stayed in North Lanarkshire, it would have brought £90,000 a year to the Community Benefit Fund, created training and employment and saved 20,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. The £4.5 million project was the latest by Airvolution, which develops, constructs and operates small onshore wind projects across the UK. Its teams are among the 32,000 people working in the UK’s wind industry, which brought up to £2 billion of activity to the UK economy last year. Onshore wind turbines are the most cost effective way of generating substantial amounts of renewable electricity, and there

is currently an impressive 6.8 gigawatts of onshore wind energy installed in the UK. At a meeting in May, the North Lanarkshire Planning Committee refused Airvolution’s application and £4.5 million of inward investment associated with it. This was against the recommendation of the council’s own staff. In a statement, Airvolution said: “As far as wind farm sites go, this is an ideal site, and identified by the North Lanarkshire Council as being in an area suitable to this scale of development. This was backed up by over 20 experts in different areas who assessed and commented on our application with no concern. “We would like to thank the many community groups, residents and business who supported the project, particularly Lanarkshire Chamber of Commmerce and Getting Better Together Shotts for speaking in support at the meeting, and for the co-operation of New College Lanarkshire who joined us in a truly exciting partnership that could deliver 250 apprenticeships for local people. “We are reviewing all the options ahead – given all of the above, we are very reluctant to give up on this project, and we will keep our project website updated with news as we progress this next stage.”




Council refuses Airvolution’s £4.5 million investment at Shotts Wind Farm


BioCity Scotland launches The Meeting Space at Newhouse B

ioCity Scotland, the hub for innovation and life science businesses which sits close to the M8, has opened a fully-equipped air conditioned theatre style presentation suite with tiered seating for up to 74 delegates. Its conference facilities can hold up to 180 theatre style, with a range of break out areas for the most complex conference event and a further six suites catering for up to twenty attendees for day time or night time events are also available. Laura Cook, Conference and Event Principal, said: “We want to make local people and businesses across Scotland aware of the firstclass facilities we have here for events large and small. We can manage a sales meeting for a sales force from any discipline around Scotland or the UK, with our centrally based facilities close to the M8 corridor. We have parking space for 500 cars and can cater for a wide range of events on the premises here.” A keynote speaker at the launch event in June was John Brown, the former President of the Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce, who praised BioCity Scotland for providing yet another outstanding venue facility for businesses, their customers and suppliers in the Lanarkshire area.

School pupils get hands on experience of innovation and enterprise in science at BioCity Scotland




tudents from Lanarkshire’s Caldervale and Coatbridge high schools took part in a unique innovation and enterprise day at BioCity Scotland in June, which was organised by the University of Edinburgh and funded by Skills Development Scotland (SDS). Through the workshops presented by BioCity life science tenants and businesses from Roslin BioCentre, students saw first-hand how


School visit…“and if I just add this volatile liquid to this seemingly harmless powder…”

these companies had taken a ‘good idea’, supported that idea with scientific research and developed it into a business. The event was part of the Skills Investment Plan which was launched in April at BioCity Scotland. Jane Kennedy, Operations Manager at BioCity Scotland said: “By bringing together researchers from the University’s School of Chemistry and industry, the S3 –S6 students gained a unique insight into cutting edge research and scientific enterprise.” The event is also part of the ProScience programme that aims to attract students to study science and look to a career in science. Ronnie Palin, Key Sector Manager for Life Sciences at SDS said: “This groundbreaking event offered young people the opportunity to gain real hands-on experience of the opportunities within Scotland’s expanding life sciences industry. “I am grateful to the employers who gave the students taster sessions of the industry in action.”



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On your marks… get set…!!



fter 84 months of planning and 188 days of touring the globe, HRH The Queen’s Baton finally arrived in Scotland before a global television audience in excess of one billion people to welcome the 20th Commonwealth Games to Glasgow. With the eyes of our Commonwealth neighbours firmly placed on the proud host city, the friendly games was an opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to shine on the world’s stage for eleven days of nail-biting, fist-clenching, crowd roaring and, very likely, the most exciting point in our sporting history as the Games saw athletes, coaches, consumers, colleagues, friends and family come together to cheer on and champion home nations competing to their utmost to win a medal, an achievement not only indicative of sporting success but also of pride and honour. The Games were forecast to be “best Commonwealth Games ever” by Olympic Scot, Sir Chris Hoy and the host city did not disappoint in its delivery. Running alongside the 20th Commonwealth Games was Festival 2014, an unprecedented programme of sport and culture over the two weeks spanning pre and post Games and allowing everyone to celebrate both the third biggest multi-sport competition in the world and the third biggest ever multi-sport event Scotland has ever staged. There really was something for everyone. I

frequented all the Live Zones across the city and was mesmerised by the hard work and dedication that went into ensuring all who visited the city during the festival, went home wanting more. I would have spent every waking moment there if I could, immersing myself in the atmosphere across every square of the place; it was electric!

small children and jokingly directing people to “beach volleyball” on account of the unimaginably sunny weather that shone upon the city during the first week of the games. The Games journey was not only for those who were attending ticketed events of course but also for tourists having the opportunity to explore the city and observe firsthand its wonderful culture and people. Remarkably, around one fifth of Games visitors had never before visited Glasgow. Every single person involved in the 20th Commonwealth Games sincerely allowed the Host City to secure the accreditation, “People make Glasgow” and to set in concrete their memories of millions of visitors from home and afar as a lasting legacy in sporting history. We hailed many present and future sporting stars and watched Scotland record a record number of medals. What could have been better! We would like to hear about your own experiences over the course of the games, how it affected both your business and yourself personally. Please send letters or emails to: 2014 Games Review Lifeskills Centres Ballast Stadium, West Stand Cadzow Avenue Hamilton ML3 0FT


Vice Lord Lieutenant and President of the Chamber of Commerce; John Brown, Dame Mary Peters; DBE, LL, Anita Brown; lifeSKILLS


I spoke with many people over the course of the Games and each and every individual whether, attending the Games, volunteering, participating or spectating at one of the many arenas or venues set up around the city to watch the live action on screens all reported the same response, “it was an experience of a lifetime”. I was fortunate enough to experience this first hand in being invited by Official Games Partners and Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce Corporate partners, SSE. In this capacity I was privileged to meet and greet their guest of Honour, Dame Mary Peters, who took the time to speak personally with guests before addressing the assembly on her glorious sporting achievements. Olympic gold medallist Mary – she won her gold in the 1972 pentathlon – is one of Britain’s great sporting ambassadors and not just recognised for her dedication to sport but for her work on behalf of athletics in Northern Ireland over the years. Mary’s huge charisma was recognised instantly by the audience but she still managed to touch each and every one of us with her overwhelming warmth and sincerity. As guests of SSE, we were invited to attend the Judo event, on the first day of the games schedule, where I was spellbound by the sportsmanship and professionalism of our home athletes as well as by the passion of our home crowds. I witnessed first hand the Scottish spirit of the fans and was honoured to witness six medals being awarded, all the while waving the Saltire and singing the national anthem accompanied by bagpipes. When the athletes were awarded their medals and gifted wooden quaichs it gave me goosebumps on my goosebumps. For me, the entire tournament was enchanting, embracing, exciting, exhilarating and emotional. I guess you could sum it up as blood, sweat and tears! The city was abuzz with excitement from the moment I stepped on the train to travel into Glasgow, and to which, as a ticketed event attendee, I was given free transport. Upon arrival in the city, every single person was smiling from ear to ear, in high spirits and happy to be involved in the atmosphere, especially the official Games volunteers, ‘The Clydesiders’, who were like characters from a pantomime, regardless of their age and thrilled to help you in any way possible to enhance your Games experience. Emergency service workers and security staff further added to this showcase of Glasgow character and in one instance I witnessed two bobbies dancing with


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UWS launches innovative Volunteering Academy


niversity of the West of Scotland (UWS) launched its new Volunteering Academy recently at an event at the University’s Hamilton Campus. The event, which took place in May and saw local Councillor, Monica Lennon as well as representatives of local charities and UWS staff and students in attendance, featured speeches from a number of UWS colleagues as well as Jacqui Jordan of Jobcentre Plus in Hamilton. The Academy is run by the University’s Business School and aims to improve the University’s engagement with local communities. Building upon the ethos of the wider University the Volunteering Academy is enhancing the employment prospects of the long term unemployed by offering training courses run entirely by students. A number of seminars have already been delivered at Hamilton Campus by Business School students to unemployed individuals. The topics covered formed the basis of the students’ core modules at the Business School and were delivered to help improve the skill set of the participants assisting in their professional development. Additionally, the Volunteering Academy has also seen the creation of a ‘Hub’ of charities that seeks to promote meaningful volunteering opportunities for students. The ‘Hub’ acts as a first point of contact between students and the Third Sector, presenting them with valuable work experience whilst also giving charities the chance to tap into the skills acquired by the students themselves.

It is also planned that the Academy will provide valuable research opportunities for the University with a research ‘hub’ also being created. Dr Sandro Carnicelli of the University’s Business School, who designed the Academy, said: “We are delighted to have officially launched our Volunteering Academy, which links students to the local community, enhancing their experience at the University, whilst also contributing actively to the development of South Lanarkshire.” Anyone interested in finding out more about the Academy should email

Study innovative MBA at Hamilton Campus





niversity of the West of Scotland’s Master of Business Administration (MBA), which is delivered at Hamilton Campus, still has a few places remaining for start this September. The programme, which reflects the ever-changing nature of business, and the global challenges that business leaders are facing, focuses on developing strategic analytical skills as well as business intuition and enquiring and adaptive thinking. The MBA, which from this September will be available to study on a part-time and full-time basis, has been structured

and designed to allow students, through the selection of option modules, to focus in one of three areas: Finance; Leadership; or Enterprise. This allows students to align their MBA studies to their current career, or career aspirations. Learning and exchange on the MBA takes place through a dynamic, virtual learning hub: the UWS MBA Online World which offers opportunities for students to engage and collaborate within their modules on an international basis. Professor Heather Tarbert of the University’s Business School said: “Our MBA is the perfect study choice for managers, as in addition to providing essential core business knowledge and understanding, it also places a strong emphasis on developing the applied managerial skills that are so vital to success in today’s business world.” For entry this September UWS is a running a special fee rate of £8500 for the full-time programme. For those studying the course on a part-time basis over two years, this same total rate also applies. For further information regarding the University’s new MBA visit

UWS commits to becoming Scotland’s first Dementia Friendly University

Principal Mahoney: “we are very proud of the research and capability of our staff working in dementia”.


niversity of the West of Scotland is set to become Scotland’s first Dementia Friendly University, reinforcing its commitment to improving the lives and inclusion of people with dementia, their families and carers. In close collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland, UWS has developed a vision for a Dementia Friendly University with a clear action plan to establish itself both as a dementia considerate employer and one that recognises and responds to the needs of staff and students whose lives are affected by the condition. People with dementia will inform and guide developments at the University through its close association with the Scottish Dementia Working Group, whose members already actively contribute to teaching. In addition to drafting new policy and guidance for staff and students advising how best to support colleagues and visitors who may have dementia, the University is also in the process of considering ways to further increase the ‘dementia friendly’ nature of all of its campuses, such as making changes to signage and other aspects of the physical environment. The aim is to ensure that best practice is followed at all times and that campuses will be welcoming, accessible and enabling



environments for people with dementia. The University is also planning specialist training for managers, lecturers and support staff. Dementia is a growing health concern with around 800,000 people living with the condition in the UK, and numbers projected to rise to over a million by 2021. It is hugely important that as many people as possible are aware of the condition, the challenges people with dementia may face and the positive steps we can all take to make a difference to their lives. Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are very proud of the research and capability of our staff working in dementia. UWS is totally committed to enhancing the care and treatment of dementia as is highlighted by our research and work in the community and we are delighted to be working towards becoming Scotland’s first Dementia Friendly University. “We are extremely grateful to our colleagues at Alzheimer Scotland who continue to work closely with us to enable UWS to become a Dementia Friendly University.” The University enjoys close ties with Alzheimer Scotland and in 2012 launched the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, based at its Hamilton Campus. The Centre, a collaboration between UWS and Alzheimer Scotland, aims to become a recognised centre of excellence advancing dementia policy and practice through collaborative working. Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We are delighted to support UWS in its commitment to being a Dementia Friendly University. Being dementia friendly means making real and tangible change for people living with the illness; not only people with a diagnosis, but also partners, family members and friends involved in support and care. It is wonderful to see UWS put these principles into practice.” For more information regarding University of the West of Scotland’s Dementia Friendly University status visit


Rising elderly population prompts new Later Life Studies MSc U



niversity of the West of Scotland is launching its new MSc in Later Life Studies which has been developed in response to the continued rise in the number of older people. The course, which gets underway in September, has been designed to equip professionals with an in-depth knowledge and the critical perspective needed to plan, practice in partnership, manage and lead high-quality services and interventions for older people. Changing demographics have focused attention on later life on a global scale with rising numbers reflected internationally and bringing both opportunities and challenges. The positive aspects around the survival of so many into older age is tempered by the increasing numbers of frail and vulnerable older people. This innovative, new course is suited to professionals in a range of health, social care and third sector roles working with people in their later life years. The postgraduate programme will provide students with an understanding of the experiences of people as they age in different contexts and circumstances including marginalised, migrant and indigenous populations. It will develop students’ critical perspective of the assets and abilities of people as they age whilst understanding the importance of personalised interventions and approaches, as well as advance cross cultural knowledge of later life issues in developing and developed countries. Programme Leader Professor Debbie Tolson is Director of Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Dementia Policy and Practice, a joint partnership between University of the West of Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland, which is based at the University’s Hamilton Campus. Professor Tolson said: “Taking an integrated perspective, the course will challenge the current and next generation of practice, service and policy leaders and carers to make connections between aspects of later life, caring sciences, service planning and service management. “The development of this course is hugely important and is rooted in the belief that knowledge must be applied and that care solutions


Professor Tolson: “development of this course is highly important”.

must be relevant, achievable and mindful of the available resource if they are to be of benefit to older people, their families and the wider community.” “This course will see a lot of engagement with relevant community groups and bodies and we are currently engaging with local older person’s group, Seniors Together who are keen to input into the course.” Anyone wishing further information regarding MSc Later Life Studies, which can studied entirely online or based at Hamilton Campus taking a blended learning approach, should visit

New innovation centre to transform Scottish construction industry U

WS is a key player in a £7.5 million construction innovation centre, which is to be established in Scotland to connect industry and academia. The Construction Scotland innovation centre will provide the 31,000-plus businesses involved in the sector with a one-stop shop for accessing a team of academic experts and public support. Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, the centre is supported by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and 11 Scottish universities, including University of the West of Scotland.

Professor Milan Radosavljevic of University of the West of Scotland’s School of Engineering said: “By forging links between the Scottish construction sector and 11 universities, the new centre has an unprecedented potential to become an effective and internationally recognised conduit of innovation. “The centre has a strong societal role where knowledge exchange functions as a mechanism to develop innovative solutions for the benefit of all. We are delighted that our university now plays a pivotal role in the development of the centre.”

Busy times at McDermott N

eaving employment for whatever reason can be a difficult time for employees, a period when they need expert guidance on what choices to make to equip themselves for the future. Lanarkshire Chamber member Southern Financial Services has addressed this issue with a range of auxiliary services which employers can put in place to benefit their staff when they retire or leave service. With Retirement Counselling, for instance, staff can speak with a qualified consultant at least three months before retirement date to decide on their options. Assessments can include pensions, whether live or deferred, state benefits and other elements such as savings and debts. Their partners’ situation will be examined as part of the strategy. Southern’s Annuity Services provide a full broking service for open market options and ill health (enhanced) annuities. Employees could increase their income by up to 30% by using these facilities. Income Drawdown gives employees the flexibility to take income from their pension fund whilst keeping the remainder invested and Leaving Service Counselling can point to the best course of action. With the recent budget announcements and increased flexibility on how pension benefits can be taken, advice is even more crucial when deciding how best to access your pension fund. Southern also offers a Will Writing Service.

Malcolm Southern: “he knows, you know”.


How Southern’s advice can benefit employers and employees at a difficult time L


ew contracts, new hirings and significant capital investment have characterised a busy period of growth at Lesmahagow-based ground maintenance and landscape project business, McDermott Contract Services. Led by Marion Hamilton and Norman Clacher, who founded the business in 1977, the company provides its services to private and commercial clients throughout Scotland’s Central Belt, including leading property managers and housing associations. Its “reactive” maintenance squad carry out complementary services, including landscaping or site clearance, fencing repairs, tree work, and hard landscaping. Membership of The Guild of Master Craftsmen was approved in 2013, making the business the only specialist ground maintenance contractor in Scotland to have been awarded accreditation to the Guild. Accreditation demonstrates McDermott’s commitment to work with skill and integrity and to abide by the Guild’s publicly declared aims and objectives With new business wins totalling over £500,000 and reappointment to contracts from existing clients, the company has invested in new vehicles and machinery with all retired equipment has been recycled in a “cradle-tograve” scheme. The new business has also allowed the company to employ additional seasonal workers, many of them living in Lanarkshire and a number of them under the age of 25, taking total workforce numbers to thirty.


An employer’s support of Reservists is vital, so it’s vital that we provide all the support you need At SaBRE we understand that you might have questions when it comes to Reservists employees. That’s why, through our network of regional Campaign Directors, helpline and website, we’re always there to offer you the advice and support you need.

To find out more contact your local Regional Campaign Director Colin Vooght on 0141 945 6751, or

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Residential Golf Breaks Escape to Murrayshall, a luxury four star country house hotel set within 350 acres of beautiful Perthshire country side. Surrounded by two 18 hole golf courses, Murrayshall is the ideal choice for a relaxing few days of good food, excellent golf at a stunning location. From £120.00 per person per night, inclusive of a three course dinner in the Stutts Bar, bed and breakfast and one round of golf per nights stay. Valid until 30th September 2014.

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A taste of Lanarkshire How we are punching above our weight in the food and drink sector





t is a most remarkable achievement that a country whose most instantly recognisable signature dish over the past centuries has been sheep’s stomach stuffed with offal is now hailed as a centre of culinary excellence. But Scotland is now a world leader in the recession-proof sector of food and drink, benefiting hugely from a global perception that Made in Scotland means fresh, unadulterated produce with a guarantee of quality. The numbers involved are quite staggering, and justify the sector’s position as one of the most important in the Scottish economy. According to industry body Scotland Food & Drink, a target of £12.5 billion set in 2009 was easily exceeded and a new ambition of £16.5 billion has been proclaimed for 2017. More than 360,000 people now work in the sector, R&D has more than doubled since 2007 and £5.3 billion of Scottish food is exported to 100 countries as well as £4.3 billion of whisky which is exported to nearly 200 countries. Lanarkshire, of course, is playing its part in a fast-moving industry which is showcasing all the best qualities of Scotland – the region is host to a quite disproportionate number of household name food and drink companies. Wm Grant, the whisky distiller named after the Highlander whose ambition in Speyside in 1839 was to “make the best dram in the valley”, is now a brand-led business, which distils some of the world’s leading Scotch whiskies. Brands include the international favourite single malt Glenfiddich; the Balvenie range of esoteric single malts; Grant’s, the world’s fourth largest blended Scotch; and Hendrick’s Gin. More than 800 people work for the company around the world, and in Scotland the workforce is based at the distilleries in Dufftown and Girvan and at the bottling and office complex near Motherwell.


major factor in the company’s introduction of Coca-Cola Life, a brand new drink with lower sugar levels. Coke’s Scottish rival Irn-Bru continues to go from strength to strength at its state-of-the-art factory at Cumbernauld, raising its profile this year as official sponsor of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The company has been backing Scotland and Scottish sport since 1905, when it sponsored Alex Munro, a World Champion caber tosser and wrestler in 1905. The Games year drinks cans will feature a Highland strongman similar to a design first used in 1901. Companies such as Albert Bartlett have grown from small beginnings to represent the best Lanarkshire can offer throughout the country. The Airdrie based family firm is Britain’s leading supplier of potatoes, supplying one in five of the UK’s fresh spuds. It employs more than 700 full time staff at its three packing sites. Another Airdrie success is Inver House. Its head office and warehousing facility in the town deals with world famous single malts such as Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Speyburn and Balmenach. Burns Stewart, maker of Black Bottle and Bunnahabhain, has its head office and bottling plant in East Kilbride and a blending and maturation warehouse in Airdrie. With companies like these, Lanarkshire is continuing to punch above its weight in the internationally competitive food and drink sector.


At Lightbody of Hamilton, every day is a celebration as it turns out millions of birthday cakes, caramel bites and Disney treats – as well as employing more than 1000 people at the largest celebration cake bakery in the UK. Part of the Finsbury Food Group, Lightbody – which has a heritage stretching over 140 years – makes cakes and sweet snacking products for all the UK major multiples and other retail outlets as well as under licence for brands such as Thorntons, Nestle, Disney and Weightwatchers. It is very much part of the local community, with more than 80% of staff living within a four-mile radius of the factory on Bothwell Road. It donates cakes to charity as well as arranging special factory research trips for schools. UK Operations Director Ian Chree said “We are very big in celebration cake, we have the largest share of the market in the UK. We have a huge work force – but a lot of people in Lanarkshire remember the high street bakeries and don’t realise that we are still around and they probably purchase our products every week.” Another successful baker is Borders Biscuits, operating from the Caldwellside Industrial Estate in Lanark and employing in the region of 150 people who have just gone from a five-day to a seven-day shift pattern to fulfil a booming order book. The company, which was founded in 1984 by managing director John Cunningham, started out with only a handful of staff and a limited range of products. It is now close to a turnover of £14 million and is regularly adding new varieties such as Yankee Doodle butterscotch and strawberry and cream melts to its old favourites such as dark chocolate gingers. Border has notched up a string of major supermarket deals recently, putting two million biscuits a week, including brands such as Real Fruit Shortbread and Oatrageously Tasty, into Tesco and other major retailers. It would be remiss to mention Lanarkshire and biscuits without bringing up the name of Tunnock’s, whose Tea Cakes and Caramel Wafers have achieved a fame far beyond these shores. The 20th oldest family business in Scotland, it is run by Boyd Tunnock, grandson of the founder Thomas – known locally as the Willy Wonka of Tannochside. The Uddingston factory is now producing 10 million biscuits a week and Boyd recently won the Outstanding Acievement award at the Lanarkshire Business Awards. As well as hugely successful local enterprises, global multi-nationals are finding Lanarkshire to be an excellent home for food and drink business. Coca-Cola Enterprises, which has been at its East Kilbride facility on Milton Road for 50 years this year, is celebrating with a £2.2 million investment. The cash will help the world-wide brand bring speeds on the bottling line up from 14,000 to 20,000 bottles an hour and will be a


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Modern apprenticeships: opportunities for employers and young people alike




cottish Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of the vast range of training-in-work opportunities available to our young people but it is also a platform for change and improvement in the local economy. This year, North Lanarkshire’s Working joined forces with Skills Development Scotland, local businesses and Jobcentre Plus to promote the week and help create the next generation of workers, managers and, potentially, entrepreneurs. North Lanarkshire Council’s Convener of Regeneration and Infrastructure Councillor David Fagan, said: “Apprenticeships have changed – for the better. Traditional industries and skills are still catered for but the sheer diversity of training available is incredible. Literally everything from admin to aviation and retail to recreation.”


Scores of local business folk attended the Open Day

Burn Stewart Distillers was asked to provide access to their bottling facility and to highlight their Modern Apprenticeship programme to the local business community. The Open Day tours were delivered by their apprentices and the overall impression was that the quality of the young people and their ability to articulate their knowledge of the bottling operation had been first class. Here are a range of pictures from the tours.

Skills Development Scotland’s Director of Operations Danny Logue said: “North Lanarkshire’s Working is a prime example of how, together, the public and private sectors can deliver for the coming generations. “The figures almost speak for themselves: two-thirds of modern apprenticeship employers report improved productivity and quality, as well as higher morale. “Nine out of 10 modern apprentices are still in employment six months after finishing their training and 93 per cent are satisfied or very satisfied with their apprenticeship. “They are good for individuals, good for the Scottish economy and good for North Lanarkshire.” For further information, contact North Lanarkshire’s Working at

Bordering on the all-too yummy, and all from Lanark

Sales boost takes the biscuit L

omadiX Media, the Blantyre-based company which owns a range of smart technology based Digital ‘out of home’ Media (DOOH), has launched a major advertising network featuring the world’s most advanced wearable media system. The fast-growing group’s CitiWalker initiative offers clients a host of innovations to enliven the Glasgow shopping experience. Mark Evans, the industry expert and key influencer who established NomadiX Media based, said: “We have launched the CitiWalker Weekender, which will capitalise on the busy shopping days from Thursday to Sunday. The Weekender package will focus on four concentrated city hubs where at weekends average footfall is 500,000.

Amongst you taking notes: NomadiX Media’s Citi Walker in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries


NomadiX Media launches CitiWalker Weekender packages to advertisers N


anark-based Border Biscuits has reported a 20% sales increase due to innovative new product developments for the premium biscuit brand. The enhanced sales are a boost for the family-owned business which employs 150 people and has an annual turnover of £12.8 million. Its new Deliciously Different range has already been snapped up by leading supermarket Tesco Scotland and joins a popular range of biscuits already sold by Tesco stores UK-wide. Jill Sutherland, its national account manager, said: “Quality and taste is our number one priority and we are delighted that our new Deliciously Different range is available in Tesco stores.”


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I Didn’t Get W here I Am Today… Name: Alistair Livingstone Age: OLD! What is your company called? Eure ka Solu


What does it do? Implementation of Business Information Systems, making sure our clients have the information they need, when and where they need it, to run their businesses more profitably. We now focus on Cloud Solu tions from NetSuite. What prompted you to choose this particular activity in which to create a business? Problem solving is what I do – I always have done. This was a natural prog ression from focusing on business systems as the tools to solve problems. How did you get started? I had had enough of creating value for someone else. I decided I shou ld create something for myself.

How did you deal with initial setbacks ? Head on – the only way. Problem solving is what we do. Was there a particular moment when you realised you were on the path to success? You cann ot be sure when it is successful. We are still climbing the mou ntain – every time you think you’re at the top, there’s another challenge. What constitutes a typical day? If I ever have one I’ll let you know – once it becomes typical I’ve lost interest. It starts early and finishes late and seems to disappear quickly. What keeps you going? The fear of stopping – I’ve never known anything else. What’s the best part of your day? Bein g in the office first and enjoying the silence. It doesn’t last long . What’s the bit that really irritates you? Having to rely on someone else doing what they said they would do when they said they would do it.

enterprise agencies”.

Have you had help from enterprise agencies? Yes - lots. Who is your ideal employee? Anybody willing to learn – even if they make mistakes and learn from them . Who is your nightmare employee? Prim a donnas, even if they are good. We focus on team work. What’s the best advice you’ve had over the course of building a business? Don’t employ anyb ody. And the worst? Don’t employ anybody. If you suddenly attained executive pow er in Scotland, what would be the first thing you’d chan ge? Further education. I’d ensure that the vocational/modern apprenticeship route received the recognition that it deserves and change attitude that “the only way is college”. We need to recognise and applaud technical as well as academic skills. If you could pack it all in tomorrow, and still be comfortably off, would you? I could and I won’t. Wou ld I like more time off ? Yes. I will have a single figure golf hand icap. If you did, what would be your next move? I’d go back to university – I never want to stop learning. I’d probably do maths or an economics degree – ideally a PhD . Then I would be Dr Livingstone. Any regrets? There is no point in regre ts. Would I have done anything differently? Yes, but only with hindsight. The quality of what we do today is based on the mista kes of yesterday.


Were there any sticky moments in the early stages? There always are – every day is a challenge .If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Every time we take on a new employee it’s a challenge.

Alistair Livingstone: “Lots of help from


How quickly did the business take off? There were a couple of false starts but over the past 10 year s I have built a growing business. We now have 32 staff and contribute substantially to our local economy. I am very prou d of the fact that, of the 32 current staff, 18 have started as graduates from Scottish universities. We invest heavily in our staff.


Stephen Martin



Never agree to a new utilities contract over the telephone



nsolicited sales calls? Don’t you just love them? I suppose it is, theoretically possible that one time, just one time, there might be an unsolicited sales call which is genuinely useful but I have my doubts that it will ever happen in my lifetime. A big irritation for many of our customers at present is the unsolicited sales calls which offer “big discounts” on utilities including gas, electricity, telephone or water. Can I give you an equally unsolicited piece of advice? “Just say no!” Such calls are a waste of time and very often entirely spurious. Sales people will say they are calling direct from the supplier but that is usually not the case. And no matter how persuasive they may seem, almost always they are offering highly uncompetitive rates and contract terms. And here is the main argument for avoiding them. Most of these calls are being recorded by the sales person, so any agreement you might be persuaded into making represents a binding verbal agreement which can be used to keep you on an expensive utilities hook long into the future. On average these rates are between 20 and 40 per cent higher than the market base rates and are costing Scottish businesses millions of pounds in wasted additional costs each year.

So how do you avoid falling into this trap? That’s easy, as a Chamber of Commerce member we can provide you with free advice on how to find the best utilities deals for your business. At a recent meeting with one of clients who is a hotelier we were able to reduce his gas and electricity costs by just over 20 per cent. His telecoms were, initially, another issue: inadequate wi-fi at his hotels was a complaint that had emerged via Tripadvisor and so was one that needed to be sorted. The supplier blustered, initially, that the supply contract which was in place could only be broken by the payment of a hefty exit fee. Since our client was not aware of having signed any such contract we asked the supplier for proof that there was a contract in place. Happily, no such contract, written or verbal could be produced and we were able to advise on an alternative supplier who offered both a better service and a lower price. Needless to say there were no exit fees and no more negative comments about his hotels’ wi-fi provision on Tripadvisor. For more information, contact Stephen Martin on Tel: 0800 055 3800,

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SLC is committed to providing services of the highest quality



n SLC we are committed to delivering services of the highest quality. That means continually improving services for everyone and giving priority to children, young people, families and communities most in need. The revenue budget for this year is £293m with Capital Investment continuing to be made on the largest schools modernisation project in Europe. We have built 100 new primary schools, 19 new secondary schools and 4 additional support needs schools. Raising achievement and attainment of pupils is a key priority and in particular, we are committed to supporting the 320 pupils we teach in our Additional Support Needs Schools. In partnership with John Brown and the local Chamber of Commerce and the Council’s Supported Employment team, the Council is developing a strategy that would increase the opportunities to those young people attending Larkhall Academy who have learning needs and would benefit from work experience and support from local employers with a target of getting full time employment. The Council is exploring funding streams, including Big Lottery, to develop a Community Employment Training Initiative that would be

educational based working to an employment curriculum for young people. The main objective is to give hope to those many young people who feel excluded and want the skills and support to access the work place. We hope to engage with 3rd year pupils to plan their journey in to gaining experience and skills, such as CV completion and interview techniques, and offering opportunities for high quality, targeted intensive, long term support which will significantly enhance their ability to secure and sustain permanent employment. The programme clearly fits the curriculum for excellence agenda and with Sir Ian Wood’s report “Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce”. The project also fits with the Scottish Governments Commitment to improve learning pathway to employers for those S3-S6 at risk of leaving formal education early who wish to pursue a vocational route or a combined vocational and traditional academic route. In partnership with the business community, championed by John Brown, I believe that this initiative can only benefit some of the most disadvantaged young people within our Community.

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