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SEAN STAFFORD First service at Marsden Full inter view - Page 3

FTSE 100

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NEIL WILSON Alternative viewpoint Column - Page 4

An EXAMINER publication

KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees

IT firm pioneers academy link-up

A HUDDERSFIELD company has become the first employer to get involved with a new academy offering young people an alternative educational route into employment. E d g e r t o n - b a s e d I T p ra c t i c e Brighter Connections has pledged its support for the 14+ Leeds Apprenticeship Academy, which enables direct entry to an educational establishment other than school for 14-year-olds in the city. The academy, launched by Leeds City College, offers an alternative to the traditional school Year 10 and 11, delivering high quality programmes for 14 to 16-year-olds to prepare them for the world of work. The curriculum focuses on employability and enterprise skills and how to apply these to the world of work through a combination of practical, vocational and classroom-based activities – with a weekly employer placement in year two. The College is working with a range of employers to ensure courses meet the skills needed by firms in different sectors. It also liaises with them on business challenges for students, mentoring roles and work experience opportunities and visits. Brighter Connections is one of the first businesses to get involved in the

people work placements at the company’s Halifax Road offices. Managing director, Darren Stringer said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to get involved with this unique project, right at the outset. “We hope to be able to have a positive impact on young people at the start of their chosen career and look forward to welcoming those young people who share our passion for innovation and technology. “We aim to develop their knowledge and skills in the IT sector, combined with general business skills, with a view to equipping them with the tools necessary to pursue a successful career in IT.” Students will attend five days a week – as at school – for a two-year period and study a core programme of five GSCEs including English, mathematics and science alongside a nationally recognised Level 2 vocational qualification in the area they are interested in. Subject areas on offer range from ■ DELIGHTED: Darren Stringer, of Brighter Connections, said the firm hoped to make a positive impact with young people seeking a career in IT hospitality, sport and fitness and motor industry to retail, digital media programme and will offer students knowledge and vocational experience and engineering – key areas identified for future growth and employment presentations about life in the work- around the IT industry. place, as well as providing specific The company will also offer young opportunities in the region.

Kirklees firms join drive to boost exports KIRKLEES firms are among those seeking help to generate new international sales following the launch of a new campaign triggered by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s export campaign. More than 50 firms have contacted the We Are International export network and the campaign’s Export Ambassadors since July for help with a range of issues – from help to find overseas agents and distributors to advice on international tenders and seeking contacts in specific markets. Many senior figures in successful exporting businesses are also volunteering to become Export Ambassadors – with the total now standing at 30 and more announcements planned. The We are International initiative

– delivered by the LEP in partnership with international trade specialists Chamber International, UKTI Yorkshire and Humber, Enterprise Europe Network and MY Export Hub – aims to add £1.6bn to the City Region economy and create thousands of jobs during the next five years. About 100 businesses are set to attend the initiative’s third Export Network event this year, which is being held in partnership with Yorkshire Bank at 7.30am on November 12 at the offices of Pinsent Mason, Park Row, Leeds. The event is part of a programme of activities being held to coincide with UKTI’s Export Week. Delegates will be able to network with like-minded businesses, meet

export ambassadors and UKTI advisors. Speakers will include representatives of firms already enjoying export success – Murray Angus, managing director of Normanton-based hygiene chemicals supplier The Proton Group; Ernie Fitzpatrick, partner at Fitzpatrick Exports (UK) Ltd, Batley; and Victoria Boldison, export sales manager at Optimum Medical Solutions in Leeds. Export activity since the last export network event in July includes a Halifax brewing business seeking help with an export strategy, a birth control manufacturer seeking to register products in the Middle East and a moisturising gel manufacturing company seeking to sell in India.

Prof Bob Cryan, vice-chancellor of Huddersfield University, LEP board member and chairman of the Leeds City Region Trade and Investment Board, said: “Increasing the number of Leeds City Region companies trading overseas is a top priority for the LEP so we’re delighted with the level of interest that businesses have shown in the We are International initiative so far. “We’ll be working with our partners and our excellent Export Ambassadors, to build on this momentum and provide more business opportunities and support for companies seeking to export.” Tel 0845 034 7200 to book. V i s i t w w w . w e a r e i n t e r n

INSIDE Agency is a winner A DESIGN agency in Huddersfield has been picked for one of the UK’s most prestigious design awards for the second year running. The Engine Room Design is recognised for a project carried out for award-winning national budget gym chain Xercise4Less. The agency will get either a bronze, silver or golf award at next year’s Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards. Director Darren Evans said: “This is a huge achievement considering we had never even entered a project until last year.”

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Spotlight on Saudi WEST Yorkshire firms have the products, skills and expertise to capitalise on emerging opportunities in Saudi Arabia, says a Middle East trade expert. Companies involved in energy, speciality chemicals and advanced engineering – high growth sectors in the country – can discover first-hand what is on offer on a trade mission to Al Khobar next month.

● Full story - Page 4



Co-op strikes deal to safeguard bank THE Co-operative Group has struck a deal to save its battered banking arm by ceding control of the ethical lender to a group of powerful investors. Co-op Group chief executive Euan Sutherland confirmed in a video message that the customer-owned group will be left with a 30% stake in the Co-operative Bank – but insisted the lender will retain its ethical values. Under pressure from regulators to plug a £1.5bn black hole in the bank’s finances, its mutual parent had hoped to retain control of the bank through a stock market flotation, giving owners of its bonds a minority stake in return for a £500m loss on their debt. However, US hedge funds and big blue-chip investors such as pension funds and insurers emerged victorious from lengthy negotiations by securing majority ownership. Mr Sutherland said the agreement in principle “saves the Co-operative

Bank” and will also avoid a taxpayer bailout. But the likelihood of the self-styled ethical lender being controlled by predatory US hedge funds and blue-chip investors triggered warnings over the bank’s future ethos and a possible customer exodus. Several thousand retail investors such as pensioners, who invested an average of £1,000 each in the high-yielding bonds for a steady income, are expected to be handed income-paying bonds, after campaigning against the initial plan which would have given them shares in the bank. Mr Sutherland insisted the supermarkets-to-funerals group, which traces its roots back to the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844, will retain “effective control” of the bank by “securing 30% of the equity”, and will be its biggest single shareholder.

■ BANK STATEMENT: A series of failings will cost the Co-op Bank

He said: “This bank will remain the Co-operative Bank. We are embedding the co-operative principles in the constitution of the bank to guarantee this.” He added: “This is the first bank to be rescued and to survive as a standalone entity without taxpayer money.” Meanwhile, the bank revealed it is setting aside up to £105m more to cover mis-sold payment protection insurance and other issues, after taking a fresh look at its provisions.

However, it said the Prudential Regulation Authority’s demand for it to raise another £1.5bn of rescue capital “remains unchanged” – as it had already factored in “future conduct risk provisions”. Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: “Today is a tragic day for the UK as the Co-operative Group is no longer in a position to maintain its majority ownership of the Co-operative Bank. This is dreadful for the staff, customers and the wider banking industry. “This may mean customers will have even less choice on the high street and means we will have yet another finance company seeking shareholder returns over better banking.The Co-operative Bank with its long and proud history is now at risk of losing all it ever stood for. The ethos of this important organisation must be protected.”

Tycoon attacks ‘absurd’ costs

‘Board room for workers’

THE founder of French Connection has labelled business rates as “absurd” and criticised landlords for their “only way is up” attitude to shop rents. Stephen Marks, who founded French Connection in 1972, said: “Rates are absurd and what do you actually get for them?” However he stopped short of calling for rates, which are paid as a tax on commercial property, to be scrapped entirely. “Everybody has to pay tax,” he said, but he argued that the system had to be more fair. The British Retail Consortium has said that the current system is

UNIONS have pressed home their call for workers to sit on company boards – saying the move would help firms recover from the economic crisis. The TUC published two reports it said backed its argument that the UK system of relying solely on shareholders to hold a company to account had not delivered economic success or social justice. Executive pay would be set at more reasonable levels if there was a worker representative on a company board, said the union organisation. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Achieving a true

no longer fit for purpose and is pressing for a 2% annual cap on business rate increases, rather than the current benchmark of the Retail Price Index. Retailers Sir Philip Green, Justin King, of Sainsbur y’s and Ian Cheshire, of B&Q owner Kingfisher have also argued for rates to be overhauled to help protect the high street. It is believed business rates are costing retailers more than £7bn a year, having risen by £175m in April. French Connection plans to close 15 stores, but says it has only been able to close a handful so far due to tough demands by landlords.

worker voice across Britain’s workplaces is at the heart of the TUC’s new campaign plan. “Seats for the workforce on company boards would help inject a much-needed dose of reality into boardrooms and put the brakes on the multi-million pay and bonus packages which are fast becoming the norm in corporate Britain. “The move would also help put firms on a clear trajectory out of the economic difficulties many UK companies are currently facing and assist boards to focus on the strategies and investments needed for long-term company success.”

Page 2 Wizard move THE company behind attractions including the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers has announced plans to float on the London stock market. Private equity-owned Merlin Entertainments, which operates 99 attractions in 22 countries and received more than 54m visitors in 2012, is believed to be worth as much as £3bn. It said the public offer of shares will enable it to pay down debt and plan for the next stage of its development. The company generated revenues of more than £1bn last year and is Europe’s leading visitor attraction operator and the second largest globally after Walt Disney. Other sites include Legoland Parks, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle. Private equity firms Blackstone and CVC will sell a significant chunk of their shares, although Kirkbi, the Danish family-owned investment company which owns the Lego and Legoland trademarks and 75% of the Lego Group, said it intends to retain a significant shareholding following the flotation. It is expected that Merlin will raise about £200m in proceeds from the flotation, which will be open to retail investors. The group said it had continued to trade well in the year to date, with revenues up 11% to £888.7m in the 35 weeks to the end of August – including growth of 7.1% when stripping out investment in new attractions.

SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £49.94 +0.09 Gannett 1610.53 -91.64 Hess Corp £52.12 +0.07 Motors Liquidation 46.44 Wal-Mart Stores £46.47 -0.41 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 540 +21/2 BAE Systems 4537/8 +9 Rolls-Royce 1123 +31 AIM Brady Plc 613/4 -1/4 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 3621/2 -81/4 BANKS Barclays 2743/4 -31/8 HSBC 6853/4 +63/4 Lloyds Banking Gp 767/8 +3/8 Ryl Scotland 3531/8 -195/8 1 Stan Chart 1495 /2 +5 BEVERAGES 1 Diageo £20 /8 +1/4 SABMiller £313/8 -1/8 CHEMICALS Croda £255/8 +1/4 Elementis 98 2463/4 -5/8 Johnsn Mat £30 +1/4 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 283 +13/4 Costain 282 +6 ELECTRICITY Drax Gp 656 +9

SSE 1452 +1 ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 2247/8 +17/8 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 4421/2 +21/2 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 3673/8 +21/4 Cable & Wireless 433/4 +1 Comm +1/4 Colt Group 1231/2 KCOM 1003/4 +37/8 Talktalk Telecom 2671/4 +37/8 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 282 -1/2 Sainsbury 3971/4 +21/4 Tesco 3721/4 +3 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food £203/4 +1/8 Tate Lyle 7831/2 +12 5 Unilever £24 /8 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 363 +1/4 National Grid 766 +51/2 1 Pennon Grp 703 /2 +61/2 Severn 1848 +20 United Utils 7071/2 -21/2 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 3701/2 +1/2 ICAP 376 +21/8 London StockExch 1647 -3 Man Group 875/8 +3/4 Provident Financial 1638 +62 Schroders £261/8

Schroders NV £22 +1/8 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS REXAM 504 +113/4 Smiths Grp 1433 +31 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 26 Carphone Whse 2561/4 -23/4 Dixons Retail 465/8 +1/4 Home Retail 1821/2 +7/8 Inchcape 629 +1 1 Kingfisher 377 /2 -73/4 M&S 4871/8 -8 Mothercare 4023/4 +1 7 Next £51 /8 +1/4 WH Smith 918 +3 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES 1 Smith Nph 797 /2 +91/2 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 133 -1 Barrat Dev 347 +1/2 Persimmon 1250 +20 Reckitt Benckiser £45 Taylor Wimpey 113 -1/4 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING IMI 1517 -20 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 196 +41/4 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 3271/8 +71/8 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 4403/4 -7/8 Lgl & Gen 207 -1/4

2003/8 -1/8 1247 -17 5 +7/8 347 /8 3651/8 +51/2 MEDIA BSkyB 938 +10 D Mail Tst 797 +21/2 1 HIBU /8 ITV 1941/4 -7/8 Johnston Press 127/8 -1/8 Pearson 1347 +11 1 Reed Elsevier 864 /2 +11 STV Group 3101/2 +141/2 3 Trinity Mirror 127 /4 +1 Utd Business 744 +5 UTV 206 +3 WPP 1307 +21 MINING 1 Anglo American 1536 /2 +41/2 Antofagasta 891 -8 BHP Billiton 18731/2 +12 Eurasian Natural 2201/2 +11/4 Res Fresnillo 978 -101/2 Kazakhmys 2557/8 +3/4 3 Lonmin 327 /4 +13/4 3 Rio Tinto £32 /8 +1/4 VEDANTA 1071 +32 RESOURCES MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 7291/2 +21/2 Vodafone Group 2277/8 +1/4 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1218 +10 +11/8 RSA Insurance Gp 1221/8 Old Mutual Prudential Resolution Standard Life

Local shares Carclo Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp

386 1791/2 7601/2 £227/8

-2 -11/2 +9 +1/4

Due to technical problems we are unable to bring you an updated version of the local share prices, above, from yesterday’s trading.

FTSE closed at

6654.20 Up 31.62

OIL & GAS PRODUCERS BG 1238 BP 4491/2 Cairn Energy 287 Royal Dutch Shell £203/4 A Royal Dutch Shell £213/4 B Total £375/8 Tullow Oil 990 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES AMEC 1148 Petrofac 1442 Wood Gp(J) 8111/2 PERSONAL GOODS

+5 +21/8 +13/4 +1/8 +1/8 3

- /8 +1 +44 +27 +10

Burberry Gp 1550 +23 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £313/4 +1/4 GlaxoSmithK 7 -1/4 Shire £251/8 REAL ESTATE Brit Land 6031/2 -41/2 Hamrsn 5251/2 -1/2 Intu Properties 334 +23/8 1 Land Secs 978 /2 SEGRO 334 -11/4 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Invensys 5021/2 +11/2 Sage Group 3321/2 +31/4 SUPPORT SERVICES Berendsen 956 +231/2 Bunzl 1361 +4 Capita 981 +20 De La Rue 9871/2 +71/2 Electrocomp 2951/4 +51/2 Experian 1224 +24 1 G4S 250 /2 +81/2 3 Hays 123 /4 +11/4 Homeserve 2403/4 +53/4 Menzies J 812 +5 3 Rentokil 110 /4 +21/4 Smiths News 207 +1/2 Wolseley £33 +1/2 IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs 1039 +25 Spirent Comms 1243/4 +3/8 TOBACCO Br Am Tob £333/8 +1/8 Imperial Tobacco £223/4


LEISURE & HOTELS Bwin.Party Digital 1183/4 Carnival £21 Compass Grp 893 easyJet 1358 Enterprise Inns 1563/4 FirstGroup 1191/2 Go-Ahead Gp 1697 Greene King 8331/2 Intercontl Htls 1859 Intl Cons Airl 3643/8 Ladbrokes 187 Mitchells & Butlers 400 Natl Express 2627/8 Rank Org 1551/2 Stagecoach Group 3377/8 TUI Travel 3821/4 Whitbread £333/4

+13/8 +61/2 -2 -1/4 +3/4 +29 +81/2 +3 +53/8 -1/4 +13/4 +31/8 +47/8 +51/4 +31/8 +1/4

FTSE 100

INDEX 6654.20


FTSE 250

INDEX 15521.98


Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia..................... 1.58 dollars Bangladesh................ 118.25 taka Brazil............................ 3.13 reals Canada...................... 1.59 dollars China ........................... 8.81 yuan Czech Republic .... 28.00 korunas Denmark..................... 8.39 krone Euro.............................. 1.13 euro Hong Kong............... 11.89 dollars Hungary.................. 311.36 forints India........................ 87.61 rupees Japan......................... 150.97 yen Mexico ...................... 18.51 pesos New Zealand ............. 1.77 dollars Norway ....................... 9.11 krone Pakistan................ 161.97 rupees Philippines ................ 59.71 pesos South Africa................ 14.80 rand South Korea............. 1496.00 won Sri Lanka .............. 199.83 rupees Sweden....................... 9.91 krona Switzerland................ 1.39 francs Taiwan ..................... 41.52 dollars Turkey...................... 2.99 new lira USA ........................... 1.54 dollars



Game, set and match to Sean IT’S service with a smile from aim is to get even more people a junior tournament every tennis coach Sean Stafford. playing tennis. “We are getting year. There are quite a few Sean, who makes the short more and more juniors playing kids who don’t do too much commute from his and sessions for three to else in terms of physical Saddleworth home to his main five-year-olds are proving exercise, but love coming to place of work at Marsden popular,” he says. “It is good to play tennis. As a coach, I have Tennis Club, says he is see the club busy. to find different ways to keep passionate about his job – and “I have done a lot to spread them engaged. Some kids enjoys the freedom that the word through social want to play in tournaments, self-employment brings. networking. We get people others play as a social thing.” And the 23-year-old says coming here from the far side Sean is equally familiar with business people can learn a of Huddersfield, from the difficulties of keeping lesson from sport when it throughout the Colne Valley young people committed to comes to finding ways to and even someone from sport when they reach their motivate their employees and Cleckheaton. It’s amazing how mid to late teens and other improving “team” performance. many people know we are interests kick-in. That’s where Sean has been coaching here.” the social side of the club is tennis players of all ages and Sean is familiar with the so valuable,” says Sean. “The abilities for the past four years. impact sporting success at club holds social events which He attended Ashton Sixth national level can have on the get everyone involved and Form College and as a game locally. “There are mixed in. When the clubhouse youngster, he used to train at always more kids interested in is full, it’s buzzing.” The only Bolton Arena, where he first playing tennis if Andy Murray “downside” is the seasonal got into coaching. is winning,” he says. “But nature of outdoor tennis in this “When I was 19, I started tennis is a sport that can be country. “You can’t play when coaching a few juniors on a enjoyed at any level. the rain’s bouncing off the Saturday morning,” he says. “I “I call myself the ‘head courts,” he says. had always wanted to coach coach’ and I am trying to build Sean gets away from the and I started by helping out as a team around me. I try to run winter by coaching on tennis an assistant at Bolton Arena. It has always been a passion of mine. Coaching is very different to being a player. As a player, you forget that not everyone is playing at your level. As a coach, you are dealing with people from beginners and bringing them up.” Sean has worked his way through the coaching ranks to attain the status of specialist performance coach – level 4 in the Lawn Tennis Association coaching grades – in September last year. To gain the qualification, Sean had to coach at a number of competitive tournaments across the North and Midlands and faced regular assessments. At Marsden, Sean provides coaching for players of all ages and abilities – from sessions for tiny tots to adults. With just three courts at his disposal, Sean is regularly having to juggle his schedules. But Marsden is an ambitious club – having recently built a new club house – and Sean appreciates the support he gets from its committee. ■ COURT REPORT: Sean Stafford, at Marsden Tennis Club, says The club has about 150 self-employment requires “a certain discipline” members, but Sean’s main

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Sean Stafford

holidays in the Algarve. “I’m part of a team of coaches who go out there for a month during the winter,” he says. “I’m also looking to run a trip out there for members at Marsden.” When he’s not coaching or playing tennis, Sean enjoys Padel Tennis. “It’s a big sport in Spain,” he says. “I really like it. It’s not as punishing on your body. I used to play squash and racquet ball and badminton as well. I played football for a number of years in the school team.” Sean values the freedom that self-employment brings, but stresses: “Self-employment requires a certain discipline – whatever the business. “If you are doing a nine-to-five office job you can go home and relax. When you are self-employed, you are permanently thinking about what you are doing. You’ve always something on your mind. I’ve seen a lot of different coaches work and every coach has weak points and strong points. Everyone has their own style, but I try to take the strong points and build on that. I prefer being my own boss. I don’t like being told what to do!” The psychology used by sports coaches also has a role to place in the business world, says Sean. “It’s all about how you deal with people. Some people need the hard word while others need someone to put an arm round their shoulder. And it’s important to set standards.” Sean takes particular pride in helping youngsters get into the game. “With some kids, you can’t get a word out of them,” he says. “But the social side of the club helps them come out of their shell. You see them developing as a person. Tennis has a massive effect in terms of bringing more out of you. At school, I was shy and I would never be one to speak up. Playing tennis provided me with an outlet and an identity.”


Role: Tennis coach Age: 23 Car: Ford Fiesta Zetec Holidays: Just back from Minorca, but I also enjoy ski-ing in France and visiting family at St Anne’s First job: I’ve never had a ‘proper’ job, even as a student! Best thing about job: The flexibility of being my own boss and the satisfaction I get from seeing players improve their game Worst thing about job: The weather can be ‘changeable’ at the top of the Colne Valley! Business tip: Self-motivation is massively important for anyone who wants to be self-employed

Marsden Tennis Club Work: Tennis coach Site: Marsden Phone: 07800 717790 Email: Web: www.marsdentennis


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Your invitation to join the innovators BUSINESSES have been given the opportunity to forge new links with other enterprises and Huddersfield University. The town’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre has launched a network membership offering a wide range of benefits for companies keen to access support to encourage dynamic growth and make new business contacts. 3M BIC is designed specifically with high growth in mind. Businesses – both tenants and non-tenants – can benefit from the centre’s role in providing access to finance, growth and technology. As a network member, businesses pay an annual membership that gives them access to the high-tech equipment on the centre’s Innovation Avenue as well as the opportunity to work collaboratively with the university. One advantage is having free access to science and technology projects with the university worth up to £1,000 subject to specific criteria. Members will get a discount on all room bookings at the 3M BIC – which are all equipped with the latest AV technology and free Wi-Fi – plus access to open office space. They will receive automatic invites to a series of networking activities ranging from business breakfasts, guest speaker events and evening events covering access to finance, technology and markets. Members will also be entitled to priority booking over external businesses for 3M BIC events as well as being able to host their own seminars. Call 01484 473191, e-mail or go to


Suitable case for an appeal N all cases where businesses Iredundancies, are considering making there is an obliga-

tion to consider whether there is any suitable alternative employment which can be offered. In cases where an employee refuses an offer of alternative employment, should they forfeit their right to a redundancy payment? Provision is made for this in the Employment Rights Act and is limited to cases where an employee unreasonably refuses an offer of alternative employment. A Tribunal must therefore make an objective assessment of the suitability of the job, but is also required to make a subjective assessment of whether the refusal of an offer is reasonable, taking into account their personal circumstances. With regard to the objective test, a Tribunal should consider whether there are any changes in terms and conditions in the role offered, such as the duration of the work and changes in pay, working hours, status and level of responsibility. With regard to the subjective test, a Tribunal must look at the employee’s personal situation against the role which has been offered. In a recent case which reached the Court of Appeal, the issue of suitable a l t e r n a t i v e e m p l oy m e n t w a s re-examined. The employee in this case worked


for Devon Primary Care Trust for many years in a community nursing role. As a result of a restructure, her position was made redundant and she refused an alternative role as a hospital modern matron. The refusal was on the grounds that her career path and qualifications were in community nursing, that she had not worked in a hospital since 1985 and did not wish to do so again. An Employment Tribunal Judge originally concluded that the refusal of alternative employment was unreasonable as the employee failed to make “any considered attempt to explore” what effect on her duties the new role would have However, the Tribunal failed to consider the employee’s personal circumstances sufficiently i.e. the fact that she had taken a deliberate decision to follow a particular career path back in 1985 and that she did not

want to return to that environment. Therefore, the Employment Appeals Tribunal examined this more closely and concluded that it constituted a sound and justifiable reason for turning down the alternative role. After a further hearing in the Court of Appeal, it was held that the original Employment Tribunal had failed to consider the subjective test of suitability in any acceptable detail and the case had to be remitted back to the Tribunal for a proper consideration of the facts. The decision of the Court of Appeal highlights the need not only to consider the substance of the role offered, but the personal circumstances of the employee and the relative weight they had in the employee’s decision making process. Employers cannot rely solely on the reasonableness of any terms and conditions offered in isolation if they wish to refuse to make a redundancy payment to an outgoing employee.

Neil Wilson is an employment lawyer at Chadwick Lawrence Solicitors

Exploring Saudi markets To promote your business to over 49,000 Examiner readers and over 230,000 online users Call: Anne Joseph 01484 437745 email:

WEST Yorkshire firms have the products, skills and expertise to capitalise on emerging opportunities in Saudi Arabia, says a Middle East trade expert. Companies involved in energy, speciality chemicals and advanced engineering – high growth sectors in the country – can discover first-hand what is on offer on a trade mission to Al Khobar next month. The mission will offer up to 25 regional businesses the chance to meet with major companies in Saudi that are looking to partner with UK

firms. International trade adviser Brian Aungiers, who is leading the trip on behalf of UK Trade & Investment, said: “There is a huge appetite in Saudi Arabia for the expertise that UK businesses can bring and firms across West Yorkshire are ideally placed to deliver the products and services they need. “Yorkshire and the Humber is a renowned hub for the UK’s energy sector, with at least 400 businesses within the supply chain offering extensive experience and skills in


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every aspect, ranging from traditional oil and gas, to renewables. “Businesses here have the experience and skills born from the region’s long heritage in offshore gas, conventional and nuclear generation, offshore wind power and biofuels.” With a population of over 27m, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Arab world, accounting for 25% of the Arab world's GDP.” Said Mr Aungiers: “Exports to Saudi Arabia are up by 29%, showing that the high growth markets identified by UKTI are really coming to fruition. “There is a lot of infrastructure and development in the region, with major opportunities across the energy sector.” The UKTI trade mission runs from November 22 to 27. Businesses have until Friday to register their interest. Financial support is available for the cost of travel and participating in the programme of events. Contact Brian Aungiers on 07764 376726 or visit

Valley c proves

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Hummingbird is worth watching

HE last few weeks have seen T some significant Google updates that are making a big

impact on the search results. One such algorithm that you may have heard of is called the “Hummingbird”. This is probably the most significant Google update in the past three years and affects 90% of everything we search for. The impact on the search results has been visible to most website owners. Hummingbird has been described as a core algorithm update which means it is less concerned with the way a website is structured and more concerned with the way Google delivers results. The last core update was called Caffeine, it occurred in 2010 and it was a new web indexing method designed to show more current results more quickly. The impact on website owners was that news, blogs and forums ranked higher and faster because their content was deemed to be fresher and more current. Hummingbird is Google’s attempt to deliver even greater relevance by trying to understand the nature of the person’s search, rather than just the keywords the person has searched for.


Andrew Firth You may notice now that when you ask Google a question, often the answer is displayed above the search results, meaning you don’t have to navigate to a website to find the answer. Try searching for “potatoes vs sweet potatoes” and you will get a comparison of the potatoes without leaving the page. Google are able to do this using something they call a knowledge graph. It is early days but over time, Google will be able to handle direct product comparisons on its search results page. When this happens it will be the website with the most relevant content that gets a direct link through, with the other websites available in the search

results. Hummingbird is a structural change as Google aims to deliver even more relevance and accuracy in the search results. Your digital marketing company should be able to advise you on how Hummingbird and SEO is affecting your website and provide recommendations to improve your rankings. Google make between five and six hundred updates per year with generally around 20 being significant ones. This year has seen a large number of updates that have had dramatic effects on the search engine positions of many websites and the Hummingbird is one of the most significant changes we have seen.

Andrew Firth is managing director of Ascensor Website Design & Digital Marketing – Twitter @andrewjfirth @Ascensor

Lawyers are at their peak THREE senior members of law firm Chadwick Lawrence legal team swapped their suits for lycra shorts and saddled up to take part in the Wakefield Hospice Sportive: The Dark Peak. The hospice regularly organises group challenges to raise money for the charity and enable supporters of the hospice to get involved in enjoyable activities. The Dark Peak centred on a 72-mile road cycling challenge, taking in the highlights of the 2014 Tour De France route. Stuart Murray and Nils O’Donogue tackled the Hard Route of 48 miles while Tom Rodgers braved the aptly named Extreme Route of 72 miles. Mr Rodgers, a partner at Chadwick Lawrence, which has an office in Huddersfield, said: “We are all keen cyclists in our spare time, but that’s not to say any of us found the challenge a walk in the park. There is a reason its called the Dark Peak. “Despite a few mishaps along the way, we all thoroughly enjoyed the day and more importantly, helped to raise money for such a deserving cause. “We have even signed-up for the next one which takes place at the beginning of Hospice Care Week.”

Find the IT girls WOMEN leading the way in technology have been urged to enter a national award. The FDM everywoman in Technology Awards were launched in 2011 to celebrate women who are spearheading technology in business – whether as founders of start-ups, leaders in global companies or young high-fliers who are the IT stars of the future. The awards, supported by FDM Group, aim to raise the profile of women pursuing a career in technology and highlight the diverse career options IT offers – ranging from programming, gaming and data processing, to support services such as marketing and finance. Figures from Pearson/ EdExcel show that in 2012-13, some 37% of girls gained a distinction for the BTEC Level 2 in engineering against 20% of boys – yet disproportionately fewer are choosing to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at a higher level. The FDM everywoman in Technology Awards aim to reverse this decline by uncovering role models working within technology, women who will inspire others to consider a career in IT.Seven categories cover areas including entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, start-ups and team leaders. Entries close on November 18 and details are available at The awards will be presented on March 19, 2014, at the Sheraton Park Lane in London.

Failure rate declines YEAR-on-year business insolvencies fell for the fifth month running, according to figures from business information group Experian. The failure rate fell to 0.07% in September compared with 0.08% for the same month in 2012. The biggest fall was among firms with 100 to 500 employees.

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It’s hot work at the university! TWO West Yorkshire firms have been commissioned for a boiler replacement that will bring energy and cost savings for Huddersfield University. Wheatley M&E Services Ltd, of Garforth, installed boilers supplied by Hartley and Sugden, of Halifax, to provide hot water for the university’s £22.5m new Leisure and Learning Centre scheme and its existing Central Services Building. Alan Johnson, deputy director of estates and facilities, said: “Here at the university we are committed to working with local firms whenever possible. We find that, along with clear benefits in terms of supporting employment and the local economy, working with suppliers from our region helps us to build strong and effective long term relationships.” The works were carried out in a phased sequence to ensure no disruption to existing heating and domestic services, allowing the university to function as normal. Wheatley’s managing director Nigel Wheatley said: “’The key to the success of the project was the detailed planning and fully co-ordinated sequencing of the installation works carried out by Wheatley’s in-house engineers and our close working relationship with the university and Wakefield-based contractor GB Building Solutions.’’ The Leisure and Learning Centre is due to open to students in January, 2014. Hartley and Sugden was formed in 1867 and has been synonymous with boiler manufacturing on the same Gibbet Street, Halifax site since then.

■ UNIVERSITY PLACES: Nigel Wheatley (left), managing director of Wheatley M&E Services Ltd, with David Dutch (centre), technical director of Hartley and Sugden parent Ormandy Group, and Alan Johnson, deputy director of estates and facilities at Huddersfield University

Business back in full bloom THE director of a landscaping company will disclose the secrets of his success at a national seminar next week. Justin Paxman, of Kirkburton-based Paxman Landscapes will take centre stage at tomorrow’s Association of Professional Landscapers’ networking seminar in Kent. He will talk about the renewed success of his business, which has bounced back in style after seeing sales drop by 33% in the year to February, 2011. The company cut its overheads by moving premises and making prudent staff redundancies. A revised sales forecast reflected the changes made. At the same time, Justin was studying for a foundation degree in landscape and

garden management at Askham Bryan College in York – and it was there he recognised the importance that social media could play in future marketing activity. A new-look website was launched as a fresh marketing and sales strategy promoted the use of LinkedIn and Twitter as social media platforms to secure new commercial connections and a Facebook account promoted closer links with domestic customers. Thanks to the positive results engendered by the new marketing and sales strategy, for two consecutive financial years enquiries rose by 40% and sales increased by 15%. A new network of connections was

secured in the commercial market with activity on Linkedin proving pivotal in providing networking opportunities with building industry professionals. Said Justin:, “It’s been an interesting and hugely rewarding last few years. Sometimes it takes a step back in your life to see where you need to go next. We have moved the business into the modern era and are starting to reap the rewards. “The staff at Paxman Landscapes have worked very hard too. “We are all very proud of the high standard of service we offer our customers and I’m looking forward to where we can take the business over the next decade.”

Expanding into Brighouse CHARTERED accountant David Cramp is extending his business interests. Mr Cramp is opening a new TaxAssist Accountants office at Mill Lane in Brighouse to complement his existing business in Mirfield. The new office will be officially opened by the Mayor of Calderdale, Clr Ann Martin, on November 1 when Mr Cramp and his team will also be joined by members of the local business community. Mr Cramp, who is celebrating 20 years

as a chartered accountant, set up TaxAssist Accountants in Mirfield in 2004 and now looks after more than 200 local businesses. The new office comes in response to growing demand from existing small businesses and new businesses starting up in Brighouse. Said Mr Cramp: “Brighouse is a thriving community for tradesmen and women, independent retailers and small manufacturers. “I knew that there was a definite niche

to be filled in the area and have had a very positive response from local businesses so far.” The opening, which takes place from 3pm to 6pm, will include a business card prize draw with the winner receiving a locally-sourced basket of goodies. David and his team specialise in providing accountancy services, tax returns, payroll, bookkeeping, tax savings and tax advice to small businesses across Brighouse and the surrounding areas.

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BAM lands accolade for excellence A CONSTRUCTION firm building a new sports centre in Huddersfield has won an industry award. BAM Construction, which is developing the new leisure centre for Kirklees Council and has also carried out work for Huddersfield University, was named contractor of the year in the Constructing Excellence awards for Yorkshire and Humber. The Leeds-based company swept the board – winning the top award for its use of technology and project of the year – both for its pioneering approach to the construction of Leeds Arena. BAM Nuttall and Morgan Sindall shared the top spot for another critical category – health and safety – for their joint venture on the M62 managed motorway scheme. James Wimpenny, director of BAM Construction

for the North East, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve stood out so strongly. We have a creative and industrious team here in Leeds and we bring a lot of thought and innovation to how we design and construct buildings. “Our success at Leeds Arena showcases our ability to build complex, technical structures, but the health and safety award also shows how we look after the detail and encourage good attitudes from our people on every project.” Among other projects in Yorkshire, BAM is delivering two schools and two fire stations in Sheffield, a university library and an academy in Hull, an industrial facility for Rolls-Royce in Rotherham, facilities for Leeds Metropolitan University and for Network Rail in York.

First-class pots ONE of London’s premier hotels now has some first-class flower pots outside the door! The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in Grosvenor Square has a selection of planters made by Yorkshire Flowerpots, part of Cawthorne-based clayware specialist Naylor Group, to greet guests as they arrive. Naylor is a fourth generation family business based in South Yorkshire; the company has been manufacturing clay products since its formation in 1890 – mainly for the construction industry. Earlier this year, Yorkshire Flowerpots manufactured two specially-commissioned pots for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Positive view A CONSTRUCTION and development specialist has reported “positive signs” despite disappointing official figures for the sector. National construction output fell by 0.1% in August, following a rise of 2.8% in July. But Halifax-based Southdale said it was on target to achieve more than £80m of work in the current financial year and had launched a new division to take the group into the energy efficiency upgrades market. Managing director Paul Moore said: “We are seeing positivity in the market, with projects starting and being won across all three of our regions, Yorkshire, the North East and North West. We look to the future with cautious, but realistic confidence.”



Asbestos warning

Furniture store creates seven jobs A NEW furniture store has opened in Huddersfield – creating seven jobs. Oak Furniture Land, the UK’s largest retailer of solid hardwood furniture, has opened the outlet at Leeds Road Retail Park as part of a store expansion plan that also sees the company create seven jobs at new store in Leeds. The firm, which sells solid oak, mango and mahogany furniture in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, is opening a new store each week on average during 2013-14. The store was officially opened by Huddersfield Giants star Shaun Lunt. Huddersfield store manager Sean McLoughlin, said: The new Huddersfield store is a major investment in the area and plays a significant role in our on-going store opening programme across the UK, which will see us opening a new store each month for the next three years.” Regional manager Steve Knight said: “So far this year, we have created over 80 jobs nationwide. We are delighted with this latest addition to our estate.” Kirklees councillor Judith Hughes said: “This new Oak Furniture Land store is a welcome investment in our town in terms of job creation and is a nice addition to the choices of shops for local Huddersfield residents.”

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■ NEWCOMER: Oak Furniture Land has opened a new outlet in Huddersfield as it continues its store expansion strategy

ASBESTOS training and safety is on the agenda for a meeting this week. The UK Asbestos Training Association is staging a session from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday at Coal Consultants, 1st Floor, Phoenix Court, Brighouse. UKATA chief executive Terry Barker will update members based in Northern England on the latest initiatives from his organisation, hear views and opinions and answer questions. Said Mr Barker: “It is a pleasure to be back in West Yorkshire for this series of regional meetings. The meetings are fast becoming a regular part of our activities calendar. They are an excellent way for members to network with each other and the association and that is one of the secrets of their success.” The meeting is part of UKATA’s mission to promote asbestos safety. More than 4,500 people a year in Britain still die as a result of diseases caused by exposure to asbestos. Diseases caused by asbestos have no cure, yet asbestos can be disposed of quite safely by trained professionals. Said Mr Barker: “I am looking forward to meeting as many members as possible in Brighouse and ensuring UKATA is doing everything in its power to support our Yorkshire members. An estimated 70% of buildings may contain asbestos, so appropriate training remains essential on the dangers posed by this killer substance and as such the work of our members remains vital.” For further information visit


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MMA HUDDERSFIELD company My Management Accountant is continuing its expansion with the appointment of a new member of staff. Michelle Gelder (pictured), of Brighouse, joins MMA after spending many years in industry in the West Yorkshire region. MMA, which is based at The Media Centre in Northumberland Street, offers a range of financial management tools to ensure individual business affairs are conducted and managed in the most efficient, cost effective, and legally compliant manner. Its core accounting services include management accounts, profit improvement, budgets and forecasts, business plans, key performance indicators, cash flow management and compliance. The company also delivers solutions for bookkeeping, payroll, human resources and insolvency issues. “The past 12 months have seen a really strong growth in interest in the range of services provided by MMA,” said managing director Martin Bown. “As our client base expands it is important that we have the right team to be able to meet all expectations, which is why Michelle’s appointment is so important. “As part of My Finance Team, MMA’s outsourced finance department, Michelle will be working principally in areas like credit control.”

IoD honour for Suzy A YORKSHIRE business leader has been recognised for her contribution to the UK's economic growth and success at the annual Institute of Directors (IoD) Awards in London. Suzy Brain England, regional director for the Institute of Directors, was presented with the Dr Neville Bain Memorial Award for her work chairing Derwent Living, a “profit for social purpose” organisation providing affordable housing to people from diverse backgrounds. The company operates in 41 local authority areas across the UK and recently won two high value government contracts. Ms Brain England said she was thrilled to be given the award in memory of Mr Bain, who was chairman of the IoD and a champion for Chartered Director status, which recognises the skills of directors and their ability to steer their organisations to success. Said Ms Bain England: “I have been a Chartered Director for a long time and every week I help someone to prepare their portfolio to become accredited. I think and act like a Chartered Director all the time and it has been at Derwent Living that this has made a noticeable difference since I started as group chair of the board over three years ago.”

FSB’s football focus HUDDERSFIELD Town commercial director Sean Jarvis will be guest speaker when members of the Federation of Small Business hold their annual meeting. Sean will talk about the opportunities for businesses to work with the club. The event takes place from 6pm onwards on Thursday at the football club’s Canalside complex, Leeds Road, Huddersfield.

Movers and shakers

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Agency is assured of another big win A DESIGN agency in Huddersfield has been selected for one of the UK’s most prestigious design awards for the second year running. The Engine Room Design has been recognised for a brand identity project carried out for award-winning national budget gym chain Xercise4Less. The agency, based at The Creative Lofts, will get either a bronze, silver or golf award at next year’s Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards in London. Darren Evans, design director at The Engine Room, said: “This is our second DBA Award in two years which is a huge achievement considering we had never even entered a project until last year.

“Design effectiveness really does say it all for us. To be recognised once again for demonstrating that a well-thought-out brand strategy and good design can deliver such strong business results is a huge reward and ultimately what we are aiming for.” He said: “We were also lucky enough to work with an extremely hard-working and responsive team at Xercise4Less, which made the rebrand project even more of a success in our eyes.” The annual awards recognise the return on investment that a coherent, well-thought-out and professionally executed design strategy can achieve. The agency – along with Xercise4Less chief executive Jon Wright and his senior

■ RESULTS: Darren Evans, of agency The Engine Room team, will be presented with a trophy for the results generated by the new identity and national branding model created for the clubs. The project was undertaken to help Xercise4Less develop and solidify its brand, make its

mark on a competitive industry and support its ambitious growth strategy over the coming years. Since the launch of the new brand identity in 2011, Xercise4Less has increased its projected three-year club growth figure from 40 to more than 100 across the UK and has gained more than 69,000 new members. It has also attracted investment from the Business Growth Fund and is working on the development of its first Xercise4Less at Tesco site in Stockton. The rebrand project has been shortlisted in the awards alongside some of the biggest household brands such as Marks & Spencer, Twinings and Danone. The awards will be presented early next year.

Double-digit delight for team MARKETING agency Fantastic Media is back in the spotlight after getting among the winners in the Digital Entrepreneur Awards. The agency won the awards for SME Social Media Campaign for its work promoting Bradley-based foods firm Fruitypot. Fantastic Mobile, a specialist division of the Birstall-based agency, won the Best Use of Mobile award for its work taking the Pitchero brand mobile. The awards, now in their eighth year, are the UK’s only national awards dedicated to internet entrepreneurialism and celebrate the best of the rapidly growing industry. Fantastic Media’s winning Fruitypot campaign involved developing a plan to increase brand awareness which reached an audience of 9.1m

through social media – contributing to it becoming a nationally recognised brand. Fantastic Mobile’s winning Pitchero app provides free websites and revenue tools for sports clubs across the world. The network hosts about 4m unique users per month, with more than 10,000 live websites and over 500,000 registered users. Andy Hobson, managing director of Fantastic Media, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in the Digital Entrepreneur Awards against some of the biggest names in the industry. “We have worked hard to develop the Fruitypot and Pitchero brands and these titles are a testament to the success of the entire Fantastic team.”

■ PRIZE GUYS: Pictured with the awards at Fantastic Media's Birstall offices are (from left) Beth Saville, Donna Bedford, Luke Batley and David Ford

Winner back to judge awards A KIRKLEES businesswoman has joined the judging panel for the 2013 Startups Awards. Fiona Wood, founder of Cleckheaton-based children’s skincare products firm Naturally Cool Kids, won the category for Mumpreneur Business of the Year in the 2012 awards. Now she joins a high-powered judging panel that includes Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers; Sarah Tremellen, founder of lingerie and clothing retailer, Bravissimo Ltd; and Colin Gillespie, co-founder of All Response Media. The awards, sponsored by

Simply Business and organised by, recognise the success of Britain’s newest businesses which have been trading for less than three years. David Lester, founder of, said: “The quality of the business people on this year’s awards judging panel is yet again outstanding and highlights the credibility of the scheme. “Start-up businesses which enter the awards have the fantastic opportunity to have their company critiqued by some of the top entrepreneurs in the UK. “I am confident it will be

another great year of deserving winners highlighting the abundance of creativity, innovation and diversity within the start-up community. Thirteen awards up fro grabs include Innovative Business of the Year, Service Business of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Franchisee of the Year, the Woman in Business Award and the overall Simply Business Startups Business of the Year. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Friday, December 6, at Kensington Roof Gardens in London.

■ PANELLIST: Fiona Wood, of Naturally Cool Kids, of Cleckheaton

Kirklees Business News 22/10/13  
Kirklees Business News 22/10/13  

The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees