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BUSINESS w w w . l d p b u s i n e s s . c o . u k October 2012

When the boat comes in

Jim Teasdale’s drive to grow the Mersey maritime sector

● Getting ready: Skills top the agenda ● Worthy winners: Social Enterprise Awards ● Chain gang: Firms get cycling 1

UNRIVALLED SERVICE UNEQUALLED CALIBRE Described by our clients as ‘knowledgeable’, ‘thorough’ and ‘proactive’*, we provide an international, national and regional perspective to the commercial and public sector markets. Grow, develop and protect your organisation with tailored legal excellence from the experts at Hill Dickinson. Contact Bill Doherty via email:

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North West business owners are ‘lacking vital skills’






LIVERPOOL POST EDITOR Mark Thomas 0151 227 2000


BUSINESS WRITERS Bill Gleeson 0151 472 2319


Liverpool music firm joins UKTI trade mission to Brazil


Tony McDonough 0151 330 4918

Human Recognition Systems wins major London project



Alistair Houghton 0151 472 2449



Skills high on the agenda for the Liverpool city region

Neil Hodgson 0151 472 2451





Jim Teasdale, chief executive of Mersey Maritime



MARKETING EXECUTIVE Rachel Street 0151 227 2000


Merseyside Young Professionals holds its charity ball




ADVERTISEMENT SALES Neil Johnson 0151 472 2705

How Merseyside’s social enterprise sector is growing


Booming automotive sector boosts regional industrial market

Diana Griffiths


Housing project calls on Liverpool’s Thin Joint Technology


0151 472 2311




Marco Pierre White’s, in Liverpool


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Key dates for your diary

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Alistair Houghton is dead excited


Carolyn Hughes out on the town

THE Government is to pump £1bn into business investment. The plan was revealed by business secretary Vince Cable at the Liberal Democrats’ party conference in Brighton earlier this week. The details of the new scheme will be confirmed in the forthcoming, though inaccurately entitled “autumn” statement next December. The aim is to help the many small and medium-sized companies that have struggled to raise bank finance since the financial crisis set in four years ago. The new British Business Bank, as it has been dubbed, will help support businesses by providing them with the finance

BILL GLEESON they need to unlock their growth potential. The need for the new business bank says all you need to know about the ongoing tight-fistedness of the rest of the banking sector. The fact is Britain’s high street banks are not lending as much to business, or anybody else, as they did in the 10 years to 2008. There again, you wouldn’t expect them to. The past behaviour of banks was part of the problem, so it’s no

use arguing that they should now revert to their previous problem behaviour. The proposal for the new bank smacks of enfeebled government. The sums involved are nothing like enough to get the economy moving. Goodness knows what red tape the scheme could be caught up in. Previous promises of government-backed investment schemes have suffered from low levels of take-up. Nor has this lack of take-up been down to bureaucracy. In some cases, low take-up has arisen because businesses have not been coming forward to

avail themselves of the facility. If the economy isn’t expanding, and businesses aren’t growing, then why borrow money from whatever source? Nevertheless, government has got to keep trying. It may have its hands tied by the need to restore the nation’s finances to a condition that will keep the international money markets happy, but it can’t use that as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. However, many other measures can be taken in anticipation of the inevitable resumption of growth. When it

happens, Britain needs to be ready. That’s why we need to train people, particularly young people, for the upturn. Now is the moment to educate and train the next generation of workers. It can, after all, take up to four years to complete apprenticeship courses. This need for training for the industries of the future is the theme of this month’s Post Business magazine. We identify where the skills gaps arise. The marine engineers, advanced manufacturers and lab technicians of the future need to be engaged and enthused.



Lufthansa scoops short-haul leisure crown

Revellers toast Munich’s Oktoberfest

TRAVELLERS in the UK have voted Lufthansa their favourite shorthaul leisure airline in the Condé Nast Traveller 15th Annual Readers’ Travel Awards, awarding top marks for punctuality, efficiency, service and staff. Christian Schindler, Lufthansa general manager, UK & Ireland, said: “This award is an acknowledgement that our leisure customers appreciate the way we are developing the Lufthansa product. “Customers know that, regardless of the fare they pay or the

distance they are travelling, they are guaranteed an outstanding on-board product.” Lufthansa’s leisure and business routes from Manchester are used by fliers across the North West. One of its most popular “short-break” leisure destinations is Berlin, as well as Munich, which is a firm favourite with north west customers during autumn, when the city stages its worldfamous, fortnight-long Oktoberfest celebrations.

North West directors ‘lacking vital skillsets’ ORTH west directors are “weakest” at financial management and marketing, a survey of 600 regional business leaders has revealed. Company owners were asked to rank five leadership skills – strategy, managing people, sales, marketing and financial management – in the order they felt they were strongest and weakest. Less than 4% said they felt controlling the financial side of the business was their strongest point, while almost 30% admitted it was their weakest. Likewise with marketing, less than 9% thought this was their best area, while 38% said it was the weakest part of their business make-up. More than 40% ranked strategy as their strongest area, with 34% opting for managing people. Sales was named as the forte of 13% of owners, while 21% thought this was their weakest area. The survey was carried out by Wirral-based The Leadership Team, which provides leadership development for chief executives, managing directors and directors. Founder Jerry Hopkins said: “It is interesting so many people ranked strategy as their strongest skill, but without good financial management practices and an ability to successfully market a brand they may never be able to really deliver the bigger picture. “The survey contained a number of eye-catching findings. “For example, just over one in eight believed their weakest area was managing people, but knowing how to motivate and inspire staff and understanding when best to delegate should be at the core of any successful organisation.”



Dealing with staff is a vital skill; inset, Jerry Hopkins



Michael Sandys, Partner at Jackson & Canter QualitySolicitors International Issue with Intellectual Property from Apple to Muse COPYRIGHT law provides automatic protection for any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work and does not require registration. It is a national right affording protection within a country, although international treaties do afford minimum protection via treaties such as the Berne Convention. When embarking on a creative enterprise, it is important to take great care to ensure that the work is original and that third party copyright is not infringed, especially with the power of the internet in instantly internationalising new creations. Having some insurance cover to protect you and your business may come at a cost, but, if your designs/ creations become international, this may not be a bad idea. Issues of infringement have recently arisen in relation to British rock band Muse, regarding their 2009 album, “The Resistance”, which contains three songs which allegedly infringe the copyright of songwriter, Charles Bollfrass. In 2005, it is alleged that Bollfrass approached the band with regards to composing a score for a “cinematic science-fiction rock opera”. Further to this, Bollfrass claims that an image from his storyboards has also been used as artwork for the 2009 album. As a result of these allegations, Bollfrass has commenced legal proceedings in the US against Warner Music for copyright infringement, unfair trading practises and unfair competition, totalling damages of $3.5m. Through the existence of Intellectual Property (IP) rights, everybody can have

protection over their creations, even if others appear to have greater social and economic presence. IP can also be used as a means to manage competitors in a tough global market. There is no better example of this than the ongoing global dispute between Apple and Samsung regarding patent infringements, with litigation taking place in numerous jurisdictions around the world. In the US, Apple has taken a recent home victory over Samsung, successfully suing them for $1.05bn for infringement of Apple’s patents regarding design and functionality. On the other hand, the courts in Tokyo have ruled on a similar matter in favour of the South Korean firm. There is a constant battle for the upper hand between the two giants; however, this is just a snippet of a vast network of continuing IP litigation that involves numerous others. Cases such as these demonstrate that, in the evolution of the modern digitalised society, the value of IP (whether copyright or patents) becomes ever more significant with having real economic value. However, it is not inconceivable to suggest that the national court’s application of IP/copyright law is not always objective, and the economic fall-out resulting from a judgment may offer a significant “home advantage” to one party over another.

‘IP rights give everybody protection over their creations’

■ SHOULD you require legal advice on any IP issues, then contact Michael Sandys (Partner) at Jackson & Canter QualitySolicitors on 0151 282 1700 or at michaelsandys@ ■ IN ASSOCIATION with QualitySolicitors Jackson and Canter

In Business for your Business


Flying the flag

Mersey music firm joins trade mission to Brazil

Sir Paul McCartney performs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May last year Picture: VICTOR R CAIVANO

A LIVERPOOL music company is bidding to make itself heard on a trade mission to Brazil this week. Digital distribution firm Ditto Music has joined a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) mission to demonstrate the UK’s creativity, and boost trade. The delegation comprises some of the UK’s most promising companies from the film, music, TV and digital sectors. The Government-backed mission will visit the state of São Paolo and meet its Secretary of Culture Marcelo Mattos, as well as some of Brazil’s leading media conglomerates such as Globo and Editora Abril. Ditto Music has been working with UKTI North West’s Creative Industries Adviser Karen Holden and is signed up to the Gateway to Global Growth service which helps more experienced exporters to diversify into new and more difficult markets. The programme offers 12 months of tailored support, including guidance and mentoring from UKTI experts, overseas introductions, assistance with market research, language and culture issues and help in overcoming barriers to trade. A recently published report, Content Disruptors: Structural Change in the Media and Entertainment Industries, suggests that Brazil’s media and entertainment industry is fast

developing. With a growing middle class, there is an increasing appetite for content. The report, written by the Economist Intelligent Unit and commissioned by UKTI, cites PwC research which says Brazil’s total spend on media and entertainment grew by 56% between 2006 and 2010, compared with just 7% in Germany and 8% in the UK. It means there is a huge opportunity for the UK industry to take advantage of this growing trend, and for more UK-based firms to start exporting their products and services to Brazil. Ditto Music is the largest independent digital distributor and licensor in the world. The company releases and distributes music for independent artists and labels, providing all the necessary services and infrastructure. Ditto Music currently has offices in Liverpool and Nashville and is looking to expand globally with Brazil – the world’s 12thbiggest music market – as its next office. Between 2010 and 2011, Brazil’s recording industry grew 8.47%, achieving a turnover of £129.5m, and opportunities for British music can be found throughout the country. Ditto Music’s founder, Lee Parsons, said: “Ditto Music is a directly artist related business. “With such a high number of

The UK Trade & Investment delegation will be visiting the Brazilian megacity of São Paulo artists in Brazil, all needing distribution, it makes a great choice for a new worldwide location.” The Brazilian creative sector accounts for 2.5% of the Brazilian GDP and has grown by about 500% in the past decade. In January last year, a Creative Industries Secretariat was created in Brazil by President Dilma Roussef to further increase the

growth in this sector. UKTI chief executive Nick Baird said: “Brazil creates huge opportunities for British businesses. “The UK has one of the world’s largest and most successful creative industries sectors. “Exports of UK creative services total just under £9bn and British creative influence, including in Brazil, is highly

regarded. The international success for TV series such as Downton Abbey, to films like the Harry Potter series and the popularity of British music overseas is proof of this.” Karen Holden added: “Brazil is a market which holds great potential and we are very proud to have a wealth of creative talent in the North west.”


KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY The MSite system, developed by Liverpool’s Human Recognition Systems, in operation Picture: GABRIEL SZABO

Biometric success for HRS

Human Recognition Systems extends links with construction giant on access technology

HUMAN Recognition Systems (HRS), the hi-tech Liverpool firm specialising in security solutions, has won a major contract in the capital. Engineering group Costain is redeveloping London Bridge Station as part of a £400m contract and has chosen HRS’s MSite system to manage and enhance worksite security throughout the project. MSite is a biometric access control, workforce management and reporting system that uses handprints to monitor activity across a broad location. HRS’s technology will be used throughout 15 access points at the station and will be linked to 18


CCTV cameras around the site. The system will enable Costain to collate crucial site data and measure performances against pre-set targets and monitor adherence to site health and safety policies. London Bridge Station is the latest of several major construction schemes where Costain has selected Wavertree Technology Park-based HRS to provide its MSite service. Another project involving MSite is the management of worker access to tunnel shafts on Costain and Skanska’s £200m London Power Tunnel contract for National Grid. HRS construction business unit

manager Nick Wilkinson said: “It is with great pride that Human Recognition Systems build on their existing deployments of MSite across the Costain group. “On each Costain project, there has been a unique requirement or challenge and London Bridge is no different. “The project covers a large geographical footprint with 15 turnstiles, as well as office doors controlled by a combination of biometrics and proximity cards supplemented by CCTV coverage of the entire site.” He added: “Costain was able to award the contract with confidence due to HRS’s unique level of demonstrable experience in

successful deployments to some of the largest and most complex construction projects to have been undertaken in the UK.” The London Bridge Station redevelopment project is expected to get under way next year, and will last about five years, seeing the fourth busiest station in the country transformed to accommodate more passengers and improved services. Meanwhile, HRS was praised for its part in helping its client Gatwick Airport win the “Best Security and Immigration Experience” award at the recent Future Travel Experience Awards, in Toronto. Security and immigration

facilities were upgraded and modernised as part of a £1bn investment by the airport. This involved HRS’s MFlow Track and MFlow Journey systems to help improve the passenger experience and enhance security. MFlow Track’s “iris at a distance” technology has helped improve passenger flow and heighten security by preventing passengers swapping boarding passes and boarding flights they are not authorised to, while MFlow Journey, which enables passive facial recognition technology, allows security to track and manage people flow through the airport.


Train to gain

Bright sparks – Cammell Laird, in Birkenhead, is leading the push to encourage training in engineering skills


▲ ▲

Having a skilled workforce is key to the future growth of the Liverpool city region – and a big push is under way


THE BIG FEATURE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 N AN interview for this magazine last month, the chairman of Merseyside’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Robert Hough, said there was one aspect of its work that mattered above all others: “Jobs, jobs, jobs”. Providing employment for the people of the Liverpool city region is the whole ball game. So the LEP’s work is geared towards business sector growth and job creation which involves helping businesses currently based here to expand and attracting new employers to the region. And what those employers need is a ready supply of skilled workers, which is why education and training are key. In the past, the link between schools and colleges and industry has been weak – but now that is changing. An increasing number of companies are realising that just chasing short-term return on investment isn’t always the best way to build a sustainable business model and are looking to invest in skills and training. Increasingly, schools, colleges, universities and private and public sector organisations are forming symbiotic relationships. Educational establishments are becoming smarter and are planning their strategies around demand from employers. The LEP is central to this approach. It is concentrating on growth in four key sectors – low carbon, visitor economy, knowledge and superport. Mike Palin, the LEP’s director of strategic and economic development, said: “The LEP board always takes a keen interest in skills and at each board meeting we are reminded how important it is. “The plant director at Jaguar Land Rover, in Halewood, is the chair of the employment and skills board. “Each of the four sectors have their own very specific needs in regard to skills and we have to be able to demonstrate to potential inward investors that we can supply the skills they will need. “What is important is that we identify the skills demands of the key sectors and then communicate that to the provider base.” That sounds straightforward, but predicting what kind of skills a particular sector will need in one, five or 10 years’ time is not always an exact science and everyone involved in the process needs to be able to adapt to evolving demands. Alan Welby, director of key sectors at the LEP, says predicting where those gaps are going to appear is a major challenge. “Each sector has different gaps and we have different levels of understanding in each one,” he explained. “In the low carbon sector, for example, we have a detailed idea of where the jobs are going to come from. “We know that we will need people who can fix wind turbines out at sea and that is a very different set of skills to what we have needed before. “And we also know that in life sciences there is a shortage of Level Three laboratory



The city region workforce is going to need a wider range of technical skills in the future. Insets, right, rom top, Mike Palin, Alan Welby, Elaine Bowker and Sheena Ramsey

technicians.In advanced manufacturing, we have an ageing workforce and we know we need more young people to come through and take up careers in that sector. But then, if you look at the creative and digital sector, then there is no shortage of young talent. “Different sectors present different challenges and deciding which skills to concentrate on can be a tricky balance. “We don’t want there to be a shortage of skills in any sector, but at the same time we have to be careful about raising expectations by training people in skill sectors where there will not be enough jobs for them. “And in some sectors we have a much better idea about that than we do in others.” Mr Palin added that training providers were now becoming much better at reacting to the needs of business sectors. In the last few years, and particularly since Capital of Culture in 2008 and the building of the Echo Arena and BT

Convention Centre, the city region’s visitor economy has enjoyed healthy growth. And Liverpool Community College has responded to this challenge by winning funding for a school for hospitality. Mr Palin said: “This is set to open in 2013, so, in the meantime, we have to work with the industry base – the hotels, Liverpool One, etc – to understand exactly what the component parts of the curriculum need to be.” And Mr Welby added: “There is a story in the city region about raising standards – a lot of the schools, colleges and universities have striven to do that. “Predicting the future skills requirements is tricky but that is what the smart places do.” The principal of Liverpool Community College, Elaine Bowker, estimates that 50% of her time is now spent talking to bodies like the LEP, Liverpool City Council and industry leaders to forecast what skills will be needed in the medium to longterm future.

As well as the hospitality school, the college will also be setting up a University Technical College to service Merseyside’s fast-growing maritime sector. She said: “I do agree that it is often quite difficult to predict where the demand will come from in the future. “Last year we set up a ‘green hub’ to provide skills for the low carbon sector. “At first there was not a lot of demand from businesses, but this year it has really picked up.” All agree that it is not just the technical skills that are important, but also the so-called soft skills – being able to work within a team and being able to deal with customers. Ms Bowker added: “One of the biggest issues that comes up frequently when I talk to employers is the mindset of young people when they first come into the workplace. “We have to be nimble and pick up on what is happening in industry and we do that by working in partnership with

employers. If an employer comes to us and asks for something specific, then we will always meet that demand.” Over the past decade or so, there was a big push to get as many people as possible into higher education, but now that dynamic is changing with more emphasis being placed on vocational training. Ms Bowker welcomes this shift. She said: “If you look at the big four sectors, they are, of course, always going to need graduates, but there is also a big demand for Level Three and Four technical skills (below graduate level). “It is important we recognise the value of technical skills.” Sheena Ramsey is chief executive of a local authority which is home to companies that certainly do value technical skills. Knowsley has a strong manufacturing base and within its borders is the booming Jaguar Land Rover car plant, which employs 4,500 people. Council leader Ron Round heads up the employment and


The region’s life sciences sector faces a shortage of Level Three laboratory technicians skills board for the city region and is assisted in his efforts by Ms Ramsey. They also take a lead role in tackling child poverty. She said that it was only in recent times that the private and public sectors had come to the realisation that employers and skills providers needed a better dialogue. “I think all parties presumed that someone was joining it all together,” she said. “But about three years ago we realised that when the employment skills board got around the table to talk, that was the only place it was happening. “We realised there was not a clear dialogue where employers would be saying to skills providers exactly what they needed. It sounds so simple, yet it was not happening.

“We have now realised that what we need to do is identify the skills we will need over the next 10 years and decide how we meet that demand. And we need to communicate that right down to primary school level.” Key to that, added Ms Ramsey, is companies forging long-term relationships with local schools: “For example, when a young person goes on work experience, that should be a meaningful and productive process where they get a real sense of what it is like to be in a workplace,” she said. She agreed that in some cases predicting what skills would be needed in the future can be difficult, but insisted there were some areas where the demand was pretty obvious. She added: “We are definitely going to have a shortage of

‘Important that we recognise the value of technical skills’

engineers. And we need to get across to young people that engineering is a wonderful career that gives you skills you can take all over the world. “We need better skills at all levels because we are below the national average. “And a lot of employers say that it is not just about the technical skills but also making sure people have the right attitude. “Someone may have the right technical skills but, if they cannot communicate, then it makes them less employable.” ERSEYSIDE’S private sector is making big strides in its efforts to forge links with the education sector. This is especially true in maritime and engineering, where there is now widespread recognition that the city region is going to require tens of thousands of skilled people over the next couple of decades. The maritime sector is huge and straddles all four of the key


growth sectors – superport, low carbon, knowledge and visitor economy. It comprises some 1,700 companies employing more than 28,000 people. It contributes around £2.6bn to Merseyside’s annual economic output – around 15% of the total. People with engineering skills are badly needed, particularly in the field of offshore wind power generation, a multi-billion pound market of which the city region is aiming for a big slice. The historic Cammell Laird shipyard, in Birkenhead, is at the centre of this push and right next door to the yard is the Maritime and Engineering College Northwest (MECNW). Set up in 1998 as the Laird Foundation, it was tasked with offering vital skills to an area blighted by high levels of youth unemployment. It is run by Jim Teasdale, in his role as chief executive of Mersey Maritime, the umbrella group for the maritime sector. The college currently has around 250 apprentices being

taught everything from shopfloor skills to advanced engineering, leading to degree-level qualifications. Trainees work for dozens of firms big and small, and Mr Teasdale says the college wants more maritime or engineering firms who want to take on apprentices to get in touch. Mr Teasdale is also involved in a project initiated by Liverpool law firm, Hill Dickinson, which has set up a forum to bring together schools and industry. The first event in the summer was attended by 90 businesses and educational organisations, and it was agreed that Merseyside would need to see the creation of 20,000 extra jobs by 2020 if its economy was to grow. Senior Hill Dickinson partner, David Rawlinson, said: “What we don’t have in this country at the moment is a way of getting the education sector and the manufacturing sector together to talk about what is happening in the local economy and that is what we are trying to do.”



Raising standards vital for

Poor literacy, numeracy and communication skills still present the biggest barrier for a new

YOUTH unemployment is a cause of considerable concern as monthly jobless statistics show no sign of abatement. GCSE and A-Level standards have generally shown sustained improvement and universities continue to produce highly capable graduates, despite soaring tuition fees. Yet more than a million young people are still out of work. The latest figures show 7.7% of 16-24-year-olds in Liverpool, or 6,485 people, are claiming unemployment allowance, while 8.2% – higher than the total UK jobless figure of 8.1% – or 3,050 in Wirral, are out of work. In Cheshire and West Chester, youth unemployment stands at 5.1%, or 2,105 young people. Yet, the evidence from businesses still points to a young talent pool poorly prepared for the workplace. Research by small business lobby group the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says eight in 10 businesses believe school leavers lack the basic skills needed for work and that more should be done to get them prepared for employment. Poor literacy skills were the most commonly cited problem for 59% of businesses. Communication and numeracy skills were also reported by 55% and 56% of business owners, respectively, as falling short of acceptable. In a survey of 2,774 business owners who employ 16-17 year olds, 77% also found that school leavers had little awareness of general business. Clearly, much more needs to be done to prepare teenagers and university graduates for the transition to a working environment that will determine their aspirations and achievements for the rest of their lives. Two-thirds of FSB members say that improving pupils’ basic literacy and numeracy skills would better prepare them for work. One organisation seeking to address the disparity in skills is St Helens Chamber of Commerce. It canvassed 100 employers throughout the town to find out what they looked for in hiring young people, particularly apprentices. But, perhaps more importantly, the Chamber asked them what were the barriers that may deter a business from hiring a young trainee. As a result of its research, the Chamber, with the aid of council funding, has launched a scheme aimed at offering additional support to young people before they attempt to secure employment. Pauline Devine, Chamber director of employment services, said: “The Chamber is committed to making sure that every young person in St Helens is ready, willing and able to contribute to


our economy and community. Businesses have been telling us for some time that there are a number of obstacles that may stop them from employing a young person, so conducting this research has allowed us to establish exactly what the issues are so that we can ensure that the young people we send exceed their expectations.” Chamber research found that the top attributes the employers surveyed desired from potential new staff were commitment and enthusiasm (59%) and the most valued skill was communication (73%). Ms Devine said: “Having this first-hand feedback from local employers has been invaluable for us to design the training programmes that we deliver to young people to get them ready for work. “Thanks to new funding from

St Helens council, we are now able to provide extra support to young people before they are recruited into full-time apprenticeship positions with local businesses, to make sure that they have the right skills and attitude that employers need to make a valuable contribution to their business.” She added: “It was also encouraging to learn that 64% of those businesses surveyed are planning to recruit a young person in the next two years.” As well as having the assurance that the candidates they receive for interview have been approved by the Chamber as being “work ready”, local businesses now have the added incentive to hire a young person of grants of up to £4,000. New funding from St Helens council, announced in July, is

providing financial assistance to the town’s firms to support the recruitment of 200 young people over the next two years, which is seen as a significant move to reducing the unemployment rate of the borough. Another avenue to improve the work skills of the next generation is university technical colleges (UCTs), and major employers throughout the region have already offered their support for the new University Technical Colleges for Birkenhead and Liverpool. The first of the UTCs will open for students next year, and businesses believe they will play a key role in kick- starting the regional economy. Developer Peel, which owns 35% of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, all of Mersey Docks, and is behind the £10bn Liverpool and

Wirral Waters schemes, backs the initiative. Ian Pollitt, of Peel Land and Property, said: “We see big opportunities and bright futures for local young people trained in relevant technical skills by the three Merseyside UTCs. “The Liverpool Low Carbon and Super Port UTC, for instance, will attract and train young people from north Liverpool and farther afield at a time when the port is expanding and portrelated companies will be looking to recruit.” Employers’ organisations are equally enthusiastic. Damian Waters, CBI North West director, said: “Business needs the right skills to support growth and we see University Technical Colleges as a very welcome step forward in linking education to what employers

workplace generation. Neil Hodgson reports

An artist’s impression of Peel’s massive Liverpool Waters scheme

Ian Pollitt, of Peel Ports

Pauline Devine

really need and developing the right attitudes and aspirations in young people.” Several major capital projects planned in the region are set to benefit from the UTCs. One such scheme is the Ince

Resource Recovery Park, part of Peel’s Atlantic Gateway development, and one where construction work is scheduled to start next year. The scheme will create new jobs in construction, as well as


Tailor your CV – or waste your time and the price of a stamp MANY young job seekers often fall at the first hurdle. An employer’s initial feel for an applicant will be from the CV they submit, and all too often they fall well short of requirements, which is either down to shoddy preparation by the job seeker or, perhaps more worryingly, downright bad advice from training or job agencies. Fiona Watkin, the licensee of city centre pub Thomas Rigby’s, sees all too often examples of slipshod and poorly prepared CVs. She recently advertised for waiting-on staff who could work fixed hours and revealed that she received about 100 CVs. But she said: “Once I read all the CVs, only one stood out because it was relevant – she could do the hours we wanted. “She had experience and she wrote something about herself. “Apart from the dull, ‘I like reading, horse riding and sport’, she wrote something about herself and stood out from the others.” Ms Watkin said the standard of the average CV is poor: “People should read what the job specification says to see if they actually meet it to save themselves a stamp.” She said one applicant for a waiting job had worked in the building trade: “There was nowhere in his CV that he demonstrated he could do the job. “I understand people are looking for work, and reading CVs it sometimes breaks my heart. But you have to make your skills relevant to the job you are applying for.

low carbon technologies. The first construction phase alone will create 1,698 jobs with 35 full time equivalent apprenticeships, as well as opportunities for 48 NEETs, or young people not in employment, education or training. Covanta Energy, Peel’s joint venture partners for Ince and developer of the park’s energyfrom-waste facility, has agreed specific key performance indicators with its main contractor regarding local employment. There is a target of 70% of contracts on the project going to local suppliers, and a target of 100% for interviews for Merseyside and Cheshire applicants who meet the skills requirements for new vacancies. And there will be 150 days per each year of work placement

Fiona Watkin, of Thomas Rigby’s

“We get people saying they have excellent computer skills, but that is no good for a pub. People do a generic CV and send it to everybody. “But these people are being told how to write a CV and they are not being told that they should tweak each CV for different applications. I don’t want to know about someone’s typing skills.” And she said no-one explains why they left their last job: “Serial jobbers who have got three months here, three months there, three months somewhere else, will raise your suspic-

opportunities throughout the construction phase. Covanta Energy managing director, Malcolm Chilton, said: “We are determined that Ince Park will be constructed by, and employ, local people wherever possible. “The coming of the UTCs will make it easier for the smaller companies that will be based at Ince to recruit and develop trained, young, local candidates.” UTCs offer 14-19-year-olds the opportunity to take a full-time, technically-oriented course of study. They are equipped to a high standard, sponsored by a university and offer clear progression routes into higher education or further learning in work. Students combine “hand and mind” to learn in a practical way,

ions, apart from Christmas jobs and summer jobs. But the more information people give about themselves and the relevance the better. “It is all about relevance and demonstrating that the skills you have are relevant to the job you are applying for. If the job is asking for experience and you haven’t got it, don’t waste your time applying.” She added: “All these agencies coaching these people, supposedly helping them, are falling down. “Even the job agencies don’t send us relevant people for interviews.” integrating national curriculum requirements with technical and vocational elements. The UTC ethos and curriculum is heavily influenced by local and national employers who also provide support and work experience for students. UTCs do not judge students on their past performance. Students are given new opportunities and new ways of learning which allow them to achieve to a higher level than they may have done before. Prof Nigel Weatherill, Liverpool John Moores University vice chancellor and chief executive, said: “We are confident that the university’s involvement, alongside that of major employers, will assist in developing a UTC student experience of the highest quality, situated in state-of-the-art premises.”



With Mike Bracegirdle, Director of Jarvis Training Management Ltd. Apprentices are good for business. They really are! Today we talk to Mike about employing an apprentice.


Mike, after 40 years experience working with apprentices, you must have overcome all sorts of challenges. What advice can you offer to any employer thinking about taking on an apprentice?

The first thing I would say is do it; it’s very rewarding watching a young person grow in confidence and experience! You are also building your workforce for the future, so when the economy picks up, you will have a readymade, qualified workforce to maximise business opportunities. There is so much financial and management support now the process is much easier for employers. As a company we are in a position to support businesses that are willing to employ an apprentice. We organise the whole process from recruitment and selection through to delivery of your apprentice’s qualifications. Our success rate is over 90%. That’s because my passion is finding the right young person for your company. We also provide an excellent training programme: Ofsted in July 2012 stated that “outcomes for learners at JTM were outstanding”. Government has set the hourly rate for an apprentice at a minimum of £2.65 per hour, which equates to £79.50 a week or £4,134 annually for a 35-hour week. We would encourage you

to pay more if you can afford it, it’s excellent value. If you employ an apprentice aged 16-24, JTM can secure £1,500 of government grant towards costs, subject to eligibility: • You must have fewer than 1,000 employees • You must not have employed our apprentice in the last 12 months • You must offer a 52 week contract for a minimum of 30 hours • You must allow your apprentice to attend formal training one day a week I think we are unique in our approach; we know that as an employer you have to put significant time into nurturing and teaching your apprentice new skills. We know this costs money and the younger your apprentice the more it could cost. As a consequence, if you employ a 16 to 18-year-old, JTM will provide you with an additional £1,500 of their own money to support the costs associated with coaching/ mentoring your apprentice. This means a company could receive up to £3,000 towards employing and training a 16 to 18-year-old and you could employ up to ten apprentices. Our funding and management support package is built around 40 years experience. We have taken the stress out of the process and are always here to help.

‘Receive up to £3,000 towards employing and training a 16-18 year old’

For information call: Mike Bracegirdle 07860 720293. n IN ASSOCITAION with JTM


Backing our digital stars Kevin McManus, of Merseyside ACME, on how The Studio school will help the digital sector

THE times they are a-changin’ – so said Bob Dylan in 1964. Almost 50 years later, things they are a-changin’ again, as was evidenced at FACT on a balmy June evening when a mix of young people, some accompanied by their parents, attended the Design/Code/Game event. This event, organised by The Studio School and supported by Merseyside ACME, as well as several local businesses including SetGo Games, Apposing and Future Coders, aimed to raise the profile of the gaming sector on Merseyside. What the event did for me was to reiterate that our young people have skills and talent that will ensure the future of the creative industries on Merseyside for many years to come, and, more surprisingly, it highlighted the rise (again) of programming as a skill that young people aspire to. In the early 80s, encouraged by the BBC and Sir Clive Sinclair (remember him?), owning a computer became a reality for many. Buying the device was a proud moment, switching it on and realising how limited it was in terms of functionality brought The Studio School will be set up in the former Contemporary reality back into sharp relief. Urban Centre, in Greenland Street; inset, Sir Clive SInclair Youngsters (and it was mainly young people who owned the ZX80 or, if you were really lucky, the BBC micro computer) had three choices: let the thing gather dust in the corner, put up with the limited number of games you could play or learn how to programme it. Hundreds, if not thousands, decided to learn how to programme and so the foundations were set for making the UK a centre of programming excellence for the next 20 years. However, as applications and the internet rose to prominence, kids had too many other interesting A Raspberry Pi mini-computer Alan Turing things happening with their computers, games consoles and, computer science was to change develop games, applications and more recently, mobile phones, to be with effect from September this software that will make life better bothered learning how to proyear. for all of us in the future. gramme. This has reached a point Speaking at the BETT show for The Studio School will move into where a computer science degree education technology, Mr Gove the former Contemporary Urban can be undertaken and successfully called for a revival of the legacy of Centre building, in Liverpool’s completed without the graduate British computer pioneer Alan Baltic Triangle, next year. It will having to learn a programming Turing, whose work laid the equip its pupils with the skills they language. foundation of the modern need to win work in the digital and But things do now seem to be computing industry. gaming sectors – and will therefore changing, and, looking for ever Having seen first-hand the ideas boost the sector by creating a talgreater challenges of their skill, that young people come up with ented pool of workers in Liverpool. young people are coming back to when challenged to consider what The lead being taken by the programming, helped by devices they would develop for use on Studio School needs to be supported such as the Raspberry Pi. computers, games consoles and and replicated so that the young Even the Government is support- phones, I’ve no doubt that there people who have the have the poting the trend, with Education Secshould be a real focus on encourential or ambition are nurtured to retary Michael Gove announcing in aging and supporting the next become the digital stars of the January that the teaching of generation to think, plan and future.


Orchestrating a step change BY BILL GLEESON

▲ ▲

Jim Teasdale has been given the job of overseeing the growth of Merseyside’s maritime sector, which is expected to double in size over the next ten years


THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . JIM TEASDALE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 LOT rests on the shoulders of Jim Teasdale, chief executive of Mersey Maritime


Group. He is a linchpin who has a crucial role in developing the maritime sector in the years ahead. According to Liverpool City Region’s economic planners, the port, shipping and logistics sector offers the region one of its best prospects for economic and employment growth in the years ahead. Mersey Maritime Group has a key role in providing the coherence, business support, skills training and voice that the sector needs in order for it to realise its potential. Mr Teasdale believes this task is big enough to occupy a lifetime. He also acknowledges that there are many preconceptions about the maritime sector that need to be changed. Despite the fact that Liverpool is an old port town, many of its own people and potential investors believe the city’s maritime traditions are more a part of its past than its future. It is widely, but wrongly, seen locally as a declining sector, with its best days behind it. “The talk of decline is not true. No matter how it’s measured, the maritime sector is growing. If we include the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal, then it's the third busiest port in the UK. “I think the growth prospects are really good. That’s because there will be significant infrastructure investment including Liverpool 2 and various investment along the Manchester Ship Canal. “The low carbon issue will be of great benefit to the port due to its central location. “As the offshore wind industry develops, the port and the surrounding companies will be able to take advantage of that. As nuclear manufacturing develops along the energy coast from Cumbria down to Lancashire, it will also help here. “It won’t happen quickly. It will happen incrementally. Were I to be around in 10 years’ time, I would probably see another major step change just as we have seen over the last 10 years. “The turnover of the sector could double over the next 10 years. “I would say the maritime sector and superport will be a key driver for economic recovery in the city region. “Liverpool 2 will mean more new businesses coming to the region. “It will attract bigger ships from other localities that don’t directly trade with Liverpool at the moment. The main gap is with Far East, whose big ships go into Southampton and other southern ports. “As the Arctic ice melts, Liverpool is in a fantastic position to offer an alternative route. “A lot of the Arctic ice will disappear in 20 years at certain times of the year. So, if Liverpool has the infrastructure to handle the biggest ships, then it has the geographical advantage to offer an alternative trade route.


“There is no doubt at all that Thames Gateway will be a major investment and no doubt at all that there is a big demand in the south of England. Liverpool’s challenge is to develop its merit as the hub for the north of England.” It’s a big vision and a lot needs to be done if all of the opportunities are to come to fruition. That includes creating a workforce with the relevant skill sets. Mersey Maritime Group runs

the Maritime and Engineering College at Monks Ferr, in Birkenhead. The college, which is right next door to Cammell Laird shipyard, offers 20 skills programmes to 250 students and apprentices. These courses offer a mix of classroom-based theory and practical training. The programmes last between 18 and 42 months and all students are in permanent employment. One-third of the apprentices are employed by Cammell Laird. Another third are employed by

member firms of ECITB (Engineering and Construction Industry Training Board). The remaining third are employed by local small firms. Skills taught include welding, marine engineering, pipe fitting, general engineering, project management, Computer Aided Design, international trade and customer service. Students who successfully complete the course reach NVQ level 3. Up to 3,000 apprentices and students have passed through

in the past 10 years. Mr Teasdale says they leave the college “work ready”. He said: “Having done this work since ’98 we can now see successful middle managers and business leaders who have previously done one of our programmes. “We are in the privileged position of recruiting from preapprenticeship programmes in schools. They are recruited from the age of 16 onwards. “In simple terms, we were set


An aerial view of Cammell Laird shipyard showing yellow pylons that will form part of wind turbines to be erected in the Irish Sea; right, a Mersey Maritime welding apprentice; and, right, below, Chris Cooper, a Mersey Maritime apprentice employed by Peel Ports

up to meet employer demand. We respond to what employers say they want and we are inspected by Ofsted. Our most recent inspection was at the start of this year and we were rated good overall and outstanding in terms of leadership and management. “We work really hard to establish credible working relations with local businesses to provide support services including a quality workforce for the future. That broadly is our remit.”

One example of a local company that takes on apprentices is Peel Ports, which owns and operates the Port of Liverpool. Peel last week announced that it is taking on 12 new engineering apprentices to the business – the largest intake of apprentices at the port for 20 years. The apprentices join the port for a four-year course in either mechanical or electrical engineering, which will see them spend one year full time at college, with a subsequent three years’ training

on the job supplemented by further college study. Classroom-based study will be delivered by the Maritime and Engineering College North West in Birkenhead, part of the Mersey Maritime Group. All recruits to the programme were required to pass tough aptitude tests and interviews in order to secure their apprenticeships. They will work their way to NVQ 3 by their third year, and an HNC qualification by their fourth.

Mersey Maritime can trace its genesis back to 1998 when Wirral Borough Council set up Lairdside College. In 2003, Mersey Maritime was formed to represent the maritime sector after it had been identified as one of the key growth sectors. In 2007, Mersey Maritime merged with the Lairdside Foundation to form Mersey Maritime Group. Mr Teasdale said: “So we now have a range of integrated services.

“A number of us here are apprentice ambassadors, promoting the idea around the North west. “There is evidence that recruiting apprentices is an investment with a return in terms of staff retention and productivity improvements. One in ten of a business’s staff should be apprentices.” As well as teaching apprentices, Mersey Maritime Group provides a range of business support



THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . JIM TEASDALE Future hopes: Mersey Maritime apprentices Kieran Bowden, left, and Calvin Deer, employed by Laker-Vent Engineering

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 services to the 1,700 firms in the sector in the region. Mr Teasdale said: “Businesses in the maritime sector employ 28,000 people and account for 15% of the output of the economy of the city region. That’s about £2.6bn. That’s everything, shipping, ports, marine engineering, distribution, logistics, warehouses, hauliers. “There are some major companies, but also 85% of the businesses in the sector are small and medium-sized enterprises. “We do a lot of work with the larger companies around their supply chains to provide more BtoB activity within the city region.” Mersey Maritime has surveyed its member firms to discover what sort of business support they need. The aftermath of the credit crunch means that banks aren’t as liberal with their lending as they once were. Mr Teasdale said: “Access to finance is a big issue, so we do a lot of networking events. We have a range of programmes about access to finance through banks and other investors. We do work with marketing and public relations to support the sector, including using social media. “Business planning is important, but most of the smaller firms are working with us for two main reasons: to improve their business practices and to introduce them to business opportunities. We do that through networking events with larger companies.”


Big company members of Mersey Maritime include Peel Ports, Bibby Line Group, ACL, law firm Hill Dickinson, Cammell Laird, CMA CGM, Maersk, Chilean shipping agency CSAV, Israeli shipping company Zim, Stobarts, Cargills, ABPorts and stevedoring firm Drakes, among others. Mersey Maritime is always looking to grow and diversify its membership base and is in talks with big retailers about how they move their goods into the country. It also wants to extend its reach farther along the Manchester Ship Canal as and when investments occur there. One company that has yet to sign up to Mersey Maritime is Essar Group, which owns the Stanlow oil refinery. Essar plans to bring more crude oil into Stanlow by sea. Mr Teasdale said: “They are not as active as we would wish. To bring a tanker up the river it has to be dredged and you have to engage pilots to bring them. “Other issues include safety, such as firefighting on water. Either we haven’t raised our profile high enough or they are not aware of our services at this stage. “We have a pretty good reputation and a good range of products and services, but we still need to make more businesses aware of the reasons to engage with us. “Our membership is growing despite the recession. The level of membership fees are increasing so Mersey Maritime income is rising.”

As well as membership fees, Mersey Maritime is funded through European Regional Development Fund money. Mr Teasdale said: “We resisted the temptation to diversify and take responsibility for other sectors and we resisted the temptation to offer the same service to other regions of the UK. We want to do business here on Merseyside. “We are the only port area in the UK that has this kind of support network.” Major opportunities for the region’s maritime sector include the work in the Irish Sea to construct giant wind farms. Cammell Laird has carried out a great deal of the construction and assembly of the turbines that will form the farm, just off the Isle of Man. More regional growth could arise from a shift that will see shippers increasingly using the Port of Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal instead of importing goods destined for the north of England through ports in the south of the country. Mr Teasdale said: “Costs are lower that way. “If you bring in goods from abroad, the cost includes the shipping plus movement of goods on land in the UK. The most expensive element of that is the land. “Up to 60% of goods brought via the southern ports are destined for the north of England. “The low carbon agenda can be further developed by using the Manchester Ship Canal as an

arterial route into Greater Manchester. It would mean less congestion.” There is a clear belief that greater cohesion would help the region’s maritime businesses to grow in the years ahead. Mr Teasdale said: “I would argue that Mersey Maritime acts as the representative of all of those companies in the maritime sector, helping them to work together. “You could say in retrospect Wirral council were visionary and stuck to their commitment to the maritime sector. “You could also say, as Mersey Maritime moves towards celebrating its tenth anniversary next spring, we think we have improved the image, profile, reputation, understanding and awareness of what was previously a large, fragmented, little understood sector. “When we started in 2003, there wasn’t an accepted national or international definition of maritime. We didn’t know which companies were in the maritime sector. “We did a survey at the time which showed there were 566 companies in the sector on Merseyside. “Their profile was low and awareness of them was low by the general and business community as well. “Two main reasons for this were the aftermath of the docks strikes and the lack of any cruise ships on the river. “The public perception was that nothing was happening in the

maritime sector. They would see the odd tanker going up and down the river and see the odd freighter, but now, with the cruise liners coming here, they see a lot more happening. “A lot of the maritime business goes on behind port walls or in offices and the general public doesn’t understand how big it is. “We have tried to more accurately map the sector. We now know there are 1,700 maritime businesses in Merseyside and we have tried to improve the understanding, awareness and profile of the sector and develop the skills of local people so the sector can employ and retain high quality staff. “But we recognise that this is a life-long challenge. “So we have just started the process. “We are looking forward next year to a range of celebration events with partners and in the next decade we will further raise awareness and improve the profile. “My observation is that the city has always been a mercantile and maritime city. “World Heritage Status for the waterfront improved that profile. “If we looked at Liverpool and its brand, nationally and internationally, it seems that maritime is in the veins and there is lots of interest in it. “Everything goes in cycles. “We are on an upward part of the cycle as the economy recovers, as businesses invest in growth and take advantage of location and assets.”

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With Peter Mooney, head of employment law at ELAS


I HAVE read that pensions autoenrolment will begin next month. However, my company has yet to inform its employees what their options are, and there has not been much activity on their part in putting anything in place. Should I be worried?


WHILE you are correct in that autoenrolment does start to come into force from October, it will only apply to the country’s biggest companies initially. Smaller employers can anticipate the new laws becoming mandatory between 2014 and 2015. However, recent research by The Pensions Regulator found that many businesses are being too optimistic with regards to how long it will take to prepare. Larger employers will need around 18 months to get everything in place. It is therefore important for all businesses to establish now whether their payroll processes can cope with the new arrangements. The first step is for companies to check on The Pensions Regulator website for their staging date, which will tell them when the new regulations apply to them. Employers must register with The Pension Regulator within four months of their assigned date; a checklist is available which contains all of the necessary information that needs to be included. Companies also need to establish which of their employees are eligible jobholders, non-eligible jobholders or entitled workers. The total minimum contribution for jobholders in a “defined contribution” occupational pensions scheme must be at least 8% of their qualifying earnings, of which the minimum employer’s contribution must be at least 3%. The penalties for noncompliance can reach up to £10,000 per day for larger companies, so it’s vital that businesses get this right and

do it on time. An “eligible jobholder” must be enrolled into a pension scheme and the employer will have to pay pension contributions. This includes any UK workers aged between 22 and state pension age that earn more than £8,105 per year. A “non-eligible jobholder” has the right to opt-in to a pensions scheme. This includes UK workers aged between 16 and 21, or state pension age and 74, that earn more than the minimum earnings threshold. It also includes any UK workers between 16-74 that earn between £5,564 and £8,105 per year. An “entitled worker” has the right to ask to be enrolled into a pension scheme but the employer does not have to pay pension contributions if they do not wish to do so. This includes any UK worker between 16-74 that earns less than £5,564 per year. In preparation for autoenrolment, payroll software will have to be upgraded to perform several new tasks, including: ■ Monitoring the age and earnings of workers to establish the numbers of each type of worker, including those that need to be automatically enrolled; ■ Establishing the date that “eligible jobholders” become eligible; ■ Calculating pension contributions to be paid to the pension scheme; ■ Processing pension contribution refunds for those that opt out. There are already several options on the market that can cope with the new processes, such as our integrated Payroll and EmployerSafe system, and we advise that companies give themselves plenty of time to test which format works best for them. ■ For further information or advice, please call the ELAS Advice Team on 0161 785 2000.

‘Autoenrolment applies to the biggest companies, initially’



Future leaders

Networking group Merseyside Young Professionals MADE in Liverpool is the theme of this year’s Merseyside Young Professionals (MYP) annual charity ball. The black-tie event is in its 20th year and promises, once again, to be a roaring success, as well as raising thousands of pounds for local charities – this year’s recipient being Fairbridge Merseyside, which works with young people throughout the region, supporting them in work and entrepreneurial projects. The ball is the organisation’s first major event for Gill Lloyd since she assumed the chair’s role from Caroline McEvoy in August. Ms Lloyd, a solicitor at Hill Dickinson, said: “I have been with the group for a year, but had attended events beforehand.” She paid tribute to her predecessor, saying: “Caroline has been a fantastic chair who has played a key role in the success of MYP, which now competes with professional profit-making networking organisations. “We have some exciting events planned for the year ahead and I hope we can engage with a wider audience of young professionals than ever before.” MYP was originally formed by junior representatives of the various professional bodies in the city, including the Liverpool Junior Chamber of Commerce, as it was then known. Its original aim was to organise an annual charity ball. But the group has since evolved into an independent organisation dedicated to promoting stronger links between young people in different professions and, in particular, to facilitate networking. The not-for-profit group is led by a committee of volunteers that organises monthly networking events, which can range from Champagne tastings to forums, such as a grilling of Liverpoolborn Labour MP Andy Burnham, Tory MP Chris Grayling and the then-Liverpool council leader Warren Bradley, in a joint enterprise with Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. The network’s predominant audience is people in their 20s and 30s, although it does not have an age limit for membership. In recent years, it has sought to make inroads into new sectors, including the creative industries. MYP also targeted the manufacturing sector, and people who work on the periphery of the city, not just the city centre. The committee said in 2009: “We want to get away from the fixed view of MYP as being for bankers and lawyers.” This year’s charity ball takes place at Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on October 12, from 7pm. Tickets are priced at £60 per person, or £600 for a table of 10. Please contact charityball@myp. for tickets or information.

Coronation Street actor Andrew Lancel and Jennifer Metcalfe, from Hollyoaks, at last year’s ball; and, inset, Gill Lloyd, left, with Caroline McEvoy


get ball rolling




prepare to let their hair down – and boost good causes


With Alison Smullen, Employment and Pensions Solicitor at Hill Dickinson LLP

I AM a business owner and one of my workers recently fell ill while on annual leave and is now asking to reschedule their holiday. What should I be aware of when responding to the request?


WITH the summer holiday season now over, the time is potentially ripe for workers to claim they were ill on holiday in the hope of rescheduling the leave. In fact, 140m working days are already lost every year due to sickness; costing the economy approximately £15bn in, predominantly, lost output (Source: Department for Work and Pensions). Recent Case Law The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently addressed the issue of workers falling ill during annual leave. In Asociacion Nacional de Grandes Empresas de Distribucion v Federacion de Asociaciones Sindicales and others C-78/1 the ECJ stated that:

ought to be granted. However, there are other issues to consider such as: ■ Is the right to reschedule annual leave an absolute one, an inalienable one? As a matter of public policy, the right should not be an inalienable one; employers should, arguably, be able to safeguard against workers feigning sickness and claiming the right to reschedule their leave under false pretences. It has been suggested that the right could be conditional upon following prescribed sickness absence procedures (see, for example, the UK Government’s “Consultation on Modern Workplaces” paper). Alternatively, employers could safeguard against workers feigning sickness by warning that such behaviour is to be considered a disciplinary offence (although, in practice, it could be difficult to prove that workers have lied about being ill).

‘140m working days are lost every year due to sickness’

■ “It is common ground that the purpose of annual leave is to enable workers to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure, whereas the purpose of sick leave is to enable workers to recover from an illness that has caused them to be unfit for work.” ■ The ECJ had already held (in Pereda v Madrid Movilidad SA C-277/08) that workers who are on sick leave prior to a period of prebooked annual leave (and continue to be sick during it) may reschedule that annual leave. It would therefore be arbitrary and contrary to the purpose of annual leave not to allow workers who become unfit during their leave to reschedule the period blighted by illness. Implications On the face of it, the worker’s recent request

■ How much leave can be rescheduled in one leave year? The Government’s consultation paper (noted above) suggests that only the four weeks’ statutory leave provided for by the Working Time Directive be rescheduled. It also states that, subject to certain exceptions, the first four weeks of leave taken during any one leave year should be deemed the leave provided for by the Directive. This essentially means that if the member of staff in question had taken four weeks’ (or more) annual leave earlier in the year, then their recent request ought to be rejected.

■ FOR further advice on how to respond to an employee’s request to reschedule annual leave blighted by illness, contact Alison Smullen on 0151 600 8549, or email: alison. ■ IN ASSOCIATION with Hill Dickinson



DEVELOPMENT HEIR priority is helping their communities, but make no mistake – profit is not a dirty word for Merseyside’s social enterprises. Last week, the region’s social enterprise sector came out to play at the first ever Merseyside Social Enterprise Awards. Some 200 people at Liverpool Town Hall saw 11 awards presented to people and businesses including women’s enterprise organisation Blackburne House and indoor skatepark, Rampworx. Rosie Jolly, chief executive of event organiser Social Enterprise Network (SEN), is keen to talk about how all those winners and runners-up have a great sense of social purpose and are investing in the communities they serve. A common misconception about social enterprises is that they do not worry about making a profit. That means they often get called “not-for-profit”. But that, says Ms Jolly, is not quite right. Social enterprises have to make a profit to survive – it’s just that they use the profit differently. “We try to get away from the term ‘not-for-profit’,” she said. “The media is very fond of using it. People generally are very fond of using it. “But if you don’t make a profit, you go out of business. Social enterprise is about business for social value. Profit, or surplus, is healthy in a business. It’s what you do with it that counts. “We say the only difference between social enterprises and businesses from the private sector is what we do with the profits. “They’re not going back to shareholders, they’re reinvested in the business, either supporting projects or perhaps creating employment. It has some social good.” Claire Dove, chief executive of Liverpool’s Blackburne House group, won the Members’ Choice award at last week’s event. Ms Dove, who also chairs Social Enterprise UK, has been pioneering social enterprise at Blackburne House since the 1980s. “Social enterprises are for profit,” she said. “But the dividends aren’t given to shareholders, they’re reinvested in the organisation or the community they serve. That’s the fundamental difference.”


HE Merseyside Social Enterprise Awards, which were backed by the Liverpool Post and its sister paper, the Liverpool Echo, were launched by SEN to celebrate the vibrancy of local businesses. SEN has 469 members, though Ms Jolly estimates there could be more than 1,800 social enterprises across Merseyside. Ms Jolly said: “We were very conscious that there were a lot of awards going on, but they're



Celebrating region’s The winners at last week’s Merseyside Social Enterprise Awards, at Liverpool Town Hall


Alistair Houghton speaks to the social entrepreneurs who are proud to mainly for the private sector – it’s rare that the social enterprise sector is celebrated. We really wanted to change that and have the first awards for social enterprise businesses in Merseyside. “Those 198 people in the Town Hall last week should have all walked away as ambassadors for social enterprise.” Ms Jolly said this region plays host to some key players in the social enterprise sector. They include PSS, the national health and social care group that has its base in Liverpool. PSS’s services including supporting women with post-natal depression and working with those who have family members in prison. It says: “Our aim is simple and has been at the heart of what we do for a long time: to make the

lives of those we work with better.” Local Solutions, founded in 1974, offers services to improve vulnerable and excluded people’s quality of life. They include anti-bullying support services and offering advice on fuel debts. And The Women’s Organisation is a world leader in its field. At its £5.6m Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) in the Baltic Triangle, it helps women start their own firms while researching female entrepreneurship. Ms Jolly said: “When those organisations are out there, they’re not just selling themselves. They’re selling the sector – they’re ambassadors.” Many people class social enterprises alongside charities in the “third sector”. That can mean

that they are not seen as being the businesses that they are. “It doesn’t do social enterprises any favours being bunched with the term ‘third sector’,” said Ms Jolly. “When people say ‘third sector’, they think the softer stuff, voluntary and charitable stuff. “At the end of the day, we have that social calling and purposes, but we’re business-focused. “All the rules that apply to the private sector, those business principles, they apply to social enterprises. It’s simply how that profit is used.” In the era of the “Big Society”, social enterprises have become much more prominent. “Rightly or wrongly, the current government has put social enterprise on a bit of a platform,” said Ms Jolly. “There’s a perception

that social enterprises will be the saviour for the economic problems the country has. “While social enterprise will play an important role, it’s no panacea or cure for all ills. It has its place alongside the private sector and everybody else. “People misunderstand sometimes what social enterprises are and think it’s an opportunity for free money. But there isn’t any free money any more – you have to earn your money as a social business. “For a long time, a lot of social enterprises had been grantdependent. “What we’re saying to businesses now is ‘If you want to be a social enterprise, don’t do grants’. “Leave the grants to the charity, voluntary and community sectors,


INVESTING IN THE FUTURE By Paul Curtis, Director, B&M Secure Shredding The importance of data protection ALL businesses have a responsibility to ensure that any confidential information is disposed of in the most effective manner possible. The Data Protection Act (DPA) has been put in place to make sure that sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands, and with fraud and identity theft rising, it is more important than ever for businesses to be certain that sensitive materials are disposed of in the correct manner. Simply ensuring that any sensitive data is not left lying around will not be enough to guarantee that you are meeting your responsibilities with regard to data protection. Even throwing this in with the general waste could still mean it gets into the wrong hands. Failure to securely manage the personal information your business holds is a criminal offence. It may even result in prosecution and claims for damages under the DPA. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can now introduce fines of up to £500,000 for breaches of the DPA. Sensitive information relating to your staff or clients falling into the wrong hands can result in costly fines, affecting both SMEs and large national organisations alike. For some companies, shredding all confidential documents is a big task and doing it on their own means that a huge amount of efficiency and productivity can be lost as staff members

find that they spend far longer disposing of sensitive information than they do actually using it. Therefore, to make certain that jobs are not affected and that nothing is overlooked, it can be extremely useful to outsource your shredding services. By utilising a company that specialises in secure shredding, you will be able to feel happy that you are upholding your responsibilities. You are also ensuring that not only your staff and clients, but that your business as a whole, is protected from the many problems that can be encountered when confidential information is leaked. The cost of enlisting the services of a company that specialises in secure shredding services could be less than you think and will almost certainly be less than the cost of the time that individual staff members can spend shredding sensitive information themselves. Confidential document disposal is the ideal way to safeguard your business against breaches in data protection, and by recruiting a local company like B&M Secure Shredding you can be sure you are fully compliant and using your staff ’s time effectively.

‘Information falling into the wrong hands can result in costly fines’

A skateboarder at Rampworx, Netherton

social success make a profit for the good of their communities and have a product you can sell to any market.” LAIRE DOVE says Liverpool has a history of pioneering social enterprises. “Blackburne House was the first women’s social enterprise in the UK,” she said, “while FRC (which runs recycling service Bulky Bob’s) was one of the first social enterprises to take off. For us, the social purpose has always been there. “We’ve been going for 30 years next year. The social purpose is obviously getting women into non-traditional industries and careers – careers, not just jobs.” The Women’s Technology And Education Centre (WTEC) was founded in 1983. By 1991, it needed a larger home – and chose to move


into Blackburne House, off Hope Street. The house had a proud pedigree – it was home to the city’s first girl’s school. The WTEC – now called Blackburne House – had to raise millions of pounds to restore its new home. “What we didn’t want to do is rely on grant aid to run that building,” remembered Ms Dove. “If we had to keep applying for funding to run the building, it would take away from our core mission of providing education and support for women. “So we set up a number of business that would support the building. Little did we know that the phrase would be coined for them,’ social enterprise’. “That’s where we got national acclaim. We found a new model of working in the sector – we were a

charity when we started out. Any profits that those businesses generate are reinvested into our core mission.” Those businesses include design and communications agency Brava Design, a nursery and a popular cafe. Ms Dove said: “Every pound people spend with us is going towards helping get women into education, training and jobs. “It’s helping their community, and it’s helping the regeneration of Liverpool by giving the city a more skilled workforce.” Social Enterprise UK, the organisation chaired by Ms Dove, has some 55,000 members. “The sector is in a very healthy state,” she said. “During the downturn, we

■ FOR more information contact the team on: 0843 221 1022, or email: or go online: ■ IN ASSOCIATION with B&M Secure Shredding




Social Enterprise award winners: above, Jayne Scott and Liz McTear, of the Money Advice Project, collecting the Collaboration Award, presented by Unity Bank's Adam Ruffinato; top, left, Cllr Nick Small presenting the Mayors Award for Social Innovation to Pat Shea-Halson and Helen Millne, of the Women's Organisation; top, right, Hillary Berg, winner of the mentoring Champion Award, presented by Geof Middleton, of Hill Dickinson; above, right, Claire Dove collects the Member's Choice award on behalf of winners, Blackburne House, presented by Fusion 21 Chair, Chris Curry; and, inset, centre, Chris Carlin and Mark Swift, winners of the Healthy Work Place Award, presented by Caroline Salden, Chief Operating Officer of Liverpool Women's Hospital

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 found more social enterprises developing. “We do a state-of-the-nation survey, and last year we found that our sector was doing really well despite the downturn. “ That survey, Fightback Britain, showed that the median turnover of social enterprises grew from £175,000 in 2009 to £240,000 in 2011. It said social enterprises employed more people relative to turnover than mainstream small businesses. And it showed that social enterprises were “outstripping SMEs for growth”, with 58% of social enterprises polled


saying they grew in 2011, compared to 28% of SMEs. Fightback Britain also shows that the sector is “not reliant on charitable giving”, with donations being the main source of income for less than 0.5% of those polled. And it said that, while many people think of social enterprises in terms of delivering public services, the most common source of income for such firms (37%) was trade with the public. Ms Dove says private firms could learn from social enterprises and ensure that they have a positive environmental and social impact on the communities they serve.

She chairedLiverpool’s Fairness Commission, which was created by Mayor Joe Anderson, who says he is keen that social impact will be taken into account in the council’s own procurement process in coming years. HE Women’s Organisation (TWO) won the Mayor’s Award for Social Innovation at the SEN Awards. At a time of recession, TWO, formerly known as Train 2000, plays a vital role helping women start their own businesses. And, says its chief finance and operating officer Helen Millne, it


can only keep doing that by being run as a business itself. “We run the business to improve the economic position of women,” she said. “We don’t run the business to make a private profit for individuals who are supporting or running the business, because the prime driver is making a difference. “That value base we have is integral to everything we do.In quality, innovation and partnership working, that’s incorporated right through the whole organisation. “What that doesn’t mean is that we’re not business-savvy, or that we don’t know how to run an

efficient and profitable business. That underpins what we do, rather than being integral. “When our teams are working, they’re not thinking about shaving some pennies off costs to make a profit for the boss. They’re thinking about how they can do what’s best for women. “We run it efficiently. We look for contracts and always look to develop a quality service that supports our objectives. We look for opportunities to grow and diversify just as any other business does. But the angle is different.” As with Blackburne House, TWO brings in money by winning


ENERGY MATTERS David Hunt, of Eco Environments If I could offer just one piece of advice, it would be . . . ENERGY. I cannot think of a single business or business sector that isn’t adversely affected by energy costs, or carbon reduction pressures. Don’t worry, this isn’t a pitch to switch energy suppliers, I get those, too! In my business networks and roles with Liverpool and Knowsley Chambers of Commerce, how to reduce energy costs is the hot topic. There are, of course, some things you can do with absolutely no cost, changing staff behaviours, making sure lights and computers are switched off, for example. Some are very low cost, such as installing timer switches to vending machines and photocopiers, so they don’t run all night. Some, though, can have significant reductions, and quite often with no capital expenditure! Let me explain . . . In many businesses, energy, along with payroll, are the biggest overheads. With energy prices increasing at over twice the rate of inflation, that is a problem – and one that won’t go away by itself. One thing that is keeping us very busy at present is energy-efficient lighting, and for three reasons. Firstly, energy-efficient lighting schemes are very tax-efficient. They are eligible for Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA), which means 100% of the project cost can be offset against taxable profits in the current tax year. There are benefits, too, even if you aren’t turning a profit. Secondly, in many businesses, lighting can be a large proportion of those energy costs. We can help business reduce their lighting costs by

up to 90%, sometimes more. Thirdly, as we are fully approved and licensed, we can provide unsecured Carbon Trust finance for 100% of the project cost, meaning no up-front capital expenditure. And, because of the huge savings possible, savings usually exceed the cost of finance, so you are cash positive from day one. Funding is available for any type of company, from limited to partnership to sole trader, and for public bodies, schools and universities. Many companies choose to fund the projects themselves, especially with ROI/Payback usually between two and four years. But, if you want to use your working capital elsewhere, Carbon Trust funding can be ideal. Here’s an example of a project we’re just embarking on for a large distribution company in Sefton. Using LED lighting, we will be reducing their lighting costs from £132,593 per year to £35,781 per year. Yes, those figures are correct. With Carbon Trust funding for the full cost of the project, they will be much better off from day one. What is more, as these things are increasingly important, they will be reducing their carbon footprint by 97.2tn per year. Of course, not everyone has high lighting costs; we are able to look at renewable energy options to generate electricity or heat, from solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps. But, from simple steps like turning off the photocopier, to renewable energy systems, there is funding and the technology available to reduce those scary energy costs. All you need to do is ask!

‘In many businesses, energy and payroll are the biggest overheads’

Social Enterprise successes: top, Angela Cox, centre, presents the GEC School's Enterprise Challenge Award to Helen Dallinson, left, and Janet Spreadbury, of Hunts Cross Primary School; and, above, Christine Williams and Shirley Stopforth, of Bulky Bobs, winners of the Green Social Enterprise award, presented by SSE's senior development manager, Sylvia Pearson contracts to provide services for other organisations. It does not, Ms Millne makes clear, depend on hand-outs. “We have been operating as a social enterprise for 17 years now,” she said. “We’ve grown from being one woman with an employee to having 25 to 40 people working here at any given time. “We’ve got a £5.6m new building in Liverpool and we own a building in Manchester. We have grown and diversified. But we have never operated with a grant culture. We have always operated through winning contracts. “From day one, we’ve operated as a commercial enterprise that

has looked for investment opportunities and taken risks the way any other entrepreneurial business has to do. But we always have that social remit.” TWO looks to work with organisations that share its values. But that, as Ms Millne points out, is also standard in the private sector. “We have working partnerships with good practice organisations in the private sector,” she said. “We have a value base that will stop us working with some organisations because the common purpose isn’t there. “But that’s true in any organisation. Businesses look for

common values in their partners.” What’s clear from Ms Millne is that social enterprises can and should be taken more and more seriously on the local, national and international stage. “We have a global reputation for good practice among public, private and third sector organisations,” she said. “We do consultancy work in Africa and Asia. We were at the World Expo in Shanghai. And we were there with private sector organisations on an equal basis. “Nobody looked at us differently because we were a social enterprise.”

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Chasing new markets EENW offers assistance to local businesses considering lucrative overseas expansion NEW markets can provide a fantastic opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to thrive and expand. And with the recent surge in interest from overseas, fuelled by the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, this is the perfect time to enter Continental markets. Now, leading business advice network Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENW) has joined with the Liverpool Post to promote the services on offer to help local businesses in their efforts to export to Europe. EENW provides information, support and guidance to SMEs who want to take

advantage of opportunities to sell to our European neighbours. Set up by the European Commission, it offers a wide range of free and impartial business services, including advice on intellectual property, CE marking and obtaining EU funding. It also has experts on hand to help businesses confused by the sometimes complex regulations and documentation governing import and export to and from certain countries. Thanks to the Olympics, many north west businesses are now known abroad, having showcased their goods and services to new audiences during the event. With help from EENW, they could easily take the next step by tapping into new markets in Europe. As well as providing oneto-one advice, EENW has a comprehensive searchable database on its website containing more than 14,000 company profiles, partnership opportunities, and information sheets. It also features a business

partnering service, where company owners in the region can search for suitable opportunities in Europe based on their trade requirements, technology capabilities, or manufacturing needs. Fiona Castela, project manager at EENW, said: “There are some fantastic opportunities for businesses if they are willing to explore the idea of exporting, either for the first time or to a new country. “The Olympics was the first step for many companies, but there is no reason why others should not follow suit and EENW is able to help them on that journey.” ■ FOR more information and support on all elements of breaking into new markets, from legal matters to paperwork, culture and language to intellectual property rights, go to Alternatively, speak to one of EENW’s expert advisers by calling 0844 259 8571, quoting code LP.

Fiona Castela, Project Manager at EENW

Get prepared to avoid the worst: EENW’s top tips for trading with Europe TRADING overseas can seem daunting, but David Wright, European business adviser at EENW, has some straightforward tips to prevent businesses from falling into those common traps when it comes to import and export. David says: “Often, the first time companies consider issues like which currency they choose to trade in, their trading conditions, or legal matters, is when they have a problem. “Our key advice is to hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

David Wright, European business adviser at EENW


Know where to turn for advice Small business owners can’t be expected to become experts in the finer points of law, currency, language and the other ins and outs of trading abroad before they take the leap into trading overseas. It’s more important to understand where to turn for professional advice to prevent a problem arising.

Get the legalities covered Set up and use Standard Trading Conditions (STCs) and incorporate them into all quotations, offers and correspondence. Be wary of signing customer purchase orders as you may accept your customers’ STCs over your own. Seek specialist advice to help get your trading terms and conditions right. Money matters Consider the currency you will be trading in. Will you opt for sterling, euros, or something else? It’s a complex and important choice: trading in Euros presents its own difficulties but sticking to sterling could restrict opportunities. Professional advice will help you find what’s best. Credit where it’s due There can be huge variations in business credit across Europe. While businesses can expect payment from companies in

Scandinavia and Germany within 30 days, in southern Europe, payment may arrive up to six months after work is completed. Brush up on your language skills Get a meeting off to a good start by learning even just a few words in the local language. Don’t make a cultural gaffe Pick up some tips on cultural dos and don’ts. Get it right and no-one will notice, get it wrong and everyone will. In fact, it could be a deal-breaker. The two most important tips are simple: Don’t be overly informal and take a lead from your host. ■ FOR more information and support on all elements of breaking into new markets, from legal matters to paperwork, culture and language to intellectual property rights, go to www.eenw. org, or speak to one of EENW’s expert advisers by calling 0844 259 8571, quoting codeLP.


Thumbstar plays to win

Trading in Europe is no game for local firm

Martin Kitney – chief operating officer of Thumbstar Games

North West England

Supporting North West SME businesses to succeed during SME Week 2012...

INNOVATIVE mobile gaming business Thumbstar Games has become something of an expert in trading in Europe, and their secret is a unique business event organised by Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). Thumbstar began trading in 2008, and quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading developers, distributors and publishers of mobile games. Operating out of its head office at Liverpool Innovation Park, with a development studio in Newcastle and overseas offices in Hong Kong and Colombia, Thumbstar now provides games to operators in France, Germany, Italy and Spain as well as the UK. Founder and chief operating officer Martin Kitney recognised the importance of European trade to his business early on, and registered to attend the annual Mobile World Congress. It was here that he discovered the EEN Brokerage Event. Welcoming nearly 1,400 exhibitors and more than 60,000 visitors in 2011, the Mobile World Congress is one of the largest mobile technology fairs in the world.

Since 2006, the EEN Brokerage Event has partnered with the World Congress, bringing together small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), start-up companies, entrepreneurs and research institutes under one roof. Joining over 400 companies from 22 countries, Martin and his colleagues were able to register as participants and request meetings with other businesses at the event. They were even able to search for participants and view attendee profiles online beforehand, meaning they could identify exactly the type of organisations they were looking to do business with. Martin firmly believes that, out of all the trade shows and networking events he attends, the EEN Brokerage Event has been the most profitable for his business, providing direct new business leads. He said: “The Brokerage Event is the one we always look forward to, as it enables us to meet new customers face-to-face, find partners and make connections without wasting time on small talk.

“In the four years that Thumbstar has attended the event, we have agreed 15 distribution contracts and signed up over 100 new mobile games. “On top of that, the experience we have gained has been invaluable in our dealings with existing customers.” Martin has developed a close relationship with his European business adviser at Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENW), Jens Boehm, and he describes this level of service as one of the main reasons why they have no hesitation in recommending them to other businesses. “We really enjoy working with EENW, because they are knowledgeable about the finer details that are important to businesses such as ours and the service is always faultless. “It is because of their advice and guidance that we are now distributing to multiple operators in countries throughout Europe.” ■ FOR more information about EENW and future Brokerage Events, please visit, call 0844 259 8571 quoting code LP, or email

EEN are hosting a number of events right across the North West during SME Week 2012 to enable businesses to access free & impartial advice covering all aspects of European Trade. The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) offers support on legislation and advice to businesses across Europe and in over 50 markets globally to help you make the most of the opportunities in the European Union and beyond.

Free and impartial business support on your doorstep t. 0844 259 8571 e. Quote: LP02

Thumbstar Games has become an expert in trading in Europe



Automotive growth is good Expansion at Jaguar Land Rover and a new model for Vauxhall will boost the North west

JAGUAR Land Rover’s (JLR) continued Merseyside expansion is obviously great news for the local manufacturing supply chain – and it has also given a boost to the regional industrial property market. Three years ago, the number of people employed at JLR plant in Halewood, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, was around 1,500. There had been some uncertainty over its fate.


The model that was meant to secure its future, the Jaguar X-Type, or “Baby Jag”, had not been a success and was discontinued. Workers there were also producing the more successful Freelander 2 model and then, in 2009, it was announced the plant was also to make the new low carbon “Baby” Ranger Rover – the model that would eventually be called the Evoque. Since then, sales of both models

have soared and the workforce at JLR has now tripled to 4,500. In August, the factory started working to a 24-hour shift pattern for the first time in 50 years. So successful is the operation now that JLR is expanding onto a second site – a 405,000 sq ft warehouse in Ellesmere Port called The Phoenix. The facility will serve as a logistics centre for the car maker and around 300 people will be employed there.

The significance of this letting to the Merseyside and North West industrial market was emphasised in a report by property consultancy DTZ. Its Property Times UK Industrial Q2 2012 study takes a quarterly snapshot of the state of the industrial market for properties above 50,000 sq ft both regionally and across the UK. It said take-up in the second quarter in the North west rose for the second successive quarter to

2.2m sq ft across 11 deals, the most high profile being the JLR letting. This deal, said the report, put pressure on the availability of Grade A industrial space in the region, with only three speculatively built units, totalling 425,000 sq ft, left available. Tony O’Keefe, industrial director at DTZ in the North west, said: “Looking forward, the automotive sector is asserting its influence in the region specifically in and around Jaguar


Increased production for both the Evoque and Freelander2 models, at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant, means the company needs more space and is taking The Phoenix, inset, far left, a large warehouse in Ellesmere Port

Production of the new Astra at Vauxhall, in Ellesmere Port, due to start in 2014, is also good news for the north west industrial market, says Tony O’Keefe, of DTZ, inset, top

news for industrial sector

region’s commercial property market, says the latest DTZ study. Tony McDonough reports Land Rover, where they have secured the Phoenix warehouse, at Ellesmere Port, to facilitate expansion of its current plant at Halewood. “There are a series of supplier deals as a direct result of increased production and the continued success of JLR’s Evoque. “In a double coup for the automotive sector in Ellesmere Port, General Motors has underpinned its support of the Vauxhall plant where production

of the new Astra will begin in 2014. “This all bodes well for the north west industrial market and we expect to see a number of notable land sales/pre-let deals over the coming 12 months and talk at least of speculative development to re-address this availability squeeze.” Mr O’Keefe added that this squeeze on available space will mean the market will be less tenant-friendly going forward,

with the pendulum swinging back more in favour of landlords. “Where occupiers have had a free run of available units and were effectively spoiled in terms of rental deals, short-term leases and frequent breaks, the landscape has now changed,” he said. “Those seeking quality accommodation must now reassess their expectations and expect to compromise either on quality, location or price. “We will see a return to more

traditional institutional lease terms and an end to the tenantfriendly market, particularly in the case of pre-lets. “This trend will continue to a lesser extent through the secondhand market as better quality Grade B space enjoys its day in the sun as demand permeates through the quality strata.” Across the UK in the second quarter, take-up of industrial space rebounded to 8.1m sq ft compared with 5.8m sq ft in the

first quarter. This is the highest level for two years and more than 5% ahead of the same period in 2011. A total of 64 deals were completed during the quarter – an increase of 33%. The average deal size remained relatively low at 126,000 sq ft as demand was constrained by lack of availability of good quality stock at this end of the market. Total availability fell during the quarter to 143m sq ft, down 6% from the first quarter.




Chris Hirst, director of Thin Joint, right; and artist’s impressions of Eldorado Crescent, in Cheltenham, where the firm’s technology is being implemented

Housing project calls on Thin Joint Merseyside specialist firm’s technology used in ‘Passive House’ low energy scheme

LOW energy building specialist, Thin Joint Technology, has supplied a range of products to renowned Passive House architects, Seymour Smith, as part of its latest green build scheme. The architectural firm gained national recognition in Channel 4’s Grand Designs, having created the UK’s first “underhill” house using the low energy Passive House model. Liverpool-based Thin Joint has since provided products and technical support on a number of

schemes, including Eldorado Crescent, in Cheltenham. The Passive House concept, which has been pioneered in Europe, focuses on a building design where a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems, as the house heats and cools itself – hence passive. A new-build certified Passive House project in a conservation area in Cheltenham, this replacement dwelling will require

only a tiny 13.3kWh/m2.yr space heating, thanks to its super insulation, airtightness and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Thin Joint has supplied its SIM system consisting of 190mm solid thin-jointed lightweight block as well as technical design input. Chris Hirst, Director at Thin Joint said: “Passive House design and construction is still in its infancy in terms of nationwide appeal here in the UK, but is a tried and tested build model

across Europe, particularly Germany. “Low-energy building is no longer a luxury but a necessity and architects such as Seymour Smith are showcasing these designs, which, while visually striking, require little or zero energy services.” Helen Seymour Smith, from Seymour Smith, added: “We create distinctive projects from a unique creative dialogue with each of our clients. Following the success of our own home and

office, Hill Barn & Underhill House, which was filmed for Channel 4’s Grand Designs, we are increasingly specialising in houses built to the German Passive House standard, as well as responding to many challenging planning situations. “Thin Joint has been part of our supply chain on several schemes. “Their knowledge and understanding of the low energy and Passive House build sector is second to none.”

Energy firm director achieves top accreditation

MERSEYSIDE energy company director Mike Walker has achieved the UK’s highest qualification in assessing the green credentials of homes and businesses. Mr Walker, who set up Energy Solutions in 2000, has been awarded an ISO 50001 which qualifies him to conduct and lead energy management system audits. The qualification, which


took him more than two years to complete, is achieved by just a handful of people working in the sector. He is now confident that the qualification, coupled with the introduction of the Government’s Green Deal, will provide a huge boost to his Knowsley-based company. The coalition Government has promised the Green Deal will revolutionise

energy efficiency across the UK. The initiative is part of the 2011 Energy Act and aims to reduce carbon emissions through largescale, energy-efficient improvements to residential buildings and infrastructure across Britain. Up to £30,000 will be loaned to individuals to make homes more efficient, with the loans being repaid

over 25 years, not directly by the lender but by being added on to the property’s energy bills. Properties will be assessed by qualified Green Deal advisors. Mr Walker, who runs Energy Solutions with his wife and business partner Donna Walker, said: “We are very excited about the Green Deal as it is an area we have been working in for 12 years.”

The Green Deal aims to boost energy efficiency



iverpool-based Eco Environments has helped a century-old foundry go green in order to dramatically slash its energy costs. Lupton & Place, a family business based in Burnley, will see its electricity bill cut by almost £8000 a year as a result of installing energy efficient lighting. The installation will see the company’s lighting usage reduced by more than 85,000kWh units per annum from the existing 160,680kWh to 75,583kWh. The total energy costs will also plummet from the current £13,751 a year to just £6,382, giving a saving across five years of more than £35,000. The return on investment period for the £16,000 project is just over two years. In addition, the scheme is eligible for the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowances with 100 per cent of the project cost being written off in the first year ensuring an even better payback. Equally eye-watering is the reduction in CO2 emissions which will be cut by 46.3 tons per annum from 87.4 tons to just over 41 tons. David Hunt, Sales and Marketing Director for Eco Environments, said: “We are seeing huge demand from businesses, particularly those with high lighting usage, for energy efficient lighting installations. “The return on investment for such schemes can often be as little as two years and there are further incentives with funding available from the Carbon Trust as well as the Enhanced Capital Allowances which Lupton & Place was able to take advantage of. “We are finding that an increasing number of commercial customers are keen to talk to us not about one type of technology but about ways in which they can maximise their energy savings by installing different types of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology.” John Bardgett, Foundry Manager at Lupton & Place, said: “We chose to invest in energy efficient lighting across the foundry as it had a quick payback and limited interruption to our business during installation. “Most work was completed over a weekend and we are now not only more energy efficient but have a far better lit and improved working environment.”

Rapidly growing Eco Environments increased its turnover dramatically to £6.4million in the last financial year – compared to £1.3million the previous year. The company, which has its head office in Liverpool and regional offices in Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Carlisle and St Asaph, has also seen its headcount increase from 12 to 50 during the past 12 months. Lupton & Place has been at the forefront of the European die-casting industry for more than 100 years and employs 150 people. Capable of producing over 2 million castings a year the company services a diverse range of clients across Europe.

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Mersey firms in the saddle

Major companies sign up to scheme to get more staff taking the healthy route into work MAJOR employers in Liverpool are encouraging their staff to cycle to and from work, according to a cycle training organisation. BikeRight! has launched a project called Choose Freedom, to promote the benefits of cycling to both firms and individuals. It is working with companies in Merseyside such as Shop Direct, Liverpool One and Benson Signs. BikeRight! cites research from the London School of Economics which claims a 1% increase in those cycling to work has a knockon effect in terms of reduced lateness, less illness and greater productivity. The social enterprise estimates that this 1% increase could add more than £2m to the bottom line of Merseyside businesses. Companies can apply for grants to cover 50% of the cost of installing cycle parking and Choose Freedom project manager, Jo Somerset, said: “Employers taking up this grant will see benefits in staff punctuality and alertness at the beginning of the working day.” The three firms mentioned above are working with Bike Right! and the Choose Freedom project to encourage employees and potential employees to take up cycling – or, indeed, walking – as their preferred mode of commuter transport. Donna Howitt, marketing director at Liverpool One, said: “At Liverpool One, we are very much committed to promoting sustainable transport and cycling plays a big part of that. “We offer fantastic facilities for cyclists at Liverpool One, such as free secure bike storage within Q-Park, along with lots of Sheffield stands in the streets. “BikeRight! helped raise awareness of these facilities to the public and retailers as well as how easy it is to maintain a bike, what bike would be suitable for their needs and the health benefits of cycling.” For Chris Benson, managing director of Benson Signs, taking part in the Choose Freedom project is just the latest in a series of initiatives he has taken to make sure his businesses operates in a sustainable way. He has previously featured in Post Business after making efforts to cut his energy usage by installing solar PV panels. “At Benson Signs, we have been offering our staff access to the Cycle-to-Work programme for a number of years, and, to date, around 10% of our staff have

The launch of the Choose Freedom campaign which took place at the Pier Head, in Liverpool

taken advantage of the scheme,” he said. “Several other staff members are active cyclists and commute on cycles they already own. “We have encouraged staff to take part in a travel survey, which is progressing well. “Those who have completed the survey are signing up to the BikeRight/ Merseytravel monitoring scheme called CyclingWorks!, to log journeys

and calculate cost savings. Most significantly, we are excited by the potential for funding for us to purchase and install a secure cycle storage facility at our factory. “It is the intention that this will not only benefit those that already cycle regularly, but will encourage new cyclist commuters.” To help promote sustainability within local businesses and to make cycling a more viable option

for employers, BikeRight! is currently offering cycle parking grants for employers in north Liverpool – funded by the Department for Transport through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The Choose Freedom project is aimed at both employed and unemployed residents of Everton and Kirkdale, and, as well as promoting the freedom cycling offers when exploring

employment opportunities across the city, it will also highlight the health and welfare benefits of exercise Jo Somerset, director of BikeRight!, said: “Over the next three years, we will be targeting businesses right across the city to make sure they, too, understand how useful cycling, walking, and sustainable transport can be in broadening the catchment area for attracting employees.”

Cycling is making a huge and growing contribution to the UK economy THE benefits of cycling are wide, with increased participation bringing broad socio-economic benefits to the UK, according to a study by the


London School of Economics. It found that cycling resulted in: ● A £2.9bn total contribution to the UK economy;

● A 28% increase in volume of cycle sales in 2010, generating more than £1.62bn; ● A £853m further contribution to the UK

economy through the purchase of cycling accessories; ● Bicycle maintenance, resulting in total retail sector sales of £2.47bn;

● More than £500m generated in wages and £100m in taxes from 23,000 employed directly in bicycle sales, distribution and the

maintenance of cycling infrastructure; ● Health benefits of cycling save the economy £128m per year in absenteeism.


Christmas Parties CHRISTMAS party season is on the horizon and the annual office gathering approaches. Like most people, you’ve probably had experience of leaving it all far too late to book your chosen party venue and ended up taking your colleagues out for a disappointing meal at the only place in town that had a spare table in December. In order to avoid a repeat of such ignominy, it pays to plan ahead, so start arranging and booking your Christmas meals and parties now. Luckily, Merseyside has no shortage of great venues ready to offer fantastic food and an atmosphere to complement an Xmas bash to remember.

We’ve got some of the best restaurants, hotels and bars in the region, while public transport makes it easy to indulge and enjoy. Of course, preparation is key, so whether you’re planning a meal for your team or you’ve been charged with sorting out a big bash for your business, gather a group together as soon as possible and try to hash out the finer details of the schedule. With such a choice available, competition is rife between venues, so it’s definitely worth checking what offers are out there in order to get the best bang for your buck. Once you’ve settled on a venue, don’t hang around. There is nothing worse than

getting excited about going to a particular place you all love, only to be told there is no room at the inn and that you will have to make other plans at the 11th hour. If you’ve ever tried to arrange a meal for your team before, you’ll know that getting everyone’s diaries to co-ordinate can prove a bit of a nightmare. This is doubly tricky around Christmas, so the earlier you get in there and reserve the date, the better. It’s worth arranging as much as you can now, because once your venue is finally sorted, you can relax and plan how you intend to create a social occasion they’ll be talking about until, well, at least New Year!

Don’t leave it until the last minute . . . book your Christmas party now

A specialChristmas celebration needs glamour and atmosphere...

Get Ready To This Christmas

Dine, dance and party the night away in the stadium that has inspired legends and enjoy a spectacular event that you will never forget. Whatever the theme, size or style of your celebration, we have a package to suit.

Our ‘Festive VIP’ night from £19.95 to our ‘Guest List’ package at £65.00 a package for everyone! FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT OUR CHRISTMAS PARTY CO-ORDINATOR: or 0151 530 5250




The Ultimate ‘all-inclusive’ Christmas Party

Impress clients with a private function

The City’s most glamorous festive evening dinners

A brilliant buster party package. Pay your package price and then all you need is your taxi fare!

Enjoy your own private party with colleagues or entertaining clients.

Includes a glitter carpet reception, glitter theme décor, Glass of Fizz on arrival, 3 course festive meal followed by tea/coffee and mints.

Enjoy a 3 course festive meal followed by tea/coffee and mints. Drinks all night, choose from selected beers, spirits, mixers and house wines.

We will provide you with a fantastic festive hot and cold buffet or sit down meal plus a party disco for you to dance off your dinner!

Then be entertained by our singer followed by a disco.

Dance the night away to some great party tunes with our brilliant party disco.

Packages from £65.00 per person

Lunch, Dinner or Christmas Party Packages from £19.95 per person

Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 December £33.95 Friday 7 & Saturday 8 December £35.95 Friday 14 Saturday 15 December £37.50 Thursday 20 & Friday 21 December £37.50



Party at Formby Hall WHETHER you are celebrating with family, friends or colleagues this Christmas and New Year, Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa guarantees you a magical time, a service that is genuinely warm and friendly, plus firstclass cuisine – all at the stunning Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa. You can enjoy a magical family Sunday Lunch Carvery, with lots of fun and frivolity as the warmup begins for the big day, kids’ entertainment and, of course, a visit from a very busy Santa, who’ll have a gift for every child. You can also enjoy the delights of the venue’s Christmas Lunches and Dinners, the perfect way to get you in the festive spirit. With a truly seasonal menu, craft tables and selection box for every child, this truly is the ideal family Christmas treat. If you are looking for a perfect family Christmas lunch, Christmas Day in The Ambassador Suite is for you. Enjoy a delicious carvery with all the festive

trimmings and Santa has confirmed he will pop in and give a gift to all the children before he heads back to Lapland. Alternatively, celebrate Christmas Day in style with a glass of fizz and canapés on arrival, followed by a superb seasonal lunch, prepared by the head chef and his team, in the relaxed yet stunning surroundings of The Restaurant. Formby Hall has the venue, the superb food, the entertainment and the atmosphere. All you need is to turn up to the everpopular Christmas and post-Christmas Party

Nights. Dance the night away in style with friends and colleagues to celebrate the festive season. All the Christmas Party Nights start with a four-course meal followed by a DJ and disco until the early hours. Make a real night of it and book a room at special festive rates. So, as you can see, there’s something for everyone this Christmas and New Year at Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa. ■ FOR more information or to book for Christmas and New Year call 01704 875699 or visit www. formbyhallgolfresort.

Celebrate Christmas with the Blues A SEASON of festive fun and lavish entertainment has been unveiled by Goodison Park in the run-up to Christmas. Sodexo Prestige, which runs the conference and banqueting facilities at the Everton ground, has created four dine and dance party packages on selected dates in December. Glamour is the order of the day when the stadium hosts its twice weekly Glitter Balls, throughout December from just £33.95 a head. Guests will be given a special, glitter carpet welcome and a sparkling reception drink followed

by a gourmet threecourse meal with live entertainment and a top-class disco to round things off. In addition, the ground is offering The Guest List package starting at £65 per person, which not only includes a festive, threecourse meal and a late disco, but also unlimited selected beers, house wines, spirits and mixers. Sodexo’s awardwinning team of chefs will also be serving up a selection of Classic Christmas dining packages on selected dates where guests can enjoy a three-course

seasonal lunch and disco between 1pm and 6pm for £28.50 per person. Alternatively, the stadium’s Festive VIP package enables groups of friends or colleagues to hire one of its function rooms or suites to host a celebratory party, lunch or dinner of their own, from £19.95 per person. The Sodexo team offers a wide menu of hot and cold buffets and can arrange a variety of live entertainment. ■ FOR further information, or to make a booking, call the events team on 0151 530 5250 or email: events@

Enjoy your Christmastime at Formby Hall

FUN-FILLED CHRISTMAS PARTY NIGHTS We have the venue, we have the superb food, we have the entertainment and we have the atmosphere. So book now for our fun-filled Christmas party nights and post Christmas party nights for friends, family and colleagues. Call us now on 01704 875699 or visit our website.

Visit or call 01704 875 699

Christmas 2 for 1 Lunches

Packages from

£39.95 per person

From only

£9.95 per person*


Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa, Southport Old Road, Formby, Merseyside L37 0AB *2 course normal price £19.95 per person 3 course normal price £24.95 per person



Xmas at the Radisson EXPERIENCE Christmas at Radisson Blu Hotel Liverpool for a perfectly formed and perfectly unique celebration. It’s a great way to get your Christmas off to a sparkling start, enjoying festive drinks and selected dishes throughout the whole of December in The White Bar and Filini restaurant. If you are planning a Christmas party, the events team at Radisson Blu can help you organise the perfect celebration.

From a canapé and drinks reception, or a small dinner in Filini with friends, through to a party night for up to 120 guests. Why not take the hassle out of getting to and from the city over the festive season by booking one of the hotel’s stunning bedrooms. Arrive early and make use of the extensive leisure facilities or indulge with some pre-party pampering in the hotel’s treatment rooms. For larger functions,

Christmas at Radisson Blu is not to be missed

you can book private or joint party nights in The Kings Suite, which offers stunning views over the River Mersey and is available throughout December. The party night package includes a Radisson Blu cocktail upon arrival, followed by a three-course dinner, then party the night away with the hotel’s resident DJ. Ensure you book early to avoid disappointment! The team at Radisson Blu believe it’s the little things that make all the difference. Let them know what is important to you, they will be only too pleased to tailor the perfect package to suit your every need. ■ FOR more information or to make a booking, call the events team on 0151 966 1500 or email events.liverpool@ To download a copy of the brochure, visit the website: www.radisson ■ VISIT Radisson Blu Hotel Liverpool, 107 Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9BD.

Enjoy Christmas at the new-look Mal SHE’S been having a bit of work done. A nip here, a tuck there. After all this preening, the third Liver Bird is well and truly back. Homegrown and local brasserie dining, a stylish cocktail bar and the usual slinkiness upstairs you expect from the Mal. Perched on Princes Dock and ready to ruffle the feathers of your usual hang-outs. The Mal is back. When will you be? Two birds. Perched on top of the world-famous Liver Building. Looking out across the Mersey. Every now and again, they sneak a peak at this little beauty. The first

Mal to be built from scratch, but every inch a Mal on the inside. From the blazing cauldron of fire in the cavernous reception to the plum bar and the brasserie, she has it all. Upstairs, the rock ‘n’ roll continues, with football-inspired suites, battleship bathtubs and the obligatory Yellow Submarine. Every good hotel should have one. How about Santa Claus abseiling down the building or Rudolph in reception? Just joking, of course, but the Malmaison staff will do all they can to make your festive event just that little bit extra

special. But only if you’ve all been good boys and girls . . . Have a chat with Reception when you book and they’ll see what they can do for you. This year, The Mal is offering superb dining for Early Birds, Celebrations, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The Mal also has fantastic room rates available and can cater for parties and private dining. ■ TO FIND out more about parties and private dining, call the Events Desk on 0151 229 5000 or email: events.liverpool@


'Tis the season to be naughty with the new devilishly tempting festive menus from Malmaison. Early Bird Menu 19th Nov - 3rd Dec from £18.95 per person Celebrations Menu 4th - 24th Dec 3 courses from £29.50 per person Celebrate in style this Christmas at Radisson Blu Hotel Liverpool.

Shared Parties £39.95

from per person including 3 courses, a half bottle of wine with a disco and a DJ.

To make a booking please contact our events team on: 0151 966 1500 or email To book call

0151 229 5000

or email William Jessop Way, Princes Dock, Liverpool, L3 1QZ Terms and conditions apply. Please see or ask a member of the hotel team.




BUSINESS LUNCH Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, at the Hotel Indigo, Liverpool

Alistair Houghton meets Simon Leyland, of Maxwell Hodge, at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, in Liverpool OU can’t miss Maxwell Hodge’s red flags in Castle Street – and you can’t miss the celebrity chef behind one of the commercial district’s flashiest dining hotspots. The spacious yellow dining room at Liverpool’s Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill (MPW), which opened in June, is adorned with immense pictures of the chef whose name it bears. White has a reputation as a man who takes his food very, very seriously, so those pictures are doubtless a warning to MPW’s chefs that they should always be at the top of their game. White knows that MPW, while it may be a flashy celebrity-endorsed restaurant, needs to get the basics right. Big name or not, if the food isn’t right, then people won’t come. It sounds simple, but so seldom is. Thankfully, based on my recent visits, MPW has got it right. And, Simon Leyland says, getting the basics right is just as important in the legal world. Big red flags and marketing are all very well, but law firms live or die on the service they offer. So, for all the flags adorning the firm’s headquarters, and for all its marketing work, Maxwell Hodge has sustained its reputation over the past 150 years through its service. “We have experienced people with great expertise,” said Leyland, the firm’s managing partner. “We pride ourselves on giving first-class expert advice. It’s quite simple. “We do marketing, and that helps us, but it’s always true that the biggest source of work is clients recommending you to other people.” Leyland grew up in Formby before heading to the University of Manchester to study history. He then studied law in Newcastle before joining Maxwell Hodge, where he rose to lead its personal injury arm before taking over as managing partner last year. “I’ve been here man and boy,” he smiled. “I haven’t been at any other firm, which I suppose is a bit unusual nowadays. “I’ve been raised up through the firm. I was excited when I got the opportunity to become managing partner. I’ve got a strong belief in what the firm does.” Maxwell Hodge traces its origins back to 1860, and the founding of city centre firm TJ Smith and Son. In 1940, Sir Maxwell Entwistle opened his legal


practice. A year later, he was joined by John Byrne, and their practice became Maxwell Entwistle & Byrne. In 1986, that firm bought TJ Smith. And finally, in 2005, Maxwell Entwistle & Byrne merged with Carter Hodge to firm Maxwell Hodge. It’s a typically complex legal history. But that history has left it with a branch network of which Leyland is proud. “We’re slightly unusual nowadays in that we still have dots on the map,” he said. “We have eight offices in and around Merseyside – Kirkby, Huyton, West Kirby, etc. “A lot of firms our size have moved to centralised working. We’ve found it’s one of our strengths to have accessible offices for people in their local area. We still have a lot of people coming through our doors.” Two years ago, in its 150th anniversary year, Maxwell Hodge underwent a “radical restructure” and split its work into three divisions: business services, contentious work – including litigation – and non-contentious work such as conveyancing and probate. “We’ve tried to make our management a bit leaner and more efficient,” said Leyland. Business services incorporates what Leyland calls “the non-legal stuff ”, including HR and IT services. “It’s important nowadays for a firm our size to keep on top of things like IT,” he said. “We’re continuing to grow into being the legal adviser of choice for SMEs.” Leyland is also proud of the company’s recent launch of the Max Card – a loyalty card for its SME clients. Customers collect points for using Maxwell Hodge’s services, which they can redeem to cut costs later. “It also has benefits for employees,” added Leyland. “They can get discounted work if they come to us. “We’ve just launched that and we hope it will expand our commercial department.” Maxwell Hodge is also hoping that its clinical negligence department will drive it to growth. “Everybody does personal injury, but not everybody does

Simon Leyland


clinical negligence,” said Leyland. “It’s a bit more of a specialism. “The other area we’ve always been traditionally strong in is lifetime planning and probate. “Usually, that affects older people. That sort of work will continue to grow because we’ve got an expanding older population, and an expanding client base.” MPW proved an excellent place to have a lunchtime chat. It has a relaxed atmosphere, despite its founder’s visage peering down from the walls, with efficient and attentive service. It offers an extensive a la carte menu and a well-priced lunch deal, at £13.50 for two courses. On my first visit to MPW a few weeks ago, I went for the massive and delicious fishcake. This time I stuck with fish, but went for the healthier option. My grilled hake came with pea and broccoli ragout. The deliciously tender fish was perfectly partnered by the fresh flavours of the sides, making a perfect light lunch. I lost some health bonus points, though, by having a side order of MPW’s excellent chips, perfectly cooked in beef dripping. On this visit, both Leyland and I went straight for a main course. While I ate my fish, he enjoyed tender roast chicken with potato dauphinoise and a rich jus. The Legal Services Act, nicknamed “Tesco Law”, was introduced last year and means non-legal firms can now offer legal services. The introduction of those “alternative business structures” struck fear into the

hearts of some lawyers, but Leyland insists Maxwell Hodge is prepared for the change. He said: “A firm our size isn’t going to get anywhere trying to directly compete with someone like the Co-op, because we’re not national, but we will concentrate on what we’re good at. “Our clients still appreciate that face-to-face service. “If you go to a lawyer, you have a problem that needs solving. If you know who you’re dealing with, and you can deal with the same person rather than 10 different people, then that distinguishes us from the bigger, less personable organisations. “But the alternative business structures thing also gives opportunities to firms like us because there’s no reason why, going forward, we cannot take advantage of that and bring in added benefits of non-lawyers coming in to manage our business.” Leyland says government plans to ban referral fees for personal injury work will not hit his firm. “We’ve never jumped on that bandwagon,” he said. “We find we still get offered that type of work off the street through our offices.” And he says that, behind the scenes, he and his staff are working hard to adapt to other government reforms aimed at cutting the Legal Aid bill. The changes could, in fact, bring new opportunities for Maxwell Hodge. “The other way we plan to grow, going forward, is through acquisition,” said Leyland. “There will unfortunately be

some small firms, perhaps threepartner firms, that for whatever reason won’t be able to cope with some of the changes being brought in and the burdens being placed on them. “We see that some of those firms, if they don’t go under, will want to join bigger entities. “We have an acquisition strategy and are always alive to what’s going on in terms of firms that want to go down that road.” Keen Liverpool fan Leyland enjoys running, and has completed a handful of halfmarathons, but says his two young daughters now take up most of his time outside work. And his work life isn’t going to get quieter any time soon. The firm employs some 80 people, and Leyland expects that figure will grow as his expansion plans bear fruit. “I’m very excited about the future,” he said. “There’s been a lot of negativity in the legal market recently because of these changes. There’s been a lot of doom-laden talk. “But whatever the challenge or change, we just sit down, plan a strategy and use our strengths.”

DETAILS Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill 10, Chapel Street, Liverpool Tel: (0151) 559 0555 www.mpwsteakhouseliverpool. com



THE BUSINESS LIST Friday, September 28 ST HELENS Chamber of Commerce is running a race day at Haydock Park Racecourse, starting at 1pm and running until 6pm. The Chamber says it offers a perfect afternoon combination of racing and networking, involving full corporate hospitality in the newly-refurbished Paddock Pavilion, located next to the parade ring area. Tickets are priced at £35+VAT for Chamber members and £70+VAT for non-members and will include an arrival drink, informal buffet lunch, refreshments throughout the day, entrance badge, racecard, private cash bar, tote facilities and reserved parking. To register for this event, please visit https://www.sthelens


Wednesday, October 3 A FREE networking event aimed at the charity and voluntary sectors is taking place at the Partnership for Learning, South Road, Speke, next to the Jaguar Land Rover car plant, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Organised by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and LCVS United Way, the second event of 2012 facilitates contact with peers and businesses who are interested in working with charities. Light refreshments are provided as well as insightful speakers. Visit view/id/2923#book to book

Thursday, October 4

Richard Farleigh, the ‘Mr Nice’ of the BBC Dragons’ Den series, will be headline speaker at the Cheshire Business Expo BUSINESS leaders have the chance to take on top tips from entrepreneurial expert and former Dragons’ Den star Richard Farleigh. The Australian, who was known as the “Mr Nice” of the BBC

series, is the headline speaker at the Cheshire Business Expo being held at the Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa, in Tarporley. Mr Farleigh will speak about his own inspirational tale of

THE latest JellyLiverpool casual co-working day encourages creative freelancers and homeworkers to bring their laptop and drop in for a free “work-together” with the offer of free desk space, free WiFi and free coffee, while making new contacts. JellyLiverpool will run from 8am to 4pm, upstairs in Leaf Bar Thursday, October 11 & Cafe, on Bold Street. ● FOR more details, go to www. BRAND Ubiquity “Ritual”, hosted uk/jelly by Vision 4 Children and

rags-to-riches and what it was like to be a “Dragon” investor. He will be joined by Phil Jones, head of the UK arm of multinational company Brother and Clive Drinkwater, regional director for the

Blankstone Opticians, in aid of World Sight Day, will take place at a venue to be confirmed in Liverpool city centre, from 5.30pm. Consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Arvind Chandna will speak about World Sight Day’s bid to focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired. ● FOR an invitation and venue details, please email joel@

Wednesday, October 17

Haydock Park Racecourse


Government-backed UK Trade and Investment. There will also be networking breakfast and lunch sessions and a range of workshops including getting to grips with Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

A SEMINAR on export documentation and methods of payment is being held at the Old Hall Street offices of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

Arvind Chandna – talk in aid of World Sight Day The British Chambers of Commerce-accredited event is aimed at anyone who has to deal with export procedures and the paperwork associated with it. It

Tickets are priced at £45, which includes lunch. To confirm your place and to obtain a full list of workshops, contact Pauline Crozier on 01606 888111 or email paulinec@profile

is ideal for those in administration, sales, despatch, logistics, purchasing, finance and managers of companies exporting for the first time. Each delegate will get a set of detailed course notes and worked examples to take home to use in their place of work. The course will be presented by Robin Mackay who is an experienced director and senior manager with more than 15 years’ experience working for a world class textile company with particular responsibility for exports. It lasts from 9am to 5pm and costs £200 for Chamber members and £250 for non-members. ● CONTACT chamber. view/id/2988#book


ALISTAIR HOUGHTON . . . in which the great and the good see a retail landmark brought back to life by a brigade of preserved bodies F YOU’RE going to hold an exhibition of dead bodies, then why not hold it inside an exHead? Not so long ago, the large Liverpool One store opposite John Lewis was home to a CD and DVD megastore – first a Virgin Megastore, then its successor, Zavvi. But then Zavvi slumped into administration. Its Liverpool store rebranded as Head and trudged on for a while, but it closed within months, and when its sad closing-down sale came to an end the store, once a huge temple to recorded music, sat silent. Like a character from a Christmas fairytale, it comes magically back to life at Christmas with a festive superstore. But, for much of the rest of the year, it sits silent, wrapped in so much Liverpool One branding that you almost forget the empty space is there. The Bodies Revealed team, however, don’t let a minor worry like death worry them. After all, if they can make a globetrotting exhibition out of dead bodies, then they can breathe new life into a forgotten Liverpool store. Bodies Revealed is an exhibition of preserved bodies and body parts that has taken over the former Zavvi/Head store until January. And when I heard there was to be, to quote the press release, “a launch event for leading figures in the city’s medical, health, education and cultural sectors”,


‘No, I do not carry business cards’

then I couldn’t resist popping along. After all, I may have hobnobbed with pop royalty and the business great and good for the purposes of this column, but I’ve never networked with the dead. HEN they said the launch would be one of the hottest events of the year, they weren’t joking. The former shopfloor was packed with the good and the great – and media types – all waiting for the exhibition to open. And the room was like an oven. One colleague remarked on how swelteringly hot I looked. “It’s boiling,” said I, reverting to the language of school. “That’s what happens when you pack lots of bodies in here,” he remarked. I would say “remarked drily”, but the sweat was starting to show. Eventually, PR Geraldine Turner opened proceedings on a podium perched halfway up the stairs. “I’ve been in marketing for years but never been asked about dead bodies before,” she mused. And then came the main speaker, Dr Roy Glover, the exhibition’s chief medical director. Clad in blazer and light slacks, as you’d expect of a distinguished American academic on an overseas trip, Dr Glover gave an uplifting overview. “I believe our bodies are our most


precious gift,” he said. Our director wanted us to know that this show was not just about entertainment. It was, he said, an educational experience. And – he was American, after all – he tried to demonstrate that this show was also about self-improvement. By learning about how your body works, or doesn’t, then you could be encouraged to improve your lifestyle. It is, as he put it, a “dose of body education”. Dr Glover pointed out that the exhibition showed the effects alcohol could have on the body. “One glass of wine is good for your stomach,” he said. “Too many glasses of wine will destroy your liver.” Hundreds of guests stood clutching glasses of wine on the former Head shopfloor below. And hundreds of pairs of eyes dropped to the floor to avoid his gaze. R GLOVER also explained the “polymer preservation” process used to preserve the bodies. It was a worthy explanation, but it was perhaps undermined from where I was standing by the fact that the preserved hip joint he was waving around looked suspiciously like a rubber chicken. Finally, we could head upstairs to the exhibits – minus our wine glasses, of course. Just as in the dying days of Head, the escalator was switched off, so we had to trudge up a long flight of steps. Doubtless, it was good for our bodies. Geraldine was right – the show isn’t gory at all. In fact, if you hadn’t been told they were real, you’d probably have assumed they were plastic. In the centre of the first room – somewhere near where the sales racks were when Head breathed its last – was Sir Roy again, this time talking to a crowd of fascinated people gathered around one of the bodies. Once again, he told the crowd that they should take care of their bodies. “There’s no such thing as a full body transplant,” he warned them. I toured the exhibition briefly. It was fascinating and certainly not gory, but it wasn’t really night out material. So I headed out over the red carpet and wandered home. Plus, I realised as I left, I’d spent the whole exhibition thinking not about the bodies, but about the venue. I loved and love record shops – well, CD shops, technically. I even liked Zavvi, and Head. I spent hours wandering around that store. But the world has changed, and so many record shops have fallen by the wayside. Everyone else was looking at the bodies. I just kept thinking about the record shop it used to be – an out-of-Bodies experience, you might say . . .





Alison Hunter with stylist Lorraine McCulloch and Lynne Hamilton, of Age UK Picture: DIANE THOMPSON

Jude Cisse and Liz McClarnon at the PIMA Bar Champagne Afternoon Tea, in the Hilton, Liverpool Picture: DIANE THOMPSON

CAROLYN HUGHES THE PIMA Bar at Hilton Hotel, Liverpool One, hosted their first Champagne Afternoon Tea with Swing last week. Traditional Afternoon Tea, including a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, scones, and tea or coffee, complemented by a glass of Heidsieck Monopole Chamgpagne and the mellow sounds of crooner Alan Cross. Champagne Afternoon Tea with Swing will be available for bookings on the last Thursday of each month between 3pm and 5pm, at £20 per person. ■ STYLISH jewellers Boodles, on Lord Street, hosted an intimate “Wine

on Wednesday” event with Joanne Watkinson, from Ladies enjoyed fine wines and canapés, while Joanne showcased some of My-wardrobe’s latest and “must have” fashion items. ■ CONGRATULATIONS to Derek Hatton and Lee Carroll, both directors of the Bike2Work Scheme based in Crosby, who recently completed a gruelling 345-mile charity cycle from Paris to Geneva for charity. They completed the tough course to raise much needed funds for the OK Foundation, in memory of Oliver King.

Joanne Watkinson, Denise Harrison and Laura Byrne, at the Boodles’ Wine on Wednesday event

Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Viv Taylor-Fletcher, from Blackpool, at the Champagne Afternoon Tea Picture: DIANE THOMPSON

Selina Campbell, from Boodles, and Lia Kennedy, from Living Ventures, at the PIMA Bar Champagne Afternoon Tea Picture: DIANE THOMPSON


Catherine Price, with Sharon Finnegan, of Spa at Nuffield, at the Wine on Wednesday event

Cycling marathon fundraisers Derek Hatton and Lee Carroll, directors of the Bike2Work scheme

Joanne Watkinson, of, with Selina Campbell, from Boodles, at the Wine on Wednesday event



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Post Business Magazine - October 2012  

Monthly regional business magazine from The Liverpool Post Monthly regional business magazine from The Liverpool Post