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contact Together We Grow Stronger

February - March 2017



Contact August / September 2016



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Chamber president Mike Matthews MBE on an interesting start to the year, the Chamber's Manifesto 2017 and the highlights of this month's Contact

Welcome to the latest issue of Contact magazine and more stories of success and inspirational business leaders. In his regular In My View column, Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham lays out our manifesto for the year, which clearly sets out the changes our members believe will make the biggest and most positive impact on our region. Last year saw some dramatic shifts in the political landscape, and the outcome of the EU referendum, the appointment of a new Prime Minister and further devolution to parts of the region have all presented new challenges and opportunities. We know North East England is a great place to do business, and we also want it to be the best; our manifesto is dedicated to this aim. Apprentices are the lifeblood of many businesses and this edition also features information about the Apprenticeship Levy and what it means for North East companies. There are still too few female leaders of global manufacturing businesses, but there is an outstanding role model in this sector on our doorstep. Sarah Cridland heads Technip in Newcastle and in this edition she sets out her vision for women on boards and outlines growth plans for her business. The Government’s Brexit strategy is causing concern for businesses which use skilled migrant workers and also for our universities, which have many international students. In the Last Word, University of Sunderland vicechancellor Shirley Atkinson highlights the contribution of our universities and the role they play internationally. Enjoy this edition, and remember to keep in touch via social media with your own news and views.

Mike Matthews, Chamber president EDITOR Jane Pikett EDITORIAL TEAM Dean Bailey Liz Hands Owen McAteer Paul Robertson Rosie Waller

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Brexit: the Ins and Outs of what may be…. AEO - IPR - UCC - MFN - WTO... NP or OMG? (Most of) The terms above relate to the Brexit negotiations, with implications for businesses importing and exporting physical goods. The Chamber has expanded it’s international team, to help the region’s businesses understand how such terms will impact them. Global members can now access 1-1’s to discuss issues relating to international business, including all of those listed above, and anything else related to the movement of goods over international borders. Email to find out more. 4


“It is vital to encourage senior female business leaders, particularly at director level” Sarah Cridland, Technip Umbilicals

28 Page 34: Christine Hardman Bishop of Newcastle

Success: Tales of the riverbank with Technip Umbilicals MD Sarah Cridland


06 60 Seconds

30 Profile

Teesside athlete turned BBC commentator Allison Curbishley

Pulsant's George Sanger

10 In my view Forward thinking with James Ramsbotham Page 64: Shirley Atkinson University of Sunderland

13 Inbox

39 Special focus

News and views from the world of business

Apprenticeships and training

14-22 News

50 People

Growth for Greggs and Beamish Museum, bridge progress in Sunderland, exporting success and more

Movers and shakers across the region

23 Double Take Charity bosses in the hot seats

26 Policy Chamber Manifesto 2017

34 Business lunch With Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, at Dabbawal

53-58 Lifestyle Sit back and relax with the latest in tech, fashion and motoring

64 Last word With University of Sunderland vice-chancellor Shirley Atkinson contact   5

60 Seconds



From the track to the commentary box via Teesside, the Olympic Games and girl power Teesside-born international 400m runner Allison Curbishley made the transition from track star to BBC radio commentator following success at Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic level. An integral member of the BBC commentary team at four Olympic Games, when she’s not travelling the world covering athletics you’ll probably find her at home in Northumberland running Events of the North – the company behind the Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K, and Kielder Marathon weekend. She also supports her partner Steve Cram’s international charity COCO and enjoys cycling in the North East countryside. Here’s more… Q I’m about to meet you for the first time – what can I expect? A glass half full person, a typical Gemini - be prepared to not get a word in! Q And what about little Ally - who did you look up to as a child? The posters on my bedroom wall were of [pop stars] A-ha and Bros, but the person I looked to all my early life was my grandad Bob, known as Bobsa. He was my number one fan throughout my running career; he heaped embarrassment on me but I always wanted to please him. Q And on the track - who inspired you there? As a young athlete I was inspired by some of the British greats, Sally Gunnell in particular. Closer to home, Louise Stewart ran in the Seoul Olympics and to go from watching her train at my athletics club to competing in the Olympics on TV was huge inspiration for a 12-year-old growing up in Stockton.  Q How do you compare to your 21-year-old self? I like to think I’m a little more sensible and I try to engage my brain before opening my mouth!

Q What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current job? I’d probably be a PE teacher. It was always something I thought I would go into from a very young age and I had one of the best PE teachers a sporty kid could wish for. She influenced me hugely throughout senior school and I always thought I’d want to follow in her footsteps and be able to inspire others. Q And the best job you’ve ever had? I'm still living and working at it. I’m very lucky to have moved from life as a professional athlete into commentary and have now been behind the mic longer than I was competing. It’s a lot like chatting to my mates really - just with a microphone in front of me. Q Which broadcasting moments stand out for you? Each Olympic Games is special. It’s the greatest sporting show on earth and it’s difficult to highlight just one element of working on it. The radio is such a pure form of media and I love being able to scene set for listeners and bring the most memorable sporting moments to life. My first Olympics after retiring was Athens 2004, which was amazing with the Kelly Holmes’ double gold and the sprint relay boys beating the Americans. The tough part was waiting nervously at the finish of the marathon for my ex-roommate and friend Paula Radcliffe [the marathon world record holder]. To watch her Olympic dreams fall apart while maintaining an impartial view was hard, and I cringe if they ever play it back as you can hear me whimper in the background as John Rawling commentates. The greatest moment has to be Super Saturday in London - August 4, 2012.


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60 Seconds like I was with Paula in Athens, but you have to try not to get too emotional - it’s not a great listen if the commentator is crying down the mic! Q On the odd occasion you’re not working, how do you spend a day off? I switch the phone off and sleep in! When I do eventually scrape myself out of bed, I’ll potter around the house and garden. We don’t spend enough time at home or get the opportunity to enjoy life in Northumberland enough. Q What’s been your most embarrassing moment? I did recently back flip onto my face at a trampoline park, resulting in a friction burn down the middle of my face. Lesson learned - I’m officially old! In 44 minutes, we saw three Olympic gold medals from Dame Jess, dancing Greg and Sir Mo… awesome! Q What’s the best decision you’ve made along the way? Taking up athletics - sport gives you more than you can ever imagine and it doesn’t matter what level you’re at. I’d be lost without it. Q And the greatest moment of your career to date? On the track, it has to be walking into a packed Stadium Australia for the Olympic final in 2000. Personally, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro with friends and my other half [Olympic silver medallist and BBC commentator Steve Cram] in aid of the best charity I could ever support, COCO. Q If I were to tell you that you couldn’t fail, what would you do? I would love to be able to sing. I was born with the fast twitch fibres to be a sprinter rather then the vocal chords of Adele, but if you told me I would be headlining Glastonbury on the Pyramid Stage, I’d be there with bells on. Q That sounds pretty fearless. So what scares you most? Failure…and tiny confined spaces. Q Who would play you in a film of your life? It would have to be Jennifer Lawrence - Steve adores her! Q What’s the hardest part of being a broadcaster? Trying to think and speak as a journalist rather than an athlete. Sometimes you’re emotionally attached, 8


Q Apart from cars and property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought? I’m not really materialistic, but I love cycling and the road bike I treated myself to for my 40th birthday was probably the biggest extravagance to date... especially as it only weighs 6kg! I'm also bordering on being a hoarder, though not intentionally. I have a decent trainer collection and I could easily clothe a small village with my sports kit. Q What’s your guilty pleasure? A big glass of good Pinot Noir. Q And what’s next on your bucket list? I really need to tick off a triathlon. The problem with being a former athlete is everything is a competition. I struggle not being good at something and with being much older than I was when I was good! Q Who would be at your dream dinner party? Definitely a case of here come the girls! I’d have former First Lady Michelle Obama, someone I really admire and hopefully future President, there’d also be Kylie Minogue (Grew up hooked on Neighbours) , Kate Bush would have to be there and then Jennifer Saunders (I’m a huge French and Saunders and Ab Fab). My token male would be the host Eddie Izzard, he’s one of a kind, the most intelligent, funny, passionate and kind hearted celebrity I’ve ever met. Q Which word do you use too much? Fab, which can get awkward if I’m in the company of Fab Flournoy [player/coach of the Newcastle Eagles] which is when I’m most aware of it. Q What does the future hold? Much more fun, exploring, travelling and watching athletics.

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contact Contact - North East England Chamber of Commerce’s flagship business magazine is full of agenda-setting news, comment, insight and analysis and its reach is strengthened with a fortnightly email bulletin sent direct to the inboxes of leaders and influencers throughout the region. Contact is the North East’s most widely read business magazine, and together with its regular e-bulletin, presents a uniquely effective offline and online package conveying member news and developments alongside insight and commentary on the wider business and economic landscape. Contact reflects the far-ranging influence of the Chamber, and as the leading business membership organisation in the region - with around 4,000 members ranging from ownermanaged SMEs to major PLCs - its members represent more than one third of the region’s workforce.

Why just read it when you can be part of it? Contact is published six times a year and distributes 7,000 copies. Key people in each member organisation receive a copy through the post, and an additional 3,000 copies are distributed to business support organisations, business centres, managed offices, MPs and opinion formers throughout the region.


Colin Rutherford

Tel: 01661 844115 mob: 07780 450473 email:

In my view

Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham outlines business priorities in a fast-changing world

Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham

While the Government is focused on forging new relationships with Europe and the rest of the world, and local leaders are similarly engrossed with their particular issues, there is a definite and increased need for a regional voice. We exist to champion North East England and ensure that as a region we punch above our weight. To be exact, we fill the gap between national priorities and the concerns of individual towns and cities. Because our members cover the length and breadth of the North East, we can be sure our actions follow a clear remit founded on business need. In our 2017 Manifesto we have set out our ambition to support businesses to be the best they can be. This campaign document is our blueprint for success. It highlights the five main areas of our work in making the North East influential, global, connected, working and competitive. To benchmark our progress as a region, we produce a Quarterly Economic Survey which marks the performance of member businesses. The results of the most recent survey revealed growing uncertainty in our region. In a worrying trend, scores have dropped across key indicators, including domestic sales and workforce - illustrating slower growth rates. And the score for export sales has turned negative, showing a fall during

“The world looks very different in 2017 and I hope this can be a catalyst for change”

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the quarter, although the picture is more positive for the manufacturing sector. With the new US President likely to introduce changes to international markets, we must warn decision makers that opportunities for growth need be protected. In addition to the Manifesto, we have launched a detailed transport report for the region, highlighting priorities for the coming months. Improved physical and technological connections nationally and globally are clearly imperative, and we are campaigning for new air and sea links to support export and investment. Our road network also needs investment and we will be urging the Government to provide rapid delivery of work on the A1, A19 and trans-Pennine routes. Further priorities include the need for a new Tyne and Wear Metro fleet and improved rail freight capacity. To ensure our members receive the support they need to grow, we have launched our second annual business banking survey, Business Banking Pulse, with Smart Money People. Having worked in banking for a number of years before joining the Chamber, I understand the importance of a good relationship with your bank, and we’re encouraging businesses to share their experiences, positive and negative, with the financial sector - in particular in relation to access to capital, fees and relationship management. This is the second year the survey has been undertaken and last year’s results

The more our businesses work together, the stronger we are

highlighted four areas where banks could support businesses better. They included improved relationship management, greater access to capital, improved access to business planning and financial advice, and better interest rates for positive balances. We will be publishing the survey results in March and you have until Friday February 17 to submit your views at product/business-banking/review Finally, with the emphasis on changing circumstances for exporters, we are working to identify new markets overseas. I am joining a trade mission to South Korea in February and we have joined forces across the Northern Powerhouse to seek

new opportunities. There are further trade missions in the pipeline to Düsseldorf and Copenhagen. The world looks very different in 2017, and I hope the new circumstances can be a catalyst for change for the better. Together we grow stronger. contact   11

On Wednesday 15th March 2017, HR Showcase are proudly presenting...

“The Untouchables?” This employment seminar, by way of role play, will focus on steps employers can take to dismiss employees, with less than two years employment, when there are ‘complicating factors’ present such as; „ „ „ „

Mental health problems; A return from maternity leave; A flexible working request; and Social media misuse.

Venue: Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne Date: Wednesday 15th March 2017 Time: 8:30am - 10:30am To reserve your free place at this seminar, please contact Helen Ward Call: 0191 232 8345 Email: Visit: to book a place online

Feedback from the previous seminar: “Excellent format - much better than sitting through a set of PowerPoint slides covering the subject!” “Very engaging, energetic and pitched at the right level.” “Other seminars are just so boring in comparison to Hay & Kilner’s.”

Inbox Have you got something to say about Contact magazine or about business in general? Then this page is the place. Email your news, views, comment and gossip to

HRH The Princess Royal meets with an East Durham College equine student

Horsing around

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened East Durham College’s redeveloped Houghall Campus, Durham. The college recently underwent a £12.75m redevelopment and Her Royal Highness met the college’s leadership team and governors, undertook a tour of the college’s new facilities and heard from students and staff about their equine studies and small animal care and management courses.


Here’s our pick of recent events across the region on Twitter The Chamber (@NEEChamber): Results from @britishchambers International Trade survey found NE businesses say EU trading still vitally important Jennifer Rycroft (@NEEChamberJen): Great to hear from @NEEChamber member @espresso_ web about the benefit of Apprenticeships hosted by #neechamber partner @TeessideUni Richard Swart (@richswart): Good to hear SAfrica Trade & I Minister in London outlining UKSA relationship building & how to deal with Brexit challenges & opportunities

Star gazing The world’s largest digital survey of the visible Universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies, has been released to the public. The data has been made available by the international Pan-STARRS project, with scientists predicting that it will lead to new discoveries about the Universe. Astronomers and cosmologists, including scientists at Durham University, used a 1.8-metre telescope at the summit of Haleakalā, on Maui, Hawaii, to repeatedly image three quarters of the visible sky over four years. The data they have captured is made up of 3bn separate sources, including stars, galaxies, and other space objects, and is the equivalent to 100 times the total content of Wikipedia.

Beary nice Family-run furniture retailer Barker and Stonehouse has ended its 70th anniversary by donating 70 soft toy bears to the children of Butterwick House Hospice in Stockton. Given to Barker and Storehouse by upholstery expert Tetrad, each of the bears was made using iconic Harris tweed. The toys have now been given to children staying at the hospice, their siblings, and those going through bereavement counselling, while some are waiting for their new owner and will be handed to youngsters visiting Butterwick in the future.

Riding high Former Newcastle High School for Girls pupil LJ Ross has shot into the Amazon book charts with her latest bestseller. The city regulatory lawyer-turned-author has just released High Force, the eagerly awaited fifth novel in the DCI Ryan crime series, which follows the detective as he hunts serial killers across the North East landscape of LJ’s childhood. That means LJ, who published her first book, Holy Island, two years ago, has now sold 750,000 books - at more than 1,000 per day.


On time Newcastle International Airport has been named the most punctual small airport in the world, with more than 90% of flights leaving and arriving on time. According to the OAG’s 2016 Punctuality League, the airport, which serves more than 80 direct destinations and connects across the globe via its hub connections, was the only one in the world to have a rating of over 90%. Of more than 41,000 scheduled flights from the airport last year, the most punctual route was to Dublin, with an on-time score of 99.85%. New routes introduced in 2016 include services to Berlin, Cancun and three Polish destinations Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw.

European growth Nigel Wright Group, the international recruitment consultancy headquartered in Newcastle, has delivered results with significant growth on 2015. Accounts for the year ended April 30, 2016 reveal turnover and gross profit increased by 9% to £16.6m and 8% to £12m respectively. EBITDA before exceptional administrative expenses for the period increased by 34% to £943,000 and cashflow improved. The firm has 140 consultants across 13 European offices.

Nigel Wright Group CEO Paul Wilson

CHEMICAL REACTION Awards have been presented to the region’s brightest youngsters, companies and contributors at the 2017 NEPIC Annual Industry Awards. £20,000 in prize funds were donated to award winners in support of career development, sciencerelated school projects and STEM activities. EDUCATION, EDUCATION Education sector figures took part in a high-level debate hosted by law firm Ward Hadaway. Attendees included academy sponsor Sir Peter Vardy, former CBI director general John Cridland and Heathfield multiacademy trust CEO Nick Blackburn, who discussed the Government’s preferred model to have independent schools managed under multiacademy trusts. WATER WORKS Northumbrian Water is investing £15m in upgrades to two of its water treatment works in Northumberland. The work at Warkworth and Whittle Dene, near Horsley, will help to ensure the highest possible quality of water supply to more than 290,000 homes across Northumberland.

Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside

Baking it in Newcastle-based Greggs has reported a strong 2016, including a 7% growth in sales for the period ending December 31. The baked goods retailer, which owns more than 1,750 outlets throughout the UK, also saw company-managed shop sales increase 4.2%. Sales over the Christmas period were strong, aided by a favourable trading pattern, and fourth quarter companymanaged shop sales grew by 6.4%. Excluding the final two weeks of the year, fourth quarter sales growth was 4.1%. During the year, Greggs opened 145 new outlets, including 56 franchised units, and closed 79, growing the firm's estate to 1,764 shops. It now owns 157 franchised shops in travel and convenience locations.

Manufacturing is holding up in the latest Chamber QES

Protect growth

The Chamber's latest Quarterly Economic Survey has revealed the region's economy is showing signs of a slowdown while some sectors remain positive. Findings for the final quarter of 2016 show survey scores dropped across a series of key indicators including domestic sales, workforce and export. With negotiations due to start over leaving the EU, decisions due in the region over devolution, and a new US President bringing potential changes to international markets, the Chamber has warned decision-makers to protect growth. Manufacturing export scores also recovered, perhaps because of falling Sterling values while expectations of turnover and profitability remain relatively strong.

l-r Sir Terry Farrell and Max Farrell of Farrells, Mark Ketley, Northumberland County Council, and Richard Robson, chairman of Lugano Property Group

Homes and gardens Plans for a 2,000-home garden village near Ponteland, Newcastle have been submitted in an outline planning application by Lugano Property Group. Lugano has enlisted Government adviser Lord Taylor and internationally-renowned architecture firm Farrells - led by Newcastle-born Sir Terry Farrell - to work on the scheme which includes 600 homes, supported housing for the elderly, education, leisure, medical, retail and employment facilities, sports pitches, parkland, allotments, and walking and cycle routes.

Coffee cash boost Darlington-based flavoured coffee manufacturer Beanies The Flavour Company is set to grow after securing support of almost £50,000 from the Tees Valley Capital Grant Scheme. Beanies produces more than 30 flavours of coffee from their Faverdale premises, for sale at leading UK and international supermarkets as well as via local retailers and online. Strong sales growth since formation in 2012 had resulted in the company needing increased capacity. Grant support has helped the company build an extension to the factory and invest in additional flavouring machinery.

N E W C AST L E G I N F E ST I VA L 7TH – 9TH APRIL 2017 We are partnering with South Northumberland Cricket Club for a 3 day festival of all things gin. Dozens of gin sampling opportunities and chances to meet the distillers. 70+ Artisan and Small Batch Gins from across the UK. Live bands, music and premium street food with a range of offers throughout the event.


l-r Carl Wright, Mark Porteous and Mike Baker

Credit: Joanne McKinnon

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News Testing times A Teesside University lecturer has been working with a biomedical test technology company to design an innovative new piece of hospital equipment. The new PatSim200 patient simulator has been developed by Peterlee-based Rigel Medical, part of the Seaward Group, with the help of Mark Beckwith - a senior lecturer in industrial design in the University’s School of Design, Culture & the Arts. Already attracting interest from the Far East, USA, Germany and the UK, the device puts medical equipment to the test by mimicking the vital signs of patients, such as body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, highlighting faults to ensure monitors are accurate in real situations.

Banking on it

A survey into how North East business owners rate their banking has been launched. The research, Business Banking Pulse, is being undertaken by Newcastle-based Smart Money People in partnership with the Chamber and businesses are being encouraged to take part. The results of the survey will be published in March.

Bridging the gap

The centrepiece of Sunderland’s new bridge has been transported to its final location on the construction site in the middle of the River Wear. Forming the focal point of the New Wear Crossing, the striking 100-metre white pylon structure took around two hours to reach its new home after travelling by barge from Greenwells Quay at the Port of Sunderland. It travelled under the Wearmouth Bridge and passed the Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland AFC, before negotiating the tight corner at Deptford Bend and moving under the Queen Alexandra Bridge before making its way to site. The project team had carefully planned the transportation to coincide with the right tidal and weather conditions.

Apprenticeships are changing. We’re here to help. We are working in partnership with Gateshead College to host a series of discussion events for SME employers, those not in scope of the levy, to help you to better understand the upcoming changes to apprenticeship training. We’ll take you through everything step by step, explaining the impact the changes will have on your business, how you need to prepare and the support that is available to you. Dates: Wednesday 15th February, Wednesday 8th March & Wednesday 15th March 2017 Time: 8 - 10am Venue: Gateshead College, Baltic Campus, Quarryfield Road, Gateshead NE8 3BE

Book your place. Please select the event date that best suits you. These events are open to Chamber members and non-members, SME size business only. For more information or to book your place (max 2 attendes per businesses over the event series) vist

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PARTNERS UPDATE With Jennifer Rycroft, Chamber partnerships manager An update on the activities of Chamber Partner members, an exclusive group from a range of sectors, who work closely with the Chamber to maximise its impact on our region.

We ended 2016 on a high with a very successful Corporate & Partner Dinner at the Biscuit Factory, joined by keynote speaker Andrew Percy MP, minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse. We also had Dan Aylward, economist at KPMG in the UK join us for our December Partner Lunch at Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland, who steered our discussion around the implications of Brexit. We launched a new report, Investing in our Region’s Transport Infrastructure following successful meetings with our Transport Forum chaired by Partners Newcastle Airport. It follows the launch of our 2017 Manifesto and draws on the views of our members to highlight where investment is needed in the transport infrastructure . We are delighted to have intu Properties (intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre) join us as Chamber Partners. Our January Lunch kindly hosted by intu Eldon Square, gave Partners the opportunity to hear more about intu’s significant investment in the region. We also hosted an event with Teesside University and the Tees Valley Combined Authority with guest speakers from the Skills Funding Agency, digital marketing agency Espresso Web and Partners Nifco UK for employers to better understand the upcoming apprenticeship reforms. @neccjen #NEEChamberPartners


contact IT WORKS FOR THEM, IT CAN WORK FOR YOU! GENERATE NEW BUSINESS ENQUIRIES WITH NEECC CONTACT MAGAZINE. Leaflet inserts to Contact magazine work for these businesses, and they can work for you too. “We have seen a continual upswing in revenue coming from the local area, which I’m sure is the result of the cumulative effort we have all put in over the last few months.” Mark Harrison – Managing Director, RefurbThat “We use Contact magazine to great effect”. Sara Williams – Marketing Manager, Lingfield Point 7000 copies of Contact are distributed to businesses throughout the North East every two months. 4,000 are delivered to NECC member companies by Royal Mail, with 3,000 distributed strategically to free pick up points. You can benefit from this distribution network in an extremely cost effective manner, inserting your own promotional literature in the form of leaflets and brochures to this highly respected magazine to reach a first class audience of Managing Directors, Owner Managers and decision-makers. Distribution to this high quality audience for less than the price of a stamp! Members Only, 4000 copies – £450 | Full Distribution, 7000 copies – £700 Let us produce effective, professionally designed leaflets for your business 4000 A4, full colour leaflets designed and printed both sides £400 | 7000 A4, full colour leaflets designed and printed both sides £470

For more information, please contact Colin Rutherford on 01661 844115

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News I N A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H

l-r Al Yong, Lizzie Withington, Ben Mawhinney and Michael Potts

I am pleased to announce the continued associate sponsorship from Brewin Dolphin for the chamber President’s Club for 2017. The Chamber's Manifesto 2017 will focus on five campaigns and we welcome engagement and support from President’s Club members on: • Influential North East • Global North East • Connected North East • Competitive North East • Working North East We are also looking forward to our forthcoming Chamber President’s Club Lunch in February with Anthony Thomson, founder and chairman of Atom Bank as our key note speaker. It was great to visit the new Barker & Stonehouse HQ and showroom in Stockton-on-Tees while I was honoured to be invited to the official opening of East Durham College’s Houghall Campus following a £12.5m redevelopment. Finally, congratulations to Teesside logistics business and Chamber President’s Club member AV Dawson, who won top honours at the prestigious British Chambers of Commerce Awards.

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Space age Five entrepreneurs have been chosen to benefit from a UK Space Agencybacked programme to help their businesses tap into the billion pound space industry. The innovators, who range from software developers to a camera designer, will receive mentorship from experts in law, finance, business growth, marketing and IP protection via Business Durham, Co Durham's economic development company.

Innovative National law firm Bond Dickinson has ranked in the top five firms for innovation in the Best Legal Adviser Report for 2016-2017. The report scored law firms across 15 categories including innovation, quality of legal advice, communication skills and commercial approach based on feedback from clients and in-house legal counsel.

Beamish Museum director Richard Evans celebrates HLF funding at a 1950s street party at Beamish Museum

Record breaking Beamish Museum welcomed a record-breaking 747,651 visitors during 2016, up by 11% and breaking the 700,000 visitor milestone for the first time in the museum’s 46-year history. Visitor numbers in December were up by 38% on the previous year and visitors have more than doubled since 2008, making Beamish the region’s most popular paid-for visitor attraction. The Co Durham open air museum, which was awarded £10.9m by the Heritage Lottery Fund for its Remaking Beamish project featuring a 1950s town, farm and Georgian coaching inn, was Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the North East England Tourism Awards 2016.

It all adds up Handelsbanken, the local relationship bank with a branch in Stockton-on-Tees, has been rated the top provider of current accounts in a Government-backed survey of SMEs. The Business Banking Insight (BBI) survey run by the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce, asked 20,000 SMEs across the UK to rate their bank’s performance in 12 different areas and Handelsbanken came top or joint top in 10 categories. In October 2016, Handelsbanken was rated top for customer satisfaction for the eighth year running in an independent survey of British banks’ personal and business customers. As well as the branch in Stockton, teams of experienced local bankers serve individual and corporate customers in Middlesbrough, Darlington, Northallerton, Gateshead and Newcastle.

NEWS IN BRIEF SINGLE-STOREY LIVING Co Durham Housing Group has received planning permission to develop two twobed bungalows in Rookhope. The new properties will be built on land at Boltsburn Crescent and contribute towards the group’s ambitions to develop much needed homes across the county. Work is underway to appoint a building contractor for the scheme to start on site during the spring, with a target completion date of early 2018. CONFERENCE SPACE NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau will highlight NewcastleGateshead’s conference and events offering at the trade exhibition International Confex in March. PROMOTING DIVERSITY New College Durham has been crowned North East Further Education Provider of the Year by the National Centre of Diversity.  The National Centre of Diversity Further Education Awards recognise of the contribution the further education sector makes towards equality, diversity and inclusion.  BOOTCAMP STAGE Two Northstar Ventures-backed tech companies, Brand Ami and TryLife, have been voted through to the bootcamp stage of Pitch@Palace 7.0 competition at an event at the Sunderland Software Centre.

‘Press’tigious Print Back row (l-r): Michael Harbord, Vito Mannone, Jack Rodwell, Duncan Watmore, Steve Hill Front row (l-r): Dave Watson and directors Paul Harbord and Ian Harbord


The Steadfast Group has combined business with pleasure by becoming partners and contractors at Sunderland Football Club this season. East Durham-based Steadfast is already responsible for security of the Stadium of Light and Academy of Light, as well as the SAFC Foundation’s major new project, the Beacon of Light. Now, the firm, which has 150 employees, has also become business partners with the club. Managing director, Michael Harbord, says: “It made perfect sense to us to become business partners of the club and cement our links.”

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Going steady

Securiclad MD Mike McColl

Securing success High security modular panel systems manufacturer Securiclad has announced a major surge in sales. The North Tyneside-based company saw sales rise by 58% in 2016, securing major contracts in the data centre, water utilities, nuclear and defence sectors. Due to their modular design, Securiclad’s certified panel systems offer a more flexible, sustainable physical security solution than traditional building methods according to the manufacturer.

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News Transport priorities

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The region’s road network, the East Coast Mainline and access to the North East’s ports and airports must all be improved if the region’s economy is to reach its potential, according to a new report from North East England Chamber of Commerce. Among the priorities identified by business were the swift completion of planned upgrades to the A1 and A19, upgrades to the East Coast Mainline, delivery of a new train fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro, and improvements to road and rail access to Newcastle International Airport. Graeme Mason, chair of the Chamber’s Transport Forum, (pictured) says: “With the right investment, North East England’s transport infrastructure can become a real enabler of economic success.” CONTACT YOUR RELATIONSHIP MANAGER TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MEMBERSHIP Essentials Portfolio - Julie Digman tel 07912 478 964 Twitter @NEEChamberJules Teesside - Tom Warnock tel 07714 845 617 Twitter @NEEChamberTom

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Say hola to your International Trade Adviser Whether you’re a new or experienced exporter, Department for International Trade can provide you with the knowledge and expertise of highly experienced international trade specialists who will support your entry into new markets with confidence. Call the Department for International Trade North East on 0345 136 0169 or email

Export Global support Brian Dakers - International Trade Manager Following years of support benefiting hundreds of Chamber members it has been fantastic to welcome internationally respected trade expert Keith Robe to our team this year. I first met Keith in 2008 at a trade academy workshop arranged by the BCC, where he talked about AEOs (Authorised Economic Operators) - a supply chain security standard adopted by the European Union which effectively gives businesses who’ve demonstrated the standard trusted trader status reducing intervention and bureaucracy. Since then, we have utilised his expansive knowledge on countless occasions, and while sorry for UK plc that Keith took the decision to retire from his post at HMRC, I was excited by the opportunity to have him available to help Chamber Global members. Having started working with the Chamber at the beginning of January, Keith is now available to support members at this time of increased scrutiny and uncertainty surrounding international trade. If your business is importing from the EU, supplying the US, interested in AEO, or just keen to ensure you’re operating effective customs practices, please contact us.

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Bang the drum Helen Goodman MP joined local businesses at Bishop Auckland Town Hall to discuss export-led growth opportunities for SMEs at an event organised by Santander. Chaired by Jonathan Thompson, Santander's divisional MD for the North, the roundtable discussed the importance of the right access to finance and Goodman encouraged attendees to contribute to the wider UK export agenda. Liberty Drums’ Andrew Street added: “Thanks to the Department for International Trade and Business Durham, our journey has been globally successful. We are now a global leader with growing export links.” Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, added: “The range of support available to businesses in the North East is huge. It is really important that local businesses feel confident and optimistic about the global trade opportunities open to them.” Santander is holding events throughout 2017 in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce.

Europe still key

UK companies remain committed to strong trading relationships with European customers and suppliers despite the UK’s vote to leave the EU according to the results of the BCC’s International Trade Survey. The survey, which received responses from nearly 1,500 businesses, shows around three quarters of respondents currently sell (76%) and source (73%) goods and services in the EU.

Multichem MD Michael Nelson and David Boath, RTC North

Good th-ink-ing

Hexham ink company Multichem is launching new products as it expands. A market leader in inks for whiteboard, permanent markers and highlighter pens manufactured at its Northumberland HQ, 99% of Multichem's products are exported to more than 30 countries. After seeking advice from RTC North through the Government-backed Innovate2Succeed programme, the company is set to bring four new products to market within the next six months.

Growing overseas North East-based global provider of construction information and knowledge management services NBS is expanding overseas into Canada and Australia. NBS, provider of technical information, specification and BIM tools to construction industry professionals, has acquired Digicon Information Inc, a Canadian publication and consulting company which provides specification data in Canada and North America.

Double Take: Charity chiefs

Kate Bradley Head of foundation Newcastle United Foundation

James Ellam Chief executive St Oswald's Hospice

How long have you been in the job? Nine years this February.

How long have you been in the job? Just over 10 years.

What do you love about your job? Newcastle is a city that lives and breathes football and the Football Club is the focal point of the community. I love that we are able to harness that unrivalled passion to make a difference to the lives of local people.

What do you love about your job? The feedback from patients and relatives will always keep you motivated. Helping people at this critical and emotionally draining time in their lives leaves a huge impression with all concerned. Once people know you work here, you often get told their story about how St Oswald’s cared for a loved one. Even 20 years later, people will tell you the story with as much feeling and warmth as if it was last month. That inspires me.

What are the most challenging aspects? Keeping up with demand for our services is probably the biggest challenge – the phone never stops ringing and the emails flood in. However I feel very lucky to work with a team of very positive people and our motto is ‘there’s always a way’! What's the highlight of your career so far? There have been so many highlights - each year there is a stand out story of someone we have helped and this season it would have to be Jamie Foster. In 2012 Jamie was an overweight 11-year-old with a visual impairment. His favourite sport was Xbox until he found out about our visually impaired football sessions. He had a natural talent, lost four stone and last year was selected for the FA’s England Talent Centre. He was also NUFC Mascot at the EFL season opener - a very proud moment for us. What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current job? A set designer for period TV or films. I would love to hunt out vintage costumes and furniture for series like Call the Midwife or The Crown. How do you spend your ideal day off? A day at the beach in Tynemouth with my partner and our two girls. It can be freezing at this time of year, but it's home.

What are the most challenging aspects? Keeping St Oswald’s Hospice at the forefront of what the hospice movement can achieve, despite facing pretty tough financial times. We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary at the moment and have been asking ourselves how we can recapture the extraordinary vision of the hospice’s founders. What's the highlight of your career so far? Seeing the chief executive post at St Oswald’s being advertised was one of those moments - I just knew I wanted to do it. What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current job? I’d be a Deliveroo cycle courier in Newcastle. I’ve always wanted to combine my joy of cycling with earning some money - that seems the ideal way to do it. How do you spend your ideal day off? Going for a walk along the coast with my family, then back to Tynemouth Longsands for a highly competitive game of dinosaur crazy golf followed by fish and chips. contact   23

Commercial property Kevin Robertson, Partner, Bond Dickinson, Newcastle

New chambers for commerce

Work has started on an iconic Teesside building thanks to a £1.2m injection from a local investor. Commerce House in Middlesbrough is having life breathed back into its Grade IIlisted structure by Commerce Chambers Ltd, which bought the building from North East England Chamber of Commerce last year. The building, which was built in 1872, is in the centre of the city’s soon to be thriving commercial district and is next to the train station. A choice of suites suitable for oneman operations and small start-ups to medium sized call centres and organisations are available. There is also a boardroom for tenants to hire out. Christine Huntington, facilities manager at the building, says: “It’s amazing to see the transformation starting to take place. We have already begun taking enquiries and reservations, with two tenants already in place."

Appliance of science

Lawyers from the Newcastle office of law firm Bond Dickinson have advised Newcastle City Council on the completion of a multi-million pound deal with Newcastle University and Legal and General Capital. Legal and General has announced plans to support the £350m Newcastle Science Central. The initial £65m investment will fund the completion of two buildings offering over 200,000sqft of Grade A office space, creating 2,000 jobs.

Lack of supply Commercial property agents GVA are reporting a downward availability of Grade A office space in Newcastle. In 2010, there was around 375,000sqft of Grade A availability, but by the end of 2016, the figure had dropped to some 80,000sqft reports Tony Wordsworth, office agency director at GVA (pictured).

Golden opportunity

Tait Walker is encouraging its team to bond and enjoy time away from their desks following the launch of its new Client and Team Hub

Talent pool

Gosforth-headquartered Tait Walker has opened its brand new work space. As the firm enters its 80th year, the new-look offices at Bulman House increase total office space by more than 9,000sqft. New kitchens and informal team areas have been created, as well as flexible meeting spaces. The team can use relaxed breakout zones for meetings while pool tables have been introduced to encourage interaction, allow people to unwind and to create a dose of healthy competition. 24 contact

Latimer Hinks Solicitors has played a crucial role in the relocation of two Pandora jewellery retail outlets. The Darlington-based law firm, one of the longest established in Co Durham, provided commercial property services to Bramwells Jewellers, which holds the franchises for the new Pandora branches. Pandora has now moved to intu Eldon Square, Newcastle, and Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, Durham.

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January is always an exciting time at the Chamber as we set out our aims and ambitions for the region in our Manifesto. Here's more...

Jonathan Walker, North East England Chamber of Commerce head of policy and campaigns

Our Manifesto is a hugely important piece of work for us. It sets out the changes our members believe will make the biggest positive impact on business success. Perhaps more importantly, it commits the Chamber to campaigning for those changes throughout the year. I might be getting caught up in the fevered nature of political debate at the moment, but it feels as though it is more important than ever that we get this work right. As we all know, last year saw the political landscape shift in a way few were predicting. First with the result of the EU referendum, the new Prime Minister, and now a US President whose victory potentially represents a major shift in global politics and embodies an era of increasing populism. When setting out our plans and aspirations for 2017 we’ve taken all these developments, and many others closer to home, into consideration. Despite the many changes we face, our overall goal remains the same - we know North East England is a great place to do business and our aim is to make it the best. Political events at a global, national or local level do not deter us from this aspiration, but they do affect how we might work to achieve it. We will only achieve our aims with the continued support of our members. It is their knowledge, expertise and experiences which bring our campaigns

"We will only achieve our aims with the continued support of our members, their knowledge, expertise and experience"

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Global North East I can’t recall a time when international trade was higher on the political agenda. This year we want to expand our reputation as a Global North East. This should be built upon a new relationship with the EU that gives exporters low cost and un-bureaucratic access to the European market. To make the most of international opportunities, both new and existing exporters must be given far greater support to break into markets and expand their horizons. We must also continue to be able to attract the best global talent and overseas visitors to our region, and we will oppose any new policies or systems which harm this ability.

Connected North East

to life. Every member, of every size and from every sector has the opportunity to influence our work and our region’s future. This year we have maintained the five campaign themes established in last year’s Manifesto, as follows:

Influential North East For the region to be successful, it must have the right platform and ability to make its voice heard in the corridors of power. That’s why we’ll continue to campaign for a more Influential North East in 2017. We’ll continue our support for devolution to our region as a means of developing our economy. We’re working with authorities in Tees Valley to provide a strong business voice in the devolution process and are pleased to see that money has already started to flow into the area. Further north, our dismay at a lack of progress on devolution has been expressed publicly and privately. We’ll continue to press the case for devolution and for all local leaders to deliver on growth aspirations.

We’ve already begun our work to develop a more Connected North East by publishing a new set of transport priorities for North East businesses. This includes investment in road, rail and ports to give our businesses better access to markets and talent. We’ll also shortly be bringing forward recommendations to improve the public transport network in the region.

Competitive North East Businesses can only be successful if the local economic environment allows them to grow. We want a Competitive North East, where our businesses are able to secure the right funding at the right time, where procurement rules enable rather than hinder growth and where entrepreneurs from all backgrounds are encouraged and supported.

Working North East Underpinning all of this is our campaign for a Working North East. Our businesses are nothing without their people. Reforms to the apprenticeship system must encourage investment in training, while we must work far harder to retain talent in the region and support young people into employment.

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Tales of the riverbank Sarah Cridland, MD of Technip Umbilicals’ worldwide operations, is leading the business as it fills big shoes on a riverside once dominated by the North East’s shipbuilding industry

Sarah Cridland

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If you haven’t seen the banks of the Tyne for a while, change is certainly afoot. The deep quays which were once at the heart of the shipbuilding industry now house the world’s largest steel tube umbilical assembly machine. The plant, a key element of a major investment by Technip Umbilicals, represents a new chapter for Walker riverside, the principal base of the global engineering giant, supplying the critical umbilical systems which link remote subsea oil wells to fixed or floating production systems. Sarah Cridland, Newcastle-based MD of the company’s three sites in Newcastle, Angola and Houston in the USA, is fully aware that her plant has big shoes to fill. “This North East site has a proud history of manufacturing,” she says, “starting more than 40 years ago manufacturing mainly thermoplastic umbilical products. The plant also has a substantial track record in the supply of steel tube umbilicals and is a major global player in both markets. We have a strong engineering and technical workforce in Newcastle and that’s a significant asset to our business. “The umbilical systems we design and supply enable the essential connection to the subsea control system either through electrical or fibre optics cables, provide power either hydraulic or electrical, and deliver the vital chemicals needed to operate and maintain the oil and gas

extraction equipment installed on the seabed. Our Walker facility is capable of producing the most complex, longest and deepest umbilicals in the world, and these are increasingly required as the subsea industry taps into reserves located in deeper water and further offshore. “The deep water quay we have on the Tyne is fundamental to our success and an invaluable asset for delivery of our products, allowing very large installation vessels direct access to our facility.” Centre stage of Technip Umbilicals’ plans is its vertical helix assembly machine, based in one of the riverside’s highest buildings, which stands at approximately 57 metres. The scale of the production is such that the umbilicals being constructed are stored on numerous large reels, or huge carousels capable of handling extralong lengths. Since it was installed two years ago, the machine has manufactured more than 300kms of multi-function umbilicals for major operators in worldwide projects. The business has also set world records for its projects, including the first high temperature umbilical for Total and the largest diameter and heaviest weight per metre for BP. Cridland has worked for Technip and its predecessors since graduating in Manufacturing Sciences and Engineering from Strathclyde University. She began her career 24 years ago – just as a downturn in the oil industry took hold - and has never looked back. Her CV is that of a globetrotter, taking her into the subsea industry in Aberdeen and then in EPCI projects worldwide, including Brazil and West Africa. She is particularly proud of the company’s manufacturing in Angola, where it now employs more than 200 people. She has been in Newcastle for 14 years and was appointed MD 18 months ago, a role which brought with it responsibility for 800 employees globally. She was also delighted to bring substantial

“It is vital to encourage senior female business leaders, particularly at director level”

investment to the UK, strengthening its place at the forefront of oil and gas technology. There are growing calls for more women to enter the Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) sectors and Technip Umbilicals is playing its part in the push for more diversity in the oil, gas and offshore industries. “It can be hard to find women in my sector,” Cridland says, “though we have an even divide in

our research and development engineering team based in Walker. “We recently supported the North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards because I believe it’s vital to encourage senior female business leaders, in particular at director level. Diversity is a definite advantage to any business, as it is proven that the best performing companies are those with a good gender mix. “With an eye on our next generation of engineers, we are working with partners such as EEF to encourage participation in science clubs at school level and whenever I can, I give talks to schools and universities to encourage young people to realise the potential of a STEM career. We have also taken on a number of apprentices and graduates who have been very successful within the business, including one who is now a process engineer.” But still, she says, many people don’t realise that an engineering career can provide exciting challenges all over the world. “There is often the perception that it’s about fixing a car engine, but it can be working in any country in the world, managing multi-million pound projects that change lives,” she asserts. The company’s Tyneside facility includes its global Research & Development centre, dedicated to developing new technologies the industry needs. “The oil industry is under constant pressure to find new wells and sources,” says Cridland, “so we need to be able to produce longer lengths of umbilicals, capable of withstanding more and more challenging conditions." The oil and gas landscape is also adapting to the reality of the lower oil price and has seen a number of major players forming strategic alliances, including Technip. Cirdland considers this a positive move forward in the battle to win substantial oil industry contracts and believes complementary technological expertise and project execution experience can be combined to deliver economic and technological benefits to clients. Plus, as a business boasting one of the most senior women in the industry at its helm, it is known for breaking the mould. contact   29

Think of an IT boss, and you probably don’t think guitars and fighter jets... But then again, George Sanger, regional director at Pulsant, is not your average IT boss. He tells Liz Hands about playing in a band, taking photos at 200ft and how Brexit isn’t getting in the way of expansion plans. Row upon row of servers housed in big black cages are whirring away at Pulsant, ensuring some of Britain’s biggest businesses continue to function. The numbers are mind boggling when you think about it. Pulsant has regional offices across the North East in Stockton, Gateshead and North Tyneside in addition to other centres across the country and has some 3,500 clients. And, when you consider that these clients are some of the biggest names in their sector, including Sky TV, G4S, DFS, Eddie Stobart, Highland Spring, Sage, Kwik-fit and Vertu, then you start to realise what is at stake. Think about Pulsant’s clients’ combined turnover, the number of people they employ and their contribution to the economy, and it becomes clear what is at stake if their computer systems go down. Add that to the fact that Pulsant takes care of some of the largest health providers in the region, including the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital, who rely on their IT systems to access vital patient records, and the importance of security and reliability hits home. That’s where Pulsant comes in, working away behind the scenes to make sure that their clients can treat their IT systems like any other commodity, which means, says Sanger, that they shouldn’t even have to worry about it. Just like they expect their water to come out of a tap, they should expect their IT systems to work smoothly and securely. It’s something that Sanger takes in his stride. But then again, he’s used to having a lot on his plate. Not only does 30 contact


contact   31

he have a key role at Pulsant, but he is also chairman of Meldon Parish Council, near his Northumberland home, he’s involved in the Sea Cadets in Hebburn where he was a member as a boy and he’s a keen photographer. He also played lead guitar in an electric rock band called The News, in the days of Duran Duran. “I harboured dreams of becoming a rock star,” says Sanger. “We played at the Marquee Club in London and released three singles, but we had arguments like bands do and when our record label ran out of money, we called it a day and I thought I had better get a proper job”. While rock superstardom may not have beckoned, Sanger is someone who makes an idea work, no matter how outlandish. Standing awestruck as a spectator at the Sunderland Airshow one year, he decided he wanted to go up in a Harrier jet. “I was told I’d have to either join the forces, become a celebrity or a journalist. The later seemed the most realistic, so I set about getting a commission from an aviation magazine. I had to prove myself on a flight simulator first, but I did it. I went up with pilots, flew at 420mph and 200ft through the Welsh Valleys which is exhausting, sickening but at the same time, hugely exhilarating. It took a while to come up with a plan to get up there, but I find a way of doing things.” Now, he is making things happen at Pulsant. He was part of the management team at Onyx which was acquired by Reading-based Pulsant earlier this year in a deal worth around £65m. The result is a tech titan with greater geographic spread and a turnover of some £80m. Sanger’s career has so far been marked by being part of management buyouts and acquisitions. He was managing director at Knowledge IT when it was acquired by Onyx in a £10m deal two years ago.

George Sanger (second right) in his rock star days 32 contact

❝It took a while to come up with a plan to get up there, but I find a way of doing things❞

George Sanger preparing for a flight

With each deal, he has stayed with the new, bigger company, ending up managing the North East region on behalf of Pulsant. Pulsant now has 15 data locations in six geographic areas, including North America and Asia with over 400 staff, although Sanger says they are continually recruiting new talent. “We’re very acquisitive,” he says. “We’re backed by US investors which allows us to expand and we’re in talks with a number of organisations right now. Our expansion plans were already well under way before the Brexit vote and we have not really been impacted. Yes, there are challenges, but our footprint and scale means we’re confident going forward.” Sanger puts Pulsant’s growth down to building relationships with clients where there are high levels of trust. Pulsant is also able to offer customers a whole stack of services from different providers, including a strong relationship with Microsoft, meaning clients in the North East and the UK can have their Microsoft Public Cloud services delivered

from Pulsant regional datacentres. He is also seeing a steady increase in the number of clients who want Pulsant’s hybrid cloud expertise. This can range from on-premise IT solutions, private cloud, to public cloud, allowing clients to orchestrate between platforms. By providing the capability to move workloads between private and public cloud as business needs and costs change, Pulsant can give firms greater flexibility. “Over the last three years in particular, we have companies coming forward to talk about their systems and security,” says Sanger. “They don’t want to get involved in non-core activities. They just want the confidence that everything will work, that it’s secure and that they can deal with one firm. That’s why they come to us.” “We monitor everything from the weather to network availability and power to make sure our systems can cope. We have back-up solutions,

and we have emergency data centres, so if a client needs to move out of their current location in the event of a disaster, they can move in to one of our business recovery centres until conditions return to normal. ” It’s no wonder that businesses are increasingly turning their attention to business continuity and security when you consider the number of breaches which have hit the headlines in recent months, including Tesco Bank, the National Lottery, Three mobile and Deliveroo. “Usually though, our clients won’t even need to think about their systems and security once we set everything up for them and that’s as it should be,” says Sanger. “We have a great business, and a fantastic set of people. These two incredible companies have come together and as Pulsant, we’re moving forward for business, and for the region.” contact   33

Business lunch

The business of religion is unique, surely? Not so, according to economics graduate, estate agent and now Bishop of Newcastle Christine Hardman... Meeting her, writes Liz Hands, it’s astonishing to think that, until two years ago, women knew there was one glass ceiling they would never break. But Hardman was one of the pioneers who paved the way for female bishops, and now she has her own seat in the House of Lords. We meet for lunch to hear her fascinating story. Christine Hardman was consecrated Bishop of Newcastle in November 2015, having campaigned for women to progress into the church’s top roles. Yet it was never her intention to take on a senior job herself. She had actually retired to spend time with her husband Roger, although she remained an honorary priest to allow her to continue to campaign for female bishops. “When women were able to become priests in 1994, it made all the difference because, finally, we could get on and do our jobs,” says Hardman. “Female bishops was an important matter of principle. It did not affect people as much on the ground, but symbolically it was vital. The story of my ministry has been the story of the Church of England embracing women’s ministry. "When we first lost our campaign [for women bishops] in 2012, I put a scarf on over my collar when I went on the bus because I didn't want anyone to see that I was in the Church of England. I thought then that this wasn't going to happen in my time, and that was fantastically freeing because the campaign was then all about my younger sisters. If I felt it was about me, I couldn’t have pushed in the way I did."

“I thought this wasn't going to happen in my time”

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With the appointments office keen to move quickly when the Church formally adopted legislation in 2014 to allow women bishops, Hardman’s name was put forward and she became the second woman to be a diocesan bishop in the Church of England when she took up the post of 12th Bishop of Newcastle. Hardman took advice from Professor Kevin Kaiser of INSEAD business school after taking on her new role. He told her to add value in a way people wish to receive it and she has taken this on board when looking at ways to swell congregations. Interestingly, her religious path has not been a straight one. Growing up on a council estate in Boreham Wood, London, church was so far removed from her life that it was literally behind a big metal fence. She did attend Sunday School on the estate though, along with around 100 other children. But it was not until she had her own two daughters that she felt her calling. Before having her family, the now grandmother-of-four was an estate agent, giving up work when she became a mum. Having met Roger aged 16 and married aged 19, while Hardman was doing an economics degree, she says she had an “extraordinary sense” that she needed to ask some big questions following the birth of her second daughter. So, taking her fouryear-old daughter's hand she walked into St Mary’s Church in Hertfordshire.


LUNCH DABBAWAL, JESMOND, NEWCASTLE Dabbawal’s Jesmond street food kitchen is a favourite with the Right Rev'd Christine Hardman, 12th Bishop of Newcastle. She and her husband Roger live nearby, since relocating from Stevenage to allow her to take up a post as the city’s first female vicar, and feel they are now spoilt for choice when it comes to good Indian restaurants. We’re also spoilt for choice with the menu at Dabbawal. Unable to decide between an array of main plates and tapas dishes, we opt for the Chef’s Surprise, allowing the talented kitchen team to choose for us. First up, crisp poppadoms and tangy pickles, followed by pre-starters which include the delectable Bombay bombs - taste explosions of mini puris stuffed with potato and spicy sauces - before tandoori starters and main plates including Subz Falguni, a vegetarian curry we can’t stop digging into despite being full to the brim. The dishes keep coming and we leave with leftovers in a doggy bag for Roger – which is hopefully welcome considering Hardman is heading out tonight to mark Newcastle University vice-chancellor Chris Brink’s retirement. A rare two treats in one day for a hard-working member of the clergy fully deserved.

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Business lunch After a while, she decided she wanted to learn more and embarked on a training scheme which allowed her to explore vocation. “It was the second term of the third year when I felt I was being called to a formal ministry, so I went to see whether the church agreed with me,” she says. It did, and she was appointed a deaconess in St Albans before becoming director of mission studies for the St Albans and Oxford ministries. At that point, deaconess was as far as a woman could get within the church, but later, as female priests were accepted, she was ordained and appointed to Holy Trinity church in Stevenage, before heading to London as archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich. “I loved the ethnic diversity there,” she says. “There are large Christian populations in south east London from places like Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, and that brings tremendous vibrancy to the church population. But you have to understand what is important to people. There are huge differences between not just African cultures and white British culture, but between priorities.” After 11 years, she retired. “My husband had put up with following me around the country,” she says. “I thought it was right to give him time, so we both retired, moved back to Stevenage, and had three wonderful years.” She describes those years as a time of refreshment, giving her pause to see friends and fulfil an ambition to climb Mera Peak in Nepal, which stands at over 6,000 metres. “It’s not technical, so you don’t have to be a mountaineer,” she says. “You can get there by sheer determination.” It was a similar determination which brought her out of retirement to help to fight for women bishops and now, as Bishop of Newcastle, Hardman has fallen in love with the North East. The granddaughter of a steelworker from Stockton and a miner from Wales, she can see the struggles and the opportunities facing the region. "I believe we live in a ‘both and’ world," she says, "which is not about ‘either or’. The North East has extraordinary stories of hope, human inventiveness, cracking businesses and a great lifestyle, but there are also people living in very challenging times.” She passionately believes that the church exists to speak up for those whose voices aren’t heard; something she did in her House of Lords maiden speech, when she borrowed from Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham to assert: “The North East is not a problem to be solved by the rest of the country, but an asset to be valued.” She is concerned about a potential brain drain in the wake of Brexit and extols the virtues of the region’s universities where, she says, students, 36 contact

researchers and staff are starting to question whether they still belong in the UK. She wants to see educational standards driven up. She grew up in a home full of books, conversation and aspiration and when she left an early school where there were 45 children to a class to attend a girls’ grammar school, she was conscious of those she left behind. “There is a problem with secondary education," she says. "In south east London, schools were poor until funding was thrown at them and now they’re among the best in the country. We need that in the North East." She is also concerned about a society which de-humanises its poorest. “We see the effects very powerfully in the lives of people we serve,” she says. “The system may not be deliberately cruel, but through the sheer inhumanity of an impersonal interface, people are not recognised, errors happen." Having climbed mountains, run the Great North Run and the London Marathon and cycled 4,500 miles across America, she believes in seizing opportunity as it comes. “It’s important to relish the present and the opportunities you have, embrace life and, if you are given the opportunity to do something, seize it.” Talking of opportunity, her name is among those being touted for next Bishop of London. If she is appointed, she will be back. “The North East gets under your skin,” she says. "That won't change."

“The North East is not a problem to be solved - it's an asset to be valued"

WE CAN MAKE APPRENTICESHIPS WORK FOR YOU Confused about the new Apprenticeship Levy being introduced in April? We’re offering FREE advice consultations to reassure businesses, explain exactly what can be expected from the new levy and give you the opportunity to ask any questions about the changes. Get in touch to attend a FREE Apprenticeship Levy workshop or one-to-one session.


0191 277 3506 Want to find out more? Get in touch with Elaine or Dan on 0191 277 3506


Choose to train your staff or new recruits with an apprenticeship training programme from Newcastle College. • Deliver the skilled workforce your business needs

Speak to the Newcastle College Apprenticeship team today:

• Address skills shortages

Tel: 0191 200 4781

• Free recruitment and candidate matching service


• Wide range of apprenticeships available.



The Apprenticeship Levy comes into force in May and is set to change the landscape for skills and training provision for businesses across every size and sector. Here we explore what the Levy means, and share success stories from businesses already leading the way Chamber policy adviser Paul Carbert explores the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy »

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2016 was a year defined by political change and as we enter 2017 there are big changes to education and skills policy on the horizon. The Chamber’s 2017 Manifesto sets out the ways we will work with members to maximise the opportunities for the region and help build a Working North East. The most significant change to the skills landscape will come in May with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. First announced by the Government two years ago, in practice the new charge will apply to all employers in the UK with an annual pay bill of more than £3m. These employers will pay 0.5% of their total pay bill every month through the PAYE process and will be able to access the funds they have paid to deliver apprenticeship training through a digital voucher system. The funding rules are changing for smaller businesses too. From May 1 non-levy payers will be asked to contribute 10% to the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment with the Government paying the remaining 90%. Employers with fewer than 50 employees will have all their training costs paid if they take on a 16-18-year-old apprentice. The Chamber has lobbied for changes to the Apprenticeship Levy model to ensure it is right for the North East and has achieved some success with more time for employers to use their funds and plans to allow the transfer of funds between employers by 2018. Our aim now is to ensure North East businesses can make the most of the 40 contact

opportunities presented by these changes and to help drive the take-up of apprenticeships at Level 3 and above to address the skills shortages faced by our members. Chamber Partner Gateshead College is currently helping employers to understand the implications of the Levy and the wider apprenticeship reforms. Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, says: “The changes to apprenticeship training are complex and not easy to understand. However, help is at hand for Chamber members which have not yet prepared for the Levy. “Advisors at the college can explain how the new legislation affects individual companies so they can make informed choices about their workforce development and invest payments wisely. “Although smaller firms won’t have to pay the Levy they will still be affected by the wider reforms, particularly the way in which this type of training is funded. It’s therefore vital that SMEs are equipped with relevant information that can help them navigate the changes effectively.”

“It is vital SMEs are equipped with relevant information to help them navigate the change”

“By working in partnership with Sunderland College, we have recruited a team of enthusiastic and talented apprentices for a number of skilled trades including electrical, gas, plumbing and bricklaying. Since 2001 we’ve created more than 240 apprenticeships and hope to employ many more in the future.” John Craggs, Chief Executive Officer, Gentoo

Sunderland College is forging relationships with industry that are ensuring employers across the North East are powered up with work-ready people who will grow with the company. Leading housing association Gentoo, is one of a growing number of companies across a range of sectors that are tapping into the exceptional standard of teaching and facilities Sunderland College offers. To find our more call 0191 511 6000 or email


Higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships At Teesside University we’re working directly with employers to develop higher and degree apprenticeships, to deliver the skills and expertise your company needs.

> Develop the expertise you need with direct input into the skills provision for your sector > Upskill, motivate and retain your existing employees – with no age limit > Keep your business up to date with employees who have the latest industry skills and knowledge

Higher and degree apprenticeships are a government initiative aimed at helping employers develop the talent and skills of new and existing staff, combining on-the-job training with study for a higher education qualification. We currently offer apprenticeships in health and social care, management, biological sciences, digital technologies and electrical engineering, and are working with employers on apprenticeships including logistics, law, journalism and other engineering disciplines. Contact us to see how we can help you develop the skills your business needs.

From April 2017, government funding for apprenticeships in England is changing. All employers with an annual wage bill of over £3m will be required to invest in apprenticeships by contributing to a levy. Funding is available for all employers towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment.

Find out more T: 01642 384068 E:


Be prepared

Star apprentice makes his mark with award win

North East apprenticeship provider Newcastle City Learning has been working with Excelsior Academy to prepare for the Apprenticeship Levy. Newcastle City Learning has helped Excelsior Academy understand what the changes will mean to them. Through a series of one-to-ones and workshops the academy has gained a full understanding of the Levy and planned for future training needs. Excelsior Academy was named as top employer of the year at the Newcastle City Council Adult Learning Celebration of Success awards as a result of the programme. Newcastle City Learning is offering free workshops to employers across the region to share their knowledge and expertise on the Levy.

East Durham College engineering apprentice Martin Clutterbuck (pictured) picked up the top prize at a regional industry awards ceremony. Martin, 23, from Durham, took the top prize in the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year category at the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside EEF Future Manufacturing Awards in Harrogate. Alongside his studies at the college, Martin works for Newton Aycliffe-based Arlington Automotive which supplies parts for manufacturers including Nissan and Bentley. The college also took second place with engineering apprentice, and Breedon Group employee, Connor Duncan. Apprenticeship trainer and assessor at East Durham College, Dion Bowes, said: “It’s fantastic to see Martin win this award. It was a tough category but through Martin’s hard work and dedication in his apprenticeship he proved to the judges that he was a very worthy winner.”

Creating Outstanding Futures Apprenticeships with East Durham College Why choose EDC: Expert staff with up to date knowledge, skills and experience Professional recruitment service structured around your business needs Outstanding practical training facilities Flexible delivery to suit your business

Our priority is to provide capable and committed apprentices who can help to drive your business forward.

Apprenticeships available in: Accountancy Administration/Customer Service Agriculture Animal Care Beauty Therapy Bricklaying Engineering

Floristry Hairdressing/Barbering Health & Social Care Horse Care Horticulture Manufacturing Plastering Warehousing & Storage

To find out more or to arrange a tour of our outstanding facilities, please call 0191 518 5587or email

‘We’re in business for business’ 18/1/17 EDC - Contact, 189mm h x 132mm £15.00.indd 1

18/01/2017 12:19

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Focus Perfect partner

Ian Callender, apprentice team leader at SCA Hygiene with SCA and Gateshead College apprentice Rhys Smith

Dream come true

Gateshead College trainee Rhys Smith has landed his dream job at SCA Hygiene after the firm developed a special training programme with Gateshead College. Rhys, 18, from Newcastle, has embarked on a technical apprenticeship at SCA after completing the First Diploma in Manufacturing and Engineering at the college. Rhys is now working at Prudhoe-based SCA Hygiene Mill, which is the sole UK producer of the company’s Velvet toilet tissue. The Level 3 Technical Apprenticeship covers a range of areas, including quality standards, health and safety management, risk assessment and impact of processes on the environment.

The specialist training arm of Middlesbrough College, Northern Skills Group – formerly NECC Training, is working with businesses across the region to deliver apprenticeships, employer-led training and retraining. With bases in Durham, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and York, Northern Skills Group works with businesses including Sage, Utilitywise and Elring Klinger on everything from how to tackle training staff and helping secure funding to advising on navigating the law. Peter Wilson, Northern Skills Group lead, says: "We share the ambitions of businesses going for growth. That’s why we build skills training solutions and apprenticeship programmes around each client’s specific needs.” Recent work with Darlington Building Society has developed leadership skills among new and existing staff. Colin Fyfe, chief executive at Darlington Building Society, says: “Delivering the Institute of Leadership Management programmes through the partnership with Northern Skills Group provides our people who have the appetite to drive the business forward every opportunity to do so.”

“Nifco is a great place to work and I have gained some really good experience while working here.” Ewan Sorby Finance Department Nifco UK is an award-winning manufacturing company, based in Stockton on Tees.

Former Nifco apprentice Ewan Sorby, who is now a Trainee Accountant at this award-winning business.

Nifco UK is an award-winning manufacturing company, based in Stockton Engineering careers for the next generation on Tees. The company is helping put themore North East the mapcomponents. as a place for Plastic company Nifco istomoulding than juston automotive For many years Nifco has been blazing a trail when it comes to careers for

and apprentices. an impressive list apprentices of customers Ford, Honda, Nissan and Former like including Ewan are now carving out successful Toyota to name but a few, the future is bright for this leading careers supported by long-term training and development plans this for The company is helping to put the North East on the map aswith acompany. place Stockton-on-Tees based exemplar.

and an impressive list of customers including Ford, Honda, Nissan and To find out more about opportunities at Nifco UK, visit Toyota to name but a few, the future is bright for this leading company. • • •

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• • •

Build your A-Team with Higher and Degree Apprenticeships We provide tailored solutions for employers to acquire the latest higher-level industry skills using the Apprenticeship Levy and government funding. WHY WORK WITH US? Support from a dedicated team focused on your needs Access to world-class facilities and expertise Wide-ranging offer which employers can shape Extensive experience of helping companies to improve their business performance Track record of successfully delivering higher and degree apprenticeships with business already OUR PROGRAMMES: Digital and Technology Engineering Healthcare Science Management and Leadership

T: 0191 515 3555

Commercial Profile


Unlocking business growth through apprenticeships In December 2015, Government announced its ambitious target to reach three million apprenticeships starts by 2020. This vision supports the growing popularity in apprenticeships that today are available across 1,500 job roles, covering more than 170 Michelle-Skills for Business industries. Manager Here in the North East there is strong support and a good level of understanding about apprenticeships and traineeships of all types but more can be done to inform businesses and young people about the benefits who are less aware. In the coming months, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Local Authority partners will be running a series of apprenticeship-themed events, part-funded by the Skills Funding Agency, to help educate and inform North East businesses about the benefits of employing an apprentice and the upcoming changes to apprenticeships including reform and the levy. Organisations that already employ apprentices will be invited to speak at the events to give a first-hand account of why they can play a vital role in business growth and provide access to an ambitious and enthusiastic talent pool. An online survey has been created so businesses in the North East can help shape these future events. To take part in the survey, visit Initiatives being led by the North East LEP to improve skills include educating young people about the job opportunities available to them, supporting schools and colleges in delivering quality careers education, recruiting and retaining excellent teaching staff, reducing ‘brain drain’ by ensuring graduates stay in the North East and providing opportunities for the region’s ageing workforce. For more information visit

1 St James Gate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4AD, United Kingdom Tel:0191 338 7420 46 contact

Minister Robert Halfon with games student Cameron Knotts and Gateshead College principal Judith Doyle

College welcomes skills minister Gateshead College has welcomed the latest announcement from Government which puts technical education at the heart of a modern industrial strategy. Apprenticeships and Skills minister Robert Halfon visited Gateshead College to get a first-hand view of the technical and vocational skills being provided to students and regional businesses. He visited the college on the day Prime Minister Theresa May used her first regional Cabinet meeting to launch the Modern Industrial Strategy aimed at improving living standards, increasing the nation’s productivity and ensuring growth is shared across the UK. The Industrial Strategy will include plans for a radical overhaul of technical education to address its historical undervaluation in the UK and provide a credible alternative to the academic route for young people who choose not to go to university.

Top of the pile The Sunday Telegraph has named North East manufacturing powerhouse Nifco UK among the leading lights for apprenticeships in the country. The Eaglescliffe-based employer whose MD, Chamber president Mike Matthews, entered industry as an apprentice, made the Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list for 2016 which recognises excellence in businesses which employ apprentices. Matthews said: “We’re extremely proud to have made this list. There are more than 5.5m businesses of all shapes and sizes in the UK so being among 100 to be recognised nationally as leading the way in terms of our work to support apprenticeships really is a tremendous honour."

Commercial Profile

Fantastic opportunity to earn and learn at the same time Apprenticeships offer a platform from which young people can go on to enjoy rewarding and varied careers. Here, one of Northumbrian Water’s current Apprentices and a company manager who started out on an Apprenticeship in 1975 talk about their experiences. Mark Ireland

Mark Ireland, Higher Degree Apprentice, Northumbrian Water

I finished my A-Levels in my home town of South Shields last year and had my eye on university, but when the chance to join Northumbrian Water on a Higher Degree Apprenticeship in Information Services came along, it was too good an opportunity to miss. The decision was down to the question of how I want to learn. My dyslexia is always in the background of my learning, so I don’t like academia very much and the Apprenticeship was a chance to learn in a different way. I started in September and the course runs for three years, with myself and the nine other Higher Degree Apprentices attending the University of Sunderland once a week. We are each assigned to projects and I am currently working on Northumbrian Water’s Digital Ambition Programme, looking at how our customers engage with us now and in the future, and, similarly, a customer engagement platform, which is currently going through testing. Hopefully, I will see them both through to completion. At the end of the Apprenticeship, I am going to be able to go into an interview with a CV containing a degree and three years of experience in the workplace. The vocational and the academic side of the programme are very much interlocked and, combined, they will give me a massive foot on the career ladder.

Ray Baldwin

Ray Baldwin, Company Maintenance Manager, Northumbrian Water

In 1975, I joined British Coal as an Apprentice Electrician at Ashington Colliery, in Northumberland. The decision was based upon parental guidance and advice from my tradesman dad, who said: “Get yourself a trade son, you will get work anywhere.” I was 16 and spent four years on the Apprenticeship. After that, I stayed at British Coal and became an engineer, right up until 1985 when, following the Miners’ Strike, I left to join a private mining company, going back to being an electrician. It was in 1990 that I joined Northumbrian Water as an electrician, based at the sewage treatment works in Howdon, North Tyneside. Since then, I’ve experienced a lot of roles within the company, in water treatment, wastewater treatment, commercial contracts in Scotland and Ireland and eventually back into maintenance. If I look at the job I have now – Company Maintenance Manager – and the experiences and positions I’ve held in the last 42 years, my decision to do an Apprenticeship was absolutely the right choice for me and one I would not change even with the benefit of hindsight. Back then I could never have imagined being where I am now and it was the Apprenticeship that started it all.

Web:, Tel: 0845 6047468

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Focus Exploring the Apprenticeship Levy Rebecca Fielding, Employment team associate at Sintons The Apprenticeship Levy will affect employers across the public and private sectors, with liable businesses having a legal obligation to contribute to raising the quality and quantity of apprenticeships. All employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against levy liability, meaning only employers whose wage bill is more than £3m - less than 2% of UK employers - will pay it through the PAYE system. In England, levy payers can access training e-vouchers through the new Digital Apprenticeship Service to pay approved providers and Government has committed to a 10% top up. Employers have 24 months to use their e-vouchers. The Levy could raise up to £3bn per year by 2020. However, a report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated it will raise more tax revenue than has been committed to apprenticeships, suggesting revenue is to be spent elsewhere. Affected employers should already be liaising with payroll providers regarding their levy obligations, notifying HMRC, and registering with the new Digital Apprenticeship Service. They should also be reviewing policies to establish whether vacancies could be filled through new apprenticeships, or whether any existing staff could benefit from training.

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Digital future Ten budding IT professionals are earning as they learn with Northumbrian Water Group through higher degree apprenticeships delivered in partnership with the University of Sunderland. The 10 learners are splitting their time between working and studying towards a BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions degree on the programmes, which are paid for by Government and the employer.

Saving the trade Darlington-based Stone Technical Services (STS) has provided a young engineer with an apprenticeship opportunity after the firm he was working for was unable to retain him. STS has recruited Sam Turner, from Middlesbrough, working across lightning protection and restoration, working with Historic England and the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust.

Best newcomer National law firm Bond Dickinson won the Newcomer Large Employer of the Year award at the National Apprenticeship Awards. Organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, the awards showcase the best apprenticeship employers and apprentices in the UK and recognise excellence in businesses growing their own talent. Bond Dickinson was among the first law firms to make legal apprenticeships available, with the first apprentices joining the business in 2014. The firm currently has 11 apprentices, seven working as legal apprentices and four in the firm's support services teams. Following the success of the scheme, which Bond Dickinson runs in partnership with CILEx Law School, the firm is now rolling out further apprenticeships across other business functions and locations. Sam Lee, head of recruitment at Bond Dickinson, said: "We took on apprentices because it was the right thing to do; for social mobility, improved staff retention and for the future of our business. Recruiting apprentices as paralegals allows us to attract smart, enthusiastic and engaged people into law – people that never previously would have thought a career in law was for them, or even possible."

Building for a bright future

Sunderland College and housing association Gentoo have teamed up to deliver apprenticeships at the College’s new £29m City Campus. The latest intake of Gentoo apprentices - two bricklayers, five electrical engineers and two plumbers, as well as one business administration apprentice - are an important part in workforce planning, ensuring the housing association has the right skills to deliver services in the future. Sunderland College principal and chief executive Ellen Thinnesen said: “Gentoo is an ambitious, forward-thinking business and this is reflected in their commitment to apprenticeships – nurturing the next generation of talent and creating future leaders.”

Commercial Profile

Northern Skills Group is your skills partner Employers across the North East have a new partner to support their professional skills needs. Northern Skills Group – the expert provider of apprenticeships, employer-led training and retraining – is already working with some of the region’s most prominent businesses, including Sage, Utilitywise and Darlington Building Society. The Group, which has bases in Durham, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and York works with a broad range of businesses from multi-nationals to owner-managed firms. Peter Wilson, Northern Skills Group lead, said: “We know businesses of all shapes and sizes in the North East need a skills partner they can rely on to provide sound advice and practical solutions across commercial and technical training. “That’s why we build skills training solutions and apprenticeship programmes around each client’s specific needs.” With the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy coming into force in April 2017, the team is focussed on guiding employers through the changes and opportunities. Northern Skills Group advisors want to show smaller

companies how they can take advantage of available Government funding as 98% of employers will pay no levy but will be eligible to receive vouchers to fund apprentices. Peter Wilson added: “Understanding the Apprenticeship Levy and apprenticeship reforms is crucial for businesses of all sizes. For firms with a wage bill of less than £3m per year, there may be significant benefits available – and we want them to capitalise on that opportunity. He concluded: “We can help businesses to design and deliver apprenticeship programmes as an integral part of their workforce development strategies and plans that improve productivity, staff engagement and ultimately help them compete in a globalised economy. “Northern Skills Group is committed to shaping the skills agenda for the 21st Century and we’ll do that by working closely with regional businesses.” The Group’s training team – specifically chosen for industry expertise – is equipped to work with employers and learners to get the most value from apprenticeship programmes in the workplace. For more information on how Northern Skills Group can help your business, contact our business advisors on 03453 40 40 40 or

Give your business the competitive edge, take on an Apprentice with Northern Skills Group Northern Skills Group are working with over 1000 businesses across the North East and Yorkshire and are supporting apprentices in more sectors and at more skill levels than ever before. We provide expert tuition, advise on funding and assist with apprentice recruitment. We deliver apprenticeships in: • • • • •

Accountancy Business Administration Project Management Team Leading Business Improvement Techniques • Facilities Management

• • • • • • •

Customer Service Contact Centre Operations Dental Nursing Health & Care IT & Computing Social Media for Business And many more!

The way the Government funds apprenticeships is changing, recruit now whilst it’s still free! Tel. 03453 40 40 40 or Email. Experts in

Apprenticeships and Training contact   49


Emma Ladd and Jessica Dodds

Top two

Coles Solicitors has appointed two new solicitors. Emma Ladd is the new head of the firm’s Commercial department and Jessica Dodds has joined the Family Law department. The appointments are in response to increased demand at the firm’s Ripon, Harrogate and Settle offices. Coles Solicitors operates from 10 locations across North and East Yorkshire. The firm employs more than 50 people and provides a range of legal services including Property, Commercial, Estate Planning and Family Law.

Property positions Naylors commercial property consultancy has announced a double appointment as part of its expansion strategy. The Newcastle-based firm has appointed Viv Walker as property manager following a number of new management instructions, which the firm secured in 2016. Martin Watson has been appointed as building surveyor to work within the facilities management and building consultancy teams.

l-r Bob McKay, Leah Wilson, Susan Peters, Rowan Blair and Glyn Elrington

Perfect team

Technology solutions provider Perfect Image has strengthened its customer service offering with new appointments to its recently established account management team. The firm, based at North Tyneside's Cobalt Business Park, has welcomed four new account managers - Susan Peters, Bob McKay, Rowan Blair and Leah Wilson.


Julia Middleton and Karen Thompson

Legal eagles

A Durham law firm is continuing to build on its success with the appointment of two new members of staff. EMG Solicitors based at Abbeywoods Business Park, Durham has gone from strength to strength since it was launched in 2014 by Court of Protection specialist Emma Gaudern. As part of its long-term plan to continue strengthening both its team and its offering to clients, the company has hired Julia Middleton, an associate solicitor specialising in family law and Karen Thompson, a business and finance assistant. Former Nissan factory worker Callum Robertson, who studied for a law degree while working on the production line, has been taken on by the firm as a legal apprentice. 50 contact

100th new recruit The North East's biggest building society has surpassed its target of creating 100 new jobs during 2016. As part of a £10m investment programme across the business, Newcastle Building Society has been creating a range of new roles, including in its Product Administration, IT, HR, Credit Risk, and Treasury departments. The 100th new recruit is Jessica Graham, who has joined the Society’s award-winning Newcastle Strategic Solutions subsidiary, which delivers online savings management services for a range of banks and other financial institutions, as a senior customer service advisor. Jessica, from Wallsend, is based at the Society's Cobalt Business Park offices in North Tyneside and is combining a range of administrative and customer service duties in her new role.

Accountancy firm Robson Laidler has relaunched its specialist healthcare team for medical professionals under new leadership. The healthcare team will be led by specialist medical accountants Amy Park, 31 and Michael Smith, 33 having both worked as account managers at the firm for the past few years.

Going viral Viral Effect, the Teesside-based digital marketing and customer engagement agency, has launched a move into digital learning by recruiting its ninth new member of staff in the space of a year. Experienced social media trainer Daniel Dixon is leading Viral Effect’s new learning arm.

New stars

Front – Kevin Bell, Back right – David Rewcastle, Back left – Robert Phillips

Business links

A new database of star lawyers around the world includes nine Bond Dickinson lawyers, three of them at the firm's Newcastle office. Robert Phillips and Kevin Bell, both corporate partners, and David Rewcastle, partner and head of Transport & Infrastructure, are recognised for their practical and commercial approach and technical competence. Nigel Williams, who is based in Leeds but regularly closes high profile deals in Teesside was also included in the database. The Acritas Stars database has been compiled through interviews with nearly 4,000 general counsel and other senior leaders at legal departments around the world. This is part of the broader legal market insights annual survey called Sharplegal, in which Bond Dickinson regularly ranks in the top 20 firms.

Newcastle University has appointed internationally renowned research expert and economist Professor Daniel Zizzo as the new acting Head of Newcastle University Business School. Professor Zizzo will be focusing on the development of the Business School’s long-term strategy; growth of world-class research and teaching; and strengthening links with regional, national and international organisations.

Games pioneer joins LEP One of the North East’s leading businesswomen has joined the North East LEP’s Enterprise Advisor programme to support better quality careers education in the region’s secondary schools. Giselle Stewart, director of corporate affairs at video game company Ubisoft, is the latest North East business leader to join the programme, which sees business people work strategically with senior leaders in secondary schools to shape the quality of careers provision. The programme is designed to ensure school leavers are prepared for and have a good understanding of employment opportunities in the North East. The LEP has also appointed Helen Lee to the new position of mentoring co-ordinator to lead a new programme for businesses with high growth potential.

Leading role David Elliott is to take KPMG’s leadership role in the region as Newcastle Office Senior Partner from March, ahead of Mick Thompson’s retirement from the firm in Spring 2018. Elliott, presently the professional services firm’s head of tax in Newcastle, is a home grown business advisor from Stocksfield in the Tyne Valley and has spent his 30 year career in Newcastle. He joined KPMG nine years ago as a partner to lead the firm’s tax practice in the region and has since been instrumental in its growth and success alongside that of its clients in the region.

Growth plan An experienced global business executive has joined the North East's biggest building society to help drive the five-year growth plan for its Newcastle Strategic Solutions subsidiary. Newcastle Building Society has chosen Helge Tonnesen as the new operations director for Newcastle Strategic Solutions, which delivers online savings management services, leading edge technology and customer service solutions for a range of banks and financial institutions.  Originally from Norway, Tonnesen, has worked for a range of high-profile companies. contact   51

Grow stronger Joining the Chamber gives you access to the best possible support for your business. Together, we grow our networks, share our knowledge, influence more and reach further.

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If you’re ready to grow, get in touch. We’d love to help. Call 0300 303 6322 Visit Connect @neechamber

Hi-Tech Tech notes

CES 2017

NINTENDO SWITCH Following a nostalgia-filled Christmas break thanks to the Nintendo NES, the Japanese gaming giant has announced a new console. The Nintendo Switch brings together a lot – old school game cartridges, classic console gaming, tabletop and handheld options in one system, Wiistyle motion control and online multiplayer capability. That’s a lot in one tiny console – whether they pull it off and finally find the generation defining console they’ve been searching for we’ll have to wait and see.

Dean Bailey picks the highlights and the wackiest gadgets from the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas Each January the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas offers a window into the tech world. The headlines this year ranged from TV and laptop reveals through to the future of VR gaming and robotics as well as enough wacky tech to keep us entertained until CES 2018. The unveiling of LG’s Signature OLED W7 was a big highlight if, like me, your list of must-watch TV is growing by the minute. At 2.57mm it’s super-thin (a concept they’re calling Picture-onWall) and available in 65ins and 77ins options with active HDR, 4K resolution and LG’s Web OS 3.5 Smart TV software. Prices and release dates are to be confirmed. The growth in virtual reality gaming was huge in 2016 and at CES we got more exciting developments. The highlight came from HTC with news of the world’s first VR subscription service as well as new accessories for its Vive headset – which can become completely wireless for the first time. On the smaller (physical) scale, Kingston unveiled the world’s biggest USB stick – a whopping 2TB, which you can pop in your pocket or on your keys. Last but not least, this year’s weirdest tech prize has to go to the world’s first smart hairbrush – the Kerastase Hair Coach from Withings – which features a built-in mic, accelerometer and gyroscope which combine to analyse brushing patterns, provide insights into managing frizz, dryness and more. What sticks and becomes generation defining from each CES is hard to guess – we may all be working on brushing technique by then.

The weirdest tech prize goes to the world's first smart hairbrush

PIXEL Google’s Pixel is available now and reviews have been very positive. Though more expensive than its predecessor (32GB £599, 128GB £699) its OS, HD display and Google Assistant have proved popular.

GRIFFIN CONNECTED TOASTER This smartphone-controlled bit of kitchen kit remembers how you like your toast and can be used remotely… because who doesn’t need that from their toaster! contact   53

The look

Get your wardrobe working for you... Pale blue waterfall duster coat £34.99 New Look Tie waist wide leg trousers £127 Jaeger

Rust peep toe ankle boot £55 M&S

Tipped button frill knitted top £29 Top Shop Monochrone kimono jacket £59 House of Fraser

Naomi necklace £59 Hobbs 54 contact

Navy top handle bag £32 Next

Shirt £39 Dickens & Jones, skirt £45 Therapy London, bag £39 Dickens & Jones, all at House of Fraser

Shirt £59.95 Barbour

Woven leather belt £50 Dune

Hammond & Co navy suit jacket £130 Debenhams

Hammond & Co navy waistcoat £50 Debenhams

PS By Paul Smith merino crew neck knit £125 House of Fraser

Collection boots £79 M&S Polo Shirt £39.50, Limited Edition Suit  £99, boots £149 M&S

Linen overcoat £279 Jaeger contact   55


Record year for UK car industry 2016 was a record-breaking year for the UK car industry with 1.72m vehicles leaving production lines – the highest number in 17 years and an 8.5% rise on 2015. Nissan’s Sunderland plant made the Japanese brand the second biggest producer in the UK – delivering 507,444 vehicles from its one site. Jaguar Land Rover took top spot, its four plants producing 544,401 vehicles last year. Meanwhile, Mini, Toyota, Honda and Vauxhall contributed another 650,000 cars. Of the cars produced by the 15 UK plants, 1.35m were exported with vehicles leaving these shores for more than 160 countries – including a 7.5% growth in exports to the EU (up to 758,680). Mike Hawes, chief executive of the car manufacturers' trade association SMMT, said: “The

More than 1.72m vehicles rolled off 15 UK production lines in 2016

56 contact

tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. High-class engineering, advanced technology and a workforce committed to quality have helped turn around the industry, making the UK among the most productive places in Europe to make cars. Significant investment in new plants and products over the past few years has driven this growth, not a post-Brexit bounce. We want trade deals but they must be the right deals, not rushed deals. Failure to do so could damage UK automotive manufacturing beyond repair.” The UK’s 15 manufacturers are Aston Martin (Gaydon); Bentley (Crewe); Caterham (Dartford); Honda (Swindon); Jaguar Land Rover (Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Halewood); Lotus (Norwich); McLaren (Woking); Mini (Oxford); Morgan (Malvern); Nissan (Sunderland); Rolls Royce (Goodwood); Toyota (Burnaston); and Vauxhall (Ellesmere Port).

Supporting you and your business, at Tyneside Audi Marc Strzoda is the Local Business Development Manager at Tyneside Audi, responsible for providing support to our valuable local business customers. Over the past 12 years Marc has taken a consultative approach at Tyneside Audi - adding value through providing bespoke solutions to meet customers’ company car requirements. One size certainly does not fit all, whether you have a Fleet Manager or provide a budget to your drivers’ to source their own company vehicles, Marc can help. However your business operates, Marc can bring simplicity to the process and take your advice on how you would like to proceed. Ranging from lifestyle test drives, individual or group presentations, to providing advice on benefit in kind and helping to manage expectations on model and specification. In essence Marc is your one-stop shop for all your Audi motoring needs. Contact Marc to take advantage of a complimentary Audi A4 or Audi A6 for a week.*

Audi A4 Saloon 1.4 TFSI Sport from only £189 per month** on Contract Hire

Tyneside Audi NE28 9NT 0191 289 6200 Business users only. Official fuel consumption figures for the Audi A4 Saloon 1.4 TFSI Sport in manual mpg (l/100km): Urban 41.5 (6.8), Extra Urban 62.8 (4.5), Combined 53.3 (5.3). CO2 emissions: 126g/km.*Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. ** Plus VAT and initial rental. 10,000 miles per annum, 2-year Contract Hire example. At the end of the agreement the vehicle and ownership rights will stay with Audi Financial Services. Aimed at business users. Offer available for vehicles ordered by 31st March 2017. Offers may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Further charges may be payable when vehicle is returned, subject to the contract fair wear and tear guidelines and mileage. VAT payable at the prevailing rate. Finance subject to status. Prices quoted and examples shown are correct at time of publication 02/2017 and do not take into account any variation to government taxes or charges arising after the date of publication. Available to 18’s and over. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Freepost Audi Financial Services.


Big and beautiful

Electric dreams Volvo has announced its first electric vehicle will be launched in 2019, with a family of electric vehicles to follow. Volvo head of R&D Henrick Green told the Detroit Motor Show: “We are full speed now developing our first full EV to launch in 2019. It will not be a one-off project and it will be followed up by further products down the line. “Right now we have the plug-in hybrid which we believe is a very strong transitional product. In the longer term the fully electric battery vehicle will be taking a much larger share of the market mix, and people will use and drive fully electric as their main propulsion system or only propulsion system.” Volvo UK sales reached a 25-year high in 2016, recording a 7% year-on-year increase.

Four of a kind Audi has released plans for a new family of its A3 line. The new vehicles are currently in development - a hatchback, sportback and saloon as well as a new four-door coupé variant. The new models are expected to be available by 2020, by which time the firm will be producing 60 models.

Lloyd Newcastle is gearing up for another successful year following the launch of two new models. BMW Retailer of the Year, the family-run dealership, based on Barrack Road, unveiled the new BMW 5 series and the new Mini Countryman (pictured) at an event for customers and car fans. Members of the Lloyd team travelled to Spain’s Basque country for a sneak preview of the new models before showcasing them in the North East. Head of Business at Lloyd Newcastle Michelle Caveney said: “Lloyd Newcastle has gone from strength to strength, winning a string of awards and undergoing a multi-million pound revamp, and we're building on that momentum. "There’s always a fantastic buzz in the showroom when we take delivery of brand new models and it’s been great to share that excitement with our customers.” The new 5 Series has been named What Car? 2017 Car of the Year for its innovative features, while the new Mini Countryman is the biggest Mini yet.

Whiter than white

Greener future Nissan’s Juke, which is made in Sunderland, is getting a green update this year. It is rumoured the new supermini-SUV will be available with a hybrid engine for the first time, as well as greener versions of the petrol and diesel options. As for looks, Nissan’s chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura has said the new Juke will be “edgy and less mainstream”. 58 contact

When it comes to buying new cars, monochrome is the way to go according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. For the fourth year in a row, white is the most popular colour for a new vehicle – making up 20.51% of the market, while black (20.16%) and grey (17.29%) make the top three.


Personal contract hire from £359 at Mill S90 D4 R Design

V90 D4 R Design

Initial Rental £359*

Initial Rental £379*

47 Monthly Rentals £359

47 Monthly Rentals £379

Mileage per Annum 6,000 miles

Mileage per Annum 6,000 miles

That’s why now really is the time to choose Volvo.

MILL BUSINESS Wessington Way, Sunderland SR5 3HR Tel: 0191 516 2803 email: @millvolvo Twitter Bird



*All quotes based on 1 payment up front as deposit followed by 47 further monthly payments commencing in month 2. All by Direct Debit. Based on personal contract hire, non-maintained. All rentals and excess mileage rates are inclusive of VAT and are subject to vehicle availability, credit approval, manufacturer’s price changes, volume related bonus and purchase through Volvo Car Leasing. Supplier Network, with a mileage of 6,000 miles per annum. Vehicle returned must be in good condition and within agreed mileage, otherwise further charges will be incurred. Excess Mileage S90 Momentum 14.40p per mile, V90 Momentum 15.30p per mile. In the event of cancellation of an order, you will be liable for such costs to be confirmed to you in writing. All other terms and conditions are as per the Master Hire Agreement or Customer Agreement between yourselves and Volvo Car Leasing. Prices correct at the time of going to print, are subject to change without notice and do not take into account any variation to government taxes or charges arising after date of publication. Subject to availability at participating dealers for vehicles ordered on or before 31st March 2017 or while stocks last. Not available with other promotions. Volvo Car Leasing Contract Hire is Provided by Lex Autolease Ltd, trading as Volvo Car Leasing, incorporated and registered in England with company number 1090741 & registered office at 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Cars shown for illustration purposes only.

Events Chamber Exchange

Coffee and Connections November 24, sponsored and hosted by Jesmond Dene House

February 9, The Little Haven Hotel, South Shields, 11am-2pm FREE The Chamber’s flagship round-table networking event encouraging an exchange of experiences, ideas and offers between members led by Chamber staff including senior management and partners. Venue sponsor

Members networking at Jesmond Dene House

Regional 2016 Review & AGMs Each year the Chamber provides an opportunity for members to meet, look back at the previous year and discuss the year to come. These events include brief AGM formalities and keynote talks from business leaders. The events are well attended and provide a unique chance to network and catch up with many Chamber colleagues. Details of this year’s Chamber Review & AGMs can be found on page 62 and online

Mabel Duncombe (MS Research), Linda Hitman (Exclusive North East) and Nicky Sherman (Jesmond Dene House)

Chamber Local November 29, hosted by Biochemica

Tony Stubbs (Biochemica)

Behind the scenes at Biochemica 60 contact

Claire Foster (MAC Security) and Rashina Rickaby (R2 Consulting Solutions)

Tony Stubbs (Biochemica)

Inspiring Females Seminar with Hannah Bell - Clarity November 30, hosted by Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County

Hannah Bell (Clarity) and Kerrin Smith (Durham Constabulary) with mini police from Ludworth Primary

Hannah Bell (Clarity)

Barbara Wilson (BePro) and Eve Custance (Durham Marriott)

Lucy Philipson (COCO) and Susie Blake (Durham Constabulary)

Melissa Thompson (KMS Partners), Louise White (Jacksons Law) and Lesley Weightman (Utilitywise)

Chamber Exchange

December 8, sponsored by Copthorne Hotel (hosts) and Allied Irish Bank, supporting Cash for Kids

Ken Ellington (Copthorne Hotel) and Stuart Redshaw (Trust Red)

Tom Jessop and Sana Malik (Allied Irish Bank)

Stephanie Simpson (Cash for Kids) and Vivien Herrara Lee (Properties Unique)

Victor Ottaway (Northumbria University) and Paul Lofthouse (Waymark IT)

Chamber Exchange

December 15, sponsored and hosted by Blackwell Grange, Darlington, supporting Children North East

Tony Roxburgh (Synovis Ltd) and Neil O'Connor (Fleet Recruitment)

Alison Lonsdale (Park Commercial) and Rebecca Bogle (Blackwell Grange)

Eddie Buck (SHR International), Luke Stephenson and Adam Watson (DeepFocus Digital)

contact   61


FEB 28

MAR 07








MAR 14

MAR 24




0300 303 6322






Area Meetings

















15:45-17:30, TBC











62 contact












Skills, Knowledge and Information Network


16:00-18:00, TBC







08:00-09:30, TBC

























*Chamber price plus VAT **Prices vary ***Global member price £240+VAT ****½ day event Free to Global members Foundation Award in International Trade: Global Member Cost: £640+VAT (3 courses)£800+VAT (4 courses). Standard Cost: £800+VAT (3 courses) £960+VAT (4 courses)

5 April 2017, 09:00-16:00 Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park Following the success of the Chamber Showcase @North East Expo last November, The Chamber have once again joined forces with member, Fresh Start Events who together are promoting the spring expo event taking place in April 2017. The North East Expo is being staged at Kingston Park, home of the Newcastle Falcons rugby team, on Wednesday April 5 from 09:00 – 16:00. The theme throughout the day will be business connections, and Level 2 of the main grandstand will play host to the Chamber Showcase, which will form part of the Expo event. Chamber members can exhibit in this space from £150 or attend the event as a delegate completely free. The event will feature a variety of seminars, masterclasses and workshops throughout the venue including a presentation from James Ramsbotham. There will be more than 200 companies exhibiting and around 1,500 delegates in attendance. For more information about the event and to book your stand or free place visit

Last word: Shirley Atkinson

In the know

Exploiting the knowledge economy

Shirley Atkinson is vice-chancellor and chief executive of the University of Sunderland

The Northern Powerhouse debate, and the messages coming from the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy speech, have given the UK’s universities much to discuss and consider, including new opportunities to redefine and re-emphasise their roles in the 21st Century knowledge economy. It is often said that the UK must be more innovative, more entrepreneurial and more responsive. It must protect and build on its worldwide reputation for excellence in science, technology and invention. And it must develop its skills, its leadership and its output, as well as learn to collaborate and cultivate sectors. We also know that as a region we need to define ourselves, build pride and community cohesion and continue to raise the aspirations and life chances of our people. These are core components for anchor institutions like Sunderland, which have for many years been inextricably linked to our economy, our society and our culture. For the North East to become a powerful and influential region our economy, society and culture has to work together as one. It starts by opening the talent pool as far as possible. WIDENING PARTICIPATION Promoting access and enhancing life chances are key aims of all modern universities - widening participation in higher education and building social capital and confidence in our students through career ready programmes, strong links with business, international partnerships and student exchange. I have recently been a member of a taskforce set up by Government to look at how best to improve social mobility in higher education. We need to have a much bolder and more wide-ranging vision, one which values

"The North East's universities are united in protecting the flow of international students to the region and the economic benefit they bring"

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and recognises the leadership already shown by modern universities in delivering new opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds and then providing the support they need to reach their potential. CHALLENGES The sector faces more challenges than ever, not least because of changes to policy and the political focus on immigration. The North East’s universities are united in protecting the flow of international students to the region and the economic benefit and connections they bring. As a sector we are keeping a close watch on the cross-border implications of the Higher Education and Research Bill and the impact of Brexit. Our mission to promote opportunities and new life-chances should not be restricted by borders. IMPACT Higher education, as well as being one of the building blocks for a diverse and prosperous society, also contributes £73bn to the UK economy. Universities UK is highlighting the often unseen and little-reported impact of universities on culture, place, economy, aspirations, entrepreneurialism, diversity, leadership, higher-level skills growth and much more, through its University Impact campaign. Universities quietly, diligently and consistently shape the world in which we live and change lives. They are innovators and collaborators – working with businesses from multinational giants to SMEs and start-ups. They are the foundation of regional growth and sector development, supporting and attracting inward investment. At Sunderland we are proud that every £1 received from funding bodies generated £18 in Gross Value Added for the UK economy in 2015/16 and we generated £432m GVA per annum for the North East economy, supporting 5,400 jobs.

University of Sunderland graduation, 2016

RESEARCH The future of UK Research and Innovation is something we need to look very carefully at as we move forward. Clearly we would not want to see any of the current investment in research cut. Modern universities have a strong track-record of working with business and supporting them through our applied research, which has immediate impact. Organisations and businesses across a range of sectors in the region have benefited from our world-leading researchers. For the UK economy to stay productive and competitive, funding for innovation, knowledge exchange and research remains paramount. GLOBAL In the University of Sunderland's global business we recently established a campus in Hong Kong and face increasing requests for growth in transnational activity. We are in the top five in the UK for providing Trans National Education, which is delivering University of Sunderland programmes in partner institutions worldwide. We use our connections with these partners to open doors for our North East partners – be they economic, cultural or societal. WE ARE THE TOMORROW MAKERS The need for higher education and up-skilling of our communities is more relevant now than ever. Our

regulatory and funding landscape has and continues to change. Competition within the sector for students is strong and the focus for our University is to ensure that our offer is relevant, offers the life changing experience we promise, and will lead to improved prospects for graduates to succeed in their ambitions for the future. Our programmes are directly work relevant and provide the higher-level skills our economy needs. We have many developments underway where we are collaborating with businesses and public and private sector partners. We have launched our Living Lab, developed with and for health partners to support the teaching of our nurses, pharmacists and paramedics and ultimately improve patient care. We are working with businesses to develop a growing programme of higher and degree apprenticeships that will provide employers with the skills they need in their workforce to grow and we have pledged to supply the International Advanced Manufacturing Park with the huge range of skills needed to support an operation on that scale. It’s up to us as regional leaders to work in partnership and adopt a strategic approach to nurturing highlevel skills, so that our region and communities can continue to prosper. At the University of Sunderland we are proud to be playing our part in the economic, social and cultural life of our region. contact   65

Member 2 Member Exclusive offers for Chamber members Make more of your Chamber membership with these great member offers and many more at

Free one-day Business Lounge pass

Free dessert with Sunday lunch

Discounted eLearning courses for 2017

NORTH EAST BIC North East England Chamber of Commerce members can get a free day pass for the North East BIC’s flexible working space in Sunderland and at Business Central Darlington.

MACDONALD LINDEN HALL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Chamber members can enjoy a free dessert with Sunday lunch in the award winning AA Dobson restaurant, when purchasing two covers.

LIFE SAVING TRAINING Benefit from approved, cost effective and convenient eLearning courses in Health & Safety and Health & Social Care. Track progress and download certificates with a free business account and get a 10% discount on 10+ licences purchased and a 20% discount on 20+ licences purchased.

Two-for-one at Freyas Restaurant - Aspers Casino

Free two-hour marketing health check

Free no-obligation review of personal finances




20% off your first project

5% off your summer holiday

Cocktail masterclass




66 contact

We’d love to help Your health is our number one priority Looking after number one is important to us all, but with work, family and general life commitments, sometimes the best of intentions to eat well and exercise go out the window – we’ve all been there and getting the perfect balance is never easy! At Spire Washington Hospital, every member of staff is committed to providing the highest quality healthcare. Whatever your reason for coming to Spire, we promise you will always be treated with respect and professionalism. Your wellbeing is our overriding priority. Our services are available to everyone – whether or not you are insured with private health insurance, paying for your treatment or attending the hospital via the NHS. If you are paying for your own treatment, we offer one-off private treatment at Spire Washington Hospital, with a fixed price agreed in advance. We offer high levels of medical treatment and personal care with a wide range of procedures and treatments available from diagnostic imaging including X-Ray, MRI, CT and Ultrasound, to surgery including bariatric, orthopaedic, gynaecology procedures.

/SpireWashington Picktree Lane, Rickleton, Tyne and Wear, NE38 9JZ

Here at Spire Washington Hospital we have 35 in-patient beds. There is a highly trained team of nurses and a resident medical doctor on site 24 hours a day so you know you are in safe hands. You will see your chosen consultant at every stage of the process, pre and post-surgery. We frequently offer free open evenings for patients thinking about cosmetic and weight loss surgery, at venues around the North East and also at the hospital. To find out more visit our website.

For more information or to make an appointment please contact us on

0191 448 9513

Contact magazine - February-March 2017  

Welcome to the latest issue of Contact magazine and more stories of success and inspirational business leaders. In his regular In My View co...

Contact magazine - February-March 2017  

Welcome to the latest issue of Contact magazine and more stories of success and inspirational business leaders. In his regular In My View co...