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The independent business magazine for Sussex

ISSUE 5 . 2014



THE BEHEMOTH Plus: NatWest Funding Guide Personal Finance Guide International Trade Legal Issues Accountancy Marketing Commercial Property Business Travel Editorial Opinion Expert Panel Networking Motoring


interrogated by PBM

Exclusive media sponsor for the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards

Discover the gems of local business!

The 2015 Business Awards will be launched on 2nd October 2014

WELCOME TO THE REGION’S PREMIER BUSINESS AWARDS The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards celebrate people who have shown innovation and inspiration in their work, and have demonstrated a real commitment to the sub-region. Now in their Seventh year, the awards have become one of the regions premier business occasions - celebrating the best of the best across the Gatwick Diamond region.


The Awards will culminate in a spectacular Awards Dinner, presented by Hugh Dennis on the 19th March 2015, at the Copthorne Effingham Park Hotel. Be sure to put the date in your diary today, and prepare to dance the night away at our fantastic After-Show Party.

www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com or call us: 01293 813888


For full details and to download an entry form, visit



ISSUE 5 . 2014

Graduate Skills

Welcome to Issue 5 of PBM and we are proud to bring you a new design along with an information-packed issue concerning all the relevant subjects for those trading in Sussex. We are delighted to announce that this publication has been appointed as the exclusive Media Sponsor for the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards and between now and the grand finale on March 19th, we will be bringing you all the news and views and profiling the finalists. We hope you enjoy the read and if you would like to get in touch with any comments about the magazine, we would love to hear from you.

Ian & Maarten Ian Trevett - Director Maarten Hoffmann - Director

16 4


43 AIRPORT EXPANSION DEBATE The four options are now three and Boris Johnson has quite a few things to say on the subject... See page 66.


GRADUATE SKILLS GAP We tackle the difficult subject of the graduate skills gap and we bring some of the leading players to a Round Table debate at the Grand Hotel.. See page 43.



Maarten Hoffmann – Director maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07966 244046

Ian Trevett – Director ian@platinumbusinessmagazine.com 07989 970804

Lynne Edwards - Commercial Property lynne@portfoliopublications.co.uk Tel: 07931 537588

GATWICK DIAMOND We are delighted to announce that Platinum Business Magazine has been appointed as the exclusive media sponsor for the most important business awards in the County... See page 20.


6 News 15 Institute of Directors 16 Heston Blumenthal 24 Finance 26 IT Security 32 GDBA Launch 38 Business Interview -

Rix & Kay

43 Graduate Skills Gap 60 Business Travel 62 Politics 66 Airport Expansion 81 Chamber of Commerce 84 Motoring 77 Networking 94 Dining Review 98 Wise words

Sally Wynn - Senior Designer

Julia Trevett – Accounts Manager All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. Platinum Business Magazine is published and owned by Platinum Business Publications Limited. Directors: Maarten Hoffmann and Ian Trevett

THE COVER STORY THE CULINARY ALCHEMIST We interrogate superstar chef Heston Blumenthal to find out where he started, where he’s going and what Sussex University found out about his appliance of science... See page 16.



LOCAL NEWS HILTON LONDON GATWICK AIRPORT - AWARDS Hilton Gatwick staff have been working hard on their already quite impressive customer skills and have been stretching themselves to exceed all of their targets and expectations. Following all the different problem resolution activities implemented in the hotel, the hotel has been granted the following awards by Hilton Worldwide – UK Metro Division: • Customer Service Award 2014 • People Excellence Award 2014 • Business Development Initiative of the Year 2014 • Leader of the Year 2014 (Awarded to Director of Operations, Cedric Horgnies)

They have also announced the completion of their extensive renovation programme to include 200 bedrooms refurbished at the end of 2013 and another 150 completed in June 2014. Additionally, in order to improve their guests’ experience, they have installed fridges and safes in all guestrooms as well as 32-inch HD flat screen TV’s in all of their fully renovated Deluxe Family Rooms. Amy’s Lobby Bar and the Crew Lounge were also part of the refurbishment, having a complete makeover including, flooring, furniture and decoration. The have also announced that their Ascot Suite and Foyer, which can accommodate up to 450 guests, reopens for the autumn season after a full renovation, with improved soundproofing, as well as new carpeting and decorations.



Campaigners have reacted with fury at West Sussex County Council, over controversial plans to build 500 new homes between Copthorne and Crawley. They state that the Council kept quiet about plans to close the local village school and that it was only after the scheme was given outline planning permission by Mid Sussex District Council that they found out about the closure. On closer inspection of the application, a clue might have been found in the details that they also plan a new primary school within the development. With the inevitable housing shortage and a guaranteed protest over just about every new application for new homes, it must be a great time to be a law firm.

Leading law firm Mayo Wynne Baxter are in the running for a prestigious award. The firm, which has eight offices across Sussex, has been shortlisted for the 2014 Lexcel Award in Practice Management by the Law Society. The company recently won another award for CSR earlier in the year at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards and Chairman Dean Orgill was recently voted Chairman of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership. A clean sweep of the board, one might say.


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“Behold the turtle - he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out” MOST BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS THREE buildings in Crawley have won design awards for being the best in the South East. County Mall, the new development at the former Sussex House site, and the Mercedes-Benz showroom on Gatwick Road have been crowned winners at the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) South East Building Excellence Awards. I think they need to work on their title! County Mall won the best partnership category as recognition for the strong working relationships existing between Jones Lang LaSalle, the centre managers, and Sussex Building Control. The team has worked together for more than 20 years to make sure

any building work undertaken in the centre is safe and in line with the Government’s building regulations. The development on the High Street, which includes the new Morrisons superstore and Travelodge hotel, won the best large commercial building award. The Mercedes-Benz showroom took home the best small commercial building prize. All winners will now go through to the national final on November 11th. The LABC awards reward and recognise construction excellence, acknowledging the skills and expertise needed to deliver buildings that are safe and comfortable to use.

MANOR ROYAL GRAND DESIGN Final approval has been granted on the last undeveloped section of Manor Royal. Abstract Securities have obtained planning consent for a new office development to be known as The Leonardo Building, after the council’s development control committee approved the plans. It will be located opposite the Virgin Atlantic offices and will be completed in the last quarter of 2015 and will not be affected if a second runway is built at Gatwick. The development can go ahead providing an agreement on Section 106 money (funds which are provided by a developer to improve the local area) is made with the council by August 27. The site is currently being used as an off-site car park for Gatwick Airport.



LOCAL NEWS MR ROLLS & MR ROYCE STILL GOING STRONG The Sussex based manufacturer of the world’s finest automobiles recently confirmed the development programme for a new model. The new Rolls Royce will reach the market by mid-2016 and will build on the success of Phantom, Ghost and Wraith. Speaking from the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, West Sussex, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “I am truly delighted to confirm today the development of our new model which will open an exciting new chapter in the great story of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. We are currently developing an exciting and thoroughly contemporary interpretation of a pinnacle drophead tourer which will introduce even more discerning men and women to Rolls-Royce ownership.” Peter Schwarzenbauer, Chairman of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, welcomed the announcement,

saying, “The announcement of a new Rolls-Royce model is always a seminal moment in the automobile industry. When it arrives in 2016, this elegant and sensuous new car will build on the success of our current models and will play a key part in fulfilling Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ commitment to long-term sustainable growth.” Great to see such an historic British marquee thriving even though we have, for many years, had to countenance the manufacturer of aero engines that saved us in the war being powered to incredible success by the very Germans we had to fight. But thank heavens for them as without, RR might well have gone the same way as most of the UK’s major engineering companies. Irony, me thinks!

AN OUTSTANDING COMPANY A MANOR Royal-based manufacturer has been named as an “outstanding company” by an independent body. Vent-Axia, a manufacturer of ventilation, heating and air conditioning equipment, has been handed the award by industry analyst Plimsoll after it was judged to have demonstrated “excellent commercial performance” in the past 12 months, following an inspection of its published accounts. Vent-Axia, based in Fleming Way, has been recognised for this achievement because it has improved its financial performance while at the same time demonstrating solid sales growth. The firm is now in proud possession of a Plimsoll Certificate of Business Excellence 2014. Ian Dew, chief financial officer at Volution Holdings, the group that owns Vent-Axia, said: “A Plimsoll ‘outstanding company’ award is a great compliment and we’re pleased our business has been acknowledged.”


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“A meeting is an event where the minutes are kept and the hours are lost” GRADUATE RECRUITMENT BUREAU (GRB) AIMS HIGHER A growing specialist recruitment firm is about to extend its Brighton and London branches with help from a NatWest loan. Based in Brighton, Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB) is recognised as the UK’s leading, independent, graduate recruitment consultancy. Established by Dan Hawes and Chris Cater in 1997, when they themselves were recent graduates of Brighton University, GRB’s experts have helped and placed more than 600,000 students and graduates with FTSE250 and fast-growing recruiters in all sectors worldwide. The company matches candidates from all degree disciplines with graduate jobs and schemes, experienced roles, internships and student jobs every day. Fulfilling demand for talented new graduates in all areas except the public sector, the pair had no competition when they started out. Since then, they have grown their business and launched a London office in March 2013 with eight staff, recently increasing to 14, with a further 35 based in Brighton.

Since then, the company has been growing steadily. Sensing an opportunity from the current upturn in economic growth, GRB has positioned itself to be ready for the increased number of jobseekers coming through its doors. Dan and Chris hope to have 100 staff by 2017 and several foreign outposts beyond that. Dan said: “We’ve learned a lot since we placed our first graduate in 1997. We have grown steadily, reinvesting our profits and surviving two economic downturns. In fact, it’s made us leaner and meaner and determined to get our growth plans back on track. We are confident given the excellent team we have around us and the strength of our client base. To fund the growth and bigger premises, they approached Rob Head, Relationship Director at NatWest in Worthing. Together, they attracted a loan of £300,000 backed by the Government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee plus a reinvestment of GRB profits.




GUILTY UNTIL PROVED INNOCENT HM Revenue & Customs, in their new brutish mode, have announced that any UK citizen who fails to declare cash held overseas could face automatic prison, under controversial new plans. HMRC have already faced fury over their plans to raid bank accounts, be it a current account, joint or ISA, should they feel that the individual has avoided tax, without obtaining a court order first. Now anyone who’s found to have withheld details of their offshore funds could face ‘unlimited’ financial penalty, or up to six months in prison in the most serious cases. The proposals would further strengthen HMRC’s power by absolving it of the obligation to prove that someone has deliberately tried to avoid paying their fair share. Instead, the onus would be on the taxpayers to ensure that they

are declaring funds stashed in foreign accounts. Stephen Camm, tax partner at accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “HMRC’s past record of major blunders means it is not suitable to wielding such extensive powers” David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury said that HMRC needed the threat of criminal prosecution to stop the blight of ‘stone cold tax cheats’. Not all offshore accounts are used for tax evasion and the practice is not in itself illegal. Many people set up such accounts to look after income from an overseas property. Another case of proving you are innocent after the tax man has decided you are guilty.


Small companies face a ‘backdoor tax’ from insurance companies looking to recoup the cost of complying with a government cap on pension charges. The head of Royal London, Phil Loney, has launched a withering attack on the Government for grossly underestimating the cost to the industry of reducing charges on company pensions. It is estimated that the industry could be hit with a £1 billion bill over the next decade, five times the Governments £200m forecast. It is thought that insurers would look to claw back these costs by imposing charges on small companies as the Government crack down on rip-off pension charges which affect millions of savers, particularly those in older pension schemes. From next April, company pensions have to impose a maximum annual charge of 0.75%. Loney said smaller firms would bear the brunt of these new costs incurred by insurance companies. A threat if ever we have heard one.


COMPANY DRIVERS WARNED Anyone driving a company car faces the sack if they make a hands-free phone call while they are on the road. More than a quarter of companies with fleet vehicles have banned their drivers from making even handsfree calls and warned them they face dismissal if they breach the ban. This follows a recent study by the Transport Research Laboratory that found hands-free use slows reaction times by 27% - more than alcohol (13%) and worse than cannabis (21%). So those that get stoned, go to the pub and then make a call on the way home are 61% more likely to crash – and we needed how many scientists to tell us that?

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“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome fear by action. Fear is nature’s way of warning us to get busy” WINE EDUCATION Following a pioneering partnership with the Sussex Wine School in April 2013, Hotel du Vin Brighton has seen a significant increase in average wine spend, growing by nearly £3.50 per person in the last financial year. The partnership allowed the Sussex Wine School to make use of the multi-functional facilities at the hotel, in exchange for training all hotel staff with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification. The complimentary certification has also found success with the hotel’s staff retention, with many valuing the certification as a vital component of their professional development.

The courses have been offered to staff across all departments, maintaining the wine-centric focus that the esteemed group is proud to preserve. Thus far, over 21 of the hotel’s staff have achieved Level 1, and the majority of staff have progressed to Level 2 or 3 out of 4 stages. Of these staff, says General Manager Simon Maguire, not a single one has left their position at Hotel du Vin Brighton, and one member of staff was promoted to a management position. The hotel’s sommelier, Ziggy, who holds a level 4, is no longer the only member of staff with expert knowledge, and the result is a hotel with a passion for wine at the heart of its ethos.

ECCLESTONE FOOT NOTE In the last issue we ran a major interview with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was to be prosecuted for paying a bribe to undervalue shares in the sale of a controlling stake in F1 by the stateowned lender BayernLB to the private equity firm CVC for $828m (£500m) in 2006. This case did not even get to court as the ever wily Ecclestone agreed to pay £100m (£60m) to the German Treasury to make the case go away. An interesting case of alleged bribery that was solved with, well, alleged state sanctioned bribery! His problems are not over though as the state-owned lender now wants their fair share and are

insisting on an equal amount to that paid to the state. Ecclestone has offered them $25m (£17m) which they have refused. Ecclestone said: “If they sue, they will have no chance at all. If they want to, then OK but at the moment we don’t do anything. We made a sensible offer and they rejected it, so let’s wait” Last week, Bayern LB CEO Johannes-Joerg Riegler stated: “If the overall package is right, we wouldn’t be closed to it, but it is still open as to whether we will come to a settlement or we will have to sue”. There really is one rule for them and one rule for us. Next time you find yourself in the dock, offer the judge a couple of grand and see what happens!




RELUCTANCE TO BORROW Businesses remain reluctant to invest as they remain gripped by concerns over the struggling Eurozone and the prospect of interest rate rises, with companies sitting on ever-growing cash piles and shunning bank lending, Britain’s accounting body has warned. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said that a majority of firms – 55pc – are not looking for new finance in the next 12 months, despite the improving economic environment. The body implored small businesses to seek financing if they need it, and to invest in the recovery, saying “all the ducks are in the row” to cash in on growth. However, it pointed to a continued lack of momentum

in the Eurozone – the UK’s biggest trading partner – and the timing of the Bank of England increasing interest rates as potential factors holding investment back. The reluctance for businesses to borrow comes despite them increasingly trusting lenders, following deteriorating relationships between banks and SMEs in the financial crisis. This has been further tested by allegations that banks put small companies out of business in order to cheaply buy up their assets and more recently, that they abused the enterprise finance guarantee scheme, a programme to improve lending to SMEs.

A PRICEY GHERKIN The iconic piece of London real estate is on the market for around £650m and has attracted huge interest from around the world. More than 200 prospective buyers have signed up to bid for the Gherkin after one of London’s most distinctive landmarks was put up for sale. The winning bidder is expected to pay at least £650m to secure the building in the capital’s Square Mile. The Norman Foster-designed tower is being sold for the second time in its 10-year history after its current owners, private equity firm Evans Randall and German property investor IVG, defaulted on a loan. Savills and Deloitte Real Estate were appointed to conduct the sale after the building went into receivership in April. Around 40% of the registered potential bidders are from Asia, according to Julian Stocks, head of UK markets at Deloitte Real Estate. He said: “Over 200 interested parties registered from all around the world. We will now be undertaking inspections and looking to move towards bidding in mid-September. I suspect there could be at least 100 institutions and ultra-high net worth investors who could bid.”


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“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success” TOP 10 CREDIT MYTHS Experian have published the top ten myths about credit agencies: Myth 1: Previous occupants of your address affect your credit rating It makes no difference if the previous occupant of your home was a millionaire or bankrupt. You will not find their name on your credit report unless you share a financial connection with them, such as a joint account. Lenders are only interested in your financial details, plus those of anyone you’re financially linked to. They do like to see stability, though, so they will want to know your previous addresses. Myth 2: Credit reference agencies make lending decisions Credit reference agencies compile and hold your credit report securely - Experian is the UK’s largest. They don’t make decisions; that’s up to lenders, who check the information in your report along with other information such as items from your application. Most will then use this information to calculate your credit score, to help them decide whether to offer credit. Myth 3: Past debts don’t count Unfortunately past debts do count. Court judgments for non-payment of debts, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and bankruptcies stay on your credit report for at least six years. Even a missed repayment on something like a credit card is recorded on your report for at least six years. Any of these could count against you as lenders may think that you will miss payments with them too. Myth 4: If you’ve never borrowed, you’ll get the best deals If you’ve never borrowed, lenders have no way of predicting how reliable you’ll be in the future and may even reject you. Most of them would rather see a credit report showing a few well-managed loans or cards and regular repayments. Myth 5: You could be on a credit blacklist Blacklists don’t exist and your credit rating doesn’t take account of your race, ethnic origin, religion or gender. Some factors that lenders do

consider include your repayment history and how much you already owe. They want to be sure that you aren’t taking on more credit than you can comfortably manage. Myth 6: Friends and family living in your home affect your credit rating Unless you share a financial connection with any of them — for example, a joint mortgage — friends and family have no direct impact on your credit rating. Just living with someone doesn’t create a financial connection. If you do have a financial connection with someone, lenders may look at their credit report as well as yours when you apply for new credit, as their circumstances could affect your ability to make repayments. Myth 7: Repaying your credit cards in full lowers your credit score This is nonsense - in fact, you’re likely to get a better credit score, because it shows you can afford your borrowing. You’re more likely to get a lower score if you miss payments, make just minimum repayments on your cards or borrow right up to your credit limits. Myth 8: It doesn’t matter how many credit accounts you have Lenders want to be sure that you can afford

more credit, so they prefer it if you don’t already owe large amounts on multiple accounts. They can also favour customers who aren’t heavily reliant on the credit they already have. So, try to keep your regular borrowing on cards to less than 25% of your credit limits if you can. Myth 9: You only have one credit score Each lender uses a unique method to calculate credit scores and some use a different formula for different products, such as loans and credit cards. So you could get three different credit scores if you made three applications in a single day, even to the same lender. Your credit history and score also change as your circumstances change; missing a few repayments could lower your score, while paying off a debt could give it a boost. Myth 10: Items in your credit history stay on file forever Your credit report is designed to give lenders a decent picture of your recent and current financial position — they’re not interested in seeing that a 40 year old missed a few repayments when they were 21 because it has no relevance to their likely behaviour today. Most information about your credit history is therefore held for around six years.


EMC is the leading independent provider of corporate ďŹ nance, interim management and operational support to SMEs across all business sectors in the South East. We are the Regional experts in: Business valuation Management buy-outs Private equity and venture capital Business sales Business acquisitions Interim management support for sales, financial, property and IT departments

SME Advisory Firm of the Year

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Most Outstanding SME Corporate Finance Firm of the Year

Offices at:

Brighton | Eastbourne | Maidstone | Crawley | London EMC Management Consultants Ltd | Rochester House | 48 Rochester Gardens | Hove BN3 3AW T: 01273 945984 | E: contact@emcltd.co.uk | www.emcltd.co.uk


Helping the business leaders of the future to become business leaders By Dean Orgill Chairman of Mayo Wynne Baxter www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk • www.iod.com


lsewhere in this issue you will read from those involved in working directly with students in further and higher education, as well as those directly concerned with jobs and training. But is there any link between business organisations and their future members before they become the fully-fledged “captains of industry” that we hope they will become? Whilst we may think that some people can be classed as born entrepreneurs, that is only exceptionally the case, but a lot can be learned with advice from other people that can help development of possible business leaders be they entrepreneurs or managers. The advice and experience of others can be shared and the benefit of that can be two-way, in so much as the enthusiasm and ideas of the next generation can be exchanged with the experience of those who have “been there and done that” so that both parties can ultimately be the wiser. So, should those who already in senior positions assist those at the start of their careers, and if so how should this best be dealt with?

The IoD considered these issues and decided that there did need to be a clearer link between those already in senior positions and those who may be so in the future. As a consequence it has established a Student Membership intended to be “to support the next generation of business leaders” (Simon Walker, Director General of the IoD). The membership provides support such as facilitated access to business leaders, the chance to seek advice from a “guru panel” and the opportunity to network with local business leaders. There is also a model internship agreement provided for the situations where businesses want to give practical experience of the work environment to students considering a career in that sector. In Sussex the launch event took place at University of Brighton in March this year, where students were able to hear from Kevin Byrne of check-a-trade, and be inspired by his story. The Sussex link continues via the University of Brighton, and it is one that we very much hope to continue and develop in the coming years. If your business organisation does not have

a similar link, or possibly a link of a different nature but still providing the chance to link to the next business generation, is it time to press for something to be put into place?

Just a thought Have you considered the issues raised by Generational Theory? The debate around the theory considers the extent to which your workforce can be influenced by different drivers, and also how they prefer to be communicated with. Do you know the drivers for the different members of your team at work? Also, do you communicate with them in “your style” (because you are comfortable with it) or do you take into account how they like to communicate and adapt to make your communication more successful?


“I spent four years trying to make savoury candyfloss”



“Sussex University did a fascinating study on sensory triggers”


eston Blumenthal is a freak of nature in that he views the world of food in a slightly different way to rest of us and certainly to his peer group of superstar chefs. His first major step that propelled him to international prominence was in 1995 when, after two years of searching, he purchased a 450-year-old pub in a small town called Bray in Berkshire. Hardly the smartest business decision one would think as it had a tiny kitchen, only one door, no view, an outside loo and a reputation as the hotspot for every hard drinker banned from all other pubs in the area but it was all he could afford.

At this stage, there was no thought of Michelin stars. With its beams sandblasted and a copper bar installed, The Fat Duck opened as a very simple bistro serving French classics such as petit sale of duck, steak and chips, sauce a la moelle and tarte tatin. So far so good until day two, when the oven exploded and Heston spent the rest of service with a bag of frozen peas strapped to his head. Inexperience and very limited funds meant that he was spending twenty hours a day in the kitchen, occasionally snatching fifteen minutes sleep curled up on a pile of dirty tea towels. Despite the utter chaos, the restaurant started to get some good reviews and even the kitchens drawbacks were turned into an advantage. The gas pipes were domestic rather than commercial and provided insufficient heat to even bring a large pan of water to the boil. Green beans had to be blanched in batches of eight! Attempts to find ways around this problem brought Heston into contact with Professor Tony Blake, and these two became the first of a network of scientists and academics that have played a part in the restaurants development, including several from the fragrance company Firmenich, which, with its shelves full of stoppered bottles containing every aroma imaginable, has provided an invaluable source of inspiration ever since. The Fat Duck is now one of the most famous restaurants in the world and currently holds three Michelin stars. Heston has been described as a culinary alchemist for his innovative style of cuisine. His work researches the molecular compounds of dishes so as to enable a greater understanding of taste and flavour and in 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Reading for his dedicated research and commitment to the exploration of culinary science. Can this ringmaster of test-tube theatre really have flunked O-Level chemistry? Well, Heston doesn’t really do failure – these are more like bumps on the road to world domination. Who now worries about the 2009 norovirus outbreak at The Fat Duck, or cares about Little Chef publicly ‘ditching’ the menu he was asked to revamp? Heston does, of course, but he’s too resilient not to bounce back. He’s also incredibly personable.



Given all your different projects, do you ever worry about one of them failing? Oh, yes. We’ve had some big downs. I thought the whole norovirus thing could have been it for me, and the restaurant might not have reopened. The only thing I’ve changed is that we’ve not served oysters since, which is really sad. You have to look at failure as an opportunity to learn. Have you ever tried to cook anything ridiculous that’s gone horribly wrong? I spent four years trying to make savoury candyfloss. I know a lot about candyfloss now, but even more about flogging a dead horse. Are you a bit of a show-off? It’s all a little bit self-indulgent, I’ll give you that. But the bizarre thing is that I really lacked confidence at school. When I started doing TV, I remember filming in a pizzeria in Naples and wanting the floor to open up and swallow me. But doing TV helped me become more confident. And I’m starting to get more confident in my cooking now. It’s taken me about 20 years. You have done an extraordinary range of jobs before you found your vocation. How could you of been a debt collector and photocopier salesman if you weren’t confident? Oh God, the photocopier salesman! I was awful at it and I hated it. Who buys a photocopier from a cold caller? It’s weird, given the confidence thing, that I went down the path of multisensory


cooking. No one had ever done anything like it, so some people loved me, and other people thought I was the devil. I took some battering and took it really personally. I could have sunk or swum. I swam. You seem like the antithesis of the stereotypical shouty chef. Have you always been this chilled out? Not at all [laughs]. I used to have a real temper on me and did a lot of work on it. It was realising you have to take responsibility as a boss. If you shout at someone for making mistakes, then it’s your fault – either you employed the wrong person, you’re expecting too much of them or you haven’t trained them sufficiently. I haven’t even thought about raising my voice for ten years. Where did the temper come from? My lack of confidence. Conflict made me uncomfortable, so I’d ignore it or deal with it too aggressively. Since curbing that, my confidence has improved. And I try to exercise eight to ten hours a week, otherwise I’d get jittery as well as being the size of a house. I’m way more relaxed now than ever. Not content with the success of The Fat Duck, you have now opened Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental in London, the Hind Head and The Crown Pubs in Bray, a new restaurant at Heathrow’s Terminal 2, you recently appeared

in every episode of Masterchef Australia and are about to open Dinner in Melbourne . Do you worry about spreading yourself too thinly? Sometimes. But consistency is the most important thing – it doesn’t matter how many things you have going on, as long as the quality doesn’t dip anywhere along the line. People keep asking me why l am opening a Dinner across the other side of the world and why not New York? We looked at New York really heavily as we wanted to open there. I’ve got some good chef mates in the business in New York and they all said the same thing: If you can’t be unionfree, don’t touch it. We looked and we looked and we looked. It’s a nightmare. There’s a reason why both (Joel) Robuchon and (Alain) Ducasse have closed. They’ve just gone. You cannot operate a restaurant under those conditions. It’s impossible. People used to talk about breaking America, but Asia is where everything is exploding now: Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines. Australia is that stepping stone into Asia. It’s strange because Australia’s a small country populationwise but it bats like a big country because it’s so cosmopolitan. I’d put Melbourne in the top five cities in the world for food, It has a rich mixture of cultures, with a very diverse range of foods. It’s really vibrant, exciting. I’ve never seen a country explode food-wise like Australia has. If you want Zen-like purism in food, you go


“Can this ringmaster of test-tube theatre really have flunked O-Level chemistry?” to Tokyo or Kyoto. If you want three-Michelinstar French, you go to Paris. It you go outside that level, I’d put London as the best city in the world to eat in and then you’ve got New York, and Melbourne’s really up there. The restaurant scene is booming. Heathrow is an odd location - do you mind the idea of people rushing through one of your meals to catch a plane at Terminal 2? No, I always wanted The Fat Duck to be accessible – I wanted everyone else to be as excited as I was about this new approach to cooking. But the Duck is expensive and hard to get into – the last time l looked the waiting list was just over a year; it’s become a bit elitist, which was the last thing I wanted. That’s why the first book I did was called “Family Food”, and why I got involved in Little Chef. T2 already had the smoked salmon-and-champagne side covered, so I wanted to get involved in burgers and pizza. Do you ever indulge in a burger or a kebab? I love a wet, sloppy pizza. And a lamb kebab, though the last time I had one was three or four years ago. My son got one from the takeaway and I took a bite: so wrong and so right all at the same time. But I can’t go there now; I have to try and be healthy. You have recently demonstrated a passion for historical English cuisine. Where did that come from? I met two historians that run the kitchen at Hampton Court Palace – it’s the most historically important palace in England, and the kitchen is the oldest part. They found letters from Cardinal Woolsey describing a spit-roasted pig he had seen in Italy, and they tried to recreate it in their kitchen. Speaking with them, I realized that in the 18th century, Britain was one of the leading areas of gastronomy in the world! They cooked with everything they had. Some dishes were really extreme – a pheasant dish, for example, where you roast the pheasant then sew the skin and the feathers back onto the bird and rig up a gear system so it moves when you put it on the table. No wonder the life expectancy was 25, what with the raw skin on the cooked meat. In another example, the French would pluck a live chicken, brush the skin with saffron, wheat germ and drippings, then put the head under the belly, and rock the chicken to sleep. The

live chicken was then placed on a platter with two cooked chickens, carried to the table and the cooked chickens carved as the live one ran wildly around – theatre on the table. The most disturbing recipe I’ve ever seen is for “how to roast a goose alive” from The Cook’s Oracle from the late 1800s. It’s written almost in biblical style, and it’s really disturbing. The idea is that you’ve cooked the goose’s skin but the vital organs are still working, and you carve the goose while it can still scream. You just don’t know if anyone ever actually made that dish – not that it’s one I’d specifically like to see. But I would like to go back to see some of the creativity. There was a lot of stuff going on 300 years ago and that, for me, is really fascinating. Are you offended when you hear that the British cuisine is the worst in the world? Oh yeah, right, the worst in the world, second to Norway. Or is it Finland? Admittedly, in the 70s, it was awful. I remember when I was a kid, you couldn’t buy olive oil – you had to go to the pharmacy to buy it! And there was only one kind of pasta you could buy, and it was spaghetti. But in the last 10 years, the food of Britain has just rocketed. The really top-end restaurants are not as varied, nor are there as many of them, as in New York, but the average restaurant in London has food as good as anywhere. Historically the French bought bread every day; in England they’d buy it once a week, but the mentality is changing. Farmer’s markets

are booming outside of London, and of course there’s Borough Market [in the city], which is really good. Do you think that you can suck the emotion out of cooking by applying too much science? What do you call too much science? If you’re being a purist, man would only ever cook over a fire. It’s not the equipment or the science, it’s what you do with it. I just love things that trigger an emotion, smells and flavours you’ve forgotten. That’s the stuff you want to bring into cooking. Is there a food you wouldn’t be able to reinvent? C4 would love me to reinvent chocolate, or salt… Nothing I’ve done has been designed to shock. If I can justify why I’m doing something, fine. Some things just work. Although, in the process of saying you can’t do something, you can start to wonder… Is the pressure greater on you when you cook for guests, or on them when they cook for you? Me. I only realised this last year. Young chefs can be a bit cocky and criticise other people. For me, sitting round a table at someone’s house and having someone cook for you – it’s a real treat. I’m easy to cook for. But what happens if someone comes to my house and I just give them Bolognese? They’ll wonder why they can’t eat the bowl.


{ CELEBRITY INTERVIEW } Have any of your kids shown signs of following you into the kitchen? When my oldest son said he wanted to be a chef, I told him the only reason to go into cooking is because you want to cook, not to make money or be famous. He’s in his second year of a culinary arts degree and he’s flying. The teachers just called him “Jack” at first, so people didn’t realise [that he was a Blumenthal]. He’s there on merit. You’ve kept your family separate from your work. I’ve been asked to film at home with the kids several times, and always said no. As long as people are aware of the boundaries, they stop. Are you cooking Christmas dinner this year? Yeah, I love cooking at home. You can be sociable while you do it. It’ll be a traditional roast, although chicken rather than turkey. And it’s the one time of the year that I go decadent, so I’ll have some white truffles as well as all the trimmings. The real downside is that Christmas shopping at Waitrose takes about three hours. People always comment on what I’m putting in my basket: “Ooh, look! He’s bought a pork pie and a prawn cocktail!” What drives your fascination with the oddity of flavours? You eat with your eyes, ears, nose and mouth – in fact it is one of the few things we humans do that involves all those senses. Take Crab Ice Cream. People had difficulty accepting it yet when we named it Frozen Crab Bisque, not only was it more acceptable but it was considered less sweet. We found that oysters eaten while listening to seaside sounds were considered significantly more pleasant. In another test, people tasted egg-and-bacon ice cream while listening to sounds of bacon sizzling, followed by tasting it while listening to the sound of chickens clucking. The sizzling bacon sound made the bacon flavour appear noticeably more intense. How can you not find that total fascinating? This phenomenon was subsequently researched by Martin Yeomans and Lucy Chambers of the University of Sussex, who served test subjects a version of Blumenthal’s ice cream flavoured with smoked salmon, but told one group they would be tasting ice cream and the other that they would be tasting a frozen savoury mousse. Although all consumed identical food, those eating what they thought was savoury mousse found the flavour acceptable while those eating what they thought was ice cream found the taste salty and generally disgusting. For Heston, this simply confirmed the potential of an area he was already vigorously exploring.

“If something as simple as a name could make a dish appear more or less salty (even though, no matter what form the dish’s presentation took, the salt level remained constant), what effect might other cues have on flavours and our appreciation of them?” Blumenthal is a culinary star in Australia, where his appearances on the MasterChef TV show draw huge audiences. He’s also known for his Heston for Coles supermarket food and for

“The winner is not the richest, the winner is the best!” the Sage by Heston Blumenthal range of kitchen appliances. These include the Oracle, an espresso machine that retails in the U.K. for £1,599. While Heston’s empire looks healthy, he is far from the richest chef in the UK. The Sunday Times Rich List awarded this title to Jamie Oliver with £150m, with Gordon Ramsey in second place at £23m and Heston with only £2m. Not only is this obviously complete tosh but reflects the amount of cash re-invested into his burgeoning business empire. A recent deal with Waitrose, new television shows, ready-made food ranges across the world and the afore-mentioned new restaurants

are sure to rocket him up the list. Recently, his company SL6 Ltd paid out their first ever dividend of £750,000 to Heston and other family members. The accounts for SL6 show that turnover grew by 22% to £10.2m and that SL6 is owned by Nevis registered Cape Proprietary Inc, which in turn is controlled by Isle of Man registered Lowethal Corporation. Friends of the 45-year-old chef say he has struggled to make money — unlike celebrity rivals Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay, One said: “He’s got no idea. It ends up costing him so much to do the TV programmes. When he does that programme Feast he puts so much of his own resources into it, it ends up costing him a fortune and he has ploughed hundreds of thousands of pounds into his research laboratories. Sure he’s got a nicer life than ever before but in comparison with some people in his position? You’re having a laugh.” Why does it appear you are lagging behind Oliver and Ramsey in the cash stakes: Well, I’m rubbish with money. If l need something, l just buy it and worry about the cost later but they are not personal indulgences as l spend a fortune on new kit for the kitchens and a further fortune of expanding into other continents. Besides, l am not motivated by money – l am motivated by the quality of my food, restaurants and television programmes. The winner is not the richest, the winner is the best!



“Feeling in control means we are better positioned to deal with fear. Fear is an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real”

GAIN CONTROL OF YOUR DESTINY By Sarah Hopwood Business Consultant, International Speaker, TV Presenter, Voiceover Artist and Cruise Lecturer. www.sarahhopwppd.com

“Direction, not intention, determine Destination.” Andy Stanley


o often we have good intentions yet end up taking another route – often steered by the grip of fear. When we lack confidence it affects our motivation. I suggest 20% or more can be lost on the bottom line of any business when motivation is low. When on-lookers see a successful leader, there often is an unspoken assumption that person is confident. We can of course be confident in some areas and not in others - yet in my experience lack of confidence is like a hidden disease. Its a burden many spend much of their life masking.

thinking around two emotions: punishment or reward. External Locus of Control (ELC) thinking employees don’t feel they have control over their lives. They operate in the circle of concern and can often be problem focused. They will always blame you or someone else when things go wrong. These thinkers say they are ‘where they are today’ because of what has happened to them – good or bad. Internal Locus of Control (ILC) employees have a much greater sense of control. They operate in

working steadily, often completing repeated work saying, “just tell me what to do!”. Most would agree that, overall, there needs to be a dominance of internal thinkers for any business to run to its full potential. If someone in a position of influence coupled with authority is an external thinker, I would suggest some coaching may be useful. When recruiting why not assess how each candidate thinks? The words they use will give away how they think.By asking them to share a little about their journey they will have an

Example of Person with External Locus of Control External Stimulus

Automatic Response

In 1954 Julian Rotter published a paper empowering businesses to assess motivation in the work place. His American critics had a field day; Rotter said it was like “lighting a cigarette

the circle of influence and are solution focused. They will say they are where they are today because of the decisions they have made. In extreme cases some may have an inflated view

Your Outcomes in Life opportunity to shine while you listen to their delivery. When we enter the choice box we feel more in control. Feeling in control means we are better

Example of Person with Internal Locus of Control External Stimulus

Automatic Response

Your Outcomes in Life

Choice and seeing a bush fire.” He was shocked and engulfed by the feedback – much of it challenging his content. Most said his Locus of Control paper was too extreme. Maybe; but I hope you agree with me when I say the guy had a point! Julian suggested there are two dominant ways of thinking: internal and external Locus (place) of Control, linking to his belief we base all our

of themselves, perhaps even dismissing needs of others as inferior to their own. Generally speaking though ILC thinkers make very good leaders. The key difference between ELC and ILC thinkers is the ‘choice’ box. Arguably businesses need both Internal and External thinkers. If full of ELC - sadly blame culture would be rife. If full of ILC there is no one in the engine room; those employees happily

positioned to deal with fear. Fear is an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real. In other words, it hasn’t happened yet. If you can’t rid yourself of the feeling of fear then, after checking your motives are right, do what needs to be done – even if you have to do it afraid!



Green Energy Finance

By Gary Chown ACIB MCIBS - Chartered Banker Director Commercial Banking NatWest Bank Gary.Chown@natwest.com


he bank has been involved in the sustainable energy sector for over two decades. In the large scale project finance space, the bank financed its first UK wind farm as early as 1991 and according to Infrastructure Journal we were the leading lender to UK renewable energy projects in the period between 2011 and 2013. Outside of project finance we also have been supporting customers with asset finance solutions through our Lombard Green Energy Finance Team who have been providing financing solutions for biomass boilers amongst other technologies. Our SME lending teams have also been leading the way by developing new propositions in the space for our customers through the Small Scale Renewables Fund and also through the provision of energy efficiency loans.

As part of this, earlier this year the bank launched the Mentor Energy Audit. This involves assisting our SME customers through a review of their supply contracts and energy usage to present them with solutions to reduce consumption and save them money. However, it’s not just finance we are providing for our customers. We are also looking to share our experience and expertise in the advancement of this market. Andrew Buglass, Head of the Energy project finance team is an active participant on the DECC steering board for the Energy Bill, working through the next stages of secondary legislation, as well as being Co-Chair of the Low Carbon Finance Group. As well as providing finance to support sustainable energy, we also seek to manage our own environmental impacts. The bank itself has made a number of commitments as an

organisation to improve its own environmental impact and energy consumption. Last year we cut £4.1 million from our energy costs through efficiency measures including optimisation of heating/cooling systems in our larger buildings and installing more efficient lighting and heating in offices and branches. Our role within the sustainable energy space has also been externally recognised by several award wins and shortlisting’s, from the recent Environmental Finance ‘Wind Energy Financing of the Year’ award which was won by Greencoat UK Wind plc, and Project Finance’s ‘European Onshore Wind Deal of the Year’ which was won by Infinis - both of which the bank provided financing for - to the short listing of its Sustainable Energy team for the Business Green ‘Sustainability Team of the Year’. See opposite page for a renewable energy case study.

“We are also looking to share our experience and expertise in the advancement of this market” 24

Renewable Energy Case Study


Biogas business plans for future with support from Lombard

“We are now able to invest in both operational improvements and phase two of our overall scheme, meaning we will be able to encourage the use of green energy by attracting businesses to our site,” says Thomas Minter, Director of Malaby Biogas About Malaby Biogas Malaby Biogas was founded in 2009 and owns and operates an anaerobic digestion plant built by its sister company Malaby Martin. The plant, at Bore Hill Farm near Warminster, Wiltshire, is a clean and efficient waste processing and energy generation facility which has won several industry awards. The company, which has six employees, works closely with the surrounding community and hosts a variety of visitor groups including local schools.

What did Malaby Biogas want to achieve? The company’s plans included a wish to build a series of commercial business units on the Bore Hill Farm site which would be powered by energy produced by the anaerobic digestion plant. In addition, Malaby Biogas also wanted to invest in the existing facility through operational improvements and other sources of green energy.

How did Lombard help? Malaby Biogas had existing funding from an incumbent provider before being introduced to Lombard’s dedicated green

energy finance team via NatWest. Lombard provided Malaby Biogas with £1.8 million in funding, which was secured against the company’s anaerobic digestion assets and was part of a wider deal which incorporated additional funding from NatWest.

How will Malaby Biogas benefit? As a result of this funding, Malaby Biogas has been able to release cashflow in order to invest in both operational improvements to existing assets and future development of the Bore Hill Farm site. This has included ordering additional equipment to optimise the quality of gas produced by anaerobic digestion. The business is also looking to install additional tanker connection points to enable different types of feedstocks to be used at the plant. Enhanced odour control measures are being implemented at the site, while Malaby is also looking to add solar and biomass energy production to widen its range of green energy schemes.

Deal highlights • Total funding package of £2.4m allows Malaby Biogas to invest in operational improvements • Phase two of company’s plans will see development of mixed-use site, with business units powered by green energy • Move into solar energy production being considered in order to expand the company’s range of green energy schemes

Finally, the company is now looking to develop the remainder of the Bore Hill Farm site by starting the scheme to prepare, build and gain occupancy for up to nine business units across an area of some 20,000 sq feet. “We wanted to get support for future development and reduce our cashflow expenditure. Lombard provided us with funding secured against our anaerobic digestion plant assets, which allowed us to release cash to invest.” Thomas Minter, Director, Malaby Biogas

“We wanted to get support for future development and reduce our expenditure. Lombard provided us with funding secured against our anaerobic digestion plant assets, which allowed us to release cash to invest.” Thomas Minter, Director, Malaby Biogas

August 2014


How secure is your IT system? By Jon Green EMC Management Consultants Ltd, Technology Team


he world is under threat from a plague of computer viruses. A recent report by one internet security firm found that 160,000 types of virus are being developed daily. Another put the figure as high as 250,000…every day! Like hurricanes, the worst ones are often given names. And, again like hurricanes, they cause a huge amount of disruption and cost. Only a few months ago we had GameOver Zeus, which is believed to have infected thousands


of computers in Britain, potentially costing companies and individuals in this country millions of pounds. GameOver Zeus followed another serious internet security flaw, dubbed ‘Heartbleed’ because of its potential to bleed protected data such as user names, passwords and banking information from encrypted systems. One estimate reckoned that half a million websites and two-thirds of all internet users were

vulnerable to Heartbleed. No wonder it caused a bit of a panic! It shows how important cyber security management has become in a world increasingly reliant on digital technology to function. As individuals and business people, we all appreciate digital technology for the huge benefits it brings. But most of us are also aware of its vulnerability to being compromised either deliberately or accidentally.


“Implementing a few basic steps can make a big difference in helping to protect your information assets and reduce the risks to your business and customers” The 2013 Information Security Breaches survey reported some startling facts: • 87% of small businesses and 93% of large organisations had suffered a security breach during the year. • The total cost of security breaches to UK businesses had roughly tripled in the last 12 months, with several individual breaches costing more than £1m and an overall bill running into billions. • 63% of small businesses had been attacked by an unauthorised outsider; 23% hit by denial-of-service attacks; and 15% had detected that outsiders had penetrated their network. • 9% of small businesses had their intellectual property or confidential data stolen. • 57% of small businesses suffered staff-related security breaches. • The average cost to a small business of its worst security breach was between £35,000 and £65,000.

The risks come in many forms, from the professional cyber-hacker to data theft by a disgruntled employee. However, the bulk of information security issues, while equally damaging, are far more mundane. For example: • Hardware failure causing outages for mission-critical systems or corruption of invaluable business data. • Misuse of the company email and internet wasting valuable time. • Expensive litigation because inappropriate content is circulating in the office.

So, having said all that, how sure are you that you are doing enough to keep the cyber thieves at bay? The old adage that ‘prevention is better than cure’ has never been more relevant. That’s one of the reasons why EMC has introduced a Cyber Security Review service designed to help local businesses to identify any weak spots in their defences and recommend how they can best be shored up. Implementing a few basic steps can make a big difference in helping to protect your information assets. We visit your premises to test how well your current practises measure up. Once we’ve analysed all the findings, we return to present our report to your directors and senior managers.

Grappling with the technicalities of improving information security can be daunting for business leaders whose main expertise may lie outside IT. Consequently most SMEs only tackle the issue after suffering a costly security breach. The following are typical manifestations of the problem: “It will never happen to us.” That’s probably what Nationwide thought just before a laptop containing 11 million unencrypted customer records was stolen from a manager’s house in a domestic burglary. What was this data doing offsite? And it’s not just the big corporates that suffer. As the Security Breaches survey shows, SMEs are just as likely to have their defences breached. “All our data is backed up.” Back-up and recovery of data and systems can be complex and local IT may not readily admit weaknesses to senior leadership. Some businesses don’t back-up at all. Others use inadequate methods. Many back-ups exclude the business critical applications and user settings required to meaningfully access recovered data. Less than 50% even conduct regular documented recovery tests. Ignorance is not bliss. “We have an information security policy.” This didn’t stop a government report marked “Terrorist assessment of Iraq, Al-Quaeda Vulnerabilities, CLASSIFIED UK TOP SECRET” being left on a train seat in Waterloo Station. To be useful, a policy must be strictly followed and regularly updated. “Our computers are password protected.” The top 10 most frequently used passwords include “password” “letmein” and “123456”. Others, such as family names and birthdays are easily guessed. Telecoms and IT equipment normally ships with standard manufacturer’s passwords; often the default is not changed. Modern techniques require only a couple of minutes to break weak passwords. “All our IT is in ‘the cloud’.” Outsourcing IT to a third party provider can offer real benefits. But PWC research found that 58% of small businesses simply assume their third party partners’ security measures are adequate without ever actually checking. This is a real concern given the increasing use of externally-hosted systems and data.

Among the things the review covers are: • Loss of data through systems failure and/or data corruption • Infection by viruses or malicious software • Theft and fraud involving computers • Other computer misuse by staff • Unauthorised access by outsiders including hackers • Issues with home and remote working You shouldn’t need any further incentive to do something about ensuring your data is fully protected, but just in case you’re still not convinced, the first five people who book a review, quoting ‘Platinum Business’ when making the appointment by phone or email, will get it at half the normal price - £850+VAT instead of the usual £1,695+VAT, give me a call today.

CONTACT: EMC Management Consultants Ltd, Rochester House, 48 Rochester Gardens, Hove BN3 3AW Jon Green, Technology Team Tel: 01273 945984 • Mob: 07582 737870. Email: jon.green@emcltd.co.uk Web: www.emcltd.co.uk




Half Price Life Assurance for Company Directors and Key Employees... By Richard Skerritt Managing Director


bit like a DFS sale, this is not a temporary or seasonal thing, it’s available all year round.. Life Assurance Cover is something that all responsible Directors and Key Employees will have. It’s primary aim is to give financial protection to the Director or Key Employee’s family in the unfortunate event of them dying early. Whilst the cost of Life Assurance cover has fallen steadily over recent years, primarily


due to better mortality rates (i.e. people are living longer due to medical advances), it is still a fairly significant cost to Employers or Individuals. Most Employers will offer Life Assurance cover to their Key Employers and Directors (including the owners of the business). Basic Life Assurance is a commodity product – for basic term assurance (Life Assurance written over a specific period or until a particular age)

it is not something that is generally better the more you spend. It is something that you want to pay the lowest cost for. Rates from different Insurance Companies vary enormously, so make sure you always shop around or get a Broker to do this for you. As well as making sure that you have got the lowest rates for Life Assurance, the type of cover you have can make a massive difference as well.


“It is not something that is generally better the more you spend. It is something that you want to pay the lowest cost for”

Many Company Directors have Life Assurance Cover, but pay the premiums themselves. This means that they are paying the premiums from taxed income. By having the Company pay the premiums, they will not only save income tax on the premiums, but also Employer and Employee National Insurance as well. There is a type of Life Assurance policy that can be paid for by the Employer, therefore avoiding Income Tax, Employer National Insurance and Employee National Insurance. It is not a P11D benefit and the cost of premiums is treated as an allowable deduction for the purpose of Corporation Tax. The graph below illustrates how this would work for a 40% tax payer, comparing a Life Assurance Policy paid personally, with a Relevant Life Policy through their Company or Employer (for Key Employees).

Some Directors or Key Employees will have Life Assurance cover through a Death in Service plan at work. This is usually alongside their Company Pension Scheme. Whilst the cost of this cover is usually an allowable business expense for Corporation Tax purposes, any payout in the event of the death of the Policyholder can have very significant tax consequences. The reason for this is that the traditional Death in Service scheme is usually written under pension regulations, which means that any death benefits are added to any pension benefits when assessing the Lifetime Allowance (now currently £1.25million, but may fall further in the future). For individuals with significant pension benefits and a high salary for Death in Service cover, if the Lifetime Allowance is exceeded, there will (under current tax rules) be a 55% tax charge on the excess!! If the Death in Service benefit is written

on a Relevant Life basis, then it does not count towards the Lifetime Allowance, so will be wholly tax free. A simple change, but a potentially enormous tax saving. So, if you fall into any of the following categories, Relevant Life may indeed by very relevant for you: 1. You are a Company Director or Key Employee who is currently paying Life Assurance Premiums personally 2. You are a Company Director and want to increase your level of individual Life Assurance Cover 3. You currently have (or provide for Employees) Death in Service cover, which when added to Pension Benefits (including any previous Final Salary benefits at 20times the accrued pension benefits) is likely to exceed the Pensions Lifetime Allowance At Skerritts, we are able to advise on all

types of Corporate and Employee Benefits – as well as Relevant Life Assurance, we are able to deal with all types of Pension Schemes, Group Health Insurance and Employee Assistance Programmes. Skerritts are completely Independent, so are able to find the best rates for you from all Insurance Companies. Skerritt Consultants Ltd, 23 Coleridge Street, Hove, East Sussex is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority no.163291 The above is based on Skerritt Consultants’ understanding of current HMRC legislation and guidelines, which may change. This article is intended for general information only and you should always take professional financial advice before entering into a contract for life assurance cover.


Sussex-based Skerritts received the coveted Citywire award for a record fourth successive year from comedian Ed Byrne at the awards ceremony at the Park Plaza in Westminster.


A WORD ABOUT WEBSITES By Louise Walden Director of Big Beach Marketing


elcome to Big Beach Marketing, the name inspired by our location in Brighton and Hove and our BIG thinking approach to marketing. Having just launched the Platinum Business Magazine website, it seemed fitting to talk about websites in our first article. They are the essential foundation to most marketing activities today but don’t need to cost the earth. So whether you’re daunted by the need for a new site, feel the pressure to update your existing site, or simply want to update your website – I’ve created a shortlist (not the holy grail) of considerations to help you get to grips with a new site.

1. Look and feel…who are you talking to? The overall look of the site will be what hits the visitor before they read anything or decide they want to know you. Just as you make assumptions about people when you first meet them (within 4 seconds), your site and therefore your business will be subject to the same scrutiny so first impressions count. An easy way to make decisions about styling - and the rest of the site for that matter - is to consider very carefully who you want to reach. Why would they be interested in you? What do you offer them? What (metaphorical) language do they speak? 2. Content, how to fill your pages. Take a step back and look at your business/product/service in an objective way. Can you succinctly describe what you provide? What’s the high level, simple headline that tells your audience immediately what you do and why you’re good? Now you can decide what to say and how to present it; • Choose images that support your message. Don’t make them too obscure or too simple, visitors won’t feel the need to stay and find out more. • If you have a complex subject, invest in a good quality diagram, pictogram or graphic to explain. It will pay for itself very quickly. • Copy should be ‘skimmable’ so that visitors can get the gist quickly and easily; short sections with headers, shorter sentences. Studies show that visitors typically read around 28% of the words on a web page. • Choose colours that work together (orange writing on

Big Beach Marketing Tel: 01273 434552 Web: www.bigbeach.co.uk

blue background will give a floating effect on the page) and white words on black can make your eyes go a bit funny… 3. Your website will never be finished. I’m sorry to break it to you, especially if you’ve found it a challenge! It’s a living entity that will need to be fed with content, looked after and evolved over time. Accept this fact and make it easy on yourself; • Google rewards sites that grow, so adding content like news articles in a consistent way (every week) is very positive. • Launch your site when its 80% complete, this way you’ll still be adding to it and the temptation to leave it won’t prove too strong. • Drive visitors to your site by utilising other marketing tools like email or providing an area of interest just for existing customers. 4. There is a lower cost way. For most businesses we recommend a WordPress platform with a popular theme/design which can be customised in any way you want. This combination is very robust, easy to use and maintain. Changing the look is easier down the line, so there’s a fair bit of future proofing built in. 5. Final word; feedback. You’ll want to get feedback from trusted individuals but don’t accept a critique from anyone who starts by saying ‘I don’t like…’ You need constructive, objective comments which should include ‘I don’t understand’ or ‘I’m confused by’ or ‘this makes me think of…’ these are comments that will help you improve your site.

“Launch your site when its 80% complete, this way you’ll still be adding to it and the temptation to leave it won’t prove too strong” 31



Entries from: October 2nd 2014 Closing date: November 20th 2014 Awards Ceremony: March 19th 2015 Entry forms: www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com Sponsored by:



We are proud to be the exclusive media sponsor of the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards 2015


latinum Business Magazine is proud to be the exclusive media sponsor of the 2015 Awards to be held at the beautiful Effingham Park Hotel on the 19th March 2015 with a reception, black tie gala dinner and aftershow party. Host for the evening will be the TV & Stand-Up funny man, Hugh Dennis The Gatwick Diamond is home to a vast range of businesses which span all sectors of the economy, from household names to niche companies; from multinationals to sole traders. Diamond Award winners are those businesses

or people who have shown innovation and inspiration in their work, and have demonstrated a real commitment to the sub-region. The Gatwick Diamond sub-region is a key economic area, not just for the South East, but for the whole country. Any business can enter the Awards; you do not need to belong to any particular organisation, you just need to be doing business in the Gatwick Diamond! The Entry Period opens on 2nd October 2014 and the entry forms can be accessed through the website: www.gatwickdiamondbusinessawards.com or call the dedicated Awards Line on 01293 813888. The Closing Date for entries is 20th November 2014

To gain a helping hand in completing your entry, join us for one of our Award-Winning free seminars “How to Win Awards & Influence People” to be held at a number of locations throughout the Gatwick Diamond in early October. Visit the website for more details or call the office on 01293 813888. To receive daily tips on how to enter the awards or keep up to date with all the awards news, please follow us on @gdbizawards Entry is a simple three-stage process but does require some planning: • Browse the Award Categories • Download the Entry Form (or Forms) • Complete the Entry Form & submit it by the closing date!



The full list of award categories is as follows: Business of the Year sponsored by NatWest Bank Business Person of the Year sponsored by Acumen Business Law New Business of the Year sponsored by Reeves The Award for Corporate Responsibility sponsored by Southern Water Digital Marketing Business of the Year sponsored by Chichester College The Award for Customer Delight sponsored by Storm Creative The Award for Developing People for Business Success sponsored by Central Sussex College Employer of the Year sponsored by Search Consultancy Green Business of the Year sponsored by Crawley Borough Council Green Business Programme The Award for Innovation and Technology sponsored by Rawlison Butler LLP International Business of the Year sponsored by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative The Award for the Place to Meet for Business sponsored by Preview Vehicle Livery (PVL) Professional Services Firm of the Year sponsored by Lloyds Bank The Award for Supply Chain Excellence sponsored by Hays

If anyone still questions the tremendous commercial benefits of prestigious awards such as the Gatwick Diamonds, take a look at what some of last year’s winners said about the significant effect winning had on their business and their staff morale: Dean Orgill, Chairman, Mayo Wynne Baxter “We were delighted to be recognised – and praised – for our culture of corporate responsibility at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. The award gave all of our staff a boost and generated extensive regional media coverage for the firm. We are also pleased that our visitors can see our award which takes pride of place in our reception area and acts as a regular reminder of our achievement.”

Bola Lafe, Opus Innovations Winning the award has unquestionably lifted our credibility as a company, and has made business partners and potential business partners take us more seriously.

Jane Middlemiss, ILG “Since winning we have attracted and recruited some fantastic people to work at ILG and I am sure that this has been, in the main, because of our success in the 2014 awards.”

Sam Garrity, Rocketmill “The award has acted as a real catalyst for our business. Internal pride, external profile and new business wins have all improved as a result. Our team are already asking about next year!”

Abigail Dombey, Environmental Manager, University of Brighton “Over the past five years the University has been on a journey to become a sector leader in sustainability. The journey has included many people, initiatives and hard work; winning this award offers recognition to all who have been involved over the years and what fantastic results have been achieved.”



SIX KEY INGREDIENTS FOR YOUR INFORMATION By Jonathan Dolding Head of Marketing & Events, Let’s Do Business


y father-in-law used to spend hours, days, weeks even, gathering information before buying a new product, much to the annoyance of the wider family. His fixation with information – product information, service information, after-care information was definitely diligent, but also often counter-productive - his technology purchases were usually obsolete by the time he’d bought the thing! There’s no doubt that information is central to education and most of us will place a high importance on learning how a service or product is different, better, more efficient. In

other words we require information to varying degrees before we make a purchase. It should be no surprise then that “Gathering information about products and services” is widely reported as the single most common reason for people attending exhibitions, So shouldn’t it then follow that companies who want to stand out from the crowd will be very creative with how they present themselves and the all-important information about their products or services, features and benefits? Yet why do so many simply rely on unimaginative lists of bullet points on flyers, brochures and banners.

It’s the “We’ll set up in the morning, we’ve only got a couple of banners and a handful of leaflets” phone calls a couple of days before the exhibition that worry me. There are still so many stands that offer no interaction with visitors whatsoever – stands that have nothing to demonstrate or invite no active participation from visitors. So how do you get your ingredients right, to help people understand, digest and make sense of the information you need them to know and most importantly, connect it to your company when they leave the show?

Here are 6 quick ingredients to make your information cuter than a kitten… 1. Keep it short and simple – make your key messages stand out. 2. Use demonstrations and invite prospects to have a go. 3. Focus on the benefits as well as the features 4. Make use of creative props 5. Use video and technology 6. Record your customers’ wish list and tweak your content accordingly

Let’s Do Business Hastings takes place on Thursday 30th October at Sussex Coast College. Full details at www.letsdobusiness.org

T: 01424 205500 Follow on Twitter: Facebook Page: LinkedIn Group:

https://twitter.com/letsdobusiness1 https://www.facebook.com/letsdobusinessexhibitions http://goo.gl/E5ASG



Recent Changes to Landlord Rights By Rob Fawcett Head of Property at Bennett Griffin LLP • RJF@bennett-griffin.co.uk



“CRAR gives greater protection to tenants. Renting out property is always a gamble for both the landlord and the tenant, but the rules set clear limits to the seizure of property and clarity is always something we welcome”


hat do you do if you are renting out a commercial property and your tenant falls into arrears? What you are legally entitled to do has changed recently and we want to ensure you know about these changes should this situation happen to you. The new Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) rules were implemented on 6 April 2014 in England and Wales and they replace the ancient “right of distress”.

Right to Enter

CRAR Application and Effect

The right of distress allowed landlords to enter a leased property without giving notice and seize goods owned by the tenant, which could then be sold to recover rent arrears. CRAR modernises the right of distress, by making the procedure much stricter and attaching conditions which must be met before CRAR can be used. The use of CRAR is only for leases of commercial premises and it can only be used if that lease is in writing. It does not apply to residential buildings, or buildings where part of the premises is being used for residential purposes, such as a shop with a residential flat above it, where both the shop and the flat are included in the same lease.

CRAR can only apply to the main rent, VAT and interest. It does not apply to other payments reserved as rent, such as service charges or insurance contributions. The new rules include guidance on which of the tenant’s goods can and cannot be seized. Goods that can be seized include goods that are co-owned with someone else but not goods belonging to a third party. The goods that have been seized are known as “controlled goods”. Once they have been seized, the tenant must be given an inventory of the controlled goods as soon as possible. The controlled goods need to be valued within seven days and then sold or disposed of for the best possible price that can reasonably be achieved. In addition, by exercising CRAR, a landlord waives the right to forfeit (i.e. terminate) the lease of the premises (assuming the landlord had that right in the first place.)

At Least Seven Clear Days’ Notice The tenant needs to be at least seven days in arrears before CRAR is used and the tenant must be given seven clear days’ notice of the landlord’s intention to use CRAR. The rules can only be carried out by certified enforcement agents. Enforcement agents can only enter premises between the hours of 6am and 9pm (which is different from the previous situation which allowed entry at any time). If the landlord thinks a tenant might deliberately remove goods during the notice period, he or she can apply to the Court for a shorter notice period.

Practical Implications CRAR gives greater protection to tenants. Renting out property is always a gamble, for both the landlord and the tenant, but the rules set clear limits to the seizure of property and clarity is always something we welcome. The change is not good news for landlords because it re-balances the law in the tenant’s favour, thanks to a perception that the right of distress gave landlords an unfair advantage.

Landlords will be concerned that the obligation to provide notice to the tenant will give the tenant plenty of opportunity to remove any items of value from the premises before the enforcement agent arrives. Obviously, this will thwart the landlord’s attempt to recover the arrears by this method. Whilst the landlord could apply to the court for permission to give less notice, this measure could prove to be an expensive and timeconsuming option. The mechanics of such an application are currently unclear, so it is not known what evidence the court will require before granting such an order.

Other forms of security As a result of the change, we anticipate that more and more landlords will be seeking redress through alternative methods, such as making withdrawals from rent deposits or claims against personal guarantors of the tenant. Landlords will need to be more vigilant than before to ensure that any tenant can provide adequate security for the performance of their obligations in the lease. Landlords should also consider separate leases in the case of premises which have mixed use.

The CRAR procedure is set out in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. If you have any questions or queries regarding CRAR or a situation you are facing as a landlord, then do seek professional help to ensure a swift and successful resolution.



Continuing to Make his Mark

Bruce Hayter has been with Rix & Kay for almost 15 years, and he maintains his desire to uphold the highest levels of quality and seek new challenges. Interview by Ian Trevett I HAVE BEEN WITH RIX & KAY 14 YEARS, 15 years in February I’m told. I had to check because time has flown by. It’s been hectic, chaotic, fun, different and brilliant. I FIRST JOINED RIX & KAY IN 1980 WHEN I DID MY ARTICLES, as they were then. A long time ago – again, seems like yesterday. I did my training with Rix & Kay and qualified in 1982 and joined another practice. I then left that practice and went into industry. I was in industry for eight years before I re-joined Rix & Kay. I WAS THE IN-HOUSE LAWYER, DIRECTOR AND COMPANY SECRETARY FOR WHAT WAS THEN A LOCALLY BASED COMPANY CALLED STONEGATE FARMERS IN HAILSHAM. When I left the company, they had about £50m turnover


and 750 staff. Running a business at director level gave me a great insight into business. In terms of the legal work, it was very challenging, with complex corporate issues. We were buying a lot of businesses, reorganising, and after restructuring, operating through joint ventures. Some of the things that we did were awardwinning packaging designs and innovative products. WHEN I FIRST JOINED STONEGATE, 3i, THE INVESTMENT BANKERS, WERE VERY INVOLVED, AND I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO LIVE WITH AN INVESTOR IN THE BUSINESS. Whilst there were some prime shareholders that held the vast majority of the shares, we had over 300 shareholders, and we had to deal with shareholder issues as well as the day-to-day

staffing issues and the challenges of supplying eggs and food products into the high street, into places like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S. Had I not moved to Stonegate, I would never have enjoyed that level of management training and development. WHEN I RETURNED TO RIX & KAY, THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE, INCLUDING OUR SENIOR PARTNER ALAN FOSTER, WHO REMEMBERED ME AS THE ARTICLE CLERK, OR ARTICULATED CLERK, AS THEY USED TO BE CALLED. There was a lot of change going on within the legal sector, and the guys at Rix & Kay said, “Are you sure you want to come back into private practice?” I joined them as a solicitor and after six months I was promoted to equity partner. Six months after that I was joint managing partner.


“We have great ambitions in terms of growth but you need good lawyers, support, IT and marketing staff”

IN TERMS OF MY OWN PERSONAL LEGAL WORK, I SPECIALISE IN THE CORPORATE SIDE: JOINT VENTURES, ACQUISITION OF BUSINESSES, SALE OF BUSINESSES AND COMPLEX COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS. With the substantial transactions, you really need a good team as well to do it. On one deal we did it last year, we had a team of ten lawyers and paralegals working on the project. As for the solicitors who were acting for the purchaser, I think we’d run out of fingers and toes when they got past 20. I think there were 24 lawyers on the other side at one time, all with their niche specialisms. OUR CORPORATE WORK IS NATIONWIDE, BUT TENDS TO BE IN THE SOUTH EAST PREDOMINANTLY, including London. A good example of this comes from the Sports sector, an area where we have significant and recognised expertise. A couple of years ago we acted for a family who bought Watford Football Club. We have also acted for Northampton Football Club for eleven years. Locally we currently represent Hastings United in the football world but also sponsor Canterbury, Eastbourne, Hellingly, Hove, Seaford and Uckfield Rugby Football Clubs.  We have also recently entered into a naming agreement with the new 3G artificial grass pitch in Uckfield (pictured overleaf with English Rugby player Joe Marler) so our links with sport are extensive, both from a business and social responsibility perspective. EACH OF OUR OFFICES SPECIALISES IN DIFFERENT LEGAL SECTORS. The Hove leads in Later Life issues. We merged with Bunkers, about two and a half years ago, who had a great reputation for private client tax trusts, wills, tax planning and Powers of Attorney. We decided that, as Hove was a great location for that type of work, we would move part of our team down from Uckfield. Our Later Life team, lead by Max Wright and Rich Bates, recently produced a thought leadership document on later life and the impact on this area. We went out and took soundings and also went into more detail, we were asking care homes to complete questionnaires about what was important to them, Rich Bates spoke recently at the National Care Home Conference on the subject. In addition, we centred our Dispute

Resolution team in Hove. Our Hove Office is also the Swedish Consulate for Brighton and Hove! UCKFIELD IS MY MAIN HOME, WHERE I HAVE MY LITTLE OFFICE. In Uckfield we have a very strong corporate team. We also have a very strong family team and a team of people who deal with catastrophic injuries, the Personal & Medical Injury Team. We don’t do ‘slips, trips and falls’, just substantial and life-changing injury, where we have the reputation and skills sets. SEAFORD WAS OPENED IN 1981, and there was a team of two people: Ian Smith and Cherry Haffenden. It’s moved a bit but it’s still on the main road going through Seaford and the focus is very much on the wills and the residential conveyancing. SEVENOAKS IS A BIT DIFFERENT – THAT’S A NEW VENTURE FOR US, WHICH WE STARTED JUST OVER TWO YEARS AGO, MID-RECESSION, WHICH WAS BRAVE AND COURAGEOUS. That is courageous in ‘Yes, Minister’ speak – courageous means stupid! But of course it’s only stupid if it fails and it’s been a huge success, and we’ve moved offices into bigger premises, and we’re filling those premises. We’ve got a new corporate partner there and concentrate on commercial property, agriculture and family work. Its location is good for the London market. Sarah Carpenter just joined us from London firm, and that team is building. The office space looked pretty substantial when we moved in but is looking a bit full already. WE EXPANDED MID-RECESSION AND WE ARE LOOKING TO GROW FURTHER. At the end of the financial year, our turnover was just over £7m and we are hoping to push towards £9m in the next few years. During the recession we didn’t stop investing in IT and premises, plus we merged with Bunkers and took on a new office in Sevenoaks. We’re always up for a challenge. We’ll utilise some modern business techniques to continue the growth and find the necessary space and people. THERE ARE SOME VERY SUBSTANTIAL FIRMS UP AROUND THE GATWICK AREA who have London offerings as well, and they are

recognised as major regional players. I think we sit mid-tier, and it’s a good place for us to be, I think, in terms of the type of work that we can do, what we can offer and the quality of our service. RIX & KAY WERE VERY LUCKY DURING THE RECESSION, AND WE HAD SOME FANTASTIC CLIENTS AND SOME FANTASTIC DEALS. We were able to maintain a pretty high level of value of transactions and that’s why we maintained our Legal 500 and Chambers rankings, because it ticked over. But in the last six months we’ve seen a real appetite out in the market place for both sales and for acquisitions. People who have been canny have kept their businesses in good order during the recession. Coming out of recession is a time to sell because they’ve done very well. And equally, people have been agile where they’ve done well and have perhaps put money in the bank and are now looking to expand their businesses based upon cash and borrowings from the banking world. But we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the amount of corporate activity on sale and acquisition. WE FIRST SAW THE CHANGE IN THE ECONOMY THAT TOWARDS THE END OF LAST YEAR. Like any other business we are always trying to plan going forward. If you get it half right, you can do very well; if you get it 75/80 percent right, it’s even better. We look very carefully at the regional economy and we do a 12-month-plan, as well as a three and five-year plan. When we announce our 12-month-plan, we close the office, launch it to the staff and we have a guest speaker. THE RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING MARKET HAS SEEN A REAL SPIKE IN THAT WITH MONEY BEING FREED UP AND GOVERNMENT SCHEMES. We did wonder whether that was sustainable over a two or three-year period, but there’s no doubt that is sustainable at the moment. The market in this area is very strong. Brighton is a bit of a hot spot, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks – again, hot spots. And this is really off the back of, possibly, pent-up desire to move property. But also, I think the South East has done far better than many other areas in the recession, and there’s a willingness to invest in business.



Rix and Kay are supporting the Uckfield community by sponsoring a new outdoor sports field.

THE PROPOSED AIRPORT EXPANSION WILL BE DRAMATIC FOR THE REGION; it’s not just Gatwick, it’s Heathrow as well that is being contemplated. Then there are the rail links as well, and for Sussex there’s talk about Hastings being on the end of one of the rail link developments, which could reduce the time travelling from Hastings into London. It gives another boost to the coastal strip. QUALITY MANAGEMENT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO US. FROM OUR CLIENT SURVEYS, 96% SAID THEY WOULD RECOMMEND OUR SERVICES. We’ve had ISO quality standards for many years - through our membership with Law Net it’s a requirement. Last year we decided to go for the Lexcel, the Law Society’s standard for quality and service. It was a really rigorous examination of our business where the auditor visited all of our offices, spoke to staff, spoke to our senior partner, went through the papers, the process, the procedures we follow in the most thorough way. The whole way in which we run our business was subject to that audit. We passed with flying colours, which was a really great outcome for everybody who is in the business. WE ALSO HAD PHENOMENAL RESULTS WITH LEGAL 500 AND CHAMBERS, WHICH WE’VE WORKED ON OVER A NUMBER OF YEARS. Legal 500 and Chambers are independent publications,


and you have to make submissions to them to demonstrate that you are highly competent and capable. They will phone referees and they also speak to your competitors. There’s a certain amount of honesty that’s required. They check with your clients, with your competitors and check with you to make sure it’s all accurate; it is a pretty thorough system. We devote a lot of time to making these submissions to Legal

“From our client surveys, *96% said they would recommend our services” * based on 4,612 surveys since 2005.

500 and Chambers, and we’ve done this over a number of years. There may be an argument with lawyers that, “We should be good anyway”. But I think there’s a difference between good and great. The Legal 500 identifies where you’re really, really great – and who the key players in your practice are. Chambers are also very good

Photograph credit: Ron Hill

at giving recognition to people who excel. When they say you are a leader in the field it helps you attract new people of the same level. THESE RESULTS, FOR A FIRM OF OUR SIZE, ARE ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING. I think outside of the big boys in Sussex, there may be one other firm that has similar rankings. It’s great in terms of recruitment because other lawyers who are looking at jobs will look for the firms who have got the Chambers and Legal 500 rankings. WE ARE ABOUT TO LAUNCH A RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN. We have great ambitions in terms of growth but you need good lawyers, good support, IT and marketing staff. We are about to go live on a national recruitment campaign, primarily targeting the legal press, to ensure we attract the right people to make these ambitions a reality. The campaign is called ‘Time to Make Your Mark’. We’re also applying the ‘Time to Make Your Mark’ theme to internal retention. We’ve run a training and development programme for partners and key people for over ten years years now. We’re just kicking off another leadership management development programme in September. We continue to be ambitious and we want to take our team with us as we grow. www.rixandkay.co.uk

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Drive innovation in your business Professor Jonathan Chapman

“Innovation is the key to survival and you don’t do it alone.” Peter Adlington, Managing Director, Plastipack

Innovation Through Design 8 October, 2.30pm–4.30pm Arora Hotel, Crawley, RH10 6LW As part of the ‘Sharing Research Insights’ seminar series, the University of Brighton’s leading experts will present highlights of their recent work, discussing ways that academic research can shape design and business thinking. This seminar explores the potential benefits of successful collaboration in the areas of sustainability, design and science and design for the internet economy. This is a FREE seminar but booking is required www.brighton.ac.uk/ innovationthroughdesign/

Embedding Innovation moving ideas into action One day workshop 30 September, 9am–5pm 68 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL The management of innovation is a powerful and practical way to create value by selecting and exploiting the best new ideas—both for improvement and for radical change in products, processes and positioning. This workshop focusses on developing the skills you need to manage innovation effectively. www.brighton.ac.uk/embeddinginnovation

Sustainable Design Pioneer Four-day course for designers, innovators and change agents. 27–30 October, 10am–5pm University of Brighton, Grand Parade, BN2 0JY This course in responsible product design will give your business or design practice an ethical advantage. Aimed at both designers and those interested in social change, it is taught by Professor Jonathan Chapman, Prof. of Sustainable Design, an internationally recognised expert in the field for his pioneering work with brands including Puma, H&M and Sony. www.brighton.ac.uk/sustainabledesign-pioneer

Call the Business Helpdesk on +44(0)1273 643098 or email businesshelpdesk@brighton.ac.uk

Graduate Skills Gap?


GRADUATE RECRUITMENT The Platinum Business Round Table Debate Is there a graduate skills gap? Over the last few issues we have had plenty of views from businesspeople and university faculty, so there was only one thing to do: get them together round a table and let the debate begin. OUR PANEL:

AMANDA MENAHEM HR Director, Hastings Direct Insurance

LINDA BUCKHAM Director of the Careers and Employability Centre, University of Sussex

CLARENCE MITCHELL Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion

CLARE GRIFFITHS Business Development Manager (Entrepreneurship)

IAN TREVETT Platinum Business Magazine

MAARTEN HOFFMANN Platinum Business Magazine

DAVID WADDELL Harvey John Recruitment MIKE EATON* Sussex Education Business Partnership * We will feature Mike’s contribution next month in our Schools issue






“Obviously the best experience you can get is learning by doing” Ian: When I was at university, you studied a subject for the sake of studying a subject. There was no mention about how to transfer this into a career. Now employers are looking for employability; people to slot smoothly into the company. That’s a very different demand on the university from how it used to be. How are universities coping with this? Linda: Higher education has always been about developing individuals’ intellectual ability and critical thinking. In the past, higher education expected the world of work to do the rest and up until the 1980’s the private business, public and voluntary sector did this. But with the expansion of the numbers of graduates and the reduction in the number of the ‘blue-chip’ corporate graduate recruitment schemes, higher education careers and employability services we were faced with a big challenge. Opportunities for graduates with small and mediums (SME) sized employers were promoted alongside the large corporate and government employers and most SME’s could not afford the previous graduate recruitment model but wanted highly-skilled knowledge and talent. There was also extensive evidence that large graduate schemes often did not work from a retention perspective and were expensive for blue-chip employers (over £100k on each graduate’s training) and did not deliver in the ‘war for talent’ in the 1990’s onwards. At the same time there has been major criticism from employers about the quality of the highly skilled human capital emerging from

higher education as increasingly employers of graduates look for good soft skills, positive attitudes/mind-set as well as academic knowledge. We often hear the clichéd phrase that employers expect to test out (though paid internships or work experience in a temporary capacity before investing in a permanent recruitment solution) whether the graduate or student, as the cliché goes, ‘can hit the ground running’. So Higher Education has to move from delivering a system designed for the 19th century to a system appropriate for the 21st century with soft-skill and work-ready skill development alongside academic development and, in my opinion, it has not grasped this challenge quickly enough given the speed of change and economic challenges Britain plc faces. The Government’s excellent Wilson Review (2012) is worth reading as it outlines how Universities should be working effectively with employers. Clare: At The University of Brighton over 90 per cent of our courses provide work placement or other professional work-based opportunities. We are actively listening to what employers want. We have carried out research, for example, in partnership with MDHUB and funded by Santander Universities, to explore what SME employers were wanting in graduate employees. It enabled us to update our curriculum and enhance the employability skills we have embedded in the curriculum. Obviously the best experience you can get is learning by doing. Placements and internships are the most effective methods to gain real-world

skills. We recognise that. We are always trying to find real-life scenarios to slot into the curriculum. Linda: Both universities have been offering incentives for companies to recruit students and graduates for 10 week internships. We also offer the opportunity for employers to recruit a 2nd year student across all degree disciplines for a one year placement as part of our Sussex Choice initiative. Last academic year, Sussex offered funding for employers to recruit a University of Sussex graduate for our 10 week Sussex Graduate Internship scheme with a generous package of £3,000 for each employer alongside other part-funded opportunities for local SME’s to employ graduates for 12 week internships through the Sussex partnership with Santander. Sussex also launched a funded scheme to enable employers with appropriate projects to recruit a 2nd year undergraduate student for 10 weeks during the summer vacation 2014. So overall, in 2013/2014 academic year we offered over 200 funded opportunities for employers to recruit highly skilled individuals on key shortterm projects and test the quality and businessculture-fit. We will be launching new funded schemes shortly this autumn so that a Sussex graduate can spend 10 weeks in a company in January 2015 (contact Linda at the Careers and Employability Centre if you would like to register your interest). Amanda: At Hastings Direct, we took on a Sussex maths graduate on this scheme and he ended up getting a permanent role with us, in one of our pricing



roles which are hard to fill. It was a real success story. However, I think it’s just a start. I don’t think ten weeks is enough. I think it was fortunate rather than planned that we ended up taking him on permanently. Ten weeks gives an insight into a candidate, but I think a much bigger intervention is needed. Clarence: I fully commend what Sussex, Brighton and other universities are doing. The internship scheme sounds fantastic and reflects some of what the current government is doing in offering money to smaller firms to employ apprentices, as well as with the higher apprenticeship fund. Both sides are saying essentially the same thing, but they are coming at it without really appreciating the other’s point of view. I would like to see more schemes with government support whereby an employer, depending on their size, has to have a required number of placements or internships, rather than the rather random situation that seems to occur at the moment. Some companies are very good and very active, and others consciously don’t bother. Maarten: Is it fair to say that there is a certain amount of disinterest by the business community? Linda: No. The collaboration with business is getting stronger all the time and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing and his senior team are leading strongly on employability


development at the University of Sussex. We get lots of employers on campus who contribute skill development workshops for our students. For instance, Amanda Menahem made a major contribution of time and expertise (not just herself but expert HR and Training professionals at Hastings Direct) who got involved on our employer/alumni Learning to Lead panels providing feedback to students presenting on this intensive leadership programme which is delivered by an external international leadership consultancy alongside my professional team of careers employability advisers. My experience is that businesses really do try very hard to engage with universities but they universities complex organisations to know where to start but Careers and Employability Centres are excellent first-ports of call and we provide lots of free services to employers and the opportunity to access the ‘talent pipeline’ in a variety of ways including our flag-ship Careers Fair at the AMEX Stadium each year on the 5th November in 2014 , which we run in partnership with the University of Brighton (for details see: www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/aboutus/ employers). We have tremendous support from the business community, and that’s increased over recent years and we are constantly looking to improve this and use our small employer engagement team resource effectively. Clarence: The leadership programmes you’re doing are great. When I was going through my education, there was nothing like that. So that’s an

improvement that exists. Perhaps even more emphasis on basic presentational skills is required; maybe even panel interviews in the final year with real employers. Not for a particular job but just to give the sense of selling yourself in a collaborative employer-employee relationship. Maarten: In issue three of Platinum Business, one graduate commented about the difference between university and employment: “At university they had to like me. When I turn up at the job they don’t have to like me, and they’ll let me know if they don’t.” It’s a big sea change from being in that cosy environment of a university. Often graduates seem to feel underprepared. Clarence: You’re quickly judged on your work. I’m not saying you’re coasting at university but there’s the ability to be in that collegiate environment that enables you to develop at your own pace whereas I’m afraid in the world of work, it’s a train that hits you very hard. Maarten: Am I being naive in saying that a university is only as good as the number of its graduates who have got a job? Or, being completely honest, does the university turn them out with a 2:1 or a 2:2, seeing them away with a lovely party, enrol the next intake and you’re on your own? Linda: Well this is a common impression created by the media but the development of the human potential in all aspects is important. Universities


“Are students doing the right subjects? Are there certain professions which are under-represented?” missions’ in the 21st century encompass knowledge and research, contributing to the economic development agenda as well as fostering future intelligent citizens who know how to learn and become the future highly skilled workforce. So it’s all a bit more complex than the stereotypical media views you are summarising where it is assumed that running an employment agency is the answer! We have three years after-care service at Sussex. Graduates can come and talk to careers employability advisors for individual consultations, attend employability events which include meeting employers. Our Development Alumni Relations team is in touch with our graduates throughout their lives too. I’m going to be provocative and say that I don’t think there’s a disconnect; we are working very hard to support the transition into employment and further training of all of our graduates. But we probably should have committed more resources to the employer engagement aspects of our work sooner than we have but we are on track and it’s good to have this opportunity to joint this important Round Table. David: When graduates come to our recruitment agency we ask them, ‘How did you find the careers advice you got at university?’ About half of them said they didn’t get any. It’s difficult as graduates can’t have a oneoff careers advice meeting at some point when they’re 19 or 20 and expect it to be sorted. It’s got to start from the beginning. Linda: It’s a real irony, isn’t it? Here we are, living in a world where there is more good quality careers information accessible on the web than ever before and all universities have careers and employability teams who can help individuals to find the right accurate information. However, students are not forced to use careers and employability services as part of their educational experience and sadly many of them don’t (to their cost when they face the challenges of the transition to work in the 21st century!). David: When we interview graduates, they haven’t got ten years of work history to talk about. They are talking about themselves as a person; their extracurricular stuff, their interests and achievements. And if there is nothing really that they can bring to the table, it can be a very quick meeting.

We did a forum recently on talent acquisition and agile learning, and they are now saying that employers should not look solely at experience and education. If there’s no drive there or no passion, or no learning agility, then what’s the point? Amanda: I wonder what role parents play in this. I suspect there are lots of parents telling their kids: “Oh, don’t get a part-time job in your holidays because you need to be studying, revising and preparing.” Actually, I would say your work experience and your part-time work is probably a bit more important than whether you get a first or a 2.1 or a 2.2. David: One of the graduates who came to work for us was, during her time at University, the Assistant Manager at a restaurant that I frequent with the family. This stood out from her CV as she would have gained direct customer service experience and would have been required to know the menu inside out. I tested her on the dishes I always order and she got it in an instant! A small point but it told us a lot about her application. Any work experience with customer client contact is very useful. Ian: A question I’d like to ask is whether students are doing the right subjects? Are there certain jobs or professions which are under-represented? Amanda: We definitely struggle to find graduates at Hastings Direct with certain disciplines such as maths, physics, engineering and statistics. They are notoriously difficult to find. Maarten: From what I hear regarding engineering, the drop in graduates is horrific. Apparently by 2016 we’ll be losing something like 64% of the existing engineers because of retirement. The next generation is just not here. A couple of years ago, BMW came over and scooped up 60 or 70 graduates. They took them back to Germany, gave them 1,700 Euros a month and a free apartment, put them through an intensive course and sucked them all into the company. I was ashamed when I read it. I understand why they’re doing it because it’s a phenomenal company and they will do whatever it takes to secure the best people. The average university course fee here is

£9,000 a year, and in Germany they’re free. They’re doing 84% of the courses in English, even for the German students. We should be ashamed of this. 65% of UK CEOs believe that a lack of skills is hampering the growth prospects of their organisations. 40% of UK employers reported that they struggle to fill vacancies as candidates have inadequate skills. So you can see the temptation of a go-ahead country like Germany to take what is effectively good stock and drag them back to a free course, salary, guaranteed job with a higher wage than here and a free apartment. I have to say, I don’t know why anyone’s still here! Linda: Lots of employers like Hastings Direct are already doing a lot and the Careers and Employability Centre has an open door to employers and takes up as many opportunities as we can and we will be doing more with Hastings Direct next academic year. We need some simple ways forward, and some ideas that have come out of this meeting for improving employer engagement activities require further exploration. Amanda: I have been wanting to get involved with universities, colleges and schools much earlier on and have programmes we can sponsor. I would love for my company to sponsor and have a dedicated Learning to Lead or something similar programme for Hastings Direct where we get to these people right at the start, their first day at university, their first day at college or when they’re at school and work with them right throughout their university or college career. And then hopefully they join us at the end. And for me that’s a huge win-win. What we need is a lack of barriers. Often there is not a pull from the university. We’re time-starved rather than cash-starved, and so in order to get some of these things off the ground, we need somebody from the universities just as passionate about the subject as we are. I’ve got over 20 young leaders who would love to get involved with co-delivering programmes and mentoring students at university and at colleges. But it’s not happening Linda: The idea of mentoring around our leadership programme is a really good one and we need to build that in. At the moment we try to use Sussex alumni and we use some employers. But we need to grow that. That’s on my list to develop


Platinum Business News!

Your future talent-pool of highly-skilled future employees The Careers and Employability Centre, at the University of Sussex, welcomes the opportunity to work with new and existing employers, our Sussex alumni and opportunity providers across all sectors. We want to make it easy for you, the business community, to engage with the University and your future talentpool of highly skilled students and graduates. We look forward to discussing ways in which we can work together.

Free vacancy advertising for employers We offer a free vacancy advertising service for opportunities which are suitable for our current students or recent graduates. Adverts appear at our online vacancy listing: www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/jobs/search and interested candidates will apply to you directly. One year professional placements A number of courses at Sussex involve a professional placement year. Subjects include Informatics, Business and Management and Product Design. We can help you to recruit a suitable student for your organisation. Work experience and Internships Work experience is a cost effective way of raising your profile and even trialling potential future graduate employees. We can target current students and recent graduates and have some special funded schemes. Sussex Santander internships The University of Sussex is a member of Santander Universities UK and we are able to offer a limited number of 12-week internships, with attached funding, for small to medium-size enterprises.

Recruitment fair Our flagship event, Careers Fair, is held each autumn at the American Express Community Stadium. It attracts over 100 exhibitors and up to 2,500 students and recent graduates. We’d love you to be there! Events Let us host your recruitment presentations or informal drop-in sessions to give you the opportunity to meet students on campus. This is an effective way to reach your target audience. We also welcome your support and expertise for some of our initiatives such as StartUp Sussex Enterprise, our programme for potential social and commercial entrepreneurs. Skills workshops and alumni talks Employers regularly visit Sussex to run skills development sessions for our students. Recent events have included presentation skills, social entrepreneurship, commercial awareness, networking and assessment centres. We also welcome Sussex alumni back to campus to take part in careers information

If you’d like to find out more please contact: Linda Buckham, Director, Careers and Employability Centre, Andrea Wall, Employer Engagement Manager, Careers and Employability Centre, The Library, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QL T: 01273 873384 or 01273 678429 E: andrea.wall@sussex.ac.uk W: www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/employers

Please mention Platinum Business Magazine when you contact us.


alongside our StartUp Sussex Entrepreneurship programme delivered in partnership with the skilful team at the Sussex Innovation Centre which involves lots of local entrepreneurs in the region and based at the Sussex Innovation Centre on the University of Sussex campus.

Maarten: Because it’s a soft skill, I don’t think it needs to be accredited. It’s almost extra curriculum, teaching them to do something which is going to aid them to get a job, and I don’t think it needs accreditation.

Clare: We have an award-winning mentoring programme called Momentum, and would welcome with open arms any additional employers who want to come in from the start of the new academic year to mentor students on the programme. Each year, we match about 60 students with mentors from the local business community.

Clare: In my work for enterprise, innovation, entrepreneurship, I decided not to accredit our course because we want to reach out to as many people as possible and for them to jump in and out of the programme as and when they see fit. So it’s not something that is compulsory and it’s actually much, much easier to deliver that way. We can make it a lot more practical too, as we are not attached to achieving certain learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Amanda: I don’t think it’s enough. Because from a selfish perspective, if we just mentor some students, I don’t think that’s a route to recruit for us particularly. It might result in a couple of people coming to us but there has to be something really in it for us as well. We need something a bit more in-depth; a proper structured programme or an academy, where it’s not just about somebody giving up their time and spending it with a student who may never join us. Clare: A more formalised Learning to Lead programme, in my eyes, would be a great way to link up with some of the larger employers in the region. There is the question of whether it is accredited or not. In my experience there can be barriers when you turn some of our extra-curricular courses into accredited courses,. If you’re looking for a fantastic long-term extra-curricular programme that can be delivered through the Careers Service, then that’s definitely something that I am happy to engage with and lead on. If it’s something you want to work in partnership with, with our Business School, for example, then I can pass you on to my relevant colleagues within the Business School.

Amanda: I thought the Learning to Lead programme was a wonderful initiative. But you have to pay for an external company to deliver it, whereas I have my own training function with management trainers. We could do this for free. Clare: We set up an employability and enterprise steering group a couple of years ago to try and address this gap and bring in employers who actually sit on that group and help us to shape our curriculum, as well as our strategic agenda. And we’ve been really grateful for those employers and alumni that we’ve brought in. Linda: The University of Sussex has had a longstanding relationship with AMEX through the development of the Masters of Science informatics courses where individuals study and work at AMEX and we have a range of other national and international innovation and knowledge-partnerships that many employers would be interested in and this is an important direction of travel for higher education.

Maarten: I was interested to hear that Ricardo Engineering PLC from Shoreham have an engineering centre of excellence at the University of Brighton, which is an extraordinarily good idea... Clare: I think that’s what we’d like to be doing more of. We already have a couple of Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning as well as other facilities and equipment that are used by our students every day. Our facilities reflect our professional focus and intention to support students to build real-world skills and conduct important research. Clarence: I’m no expert but given the sprawling nature of the civil service – I am sure there are lots of graduate entry schemes within it. The civil service structure is crying out for good quality students. Ian: Is there an issue in that when a graduate goes into a company, they need to be trained and the company needs to invest in them, to get them into the culture of working and train them up in skills they typically require for that industry. But it’s often difficult to do so with graduates, because graduates by nature tend to be a little flirtatious in what they want to do. They flit around quite a lot. So companies can be reluctant to actually invest the money in training in case they leave after six months. Amanda: That doesn’t concern me at all because I am confident enough in our business and what we would offer, that we would change someone’s mind. We have lots of people that stay with us who openly say, “Oh, I thought I was only going to do it as a stop-gap. Here I am five years later, and I’ve made a full career move and I’ve been promoted.”


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David: From a small business point of view, I would agree with that as well. Georgina joined our business four years ago as a graduate from Cass Business School. She would be the first to admit that recruitment may not have been her first choice of career but she is excellent at what she does, enjoys it, and earns very good money! But she was trained by us and we love her for that because she’s an example of what we’ve created. We try and bring in a graduate a year in the hope that we will turn them into a successful member of the team. Maarten: So where would you go to get your graduate intake each year? David: We just advertise online. Sometimes it’s hard to recruit for our own recruitment company. Linda: We advertise over 5,000 jobs a year offering a free service for employers. They’re not all parttime or internships. If employers identify to us that they want to meet with particular disciplines of Sussex graduates, then we can promote these opportunities to specific groups of students. There is a similar service at the University of Brighton Careers Service. David: Does that take me as a Brighton-based recruitment company to come to you to say: “We exist.” Linda: Our website include lots of links to specialist recruitment agencies and some of the generic high street employment consultancies that specialise in first-graduate-level opportunities so we are in contact with lots of companies as well as directly with employers. At our ‘Love

your Life after Uni’ event for recent graduates an employment consultant presented a 2 hour seminar about how to select the right employment consultancy and how the industry could help graduates to access graduate jobs. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, with the Chair of the University Council, leads our Sussex Annual Forum each year focusing on external engagement with all specialist communities including the business community. The last Sussex Annual Forum in July 2014 invited three local employers to present about their graduate and student recruitment experiences and featured the importance of their talent-management pipeline with the University. We also go to lots of the business-networking meetings regionally. However I would love to have the opportunity to enable some of our best students and graduates to meet with shed-loads more employers informally and to an opportunity to get into some inspiring conversations about the future of work with all the amazing employers we have in this region. Clarence: Perhaps this is the birth of the Sussex Employment Liaison Board. From the political side, all government can really do is to help both academia and the business community mesh a little bit more formally and in a more structured way. We will support that financially where it’s viable. Clearly, the wider economy beginning to recover will hopefully feed into this, and that will make it easier for decisions to be taken. Maarten: Cash would be great for something like this, but I would say, the minute you get involved as government and put it into some existing system, it’ll die. It needs a complete commercial viewpoint, so the answer has to come from business. Without being too provocative, there is often criticism of

politicians who are career politicians who have had no real world experience. How can you deal with the real world when you’ve never been in it? The same applies to heads of universities. Clare: I think that’s changing, to be fair. Many of the teaching positions within our departments will require industrial experience. Some of our lecturers work part-time, and run their own businesses outside their university work. David: Perhaps it just needs young people to learn how to network. There are millions of networking events across Sussex. Even I find it sometimes quite daunting if you don’t know anyone there; it’s just a general life skill. If we throw graduates throw into a networking situation with business leaders in a room, just talking, having coffee and just having a basic conversation. Linda: Well, lots of other higher education careers and employability services have arranged massive employer networking events with their students and at Sussex we have found that these work best if they are run like speed-dating events which are great fun for the students but I’d like to see a really big employer-networking event happening in Sussex! Maarten: When we started the Platinum Club, I would have people say, “I’m not really comfortable in these things.” And I thought “Hang on, you’re a director of a bank.” A lot of people are like that. The Platinum Club works because we host it, with the intention that we’ll never leave someone standing alone and make relevant introductions throughout the evening. A good networking organisation is a subtle form of manipulation for the greater good.


{ ROUND TABLE DEBATE } Clare: We’d welcome more networking opportunities. We’ve had one at Amex, so maybe we could do one with Hastings Direct and the Platinum Club. We already do this with MDHUB. We get the students to brainstorm solutions to their members’ problems. That’s actually resulted in jobs. I’d love to do a lot more of those because I know they are effective. And in terms of networking, it’s a skill that we develop within the curriculum, and we also host additional training sessions on networking because it can be daunting for students. Maarten: Why doesn’t the university start a network, a networking forum? You could have your own event on campus and the Platinum Club could bring along some business leaders. That would not only help the students to learn networking skills but introduce companies to the students. Linda: Yes, this would be good and another issue is that Britain plc has really got wrong is the changing Government policy about our international graduates staying in the UK and working after their studies. Many highly skilled international

graduates have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) degree knowledge and expertise which are highly sought after in the UK and yet it is very difficult under the current government policy for these individuals to work in the UK for a few years after they have graduated. I have been given feedback by employers that with many changes of Government policy in recent years, employers have become very confused and do not have the time or resources to manage the complexity of the current system. The Careers and Employability Centre can play a role to guide and explain to employers how they can go about recruiting an international graduate but there are salary thresholds and other criteria to be met. Clarence: Boris Johnson talks a lot about how we need to do more to attract foreign students. Personally a lot of what he says I would agree with. The government is not deliberately setting out to create problems. The politician that turns round to you and says, “This is the perfect answer,” frankly doesn’t honestly know what they’re talking about. Ultimately it still boils down to a financial costbenefit analysis at every stage. We are broadly

going the right way. Of course there are vested interests, of course there are areas that we will come up against in that reform process. But it’s a government that listens, whether it’s to academia, whether it’s to the teaching unions or whoever. Ian: To summarise, have universities got a message for companies? Linda: Absolutely. We have a welcome ‘open house’ for business, run events about our services for employers and offer a range of free services and funding for employers to employ a graduate or student intern for that special project. We can identify the right person to talk to in the academic schools if employers want to develop relationships for curriculum development in the University and we can introduce employers to other innovation, research and knowledge services in the University and more broadly at the Sussex Innovation Centre on campus. Clare: Our door is open, contact us in the Careers Service. We’re very good at solving problems.

Round Table Conclusion Bringing together representatives of businesses and the county’s universities was a thoughtprovoking and positive experience. The most striking conclusion is that all parties have a strong desire to work together for the benefit of our young people and the local economy. It is refreshing to see that both universities are happy to communicate and collaborate together on employment projects. From this Round Table, we are delighted to

say that we have the largest employer in Sussex talking openly to both universities about course involvement and the Platinum Club fully intends to get involved in networking events with the students with the intention of assisting them in understanding what it takes to communicate properly with other companies in such an environment. If you are a business-owner or manager, you should talk to our universities. You are likely to

find that opening a dialogue will be of benefit to your business. Get in touch by emailing Clare Griffiths at the University of Brighton (c.griffiths@brighton.ac.uk) or Linda Buckham at the University of Sussex (l.g.buckham@sussex. ac.uk). At Platinum Business Magazine, we will endeavour to play our part. We firmly believe that a business publication should make a difference, and that is what we intend to do.

Our Round Table had another expert guest, Mike Eaton of Sussex Education Business Partnership, who talked about the issues facing schoolchildren, who hold the key to our society’s future prosperity. The schools debate deserves its own feature in Platinum Business Magazine, so we have held this fascinating and important topic until next time. In his role at the Education Business Partnership, Mike gets to meet the county’s schoolchildren and educators, and he offers a candid insight into the state of our education system, and how well it prepares our young people. Don’t miss his verdict in Issue 6 of Platinum Business Magazine.


Is there a Graduate Skills Gap? By Dan Hawes Co-founder and Marketing Director, Graduate Recruitment Bureau


ith such a broad range of recruiters and graduates in the UK it is impossible to give a definitive yes or no to this question. Every situation is different: The skills for a Computer Programmer will be vastly different to one for a Sales Executive and the candidates available for these roles will vary greatly and not appreciating this basic premise is where many recruiters slip up. It is only upon closer inspection that you can start to identify why employers are struggling to find the graduates they need. For technical roles there is indeed a shortage of people studying STEM subjects (only 7% of the student population) whereas in Law there is an oversupply of able talent. This first step of identifying the likely market for your vacancies is only the start of a long list of other factors you need to consider. This can inevitably compound the problem for recruiters seeking a limited supply of graduate talent and paralyse their attempts. Careful consideration therefore needs to be made when recruiting graduates taking in the following factors; The competition from other employers – Competition is fierce especially for this season. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), representing 700 traditional graduate recruiters, they are planning on hiring 22,076 graduates this year. Remember

competition may not just be from your sector but also from other countries. Low awareness of company and roles – Many companies can go under the radar for graduates if they are not advertised widely on campus. Timing of their recruitment campaigns – Many recruiters have rolling recruitment campaigns to catch graduates before, during and after their time at University. Leaving your campaign until the summer can seriously reduce your talent pool. Many recruiters underestimate the time and cost to do this.

• •

• Perceptions

and reputation of their industry – Banking and finance have found this particularly challenging whereas Charities have ridden a wave of good publicity. What are the positive aspects about your sector? Influences from friends, family, lecturers and parents – Do not underestimate the complexity of how the career decision making process works. Peer pressure, parental pressure and financial pressure make graduates act in mysterious ways when choosing their first job! Location of the role – For the majority of graduates all roads lead to London making it extremely hard for recruiters to hire outside the capital. What can you “sell” about your location?

• Salary

and benefits – According to the AGR the average graduate salary is £27,000. This varies by sector with Investment Banking at £43,500 and Public Sector at £23,700. Think carefully how you pitch your salary to graduates. Training offered – With the right training an employer can not only attract good candidates but increase the chances of retention. If you can showcase graduates who have gone through the training this will resonate with potential applicants. Career progression – Gen Y are an ambitious lot who want to succeed in their careers. Give them room to grow. Without proper research employers may be under the illusion it is straightforward to hire a graduate from the 400,000 entering the market every summer but you’d be wrong. It is far more complex than meets the eye. It is easy to blame Universities for not producing work ready graduates but that isn’t the case. Over the last 17 years working closely with the UKs top Universities GRB see many exceptional students and graduates. “Why can’t I find them then?!” may be the response I hear you say but recruiting graduates can be challenging. With a better understanding of the student and graduate market place you can identify talent and the investment will be well worth it.

“The first step of identifying the likely market for your vacancies is only the start of a long list of other factors you need to consider”

E: d.hawes@grb.uk.com T: 01273 200411 W: www.grb.uk.com 53


Is it still worth going to university? By Tim Firth, Head of Sixth Form, Hurstpierpoint College


here is much buzz in the media these days about apprenticeships, vocational courses and qualifications for those teenagers not particularly academically inclined. That is no bad thing, for the mantra that everyone must go to university regardless has lost credibility at the same time as greater emphasis has been placed upon the need to acquire a trade or profession, rather than spending years of undergraduate study for a degree. Added to this, the uncertainty over the so-called ‘Gove effect’ upon external examination results, the continued criticism of examination boards and the depressing prospect of paying what is to all intents and purposes a graduate tax on earnings, potentially until the age of 55, for those who take out student loans, many might ask themselves whether there is any point in contemplating three or four years at university at all.



“Universities now have to work harder than ever before to persuade the brightest students to choose them” In a job market where there is fierce competition, there is something to be said for taking on an employee with three years of work experience on their CV over a new graduate with little or no experience of the world of work. Indeed in some professions, experience may count for more. In the internet sector, for example, a web developer, who left school having learnt how to code, and who has spent time working in a fast-changing industry, might prove a more attractive potential employee than one who has spent three years at university learning the theory in a computer science degree. Nevertheless, this is probably the exception rather than the rule, and most would agree that having the minimum of a BA or BSc on a CV is far more likely to result in an application being considered, rather than progressing straight to the “no” pile. For higher paid entry level jobs, the level of attainment (at least a 2:1) and the university attended (Oxford, Cambridge or the rest of the prestigious Russell Group universities) are factors that may influence an employer’s decision whether to select a candidate for interview. What other factors come into play when considering whether it is worth completing that UCAS application? For those who have decided on a particular career path, for example engineering or medicine, a degree is essential and forms part of the training required to fulfil those ambitions. For other careers such as law and, indeed, teaching, a degree course is also a vital stepping stone on the way to professional qualifications. There are, though, other sixth formers who may not yet have decided on a particular career path, and for them their years at university, living alongside other students taking a wide variety of subjects, learning about themselves, using the extensive university careers services that work with businesses seeking to recruit new graduates, can shape and inspire their future ambitions as well as develop them as thinkers capable of being useful to the world. For most would-be undergraduates, it is the prospect of the “university experience” that attracts. For many, it might be the first time

they have lived away from home, in some cases many miles away from home and, free from parental constraints, they spend their time making new, sometimes life-long, friendships, gain the experience of living independently and open up their intellectual horizons studying with inspirational academics. They grow up an enormous amount in those three or four years. There is nothing to compare to this in the world of work, and those who don’t go to university may sometimes feel they have missed out on this particular rite of passage. So, has the enthusiasm for university really waned? The 15,000 drop in applications that arose from the increase in tuition fees reported in

2012 has proved to be a blip. Figures published in January 2014 showed some 580,000 applications were made, an increase of 4 % over the previous year, with 35% of all 18 year olds in England applying. In fact, the rise in tuition fees has meant that academic students now have higher expectations and look much harder at what they get in return for the financial commitment they make for their future. Yes, they may justify the cost as being worth it for the “university experience” they will live through, but they are more determined to get the best value they can for their investment. This year, more university places than ever before have been on offer, and universities have fallen over each other in the scramble to attract the most able students by offering blandishments of laptops, scholarships, other financial inducements and even by putting saunas in halls of residence. Canny sixth formers researching potential universities are also comparing

graduate employment statistics to see which universities place the greater number of their alumni, to see where a university’s leavers work now, and to see what career prospects individual universities might proffer through links forged with major companies. Universities now have to work harder than ever before to persuade the brightest students to choose them. It was reported in the Financial Times earlier this year that the Russell Group of universities plan to invest some £9bn over the next few years in improving accommodation and creating new research facilities and IT infrastructures. The education sector is growing in importance to the UK economy as is borne out by the London-based organisation, University UK, which reported in April 2014 that, based on the 2011/2012 figures, the UK higher education sector generated over £73 billion of output, contributed 2.8% of GDP and generated the equivalent of just over 757,000 full time jobs. Indeed, some universities are linked directly to commercial ventures. For example the University of East Anglia operates UEA Enterprises Ltd, a venture that develops commercial applications arising from the technological research undertaken within the university. Another UEA consultancy delivers practical, independent, business-focused solutions for business systems. The university believes that working with business develops mutual understanding and benefit by creating opportunity, employment and wealth, improving quality of life and increasing sustainability. So it would seem that universities have a key role to play in the future prosperity of the country, and today’s sixth form students will form part of that contribution. It’s an exciting thought that our sixth formers will develop as people at university whilst helping to develop a better, future world. At a school like Hurstpierpoint College, we believe that love of learning should be a lifelong activity as we start them on the path that leads to this mutual development. All the while, we seek to promote and foster the moral values that must underpin it all.


Do you want to be part of a winning team? Hastings Direct is a multi-award winning business and one of the UK’s fastest growing insurance providers with over 1.5 million customers. We have ambitious plans and we’re seeking talented professionals to join our winning team based in Bexhill-on Sea. As a company that’s going places and yet still small enough to feel like you can make a difference, we can offer genuine development and career progression. We have many exciting career opportunities;

Customer Facing /Contact Centre roles available;

Claims Personal Injury Manager - To design and implement the Claims Personal Injury Strategy and drive strategic initiatives to develop business area, empowering management of best practices.

Customer Representatives Customer Representatives earn up to £18,000 (including basic salary and bonus)

IT Development Manager - To provide leadership and supervision to technical teams who are responsible for developing information technology initiatives that support the strategic objectives of the Corporation.

We provide our customers with a refreshingly straightforward service and we’d like to hear from you if you enjoy talking to customers and love working in a fast paced, busy office.

Risk Manager - The purpose of the role is to manage the risk function, whilst providing strategic oversight on emerging risks as the business undertakes significant growth plans and co-ordinating risk activity which takes account of regulatory change. Project Managers - Establish and maintain portfolio projects to support our PMO office implementation of major business, tactical and strategic change in operational areas. Call Centre Manager - Successfully lead and develop the contact centre to deliver excellent customer service to Hastings Direct customers. Information Security Manager - Provide leadership and strategic direction to Hastings Insurance Group, to bring the group IS risks under control via the design and implementation of policy standards.

As a customer representative you will be talking to our customers over the phone, providing straightforward service, whilst working in a supportive team that recognises and rewards hard work. We provide first class training in order for you to succeed in your role. Are you: • Self motivated? • Adaptable? • Dedicated to delivering great customer service? • Flexible to working 37.5 hours per week within the hours below? Mon – Fri 8am to 9pm, Sat 9am to 5.30pm & Sun 10am to 5pm.

Retention Manager - Define and implement a market leading renewals and in-life customer journey to drive business performance.

To learn more about each of the above vacancies please contact us:


01424 735735 ext 8924.

2013 and 2014 Car Insurance Provider of the Year, Consumer Moneyfacts Awards 2013 Insurance Times Awards, Personal Lines Broker of the Year 2013 UK Broker Awards, Personal Lines Broker of the Year.


The View from an Agency By David Waddell Harvey John, a specialist recruitment consultancy, reveals the results of their graduate survey.


raduate recruitment is only a small amount of what we do, sourcing on average 20 vacancies per year predominately for accountancy firms with their annual ACA/ACCA training contract intake. The issues we have in recruiting at this level is not the lack of graduates in the market place but the sheer number of applicants that these opportunities attract. Two graduate vacancies that we worked on in June 2014 attracted over 450 candidates – 129 in Gatwick and 345 in Orpington. As with any piece of recruitment our time is spent creating and delivering a quality shortlist of candidates to present to the client. Typically, with firms recruiting for their training contracts, there are strict benchmarks generally around grades and subjects (both degree and A’ level) which need to be met in order to survive the first round of short listing. Although this makes our job slightly easier in rejecting the majority, those applicants having met the grades then have to be whittled down by checking other criteria – location, involvement in any extracurricular activities, sporting or academic achievements, awards etc. This does of course mean that you inevitably end up with the Top Gun of graduates but of course

the vast majority will have to go through this process many times over. Having a first class degree or if you are really unlucky a 2:1, will not guarantee that you will be even offered an interview within the first batch of applications that you make. Some might say that those with a 2:2 or lower might as well not bother. In a recent poll of 150 graduate level applicants some interesting facts came from the response.

Over 70% of the responses felt that the university they attended gave very little advice or suggestions on how to approach the job market. Those that did held events either too late or during exam/revision time; None had been recommended approaching a recruitment agency with all the respondents undertaking their own research in this area; Except for those that didn’t know what they wanted to do on graduating (which is worrying in itself), the majority felt that their university could have done more to prepare them for the job market. Interview advice and the use of social media in their job search were repeated comments; On average those that responded had applied to 40 graduate opportunities many with very little if any response to their application;

• •

Understandably, the majority were not confident in finding a suitable role within six months of graduating. It is tough out there! There are lessons that universities, graduates and employers should absorb. Universities should not take a sheep dip approach to career advice or events and offer services throughout the length of the course – maybe even making them mandatory! Graduates should be made aware that for the majority it will be tough to find the ideal role. Demonstrate flexibility in their job search and think of ways to make themselves stand out from the CV! Employers should be more flexible on benchmarking criteria possibly making exceptions to the rule. Surely those demonstrating certain behaviours and attitude should count for something?! For advice on the market or interview tips and hints, please do not hesitate to make contact! Harvey John is a specialist recruitment consultancy sourcing Accountancy & Finance, Human Resources, Legal and Marketing vacancies on a temporary, contract and permanent basis.

“Graduates need to demonstrate flexibility in their job search and think of ways to make themselves stand out from the CV!”

T: 01273 827471 E: davidwaddell@harveyjohn.com W: www.harveyjohn.com 57

Godfrey HQ: Opening 1st November 2014 Visit our websites for more details.

www.godfreyinv.com www.godfreyliving.com www.godfreydesignbuild.com

Address: Stag House, Upper Bedford Street, Kemp Town, Brighton • Tel: 01273 672 801

A LIFE LESS ORDINARY There is little doubt that this country needs more homes and in our view there are two ways to do it – throw them up at any location that the planning department will allow and give little thought to the long-term interests of the homes themselves, their neighbours and the impact on the area. Or, the other way, which Godfrey Investments adheres to - make them sustainable, considerate and cohesive – and beautiful. We recently took on the task of redeveloping the old Stag Public House in Brighton and

have created nine contemporary apartments, most with their own balconies, and ultramodern office suites, offering work and live combinations. In fact, it obviously was required as the entire development is sold out we have even moved our headquarters to the building – that’s how proud we are of the project. We are so committed to sustainable development that we are proud recipients of the 2011 Considerate Construction National Gold Award for being a ‘considerate developer’ as it

is paramount to us that, whilst we work on new projects, we always consider the impact on our surroundings and give keen focus to the care of the local community. We have a raft of new developments on the roster and for more information on the most considerate, professional and avant-garde developer in the Sussex, contact our brand new office and clients can come and experience the Godfrey ‘living room’ to discuss property portfolios, sales, rentals and investment opportunities.


“If you never meet face to face, how will you ever see eye to eye”

Business Travel Cost or Investment? By John Burroughes Managing Director of UNIGLOBE Preferred Travel T: 0845 180 7817 • E: sales@uniglobepreferred.co.uk • W: www.uniglobepreferred.co.uk


hroughout my time in Business Travel it has been a constant debate as to whether the money spent on physically putting your team in front of your clients and potential clients is a cost or an investment? I would certainly argue that it is undoubtedly an investment. There are those among you who will be thinking, “of course he’s going to say that, he’s in the Business Travel market,” so let me share a few pearls of wisdom with you. Back in 2008, when the recession was really starting to bite across the world, many companies in America drastically cut their travel budgets (traditional cost-cutting). However, the more enlightened companies continued with the same travel budgets, and in some cases even increased them, viewing this strategy as an investment in business rather than a cost. Not surprisingly, today if you look at the performance of the companies that continue to invest in Business Travel against those that slashed their travel costs, you will see that on


any business matrix of sales and profitability, the former massively outperformed the latter. So now let’s turn our attention to the UK market. Since the beginning of 2012 (with the exception of one small blip), the UK Business Travel market has seen a steady and sustained growth. But what is really interesting is if you plot that growth on a graph and overlay it with the growth in the GDP of UK plc, they match. Likewise, you see exactly the same correlation if you track Business Travel versus the profitability of UK companies, or when you compare Business Travel with the performance of the FTSE 100, they also track almost identically. The government have said as part of the economic strategy for the UK, they want to see an export-led recovery. It is therefore gratifying to see a 4.4% rise in UK Business Travel spending this year, and even more gratifying to note that in 2015 this is predicted to rise to 5.1% according to the global travel price outlook. You might think that with the increase

in demand for Business Travel, and much more tightly managed inventory by our travel providers, particularly our airlines, you would expect to see correspondingly large increases in UK ticket prices. However, this is not the case due to strong price competition, particularly from the no-frills carriers. Currently the predicted average rise in UK airfares for 2015 is just 1%, this is significantly lower than the global forecast of 2.2%. So, faced with a raft of overwhelming evidence that clearly tells us that a strategic and well-managed Business Travel programme can truly give you a massive competitive advantage over your competitors, it’s difficult to see why you would not be sitting in front of your clients or prospective clients. So thinking of your clients and prospective clients I will leave you with my parting thought “If you never meet face to face, how will you ever see eye to eye“.


Are we prepared for another ash cloud crisis?


n April 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano shut down most of European airspace for a six day period after an ash cloud formed. Now with activity from the Bardarbunga volcano having said to be intense, Iceland’s meteorological office have raised the risk level to the aviation industry for a volcanic eruption to the fourth level on a five-grade scale, although so far there has been no eruption. According to The Guardian, the orange level of risk to the aviation industry came after a strong earthquake was registered in the area, causing indications of moving magma. The UK’s air traffic control organisation, NATS, and safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, said they were ready to take action if ash was detected spewing from the volcano. A Met Office spokesman said, “We are in close contact with the Icelandic Met Office, but currently they tell us the eruptions are subglacial, so no ash has made it to the surface. Scientists who flew over the ice cap saw no visible signs of the eruption. Experts in Iceland’s Met Office said it was not clear when, or if the eruption would melt through the ice, which is between 330ft to 1,300ft thick. These are very serious developments; an eruption would pile further pressure on an already challenging time for the aviation

industry. In 2010, the cost to the industry was over a billion pounds, notwithstanding the cost to our clients and the question of business continuity. Organisations and travellers should have more confidence now, as along with our airline partners we have learnt a lot from the last eruption, putting more robust contingency plans in place. Some airlines have already taken precautionary measures. Virgin Atlantic rerouted their London Heathrow to San Francisco flight away from the volcano as a ‘precautionary measure’ with flights now operating as normal. A spokesman for EasyJet said they’re preparing to put contingency plans into action, using specialist technology to ensure any ash created by the eruption is detected. “EasyJet will use this and other data provided by the authorities to determine what, if any changes it should make to its flying programme.” Andrew McConnell, Flybe’s Director of Communications said, “We are monitoring the situation in Iceland very closely, currently there is no disruption to our service, with flights operating as normal.” Aviation chiefs are confident the UK is much better prepared to deal with a potential ash cloud crisis than it was 4 years ago. The Civil

Aviation Authority said, “Volcanic ash can adversely affect aircraft in a number of ways. Jet aircraft engines, in particular, are susceptible to damage from volcanic ash. That’s why there are comprehensive safety arrangements in place. As a result of the work that has been undertaken since the 2010 ash crisis and arrangements that have been put in place since, we are confident that high levels of public safety can be maintained, while minimising disruption.” Two working groups, including airlines and scientists, have also been established to act as advisers on ash forecasting and how best to use the output from the Met Office modelling system. For our clients, safety and security is always our top priority. The way in which we support our clients in such events varies, providing them with a range of information to make safe and secure decisions. We support your road warriors and brand champions with the ability to track them throughout the duration of any trip. We have contingencies in place to enhance our 24 hour emergency support service on our sites 24 hours a day, along with the technical ability for home workers to function 24/7. We know that our clients remain an extension of our assets and we are at the ready to double our efforts to ensure their safety and business continuity.



If you are re-elected, what benefit will Mrs Nus Ghani, Conservative MP Candidate - Wealden


he Queens Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2014, this year was awarded to the biomedical science and research firm Scientifica, based in Uckfield in the parliamentary constituency of Wealden, where I will be the Conservative candidate at the next general election. It was an honour to attend the ceremony where The Lord Lieutenant of Sussex presented the award to a local company which not only leads the world on Multiphoton Imaging Systems (powerful medical laser microscopes), but also is vital in supporting the local economy and puts Wealden on the map. Scientifica products are used in more than thirty countries around the world, and exports

account for more than 70% of the company’s turnover. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and particularly in Wealden they are vital in creating jobs, which is why we have the lowest level of unemployment in five years. What unites small and big business is not headline grabbing, flash in the pan ideas, but certainty and confidence in the stability of the economy. That’s why the focus of the

regulations, saving business £1.2 billion a year. Economic certainty and economic confidence has already helped create 1.8 million new jobs. But I know there’s much more we need to do and I want to see more common sense economics and common sense politics. In the diverse business landscape of Wealden, with around 90% of businesses with fewer than 10 employees and the proud heritage of farming (where for too long we have undervalued food

Conservative party in government has been to foster that stability by tackling our national deficit and bringing down our national debt it’s good for business, good for our economy and secures our future. Understanding and supporting small business and enterprise is why we built one of the most competitive tax regimes in the world, with the lowest corporation tax in the G20. Scrapping the jobs tax altogether for under 21 year olds makes it easier for businesses to give young people a start in life. And let’s not forget our record number of 1.8million apprenticeships since 2010, giving people the chance to gain vital hands on experience. Our Start-Up loans scheme has helped 18,000 entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground while the new government-backed British Business Bank is expected to facilitate up to £1billion of lending to UK’s small and medium businesses, a welcome end to the monopoly of the high street banks. And we’ll be the only government in modern history to leave office with fewer regulations than when we came in. We’ve restored common sense to health and safety law and scrapped or amended 3000

producers and food security), we need to keep our long term economic plan on track. Our focus on reducing Labours deficit by one third, means we can support local business with the fuel duty cut and cap on rail fares. Listening to businesses across Wealden and the Chamber of Commerce I will continue to campaign hard for better connectivity, which means fighting for further investment in our roads and rail network, as well as tackling BT’s patchy broadband roll out and poor service. I was chosen to represent Wealden Conservatives at the next election at an open meeting where 400 members of the public selected their preferred candidate to fly the flag for Wealden. With Scientifica being just one of the many pioneering success stories across Wealden, it would be a privilege to be elected to represent Wealden’s business in Westminster. I will stand as a Conservative candidate on the ticket of keeping our economy on track, where a long term economic plan gives us certainty and security versus the Labour government’s years of boom and bust.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and particularly in Wealden they are vital in creating jobs” Nus Ghani Conservative MP E: nusghani@hotmail.com In an attempt never to be biased, we always ask politicians from all major parties parties to respond but after contacting several members from other parties, there was no one free to respond.



you bring to business in your area? Mr Henry Smith Conservative MP Candidate - Crawley


aving lived, run my own business, served as a councillor and brought up a young family here in Crawley, I understand how we can make improvements to assist local business. Our town has a great mix of small local firms and global companies, across many varied sectors, choosing to make Crawley their UK base. As I write, I’ve been organising my annual Crawley Jobs Fair. This is my way of bringing together employers and local residents who are seeking work. We have some major local and multinational firms attending, as well as the National Citizens Service, who will be

providing help with CVs and covering letters. The latest figures show that 60 Crawley firms have benefited from the Start Up Loan Scheme, totalling more than £415,000 for businesses in our town alone. Nationally, the 20,000th loan was recently awarded, and the Government is now two thirds of the way towards supporting 30,000 new businesses with £151 million by 2015. Almost half of applicants were unemployed

to work with the government, as well as councillors, of all sides, to improve the future prospects of our town. Earlier this year, I welcomed the Crawleycentred £202 million Coast to Capital enterprise deal which will see significant infrastructure investment, particularly transport. Having spoken to small business owners in our town, I know the importance of policies such as the employment allowance, which

prior to getting involved. In Parliament I have led the campaign to abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) and recent reforms, soon to come into effect, will see significant reduction in the tax with the cost of long-haul travel (travelling more than 2,000 miles) will fall to a uniform rate, rather than the current system of three separate categories. The previous Government inherited a very modest APD and over time significantly increased the rates, especially for long-haul travel. While rates have been limited under this Government, I will continue to campaign for their further reduction and abolition. In early September, I was delighted to visit Crawley’s newest hotel, the Travelodge in the town centre. It was a pleasure to welcome another company to our town, following the recent openings of the Turtle Bay restaurant and a Morrisons supermarket. These three firms alone have led to 275 new jobs. Half of all employees at the Morrisons alone were previously unemployed. I worked closely with the previous Crawley council administration to help bring this new investment to Crawley and will continue

saves companies £2,000 a year off their national insurance bills per employee. I will continue to call for such reductions to allow businesses to grow, and employ more people. The Conservative administration at Crawley Borough Council recognised the housing shortage, as a result of the previous government in Westminster seeing new home starts fall to an 80 year low. The Council showed leadership to ensure the building of thousands of new homes in Kilnwood Vale, as well as the new Forge Wood neighbourhood. Supporting business initiatives in our community, including Young Start Up Talent, which I am backing for a fifth year, I believe is important. The scheme is aimed at 16-25 year olds to start up their own business, with the chance of winning £50,000 worth of business products and services to allow them to truly kick-start their company. To me my corporate constituents are vital because they provide the jobs and growing economy that my resident constituents rely on, so whenever I can help local businesses I am pleased to.

“Our town has a great mix of small local firms and global companies, across many varied sectors” Henry Smith Conservative MP E: henry.smith.mp@parliament.uk



Sam Garrity Director, RocketMill

There seem to be a plethora of business award events within Sussex and I am always tempted to enter my company but have constant doubts about the veracity and commercial value of doing so. Do you have an opinion? We shared some of these concerns some time ago. Let me address veracity first. This is something you can qualify by research. Consider the credibility of the organising party, the sponsors, past winners, and the evidence required for entries. Then talk

to people; from here you should be able to make a well informed decision on the integrity of an awards event. Regarding the commercial impact of participation I feel you may need to broaden your perspective. For us, the key motivation was recognition. This fuels staff happiness,

aids recruitment, adds another chapter to our sales story, and then impacts upon our commercial performance. We won several pitches on the back of our award however the major impact was the momentum it gave our team and the credibility it added to our story.


Amanda Menahem HR Director, Hastings Direct Insurance

What is the best way to deal with a manager who is performing badly? We asked him to attend a meeting to review his performance, but the day before he phoned in sick blaming stress.

It all comes down to good communication between you and the manager. The first step in managing performance is always to ensure that the standards are clear and that the manager understands what is expected of them in the first place. Does he have goals or objectives to achieve that are written down? Without such clarity, its more challenging for an employee to perform effectively. If the answer is yes, make sure that these are crystal clear. Do you both know what success looks like? How will you know when the goals have been achieved? If you asked this of yourself and your manager separately, you should both be able to articulate the same answers. In my experience, poor performance is usually a result of a mismatch between what the boss wants and what the employee thinks they want. This gets labelled as performing badly. If all of this is clear and performance is still not on track or if the performance issues are more to do with behaviours, then tackling this in a conversation is essential. Here are my five top tips: 1. Start from a position of care. Make your intent one of genuinely wanting to help him be successful and seeking to understand what the barriers are. By having this mind-set, you will find that your tone, body language etc will subtly convey support as opposed to judgement. This is much more conducive to a productive discussion

allowing him to open up and want to fix the problem. Stress and adversarial relations often arise because the boss tends to address things from a negative view point and in a judgemental way. This comes over as punitive and threatening, making a stress or anger response much more likely. The only way from there is down. 2. Describe the behaviour or conduct in neutral non-judgemental language. Be very specific. What have you actually observed? What are the facts? You can describe the observed behaviours and facts back to the manager. Only once you’ve described the facts should you then go on to articulate your interpretation of these. I.e. ‘you have been late three times this week, I don’t think you’re taking this job seriously’ is very different to ‘you have been late three times this week. What is the reason for this? I was concerned that this might be an indication of how you feel about the job. Am I right?’ The second example is much less threatening and opens up a discussion that allows you both to solve the problem. The first makes a judgement and an assumption. See the difference? 3. Always seek to understand FIRST. Ask lots of questions rather than just make assumptions and statements. You can see this approach in the example above. 4. Describe the behaviours you want to see and/or the outcomes/goals that need to be achieved. Ask them to clarify these back to you so that you can check for

understanding. Describe the consequences of not achieving what you’ve asked for and finally make sure you check that they have the resources they need. 5. Document the discussion including the written goals agreed and ideally let them have a copy. Once someone goes off sick with stress, things are already far down the line. It is essential to be supportive. I’d recommend writing to the employee with a supportive intent. Make clear you want to help him be successful and that you’d like to meet to discuss how you can best achieve this once he is feeling better. You don’t say whether the stress is work-related. It is important to find out the circumstances of the condition especially as stress is not a medical condition. You need to establish the facts and take a common sense approach. You may choose to obtain occupational health advice to check if there is an underlying medical condition. Otherwise, the stress is not work related, you have every reason to continue to deal with the performance issue. Doing so in the supportive way I have described will make it less likely he will go off sick again. If on the other hand he is saying it is work related – it is very important you meet with him to establish the facts and judge what adjustments, if any, are appropriate to make. I’d suggest you consult an HR practitioner in that instance.



“Expanding Heathrow is Political Kryptonite – it’s madness, selfdefeating, short-sighted and barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population” BORIS JOHNSON, SEPTEMBER 2014

Political Kryptonite


t has been announced that the so called ‘Boris Island’ plan to build a £100m airport in the Thames estuary has been dismissed by former CBI chief Sir Howard Davies. The scheme would have seen a new four-runway hub airport built with high-speed rail links to London. This has led to a huge row, with Boris accusing Sir Howard of bending to the will of Whitehall and Sir Howard branding Boris a liar after he stated that this was a myopic decision and suggested that Sir Howard had been leant on by risk adverse Whitehall pen-pushers. One source said the Boris Island idea had been attacked with ‘every conceivable sledgehammer’. The independent Airports Commission, which was set up to tackle the need for increased airport capacity and is led by Sir Howard, has urged ministers to focus instead on expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick. It leaves the Commission now looking at three detailed options – two for expanding Heathrow,


and one for increasing capacity at Gatwick. Heathrow’s owners have proposed building a third runway, while the second option would be to increase the length of one of the existing runways to allow it to handle more flights. Both Heathrow options are estimated to cost about £18billion and with the demolition of hundreds of homes. The option to build a second runway at Gatwick would cost an estimated £9billion with no demolition. Boris Johnson recently described the idea of expanding Heathrow as ‘madness’ and stated that it is ‘Political Kryptonite’. Repeating his preference for a new site, he dismissed Heathrow plans as ‘self-defeating’ and ‘barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population’. He added: ‘What frustrates me is that a third runway at Heathrow is so desperately shortsighted. You could not conceivably get it built before 2029, by the airport’s own admission –

and as soon as it opened it would be full.’ Mr Johnson said the Heathrow expansion would lead to medical problems associated with pollution, as well as congestion on the road network. David Cameron publicly opposed the expansion of Heathrow at the last election and if we are to believe his promise of a referendum on Europe, he needs to keep his pledge and refuse to consider Heathrow. The CBI yesterday urged the Commission to come forward quickly with a ‘spades in the ground’ solution to the lack of capacity, which it said was damaging Britain’s competitiveness. With Heathrow full and the UK slipping behind in the race for new connectivity, it is essential that the Airports Commission delivers a solution that addresses the ticking time bomb of our lack of spare hub capacity.’ The decision not to shortlist ‘Boris Island’ now leaves Heathrow and Gatwick to slug it out for Davies’ backing.


The CBI report said an enlarged hub airport with lots of transfer passengers would boost exports, ‘upping our game in emerging markets’ such as China, India and Brazil. It also urged Davies to get on and make a decision, warning that ‘the UK is already falling behind, so every day we delay making a decision makes matters worse’. It said a hub airport was the one solution that ‘addresses the ticking time bomb of our lack of spare hub capacity’. Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, said the CBI’s comments showed it was best placed to serve the need for expansion via the construction of a third runway. But Gatwick said more hub capacity could be achieved by switching some traffic to its own airport, freeing up space at Heathrow. It said a second runway at Gatwick would create ‘two world class airports’ and foster competition. Some 4.1million passengers used Gatwick in July, up 6 per cent year on year and 10.5 per

cent for European routes alone. North Atlantic traffic grew by 6.6 per cent, largely thanks to Norwegian Airlines’ new low-cost flights to the US. Gatwick chief financial officer Nick Dunn said: ‘Building a third runway at Heathrow will diminish the choice available to British passengers, making it more expensive to go on holiday, to travel for business and to export goods and services.’ Sir Howard is not due to report until after the next election in 2015, but pressure is building to get on with it. Leaving it until after the election is ‘kicking it into the long grass’ and if the conservatives don’t win, then it will become someone else’s problem and Cameron will not have to deal with his election pledge.


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05/02/2014 12:16:52

Chestnut Tree House

BuSInESS AwArdS 2015 Thursday 12 March 2015 South Lodge Hotel, Horsham 6pm Drinks Reception, Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Hosted by Ambrose Harcourt Broadcaster and Patron of Chestnut Tree House

The Chestnut Tree House Business Awards are to recognise businesses and individual employees who are outstanding in their communities and to thank them for supporting Chestnut Tree House. The awards categories are: • Outstanding Individual Fundraiser • Fundraising Team Of The Year • Most Innovative Fundraising Idea • Outstanding Voluntary Project • Outstanding Long Term Supporter • Outstanding SME Supporter • Outstanding Corporate Supporter Deadline for nominations 2 February 2015

To nominate a business, book a place or find out more visit: www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk email: corporate@chestnut-tree-house.org.uk Or telephone: 01903 871837 Registered charity number: 256789

Chestnut Tree House Business Awards 2015 are kindly supported by:







HORIZON BRIGHTER for the south’s tourism & leisure industry By Nathan Keeley Head of the Tourism & Leisure sector at Carpenter Box


round one third of staff working in guest houses, hotels, restaurants and pubs are now employed on zero hours contracts, according to the latest Travel & Tourism Survey conducted by West Sussex-based chartered accountants and tax advisers, Carpenter Box, in conjunction with MHA, the UK-wide association of chartered accountants and business advisory firms. Yet, despite the flexibility that this arrangement offers employers, well over 60% of these staff regularly work 20 hours or more – with more than three quarters of these routinely employed for 40 hours per week. The survey paints a picture of the industry in the South starting to benefit from an upturn in trading conditions, with 56% reporting improved profitability in the last 12 months and 58% predicting that 2014 will be better still. However, 50% cited turnover either stagnant or growing by less than 5% over the last 12 months. The travel and tourism sector is emerging from a sustained period of low growth, but with discretionary spending improving across the economy as a whole, the hope is that – weather


permitting – the year ahead will see the return of profitability capable of supporting future investment plans. One indicator of this growing confidence is the number of employees working extended hours on zero hours contracts – this sector was always going to be an adopter of this employment option, but the numbers working what might be considered a ‘standard’ working week suggest that this arrangement is working for both parties. In line with other regions across the UK, almost a quarter of the operators in the South covered by the survey look set to increase investment this year in premises refurbishment, while 16% will be spending more on marketing – particularly social media – to support business development. Online bookings increased for 62% of respondents in the last 12 months, although 46% still say they see little or no benefit in engagement with Facebook and Twitter etc. Those that are active use social networks for loyalty schemes, responding to customer queries and brand building. For a sector so reliant upon personal service and positive communication, there is perhaps a surprising reluctance among a significant

minority to embrace the social media era, particularly when the volume of bookings being made online is increasing year-on-year. This sector is also focused on the green agenda, with 82% having environmental policies in place. That said, the vast majority said they had no plans to introduce energy efficiency measures such as solar arrays or biomass boilers – and 40% were not even aware of the tax breaks offered for such investments. Perhaps the recent challenging economic environment has pushed investment in this area down the agenda, but it is certainly worth operators noting that with the increased Annual Investment Allowance now standing at £500,000 until December 2015, this could be a good time for companies to think seriously about capital expenditure. Not only will this provide financial benefit – it will also enhance the brand appeal to consumers who are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental issues. The 2014 Travel & Tourism Survey findings are based on the detailed responses of 153 hotels, pubs, restaurants, B&Bs and guest houses operating across the UK.


“One indicator of the growing confidence is the number of employees working extended hours on zero hours contracts”

Hotels are missing out on thousands of tax relief! Hotels are just one of many UK businesses which often have unclaimed capital allowances. As a result, many hotels could be owed hundreds or even thousands of pounds by the tax man. Owners or leaseholders of a hotel could be entitled to claim tax relief for the cost of its fixtures and fittings; kitchen and bathroom fittings, central heating and lifts are all areas where this can apply. Going forward it is important to involve a tax adviser prior to purchase; for those with existing properties, retrospective claims can still be made. At Carpenter Box we have a complete understanding of the tax system which allows us to maximise the tax relief for your individual circumstances. You could enjoy a tax refund, a reduction in your future liability, or both. We have been able to identify over £1m of expenditure that qualified for Capital Allowance tax relief in the last two years. The largest amount claimed for one of our clients in the hospitality business amounted to over £182,000 of expenditure across their sites that qualified for capital allowances. Many hotels are simply not aware of what they could be claiming for and Carpenter Box is, therefore, happy to undertake a free initial consultation and assess whether or not they can make a claim. In addition, any fees charged are contingent on a successful claim being made so there is no risk to clients in pursuing a potential claim.

For further information please contact Carpenter Box on 01903 234094 or e-mail tax@carpenterbox.com.


We believe that effective networking is all about relationship building in a relaxed and informal environment and The Platinum Club provides the ideal platform for companies both large and small, to come together for an enjoyable evening in the luxurious surroundings of The Grand Hotel Brighton. Don’t just take our word for it, here is what some of our club member’s have to say: Let me tell you that the Platinum Club is “ “The Platinum Club is all that I expect from a networking club, no ordinary networking club. For anyone who informal, full of interesting people and well run. I look forward to is tired of run-of-the-mill networking events I would suggest you try the Platinum Club. John Healy – Healy’s LLP

each meeting and have found that I have made new friends and met new clients. Richard Kendall Tobias - Blue Diamond Security

I would recommend the Platinum Club “ “We have recently become members of The Platinum Club where as a fantastic way to meet new contacts in we have met great people and even gained new clients already. I a relaxed evening of networking with a great location! Good spread of Companies and make you feel at home! Tony Rice – Coulsdon Audi

would highly recommend The Platinum Club if you are looking to meet new businesses, in a relaxed and friendly environment. Becky Sharp – Harvey John Recruitment

The Platinum Club is undoubtedly one “ of the most prestigious networking groups I have attended. The meetings are vibrant and positive and we leave the events with a spring in our step, pleased we made the commitment to attend. Denise Buchan – Classic Consulting

Platinum events are always so well “ organised and attended by the right people.” Keith Jackman – Mercedes-Benz

Call: 07966 244046 • e-mail: info@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk • web: www.theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk







The Platinum Club Networking Forum, held at The Grand Hotel, Brighton 1. Sarah Hopwood (Business Consultant), Rob Whitehouse (WSI Risk Investigations), Amanda Menahem (Hastings Direct Insurance). 2. Dan Montagnani (Groundsure), Sophia Spencer-Lee (Callisto Associates), Sam Buni (Tailormade). 3. John Burroughes (Uniglobe BusinessTravel), Victoria Crick (Burt Brill & Cardens), Ian Trevett (Platinum Business Magazine). 4. Pieter Grobbelaar (Concordia Dental Health), Gavin Whippy (Whippy Insurance). 5. Rachel Hutchinson (The Grand Hotel), Gemma King (Vivid Marketing).

6. Robbie Vella (Brighton University), Keith Jackman (Mercedes-Benz). 7. Lloyd Magee & Suresh Lachmandas (St James’ Place Wealth Management), Maarten Hoffmann (The Platinum Club). 8. Joanna Whippy (Whippy Insurance), Fiona Anderson (NatWest Bank). 9. Lee Hills (Mayo Wynne Baxter), Natalie Page (Bennett Griffin), Andy Percival (PSG Southern), Robbie Vella (Brighton University). 10. Meika Mills (Pier Recruitment), Jeff Smith (Sandler Training), Matt Sills (Photography), Tony Rice (Audi).






For more information on joining the most dynamic networking group in Sussex, contact info@theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk or call 07966 244046



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Direct Mail is alive and kicking! By Andy Fry, Managing Director of Nova Direct


here was a time when most marketing campaigns were very much centred on direct mail. In recent years leading marketers have not been using direct mail as often in their marketing campaigns but that is all changing now. Direct Mail is making a rapid comeback as more and more evidence points to the fact that not using direct mail in your marketing campaign mix and integrating it with your other forms of advertising may mean you are missing out on connecting in a positive way with your target audience. Consumers are sent an astonishing amount of commercial messages each week so standing out from the crowd is essential for your brand or product. Backing up your marketing campaign with a direct mail piece reinforces your company branding and message. Direct mail pieces engage with your target audience on a very personal level within their own home and at their leisure. Here at Nova Direct, we will show you how

to utilise direct mail to give your message the advantage to stand out from the crowd. Using direct mail within your marketing mix will give you the advantage of reinforcing your message and connecting on a personal level with your target audience. So what are the advantages of using direct mail, here is a brief overview to name but a few. Direct Mail is personal, you can address each person individually and this kind of marketing is extremely effective in today’s world of blanket marketing. Its flexible, it can generate leads, develop a database, enhance your customer relationship and introduce new products of services. Touch, direct mail has the unique advantage of being capable of being touched. A cleverly designed marketing mailer can be read and put down and then read again. It can be shown to others and shared. Utilising expert data profiling you can effectively target your audience right down to age, gender, income interest, postcodes and

many more filters. Including direct mail in your marketing campaign will be instrumental in driving your customers to your website and on to a sale, it will also enhance any social media activity or online marketing campaigns. Another major advantage of using direct mail is that you can accurately determine your return on investment. Including special offers in your mailing piece will allow you to track response rates. We believe that the future of direct mail is looking very positive and those companies who use it within the marketing campaigns will have the advantage over their competitors of connecting directly with their target audience and increasing brand awareness, reinforcing their message, increasing the sales and their return on investment. So make sure you include direct mail within your next marketing campaign and don’t lose out to the competition.

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THE BRIGHTON AND HOVE HOTELIERS AWARDS 2014 Celebrating hospitality in the city


he Brighton and Hove Hoteliers Awards, the first awards of its kind, is launching this year. The idea for the awards initially came from an informal discussion between Andrew Mosley, General Manager of The Grand, and the previous General Manager of the Hilton Brighton Metropole back in 2012. They both felt that there was a need to celebrate the range of fantastic accommodation providers operating in the city, a proposition which was brought to the table at a Brighton and Hove Hoteliers Association meeting. Association members agreed and felt that an awards of this kind would be a fantastic initiative. The organisation of the awards was later picked up by General Managers, Andrew Mosley of The Grand Brighton and Howard Lewis of The Hilton Brighton Metropole, and plans are underway for the

inaugural awards ceremony held at the Hilton on 19th November 2014. Despite the partner hosts stepping back from entering a category, the awards welcome all accommodation providers in Brighton and Hove to enter up to 3 of the 11 categories at no cost, from Best Place To Sleep to The Award for Warmest Welcome, there really is a category to suit all. The organisers have been delighted with the support received so far, from category judging to sponsorship. Those local businesses involved to date include: Restaurants Brighton, Platinum Business Magazine, Mayo Wynne Baxter, i360 Brighton Limited, Juice FM, The Argus, My Hotel and of course Visit Brighton. Vital funds will be raised on the night of the awards for two fantastic local charities; Rockinghorse and The Argus Appeal.

Both the teams from The Hilton and The Grand are extremely excited to be hosting the awards and recognise that there are many benefits for hoteliers that get involved. Andrew Mosley said, “Ultimately, for finalists and category winners it is an opportunity to be recognised within their industry and be rewarded for their commitment towards delivering a quality and memorable experience for guests during their time in the city. It brings many PR benefits too. With the growing visitor numbers to Brighton each year, having a wide range of quality accommodation options is imperative, the awards is a chance to highlight the best and bring the hotel community of Brighton and Hove together for an evening of celebrations”.

There is still time left to enter! If you are a Hotel, Bed & Breakfast or Guest House operating in the city and are yet to enter, contact brighton.awards@yahoo.co.uk

• The Award for Best Breakfast • The Award for Best Initiative • The Award for Best Nights Sleep • The Award for Outstanding Personality • The Award for Cleanliness • The Award for Best Customer Service Experience

• The Award for Outstanding Manager • The Award for Warmest Welcome • The Award for Property of The Year • The Award for Unsung Hero • The Award for Charity and Community

THE AWARDS CEREMONY Date: 19th November 2014 Venue: The Hilton Brighton Metropole Event details: Drinks Reception, 3 Course Dinner, Awards Ceremony (you can bring a bottle too) Ticket Price: £15 for BHHA members - £25 for non members Dress Code: Black Tie To purchase single tickets or tables: email: brighton.awards@yahoo.co.uk Sponsored by



THE BUSINESS NETWORK Networking - Is it really worth it? By Emma Pearce Marketing Consultant, outsourced marketing services and social media training www.pearcemarketing.co.uk

Emma Pearce’s guide to measuring the ROI of business networking


ost SME’s that seek local or regionallybased customers benefit from business networking as one of their marketing tactics. If they do it properly. Sometimes it can be their main marketing tool. But what about really measuring its effectiveness. Do you know what you’ve gained from your efforts? Is there any return on investment? What to Measure As with all your marketing, networking must be targeted and measurable. But you need to first identify what you are measuring. Your networking objectives may be to: 1.Gain sales from those in the room 2.Increase lead generation - by being referred to people outside that network 3.Gain speaking opportunities at networks - to raise your profile and establish your credibility and approachability 4.Source suppliers directly 5.Get recommendations for good suppliers 6.Find business partners 7.Gain advice and feedback on issues you are facing from other business owners or experts to help you make decisions.

You may also make new friends and gain genuine support from fellow business people. For example, they may volunteer to be on an interview panel with you, take part in a photo shoot or help promote an event you are running. How to Measure Your measurement could be recorded within a spreadsheet or reported via data you input into one of your business systems (eg sales, lead generation, CRM or accounts). Or perhaps a combination of them. All businesses, whether they network or not, should have a system for recording where leads and sales came from in order to support marketing planning. The options may include Google search, recommendation, particular exhibitions, adverts, social media platforms and so on, as is applicable to each business. You need to ensure that networking is one of these options and that the name of that networking group can be specified. It is also important that you can specify who recommended someone to you and if they got to know you due to your attendance at a business network. One network that I belong to has an annual

survey where they ask: • how many leads have come from the group? and • what percentage of your fee-income has been generated directly or indirectly by the group? It’s a very useful exercise to help you determine which networking groups are worth their investment in annual fees or pay-as-yougo lunches and time away from the business. Of course there is always the other ‘soft’ measurement to consider alongside these financials. Perhaps one group has not given you a huge sales benefit yet, but you have met new people, continue to gain useful knowledge from other members and have found great new suppliers. Other networks may clearly not be right for your type of business. On many occasions if someone is recommended a supplier by someone they trust from a networking group, they may well not even seek out other potential suppliers. As the saying goes “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Networking will work if you attend the right ones and do it well. Has networking worked for you? I’d love to hear, contact: emma@pearcemarketing.co.uk.


YOU HAVE OUR SERVICE GUARANTEE. AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED. Stay with us and take advantage of our Super Saver Sale offer including: Early Check-In, Late CheckOut, Wi-Fi and a selection of luxurious airport shopping savings, including Harrods, Caviar House and Aspinal of London. Book between 02 September & 31 December Stay between 03 September 2014 & 31 March 2015 To book please email london.gatwick@hilton.com and quote SSS2014 or visit gatwick.hilton.com

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MANUFACTURING GROWTH By Ana Christie Chief Executive at Sussex Enterprise Chamber of Commerce


obs and growth are being created by Britain’s manufacturers as well as those in the construction industry and businesses trading internationally. From microelectronics to major infrastructure projects, exciting schemes bring massive benefits to the economy constantly. At Sussex Enterprise, the accredited chamber of commerce for the county, the lively and entertaining programme of events allows you to meet potential new customers and suppliers, network with like-minded people across Sussex and develop yourself, your staff and your business. The forums are a great way of discussing specific issues, sharing knowledge and best practice and understanding the challenges that are faced in particular industries. Sussex Enterprise now holds manufacturing forums at manufacturing sites to provide a totally new dimension, engage the audience whilst also allowing people to see how others operate. The UK is a leading global manufacturer, employing over 2 million people, with a world class reputation in the automotive, aerospace and pharmaceutical sectors. Manufacturers contribute over £140 billion to the UK economy each year and are responsible for over 70% of Research and Development investment. Chairman of the Sussex Manufacturing Forum, David Shore of Time 24, commented. “ Sussex is home to some truly world class manufacturers: Rolls Royce, Ricardo, Thales,

Varian, Elekta, L3 Simulation and B & W Loudspeakers to name just a few. The fact is manufacturing represents 12% of the economy, 50% of our exports and average wages in manufacturing are significantly higher than the rest of the economy. We will strive to ensure the Forum addresses the key issues facing manufacturers today and provides industry benchmarking at the highest level.” Ricardo’s Shoreham Technical Centre site was the venue for the recent forum. The stateof-the-art high performance assembly facility was designed around the manufacturing requirements of the McLaren turbocharged V8 engine that powers the leading UK performance sports car manufacturer’s 650S and P1 supercars. All of the engines produced by Ricardo for McLaren Automotive are assembled at Ricardo, an advanced, quality-focused lean production facility, which will be extended to boost its capacity to allow assembly of 5,000 engines per year. Jason March from Ricardo said, “we were delighted to host the Sussex Enterprise Manufacturing Forum and receive a wider range of guests from the sector across Sussex. Sharing experiences in a noncompetitive environment is always beneficial.” It was an absolutely fascinating tour and all of the delegates found the forum engaging, listening to the latest research, design and development taking place at Ricardo. It was an absolutely fascinating tour and all of the delegates found the forum engaging,

listening to the latest research, design and development taking place at Ricardo. During the event, Shirley Smith, Corporate Partner of Reeves, accountancy and financial services firm based in the South East, presented to the forum a brief overview of the current funding available to manufacturers through their corporation tax returns via the Research and Development and Patent Box tax reliefs. Shirley said afterwards; “Reeves are delighted to be involved with the Sussex Enterprise Manufacturing Forum. We have a number of local manufacturing clients so it is important for Reeves to be involved in Forums such as this. The presentation was to enlighten the delegates of the potential funding available through current tax legislation and tax reliefs and to try to remove some of the complexity and mystery about making claims in their tax returns for R&D and the Patent Box. This legislation and tax reliefs can provide qualifying manufacturers with significant tax savings, representing real cash savings”. Sussex Enterprise, by working closely with the British Chambers of Commerce, Government and businesses in Sussex, can help place manufacturing at the forefront and create a strong and sustainable, internationally competitive industrial base. Whatever your business, join one of our forums and events now, and benefit from talking to industry experts to help your business grow.

“We can help place manufacturing at the forefront and create a strong and sustainable, internationally competitive industrial base” 79

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BUSINESS TRAINING TO GET YOUR TEETH INTO Says Alice Cuninghame of Cuninghame Copywriting


e all need to keep learning to succeed, but it is not always obvious how best to get that vital learning. Business training can be expensive and time-consuming, taking busy people away from their day jobs for too long. Good training brings huge benefits: practical skills, deep understanding, even ideas that could change a business’ course. Where can you find training that doesn’t take forever, won’t break the bank, and really makes a difference? Brighton Chamber of Commerce’s regular bite-sized learning sessions might just be the winning formula for business training: worthwhile, affordable and easy to fit into busy diaries. Bite-sized learning sessions are two hours long, and are held several times a month at Sussex County Cricket Club, which also sponsors the sessions. When I went to my first bite-sized training session, I was new to the Chamber and had no idea what to expect. What I got was a room full of friendly people eager to learn. Some were freelancers like me, others ran much bigger businesses and some were employees. The training – an introduction to advanced LinkedIn led by Julia Chanteray – worked for all of us.

Why? Because it was designed to meet realworld needs, delivered by someone who is out there doing and knows those needs. Bite-sized sessions are always led by Chamber members who are experts in their field. They focus on practical, real-world advice that attendees can start putting into practice as soon as they’re back at their desks, delivered by people with cutting-edge skills. It is a community approach to training, with the ideas for its sessions coming from Brighton businesses. Chamber members can see a need, pitch an idea, and the Chamber will make it happen. This means that bite-sized sessions cover an eclectic and vital mix of subjects. Recent bitesize sessions have included a practical session on Facebook marketing, and a session on how to achieve life-work balance. Coming up, there are sessions planned on legal help for business, and on how to do business across the globe. Being business-led keeps bite-sized sessions affordable and accessible. Each session costs just £29 for Chamber members and £35 for nonmembers. That means they’re in the price range of everyone from freelancers through to much bigger businesses. It also makes for a great mix

of experience, perspectives and questions at the sessions. What can you expect to gain from a bite-sized session? New skills, new opportunities, and brilliant interactions. You’ll learn about your chosen subject from someone who knows that subject inside-out. You’ll get to meet fellow business people from across Brighton and Hove and beyond. Some of them might be just like you, others might be on a very different business journey. You can find all you need to know about upcoming sessions on the Brighton Chamber events calendar. Several sessions are run each month, and more are added to the calendar regularly – whatever you do, there will be bitesized sessions on offer that will add value to you and your business. As Ibrahim Mikhail from Acumen Business Law said, bite-sized is “Great fun, even for first thing Monday morning! A very informative, engaging and productive session.” If it works on a Monday morning, it’ll work any time. Bite-sized training is small, but very tasty and easy to chew. www.businessinbrighton.org.uk


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Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber of Commerce By Christina Ewbank Chief Executive, Eastbourne unLtd Chamber of Commerce


he Chamber of Commerce in Eastbourne is one of the largest and most influential town based Chambers in the country with almost 700 members. In 2012, Eastbourne Chamber got all the East Sussex Chambers together from Hastings to Lewes to Crowborough and formed ACES, the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex. This super chamber represents over 4,000 members and includes the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Business. If you belong to your local Chamber you are automatically a member of ACES and can attend the BEST4Biz conference in Buxted Park near Uckfield on Wednesday October 8th. See www. acesalliance.org/events for full details and booking. In association with East Sussex County Council and all the East Sussex Chambers, this business conference includes some heavyweight speakers and is free of charge. Tickets are going very fast so book your place now!

link road, the Baldslow link road on the A21, Priory Quarter in Hastings, improvements to the A22/A27 junction at Polegate and development of the £4.2million Sovereign Harbour Innovation Park in Eastbourne. All projects which will help boost the local economy. Derek Godfrey, Director of Eastbourne UnLtd and Managing Director of Ellis Building Contractors Limited

Derek is now standing down as SELEP Vice President in order to pass the mantle to someone who can give more time to this increasingly demanding role. LEPs across the country are really making a difference to the management of the local economy and have built bridges between local businesses and local authorities. Graham Peters Incoming SELEP Vice President

Developing the East Sussex Economy Eastbourne UnLtd and ACES both work closely with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP). This gives them close access to central government and is very helpful in breaking down barriers to business in East Sussex. Derek Godfrey, Director of Eastbourne UnLtd Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of Ellis Building Contractors has been SELEP Vice President since its inception in 2012 and has helped push through approval for major projects across the county like development of the Bexhill Business Mall, the Bexhill / Hastings

The incoming SELEP Vice President is Property Developer, Graham Peters, who brings a huge knowledge of East Sussex to the role and has great links with organisations across the county as he was the High Sheriff of East Sussex in 2013.

Positive local authorities make all the difference East Sussex County Council, along with the local Borough and District Councils, are all working closely with the Alliance of Chambers

in East Sussex to promote the County as an excellent business location with an active and positive enterprise culture. James Harris, Assistant Director Economy at East Sussex County Council explained: “Economic growth in East Sussex is strong because of the amount of time we spend daily talking to local business leaders and Chambers of Commerce. We wanted to understand what helps business to grow and so we are delighted to work with the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex, with Locate East Sussex and with other local enterprise agencies.” When asked about the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) James Harris said “ACES and SELEP work really well together and allow us to communicate quickly with East Sussex Chamber Members whenever we need feedback about the County. The ACES A27 survey is a good example of this communication in action and has helped us make the case for improvements with the Highways Agency.” We are really excited about the positive local enterprise culture in East Sussex. It’s great for chamber members to be able to pick up the phone to the senior team in all the local authorities and discuss a project idea or a barrier to business. It’s clear from the positive reaction you get that there really is a strong enterprise culture in the County. ACES Chambers meet with local authorities at least once a month to discuss barriers to business and how to remove them. As a result we are well on the way to achieving high-speed broadband across 96% of the county by March 2016 and we are working on improving mobile phone reception in rural areas as well.

For more information about your local Chamber visit www.acesalliance.org and www.eastbourneunltd.co.uk





ookers Mercedes-Benz retailers across Sussex and Kent are part of a UK-wide success story. From their bases at Gatwick, Brighton, Eastbourne and Tonbridge, they have spread the word about the tremendous luxury brand they deliver – and business is booming. They have helped boost the half-year pre-tax profits of the Lookers Group – Britain’s fourth largest motor retailer - by 36% to £40m. The Group also announced a record performance in new and used car sales with revenues close to £1.6bn for the first six months of 2014. The cheap credit available has been given as one of the reasons for the upsurge, with four out of five sales funded through the firm’s Personal Contract Plan, along with an improving home car market in a reviving economy after the recent recession.


The history of the Lookers Group has provided a solid base on which the business has reached its record levels and standing. Lookers was in at the ground floor. Literally. The group was founded in Manchester by John Looker in 1908, the same year Henry Ford’s Ford Motor Company produced the first affordable automobile, the Model T famously available in any colour – as long as it was black! It dealt with the sale of bicycles, parts, accessories and the occasional used car before linking up with a garage owner in Hardman Street in the City centre two years later to become a thriving Ford dealership up until the First World War. When peace broke out in 1918, Lookers became an Austin distributor, expanded its number of garages in Lancashire and Cheshire

and continued to prosper after the retirement of its founder in 1929 until the outbreak of the second global conflagration of the century ten years later. The motor trade, along with the rest of the country, experienced hard times as a result of the war. Large dealers also acting as distributors lost wholesale commission from manufacturers to supply cars to franchises in their area. Greater emphasis was needed to be put on retail. Lookers did just that. The Group’s first major acquisition came in the 1960s when it bought into Yorkshire. It raised extra funds for expansion by listing the company on the London Stock Exchange after moving to its current headquarters in Streford, Manchester in 1973.


“We have delivered a strong trading performance in the first half of the year which is another record result and represents six successive years of profit improvement”

Lookers, by now, relied on dealing with British Leyland marques, but a slump in auto sales at the end of the 1970s prompted the company to spread its wings. It got involved with Mercedes-Benz for the first time, offering the German firm’s Trucks (while also stocking Talbot, International Harvester, Vauxhall, Peugeot and Fiat makes). The company headed towards securing its Mercedes-Benz retailers. It bought Tipton, an agricultural engineering company, and a Toyota dealership in 1980. Lookers completed the purchase of Vauxhall dealership Braid Group in Liverpool for £3m in 1983 and reported sales topping £150m by the end of the following year. And the purchase of SMAC (Southend Motor and Aero Company) Continental in the South East for £14.7m in 1989 added SMAC’s Mercedes-Benz retailers. The South East has been described as “the powerhouse of the country’s economy” by Platinum Business editor Ian Trevett and Lookers Mercedes-Benz is clearly one of those firms, staffed by dynamic business leaders such as its Marketing Director Keith Jackman. There is a necessity to be objective when it comes to judging business. It can attract critics like bees around a honeypot. But equally a company which has shown entrepreneurial spirit, fended off a takeover (which Lookers did in 1974), survived slumps in its trade (in the early 1990s as well as the 1970s) and emerged a thriving and prosperous concern, while helping boost the national economy, deserves to be lauded. This was also the case in 2011 And individuals like Mr Jackman and others in

the Mercedes-Benz retailers in Sussex and Kent should be celebrated alongside it. Why? Because of the way they have gone about following the company’s customer service pledges. Lookers’ ‘Customer For Life’ policy is ‘to be welcoming, innovative, trustworthy, inspiring and ambitious’. As Lookers Mercedes-Benz states: “We are proud to deliver luxury new and used vehicles for our customers. Through superb levels of customer service and support, we work hard to meet their high expectations.” In real terms, that means tailor-made aftersales back-up for individuals and companies buying cars, either purchasing or contract hiring a fleet. Mr Jackman has explained, for instance, in Platinum Business Magazine how the company’s leasing contracts and fleet management set-up are for the convenience of the customer. Proof he is not offering empty rhetoric has come from satisfied customers like Steve Harrington. Mr Harrington was purchasing manager for Papergraphics when the Crawley company were recently supplied with a fleet of nine brand new C220CDI SE Estates. He said: “The Mercedes-Benz, as with our company, is known and well respected for its product quality and all-round excellence. Mercedes offered Papergraphics a product package that exceeded, in quality and service, all our expectations. “They also clearly demonstrated how a leading brand delivers customer care and support and provided us with an after-sales care management solution that is second to none.”

Lookers Plc operates 127 franchised retailers representing 31 marques from 77 locations across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Besides Mercedes-Benz, makes they offer include volume brands Vauxhall and Renault, and other high-end automobiles, such as Ferrari in Northern Ireland and Jaguar in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Other brands supplied are Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Citroën, Chrysler, Honda, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Mazda, MG Rover, Nissan, Peugeot, Saab, Seat, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen, as well as motorcycle dealerships for BMW, Ducati, Honda, and Kawasaki. The company also sells agricultural vehicles, equipment and machinery, and operates the United Kingdom’s leading wholesale auto parts distributor, FPS Distribution. Lookers CEO Andy Bruce said: “We have delivered a strong trading performance in the first half of the year which is another record result and represents six successive years of profit improvement. Both the motor and parts divisions have produced excellent results. Operational cash flow for the period was particularly positive. Lookers is well placed to take advantage of further growth opportunities in the new and used car markets and increased demand for after-sales and parts. This gives us confidence we can continue to grow the business and deliver improved results for the full year.” And the staff in the Mercedes-Benz retailers at Gatwick, Brighton, Eastbourne and Tonbridge have more than played their part – and, I suspect, will continue to do so.

Contact: Mercedes-Benz of Gatwick, Eastbourne, Brighton and Tonbridge ON 0844 659 7503 85


Motoring Editor: Maarten Hoffmann


THE BEHEMOTH AWAITS TECHNICAL STUFF: Price: £168.250.00 Speed: 0-60 4.0 secs Top: 155mph (limited) Power: 621bhp Economy: 24.4mpg



ercedes Benz is a word synonymous with quality, style and performance and having owned many of them in my time, I approve of Stuttgart’s efforts. I had a glorious 250SE and an SL500 from the 70’s of which l have fond memories – not quite so of the hugely collectable 540K that l once parked in a Paris underground car park that flooded – that car now would be worth £8 million – l think l feel a little faint! Then, be still my beating heart, Mercedes call and ask if l would like to join them at Mercedes Benz World and try out their new jet fighter – the SL65 AMG. I thought about this for 1.2 seconds and then made my way out of the door like a scalded cat and left considerable rubber on the driveway. I arrive in Weybridge to the home of the old Brooklands Track, now replaced with Mercs own much smaller track, and after the customary effuse greeting from their professional staff along with endless tables of food and drink, before l know it Charles has tossed me the keys and casually mentioned that when l got tired of the roads l could take to the track! I think l might of have died and gone to heaven. The SL has always been a beautiful car right from its birth in 1954 and derives from the German Sport Leicht or Sport Lightweight and the moniker was first applied to the gorgeous 300SL Gullwing. AMG is Mercedes tuning division and it’s always a good sign when you see that badge - but in this instance they have excelled. It looks beautiful, smells beautiful and you just know that this twin turbo 6.0 litre V12 is about to try and rip your face off. Pulling out onto the A3, l am enamoured by the superb leather seats, the air scarf that wafts warm air on my neck and the quiet threat that emanates from the burbling hunk of metal under the bonnet. To be honest, the A3 went past in a blur, as all 621bhp was unleashed by my right foot and the smooth rapidity of the 7-speed

auto is astonishing. 60mph came in less than 4 seconds, 125mph in 11 seconds and warp speed a second or two later. This is a very dangerous car as the speed comes on so fast and so smoothly that by the time you’ve noticed, you’re in front of the beak and facing 6 months! I think I’m in love. It purrs along at traffic speed in total silence and with the manners of an 18th Courtesan, ensuring that you are lured into a false sense of security. But one irreverent blip of the pedal and your world turns upside down. The traction control dashboard light can easily be made to introduce itself at 80mph. In the dry! With little effort! And an insane smirk. The profile and huge rubber at each corner means that there is zero roll in corners and just to ensure you feel tip top to push on, the seat bolsters electronically squeeze you into the seat as you put the power on. Not sure l like that, as it is very disconcerting but it certainly works to fix you to the seat back. It seems churlish to

mention fuel economy but you will struggle to better 20mpg in real world driving but honestly, if you have just forked out £168,285 in cold blood, l doubt you give a monkeys about the cost of the fuel but at full Autobahn chat, the number of refuelling stops would get old quite quickly. The folding roof is a piece of engineering art in itself and there is very little wind noise and although the stowed roof limits the luggage space, it’ll do an overnight for two quite comfortably. I sat there for a few minutes pressing the roof up and down and watched in awe at what is an engineering ballet performance like no other. Enough said, now back through the gates and into the track control area awaiting my clearance to wring the neck out of it. The waved hand appears and l let it rip and l have to say that to a petrol head, this is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. Doesn’t matter what speed you arrive at the corner, it refuses to over steer and has such incredible grip that it seems to

defy physics. The balance and sheer devastating brute force is a thing to behold and just goes to prove that decade after decade, the Germans are the finest automobile manufacturers on the planet and by this example, they will remain aloft for many years to come. Now becalmed with the behemoth powered down in the car park, l must say that as awesome as this thing is, it would be difficult to justify an increase of £84,000 over the ‘standard’ excellent 4.7 V8 SL500 that offers almost everything you get in the 65, bar the top end acceleration and a bit of grunt – that’s 50% more and it will be a rare breed that parts with that wad, but whichever one you choose, sell the kids, rent out the wife, flog a kidney or mortgage your granny, but BUY one of these or at the very least, drive one of these before you die. You’ll thank me!

“It looks beautiful, smells beautiful and you just know that this twin turbo 6.0 litre V12 is about to try and rip your face off”

{ NEWS } Motoring Editor: Maarten Hoffmann



I am sure we would all have differing views on this one but it has been decided that the Jaguar E-Type is the best car of all time, based on a survey of 2000 motorists for the Discovery Channel. Interestingly, the survey found that eight British cars feature in the Top Ten with two German models filling in the gaps. Here’s the list for you to row about: 1 Jaguar E-Type 2 Mini 3 Porsche 911 4 VW Beetle 5 Aston Martin DB5

6 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 7 Aston Martin DB9 8 Aston Martin V8 Vantage 9 Rolls Royce Phantom 10 Aston Martin Vanquish

Sadly, none of the British cars on the list are still in British hands.

EXTRAS THAT DON’T ADD UP Manufacturers have never been so keen to sell you a list of options with your new motor but these add-ons don’t always make sense. For example, the new Mercedes S-Class coupe that launched in Geneva recently has optional jewel-encrusted headlights costing £2,500. According to CAP, the car valuation expert, while a typical family car will lose up to 60% of its value after three years, many of its options will have lost more than 80%. Not all options are the kiss of death though. Executive cars such as BMW and Mercedes require leather seats, all parking aids and full connectivity to achieve high resale value. Off-roaders require a tow bar and people carriers should have a sunroof. Regardless of the type of car, metallic paint, rear parking sensors and sat nav will always help the car retain more value.


A BOOM FOR PLATES In the USA, if you want a personalised number plate, you simply tell them what you want and if no one has already registered it, it’s yours. In the UK, this game has turned into a multi-million pound earner for the DVLA as they hold back plates that make words and sell them at auction. The 14 plates have made them another mint with combinations such as RH14 NNA (Rhianna), MC14 REN (McLaren) and AV14 TOR (Aviator) although the DVLA have been busy censoring certain plates that make rude words such as PR14 CCK, SH14 TTY and SK14 NKY and for cultural sensitivity, you also can’t buy J14 HAD or AL14 LAH.

END OF THE TAX DISC From October 1st 2014, you will no longer be able to purchase a tax disc. Instead, you will be required to pay as usual and will then be monitored by the gazillion ANPR cameras around the country. You might recall some years back the government of the day stating that such ‘spy’ cameras would not be rolled out nationally – there are now so many of them to catch you out, that they are confident enough to do away with the disc itself.

The Ford Mustang is back and in right hand drive form. British sales start in September 2015 and will be offered with Fords latest 5-litre V8 engine and a 3.7-litre V6 as well as a 2.3-litre EcoBoost four cylinder engine and although it will only cost £14,730 in the US, you can expect considerably higher prices in the UK. Ford’s new factory in Flat Rock, Michigan officially opened last week. It looks great and sounds great and if they can make it go round corners properly it will be a great buy.

PROFITEERING Councils across the country have found yet another way to rip money out of our pockets to fund their inability to balance the books – yes that old chestnut, parking charges. Of the top seven councils who rip off, sorry legally penalise, errant parkers, only one is outside of London – Brighton! Brighton & Hove made £16.35m from parking in 2012/13 and the top ten made a whooping £594m. Community Secretary Eric Pickles says: “Drivers are being ripped off by councils bending the law in order to levy a back door stealth tax.” RAC Foundation Director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “Once again English councils have made record amounts from parking, yet overall spending on local roads has fallen by 9% over the past three years”. Councils are forbidden from making a profit on their parking operations and are severely restricted on how they may use the cash but ministers have stated publicly that they fear many councils are flouting the law. Tourist destinations and the high street are suffering – l cannot imagine why!





From rags to riches


For holiday or investment


At Hotel du Vin



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Motoring Editor: Maarten Hoffmann



TECHNICAL STUFF Model: AUDI Q5 3.0 TDI S-LINE Engine: 3.0 litre V6 diesel Power: 240bhp Performance: 0-60mph 6.5 secs Top Speed: 139mph Economy: 37.6 mpg Price: ÂŁ38,400



he small SUV market continues unabated and we seem to be showing an inexhaustible appetite for sitting high and getting to meetings in December. Trouble is, if your main demand is the high riding position, so many of us now buy them, that we are all at the same height again! The Audi Q5 is a very good looking car and sits alongside the Q3 and Q7. The Q3 is cute and the Q7 is ugly therefore this is the one to go for in my opinion. Most people (77% in the UK according to Audi) will plump for the 2.0-TDI with 168bhp, 0-62mph in 9.5 and a top end of 126mph. And you can see why - it just works, smooth, surprisingly nippy, quiet enough. If you want quicker, then you can go for the all-new TFSI petrol with 211bhp, 0-62mph in a Golf GTi-matching 7.2 and 137mph top end. Top of the tree is the 268bhp 3.2-litre TFSI petrol. A fun new model is the SQ5, using Audi’s cracking BiTurbo V6 diesel.

The Q5 has a long wheelbase for its size thanks to a bit of clever packaging that stows the diff behind the engine and ahead of the clutch. That makes for a surprisingly capable tall car that could actually surprise many. What we have here is a supremely well-engineered car that doesn’t delight in going too fast, it just does so cleanly and with the minimum fuss. It is supremely well built, drives superbly and is very comfortable. I went to a meeting in Bath and can honestly say that l felt as fresh arriving as when l left and actually enjoyed the drive. It’s just so obedient. Whatever you tell it to do it just does it with no fuss but with an air of total Germanic confidence. The ride is great unless you plump for the larger wheels as that totally confuses the suspension control system and makes the ride too hard but there is immense grip and very

solid body control. The interior is intuitive, well laid out and pleasant to the touch. Personally, l would always go for an automatic car as no longer see any reason to sit in traffic, continually making use of my left leg and arm when l don’t have to. Go for the manual in this and you will be presented with offset pedals that can get a tad uncomfortable. Space is all you would want with room for five adults comfortably and shedloads of luggage space and although the basic SE model is far from basic with leather, climate and Bluetooth; the S Line would give you all the bells and whistles and will be a far better prospect on the re-sale market. A remodelled version is due to be launched at the end of this year to go on sale in 2015, but in the meantime there is still plenty of life left in this refreshed 2014 edition.

There is a range of engines to choose from, but the entry-level 2.0-litre TDI provides the ideal compromise between performance and economy. With my cash, I’d plump for the 3.0-litre SQ5 diesel which with Audi’s legendary Quattro four-wheel-drive system (fitted to every model in the line-up) develops 650Nm of torque, will do 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds yet has an official average fuel consumption of 41.5mpg. I really like this car and even though it’s price makes it quite expensive, an eye has to be firmly placed on the depreciation and Audis, with the right spec, hold their value well. In the Q3, you are a tad down the pecking order and I would presume prefer function over style; in the Q7 is starts to look ugly and is a bugger to park or get round multi-storey car parks; in the Q5, you have the best of both worlds with the compromises of neither. I’d buy it.

“The Audi Q5 is a very good looking car and sits alongside the Q3 and Q7. The Q3 is cute and the Q7 is ugly therefore this is the one to go for in my opinion”


Planning the perfect meeting By Rebecca Weller Stanmer House, Events and Marketing Manager


here’s an old adage that goes “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Those words are particularly appropriate when it comes to planning a professional meeting. After all, ensuring that every detail clicks into place is the hallmark of any successful meeting. Purpose: Firstly ascertain the purpose of your meeting and what it is you want to achieve. Knowing this information will aid the decision of the type of environment you need. Whether its team building, training or a one to one. Logistics: Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve you will need to determine the logistics for the event. Determine a key person who is responsible for communications with delegates, venue and facilitators. Second, who’s your audience? The purpose of the meeting will likely determine your audience and attendees. Clear and concise communication with the main meeting contact is crucial to ensure you’re providing what attendees will need. Registration: Consider the size of your meeting. Estimate as best you can how many people will attend. For external events registration is an important first impression. Decide how to handle early, on-site and late registration and who will be in charge of those responsibilities.


Set up: Deciding how you need the room set up early on will prevent shifting chairs and furniture around on the day of your meeting. Decide if you need chairs in a room theatre style or if the meeting would benefit from everyone facing in on one table boardroom style. Do you require any extra tables for literature, laptops etc? If you require break out areas, confirm with the venue if there would be any extra costs. Technology: Check to see if your venue can supply what you need such as projectors, laptops, internet access. Check to see if you’ll need to bring chargers or extension cables. Make sure that any presentations are tested prior to the day and check if you’re supplied with any technical support. Catering: Work through the timings for your day and what times work best for breaks. Confirm any dietary requirements well in advance and where you would like the catering to be provided. Budget: Once you know the logisitics of the event you’ll come up with a budget. Consider both facility costs and catering costs and always get competitive quotes. Location: As Phil and Kirsty would say, location, location, location. This applies to a successful meeting. Getting out of the office can be a way

to inject a big dose of creativity and encourage employee brainstorming. When deciding whether or not to meet on or off site it helps to go back to square one. Look at your original meeting objectives; consider how easy it is for attendees to travel there. Choose the right setting by weighing up cost and convenience. Check what a venue can offer such as computer use, printing, copying, internet access or free parking. Checklist: Create and use checklists so nothing is left out during the planning process. A solid agenda is your roadmap to a successful meeting, telling you where to start and when to end. Decide when meal and snack times will happen as well as any afterhours networking events. Once you’ve chosen a theme or topic that aligns with the event’s purpose, you’ll need to identify and invite speakers, trainers and facilitators. Keep your meeting on track by assigning timekeepers who are experienced at keeping events on track. At the end of a meeting you want to see attendees who are happy, enlightened, energized and glad they made the time to attend the event. End your meeting on a positive note such as providing special end-of-day refreshments. Follow these steps, and you’ll have planned the perfect meeting.








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HOTEL DU VIN The PBM mystery customer samples the delights of al fresco dining at Brighton’s Hotel Du Vin


really like the Hotel du Vin building – it has a slight gothic look to it and on the very rare day in this country that one is actually able to use their very pretty courtyard, it is a perfect location for lunch. The day we were invited to sample their menu, the sun was boiling in an azure blue sky and all was right with the world. I was joined for lunch by Lynne Edwards, Founder of the brilliant new property and business magazine, Portfolio, and we eagerly sat down in the sunshine and perused the substantial menu whilst trying to pretend we were having an important meeting. The first thing to note is the impeccable service – not overbearing and annoying but there when you need them without the need to ask you every ten seconds if everything is OK. Smiling, professional and polite – not much more one can expect from your waiting staff . The first thing I had to try were the Nibbles as l was famished and one look at the pancetta wrapped grissini and dijon dip, cheese straws with pesto dip and anchovy twists with tomato fondue (£4.95 for the selection), I was hooked. A great start to fire up the taste buds and I am still wondering how on earth they managed to wrap the pancetta around the grissini? To start, we ordered watermelon, feta & red onion salad (£7.00), which came in artistically arranged cubes on which we were slightly tempted to pay noughts and crosses, crab toasts with sliced radishes and black pepper mayonnaise (£7.50) and l could not resist my favourite, French onion soup (£5.95). Now, this is a bold choice in England as it is rarely done well and if you have eaten as much of it as I have in France, you become quite a snob. It was very good indeed with the perfect onion tang and superb floating sliced baguette with exactly the right cheese on-board. I could have eaten that all day but then it would not make much of a review now would it?



“Excuse me whilst l review my thesaurus to expand my vocabulary beyond the word excellent”

slig htl y

Hotel du Vin & Bistro 2/7 Ship Street, Brighton. 01273 718588 www.hotelduvin.com

“we were

My dining partner was delighted with her choice although Lynne did mention that the crab toasts, although excellent, were just a tad too large for a starter but the black pepper mayo was a wonderful addition. To follow, we ordered the goats cheese, spinach & sun blushed tomato roulade (£14.00), poached Scottish salmon with hot buttered heritage potatoes, watercress and hollandaise sauce (£14.95) and the beef bourguignon on the bone with portobello mushrooms, shallots and smoked pancetta (£19.50). The roulade was a triumph with the look of an old-fashioned swiss roll and the taste of heaven, the salmon just flaked apart as soon as you looked at it and the bourguignon was literally falling off the bone and afloat in a jus to die for with flavour packed pancetta. My trouble was that I had eyes bigger than my stomach and the bourguignon with pommes puree and petits pois a la francaise (mash and peas to you) was just too much for lunch and l had trouble getting through even half of it which was as infuriating as it was fabulous. Again, the superb staff appeared from nowhere at just the right time and whisked it away without interrupting our conversation for a moment. It is difficult to overstate the importance of good service. Not just the ability to serve well and have knowledge of the menu but to be appear invisible when not needed and there for questions when required. To step in at the right time to remove debris without disrupting the flow of the diners conversation – definitely an art and one that has been perfected here. Thoughts turned to pudding and we were stuffed but duty calls and we ordered Scottish strawberries with crème chantilly (£6.95) and baked vanilla cheesecake with blueberry compote (£6.95). Desperate to find something to criticise, I scoffed at Scottish strawberries but then ate them – yum and yes, Scotland does have good strawberries, and the blueberry compote was a delight with a very light cheesecake. The hotel also offers a sumptuous Sunday brunch, a shortened lunch menu, a grill producing 28 day aged beef and a wine cellar that is the envy of many a sommelier. In all, the Hotel Du Vin has an excellent venue in an excellent location with excellent service and excellent food and excuse me whilst I review my thesaurus to expand my vocabulary beyond the word excellent.

play noughts an o t dc ted ros p m se te s”

Media sponsor:


Our Round Table continues with the focus on our schools. Are we preparing (or neglecting) our future leaders? We also have an exclusive interview with the President of the Careers Development Institute.


We take lunch with Coast to Capital CEO Ron Crank to discuss the ÂŁ202 million investment recently secured from Whitehall for investment into Sussex.


We give a platform to another two parties to explain what they will do for local business if they are elected.


There are a wealth of hugely successful companies in Sussex that you have never heard of. We are going to dig them out and reveal the hidden talent that this region harbours.


We drive the Bentley Continental V8

If you would like your company involved in any of our future editorial features or you have news that you would like the entire county to hear about, or for information on how to advertise please contact Maarten Hoffmann or Ian Trevett on maarten@platinumbusinessmagazine.com tel: 07966 244046 ian@platinumbusinessmagazine.com tel: 07989 970804


Brighton & Sussex 2014



September Wise

By Charles Hendry MP Member of Parliament for Wealden Charles Hendry has been Member of Parliament for Wealden since 2001. He served as Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2010-2012. His previous posts included Shadow Energy Minister (2005-2010), Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (2003-2005) and Shadow Minister for Young People.

Never believe your opponents are less sincere than you are. As a student, I organised a meeting with former PM, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, during the 1978 Scottish devolution referendum. His advice was that if you believe your opponents are less sincere than you are, you will never win a debate with them - always believe they have the same motivation. It has been one of the biggest changes in the 20+ years since I was first elected to Parliament. In those days, there was much more interaction between MPs from different parties – so you understood their backgrounds and their motivations. Parliamentary debate was better for it. And on issues of conscience, the electorate was more understanding if politicians had looked at the evidence and reached a different conclusion. Parliament works better when there is mutual respect.

in politics too. Many people can fight their own corners, but as MPs we can play a vital role in supporting those who feel they are not heard. Sometimes it is about injustice, more often it is just about the battle against a bureaucratic organisation. It is often where a politician can know they have really made a difference.

Look after the people who can’t look after themselves. My father died when I was a teenager and at his funeral, someone who worked for him said that he always looked after those who needed someone to fight their corner. It is good advice

Hug a hoodie. Famously attributed to David Cameron, but never actually said – although I wish he had! If it’s OK for middle-class parents to give their children a hug and tell them they love them, why do we assume that teenagers from troubled


Choose the battles you need to win. This was advice my mother (one of the wisest and least judgemental people I have ever known) used to give – mostly derived from her own experience of bringing up children! Too often, we argue and bicker about the minutiae and lose sight of the bigger picture completely. As a Minister, I saw it as my role to bring people together and that often involved some compromise on the micro-details, in order to make progress on the wider issues.

homes are any different? We all need to feel included and valued. Throughout my time in politics I have been a campaigner for inclusion and acceptance of others. Too often, young people with abundant talent and drive, feel their generation is written off by their elders and the media. If we want to engage young people, then we have to show that we believe in them as a generation too.

Make your own life choices. This is a standing joke at home. If my wife asks me a question where I don’t know the answer, it is my stock response. But it does have a more serious underlying meaning. As a politician, I think it has been my job to help people to realise their own goals in life, but not to lecture them on the choices they make in life. Of course, we make laws, but what makes human beings different is the successes (and mistakes) from their own choices.

www.charleshendry.co.uk charles.hendry.mp@parliament.uk 0207 219 8238

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Profile for Platinum Business

Platinum Business Magazine issue 5  

Platinum Business Magazine, Issue 5. Graduate Skills Gap, Heston Blumenthal, Motoring, Finance, Local and National News, and much more besid...

Platinum Business Magazine issue 5  

Platinum Business Magazine, Issue 5. Graduate Skills Gap, Heston Blumenthal, Motoring, Finance, Local and National News, and much more besid...