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Business Insight Tuesday November 27 2012

Ground control

Glasgow Airport flies high with Amanda McMillan

New doors open

Renfrewshire on the fast track to regeneration

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight


A confident message that should be heard

History lessons and

Creative destruction is a phrase with Welcome to the latest issue out, is the key, not just to much resonance of The Times Business regional, but also national Insight, this month focusing success. How then, to build in Renfrewshire on Renfrewshire, an area on those foundations? — but we tend to that has seen its fair share Drawing public and underestimate the of industrial setbacks, but private sectors together, innovation there which has, as our Business Forum pointed out, major advantages. Bouncing back from the closure of its past industries — what Peter Jones describes as “creative destruction” — it can boast several major companies, a clutch of thriving SMES, the new life technologies business, and a transport hub, which, as Ben Thomson points

identifying common goals, and working with the grain of creative talent is at the heart of it. But telling the rest of the world that here is an area of growth, selfconfidence and potential, is part of the mission as well. By the sound of it, Renfrewshire has got the message. Selling it is the next stage. Cover image by JAMES GLOSSOP FOR THE TIMES

Peter Jones at large


ne of the most celebrated phrases amongst free-market thinkers on the political right, which also sums up the worst of capitalism for leftist intellectuals, is “creative destruction”. And if either side of that debate could point to a practical example of what they mean, then Renfrewshire is a pretty good candidate. Its industrial history even illustrates the disparate origins of the phrase. When the Austrian economist Joseph

Schumpeter coined it, he was describing the forces behind industrial change “that incessantly revolutionise the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. He borrowed this concept from a surprising source — Karl Marx — who thought capitalism was so destructive, it would end up collapsing. But long before Marx showed up with Das Kapital, Paisley was a hotbed of radical thought and action. In the early 19th century it had a thriving weaving trade, with production centred around craftsmen handloom weavers working in their cottages — who were highly literate. Discontent with falling wages and rising food prices and influenced by the French Revolution, the weavers set out on their own overthrow of the established order, leading to the “Radical War” of 1820. The government clamped down hard, many of the would-be revolutionaries were arrested and three of their leaders executed. Capitalism took over, power and machine innovation moved weaving from cottages to factories, the textile trade boomed producing the famous Paisley pattern on the way, and then it faded and disappeared amidst international competition.

commerciAl report: ScottiSH DeVelopmeNt iNterNAtioNAl

Getting great new business out of Africa


n the brink of the 200th birthday of Scotland’s great African explorer David Livingstone, enterprising Scots are again reaching out to new horizons on that great continent – and this time it’s all about the mutual benefits to be found in modern business and educational opportunities. Last week saw a group of nine Scottish oil & gas companies descend on Ghana on an exploratory mission to examine the opportunities presented by the Ghanaian market. This was the third successive annual mission to Ghana for companies in this sector. These companies travelled with a range of objectives including looking for local representatives, qualified distributors or agents, partners and clients. Some were researching the market for the first time, others were building on existing contacts but all were looking forward to making new contacts. Scottish Development International (SDI) was the agency behind this mission, and is keen to raise awareness of West Africa as a target market for Scottish companies. In the last two years, 23 Scottish oil & gas companies have already visited Ghana and Scottish companies already established locally in this sector include Weir Minerals, MSIS, Dominion, Enermech and Global Energy. Mackay Smith, SDI’s Paris-based regional manager for Benelux, Southern Europe and Africa, is a strong believer in Africa’s huge potential. “Although the continent is vast with 54 countries,” he says, “we are currently focusing on the ten countries where we think there are most opportunities for Scottish companies. And we can smooth their passage. “There’s a perception that it’s difficult to do

business in Africa. Our experience shows that’s not the case. When talking to Scottish companies there we find them very upbeat, very positive about the market and looking to do more business there. And, since Scotland has world-class expertise in the oil and gas industry, it makes sense for Scottish companies to target what is now the West African centre of operations for many key players in that sector.” Just last week, Montrose-based oil and gas services company Intervention Rentals opened a new office in Takoradi, Ghana, following Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International support. The company first recognised the potential market opportunities in Ghana after taking part in two SDI trade missions. It subsequently set up a joint venture with Ghanaian company RDFC, before making the decision to set up the new office. David Laing, managing director of Intervention Rentals, said: “We have been looking at the West African market for some time, and with SDI assistance we were able to recognise the huge opportunities the Ghanaian market has to offer our business. Following our second trade mission we returned with the attitude that we must be established there, and we are very happy to say that goal will soon be achieved. “We are now in a strong position to enter the Ghanaian market, maximising the opportunities open to us there.” Yet, according to Mackay Smith, it’s important to note that the prospects extend beyond oil and gas; “Ghana has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world at the moment, so for Scottish companies in sectors such as energy, construction, information technology, food and drink and education and looking to do business in West Africa,

the independence Arch, Accra, Ghana. Scottish Development international are helping Scottish companies break into the Ghanaian and other countries across the globe there is no time like the present.” Indeed, Ghana is presently forecasting growth of 7.9%; that’s almost three times as fast as UK, US and other leading European economies. Among the advantages for Scots doing business there are the (English) language, its sharing of the UK time zone, and its judicial system based on British law principles. Now, Scottish companies looking to target West Africa will also benefit from on-the-ground support from SDI. “We’re looking to establish an SDI presence in West Africa and we hope this will be up and run-

ning in the first half of next year,” says Smith. “As the global economy continues to change, it’s our role to help ambitious Scottish companies take advantage of the emerging patterns of international trade. By having experts and offices based in key markets across the globe we can help more home-grown businesses tap into new overseas opportunities.” To find out more information about the range of SDI support available to help companies explore opportunities in West Africa and other markets around the world, visit export-from-scotland

the times | Tuesday November 27 2012


Business Insight

creative answers courtesy of rendrewshire council

High speed trains could deliver huge economic benefits by linking airports

Find a blank sheet of paper and plan joined-up transport

W Renfrewshire has seen plenty of this creative destruction ­— the arrival and then departure of car manufacturing at Linwood, the site being now occupied by a retail park, a rather poor substitute for a plant whose closure cost more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Even though the Linwood closure happened more than 30 years ago, the size of the economic shock was so big that it still looms heavily in the popular memory, while the suffering of the radical weavers occupies a popular niche in leftist folklore. This history of failure, I reckon, conspires to give Renfrewshire a rather dismal image in the eyes of the rest of Scotland as a county which is a rather poor adjunct of Glasgow, having all the big city’s problems of unemployment and deprivation but little of its go-ahead gallusness. Actually, that is extremely unfair, for Renfrewshire also exhibits — perhaps not prominently enough — the creative side of Schumpeter’s phrase, nowhere better exemplified than at Inchinnan. At the start of the 20th century, it housed the airship building works of the massive engineering conglomerate of William Beardmore. When that stopped in the 1920s, it was replaced by the India Tyre Company who built premises that are perhaps the finest Art Deco industrial architecture anywhere in Britain. It lay derelict after the tyre business closed in 1981 but was saved by computer software company Graham Technology, now part of the Sword Group, under whom it was renovated and extended so successfully it is the only A-listed commercial building in Scotland. Inchinnan is also home to Rolls-Royce where about 1,000 people work on aero engine components, a number which is rising as work is transferred from the closing Rolls-Royce plant in East Kilbride. So what is to say that these businesses are here to stay and won’t be creatively

destroyed by the competitive forces of capitalism, as their predecessors were? Schumpeter taught that innovation and new markets were the keys to creativity and if a business did not embody those things, it would be eaten by those that did. These are lessons that you can also learn from Renfrewshire. Rolls-Royce has had a long collaboration with Strathclyde University whose scientists and engineers have helped keep its products at the frontiers of technology. Near its plant is the university’s Advanced Forming Research Facility where about 40 Strathclyde scientists work with company engineers on new ways to form metals and composites into the component shapes the firms need, a big and crucial business in modern manufacturing. The research programme is big, having a budget of about £30 million and has sufficiently impressed to have attracted participation from the likes of Boeing and Barnes Aerospace. Apart from Rolls-Royce, there are other local participants such as East Kilbride Engineering Services. A trawl through local manufacturing reveals a remarkable list of firms which are not just innovative, but also globallyorientated such as Bridge of Weir Leather, part of the Scottish Leather Group, which has turned the mucky business of tanning into a glamorous export trade, selling leather for sports cars and executive jets worldwide. A key factor here is that Glasgow Airport is actually in Renfrewshire, closer to Paisley than the city, and the regular Emirates flights to the airline’s Dubai hub make getting to a lot of farflung places relatively easy. All this does not mean that Renfrewshire has become immune to destructive shocks. But the under-estimated creative side to its economy means that it is not just better placed to absorb them, but better positioned to rise out of the recent recession than many people might think.

While memories of the Linwood closure persist, there are several globally-oriented firms who have chosen to locate in Renfrewshire

Long before Marx and Das Kapital, Paisley was a hotbed of radical thought and action

hen I was in Qatar last year, I went to visit the transport minister and inspect the country’s transport system. Of course, it helps in a country of only two million people to have 15 billion barrels of oil reserves, as well as a blank piece of paper from which to start. However, what impressed me was that the whole transport plan was totally consistent and concerned with how to provide the best service to its citizens and visitors. It was to deliver a high speed rail network around the country at a cost of $30 billion. So, if money and the legacy of our existing system was no problem, what would an integrated transport plan for Scotland look like? Scotland has about five million people, similar to the population of Yorkshire; therefore we do not have the mass to support more than one truly international airport. In 2011, there were 21.5 million air passengers and four Scottish airports handled more than a million passengers. The perfect solution, which has been mooted in the past, would be for Scotland to have one central airport that created a transport hub for the whole country. If we were starting with a blank sheet of paper, it would be equi-distant between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling, but the current location at Ingliston is not far off. A central airport would give Scotland critical mass to many more destinations around the world, attracting more passengers to use it as a hub for other destinations. A passenger should be able to get to or from Central Airport quickly. As 90 per cent of Scots live within 20 minutes of one of Scotland’s seven largest cities, the obvious proposal would be to have high speed trains linking Central Airport to these. High speed trains could make travel possible to Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow in five, 15 and 15 minutes respectively (quicker than the Gatwick express). Trips to Aberdeen and Inverness would take approximately 50 and 70 minutes respectively and Carlisle could be reached in 45 minutes with a journey time to London of under two hours once the high speed west coast line was completed. This would revolutionise transport in Scotland. I was glad to see that Nicola Sturgeon

Ben Thomson has announced a new high speed train for Edinburgh to Glasgow. However, if there is any sane transport planning in Scotland then this “Central Belter” must stop at the airport and should form the beginning of a high speed rail network, a project that could deliver huge economic gain for future generations. Not everyone likes the train, so around the Central Airport we would need to improve the access and the dreaded M8. In addition, we should improve major arterial roads between cities and the South such as the A1, A9 and A96. So where does this leave Glasgow and Prestwick airports? The obvious option is for Glasgow to develop its franchise as the airport for west Glasgow and for low-cost and charter flights — probably taking trade from Prestwick, something of a relic of history from the days when European-US flights needed to refuel. It is, of course, up to the operators to ultimately determine the use of their airports but government transport policy can provide the roads and other infrastructure to help deliver a proper integrated system. So how does this all get funded? The cost of the High Speed Rail network I described above is about £25 billion, but over a 20 year period this is less than 1 per cent of Scottish GDP. The tourist industry has some 2.5 million international and 16 million UK visitors per year and is worth over £10 billion a year to the Scottish economy. In addition, the business benefits of better transport both internally and abroad is vital to ensure Scotland remains competitive. Rather than throwing away public money on much lower cost benefit ratio schemes such as the Borders railway or Edinburgh trams, why not focus on a long-term integrated scheme that will really deliver good transport in future both for Scotland’s citizens as well as its business and tourist visitors? Ben Thomson is an investment banker and chairman of think-tank Reform Scotland

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight

Business Forum

‘Companies here want to grow with confidence’ The latest Times Forum saw a meeting of minds as to how young talent could be motivated and new business created in Renfrewshire. Kenny Kemp listened to some very compelling arguments


cotland’s global gateway is in the heart of Renfrewshire. It is the landing strip for international visitors and the exit point by road, rail and air for a large proportion of what Scotland makes. Glasgow International Airport saw its passenger numbers increased by 4.6 per cent to almost 700,000 in October 2012, aided by the expansion of and more direct overseas routes. Yet many people pass through this gateway on their way elsewhere, and don’t stay long enough to appreciate the importance of this wedge of the west of Scotland, on the south side of the River Clyde. This is increasingly understood by the leaders in Renfrewshire, one of Scotland’s most productive regions and home to a swathe of major companies such as Rolls-Royce, Chivas Brothers, Diageo, Malcolm Group and, more recently, Life Technologies. Indeed, few regions of Scotland have the same bragging rights as Renfrewshire with its international airport; direct motorway connection to London and the south, along the M8 and new M74 extension; one of Scotland’s most successful destination shopping malls and leisure complex at Braehead; and the Hillington Park, home to myriad small and mediumsized enterprises( SMES). The town of Paisley, Scotland’s largest and only seven miles from Glasgow, remains at its heart, though this historic place, famed for its Abbey, the resting place of Scotland’s Stewart kings, and Coats textiles, has been challenged by its late 20th century decline, unemployment and the social deprivation which has blighted the communities of Ferguslie and Johnstone. Paisley’s town centre suffers from the acute retailing slump impacting many other Scottish towns.

Yet rural Renfrewshire, with its commuter rail services to Glasgow, includes the prosperous settlements of Bridge of Weir, Kilmacolm and Houston, among the wealthiest postcodes in Scotland. Bypassing the region is something that perplexes the Renfrewshire Council and Mark Macmillan, Labour leader of the council. This was one of opening topics for the Times Business Forum. In welcoming the Forum to the Hillington Innovation Centre, Councillor Macmillan said he was seeking a fruitful discussion about the economic realities in Renfrewshire. He can only have been delighted with the wellinformed responses and genuine desire for collaboration from around the table. He stated that entrepreneurial talent is alive and well in the west of Scotland but is challenged to compete with other parts of the UK, and posed the question as to what can be done to help budding entrepreneurs — and what resources need to be enhanced. Bob Darracott, Renfrewshire Council’s director of planning and transport, said: “The west of Scotland is famed for its entrepreneurial talent over the years but we fully accept that more has to be done.” Renfrewshire has 6,000 self-employed business people, which is slightly lower than the Scottish average, so inspiring young people to set up business was top of the agenda and there is real ambition about this Renfrewshire, with the Hillington Innovation Centre home to over 20 high-technology start-ups. One plan was that a city centre incubation unit in an empty retail unit, on similar lines to

Steve Conway and Jim Carswell consider employment creation

the innovation centre, should be set up soon. “The difficulty we have in the public sector at the moment is finding all of the finance for this,” said Mr Darracott. Professor Seamus McDaid, who was on the advisory board for the creation of the centre, said that the University of the West of Scotland, where he is principal, is now running “enterprise modules” for its students, which were already bearing fruit, and they have entrepreneurs-in-residence on all of its campuses. He said Scotland faces a problem in that it can’t get enough young people working in social care which our ageing population requires. NHS statistics show that 80 per cent of Scotland’s social care workforce is over 50. “Historically, we’ve had problem recruiting engineers because there is a bad press out there with redundancies and so on. But we can’t produce enough engineers in Scotland ­— and the problem is going to accelerate pretty rapidly because the workforce is again ageing. We need to plug that gap,” he said. Jim Carswell, operations director of Life Technologies, a global life sciences company, which has recently announced a £16 million expansion in its Inchinnan facility, where 500 people are employed, said: “Most of the funding for entrepreneurial start-ups tends to be in the United States, so there is a case in Scotland for linking the available funding and our scientific community much more closely together. It is something that makes sense. Scotland is a centre of excellence for life sciences, we know there are entrepreneurs out there in this sector. It’s a case of joining the dots.” Mr Macmillan asked how his council

might work more closely with businesses and social enterprises to find a way forward. Steve Conway, Chief Executive of Erskine, spoke of continuity and co-ordination, helping people move into other work places when vacancies arose, and councils, businesses and the not-forprofit sector working to keep the entrepreneurial spark firing in Renfrewshire. Tom Johnston, president of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said the basic challenges began at home and at school. “The problem with youngsters coming out of school is that they all want to be famous. Many, but not all, come from poorer backgrounds where there has been no history of work, so there is no role model or mentor in the family. Schools have a big part to play in that, working alongside local business,” he said.


ll of Renfrewshire’s schools are members of the Chamber, and more than 600 pupils attended an event in Paisley town hall. He said young people need to be mentored to see that engineering, life science and technology jobs can be rewarding careers. Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said work experience is a relevant way of finding out what is available and the airport is inundated with requests. She said there needs to be a coherent way of dealing with this. “We can’t put this all on the teachers; we all have a role to play,” she said. “We could have better co-ordinated work experience events in Renfrewshire, bringing all the big employers together. Let’s find

the times | Tuesday September 2011 November 27 2012


Business Insight james glossop for the times

nity that excites me, to see how far we’ve come, and to see how far we can go over the next ten years. So, is he worried that global economic slowdown might blow those plans off “Every company has to be sensiThe Business Forum was chaired by Magnuscourse? Linklater, columnist for The Times tive to the economic environment around Scotland, who was joined by: it and be sure it is on top of any potential „„ Councillor Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council. implications. Having said that, I would „„ Bob Darracott, director of planning and transport at Renfrewshire Council. back and look at our „„ Professor Seamus McDaid, principal and step vice chancellor, University of experience the West of as we went through 2008 and 2009, where Scotland. there was a significant drop-off in activ„„ Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport. ity impacting markets. We were very „„ Tom Johnston, the president of Renfrewshire Chamber ofon Commerce. clearone in of terms of themajor action we and took: we „„ Peter Beagley, general manager of Braehead, Scotland’s retail reset the base, looked forward. leisure destinations. “Lots of opportunities come „„ Steve Conway, the chief executive of Erskine, the social enterprise caring for out of these difficult times but it doesn’t take military veterans. away from the medium- to long-term fun„„ Jim Carswell, operations director of Life Technologies. damentals our markets. „„ Roz Bird, estates director of MEPC, owners of much ofacross Hillington IndustrialMining, Estate. oil and gas resources are finite and there is a growing demand for them. That combinais going to drive further investment. and dads. If everyone does their bit, the tion is a tremendously good story to tell and He believes in taking a positive view: money will flow.” there is confidence around the table. can’tthe ignore the short-term Strong leadership is about showing that you Despite economic climate, environI sense can look at it inbut the perhaps context you care. She said that Renfrewshire needs ment, that abut lot you is being achieved few years ago and thepulled broader opporto be more ‘peacock-like’, showing it is suc- of thea feeling it needs to be together.” the longer term, he says. RenPeter inBeagley agreed, saying cessful and bragging about what is good. tunities “Not because people want to be famous, frewshire needs champions to go out and forward, stressbut they want to be part of something that promoteooking the region and Cochrane not be distracted means investingMcMillan in talent, feels good,” she added. “This is a great place by whates, is also going on. Amanda and he room is almost about to live and work and there are some won- felt there was for evangelical co-ordination of encouraging individualsocial potential. local businesses, secderful opportunities, but the companies the council, whatever level need to stand up and sell their success.” tor and “It’s not our for people profits,atuniversities and contribute who make difference, The debate moved on from young peo- they schools, all working for thethe greater good enable us to Prof deliver,” he says. “Look of Renfrewshire. McDaid said that ple and skills to attracting new businesses who growth the past of to years, theour rebirth of in Paisley wascouple crucial imto Renfrewshire, with Peter Beagley, gen- at in achieving that and moving ahead eral manager of Braehead, explaining his both proving the local environment but added: in our people. company was planning further develop- needs “Therecapability is a remarkable consensus around are significant sums in table butinvesting a lot more needs to be done.” ment with the prospect of 5,000 jobs, but the“We he also views the new Southern Gen- this, and have just kicked off a senior training programme. If we eral Hospital, on Renfrewshire’s doorstep, management oz Bird explained that MEPC, the ispeople will£700 be held where doctors and health care workers don’t have which owned we by the miland continued could provide spin-off businesses, as a back. While lion investment property portfolio of BT very much major prospect. He said Irvine in Ayrshire focus arePension fund, at hasthe twoforefront million in my role was targeting the healthcare and phar- of my priorities, sq ft of space in leadership Hillington Park, CEO it ispeople also vital we with 6,000 on to themake park.sure “From maceutical sector at the hospital, yet they as are building up the next companies generation are of an economic perspective, would be passing through Renfrewshire. better off than the general perception. “There is probably an opportunity here managers. “It isareback to building a sustainable working hard and not makfor a private hospital, and surely the phar- They business. If we have onlycash wanted maceutical companies will want to be long-term ing as much money. They and for a year or two, weanwouldn’t next door to that. We have the space and success the right time to fit with the academic Foreground, left to right: lower indebtedness and have appetitebe to lot of things we are verythem.” focused Amanda McMillan, business areas that are suitable. Let’s cut doing calendar and business requirements.” growth.a But confidence is stopping onShe now.” the red tape and get businesses in here.” Roz Bird, estates director of MEPC, Magnus Linklater. was “excited” by working in partDespitewiththat focus, He also said the region should think nership which manages much of Hillington Park Behind, left to right: Tom local unrelenting authorities because agrees, a good lifecombalbig and target visitors from other parts Cochrane and owns the the Innovation Centre, set Johnston, Roz Bird, Bob MEPC wants to having grow its tenant is crucial. “Whennew I’m business working and I’m of Scotland and international tourists. He ance up in 2000, agreed a co-ordinated event Darracott, Professor panies, attract more about the business, I do thrive suggested attractions such as a Sealife or passionate would work well: “The role of business Seamus McDaid CBE, invest in the infrastructure and physical it; I’m quiteBetter driven. However,isIkey, have a a Legoland could help create a European on is to inspire and a successful Hillington Jim Carswell, Councillor environment. marketing she relatively it’s such great business that when op- almost a new set ofSteve challenges.tourist destination, Keithbenefiting CochraneRenfrewsbelieves Mark Macmillan, Park cana inspire young people. It isthe about suggested.young family, and at weekends focusthat on the kids — although portunity arose what to become chief “It’s back to that passion about doing in investing talent that Peter Beagley them knowing is going onexecutive, here and Conway, “We toknow companies do want hire with all levels of hotelsin and places to I tend my wife would sayRenfrewshire. not always exclusively! well, youproper just don’t down in thatemploydown. things better, opening our minds — and having roleturn models to grow here in However, eat and drink. will help Weir Group “I try to haveand a different sense “There is a great team of senior man- our organisation’s mind. We operate in all to build a sustainable, needhard confidence an encourageHowever, Forum participants they ment.” perspective. you a senior agers talented explained people across we’re relabusiness over of that thelong-term political uncertainty BobandDarracott that the huge markets but as a player agreed ment to invest.When I agree it’shave about co-orroletogether it can easily organisation, so the opportunities to do tively small. the referendum on Scottish independ- management council’s Recruit programme, an intendination to put a plantake andover, key the ability to step back something quiteintroduction special here are very “Through strategic planning messages to businesses toand say:have ‘Thisaisdose the sive eight-week to work and ence we’ve in 2014 is “potentially damaging so reality, like your to exciting. That’s what gets me: I engaged want to identified opportunities to broaden our place to stay andtaking to grow’ anddaughter to investors apprenticeships, has successfully as decision-making is postponed, every- of on a Saturday, is money.’” good for realise the of potential this business. The market and product portfolio, andis on ourhold and therefore unsettling,” atosports ‘This isclass the place to put your a cohort youngofpeople. Employers thing group has comethat a long in the past geographic footprint, partlythough through Jim Carswell thought the message have reported mostway young people the wider view was that business everyone.” Perhaps the most surprising discovery decade now and we’re focusing onwork’ the next ac- around this political process. must be that high-quality manufacturactually—‘grow understand in a organic growth and partly through had to work is despite his strength. business stage and being opportuvery short time. passionate about what is quisition. It’s that real sense of In spite of this, chairman Magnus about ing is Cochrane one of Renfrewshire he’s anot all about the and numbers. Also, more than 50 companies and or“We have valuable resource great Linklater said: “I’ve picked up that there DNA, Ultimately, course, he wants them to ganisations have signed up for the Invest connectionsof with universities and we add thenthat.” to multiply. Yet there is in Renfrewshire programme to reduce needup, to and market a strong sense he pointed is aware out of his responmanufacture of pumping equipment for the Clyde North America’s growing equipyouth unemployment anddemand create for up“fracking” to Tom Johnston that while sibility as part has of something bigger, and shipyards. ment used in extracting oil and gas from 1,000 jobs and training opportunities forshale is key Renfrewshire unique connectivity wants play his part. Cochrane, it aseems, Today, Weir Group employs around 13,000 people in to Weir profit announced 18-24 yearGroup’s olds inupbeat the next twopredictions years. with itstotransport network it offers great is an more. architect. more than 70 countries, working in the minerals, oil during theMcMillan summer. believed that all Amanda deal “We’ve a good supply of labour “With it’s that heritage, the and gas, and power industries. Rapid growth continues This half-term income up businesses have report to be detailed entrepreneurial at33 per cent from theWeir, colleges andrich universities. We tremendous I want to build to be been driven by expanding into emerging markets to £1.03 orders soaring by 43 per their heartbillion, and soul. “The recession hascent to £1.2 already havetrack some record: tremendous worldwide upon that,” with he says. “This is, quite rightly, and providing services globally. billion and pre-tax profits boosted by 23 per cent to really made us understand what makes companies 30 per cent of Scotland’s aexports very proud business, to do my Innovation driven by customer demands is central million.tick and we spend time with our£178 business coming out soofI want Renfrewshire. small helpof move it forward, help to the company’s success, and earlier this year it the time Keith Cochrane commented “The ourAtstaff trying to get this understood. This isbit thetotype bragging we should be sustain it for the next 100 years. You announced the investment of £2 million in a dedicated group willbeen continue to invest to grow ahead “I have trying to educate our of doing. There’s a willingness for us to don’t work do that bytostanding research facility. The Weir Advanced Research Centre our end markets we now profits for workforce about and how ourexpect business together improvestill. Renfrewshire.” “It initiative and ability to seek will be a central plank of Strathclyde the full year toand be somewhat ahead of our makes money what their role in Herequires said it was a matter for everyone out and take advantage of University’s recently established previous that is. An expectations.” entrepreneurial spirit isn’t all whoopportunities believes in Renfrewshire to shout those that is the Technology and Innovation Centre in Founded in 1871 in about making money: it’s about reputalouderopportunities and take the— message out broader to peomessage that to sitssee comfortably with what Glasgow. Cochrane said the partnerGlasgow as want G & J Weir, thepart of sometion. People to be ple by going potential companies the underlying themes busiship would “continue to bring company responsible looking to expand. Andare withforanour internathing that’s was successful. ness it’s doorstep, driving our breakthrough developments to our for we’re the invention “If going toand motivate young peotionaltoday, airportand on the thatteams must surely the be aworld.” simple task. ple, the first place is with their mums Bob Darracott points out the need for more entrepreneurial activity across JAMES GLOSSOP for the times

Around the table



Innovation driven by customer demands


Council’s of Challenge businessbig turning growthinto ideas initiatives reality is key

deliver positive impact on communities


or many years, Scotland’s life science sector has been heralded as one of the nation’s rising stars. We have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our resources including the NHS, our universities and our exceptional heritage for medical innovation, talentaced andwith infrastructure encourage and significanttosocioeconomic attract big business. whyRenfrewshire does is it that challenges in itsSoarea, manyCouncil of our young life science has responded bycompanies impleare struggling to get off the ground? menting innovative regeneration and The challenge of turning ideas into business growth plans that are delivering reality companies scale in still positiveand results for the of people itsseems comto elude all, but a few, and is an issue that munities. needs to weekbe urgently addressed. Gross life science industry is truly global ly The earnings in and Scotland, as others, has identified it Renfrewshire as a key sector to have been drive future wealth higher than and prosperity. the Scottish But aspiration isn’t average for enough and we the past six need to act now years, howto fully exploit the ever this posiopportunity before tive statistic we get left behind. masks a high Lack of funding level of unNeil McInnes looks a vociferous employment, JackieisMcGuire, Brodies’ to pooling resources lament by those particularly Head of Local Government in the sector. among young Scotland has a vibrant business angel people. The community Scottish Investment first State ofand the the Economy Report for the Bank’s Co-investment and Venture area, published by the council earlierFunds this play important role. However, there year,an reveals that the number of local is a growing sense of foreboding that this residents claiming jobseekers allowance money could be renewables. has increased by redirected 53% in theatlast 10 years, Coupled with our lack of a strong and that youth unemployment hasactive risen Venture community, 64% overCapital the same period. In specialisrecent years ing lifehas sciences in Scotland, growth is the in area also seen a larger percentinevitably age declineslow. in average employment rates, Thatare said, life2% science is fundamenwhich some higher than the Scottally a long term, high-risk business. It tish average. is expensive, for the instance, drugs Leading from front, to thetake council through clinical and into the market has responded totrials the challenge of youth with no guarantee of a return. But if Scotunemployment through the coordination land is seriousofabout science sector, and funding Investitsinlife Renfrewshire, a we need to initiative find ways to getbrings businesses to pioneering that together athe point where venture capital money is council and the local business comforthcoming. munity to reduce unemployment and While life science sector grow the Scotland’s local economy. Already, 150 remains made upand of many diverse small local companies organisations are companies, there may also beemployment an argutaking advantage of a £2.5m ment for consolidation. Pooling and growth package. The aim of resources the projand to createemployment critical mass ect iscollaboration to create 800-1,000 with other indigenous companies or partand training opportunities for 18-24 year nering with organisations overseas is one olds. The programme, which includes route andformay wellapprenticeship prevent some compafunding waged grants nies from failure in internships, these particularly as well as graduate is an hard times. Getting investor working ready is another example of partnership between prerequisite, especially with major the private and public sector whichforeign is organisations looking on. from local attracting strong interest Scotland hasfocus an exceptional pool business. The on SMEs and theof talent and ideas.the Butprogramme in today’s global positive impact has alcompetitive economy that isinnot ready achieved, is reflected newenough figures without incentives and the busipublishedthe byright the Scottish Government ness infrastructure to support them.and showing that the number of small Neil McInnes, businesses Head of Technology, medium-sized in the RenfrewGrant Thornton Scotland shire area is growing, with a significant number of new registered enterprises havingassociation started upwith in the last 12 months. in Jackie McGuire is Head of Local Government at law firm Brodies LLP, jackie.


Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight


Diversity and connectivity drive progress David Martin, Renfrewshire’s chief executive, explains his county’s appeal to Heidi Soholt


he man at the helm of Renfrewshire Council sums up his local area as a “microcosm of Scotland”. David Martin is chief executive of one of the country’s most densely populated authorities — the ninth largest in Scotland. Its central lowlands location beside the sprawling metropolis of Glasgow has made Renfrewshire a natural base for commut-

ers, and much of the area is characterised by a proliferation of small towns and villages. The county is also home to Scotland’s largest town, Paisley. The town, which serves as the county’s administrative centre, is steeped in history, being the birth place of the world famous Paisley textile pattern. Its former role as a centre for the weaving and textile industries, spearheaded by the famous Coats empire, means that Paisley today has fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture and also a mediaeval abbey that dates back to the 12th century. Today, Renfrewshire is home to Glasgow International Airport, and therefore serves as a major entry point for visitors to Scotland. Its international links are further enhanced by the University of the West of Scotland, which attracts large numbers of foreign students. Renfrewshire’s urban areas sit along-


Renfrewshire is good for business


enfrewshire is already home to a range of innovative companies in leading business sectors. Companies in electronics, engineering, manufacturing, and food and drink are being joined by new players in emerging technologies and renewables. Just consider some of the names and brands – Rolls Royce, Diageo, Chivas Regal, Doosan Babcock, Steel Engineering, Life Technologies, W H Malcolm, William Tracey. Renfrewshire has demonstrated that it has the qualities needed for businesses operating on the international stage. In terms of access to markets, Renfrewshire has strong road and rail links. You just need to look at the companies operating here to know we can provide a high-quality workforce. The area also benefits from Glasgow Airport – which apart from its transport connections is an important driver for the regional and national economy and a major employer in its own right. We are also looking to build on the economic strength of the Glasgow Airport Zone (a Strategic Economic investment Location) through a partnership between public agencies to maximise investment and development opportunities. Potential investors in Renfrewshire can access the latest information about potential development through the area’s Local Development Plan which will be published early in the new year. The plan aims to provide high-quality places with land in the right locations to encourage investment and sets out clear guidelines on residential, retail or industrial use. Part of Renfrewshire’s investment and

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, outlines why the county is good for businesses big and small development appeal is that areas are also identified for strategic retail, residential and industrial development at a regional level through the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Strategic Development Plan. Renfrewshire can also offer a lot to companies and their employees in addition to these economic factors. There are vibrant communities, a distinctive architectural and industrial heritage, and some outstanding countryside. Overall, there is a positive climate for business in Renfrewshire. At local level, we are seeing it in increasing business support for our efforts to regenerate our town centres. And with leading international firms proving they can have a growing base in Renfrewshire, there’s a lot to look forward to for existing and new major investors.

side its rural neighbourhoods, characterised by a rolling, agricultural landscape and the spectacular Clyde Valley. David Martin believes it is the diversity and connectivity of Renfrewshire that makes it a unique and stimulating place to do business. “A key strength of Renfrewshire is that it is part of the Glasgow City region. Ensuring that there is a lot to do here and taking advantage of the well-connected transport network are key aspects of our approach to creating jobs to drive the economy,” he says. “We try to take a collaborative approach with Glasgow City and our other neighbours — we have a common Economic Development Vision — building on the many strengths of the region while taking advantage of the local diversity. An example of this collaboration is an ambitious joint project to develop the airport; one that involves both Renfrewshire and Glasgow Councils, Glasgow Airport and several multi-national, locally based businesses. “We aim to regenerate the area between the airport and the centre of Paisley by developing an airport corridor. This will include Reid Kerr College and land that will be redeveloped for industrial and commercial use. “Closer to the town centre, we’re trying to promote hotel and other commercial development and there are some major ideas for the regeneration of prominent buildings. We see Paisley particularly as being the centre for events, culture and arts. Part of our agenda is to make the most of our industrial history and culture in order to keep people coming in to the community.” Paisley has been selected to host the Royal Mod 2013. This annual gathering of the Gaelic community is set to bring thousands of visitors into the area, with undoubted benefits to the local economy. Another key initiative, explains Martin, is Invest in Renfrewshire, a programme aimed at reducing youth unemployment and strengthening the local economy. The £2.5 million programme represents a new commitment between the council and business community to work together, and so far around 100 organi-

Paisley, Scotland’s largest town, is steeped in history while looking to new business development

sations have pledged their support. “The council can’t do this on its own,” explains Martin. “It’s something that the public, voluntary and private sectors are working together on. The council has a key role but it is by no means the only player.” The initiative has three themes: Investing Together; Investing in Business; and Investing in Youth. “Youth unemployment is a particular challenge for us,” he continues. “We’re trying to take a new approach to the issue by working with companies to find out exactly what they need, and by asking them what they can do to help train and develop young people coming through our schools. It’s not just about job creation; internships and work experience are also important. “Businesses can make a real difference by just lending some time for industry visits, or talking to schools. We don’t want to be a community that hands our kids a worse deal than we had — that’s one of the drivers for working in partnership with the private sector; to do what we can for the economy but also recognise that companies need to make profits in return.” Investing in Business includes the provision of business advice, grants, wage subsidy schemes, small loan funds and retail improvement grants. “We talk to companies and they talk about access to finance being an issue and how banks are failing to lend. We’re not trying to get between banks and customers, but trying to find what we can do to support their business and be a bit more imaginative about the forms of support we can deliver. “What’s unique about this is that we’re trying to take a really business-focused approach. It’s more effective if you build a lasting relationship with a firm and create a meeting of minds to achieve mutual goals. We’re a council with a good reputation for understanding and responding to local business needs.”

T We work to build a lasting relationship with companies and achieve mutual goals

David Martin

he council is also making improvements to its infrastructure a priority through its ambitious Building Better Communities programme. A key component has been a £90 million investment in the modernisation of leisure facilities. Another aspect, explains Martin, has been the redevelopment of the county’s 11 high schools. “We’ve just built a state -of-the-art school in Erskine which is a fantastic learning environment for young people. We seriously recognise the importance of good buildings and a good environment, and the fact that access to top quality learning facilities creates more motivated young people which means better labour market entrants.” Other projects include a £134 million programme to improve the county’s 13,000 council houses and the introduction of a new Living Wage of £7.50 for council employees. The county is also set to get a boost through plans to build 2500 new houses on the site of a former British Aerospace Royal Ordnance Factory in Bishopton. “Three firms have just committed to the first phase of construction, which is tremendously exciting. We see this as the start of a 15-year development that will increase population and disposable income, and create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and leisure opportunities, with more than one million square feet of businesses to be established here.” He adds: “There’s a whole variety of exciting opportunities we need to take advantage of. Our challenge is to try to make sure we promote as much as we can in terms of opportunity for people locally in challenging economic circumstances.”

the times | Tuesday November 27 2012


Business Insight

Cover story

It’s onwards and upwards JAMES GLOSSOP for the times

Glasgow Airport’s managing director tells Ginny Clark about the blue-sky thinking that is informing growth

We’re hugely mindful about being the face of Scotland and we focus on customer experience


manda McMillan doesn’t stride through the terminal at Glasgow Airport; she takes her time. She might be the managing director of Scotland’s Airport of the Year, but a significant element of her work cannot be achieved behind the door of her busy office, in meetings, boardrooms, or indeed, flying at 30,000 feet in the air. “I need to mix with passengers and visitors,” she says. “I walk across the terminal, getting right in the moment for those people. Can we run a slick airport with passion and charisma? We have to take a medium and long-term view but it’s crucially about everyday delivery.” It’s four years since the £31 million first phase of the ‘skyhub’ project was opened at Glasgow Airport, heralding the biggest single investment there since the 1990s, with the promise of more than £150 million of further investment in the decade to come. For McMillan, at that point, just one month into the post as MD, the development encapsulated her hopes for the airport’s future, its success as a business and as a conduit to the success of the wider Scottish economy. The programme of investment would be “transformational” for passengers, she said. It has proved to be so, not just for the seven million people that haul their baggage past the cafes and shops on the way into, or out of, the airport every year, but for McMillan herself. Earlier this month, at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry International Awards, the Glasgow: Scotland with Style Award for Outstanding Contribution to Glasgow’s Tourism Economy was presented to McMillan in recognition of her achievements and contribution to increasing tourism and enhancing the Scotland’s reputation in international markets. Glasgow Airport is growing, and continuing to invest in the upgrading of facilities, with £9 million spent on capital projects just this year. McMillan admits there is an evolutionary aspect to the airport, the waves of investment, a sense that, like its customers, this business is always on the move … onwards, upwards. “It’s about creating a significant resilience for the future, in terms of the number of passengers we process,” says McMillan. “It’s also meeting that challenge of linking the old with the new in the fabric of the airport, about enhancing the passenger’s journey, and how we bring up that standard. We’re reclaiming some of the theatre, the excitement that surrounded aviation, and that involves bringing back natural light throughout the airport, opening up those central lounge views.

Amanda McMillan, firmly in the pilot’s seat at Glasgow Airport “There are cyclical patterns of investment, we’ve had major reinvestment in the taxiways, and on the airfield as well as the terminal building. Now we’re looking at aligning our capital investment with Glasgow’s needs as the city hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. We must prepare our welcoming face, and in the next 14 months refresh our arriving capacity. “Investment helps ensure that we have a safe airport today, but it also helps move us forward to meet future responsibilities. We are constantly evolving.” That “welcoming face” means Glasgow Airport provides the first experience of Scotland to many, another responsibility, in addition to safety and security, for the managing director. “This is not just another private business,” says McMillan. “There is a tightrope: you are in a sense

running a public service too. We try not to navel gaze about building reputation, but focus on doing what’s right in key areas. What you then earn is a strong reputation. We’re hugely mindful about being the face of Scotland, and we focus on customer experience: does it feel good, are they aware of the improvements? I’m delighted we’ve had a lot of positive feedback, but we’re not finished, it’s a constant effort with a big focus on how we interact with our customers. Our resilience as a business is important too, such as how we deal with a winter crisis. Are we open for business 24/7? How can we quickly respond, and be safe? All before we even think: ‘Are we making money?’” Of course, it is not only the weather that brings challenges. McMillan recently joined her counterparts at Edinburgh and

Expansion on international scale The past two years have seen steady growth, driven by the increasing demand for international travel. New routes and services include 19 destinations and Emirates has introduced a second daily service to Dubai, boosting Scottish trade with key markets such as China, south-east Asia and India. Last month, Gama Aviation revealed plans for a £3.5 million expansion at the airport, including construction of a dedicated hangar, due for completion in the spring. The company has been

confirmed as the provider of air ambulance services to Scottish Ambulance for a further seven years until 2020, and the 17,222 sq ft hangar will house the Scottish Air Ambulance King Air aircraft plus Bombardier Challenger aircraft. It will also provide a base and maintenance facility for third party aircraft, with Glasgow an ideal stopover for private jets making the 7,000-mile, 14-hour journey between Gama’s North American base in New Jersey and its UAE base at Sharjah.


Number of passengers carried in 2011


Number of jobs the airport supports across Scotland


Rise in number of passengers in October 2012 compared with October last year

Aberdeen in demanding the UK Government review air passenger duty (APD) following a report, commissioned by the three airports, warning it could cost Scotland more than two million passengers a year by 2016, with an annual loss to the Scottish economy of up to £210 million from tourism. “Aviation does toil in tough times, with profits also affected by heavy fuel costs, and the industry has struggled, as have many sectors,” says McMillan. “This economy is not growing, and aviation can help push the UK out of decline, but we don’t have an aviation policy that facilitates this. APD makes players on the global stage look at a country that taxes passengers heavily, and offers them less manoeuvre in ticket price, so we’re not seen as competitive. When I visit airlines this is a huge burden to any discussion. “The other acute issue is access to Heathrow, since BMI’s withdrawal of the Glasgow to London Heathrow service in 2011. The demand from Scottish business on this route is considerable, as we warned. Despite heavy lobbying, on this and APD, there is no solution imminent. “The good news is in Scotland we now seem to largely have broad support on the fact that APD is seen as a barrier”. For McMillan, local politics are just as important as the national variety, and although Glasgow Airport has the obvious connection with Scotland’s biggest city, it is based in Renfrewshire. Hailing from nearby Linwood, McMillan is keenly aware of the airport’s standing in the community, not least as the major employer. “We have a role to play for Scotland, Glasgow and Renfrewshire, and we take that local perspective just as seriously. This area could be our harshest critics as well as our biggest fans, and we’ve made active choices by playing a part in the Chamber of Commerce, and becoming involved with schools and smaller businesses. We also try to play a wider role, underlining how powerful the economics of Renfrewshire are. Not many regions have such major players in their midst — such as Rolls-Royce or Diageo — and we have to ask the question as to what we can do to improve the local economy”. “If a local business tells us they have some important visitors arriving through the airport, we’ll — quite literally — get the red carpet out for them, and through our flight path charity fund, we’ve given local organisations and projects in the community £400,000 over the past three years. “I was born and brought up in Linwood, and this airport is a source of huge pleasure and pride to me. I hope we’re held in high esteem by local people too. As managing director I have to be out there, standing up for Glasgow Airport and for Scotland. I still see this job as fundamentally an honour, a real privilege.”

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight commercial report: University of the West of scotland

dynamic university expansion revives a town’s heartbeat

And that’s just one way UWS wins friends with Business, finds Rick Wilson


HE recent opening of a £17.6million town-centre development of its Paisley Campus student accommodation has dramatically illustrated not just University of the West of Scotland’s commitment to its historic base – but its spiritual togetherness with Business. Many educational establishments profess pride in their eponymous urban roots while simultaneously setting up new out-of-town branches; but UWS has emphatically put its money where its mouth is by investing in, and bringing new life to, the centre of Paisley. There is justified satisfaction, of course, in the practical achievement of creating 336 smart new bed spaces in a £13.2million residence in the heart of Paisley and in the £4.4million refurbishment of universityowned flats in George Street and Lady Lane for 160 students, and the occupiers’ appreciation is voiced by first-year student Samantha King: “The new residence is fantastic and it was a major selling point for me when it came to significant development: choosing a university. professor seamus The rooms are great mcdaid cBe, principal and have everything of the University of you could wish for up West of scotland to a very high standard.” But the deeper point about feeding new lifeblood back into the town’s businesses is underlined by town-centre manager Amanda Moulson – “it’s hugely important” – and by university principal Professor Seamus McDaid CBE: “It will increase the significant contribution the university makes to the local economy, greatly enhancing and bringing long-term benefits to the centre of Paisley.” He explains that, despite its big price tag, the move – “which has opened the heart of Paisley” – is all just part of a hugely ambitious £200million investment to attract and retain more than its current 18,000 students and develop, improve and expand across all four of the university’s campuses – at Paisley, Hamilton, Dumfries and Ayr. Paisley’s is the largest of these, offering courses and research opportunities in business, computing, social sciences, engineering and science, health, nursing and midwifery. It is lively and urban, occupying 20 acres with teaching, lecture rooms, workshops and laboratories, as well as a library, students’ union – and, of course, that newly

accommodating more students and businesslike ambitions: the main UWs residence halls in paisley celebrated student accommodation. The depth and speed of the UWS’s all-fronts expansion is breathtaking, and measurable by two simple figures, stated in almost matter-offact manner by Ian Bishop, director of the innovation and research office: “Our strong links with industry: research populaian Bishop, UWs director tion continues to of innovation and research grow with a healthy community of 450 students undertaking PhDs – a tremendous increase from about 50 five years ago.” And: “We are completing a recruitment drive to secure an additional 80 academic staff, from early-career lecturers to professors with international reputations, to bring fresh thinking and new research.” Eighty? The listener wonders if he has heard correctly. Also fresh is the idea that £200million is available to be applied so meaningfully in these recessionary times. How has it been sourced? By simple, old-fashioned means, it seems: “Borrowing, savings, and current income.” Under the heading of current income must come the university’s growing, fruitful and mutually beneficial relations with the business community, and Mr Bishop’s department is central to that, as he points out that “strong links with industry have made an important contribution to our success and continue to flourish with strategic partnerships”. Such as? “Joint working with research students, student placements and projects, or the delivery of bespoke education or training programmes – on campus or on company premises. Collaboration

partners in hide One neighbourly partnership recently entered into by the university is with the Scottish Leather Group, the UK’s largest manufacturer of bovine leather, based in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire. Hailing the development, university principal Professor Seamus McDaid CBE said the collaboration would “bring an added dimension to the university as both staff and students get involved in project work in a dynamic and fast-moving industrial setting”. Jonathan Muirhead, chairman of the company that exports 90 per cent of its production to over 60 countries, said: “Ours has moved from being a craft-based industry to one of new technologies, and our own innovation has enabled us to control the manufacturing process in a sustainable way. “We are excited about this partnership – which will give opportunities for students to work with an ambitious Scottish group and our employees to develop their skills further. We look forward to seeing just what it can deliver.”

can take many forms. We also actively seek input from practitioners into our course design, and most of our academic schools have industrial or professional advisory boards to keep our provision up to date and relevant.” He stresses that collaboration must be fairly balanced: “It can’t favour one side or the other; for if it does, one side will simply walk away. It’s got to be a win-win thing.” All this comes in the context of knowledge exchange between business and the education

starting line-up The university’s strong links with some of Scotland’s top businesses and development agencies have been drawn together into a Business Start-up Network linking students with industry experts. Featuring a series of events and workshops, the idea is to give the young, would-be entrepreneurs a first-hand insight into the challenges and mechanics of launching and running your own business. Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and several supportive county companies are lining up to participate – along with agencies such as Scottish Enterprise, Cooperative Development Scotland, the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, and Business Gateway. Steve Talbot of the university’s business school – which is already renowned for its graduate and postgraduate options that develop key business skills – said the university was “delighted” to be launching the initiative. “It will give our students on all four campuses a valuable opportunity to build and develop a basic idea into a new-start business,” he added.

sector being high on the government’s agenda. Indeed, the Scottish Funding Council is investing in initiatives to improve infrastructure, and universities are working collaboratively to establish better working practices and joint approaches to knowledge exchange. “Our new research institutes have a strong focus on applied research and knowledge exchange and will draw on close links with local industrial partners,” says Mr Bishop. “Exciting developments include new institutes of clinical exercise and health science, of biomedical and environmental health research, and of advanced technologies, complementing existing activities in areas such as computing technologies, business, youth and community and social policy.” Ian Bishop’s quietly spoken, modest demeanour belies a steely determination to see the university’s recently revised Research and Knowledge Exchange strategy become increasingly essential to each other’s progress. “I want to get the message out to key stakeholders, alumni and businesses across Scotland (and beyond) that we are open for business; here to help with your technical challenges, develop your staff, source future employees and embed a culture of partnership working and innovation in your business.” So precisely what offerings are on the basic “services for business” menu? There are: Business partnerships to help industry, commerce and the public sector benefit from the university’s research expertise, either through collaboration or transfer of knowledge via various initiatives, consultancy, and licensing; Consultancy and technical services through which businesses, industry and the government can benefit by tapping into the university’s broad range of expertise; Staff development opportunities using UWS’s fine track-record while featuring management training and IT academy offering daytime, evening, blended learning and online training options throughout the year from industry leaders such as Adobe, Cisco, IBM, Linux, Microsoft and Oracle; Student placements in industry for graduate employees, part-time/vacation workers, placement students, interns, or volunteers; and… Venues and facilities for hire within a wide range of technical and conference possibilities, at Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton or Paisley. “I simply want business leaders out there to know that if they have a problem or a challenge, the university and all its resources are here and ready to help them find a solution,” says Mr Bishop. “And if we can’t find it, we will know an expert who can.” More information is available from Ian Bishop or knowledge transfer officer Lorraine Dymond on 0141 848 3918; email:

the times | Tuesday November 27 2012


Business Insight

Special report: Renfrewshire The gatehouse at the entrance to Westway park, which is developing as a key location for the revival of manufacturing

Gateway to opportunity A raft of new developments is seeing the county raise its profile as a dynamic location for ambitious businesses, discovers Rob Stokes


enfrewshire is battling its way through the economic depression to display a confident face to the world through a string of high-profile property developments and improvements. Among those is defence contractor BAE Systems’ planned £150 million transformation of its 1,800 acre former Royal Ordnance site at Bishopton, which is one of the UK’s largest brownfield regeneration projects. BAE Systems hopes that businesses will be enticed to a beautiful part of Renfrewshire close to a motorway, Glasgow Airport, and a main line rail service that takes less than 20 minutes to Glasgow. “We’ll soon be launching commercial opportunities,” said Lynda Johnstone, BAE Systems’ project director for the development, which has been named Dargavel Village.

“These will include retail and opportunities to take or build space in the village centre in due course. More than 100 acres of employment land is also available and will be released in phases for new businesses to come in.” BAE Systems estimates the development will create around 4,000 full- and part-time jobs through construction and subsequent employment by commercial businesses. The challenge is tough in what is not currently an employment location. “We’re very keen to raise the profile of this as an employment location over the next year,” Johnstone said. “We’ll listen to anyone with a vision for it. It’s new, but that can be exciting because it’s a blank canvas. It has all the hallmarks of a good employment location.” She pointed to the example of Inchinnan, which has now established itself as a recognised centre of employment. Work has progressed in recent months on access roads to allow first phase house builders Taylor Wimpey, CALA and Persimmon to start work on land released to them in the northern part of the site in November, when the north road was completed. The south road will be available next spring: Taylor Wimpey has taken land in the south of the site. Some 530 energy efficient homes are to be built in the first phase of Dargavel Village in one of the largest residential developments currently taking place in

the UK. A joint sales cabin for the three builders will be on site soon and work will begin on preparing sites. It is thought the first homes could be available for sale in the spring of 2013. BAE started the planning process in 2002. After a hiccup in the 2008 financial crisis, Phase I of the 15-year Bishopton Transformation Project (BTP) launched in 2011. “All the activity is very exciting because we’ve been going at this now for more than 10 years,” said Johnstone. “We have confidence in the site because it’s extreme-

Lynda Johnstone of BAE Systems says Bishopton will create some 4,000 jobs ly sustainable with its transport and communications links. It’s next to Bishopton, a nice existing village with a vibrant community, and it’s a leafy, green and beautiful part of Renfrewshire. If you wrote a blueprint for all the things you would want when you set out to build a new community, this location would have it.” A new primary school, food store,

retail units, library, community centre, leisure facilities and a woodland park will complement the existing “village feel” of Bishopton, according to the Bishopton Transformation Team. The development will include more than 1,000 acres of woodland and open space for public use. “People in Bishopton have rightly asked what advantages it can bring to the existing village,” said Johnstone. “They now stop me to ask when the facilities are coming.” BAE Systems has spent £32 million so far progressing the regeneration programme of works, a sum thought to be not far from the costs incurred in cleaning up the site after more than a century of industrial use. “It’s about dealing with our corporate social responsibility,” Johnstone said. “We don’t run away from the fact that we and our predecessors (the UK government) contaminated the site and made it an ugly industrial one. “We could have just shut the gates and let it rot, but we wanted to deal with our legacy. The most effective way was to find alternative commercial uses for the land to pay for the costs of dealing with that legacy while bringing in jobs.” BAE Systems works closely with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) on the Bishopton project. “They’re really good,” said Johnstone.

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight

Renfrewshire “I’ve done similar work most of my career and can honestly say that Renfrewshire has been by far one of the most commercial and realistic councils that we’ve ever worked with, though they quite rightly put local interests first and have a strong responsibility to their local inhabitants. “They’ve been willing to listen to difficulties and have adapted how we’ve worked together as the economy has evolved. When we lost a relationship with a house builder in 2008 it would have been very easy for Renfrewshire to ignore how our strategy was changing, but we sat down together and they listened.” On SEPA, she said: “Our environmental team tell me that SEPA have also been very good to work with. “They’ve worked with us as opposed to us doing our investigations and then reporting. I would not say that dealing with the site’s environmental challenges has been easy, but SEPA have made it a better process. ” A few miles towards Glasgow from Bishopton, Westway is developing as a key location at Renfrew for a revival of manufacturing in Renfrewshire. Next to the airport, 10 miles from Glasgow and two from Paisley, its tenants have access to a wide talent pool. Westway is Scotland’s largest fully enclosed industrial distribution and office park. Its 1.6 million sq ft on a 136 acre site is flexible and versatile. Tenants range from heavy engineering, through high quality distribution and logistics, to office based firms. They include, among others, Doosan Babcock Energy, Nippon Express, Malcolm Group, James Fisher

We’ve seen a lot of interest from inward investors looking for space in Scotland for renewables work Defence, Amey, Steel Engineering, ScottishPower, and Aggreko. There are 1,500 to 2,000 employees on site at any one time. “The good thing about Westway is this wide variety of different units in terms of age, specification, size and rent,” said chartered surveyor Mark Holmes, asset manager at Moorfield Group, the London based real estate and real estate-related private equity fund manager which owns Westway in a joint venture with real estate investment managers Westbrook Partners, New York, USA. “We’ve taken a very flexible approach to lettings. For example, we’ve offered short-term lets to occupiers with only short-term contracts and who are unsure of their future needs but may later commit to longer terms, more or less space, or a different unit.” Scotland has been “quite resilient” economically, Holmes said. “For some manufacturers that’s to do with onshore and offshore wind, or the oil and gas in Trainees at Steel Engineering, which aims to double its turnover to £12.5 million by the end of May at Westway

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“We like the facility and we’re on course to double our turnover to £12.5 million by the end of May” said Peter Breslin, managing director of Steel Engineering, the largest steel fabricators in the west of Scotland, which finds it cheaper to ship in large loads of steel by barge rather than splitting it up for transport by road. It can also ship out fabrications that would be too large to move by road, and to surprisingly distant destinations including off East Anglia, to which it will ship structures for an offshore wind farm. The firm has more than 300,000 square feet of fully equipped fabrication bays, serviced by 15 heavy overhead cranes with single lift capacity of 500, 100, 60 and 20 tonnes. “We’re also in a good catchment area for skills and we’ve got a lot of support from Renfrewshire Council which is very proactive in youth employment programmes,” Breslin added. Steel Engineering’s new renewable energy skills training academy took in its first 10 trainees funded by Jobcenter Plus this summer and employed seven fulltime. The latest course, funded by Renfrewshire Council, finishes on December 17. Breslin has been encouraging suppliers to relocate to Westway and he said that two

ICE proves the point for colleges merger



Aberdeen. We’ve also seen a lot more interest from inward investors looking for space in Scotland for renewables work.” Westway once removed dockside cranage at parks to reconfigure space for distribution businesses. Now the cranes are going back in at Westway where a £1.3 million dock redevelopment, supported with public funds, is creating a navigable channel along the White Cart Water. Allied to quayside improvements, this will allow heavy components manufactured on site to be loaded on to barges for shipment around the UK. The dock improvements and cranage are being made with a firm eye on construction of components for the renewables industry but could appeal to other engineering and manufacturing companies. “We’re now able to market it as a lower cost option than getting on to the Clyde or bringing your stuff into dry warehousing on land,” said Andrew McCracken at Jones Lang LaSalle real estate services and investment managers in Glasgow. “Enquiries are starting to creep up. Of all our instructions, Westway is probably our most successful this year and it is all proactive stuff on Moorfield’s part in taking it forward.”

The £4 million Institute of Construction and Engineering (ICE) at Reid Kerr College, Paisley, is a state-of-art facility that is now also available for students of James Watt College, Greenock, and Clydebank College, Clydebank. It will better equip them to find jobs in the skills-hungry renewables sector. These colleges are already developing joint curricula as they progress toward an agreed three-way merger into a new, as yet unnamed college that should launch formally in August 2013 but take longer to be fully integrated. The ICE Building is one example of how the merger is intended to benefit students, lecturers, business and communities in the West Region.

“We want to take what’s best in the three organisations and make that the regional standard,” said Charles McDaid, Vice Principal of Reid Kerr College. “We’re no longer in a competitive situation. We can have a regional employability agenda where something that is particularly successful in one college can be shared.” The move reflects a new regional structure for colleges across Scotland and will, the colleges believe, make the merged institution more competitive nationally and internationally. Scottish government proposals to reform post-16 learning outline three key objectives: a sharper focus on jobs and growth; improving people’s life chances; and ensuring a sustainable post-16 sector.

the times | Tuesday November 27 2012


Business Insight

currently based outside Scotland are potentially interested in making the move. The story continues. A master plan for Westway includes another 30 acres of already consented land and investment of up to £70 million over the next decade. A road bridge over the river to link Westway directly to Glasgow Airport is also planned, as are a wider range of smaller business units. The plan hinges on financing. Deals in 2012 include: Malcolm Group took 115,000 sq ft on a short-term lease; ScottishPower took an additional 23,000 sq ft for three years; and Steel Engineering renewed 100,000 sq ft and took an additional 70,000 sq ft on a 15-year lease. Andrew McCracken at Jones Lang LaSalle has also seen commercial rental enquiries rising for units which his firm manages in Linwood and Inchinnan. “We’ve had more enquiries for an 80,000 sq ft unit at Linwood in the past quarter than in the previous three or four years. Deals are happening in Linwood, but Inchinnan has little supply left for new occupiers.” Renfrewshire rents are competitive, he said. “In 2008-2009, landlords were offering incentives such as rent-free periods. Headline rents are now down across the board. Landlords want to get through the next two or three years. “So there’s little or no speculative development happening now or in the pipeline.” For now, well-established locations such as Hillington and Westway hold the advantage as well-serviced sites investing in better services and facilities for stayput tenants.

MEPC embarks on major new plans with local community


illington Park in Renfrewshire hosts more than 250 companies including flagship tenants such as Balfour Beatty and BAA. Commercial property company MEPC, the park’s majority owner, has ambitious growth plans for Hillington because its record inspires confidence, said Roz Bird, MEPC’s head of business development. “This year, we have 110,000 sq ft of new lettings and more than 130,000 sq ft of renewals, hardly any voids at Hillington, and get lots of new enquiries.” “Across our property portfolio, a lot of companies are doing better than perceptions of the UK economy would suggest,” she added. “They’re not necessarily profitable but have decent balance sheets and want to grow and employ people. By continuing to focus on first class customer service and the development of our partnerships with Renfrewshire Council and others we can help these businesses achieve their growth ambitions.” Hillington’s tenants range from small start-ups — 200 of which have been though the park’s award winning Hillington Park Innovation Centre since 2000 — and nest industrial units, right through to large warehouses. Having a full range of companies sells the park, Bird said. “We also have consented development land so there’s opportunity for it to grow.” In a review of what customers want, MEPC’s on-site team saw opportunities to become more proactive. It is helping to develop a sense of community to make the park more

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Hillington hosts more than 250 businesses than just a simple property proposition. Visible signs of this are: allotments, bee hives, a children’s nursery, café, a putting green, and green areas of biodiversity. A social committee has been formed. “A lot of key occupiers have been very happy to attend that,” said Bird. “We’ve discussed ideas such as a Hillington Park five-a-side football team and choir, charity events, perhaps pooling what companies already do.” A gymnasium has been established at Hillington Park by a company supported by MEPC in response to demand for a gym. Bird took a similar approach as director of MEPC’s Granta Park near Cambridge until it was sold in June. “We proved there that employers really like it because they’re trying to attract the best skills and retain them.”

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight Commercial report: Hewlett-Packard

Transforming the future from base of innovation Hewlett-Packard is ensuring Erskine’s place in a global business strategy while benefiting the local economy


hen Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard arrived in Scotland from the US in 1966 to open the company’s first Scottish facility in South Queensferry, they can hardly have imaged the blistering pace at which technology, sales and service would move in the subsequent four and a half decades. Now, at Erskine in Renfrewshire, where the company has had a presence for 25 years, it is looking again at new horizons, having seen the transformation of the facility from a linchpin of Silicon Glen’s manufacturing capability to becoming a high-end provider of sales and IT services functions. One thing that has remained a constant, says Maggie Morrison, Account General Manager in Scotland, is the company’s commitment to the local community in Renfrewshire and especially to strategic partnerships with local colleges and universities.

“There is a real sense of excitement here,” she adds. “There has always been an important element of collaboration with universities – one that taps into the skills-sets and work ethic that Scotland is known for.” The global company’s strategy in Renfrewshire includes inside sales that sell HP’s entire product portfolio into every customer area – and covers 22 countries; services that take in financial services and IT support; and HP’s Public Sector Services Hub, which is creating more than 700 jobs over a three-year period. Which is good news for Renfrewshire. “There are obviously issues regarding youth unemployment in the area and we employ people in Erskine, including school leavers and graduates; we engage in work experience for those still at school; and work closely with schools in informing their pupils about the benefits of IT as a career – so HP’s record in helping to increase employment is a positive one.”

Collaborations extend to initiatives with Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland and Morrison is also on the board of e-Skills UK in Scotland, whose goal is to ensure that the country has the expertise and knowledge needed to successfully compete in the global digital economy. If one of the objectives that Scotland has as a nation is to provide jobs that are highly-skilled and highly-paid then that is exactly what the company says it is doing in Erskine – and with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in increasing demand and vital to Scotland’s economy, these technical careers forged at HP are set to come into their own. The company’s Financial Services capacity at the facility involves the transfer of assets and technology recovery, taking old IT kit from large private and public sector organisations and disposing of it securely and in an environmentally friendly way. HP ranked number one in the 17th Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics in 2011. “In HP Financial Services we basically have our own banking facility so we have the ability to move items from capital

HP at Erskine is the entry point for many exciting technical careers

expenditure to operating expenditure, buying back equipment – and competitors’ equipment – and then leasing it to the customer. And for many organisations that can be a major help in tough economic times like these,” says Morrison. She can remember both the initial fanfare and the farewell bugles when many multinational IT companies made Scotland a manufacturing base and is optimistic that the transformation of HP’s Erskine facility is a positive and significant development that extends beyond the facility itself to the wider economy. “With new jobs coming in, the atmosphere is really lively and upbeat. We don’t exist in isolation – and what HP is doing will support lots of other businesses in Renfrewshire and Scotland.”

commErciAl rEport: BAE SYStEmS

BAE Systems breathes new life into Bishopton with £150million transformation project


he landscape around Bishopton in Renfrewshire is changing – and a new vision for the future is beginning to emerge in the shape of ‘Dargavel

Village’. Over the next 15 years, an exciting and ambitious multi-million pound transformation project led by BAE Systems will see the complete regeneration of an 1800-acre site in one of the largest brownfield developments ever undertaken in the UK. Following an investment of around £150million, the former BAE Systems Royal Ordnance Factory site has undergone a comprehensive remediation programme to clear the land ahead of the start of the first phase of development scheduled to begin by the end of this year. BAE Systems has worked closely with Renfrewshire Council to create a viable, sustainable and aspirational plan that will be delivered over a series of phases, create over 4,000 full and part-time jobs and establish a commercial and retail hub as part of proposed village centre plans. It will also see 2,500 modern, energy efficient homes built along with a number of community facilities including a purpose-built primary school, library, health centre, supermarket, retail units, place of wor-

ship and a 1000-acre woodland park for community and public use. The likely creation of thousands of jobs will bring a welcome boost to the local economy and underpins BAE Systems’ drive to breathe new life into the site. These employment opportunities will be delivered through construction - infrastructure, servicing and house building – and the establishment of the village centre incorporating the supermarket, library, health centre, school, shops and community hub. The majority however, will come from the 110 acres of land set aside for the business quarter, which has the potential to produce in the region of 1.6m sqft of employment space. With a focus on a mixed-use of office, manufacturing and warehouse units, the area has the capacity to create up to 4,500 local jobs – a figure which carries significant value and importance for Renfrewshire. With land remediation complete, the first major construction phase of work focuses on residential development following an investment of £32million. Three leading housebuilders – Taylor Wimpey, CALA and Persimmon - will build an estimated 530 two, three, four and five bedroom homes, the first of which are expected to be available to move into by Spring 2013.

A dedicated website – www. - has resulted in considerable interest from both people living in the surrounding areas and those looking to relocate to this prime rural location. With so much to offer prospective buyers, BAE Systems is confident that the combination of picturesque setting, easy road access to Glasgow city centre and a regular, direct rail link into the city, will result in a positive return on their investment. Lynda Johnstone, project director for BAE Systems, said: “This transformation project marks a significant, long-term commitment for us. With an established relationship with the area, we have gone to considerable length to ensure that our proposal will deliver a development that is both sympathetic to the existing landscape and community, as well as being one that will meet the future needs and requirements of those moving to Bishopton. “From the creation of major employment opportunities to the provision of various community facilities, I am excited to be involved in a regeneration project that will transform an area of land with a vision that offers such incredible economic and social potential. “The mixed-use business quarter of-

fers genuine opportunities for companies seeking viable options for start up enterprises, relocation or consolidation or to support their growth strategy in Scotland. The retail units are ideal for small businesses and more established outlets and supermarkets looking for out of town premises, which match their individual requirements. “We will continue to work closely with Renfrewshire Council, SEPA, local community groups and residents old and new, to deliver a project that meets their needs both now and in the years to come.” This month, another major milestone was achieved with the completion of one of two main roads into the site. The North Access Road provides direct access into the northern point of the development from a new roundabout off the main road through Bishopton and will help to minimise any additional traffic passing through the town. A second artery providing access into the south of the development is due for completion in Spring 2013 and will be further enhanced with the addition of a new junction off the M8 motorway to be introduced as part of a later phase of works. Set amid an economic climate that continues to find its feet, the ambition, investment and sheer scale of this transformation project is attracting

significant attention from a wide range of audiences. With the spotlight well and truly on them, BAE Systems is proud to be leading the way in demonstrating just what the company is capable of delivering and to leaving a legacy that will be in place for decades to come. For further information on the development or to find out how to get involved, log onto, call Tel: 0800 130 3302 or write to BAE Systems, Real Estate Solutions, Station Road, Bishopton, Renfrewshire PA7 5NJ.

the times | Tuesday November 27 2012



A catalyst for regeneration W HAT was once a run-down HAT was once a run-down and redundant industrial and redundant industrial landscape is now a vibrant landscape is now a vibrant economic powerhouse economic powerhouse pouring millions of pounds pouring millions of pounds into the West of Scotland into the West of Scotland economy and beyond. economy and beyond. But all this would not have been possible withBut all this would not have been possible without the catalyst that sparked this regeneration and out the catalyst that sparked this regeneration and transformation – Braehead Shopping Centre. transformation – Braehead Shopping Centre. Since the shopping centre opened in 1999, it Since the shopping centre opened in 1999, it has been the means of the regeneration of the has been the means of the regeneration of the River Clyde waterfront from the King George V River Clyde waterfront from the King George V Docks to Renfrew Ferry. Docks to Renfrew Ferry. The numbers are impressive and speak for The numbers are impressive and speak for themselves. So far, Braehead has – themselves. So far, Braehead has – • brought £600 million of private investment to • brought £600 million of private investment to Renfrewshire; Renfrewshire; • supports a total of 6,870 jobs, which is nine per • supports a total of 6,870 jobs, which is nine per cent of everyone employed in Renfrewshire; cent of everyone employed in Renfrewshire; • and provides £88 million a year in wages paid • and provides £88 million a year in wages paid to people who work there or supply goods and to people who work there or supply goods and services to the Braehead development. services to the Braehead development. This money – ‘The Braehead Pound’ – is spent This money – ‘The Braehead Pound’ – is spent in local shops throughout the neighbouring towns in local shops throughout the neighbouring towns and villages where Braehead workers live, helping and villages where Braehead workers live, helping trade thrive in local communities. trade thrive in local communities. Braehead is a success story for Renfrewshire Braehead is a success story for Renfrewshire having created a mixed-use development that having created a mixed-use development that attracts millions of people to Renfrewshire every attracts millions of people to Renfrewshire every year. Braehead is the giant magnet for people year. Braehead is the giant magnet for people from outside the area that other towns and from outside the area that other towns and villages locally can feed off by providing complevillages locally can feed off by providing complementary attractions in retail, leisure and business. mentary attractions in retail, leisure and business. Braehead has also created business parks with Braehead has also created business parks with office space, hotels and commercial centres that office space, hotels and commercial centres that are home to top-brand names such as Audi, Porare home to top-brand names such as Audi, Porcelanosa, Porsche, Nissan Infiniti and Campbell celanosa, Porsche, Nissan Infiniti and Campbell Dallas. Dallas. Leisure facilities at Braehead now include Leisure facilities at Braehead now include Xscape - which hosts Scotland’s first indoor real Xscape - which hosts Scotland’s first indoor real snow mountain for skiers and snowboarders and snow mountain for skiers and snowboarders and a multi-screen cinema - a seven-acre public park, a multi-screen cinema - a seven-acre public park, curling rink and the 4,000-seater sports and entercurling rink and the 4,000-seater sports and entertainment venue, Braehead Arena. tainment venue, Braehead Arena. Mindful of the importance of public transport, Mindful of the importance of public transport, Braehead built its own bus station with more than Braehead built its own bus station with more than 1,000 arrivals and departures every day. 1,000 arrivals and departures every day. There are also 2,000 homes being built – many There are also 2,000 homes being built – many already completed and families moved in. already completed and families moved in. And once the housing development around And once the housing development around Braehead has been completed the new commuBraehead has been completed the new community living at Braehead will be approximately the nity living at Braehead will be approximately the same size as the Royal Burgh of Auchterarder, in same size as the Royal Burgh of Auchterarder, in Perthshire. Perthshire. A report by the Templeton College of the UniA report by the Templeton College of the University of Oxford and economic experts, Nathanversity of Oxford and economic experts, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners described Braehead as a iel Lichfield and Partners described Braehead as a “major economic stimulus” to Renfrewshire. “major economic stimulus” to Renfrewshire. Braehead’s general manager Peter Beagley said: Braehead’s general manager Peter Beagley said: “The benefits of Braehead are not just to the “The benefits of Braehead are not just to the people who come to do their shopping or to enjoy people who come to do their shopping or to enjoy our leisure facilities. our leisure facilities. “The real benefits come from what Braehead “The real benefits come from what Braehead has gone on to create in terms of bringing new has gone on to create in terms of bringing new businesses to Renfrewshire, the thousands of jobs businesses to Renfrewshire, the thousands of jobs it has created and the boost to the economy of it has created and the boost to the economy of Renfrewshire and the West of Scotland.” Renfrewshire and the West of Scotland.” Hundreds of millions of pounds in private Hundreds of millions of pounds in private investment may already have gone into creating investment may already have gone into creating Braehead as it is today. But it doesn’t stop there. Braehead as it is today. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s even more good news to come, says There’s even more good news to come, says Beagley as he speaks about the plans for BraeBeagley as he speaks about the plans for Braehead’s owners Capital Shopping Centres to invest head’s owners Capital Shopping Centres to invest a further £200 million in the development and a further £200 million in the development and create thousands more jobs in Renfrewshire and create thousands more jobs in Renfrewshire and beyond. beyond. The company has lodged a Proposal of ApThe company has lodged a Proposal of Application Notice with Renfrewshire Council, plication Notice with Renfrewshire Council, which indicates its intention to submit a planning which indicates its intention to submit a planning application for permission in principle to build application for permission in principle to build new leisure, community and retail facilities at the new leisure, community and retail facilities at the shopping centre. shopping centre.

Artist’s impression of the new civic square at Braehead Artist’s impression of the new civic square at Braehead The proposals include a significant boost The proposals include a significant boost to public transport with the creation of a new to public transport with the creation of a new integrated transport interchange for buses and to integrated transport interchange for buses and to facilitate the new Fastlink service, which is hoped facilitate the new Fastlink service, which is hoped will extend from the south side of Glasgow to will extend from the south side of Glasgow to Braehead and Renfrew. Braehead and Renfrew. It is expected that the planning application, It is expected that the planning application, including proposals for a department store, will be including proposals for a department store, will be lodged in the near future. lodged in the near future. There are also plans to build a new replacement There are also plans to build a new replacement arena for ice and dry sports events, concerts, other arena for ice and dry sports events, concerts, other entertainment shows, exhibitions and conferentertainment shows, exhibitions and conferences; a hotel, cafes, restaurants and a new civic ences; a hotel, cafes, restaurants and a new civic square. square. Beagley continues: “Braehead Shopping Centre Beagley continues: “Braehead Shopping Centre has been a key part of the local community and has been a key part of the local community and the wider Renfrewshire area for the past 13 years the wider Renfrewshire area for the past 13 years and we are keen to continue our investment for and we are keen to continue our investment for the benefit of the area and indeed Scotland. the benefit of the area and indeed Scotland. “Our investment will create much-needed “Our investment will create much-needed jobs for local people and deliver a wider choice jobs for local people and deliver a wider choice of retail and leisure for our customers, as well as of retail and leisure for our customers, as well as significant improvements to public transport and significant improvements to public transport and public space.” public space.” He added: “These proposals will see a huge He added: “These proposals will see a huge amount of private investment coming into amount of private investment coming into Renfrewshire and the west of Scotland. With Renfrewshire and the west of Scotland. With this multi-million pound investment comes the this multi-million pound investment comes the welcome bonus of employment with up to 2,000 welcome bonus of employment with up to 2,000 construction jobs – including apprenticeships for construction jobs – including apprenticeships for young people - and more than 3,000 direct and young people - and more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in leisure and retail when the extenindirect jobs in leisure and retail when the extension is completed. sion is completed. “We are very keen to make sure as many local “We are very keen to make sure as many local people as possible benefit from these jobs and people as possible benefit from these jobs and with approval for the project, we will set up a Jobs with approval for the project, we will set up a Jobs Shop on site for people to apply for the work that Shop on site for people to apply for the work that will become available.” will become available.” Beagley sees the investment proposal as BraeBeagley sees the investment proposal as Brae-

head giving a further boost to the Renfrewshire head giving a further boost to the Renfrewshire and Scottish economy, creating more jobs in a and Scottish economy, creating more jobs in a time of economic downturn. time of economic downturn. “It also creates a confidence among large com“It also creates a confidence among large companies that they can do business in Scotland and panies that they can do business in Scotland and shows that economic growth can be achieved,” shows that economic growth can be achieved,” he says. he says. “It sends out a positive message about Ren“It sends out a positive message about Renfrewshire and Scotland and shows we can buck frewshire and Scotland and shows we can buck the present economic trends and attract new and the present economic trends and attract new and

large-scale investment. large-scale investment. “Our plans for Braehead can make this part of “Our plans for Braehead can make this part of the Clyde an exemplar of Scotland’s sustainable the Clyde an exemplar of Scotland’s sustainable mixed-use economy of business, retail, leisure and mixed-use economy of business, retail, leisure and residential developments. residential developments. “A new and expanded Braehead would “A new and expanded Braehead would give Renfrewshire and Scotland a world-class, give Renfrewshire and Scotland a world-class, mixed-use, sustainable and community developmixed-use, sustainable and community development that includes retail, leisure, business and ment that includes retail, leisure, business and residential.” residential.”

Expansion gets public vote of confidence THE proposal to invest a further THE proposal to invest a further £200 million and create 5,000 £200 million and create 5,000 jobs at Braehead has been jobs at Braehead has been welcomed. welcomed. More than 800 people More than 800 people completed a questionnaire completed a questionnaire card during a two-day card during a two-day public consultation and the public consultation and the overwhelming majority were in overwhelming majority were in favour of the proposals. favour of the proposals. Braehead’s general manager, Braehead’s general manager, Peter Beagley said: “As part of Peter Beagley said: “As part of a public consultation process a public consultation process prior to us submitting a planning prior to us submitting a planning application in principle to build application in principle to build new leisure and retail facilities new leisure and retail facilities at Braehead, we held a two-day at Braehead, we held a two-day exhibition in the mall. exhibition in the mall. “This allowed the public to see “This allowed the public to see exactly what our proposals are, exactly what our proposals are, the benefits to Renfrewshire, the benefits to Renfrewshire, including thousands of new jobs including thousands of new jobs and for us to hear the views of the and for us to hear the views of the

public on our plans. public on our plans. “More than 800 people “More than 800 people completed a questionnaire card completed a questionnaire card and the overwhelming majority and the overwhelming majority were in favour of our proposals. were in favour of our proposals. A more detailed analysis on the A more detailed analysis on the consultation will be included in consultation will be included in our planning application.” our planning application.” He added: “We have also He added: “We have also had support for our proposals had support for our proposals from Renfrewshire Chamber from Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce who understand of Commerce who understand and appreciate the importance and appreciate the importance of investment and employment of investment and employment opportunities we would bring to opportunities we would bring to the area. the area. “Braehead can create the “Braehead can create the wealth that comes with providing wealth that comes with providing thousands of people with a job thousands of people with a job and a wage at the end of each and a wage at the end of each month that can help rejuvenate month that can help rejuvenate local towns and villages in local towns and villages in Renfrewshire.” Renfrewshire.”

Peter Beagley, Peter Beagley, Braehead’s general Braehead’s general manager manager

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times



Nurturing Renfrewshire’s businesses - local chamber keeps close eye on industry

Renfrewshire Chamber is ensuring the county’s economy goes from strength to strength by working closely with existing and new firms

Tom Tom Johnston Johnston looks looks at at how how ‘Visionaries’ ‘Visionaries’ take take up up the the challenge challenge of of high high street street regeneration regeneration



TS TS location location beside beside Scotland’s Scotland’s largest largest metropolis, metropolis, Glasgow, Glasgow, combined combined with with fifirst rst class transport links that include class transport links that include aa major major international international airport, airport, has has made made the the county county of of Renfrewshire the natural choice for Renfrewshire the natural choice for many many of of the the country’s country’s leading leading businesses. businesses. Major Major names names such such as as Diageo, Diageo, Rolls Rolls Royce, Royce, Howden, Scottish Leather Group, Howden, Scottish Leather Group, Chivas Chivas and and Life Life Technologies Technologies are are based based in in the the county, county, making making it it one one of of the the leading leading exporters exporters of of manufacturing manufacturing goods goods in in the the country. country. Renfrewshire Renfrewshire ChamChamber ber is is an an organisation organisation which works hard which works hard to to safeguard safeguard and and develop develop the the area’s area’s stimulating stimulating and and competitive competitive busibusiness ness community, community, and and its chief executive, its chief executive, Bob Bob Davidson, Davidson, has has aa close close relationship relationship with with local local fifirms. rms. Davidson Davidson cites cites aa multitude of multitude of attributes attributes Bob Davidson, Davidson, when Bob when asked asked to to sum sum up up the county’s commercial Chamber CEO the county’s commercial Chamber CEO appeal. appeal. “Location “Location is is defi definitely nitely aa strong strong point,” point,” he he exexplains. “We’re next door to Glasgow with plains. “We’re next door to Glasgow with our our own own airport, airport, rail rail network network and and coastal coastal connectivity. connectivity. HavHaving ing both both the the University University of of The The West West of of Scotland Scotland and and Reid Reid Kerr Kerr College College here here is is another another asset asset in in terms terms of of future future skilled skilled labour. labour. “The “The area area also also has has aa long long history history of of manufacturmanufacturing ing and and engineering engineering which which continues continues today. today. ““ Since Since joining joining Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Chamber Chamber as as chief chief executive executive in in 2009, 2009, Davidson Davidson has has got got to to know know RenRenfrewshire frewshire well, well, engaging engaging with with businesses businesses every every day. day. “Not “Not that that II didn’t didn’t know know it it before,” before,” he he comments. comments. “I’m a former student of the then Paisley College “I’m a former student of the then Paisley College of of Technology Technology – – where where II was was aa BABE BABE –– graduating graduating with with aa BA BA in in Business Business Economics Economics with with marketing marketing in in 1990. 1990. So So II spent spent most most weeks weeks and and many many evenings evenings in in Paisley. Paisley. My My course course included included an an industrial industrial one one year year placement placement where where II worked worked for for local local drinks drinks giant giant Chivas Chivas Bros. Bros. This This set set me me up up for for aa career career in in the the drinks drinks industry industry working working for for many many companies companies includincluding ing Diageo Diageo and and time time in in other other industries industries including including construction construction and and media.” media.” He He continues: continues: “We “We believe believe Renfrewshire Renfrewshire still still accounts accounts for for approximately approximately 30 30 per per cent cent of of all all ScotScotland’s land’s manufactured manufactured exports. exports. “Renfrewshire “Renfrewshire is is home home to to Scotland’s Scotland’s largest largest business business park park at at Hillington Hillington and and signifi significant cant busibusiness ness clusters clusters at at Inchinnan, Inchinnan, behind behind the the airport, airport, and and Westway Westway in in Renfrew.” Renfrew.” Like Like most most town town centres centres and and high high streets, streets, Paisley Paisley has has suffered suffered as as consumer consumer habits habits have have changed. changed. The The popularity of out of town shopping centres has popularity of out of town shopping centres has prepre-

Shops away! But Paisley can still fly

Coats Coats Observatory, Observatory, Paisley, Paisley, the the oldest oldest public public observatory observatory in in Scotland Scotland sented sented challenges challenges which which the the Chamber Chamber is is currently currently working working to to tackle. tackle. “With “With thousands thousands of of students students and and plenty plenty of of proud proud local local people people around around the the town town centre centre should should be be able able to to attract attract people people in in –– it it just just needs needs the the right right setup setup to to succeed,” succeed,” says says Davidson. Davidson. “The Chamber benefi ts in this area through its “The Chamber benefits in this area through its President, President, Tom Tom Johnston, Johnston, who who is is Head Head of of Retail Retail (Scotland) (Scotland) for for Colliers Colliers International. International. Having Having been been brought brought up up and and living living in in the the area area –– Tom Tom works works hard hard behind behind the the scenes scenes doing doing all all he he can can to to attract attract retailretailers ers back back into into the the High High Street, Street, and and he he understand understand how how complex complex High High Street Street property property ownership ownership can can often be.” often be.” Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Chamber Chamber has has won won aa number number of of awards awards and and accolades accolades including including holding holding the the top top spot spot in in the the UK UK for for member member growth growth and and having having the the highest highest penetration penetration of of any any chamber chamber in in Scotland. Scotland. It It was was also also aa Chamber Chamber of of the the Year Year fi finalist nalist in in 2011 2011 and and 2012, 2012, and and winner winner of of the the 1st 1st BCC BCC Commercial Commercial Academy 2011 for its iPhone app – the fi rst chamAcademy 2011 for its iPhone app – the first chamber ber app app in in Europe. Europe. The The Chamber Chamber provides provides business business mentoring mentoring to to around 150 companies a year from around 150 companies a year from its its database database of of 1000 1000 mentors. mentors. It It is is based based at at Glasgow Glasgow Airport Airport where where it it manages manages the the Glasgow Glasgow Airport Airport Business Business Centre, Centre, taking taking around around 250 250 bookings bookings aa year. year. The Chamber has a supportive and active The Chamber has a supportive and active Board Board of of Directors, all senior people that live in and/or Directors, all senior people that live in and/or work work in in Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, from from aa wide wide range range of of business business sectors. sectors. Continues Continues Davidson: Davidson: “One “One particular particular ongoongoing ing objective objective the the Chamber Chamber has has is is tackling tackling youth youth unemployment. unemployment. One One initiative initiative we we are are supporting supporting is is Invest Invest in in Renfrewshire Renfrewshire –– aa £2.5M £2.5M Renfrewshire Renfrewshire council council programme programme designed designed to to help help tackle tackle youth youth unemployment and aid business growth. unemployment and aid business growth. II encourage encourage all all Renfrewshire Renfrewshire businesses businesses in in all all sectors sectors to to give give this this aa serious look and to get involved. serious look and to get involved. “Another “Another is is our our partnership partnership agreement agreement with with the the council’s council’s education education department, department, making making all all 63 63

schools schools in in Renfrewshire Renfrewshire members members of of the the Chamber. Chamber. This This relationship relationship allows allows schools schools to to be be better better conconnected nected to to the the business business community community – – which which in in turn turn can can assist assist with with careers careers fairs, fairs, work work experience, experience, talks talks at at schools schools and and so so on. on. We We are are taking taking this this further further and and working working with with the the Reid Reid Kerr Kerr College, College, local local schools schools and employers to form a virtual enterprise hub. and employers to form a virtual enterprise hub. “We “We recently recently played played aa major major role role in in the the largest largest ever ever school school pupil pupil event event in in Renfrewshire Renfrewshire – – ‘Shaping ‘Shaping My My Future’ Future’ held held in in February February 2012 2012 at at Paisley Paisley Town Town Hall, Hall, attracting attracting 600 600 S2 S2 pupils pupils from from across across all all secondsecondary ary schools schools in in the the county. county. The The Chamber Chamber brought brought in in many many members members to to talk talk about about the the types types of of careers careers they they have, what working there is like, and the skills and have, what working there is like, and the skills and attitude attitude required required to to succeed. succeed. The The event event attracted attracted the the Minister Minister for for Youth Youth Employment, Employment, Angela Angela Constance Constance MSP, MSP, who who gave gave aa keynote keynote address.” address.” A A new new initiative initiative is is the the Graduate Graduate Employment Employment Incentive Incentive Programme. Programme. The The Chamber Chamber was was selected selected as as part part of of this this new new Scottish Scottish Government Government pilot pilot to to help help get graduates into employment with local SMEs. get graduates into employment with local SMEs. Davidson Davidson is is also also an an active active Board Board member member of of Young Young Enterprise Enterprise Scotland. Scotland. “The “The Chamber Chamber is is also also aa big big supporter supporter of of The The ReRecruit, cruit, aa Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Council Council initiative, initiative, loosely loosely based based on on The The Apprentice, Apprentice, where where school school leavers leavers undertake undertake aa series series of of summertime summertime business business challenges. challenges. The The Chamber Chamber is is one one of of the the winning winning jobs jobs and and the the energy energy and and quality quality of of the the young young people people is is outstanding.” outstanding.” The The Chamber Chamber is is currently currently gearing gearing up up to to host host its its annual business awards, The ROCCOs. Now annual business awards, The ROCCOs. Now in in its its ninth ninth year, year, the the event event attracts attracts 500 500 guests guests annually. annually. Adds Adds Davidson: Davidson: “The “The Chamber Chamber continues continues to to increase increase its its connections connections locally locally across across council, council, MPs MPs and MSPs, and of course businesses and organisaand MSPs, and of course businesses and organisation tion across across all all sizes sizes and and sectors. sectors. There There genuinely genuinely is is not not aa better better connected connected business business organisation organisation in in the the area. area. And And with with our our strength strength as as aa network network via via our our full full accreditation accreditation with with Scottish Scottish and and British British Chambers Chambers – – there are signifi cant infl uence and opportunities.” there are significant influence and opportunities.”

n n common common with with other other British British towns, towns, Paisley has seen its retail Paisley has seen its retail element element decline decline signifi significantly cantly in in recent recent years years – – thanks largely to structural changes thanks largely to structural changes to to the the sector sector and and aa clear clear evolution evolution in in the the way way consumers consumers spend spend their their disposable disposable income. income. The The centre centre of of this this hishistoric toric town town has has suffered suffered more more than than most most in in the the economic economic downturn, downturn, with with the the additional additional problem problem of of strong strong comcompetition petition from from Glasgow Glasgow city city centre centre – – only only President President of of the the eight miles eight miles away away Chamber, Tom Johnston, – and large outChamber, Tom Johnston, – and large outwho of-town who is is also also Colliers Colliers of-town schemes schemes International’s Head such as Silverburn International’s Head such as Silverburn of Retail for Scotland and Braehead. of Retail for Scotland and Braehead. Prevailing Prevailing market market conditions conditions are are analysed analysed in in aa recent recent report report by by Colliers Colliers International International indicatindicating ing that that the the change change in in people’s people’s shopping shopping habits habits – – the the growth growth of of supermarkets, supermarkets, outoutof-town of-town retailing, retailing, value value retail retail and and not not least least online online retailing retailing – – is is having having aa huge huge impact impact on trading potential, performance and on trading potential, performance and viability viability of of British British towns. towns. How How can can this this decline decline be be arrested? arrested? Renfrewshire Council has Renfrewshire Council has formed formed aa task task force, force, Paisley Paisley Vision, Vision, to to look look at at the challenge. Made up of private the challenge. Made up of private and and public public stakeholders, stakeholders, it it is is working working hard hard to to regenerate the centre. regenerate the centre. One One its its fi first rst initiatives initiatives is is to to improve improve the the town’s town’s appearance appearance and and build build on on its its rich rich thread-and-weaving thread-and-weaving history. history. Working Working alongside alongside Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Council, Council, Colliers Colliers International International has has been been successful successful in in attracting attracting Poundworld Poundworld to to take occupancy of the former Littlewoods take occupancy of the former Littlewoods unit unit in in the the High High Street. Street. This This is is one one of of the the town’s town’s largest largest fl floor oor spaces spaces and and has has been been empty empty for for six six years. years. Now Now seven seven other other units units have have found found tenants, tenants, mainly mainly private private traders. traders. Events Events and and cultural cultural activities activities can can help help bring bring people people into into Paisley. Paisley. The The recent recent fi reworks display and Christmas Lights fireworks display and Christmas Lights switch-on switch-on attracted attracted huge huge crowds crowds and and the the spin-off spin-off to to the the retail retail sector sector was was immense. immense. The The Vision Vision people people have have looked looked at at areas areas that that could could promote promote increased increased footfall, footfall, including: including: Lifting Lifting weekend weekend parking parking charges; charges; uniform uniform opening opening hours; hours; Sunday Sunday opening; and bringing traffi c opening; and bringing traffic back back to to the the High Street. High Street. Another Another initiative initiative is is to to encourage encourage people to come back to people to come back to live live in in the the centre centre and, and, with with that that in in mind, mind, aa dialogue dialogue has has begun begun with with owners owners of of vacant vacant upper upper fl floors oors over over shops shops with with the the aim aim that that they they be be converted to residential occupancy. converted to residential occupancy. To To create create aa sustainable sustainable and and vibrant vibrant environment, environment, town town centres centres need need to to offer offer more than just retail and must place more than just retail and must place more more emphasis emphasis on on leisure leisure and and commucommunity nity functions. functions.

the times | Tuesday November 27 2012


Business Insight commercial commercial report: report: HilliNGtoN HilliNGtoN parK parK

Hillington park expects new leases of life at 75 Investment Investment and and partnerships partnerships set set to to boost boost business, business, reports reports Rick Rick Wilson Wilson


T T is is not not exactly exactly aa case case of of “what “what recession?” recession?” but if anyone can gauge the but if anyone can gauge the mood mood of of the the market market it it has has to to be be the the people people who who run run busibusiness ness parks parks – – and and those those behind behind Hillington’s Hillington’s are are surprisingly surprisingly upbeat. upbeat. The The five-strong five-strong team team steering steering the the major major part part of of it it under under the the MEPC MEPC flag flag know know they they always always have a strong basic product to sell, with many have a strong basic product to sell, with many permanent permanent factors factors in in the the park’s park’s favour favour –– proximproximity ity to to Glasgow Glasgow and and its its airport, airport, two two train train stations, stations, aa wide wide choice choice of of available available properties, properties, the the passing passing M8 M8 artery, artery, and and aa rich rich business business heritage heritage dating dating back back to 1938. to 1938. That That date date is is an an extra extra factor factor that that looks looks like like propelling propelling the the 270-company 270-company Renfrewshire Renfrewshire facility facility at at Hillington Hillington Park Park into into an an exciting exciting and and prosperprosperous ous new new chapter. chapter. For For next next year year it it celebrates celebrates its its 75th birthday, during which it will 75th birthday, during which it will doubtless doubtless hark hark back back to to its its illustrious illustrious beginnings, beginnings, when when the the first first buildings went up to accommodate the prolific buildings went up to accommodate the prolific manufacture manufacture of of Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce Merlin Merlin engines engines that that powered powered the the war-winning war-winning Spitfire Spitfire and and Hurricane Hurricane fighters. fighters. Since Since then, then, of of course, course, many many more more famous famous firms firms have taken their place in what is now have taken their place in what is now something something of of aa little little town town (pop: (pop: 6,000) 6,000) – – and and today today they they include include household names such as Balfour Beatty, BAA, household names such as Balfour Beatty, BAA, BMW, BMW, and and even even the the Student Student Loans Loans Company. Company. The The Park Park also also provides provides small small and and early early stage stage businesses with a location that conforms businesses with a location that conforms to to their their business business planning. planning. The The Innovation Innovation Centre Centre and and Merlin Merlin Business Business Centre Centre offer offer aa range range of of flexible flexible

Hillington’s Hillington’s deep deep roots roots

BUSINESS BUSINESS estates estates are are still still seen seen by by some some as as a a relatively relatively modern modern concept, concept, but but Hillington Hillington Park’s Park’s roots roots go go back back almost almost 75 75 years years – – so so it it can can claim claim to to be be Scotland’s Scotland’s most most established facility of its kind. established facility of its kind. Hillington Hillington Industrial Industrial Estate Estate – – as as it it was was then then known known – – was was officially officially opened opened by by King King George George VI VI in in May May 1938 1938 and and the the first first buildings buildings went went up up in in a a remarkably remarkably short short time time following following the the outbreak outbreak of of WWII. WWII. The The facility facility immediately immediately began began producing producing huge huge numbers of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines numbers of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines for for Spitfire Spitfire and and Hurricane Hurricane fighter fighter planes. planes. By By 1943 1943 output output reached reached 400 400 engines engines a week, and on at least one a week, and on at least one occasion occasion 100 100 engines engines were were produced produced in in one one day. day. In In total, total, 23,500 23,500 new new engines engines were were manufactured manufactured at at Hillington Hillington during during the the war – 14 per cent of the Merlin production war – 14 per cent of the Merlin production world-wide. world-wide. In In more more recent recent years years the the facility facility produced produced compressor compressor blades, blades, vanes, vanes, seals seals and and shrouds shrouds for for virtually virtually every every Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce engine. engine.

and and supportive supportive environments environments within within an an estabestablished lished and and vibrant vibrant business business community. community. An illustrious past is one thing of course; An illustrious past is one thing of course; but but more more important important is is the the future. future. So So what what has has Scotland’s Scotland’s most most established established business business park park planned planned for for its its big big birthday? birthday? “We “We can’t can’t say say yet yet but but we’re we’re working working on on it it and and you you can can rest rest assured assured it it will will be be something something pretty pretty special,” special,” promises promises marketing marketing and and customer customer manager manager Alison Alison Clark, Clark, who who crews crews the the MEPC bridge along with a leasing manager, office MEPC bridge along with a leasing manager, office manager, managing managing director, director, and and for for the the foreseeforeseemanager, able future, future, Roz able Roz Bird Bird –– the the company’s company’s peripatetic peripatetic head of of business business developdevelophead ment who who will will be be overseeoverseement ing the celebratory ing the celebratory fabric fabric for 2013. 2013. for A key part of that could A key part of that could be a strategy of “refreshbe a strategy of “refreshment” investment. investment. Workment” Working as she does across across sevseving as she does eral of of the the company’s company’s eight eight eral business parks throughout business parks throughout the UK UK –– “people “people raise the raise roz their eyebrows eyebrows when roz Bird, Bird, Head Head of of their when II say say II Business Development go to Watford, Basingstoke go to Watford, Basingstoke Business Development and Glasgow Glasgow every every week” week” –– for and for mepc mepc Ms Bird picks up feedback Ms Bird picks up feedback from colleagues working directly with MEPC from colleagues working directly with MEPC customers at at each customers each Estate, Estate, including including community community development ideas and insights into the the real real state state development ideas and insights into of the economy. of the economy. Of that that feedback, feedback, she Of she says: says: “We “We did did some some dedetailed research research at at the the start start of of the the year, year, asking asking cuscustailed tomers what they think of Hillington Park: what tomers what they think of Hillington Park: what they like like about about it, it, and and what what they they would would change change if if they they could. The results of the survey showed that they could. The results of the survey showed that people think think the people the Park Park is is conveniently conveniently located, located, and that that the the MEPC MEPC on on site site team team is is very very highly highly and regarded. The research also identified a number of regarded. The research also identified a number of opportunities to to develop develop Hillington Hillington Park. Park. MEPC MEPC is is opportunities therefore looking at investing in a range of projects therefore looking at investing in a range of projects and initiatives initiatives to to build build on on all all the the good good stuff stuff that’s that’s and going on here at the moment.” going on here at the moment.” Of the the coalface coalface mood, Of mood, she she says: says: “Because “Because MEPC MEPC deals with with 1,000 1,000 companies companies nationally, nationally, representrepresentdeals ing 20,000 20,000 people, ing people, we we have have aa great great insight insight into into an an important part important part of of the the UK UK economy. economy. Our Our experiexperience of of things things on on the the ground ground is is that that conditions conditions are are ence better than than the the national national perception. perception. better “Companies are “Companies are clearly clearly having having to to work work harder harder to achieve the same results. They’re probably not to achieve the same results. They’re probably not making aa profit, profit, but making but most most companies companies have have reasonreasonable balance balance sheets, able sheets, they they are are not not over over indebted, indebted, and have have an an appetite appetite and and an an inclination inclination for for and expansion and for employing more people. expansion and for employing more people. The The only thing thing that’s that’s stopping stopping them them is is confidence confidence and and only timing issues as they wonder: when should we timing issues as they wonder: when should we go go ahead and and do ahead do this?” this?” adds adds Roddy Roddy Proudfoot, Proudfoot, the the Leasing Manager Manager at Leasing at Hillington. Hillington. “A clear positive for Hillington Hillington is is that that we’ve we’ve “A clear positive for had 110,000sq 110,000sq ft had ft of of new new lettings lettings this this year year and and over over 130,000sq ft of renewals. Plus we’ve got a healthy 130,000sq ft of renewals. Plus we’ve got a healthy enquiry schedule.” schedule.” enquiry So based based on So on this this insight, insight, MEPC MEPC will will be be considerconsidering bringing new investment into Hillington ing bringing new investment into Hillington Park. “We “We are are in in the the middle middle of of preparing preparing plans plans Park. and a business case for substantial investment in and a business case for substantial investment in the Park. Park. This This will the will include include projects projects such such as as the the refurbishment of refurbishment of buildings, buildings, the the development development of of

Hillington park park -- innovation innovation centre centre and and lumina lumina buildings buildings Hillington new new buildings buildings on on land land that that we we own, own, improving improving infrastructure including landscape infrastructure including landscape works, works, signage, signage, new new amenities, amenities, and and the the development development of of aa wider wider vivision and master plan to be delivered over sion and master plan to be delivered over the the next next ten ten to to fifteen fifteen years, years, continues continues Bird. Bird. However, MEPC MEPC is is clear clear that that success However, success can can only only be achieved by working in partnership with be achieved by working in partnership with key key stakeholders such such as as the the council council and and the the chamber chamber stakeholders of commerce. “We only survive and excel when of commerce. “We only survive and excel when companies of of ours ours do do well, well, when when the companies the people people they they employ do do well, well, and and when when we we have employ have aa good good relarelationship with with the the council council in in the the areas areas in in which which we we tionship operate.” operate.” Alison Clark Clark agrees: agrees: Alison “We can’t can’t do do it it alone alone as as “We not all of Hillington Park not all of Hillington Park belongs to to us, us, so so developdevelopbelongs ment must must involve involve others. others. ment Not just our customers and Not just our customers and their neighbours neighbours but but we we their anticipate good good coopcoopanticipate eration with with partners partners like like eration Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Council and alison clark, clark, the Chamber of Comalison the Chamber of Commarketing manager, manager, merce.” marketing merce.” Such relationships relationships are are Hillington park park Such Hillington being strengthened strengthened to to being ensure that that aa united united message message is is presented presented to to those those ensure companies that that can can be be supported supported in in their their growth growth companies ambitions, and and aa key key part part of of MEPC’s MEPC’s philosophy philosophy ambitions, is having a genuinely helpful relationship with is having a genuinely helpful relationship with customers. “Our “Our aim aim is is to to work work with customers. with customers customers to to ensure they they stay stay and and grow, grow, and and to to reach reach out out to to new new ensure companies to to attract attract them them to to our our Estates Estates through through companies compelling customer focused propositions,” compelling customer focused propositions,” says says Ms Bird. Bird. Ms “When we work in partnership, we can support “When we work in partnership, we can support companies more more effectively. effectively. We’ve We’ve done done this this in in companies Leeds where where we we are are working working in in partnership partnership with with Leeds the council council and and other other stakeholders, stakeholders, and the and what what we’ve we’ve done is is what what started started here here with with The The Times Times Forum Forum done in Scotland Scotland –– agreeing agreeing that that we we will in will work work together together to help help companies companies grow grow in in Renfrewshire. Renfrewshire. And to And it’s it’s not just about a brochure or a website although not just about a brochure or a website although these are are important; important; it’s it’s about about going going out out and and saying saying these to those those companies: companies: ‘We ‘We will will help to help to to provide provide the the right environment environment for for your your company company to right to grow’. grow’. Our Our experience shows shows that that this this approach approach really really works.” works.” experience A sense sense of of belonging belonging to to aa community community helps helps too. too. A People appreciate appreciate amenities amenities on on site People site such such as as the the retail centre centre with with food food outlets, outlets, post post office office and and aa dry dry retail cleaners, the pub-restaurant, nursery, gym, and two cleaners, the pub-restaurant, nursery, gym, and two petrol stations. stations. petrol “We want people people to to see see the the Park “We want Park as as more more than than just the the buildings. buildings. It It should should be be aa given given that that there’s there’s just aa range range of of building building options options to to meet a company’s meet a company’s

plan plan Bee Bee gets gets buzzy buzzy

BEES BEES are are creating creating quite quite a a buzz buzz at at Hillington Hillington as nature-loving Park workers roll as nature-loving Park workers roll up up to to attend attend lunchtime lunchtime beekeeping beekeeping classes classes and and discover discover how how honey honey is is produced. produced. The The fortnightly fortnightly classes classes are are hosted hosted by by the the cutely named Plan Bee, a company that cutely named Plan Bee, a company that champions champions biodiversity biodiversity for for businesses businesses and and local local communities, communities, with with beekeeper beekeeper Warren Warren Bader Bader sharing sharing his his expert expert knowledge knowledge and and passing passing on on tips. tips. He He says: says: “It’s “It’s fantastic fantastic that that [majority [majority owner] owner] MEPC MEPC understands understands it it has has to to put put safeguards in place now for a balanced safeguards in place now for a balanced environment environment and and ecology ecology in in the the workplace.” workplace.” It It is is expected expected that that the the beehives beehives – – which which are are based based in in Hillington Hillington Park Park Urban Urban Gardens, Gardens, also also home home to to 12 12 allotments allotments for for Hillington Hillington Park Park companies companies – – will will help help to to pollinate pollinate the the garden garden and and eventually eventually lead lead to to home-grown honey. home-grown honey. “We “We believe believe that that such such projects projects add add to to the the big big community community spirit spirit at at Hillington Hillington Park Park and and increase increase people’s people’s sense sense of of belonging,” belonging,” says says MEPC MEPC marketing marketing and and customer customer manager manager Alison Alison Clark. Clark. “there “there is is no no doubt doubt this this and and other other projects projects have have played played a a key key part part in in Hillington Park becoming the first business Hillington Park becoming the first business park park in in Britain Britain to to be be awarded awarded a a Biodiversity Biodiversity Benchmark Benchmark from from the the Wildlife Wildlife Trusts.” Trusts.”

needs. We We want want to to do do more more than than this this by by developdevelopneeds. ing the the business business community community through through initiatives initiatives ing such as as aa social social committee, committee, and and networking networking events events such for companies. for companies. “Although “Although this this part part of of the the MEPC MEPC approach approach addresses what some would consider ‘softer issues’, issues’, addresses what some would consider ‘softer they are are important important initiatives initiatives because because companies companies they tell us us that that it it helps helps them them to to attract attract and and retain retain the the tell best employees employees because because they they can can offer offer not not just just aa best good job job but but opportunities opportunities for for staff staff to to be be involved involved good in park-wide activities such as a running club, aa in park-wide activities such as a running club, choir and and aa crafts crafts group, group, to to name name three three ideas.” ideas.” choir What What no no recognition recognition of of football-mad football-mad Glasgow? Glasgow? “Oh, yes, yes, of of course! course! A A couple couple of of the the social social commitcommit“Oh, tee guys have already suggested a football team tee guys have already suggested a football team and and are are looking looking into into where where we we should should be be playing, playing, and and what league we could join. So to win that league what league we could join. So to win that league – – that’s that’s the the next next step!” step!” For For more more information information on on Hillington Hillington Park, Park, contact Alison Clark or Roddy contact Alison Clark or Roddy Proudfoot Proudfoot on on tel: tel: 0141 0141 883 883 5760; 5760; email: email:,,

Tuesday November 27 2012 | the times


Business Insight Commercial report: Life Technologies

The Scottish know-how at Life Technologies is backed with an investment to expand production – and bring a world-class granulated product to global markets, discovers Kenny Kemp

Typically, our customers work in major universities or hospitals where they are doing research around the world


cotland’s expertise in advanced manufacturing in the sphere of life science has been given a massive vote of confidence by Life Technologies. The company’s unique products are at the heart of the globallyexpanding field of biotechnology, with a new granulated offering — described as being similar in texture to instant coffee — about to be produced in Renfrewshire. One of Life Technologies’ major brands, GIBCO®, has a history stretching back 50 years when the Grand Island Biological Company started in New York. GIBCO®’s cell culture media products have been manufactured in Scotland in Renfrewshire for more than 40 years. Life Technologies is listed on NASDAQ, with GIBCO® remaining a central part of its heritage. In April, Life Technologies announced a £12 million expansion of the existing manufacturing facilities at Inchinnan. The investment will meet the rising demand for GIBCO® cell culture products and allows the manufacture of a new proprietary Advanced Granulated Technology under the GIBCO® brand. GIBCO® is a long-standing and respected brand. “GIBCO® is cell culture media: this is the food that scientists use to grow their cells,” said Peter Silvester, President of Life Technologies, EMEA. He is responsible for 2,000 employees and more than one billion dollars of business across Europe, Middle East, Africa and the CIS. “There are several origins for the cells that scientists use. They could be animal or plant cells. Many modern drugs are biological and are synthesised using cultured cells like a factory. You have to cultivate and grow them; we provide the nutrients or media to grow these cells,” he said. There is internal excitement about the Advanced Granulation Technology, which has been described as the “instant coffee” for cell culture media. “It’s a way of processing the media so you don’t have to ship tens of thousands of litres of liquids around the world. You can produce a sachet or a bag of the media equivalent of granulated coffee. It is very easy for pharmaceutical companies to reconstitute or re-dissolve. It’s easier for us to ship around the world.” In addition to GIBCO® cell culture products, Life Technologies has a vast portfolio that includes class-leading DNA Forensics products. If you can imagine an episode of the hugely successful American television series CSI, then you will see the forensic scientist using an array of instruments and technologies to identify DNA. In reality, it is likely to be a Life Technologies product. “The majority of the DNA forensics that are performed around the world is done using Life Technologies reagents. For example, we are the major provider to

Inchinnan is Life Technologies’ European headquarters and hub of operations — and it employs more than 500 people there

Scotland wakes up to instant success most of the world’s police forces,” said Mr Silvester. But it is highly significant that Life Technologies has made a strong commitment to its Scottish operations, employing more than 500 people. Inchinnan is the European headquarters and the hub of its operations. Aside from the biology and manufacturing, Life Technologies has about 100 European shared financial services, IT support and sales and marketing administration staff based in Renfrewshire. There are more than 100 employees directly involved in sterile manufacturing, with Life Technologies training most of the staff. Mr Silvester, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the life sciences industry, 14 of those with Life Technologies, said: “We have a very talented, loyal, experienced and flexible workforce here. Frankly, every time we looked at the different international options for where we could expand or produce more efficient services, Scotland has always come out on top.” He said a US corporation such as Life Technologies is happy to invest when there is a track record of success. For Life Technologies, based in California, it was an easy decision to invest in the team, and this was helped by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International. “Scottish Enterprise also played a key supporting role in our decision to invest more in Renfrewshire. We’re grateful to

Peter Silvester highlights a loyal, talented workforce

them. The company is willing to place a bet on the employees we have here. Many have been here for a long time and are a high-performing team,” he said. There are three sides to the business: the core is the life sciences research business, which supports researchers around the region who are performing research in areas such as cancer, regenerative medicine and stem cells. “Typically, our customers work in major universities or hospitals, doing research around the world,” he said. The second part of the business is the Applied Sciences, such as DNA forensics and Bioproduction. The company has more than 50,000 products for research, molecular medicine and diagnostics, stem cell-based therapies, forensics, food safety and animal health. Its brands in scientific research including: GIBCO®, Ion Torrent™, Applied Biosystems™, Invitrogen™, Ambion®, Molecular Probes®, Novex® and TaqMan®. Many years ago, bovine serum from horses, cows, sheep and goats were used to grow essential nutrients but more precision is now required for today’s drug testing and control of the ingredients going into production is critical. One of Life Technologies’ innovations has been to move away from the reliance on biological bovine serum and move to a more precise, chemically-defined media. “It is about moving away from biological media to a very specifically defined

media where you know where everything has come from,” he said. The third aspect is Medical Science, where kits are used to identify diseases in commercial animals, pets and humans. Life Technologies has been able to dramatically shorten the time required to obtain results in this area. As an example, the company provided the food testing kits for the athletes during the London 2012 Olympics, while in May 2011, its benchtop DNA sequencing instrument, the PGM, was used to detect the strain of a serious E.coli outbreak in Germany. It affected more than 3,000 people and resulted in more than 50 deaths. “The latest DNA sequencing technology was used to identify the cause of the outbreak. Typically, the work on this happens a month after the outbreak, but we were able to work with scientists at Munster University in Germany to identify the cause of the bug while it was on-going. It made a huge difference.” This represents how fast DNA sequencing technology has moved forward and can be used in modern health scares. “The team came together to collaborate with the German scientists to make sure we had the equipment and the reagents that they needed. It allowed them to do the identification as quickly as possible to save lives,” said Mr Silvester. Life Technologies employs more than 10,000 people worldwide, has customers in more than 160 countries, more than 4,000 patents and exclusive licenses and sales of £2.4 billion in 2011. The company has been working to integrate with the local universities, especially the University of Glasgow, and has offered laboratory and demonstration space for graduate and post graduate research. It is also looking at developing courses with the university. “We have state-of-the-art facility and we can bring researchers and students in to show them our equipment and train them on some of the core microbiology and cell culturing techniques.” Coupled with this, the company has been working with Health Sciences Scotland and Glasgow University on an innovation centre, supported by the Scottish Funding Council. The pending application is to create a multi-million pound stratified medicine centre bringing together the NHS, industry and academics from across Scotland. “It’s a great example of how we can leverage our presence here and get more involved with the academic community and broader scientific community. It’s where Scotland can take the lead.” DNA science research has become increasingly glamorous for young people and Life Technologies has been working with local schools to explain it. “We have been doing work with school children and young people, including a forensic story revolving around Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” said Mr Silvester, “to educate and inspire the next generation about this exciting science and the basics of DNA forensics.”

Business Insight  

The Times Business Insight Scotland

Business Insight  

The Times Business Insight Scotland