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The Official Magazine of Somerset Chamber of Commerce

April / May 2018

Skills and Employability across the region College leaders share their views and insights 18 | FEATURE

10 | FOCUS ON:

This edition we focus on HR Services


with Richard Atkins CBE, Further Education Commissioner


Royal Honour for local College

Over 40 business sectors and more than 32,000 employees represented



members across Somerset



Pulse e-newsletters a year

Bi-monthly Somerset Voice Magazine

discounted events a year

Be heard lobbying and representation

Includes: • Networking • Training • Development • Briefing • Panel discussion • CEO forum

Raise your profile within the local business community


inter-member discounts


Use of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce logo


Contribute to and receive Quarterly Economic Surveys Event sponsorship

400 attend Somerset Business Awards

T: 01823 444924 E: membership@somerset-chamber.co.uk


CONTENTS First Word 4 Patron News 5 Chamber News 6-9 Focus On: HR Services 10-11 Members Area 12-17 Feature: Skills & Employment 18-21 #WellConnected 22-23 The Big Interview 24-25 Members News Business News Town Chamber News

26-32 33 34

Disclaimer The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the Chamber. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including, but not limited to, any online service, any database or any part of the internet), or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in the magazine, Somerset Chamber do not accept any responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies it contains.

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FIRST WORD Here in Somerset we have some fantastic companies which come in all shapes, sizes and sectors, making the county a great place to live and work. For these companies to be born, grown and developed, the key ingredient to success is the people who own them, run them and work for them.

Get in touch Marketing

Scarlett Scott-Collins

Marketing and Communications Supervisor T: 01823 444924 E: scarlett.s.collins@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Stacey Jabbitt

I believe that individuals are the key to the success of any business, so the whole team needs to be working for a common goal. However, people, much like flowers, need time to take root, be enriched and encouraged before budding into a radiant blossom. That is why I am so pleased that, along with Somerset County Council, we will shortly be launching a new Education Business Partnership for Somerset, helping the next generation make informed career decisions. More details to follow this will be released in due course.

Marketing and Engagement Administrator

Speaking of developing individuals, this edition of Somerset Voice looks at Skills and Employment, as part of our monthly feature. We conducted interviews with representatives from our four Patron colleges: Bridgwater & Taunton, Weston, Strode and Yeovil, and on page 18 we look at the responses and consider the opinions of those most ‘in the know’ regarding the current education climate in Somerset. In each edition of our magazine, we secure interviews with key Somerset individuals. I am delighted that Richard Atkins CBE, who I first encountered at Exeter College a few years ago, is now the Governments FE Commissioner, and has agreed to be our latest subject for The Big Interview. I trust you will enjoy the read.

Head of Chamber Services

We hope that you enjoy this issue of Somerset Voice. Along with my team, I look forward to catching up with existing and future members at our events in the coming months. Finally, I must credit my wife Sarah who is responsible for my various First Word images which have appeared over the last couple of years at various locations in Somerset and beyond!



T: 01823 444924 E: stacey.jabbitt@somerset-chamber.co.uk


Alistair Tudor

T: 01823 444924 | M: 07912 054195 E: alistair.tudor@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Ritchie Cridge Membership Manager

T: 01823 444924 | M: 07706 292143 E: ritchie.cridge@somerset-chamber.co.uk


Loren Gray Events Manager

T: 01823 444924 | M: 07821 950379 E: loren.gray@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Brooke Gilbertson Events Coordinator

T: 01823 444924 E: brooke.gilbertson@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Hinkley Supply Chain

Sam Evans

Head of Hinkley Supply Chain Engagement

Contact us to find out what benefits Somerset Chamber Patrons receive.

T: 01823 443425 | M: 07525 809274 E: sam.evans@hinkleysupplychain.co.uk

T: 01823 444924 E: membership@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Business Reporting & Information Officer

Alan Windsor

T: 01823 443425 E: alan.windsor@hinkleysupplychain.co.uk

General Enquiries

Laura Rigby

Senior Administrator T: 01823 444924 E: manager@somerset-chamber.co.uk


PATRON NEWS College Receives Beacon Award For Students With Learning Difficulties And Disabilities Weston College has received the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Beacon Award for Students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities at an event at The Grove Restaurant at Weston College’s Knightstone Campus. The award recognises the College’s specialist provision for students with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly Weston Bay – the College’s autism spectrum residential training centre. Judges found that the College actively develops and promotes exemplary teaching and learning which benefits its students and sets an example for other colleges across the country to follow. This year the AoC received 120 submissions from 100 colleges from across the UK.

Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, said: “This award recognises an area of Weston College provision that has a tangible effect on its learners, enabling them to progress beyond their own expectations. “Nationally, only 24% of autistic people are in employment, whereas 100% of the students who study in Weston Bay progress into further study, university, independent living or paid work.” The award follows investment in the College’s inclusive practice provision over recent years under the direction of Dr Phillips CBE. The Weston Bay facility was the first of its kind in the UK to be opened by a further education college, and its success has led Dr Phillips to work with colleges across the country and internationally to replicate its provision.

Ian Munro, Area Director (South West) for the AoC presented the award at the event and informed the gathering of some of the assessor’s comments. He said: “The winning submission demonstrated outstanding strategic planning for the provision, led by senior management and the governing body and developed over several years. “The programme also included a seamless dual approach to teaching and learning; strong professional development and training, with certification at degree and Master’s level, for staff; high quality residential training provision; outstanding success rates. “All the Beacon criteria were met and many exceeded in this project; and verified through the independent assessors visit to the College.”

BT Launches Hunt for more than 120 Tech Grads in South West In Bristol, 34 new posts will be filled ranging across business management, engineering, finance, information technology and human resources. BT is one of the first UK companies to use virtual reality technology as a way of recruiting, as it looks at innovative techniques in how it attracts the best graduates. The assessment process will include candidates being asked to complete a series of virtual reality “Crystal Maze” style tasks. BT is creating more than 120 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs across the South West as part of a new UK-wide drive to recruit the best tech talent available.

BT will assess candidates based on three measures which comprise analytical skills, how they handle change, as well as their drive and enthusiasm to get tasks completed.

The company aims to employ more than 1,300 people across the country in a number of different roles from TV production, engineering, customer service and cyber-security to help tackle the growing threat of cyber-crime.

The latest recruitment drive for apprentices and graduates is in addition to Openreach’s announcement last week that it is looking to recruit 3,500 trainee engineers, of which 455 will be in the South West.


BT Group is one of the UK’s largest employers with 82,800 people based in the UK and more than 7,500 in the South West. The new roles are spread across the country. Jon Reynolds, chairman of BT’s regional board in the South West, said: “This recruitment is more great news for Bristol. It underlines the leading role that BT plays in communities across the South West and is a tribute to the quality of our local staff. They play a vital role in providing essential products and services for the households and businesses of the South West, as well as, of course, being part of these local communities themselves. “As one of the region’s leading employers and investors, BT is committed to providing high quality jobs and careers and this latest recruitment will help ensure we deliver the best possible services for the people of Bristol and the South West.”


CHAMBER NEWS Heathrow expands links to South West business

Heathrow has strengthened its ties to the South West during meetings between over 50 local businesses and the airport’s top suppliers today. For the second year running, the South West Business Summit helped small and medium-sized businesses understand how they can connect with real supply chain opportunities and play a bigger role in the offsite construction of an expanded Heathrow. In collaboration with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, the event aimed to help businesses across the region take advantage of the work being spread across the UK both now and during construction of a third new runway and associated infrastructure. The Summit allowed businesses to network and trade with each other, meet the airport’s supply chain and meet with the Department for International Trade to explore exporting opportunities. Held in Somerset, the South West Summit was the first stop in what is set to be airport’s biggest regional supply chain tour. In 2017, Heathrow held seven Summits across the UK, and to date an estimated £93.4 million of new deals have been won by businesses as a result of the partnerships formed at the events. In 2018, Heathrow will be visiting 10 UK regional hubs.

Heathrow Director of Communications, Nigel Milton, said: “We are working hard to ensure the economic benefits of an expanded Heathrow are spread across the UK, and our Business Summits play a huge role in this. Heathrow will use offsite construction and we are looking to innovative British companies – many of which we know are based in the South West and already working on major projects including Hinkley – to help Heathrow achieve new standards of delivery and sustainability.” Somerset Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Dale Edwards, said: “Working with Heathrow on this event has not only been a pleasure but a huge eye-opener. The opportunities that are available for Somerset businesses are truly astounding, and this event has proved invaluable to all those looking to capitalise on them. I’d like to thank Heathrow for initiating collaboration with the Chamber for their first Business Summit of 2018. We would be delighted to work with them again in the future.” Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow said: “I am delighted that Heathrow will be launching their national Business Summit programme in Taunton, shining a light on the quality SMEs that exist across my constituency and the wider South West region. Heathrow expansion is predicted to create up to £10.2 billion in economic benefits and up to 12,300 new jobs for the South West, so it is important that local businesses are made aware of the opportunities now on the horizon

to ensure they can forge connections for the future; not just at Heathrow but with projects across the country.” Heathrow is moving forward with its plans to deliver expansion – a national infrastructure project set to create tens of thousands of jobs across the country, delivering tens of billions of pounds of economic benefit. Engaging with a wider supply chain is key to achieving those ambitions and will help to ensure Heathrow delivers a legacy of increased construction productivity for future generations. Connectivity is also critical to the South West’s prosperity and Heathrow wants to see strong regional airports like Newquay – officially the UK’s fastest growing airport for a second year running – continue to support sustainable economic growth. Heathrow’s role is to complement, and not compete with, the growth of regional airports. That’s why Heathrow has recently halved airport charges for domestic passengers to make it cheaper to fly within the UK and will set aside £10m to fund new domestic routes. The airport continues to campaign for ring-fenced domestic slots to ensure all of the UK can connect to Heathrow and an abolition of domestic Air Passenger Duty to make flying even cheaper. An expanded Heathrow will better connect British exporters to new and emerging markets, unlocking up to 40 new long-haul routes that will connect British SMEs to global markets and growth.



BCC Annual Conference On 8 March, Sam Evans, Head of Hinkley Supply Chain Engagement, attended the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference at the QEII Conference Centre in London. The programme for the 2018 Annual Conference explored the subjects most relevant to UK business. Key themes of the day comprised The Future of Work, Diversity in Business, and The Future of UK Trade. Each year, the conference aims to provide insight into these key topics through panel discussions, keynote speakers and by providing opportunities for discussion with other attendees. Sam recounts her day below in her own words.

Four years working for Somerset Chamber of Commerce and I finally reached the dizzy heights of being permitted to attend the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Annual Conference in London to represent the team. I don’t think I truly understood what it meant for our members to be part of an accredited Chamber until that day. The excellent networking opportunities and inter-member offers are just the tip of the iceberg compared to the more valuable stuff that underpins everything the business community of the UK requires. As John McDonnel quoted, “Chambers of Commerce are one of the best lobbying entities in the world.” The opening speech, delivered by Francis Martin, which I almost missed due to my sudden incompetence at circumnavigating the District Line, spoke of “unlike any other business membership organisation, the Chamber of Commerce network truly spans the breadth and depth of British industry. From sole employers to multi-national corporations, manufacturers to hoteliers, no organisation truly represents the spectrum of opinion from business quite like the Chamber of Commerce network, and it is that depth of knowledge that gives the BCC unrivalled knowledge of the local and national economic picture.” It wasn’t all preaching to the converted, although at times I felt I was part of a live party-political broadcast as the parliamentary lobbying was quite strong at times. Underpinning all of this was the message that the UK needs

to raise its productivity levels across the board, as we are currently lagging behind other countries. There was a call for the UK to consider long term investments, in particular, into the fields of robotics. Most interesting to me was the panel discussion around skills, especially with the landscape as it currently stands in Somerset. There was a stress placed on the need for a ‘cradle to grave’ service in terms of national education, and a push back to businesses for assistance on the current skills gaps, i.e that in order for school leavers/job seekers to make informed future career decisions, they need to understand the job market and potential professions that are out there. For these to be realised, then UK SME businesses need to start offering quality work placements. Something that would make some aspire to work within that industry in the future. What was also worth noting was the recognition of the transferable skills that people gain from their communities; the leadership skills gained from coaching a local football team, all valuable life experience that grows a person into an excellent employee prospect. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, posed the question, “What kind of a country do we want to be in 20–30 years’ time?”, and it made me wonder if we could pose this same question to our members: “What kind of a Somerset do we want to be in 20-30 years?” Does anyone think that far ahead? Do any of our members realise that by talking to us about their opinions, their concerns, their success stories, and most importantly by completing the Quarterly Economic Survey (the one we badger everyone to complete), that they are making a difference, and that they are being heard in parliament? But if everyone is happy to sit behind their desk and keep quiet then things will never be able to change. My main message here that I haven’t worded excellently is that we need more engagement with our members and they shouldn’t be afraid to call any of us to talk about issues that we can then lobby for. It was a long day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish there had been more time to network with some of the other Affiliated Chambers but the rail network and my lack of direction stunted that somewhat. I also wish there had been more food… over and out.




The Queen’s representative addresses Somerset business women on International Women’s Day Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset addressed 50 business women from across the county at a Somerset Chamber networking event held on International Women’s Day (8 March 2018). Speaking at Somerset Chamber’s first Ladies Afternoon Tea event of the year, Mrs Anne Maw gave an insightful talk on the work she carries out on behalf of the Queen. This requires attendance at formal ceremonies and presentations, visiting and celebrating achievement and excellence, to demonstrate the approval and congratulations of Her Majesty. Since her appointment as Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset in March 2016, a voluntary but full-time role, she said her life has been very busy but incredibly rewarding. She talked about the importance of equality and the empowerment of women. She also expressed her devotion for her husband and strong family unit, highlighting how these relationships have enriched her life. The event was held at the picturesque Crowcombe Court in the Quantock Hills, attracting women from a wide range of businesses and industries. Following the event, guests were treated to a tour of the beautiful 17th Century house.

Pictured (L-R): Caroline Drew (Meridian Business Support), Lucy Wiltshire (Meridian Business Support), Loren Gray (Somerset Chamber of Commerce) and Mrs Anne Maw (HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset)

Anne Maw commented, “I am honoured to have been asked to speak at the event held on International Women’s Day. It has been really interesting getting to know so many professional and inspiring individuals. Us women are a huge powerhouse when we get together.” Somerset Chamber’s Ladies Afternoon Tea events are held twice a year and are always a popular occasion, providing interesting speakers and an opportunity for business women to network in a friendly and professional environment. Caroline Drew, Branch Manager at Meridian Business Support, which sponsored the event, commented, “Meridian Business Support is honoured to support this event on International Women’s Day. It is truly admirable to see the solidarity of women in business coming together here today. The event was fantastic. I very much enjoyed Anne’s informative speech and networking with other ladies held at this beautiful location.”



Chamber Update from CEO Dale Edwards recapitulates on the Chamber’s activities since the last edition of Somerset Voice. The Chamber had a great send-off for January with our South Somerset Business to Business Dinner at Haynes International Motor Museum, sponsored by Bibby Financial on the last day of the month. Over 80 guests enjoyed a terrific meal in the unique setting of the museum, with the signature rotating tables between course feature of our B2B events. We continue to find that this activity always results in some excellent connections being made. I was delighted to be part of the judging panel for the recent Somerset Apprenticeship Awards, organised by Grow Somerset Talent. Scarlett Scott-Collins, our Marketing and Communications Supervisor, was asked to speak at the event about her apprenticeship experience. Scarlett is a great example of how the apprenticeship system can work brilliantly, encouraging learning and development while getting practical experience in the workplace. The Meet the Neighbours event, in association with Cornish Mutual, was a great success on 21 February, with over 120 guests welcomed from Somerset, Devon and Exeter Chambers of Commerce. It’s always fantastic to see connections being made across county borders and I’m already looking forward to the Meet the Neighbour event with Dorset Chamber on Wednesday 16 May. Somerset Chamber’s Heathrow Business Summit was held at the Cooper Associates County Ground on Friday 16 February, introducing over 100 local businesses to purchasers from the Tier 1 suppliers to the Heathrow project. Events like this are a phenomenal way to be able to showcase the range, quality and readiness of businesses from our region, and it is critical that we get involved with large infrastructure projects early. Feedback from both the Heathrow team and our guests was excellent with connections being made that otherwise wouldn’t occur – a perfect example of what the Chamber is all about. In other news, the Hinkley project continues to engage companies across the region with the Supply Chain Portal hitting 4,000 South West businesses registered; a big milestone for the team. I thoroughly enjoyed highlighting the success of the portal at a House of Commons Parliamentary reception to showcase the project to MPs in the Sizewell area. I also attended the opening of the National College for Nuclear hub in Cannington, met with the Somerset Growth Board and Heat of the South West Digital Skills Partnership and supported our Patron, Wessex RFCA, to the Partnering with Defence Employer Conference. The next couple of months look just as busy and I’ll look forward to providing another update in the June/July edition of Somerset Voice.



In our ‘Focus On’ pages, we hone in on a particular sector within the Somerset Chamber membership, to give our members a chance to update the Somerset Voice readership on any new developments or topical updates within their industry.


How HR is going to be affected by GDPR A hot topic for HR professionals is the General Data Protection Regulations which come into force on 25 May. Business focus may predominately be on how personal data is collected and used for customer led processes such as lead generation, sales and marketing and one area which risks being overlooked is the impact of GDPR on HR processes. The new regulations are not vastly different to current data protection rules relating to existing employees. Employers’ lawful basis for processing personal data will clearly relate to delivering their statutory and contractual obligations and the legitimate need to process employee information to successfully manage relationships and the employment contract. However, the new regulations introduce enhanced requirements for how employers manage and retain personal data relating to prospective employees, pre-employment checks and leavers. It also challenges why and how employee data is used, how long information should be kept and needing to seek explicit employee consent to use personal data where not required for a lawful basis. For example, employee surveys, using personal images within social media or sharing information with third parties such as external HR consultants or Occupational Health professionals. The advice being given is to use GDPR as an opportunity to spring clean your HR processes and carry out an audit to identify the various categories of HR data being held. Question why and how it is processed, what data you realistically need and whether retention timescales need to be established. Keeping employee data indefinitely based on ‘just in case we might need it one day’ is no longer a legitimate reason! The new ‘right to be forgotten’ will impact on how expired disciplinary, performance capability or sickness absence warnings are managed. Simply keeping on file with ‘spent’ written across will not suffice. Employees will have a right to know how information will be managed or destroyed

and policies updated to explicitly state for example that historical information will generally be disregarded unless a pattern of repeated behaviour emerges, how it may be used for compulsory redundancy scoring or whether information will be kept for defending potential legal claims. Data security, risk management of data breaches and responding to subject access requests will directly impact on how personal data is stored. It is common for there to be a central personal file held by HR, a local file kept by a line manager, plus information stored in electronic folders, within email systems or on portable devices or in some cases kept in a cardboard box under the desk! Streamlining how employee files and personal data is managed across the business will be important. And when employees leave the business consider retaining the full file for 3-6 months in case of litigation claims. Then spring clean general management information, condense key information required for HMRC or other regulatory reporting purposes and create a summary of key dates or data for employment reference purposes. Securely destroy anything else, which not only complies with GDPR but makes archiving easier and cheaper due to smaller files! Two final aspects to consider is staff training on their rights and responsibilities under GDPR and how they are expected to handle all personal data during their employment to ensure overall company compliance. Updating policies and procedures will also be necessary with clear messages on the potential consequences or actions to take if things go wrong. www.concilium-hr.co.uk



An ever developing working environment The business world is forever changing, to use the military acronym it most certainly is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) and with it also brings a need to have a different relationship with employees. Human Resources, Personnel or People Management, whatever you prefer to call it, is all about how we look after people in the organisation and create an effective reciprocal working relationship. The way we engage with employees is critical and even more so with the current multigenerational workforce who have different views on the working world. It requires adaptability of approach and a true connection with employees to understand what drives them and ultimately retains them; for the millennial generation that can be very different to the baby boomers for example, as it is often more than just the monetary aspects. Getting an understanding of that can be as simple as enabling a connection with your ‘employee’s voice’, either for the first time or on a more frequent basis than the annual or bi annual employee survey especially in this VUCA world. Employee engagement is well proven to be a factor in improving business performance.

Did you know the average person entering the workforce now is likely to have 11 different jobs in their working life? Each time someone moves on it is a cost to you in terms of recruitment time & money, the potential loss of productivity and further training investment required. Do you know why your employees leave and what would make them want to stay? Many of the important aspects especially to millennials; and, to other generations, includes getting frequent feedback to allow them to develop and having effective training & developmental initiatives that allow them to gain in competence and skills in their current role, but increase their future career development. Fundamentally people want to do a good job, but they also wanted to be treated fairly and have an opportunity to be involved in ‘Good Work’; we must recognise the role and with it the responsibility that the employer has in this is critical. The recent Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices highlighted this in its belief “that all work should be fair & decent with the scope for fulfilment and development.” As an employer you can simply consider that this will be imposed via government legislation or you can be proactive and seek the opportunity to reap the rewards in improving working relationships and ultimately business performance by focusing on good management and strong employee engagement. www.hayneconsulting.com

Sexual Harassment – New Guidance Launched Everyone has seen the high profile sexual harassment cases that hit the headlines from all sectors and businesses, regardless of size with payments to claimants that can reach eye watering amounts. In 2016, research by the TUC revealed that 52 per cent of women had experienced unwanted behaviour at work including groping, sexual advances and inappropriate jokes. That figure rose to 63 per cent for women aged 16 to 24. Remember though males can be harassed and it can be same sex too! It’s no surprise then that ACAS and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have launched new guidance on sexual harassment in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 defines sexual harassment as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or

effect of violating the dignity of a worker, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. So what does this mean? It can take many forms, such as unwanted physical contact, verbal comments, sexual gestures, photos and inappropriate emails. It’s also not about intention, you may not have intended in that way but it’s how the recipient received it that counts. Sexual harassment can also occur when a worker is treated less favourably by their employer because the worker submitted to, or rejected unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or unwanted conduct which is related to sex. Put simply, an employee rejects an advance by their manager and then is turned down for a training opportunity. The guidance assists employers with managing a complaint from beginning to end and provides useful tips on how to make the process as easy as possible for all involved. Definitely worth a read at some point soon. www.rebeccabevins.co.uk



Podcasting for Business Russ Haworth is a Chartered Financial Planner with Proposito Financial Planning in Taunton, and helps Family Business owners with their succession and retirement planning. He is also a contributing editor for The International Centre for Families in Business. As a financial planner, a challenge of working for a small (but perfectly formed) financial planning firm can be helping people become aware of what it is that we do and how we might be different to all the other planning firms out there. There are traditional ways to overcome this, a website, blogging, networking and more recently social media. We do all this, but then so does everyone else! However, there is also an accessible, easy and effective way to speak directly to your customers that very few businesses have embraced. It’s called podcasting and provides you with the opportunity to set your business apart from your competition. For those unfamiliar with what a podcast is, it is an audio recording that is uploaded to a public platform, via a hosting company such as Libsyn, to iTunes, Spotify and many other podcast players for anyone to consume, when they want to, for free. Since July 2017 I have been the host of a weekly podcast called The Family Business Podcast and we are about to pass 15,000 downloads.

But, rather than listen to me prattle on about how exciting pensions are every week we thought our audience would prefer me interviewing family businesses like them and experts from around the world about the myriad issues facing family firms.

The podcast is part of a bigger collaborative educational project through my association with The International Centre for Families in Business (ICFIB), a not for profit organisation dedicated to helping family businesses.

In an age where people have the choice as to what media they consume and when they consume it, podcasting seemed a great way to speak directly to, and with, the family business community.

It complements my specialism of working with family businesses (hence the imaginative podcast title) to achieve the legacy they want for their business, their families and themselves, both financially and emotionally.

We started with zero expectations as to what may follow but we have also been pleasantly surprised by how quickly it has taken on a life of its own. We have had direct approaches for people to work with us, sponsorship enquiries and several requests to record podcasts for other businesses and organisations. Most of the guests are people we would never have spoken to without the podcast and we even have our first Sir lined up for a future episode! Most people tend to listen to podcasts during their daily commute or at the gym. The only other way to keep your potential customers company in this way is to get in their car and sit next to them, or offer to hold their towel at the gym and frankly, that’s a bit weird! With podcasting, they are choosing to listen to you, when they want to and without the weirdness. I am therefore making the case in this article for you to start your own podcast. The potential benefits to you and your business are huge and it isn’t as complicated or costly as you might think. It is a way to project your personality directly into the ears of those people you want to be speaking to, and if you have a smart phone you pretty much have everything you need. There are no excuses, so what are you waiting for? Your audience is waiting to hear from you and if not you, maybe a competitor?




If you are looking to get started, you can follow these steps;

Join our Twitter network of over 12,000 followers

• Pick a subject – This can be what you do for the ‘day job’ or a hobby. • Pick a format – will you interview people? Cover a specific topic each week or even have seasons that you can batch record?

@chambersomerset @events_scoc

• Have at least 50 episode ideas – Yes, 50! It may seem a lot but if you know your market or niche it will be easy to get to that. In addition, consistency helps, in the first 3 months of the podcast we had 1,600 downloads, in the four months since we have had over 13,400. Had I given up after three months, or ran out of ideas I wouldn’t be writing this now! • Have a launch strategy – You want as many people to listen to your show as possible and for iTunes to make it easy to find. Get your friends, family and pets to download the first few episodes (I launched with 3 on the same day). Ask for reviews, it helps you to be found by others and release shows consistently. • Ask for help – get in touch, I would be happy to help.

Common excuses not to get on and do this are: • I don’t like the sound of my own voice – Doesn’t matter, you don’t have to listen to it if you don’t want to! • No one will listen - I thought that, I was wrong! • It takes too much time – I spend about 2 hours a week on the podcast, watch less telly! • It costs too much – I spend about £120 a month on the podcast.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, Spotify and most other podcast players, just search for Family Business Podcast. If you have any questions or need any help setting up your own podcast show, do get in touch with Russell: Russell.Haworth@proposito.co.uk

GDPR is coming and it will affect your business... Effective GDPR compliance needs an integrated approach to information management SDS can assist with: • Installing secure print and workflow systems • Encrypting email, PDF and scanned content • Securely erasing data from machines and hard drives Begin your passage to compliance – call 01278 723784 or email info@sdsltd.uk.com for more information. SDS Limited Unit 3-4 Suprema Industrial Estate, Edington, Somerset TA7 9LF T: 01278 723784 F: 01278 723785 E: info@sdsltd.uk.com www.sdsltd.uk.com







Emergency First Aid


Do you have a first aider in the April workforce? Are they up to date? If not this is the perfect opportunity. This 1-day course with JaLee First Aid Training is recommended and recognised by the Health & Safety Executive as a workplace first aid qualification and is valid for 3 years. This course covers First Aid for Minor Injuries, how to manage an incident and resuscitation, as well as many more important topics… Time: 09.30 Venue: Hornsbury Mill, Chard Cost: £75.00 Members / £100.00 Non-Members (buffet lunch included)


The Future of Pensions with Sir Steve Webb

27 April

Somerset Chamber of Commerce are delighted to partner with Albert Goodman to present Sir Steve Webb for this exclusive breakfast event. Sir Steve Webb was Minister of State for Pensions between 2010 and 2015, the longest-serving holder of the post. He will provide an insightful and entertaining overview in to the UK pensions market discussing tax relief, state pensions, and the new market for workplace pensions. An opportunity not to miss out on. Time: 07.30 Venue: Taunton Racecourse, Taunton Cost: £18.00 Members / £25.00 Non-Members (breakfast included)

In association with In association with


Business to Business Dinner: Sedgemoor

25 April

Our B2B’s are one of the most popular in the Chamber events calendar, with guests given multiple opportunities to network with different people throughout each of the three courses. If you are looking to meet like-minded professionals and raise the profile of your business then this is the event for you. These events are very popular, therefore early booking is advised. Time: 19.30 Venue: Quantock Lakes, Bridgwater Cost: £27.00 Members / £37.00 Non-Members (3 course meal included) In association with


Meet the Expert: How to maximise the value of your business



This meet the expert session, specifically for business owners, helps you determine the value of your business and how to make the most of your businesses value. Phil Shearing of Business-Partnership is holding a free one-hour, confidential business valuation for owners planning their business exit strategy……whether now or in the next five to ten years. Even if you think a sale is a few years off, the advice given can help you prepare your business and make it more attractive for buyers by enhancing its value. Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Offices, Taunton Cost: Free for members In association with




*Prices are now plus VAT unless otherwise stated




How to Create a Digital Strategy


Does your business have a digital strategy in place? Somerset Chamber are teaming up with Iestyn Page of Newsquest South West, to deliver a half-a-day Digital Strategy Workshop. Iestyn is the Head of Digital Advertising for Newsquest Wales and South West, and has dealt with businesses for over eight years, helping them with their digital marketing. He will be going through the basics of how to implement a digital strategy, helping you create an effective digital marketing plan. Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Offices, Taunton Cost: £45.00 Members / £75.00 Non-Members

MD & CEO Round Table Forum

23 May

This forum led by the Somerset Chamber is specifically for MD’s, CEO’s and key decision-makers to discuss common growing pains. This is specifically for business owners employing 2 to 50 people. These forums are a confidential platform for you to share your business challenges with likeminded individuals. Common discussions have included: Staffing, Strategy and Apprenticeships. Time: 12.00 Venue: Rebecca Bevins HR, Yeovil Cost: £26.50 Members Only

In association with In association with



Meet the Neighbours, Dorset

16 May

Somerset Chamber of Commerce are once again teaming up with Dorset Chamber of Commerce for this year’s Meet the Neighbours Event. Join us and other businesses from across the border for a two-course lunch and excellent networking opportunities. These events are typically well attended so book early to avoid disappointment. Time: 09.00 Venue: Summer Lodge Hotel, Dorchester Cost: £25.00 Members Only (2 course meal included) In association with

Coaching Skills for Managers



Recently become a manager? Or wanting to improve your current management style? Somerset Chamber of Commerce are teaming up with Crisp Professional Development, to deliver a half-day workshop on Coaching skills. This is a hands-on workshop, providing the opportunity to practice coaching skills within a safe and enjoyable environment, learning how to empower individuals through self-awareness and confidence. Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Offices, Taunton Cost: £45.00 Members / £75.00 Non-Members (buffet lunch included)

In association with



New Members Welcome to our newest members of the Somerset Chamber. Carly Press Design Print Mark Gladstone-Smith T: 01823 667063 E: mark@carlypress.co.uk www.carlypress.co.uk CDK Engineering Services Ltd Marine David Paget T: 01935706820 E: dave.paget@cdkseals.com www.cdkseals.com Cneqt DNA Limited Business Consultancy Caroline Croughan T: 0808 189 4414 E: info@cneqtdna.com www.cneqtdna.com Connor Construction (South West) Ltd Construction Genevieve Thorogood T: 01373 836182 E: gen@connorconstruction.co.uk www.connorconstruction.co.uk Design Bean Design Print Sally Jill Maidment M: 07984 404528 sally@designbean.co.uk www.designbean.co.uk Frome College Schools and Colleges Louise Friend T: 01373 465353 E: office@fromecollege.org www.fromecollege.somerset.sch.uk King Lifting Construction Darren Loveridge T: 0117 9821121 E: DarrenLoveridge@kinglifting.co.uk www.kinglifting.co.uk King’s College, Taunton Schools and Colleges Vicki Crandley T: 0-182-332-8235 E: VCrandley@kings-taunton.co.uk www.kings-taunton.co.uk M-Tech (sw) Ltd Construction Matt Francis T: 01278 651 336 E: mtech.elec@aol.co.uk www.mtechsouthwest.co.uk My Day Care Services Ltd Health and Wellbeing Mark Durman T: 01823 254409 E: markdurman1@sky.com www.mydaycareservices.com Patient Choice Direct Health and Wellbeing Neil Basil M: 07717 808226 E: neil.basil@patientchoice.net www.choice.direct Petroc Schools and Colleges Julie Yates M: 07794 692079 E: julie.yates@petroc.ac.uk www.petroc.ac.uk

POM Support Ltd Food and Drink Greg Parsons M: 07800 957448 E: greg@pomsupport.co.uk www.pomsupport.co.uk Salamanca Group Finance Dominique Allnutt T: (0)20 7495 7070 E: d.allnutt@salamanca-group.com www.salamanca-group.com Sherwoods Construction Kevin Sherwood T: 0845 271 2782 E: ksherwood@sherwoodsonline.co.uk www.sherwoodsonline.co.uk Silver Shackle Ltd Marine Andrew Gordon T: (0)203 167 8760 E: Andy@silvershackle.com www.silvershackle.com

Latest Member to Member Offers As a member of Somerset Chamber, all member business employees are able to take advantage of our great range of member to member offers. To post your own offer or to view all our member to member offers, visit

www.somersetchamber.co.uk /membership

Summit Platforms Construction James Watson T: 0117 332 6640 E: jameswatson@summitplatforms.co.uk www.summitplatforms.co.uk Taunton School Schools and Colleges Nicola Miller T: 01823 703703 E: richard.judd@tauntonschool.co.uk www.tauntonschool.co.uk Taurus Clearer Communication Ltd ICT Brian Helmers T: 01392 202000 E: brian.helmers@tauruscc.co.uk www.tauruscc.co.uk Templegate Electrical Supplies Electronics Mike Smith T: 01179 712555 E: m.smith@templegate.co.uk www.templegate.co.uk

Member Profile Name: Tony Dunn Company: Walpole Dunn Job title: Director

The Ammerdown Centre Charity Emma Rawlings T: 01761 433709 E: centre@ammerdown.org www.ammerdown.org/home The Transformation Office Ltd Business Consultancy Jonathan Parnaby M: 07540 900681 E: jonathan.parnaby@tto-ltd.co.uk www.tto-ltd.co.uk Thinkography Limited Marketing / PR Danny Gosling T: 0117 230 7320 E: danny@thinkography.com www.thinkography.com Walpole Dunn Accountancy Tony Dunn T: 01823 740006 E: enquiries@walpoledunn.co.uk www.walpoledunn.co.uk World Options Transport Tim Gardner T: 01823 216555 E: tim.gardner@worldoptions.co.uk www.uk.worldoptions.com


Tell us a little about your business: We are an independent firm of Chartered Certified Accountants based within the stunning setting at Hestercombe House. Between me and my business partner, Nick Walpole, we have over 20 years’ experience providing accountancy and taxation services, largely obtained whilst working for a mid-tier accountancy firm in the South West.






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Our approach is simple, we focus on delivering a personal, friendly service providing quality support and advice that our clients’ businesses needs to thrive. We specialise in assisting ownermanaged small and mediumsized businesses, helping them manage the admin burdens of accountancy and tax compliance, allowing them to focus on running their business. What makes you special? We work closely with our clients to ensure they benefit from our wealth of knowledge and experience and we are very aware of the importance of delivering a cost-effective solution. That is why we only work with pre-agreed fixed fees and stay clear of hourly charge out rates that punish clients for picking up the phone and asking for the support they need – all of our packages come with initial ad hoc support as standard. Tell us something interesting that our members won’t know: As well as dealing with all compliance matters (financial statements, corporate and personal tax returns, company secretarial matters) our service offering also includes more bespoke services such as management reporting and detailed tax advice, including Research & Development (R&D) tax relief claims, company SEIS/EIS and company employee share schemes.

In the last 12 months alone, we have helped clients from all over the country claim back over £325,000 in corporation tax through R&D claims. We currently have a 100% success rate for claims we have prepared and this is down to the meticulous research and investigation we do into our clients’ R&D activities, ensuring we have a full working knowledge of the great work they’ve been doing. What is the driving force behind your business? Having experienced how larger accountancy firms work, we have witnessed first-hand the varying service levels provided to different sized businesses and so our focus is on providing a personal, tailored service to all our clients and not letting fee levels dictate the quality of service provided. We understand the frustrations that clients can feel with the reactive service provided by some firms and the way in which accounts preparation becomes the main focus of the service being provided. We consider quality consultancy and advice to be of most benefit to our clients and their businesses and so we work hard to get a real understanding of their accountancy and tax affairs and ultimately become a trusted business advisor for all aspects of their business. We are very keen to make contact and work with local businesses and feel that our understanding of the value of money to our clients, which is portrayed within our service offering, is a welcome change to the traditional accountancy service model. Ultimately, as a small business ourselves, we believe that other small businesses shouldn’t have to fork out large percentages of their profits in return for a quality service.


FEATURES Skills and employability in Somerset

Bridgwater and Taunton College Principal, Andy Berry

Strode College Principal, Katy Quinn

Weston College Principal, Dr. Paul Phillips CBE

Yeovil College Vice-Principal Mark Bolton

College leaders have their say With employment levels in Somerset touching record highs and unemployment continuing to sit below the national average, we asked the some of the key influencers at our patron colleges to share their views and insights, by asking them a series of questions about skills and employability across the region. Stacey Jabbitt, Marketing and Engagement Administrator at the Somerset Chamber, summarises below. We actively campaign to ensure that our future workforce is highly skilled, properly prepared and motivated for their future role in the workforce, we asked the college leaders: How ready do you think the workforce is? Mark Bolton, Vice-Principal of Yeovil College, said “Having worked very closely with the business leaders in Somerset for the past two years, I would say that business owners and managers describe huge pride and satisfaction with their workforce, particularly when they talk about individuals and their successes. This is particularly evident in the conversations about their new workforce and apprentices that have been my particular focus.” Dr. Paul Phillips, Principal of Weston College says, “I think the greatest issue in terms of the workforce is ensuring that learners have that employability advantage, and also showing that they are well-rounded individuals for today’s society. I think this is crucial for producing that well rounded individual who has the literacy and numeracy skills and has that capacity to sell themselves to business and industry.” In order for the Somerset workforce to become as well equipped as possible, colleges, along with employers and other learning providers, must work together to become prepared we asked: What do you do to ensure your students are as ready as possible? Mark Bolton says, “I think that to make the very most of the potential in the businesses throughout Somerset, the business community, schools and colleges need to work more closely together to develop a long-term plan to deliver the skilled, knowledgeable and flexible workforce to help Somerset be more prosperous.” The college representatives were asked what they do to ensure their students are adequately prepared to embed themselves into the workforce, and Andy Berry, described their established ‘Bridgwater and Taunton College Advantage Scheme’, which launched six years ago, when Bridgwater College was still independent. “Our teachers instruct their students in the course qualification that they have chosen, but on top of that spend time working with them to develop skills fit to the workplace,

which gives them a real advantage of being employable. We have found that this makes the students more community minded, and offers transferable skills such as interviewing, problem solving, working independently.” Similarly, Dr. Paul Phillips says, “That comes partly from their course, but it comes more from the support services, tutorials, programmes, mentors, extra- curricular activities, work placement, action projects that they might do with the local community so that they leave us with the full package.” Agreeing with this is Katy Quinn of Strode College. She says that softer skills, including resilience, determination and commitment are crucial: “I see all of those qualities as coming hand in hand with maturity and experience – they are really hard things to teach.” Mark Bolton denotes that a crucial element of the preparation process is to understand what the market wants. “At Yeovil College, we have worked closely with almost 1,000 businesses to understand what they need from young people leaving education at 18 in a whole range of sectors. Our Employer Steering Groups, will further develop this year, where every one of our programmes for full or part-time learners is tested by the business community and includes what they tell us it should have and removes what they do not value.” Similarly, Dr. Paul Phillips says, “You often wouldn’t find us doing pure degrees in Mathematics, English or Humanities but you would find us doing degrees in subjects such as Graphic Design, where our graduates get snapped up very quickly. We have been very careful to offer courses that offers the demand of the region.” As part of our vision to support and grow a Somerset economy, we help to ensure our current workforce is aspirational, through the on-going development of their skills. With skills shortages in certain businesses and industries, particularly with Brexit incoming, we asked: What do you believe are the biggest skills gap over the next five years? Dr. Paul Phillips comments, “I think the biggest skills gap over the next five years are going to be in digital technologies, engineering, construction and certain aspects of the creative industries and health. We have been doing work with a


number of colleges and universities and looking at that digital agenda because it will intersperse most curriculum areas, particularly the high technology parts of the curriculum.” Mark Bolton agrees, stating that, “Digital skills in the broad workforce is an increasingly louder and more frequent conversation in almost all businesses. More businesses are utilising more and increasingly complex technology and this cuts across all sectors. I also believe that our engineering, food production, health, technology, professional business services and construction businesses have the greatest potential in making Somerset increasingly prosperous and productive and these are our main focus.” Katy Quinn comments, “We are wanting to make sure our curriculum, working with employers, is developing the right types technical expertise for the jobs they are looking for so if we take that whole arena of digital, creative and technology.” More commonly, apprenticeships are becoming a fundamental part of an employer’s strategy to improve the current workforce and attract new talent. According to GOV.UK, there are currently approximately over 250 types of apprenticeships, covering over 1,500 professions, spanning a wide range of businesses and industries. With this in mind, we asked: Do you feel the workplace understands apprenticeships? Dr. Paul Phillips says, “The very large employers seem to have caught on because they have seen the magnitude of the levy. Quite a few employers haven’t realised yet that an apprentice is not necessarily a new employee, it could be an existing employee that is being upskilled in the technologies that the employer wants and that has, I believe, been a bigger issue than actually catching onto the levy.” Likewise, Katy Quinn believes that, “Employers see the opportunities and talent of apprenticeships can be brought together for their benefit.” Apprenticeships are hugely flexible and offer many benefits to employers, including providing skilled future workers, tackling skills shortages and reducing recruitment costs, as well as bringing a fresh and positive approach to the workplace. Central to Somerset Chamber’s manifesto, we actively campaign to help grow the competitiveness of Somerset businesses by raising the profile of apprenticeships that encourage increased participation in quality training by businesses and recognising those who invest in their workforce. Andy Berry says, ‘In the last couple of years, businesses have made really successful use of the apprenticeship agenda, particularly with higher and degree level apprenticeships. Mark Bolton offers a reason for this, saying “I think that the national spotlight on apprenticeships through various government initiatives has also helped significantly to raise the profile and understanding.” Apprentices combine work with study for a work-based qualification, from GCSEs or equivalent to degree level. According to research from Santander UK, only 44% of 15-16 year olds are familiar with apprenticeships, with only 8% considering them an alternative to university. This suggests that many school leavers finish education without properly understanding the range of opportunities available to them we asked: What one thing would you advise a student when looking at apprenticeships? Katy Quinn says, “Apprenticeships are a way of increasing the readiness for the workplace. We must change the stigma that you only should do an apprenticeship if you are not academic. As I say to young people considering an apprenticeship, you have to be more committed, more mature, if you choose the apprenticeship route. At the end of the day it is a job.”



Dr. Paul Phillips comments, “I do think that apprenticeships give an excellent route for training, but you have to be sure that the young person is ready and understands fully what will be involved. They must be absolutely sure what that means; that it’s not a short cut. We find some students that are so geared to be employable, that they jump at the apprenticeship opportunity and do really well, but we also have others that see it as a shortcut to classroom study when that’s not the case; it is an alternative route.” Although it depends on the employer, anybody of any age can do an apprenticeship, as long as they are over 16. Mark Bolton comments, “I would challenge that apprenticeships are not just for students but anyone of any age looking to develop or start a new career. Whether you want to be an architect or a teacher, or anything in between, there are now apprenticeship routes to these careers.” To conclude, we asked the representatives: What is the most exciting development your college is introducing in the next 12 months? Andy Berry told us about Bridgwater and Taunton College’s strategy towards the development of higher and degree apprenticeships. “Supporting all of our current programmes from nuclear through to healthcare to develop those for young people to study, and employers to use their levy, to gain fantastic higherlevel qualifications at University Centre Somerset. Katy Quinn commented, “What we are doing here at Strode is realigning some of our curriculum, bringing together some of the traditional academic subjects and aligning that with our vocational courses. It’s about blending courses and expertise of staff, so we’ve got the staff that have the technical experience who have worked in industry and done the job, and then we’ve got the teachers who teach the more academic subjects. We are bringing that together so that the students are holistically educated and informed.” Weston College opened a University Centre last September. Dr. Paul Phillips says, “We were set a target of growing the provision by more than 5% a year, which defies national trends and the reality is we are way above in applications, better than anything we ever expected and it’s starting to see that vision of HE firmly in Weston-super-Mare. It’s not just HE in its traditional form, it’s the higher-level apprenticeships, the degree apprenticeships, bringing a wealth of work right into the centre of North Somerset.” We asked the same of Mark Bolton. “We are an innovative business in character so this is a tough one, but if I were to choose just one development, it would have to be the next step in our Employer Advisory Groups. The influence our business community will have over our provision will be immediate and ground breaking; if they say it should go in, it will, if they say it should come out, it will. I think that this will increasingly help prepare our Yeovil College students for employment, and combined with some radical changes to our curriculum, will build the knowledge and skills in our students to make their next steps increasingly about being very well prepared and ambitious for themselves and their community.” Developing the talents of the next generation, preparing young people for the world of work, investing the skills of those already in work, and nurturing the business leaders of tomorrow, are essential to the UK’s competitiveness echoed by Somerset businesses. It is clear that the colleges are working hard to produce quality learners for South West organisations. Its clear, strong links with businesses can only help. We would like to thank the representatives of all our Patron colleges for agreeing to share their views as a part of this piece.



Meet the Somerset Chamber team Name: Gracie Greenslade Department: Hinkley Supply Chain Job title: Advanced Business and Administration Apprentice How long have you worked for the Chamber, and what did you do before? I have worked at the Chamber for less than a year and started mid-August 2017 when I saw the exciting opportunity crop up of working on an ever-growing project whilst gaining a qualification at the same time. Before working at the Chamber, I was a student and a part time waitress for four years which was a very exciting and dynamic job. Describe your role in just two sentences. As an Advanced Business and Administration Apprentice, I am responsible for the moderation and maintenance of company portal registrations, whilst also assisting in the daily task that’s come our way. What do you like most about your job? I most like the day to day variety within the job. How would your colleagues describe you? Diligent, Funny and Flexible. What would people be surprised to know about you? In 2016 I was chosen to represent Great Britain’s equestrian team in the Youth World Cup in New South Wales, Australia.

Name: Ritchie Cridge Department: Membership Job title: Membership Manager How long have you worked for the Chamber, and what did you do before? I have worked at the Chamber since 27 November 2017. Before joining, I worked as a Recruitment Consultant for both the Oil & Gas and Construction markets. Describe your role in just two sentences. It is my job to gain and retain members. This is achieved by interacting frequently with as many members as possible to make sure they are getting the most from membership with the Somerset Chamber. What do you like most about your job? The best thing about my job is that I get to experience a taste of business life for a wide variety of businesses and organisations. From large corporates, to sole traders, schools & colleges, to charities – I get to be a part of the development process. I love a success story (no matter how big or small) and with my job comes success stories of all shapes and sizes. How would your colleagues describe you? Calm, focussed, analytical, punctual and approachable (and unafraid to give myself praise!). What would people be surprised to know about you? People are usually surprised to find out that I first got together with my girlfriend (now fiancée!) when I was 15 years old, back in 2007. We went to the same school, college, and university.


The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage - GOV.UK


Are you 25 or over? If you are a worker aged 25 and over, and not in your first year of an apprenticeship, you are legally entitled to at least the National Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. From 1 April 2018 this will go up to £7.83 per hour.

Are you under 25? If you are a worker aged under 25, or an apprentice, you are legally entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage.


25 & over

21 to 24

18 to 20

Under 18


1 April 2017 (current rate)

£7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50

From 1 April 2018

£7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70

It is illegal for your employer to pay you less than the National Minimum Wage, so check your pay and talk to your manager to make sure you’re getting what you are entitled to. Feel uncomfortable talking to your manager? Call the Acas helpline for confidential advice and support on 0300 1231100.

Are you an apprentice? If you are in your first year of your apprenticeship then you are legally entitled to at least the apprenticeship National Minimum Wage rate of £3.50 per hour. If you are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, then you are legally entitled to at least the National Minimum and Living Wage rates relevant to your age group.


25 & over

21 to 24

19 to 20


and completed the

and completed the

and completed the

In the first year of

first year of your

first year of your

first year of your

your apprenticeship




or under 19

1 April 2017 (current rate)

£7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £3.50

From 1 April 2018

£7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £3.70

Is your employer paying you properly?

Are you an employer?

Check whether any of these common payment questions could apply to you and make sure you’re not missing out. If you’re being underpaid, talk to your manager. If your employer owes you back pay, make sure you get what you’re owed.

Make sure you update your payroll so your employees get paid at least what they are legally entitled to.

• Do you receive tips as part of your pay? • Do you work overtime? • Is the cost of your work wear or tools deducted from your wages?

Even if you are paying your employees at or above the National Minimum or Living Wage, you could still be underpaying them. This can easily happen when an employer makes a mistake in calculating pay. If you discover you have been paying your employees below the correct minimum wage, you must pay any arrears immediately.

• Do you get paid for travel while you’re working? • Do you often start early, or leave late and are not paid for this time? • Did you have a birthday recently?

Think you are being underpaid? Register a confidential complaint with HMRC. Your details will not be shared with your employer. Not sure what your current hourly rate is? Use GOV’s calculator to check. Read more at https://checkyourpay.campaign.gov. uk/#sGjyQ9MVWVtzUeWf.99



Ladies Afternoon Tea

#WELLCONNECTED Heathrow Business Summit

p Nigel Milton, Heathrow; David Hall, Somerset County Council; Dale Edwards, Somerset Chamber of Commerce

p Ellie Berry-Roper, One Step Recruitment Ltd; Chloe Denning, One Step Recruitment Ltd

p Caroline Drew, Meridian Business Support; Lucy Wiltshire, Meridian Business Support; Loren Gray, Somerset Chamber of Commerce; Mrs Anne Maw, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset

p Lucy Partridge, Barclays Bank plc; p Martin Hall, HSS Hire; Darren Ballard, HSS Hire

Maria O’Sullivan, costgard ltd


Meet the Neighbours Lunch



Behind the Scenes at Screwfix

p George Cowcher, Devon Chamber of Commerce; Phil Wilson, Cornish Mutual; Derek Phillips, Exeter Chamber

p Jon Waring, Screwfix, Matt Smith, Screwfix; Andrew Ashby,

of Commerce; Pete Randerson, Cornish Mutual; Nick Bunting,

Screwfix; Alistair Tudor, Somerset Chamber of Commerce;

Cornish Mutual; Dale Edwards, Somerset Chamber of Commerce

Caroline Welsh, Screwfix; Susan Spence, Screwfix; Steve Henagulph, Screwfix

p David Mills, Yeovil Town Football Club; Kathryn Quinton, Clarke Willmott

p Linda Bennett-Smith, WPA Healthcare; Freya Dangerfield, Drive Creative Studio Ltd; Simon Farrow, Drive Creative Studio Ltd

TWEETS Ladies who lunch! I had an amazing time at the @chambersomerset ladies networking event in honour of #IWD2018 & I couldn’t resist a quick selfie with @Helen_Lacey from @RedBerryRec! #SCOCMember #Somerset @designhivetweet

@Somersethour I had a great afternoon with @chambersomerset #Ladies #Afternoontea at #CrowcombeCourt today, #InternationalWomenDay2018. Very timely and enjoyable event with great #networking and amazing speaker. Put faces to other #somersethour contributors too! @Costgard

p Nigel Reece, Cognique; Mark Hood, Battens Solicitors; Jon Beake, Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association

@chambersomerset Congratulations (and thanks) to @Screwfix and @chambersomerset for hosting & delivering a hugely interesting seminar today #scocScrewfix #business #Somerset – more events like this please... @ConiqueNigel

@chambersomerset have done a wonderful job in facilitating the SW Heathrow Business Summit @SomersetCCC good job! @SammyMac79

A very productive day at Heathrow Business Summit Southwest today. Many thanks to @ chambersomerset #HeathrowBizSummit @SITU_living_ltd


THE BIG INTERVIEW An Interview with… Richard Atkins CBE, Further Education Commissioner In this issue, we caught up with Richard Atkins CBE, Further Education Commissioner. Richard was a former Principal of Yeovil and Exeter College before retiring in 2016. Richard, his wife and family lived in South Petherton for over 20 years, before moving to his current home in Exeter. Richard divides his time between London, where he is located for work, and Exeter where he enjoys some down time. He is extremely passionate about delivering outstanding education to learners across the country as well as being a life-long supporter of Yeovil Town Football Club.

What did you want to be when you grew up? My first choice was to be a Policeman or like any other young boy growing up, I wanted to be a successful sportsman but unfortunately, I wasn’t talented enough!

What was your very first job?

You previously worked as Principal and Chief Executive of Exeter and Yeovil Colleges. How would you say the role of being Head of a FE college has changed over recent years? The first big change was just after I was appointed at Yeovil. Colleges were incorporated and taken out of local authorities control and became independent organisations like universities. The financial side and the property side were all handled by the local authority and my job was to primarily concentrate on the students and the teaching and learning. After 1993, I became more of a Chief Executive as well as a Principal. I was then responsible for the entire organisation, not only for the student’s achievement but for the budget, the balance sheet and the property portfolio. In 2010, there was a change in Ofsted, quality standards and the reductions in funding with the age of austerity, made the job more demanding again. It is a demanding role to run a Further Education (FE) college because you have a variety of different types of learning. The accountability measures have also changed. It is not just your Ofsted grade, it’s your financial out-turn at the end of the year, performance league tables and getting onto the apprenticeship register. There are many ways in which colleges are held to account and have to compete not just with other colleges but other training providers.

My first job was at Harrods where I worked in Sales. I clearly remember my first day. I worked in the floristry department sweeping up and as you can imagine it was quite a big job!

Tell us about what your current post entails I retired in 2016. My job title is the Further Education Commissioner. I am a ministerial appointment (not a civil servant). I am based in London during the week and I tend to be two days a week in the Department of Education in Westminster and then normally two days a week in colleges. I have a team of 16 professionals who are former Principals or Finance Directors of colleges and we intervene and support colleges, in particular those who are facing problems or challenges and have a very poor Ofsted or are financially inadequate. There are 280 colleges within my remit in England and inevitably a lot of them are doing well. 76% of them are rated Ofsted good or outstanding. My job is to try and identify the problems earlier, make sure any change or turn around is as smooth as possible for the learners involved and is as cost effective as possible for the tax payer. The South West region is the highest performing in my work. 96% of colleges in the South West are good or outstanding and all the colleges in Somerset are!



Upon taking up your current post in 2016, what progress has been made in developing quality educational platforms across England?

What would you identify as being the most common misconception that you come across in relation to further education?

We have improved the number of good or outstanding colleges from 66% to 76%. Although colleges are improving, they face some real challenges because schools and universities did not have the same funding cuts as colleges did. Funding for 16-18 hasn’t changed since 2010 and adult funding was cut 40%. It has been challenging which has led to a good number of mergers and some tough times for college leaders and governing bodies but it has been very encouraging to see the improvements in the last 12 months. I hope that our work, along with colleagues in Ofsted and the skills funding agency, we see the figure rise above 80% in the next 12-18 months because as a country, we need more people with higher level skills particularly with Brexit and I think that colleges have a vital role to play in that.

People not understanding the complexity of the sector and how different it is to both schools and universities. I think the general public are far more familiar with them and that is the message they get through politics and the media. Most people will know about universities, A Levels, schools, GCSEs but they are not so familiar with colleges. Colleges are closer to business, they have lots of different types of learners of all different ages and different modes of study. They are complex to run and I find I often have to explain that in a lot detail to people I come across in the FE sector for the first time who often think they are either big schools or small universities when actually they are distinctly different. It takes some time to become familiar with all the ins and outs of it.

What has been your most important lesson learned during the course of your career? First of all, it’s all about people. Especially in this job I’m in now, it’s all about people, leadership and governance. Secondly, knowing when humility is needed, and knowing when to listen and learn. I am learning all the time in this job even though I have been around a while and I think it is important to remember in all stages of your career that there are times when you need to listen and learn.

What is the most rewarding part of your role as the FE Commissioner? Without a doubt, seeing individual colleges turned around. We have had some real successes. I won’t pretend that every college is an immediate success but we have had some colleges where we have been able to work with the college to change some of the governs and leadership and bring in fresh people with a fresh business and curriculum recovery plan. In some cases, we have seen colleges improve very quickly. Last year I had some colleges that were rated Ofsted inadequate, jumped two grades in 12-18 months. Also, with a county like Somerset, colleges not only compete but they need to work together at times. I think the funding outlook remains pretty tough and not all of the colleges that are completely independent and completely with the others will be able to do that.

What do you see as being the greatest barrier to meeting educational needs in this current climate? Education can always benefit from more funding. As my role as FE Commissioner, I have to make the most out of the funding we have. I think the greatest barrier would be having enough good leaders. The real challenge is to develop good succession planning and ensure we have good leaders in schools and colleges in the future because they are likely to run larger, more complex institutions going forward and the calibre of leaders required is going to be very high and demanding.

What do you love the most about living in the South West? The quality of life, the access to some of the most outstanding scenery in the country and the people are very friendly! The South West is easily accessible with the airport and the rail links.

Do you have any hidden hobbies or talents? When I get a bit of down time, I like to spend time with my family. Whilst in London, I like to visit the Royal Academy and Tate Modern. I am a National Trust member and I swim regularly. When I am at home in Exeter, I like to cycle the trail down to Exmouth and back up the other side of the estuary.

What do you see as being the biggest challenge of working in a central government environment? Understanding the complexity of politics. Politics and policy are completely interwoven. Delivering a public agenda is complex and there are several civil servants and policies. I am used to running an organisation much smaller than this, and it was easier to pull a lever and something would happen but here in government, it’s more complex than that. On the other hand, it is very rewarding doing work that is of public value and seeing the huge number of people who benefit from our work.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Don’t act too in haste. Stop, think and reflect before you make the decision.



Prospect of Artificial Intelligence of limited concern for UK SMEs The majority of the UK’s SMEs are largely unconcerned about the prospect of artificial intelligence (AI), with the potential of improved productivity seen as a potential major benefit, according to research from Close Brothers Asset Finance.

Technology spend

that AI is either going to improve productivity or that it’s too far in the future to be worried about.

Most SMEs (61%) are comfortable that their technology is up-to-date, with 22% admitting that it is not, while the remaining 17% are ‘unsure’.

“The remaining 35% are more apprehensive, citing ethical concerns and the threat to jobs as their reasons for not being advocates of AI.”

“With cashflow a constant concern for businesses, investing in technology is a key decision,” said Neil. “Firm owners understand that employee expectations are rising and that technology can provide competitive advantage; however, this comes at a cost.

Q.14e Does the prospect of artificial intelligence concern you? Yes, because it will take jobs 13% Yes, because it opens up a number of ethical issues


No, because it is likely to improve productivity


No, because I think it’s still too far in the future to worry about


“28% of SMEs update their technology every two years, while 23% do this annually. 6% of companies never invest.” Laptops and desktop computers – combined – account for nearly half of companies’ technology spend, with software third at 18%.

Technology and its role in improving productivity

Q: What is your business’s biggest technology spend?

When asked the question ‘do you think better technology leads to more productivity?’, over half (51%) of SMEs believe better technology will result in more productivity with only 25% saying no; the rest are undecided.

Phones 13% Laptops 25% Desktop PCs 24% Software 18% Don’t know 22%

Regionally, Northern Ireland (64%), London (63%) and Wales (62%) were particularly positive, while in businesses with a turnover greater than £10m, this rises even further to 70%.

The results were obtained from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that questions over close to 1,000 UK and RoI SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions. “The potential impact of the rise of artificial intelligence and the so-called fourth industrial revolution have been discussed and debated for some time now,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “What our survey tells is that 65% of firms feel

Q: On average, how regularly do you upgrade your business’ technology? Annually 23% Every 2 years 28% Every 5 years 18% Every 10 years 2% Never 6% Don’t know 23%

The sector perspective: Do you think better technology leads to more productivity?






















Not sure







For more news from Close Brothers Asset Finance please visit www.closeassetfinance.co.uk/industry-insights




Young Enterprise helps to develop employability skills in young people Young Enterprise is a not-for-profit business and enterprise education charity that supports young people to develop the employability skills that employers demand, by delivering enterprise and financial education programmes in schools, colleges and universities. The charity makes the connection between school and the world of work, enabling young people to develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed. Young Enterprise runs a ‘company programme’ where young people make all the decisions, from deciding on the company name and product, to creating a business plan, managing the finances and selling their products at trade fairs. On Saturday 10 March 2018, a group of young people from Richard Huish College and Taunton School both had market stalls in the Orchard Centre. Tracey Prosser, Young Enterprise Area Manager, commented ”The Orchard Centre and their staff were amazing in giving the young students both the time and space right in the heart of Taunton. The staff were great in checking the students had everything they needed. The customers of Taunton purchased goods from both Richard Huish College and Taunton School and in doing so gave the students a great chance to talk about what they were doing and why.

Local firm announces staff expansion Plymouth based SSG Training and Consultancy have had a great start to 2018 with five new members joining their head office team. Strong demand for SSG’s health and safety training and consultancy services has fuelled the recruitment drive across all areas of the business. SSG has seen recent company growth adding over 200 new clients in 2017 and the opening of new training centres including their latest centre in Worcester. The company has plans to expand geographical coverage further throughout 2018 and into 2019. The new team members have been appointed to ensure that the company can continue to provide a high level of customer service and support throughout the business. Paul Simmonds, who has joined in the position of Trainer/Advisor, has many years’ experience in health and safety leadership as a senior contracts manager in the construction sector. Matt Maclean has joined as Head of Sales and Customer Service, bringing with him a reputation for excellence in customer relationship management with companies based throughout the region. Jade Stokes joins our Customer Service and Sales team having spent time in the leisure industry, Salman Charania has taken the position of Finance Administrator and has left a previous role with a national bank and Stacey Arnold has joined as Resource Management Administrator having had many years’ experience in this area. The new team members are a welcome addition to the 50 strong team at SSG, and adds to the six team members who joined in 2017. SSG are enjoying a period of solid growth and look forward to continuing to improve the range of services offered to help them in fulfilling their purpose ‘to inspire people and businesses to work safely and sustainably’.

Richard Huish College had beautiful handmade phone covers and Taunton School were supporting a social enterprise for the homeless.” Alistair Tudor, Head of Chamber Services at the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said “Its great to see charity and education members working together.” Tracey Prosser, added ”A big thank you to the Orchard Centre for all your help and we are looking forward to working with Clarks Village at the end of April.”



Local businessman recognised for contribution to customer satisfaction The country’s professional body for customer satisfaction has given its Strategic Leadership Award to Taunton businessman Jeremy Hyams. Jeremy is CEO of Claims Consortium Group, which provides property claims handling services for insurance businesses across the UK. He was announced as winner of the flagship award at the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Awards 2018 at a packed Hilton Park Lane in London last night (6 March). Jeremy Hyams, CEO at Claims Consortium Group, said: “I am truly amazed to have received this award, but as a leader I know that the award belongs to far more people than just me. My team of staff and partner organisations have embraced my desire to put customers at the heart of our business, and it is humbling to have their achievements recognised at the highest level.”

“The awards are judged by an independent panel of customer service experts which makes this even more special.” The awards are seen as the UK’s most authoritative customer service event, and Claims Consortium was also shortlisted in two other awards on the night. This is their second award in a row, having won the UK Customer Satisfaction Innovation award in 2017. Claims Consortium was also announced in the top 100 midsized employers in the Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For list in February, for the second year running.

Yeovil Opportunity Group benefits from funding Yeovil Opportunity Group (YOG), who provide specialist care to pre-school children with additional needs and their families, have recently been awarded a £3,000 grant from Somerset Community Foundation - which includes a contribution from Hidden Needs Trust (HNT).

From left: Rachel Goodfellow, Kim Duller and Sue Wheeler at the cheque presentation at Yeovil Opportunity Group.

Rachel Goodfellow, founder and fundraiser at HNT, said: “Hidden Needs Trust was set up to raise awareness of the vital work that the Opportunity Groups in Somerset and Dorset provide, and we are delighted to have donated money towards Yeovil Opportunity Group’s latest bid for funding.” Rachel continues: “One of our next big fundraisers is a marathon with a difference! I’ll be undertaking it in a specially modified sports wheelchair, for which I’m currently seeking sponsorship. I’m also delighted that Ebony Court, who went to Yeovil Opportunity From left: Rachel Goodfellow and Ebony Court in their sports wheelchairs.

Group as a child and is now a sprint wheelchair para-athlete, will be accompanying me on the race, which is taking place at Sherborne Summer Festival on Saturday 16 June.” Grant funding supports most of the running costs at the four Opportunity Groups, which are located in Yeovil, Taunton, Dorchester and Blandford Forum, and the groups rely heavily on donations and fundraising so that they can continue to provide their unique service to children and their parents. Rachel Goodfellow goes on to say: “I have also written my first book, ‘The Adventures of Y’, which is a fun collection of tales about my autistic daughter and the challenges we face as a family. This will be ready to go into book format later this year, once the illustrations are complete. We’re currently seeking a publisher, so that we can continue to raise more funds for the Opportunity Groups – if anyone can help, please do get in touch!” For more information about the fundraising Hidden Needs Trust has planned, or to help with sponsorship for the sports wheelchair or finding a publisher for Rachel’s book, you can visit their website: www.hiddenneedstrust.org If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk



Old Mill and trainee Lloyd Bazley both make finals of Somerset Apprenticeship Awards Old Mill accountants and financial planners and one of the firm’s trainees have both made it through to the finals of the Somerset Apprenticeship Awards 2018. Old Mill has been nominated in the large employer category, while Lloyd Bazley, who is an IT trainee in Yeovil, is named in the individual category. Having joined Old Mill in the summer of 2016, Lloyd Bazley had previously studied an NVQ Level 3 in IT at Yeovil College. Lloyd had to submit an application of his own to be considered for the award. This covered his role and duties in the workplace and how the trainee scheme has benefitted him on a personal and professional level. It also required him to recognise his contributions to the organisation and involved a referee recommendation. Ian Carlson, Managing Director at Old Mill said: “Old Mill is an IT intensive business, so the team needs to work effectively together. Lloyd had no IT experience when he joined Old Mill, but has absolutely thrown himself into the role to become a valued member of the team. He has a very positive reputation in the business as someone that is willing to help, always with a smile on his face! This approach has been shown in his study too.” Trainees like Lloyd are a hugely important part of the business; currently a quarter of the people at Old Mill are trainees who are onto their second or third professional qualification, supported and funded by Old Mill. “This highlights that if they have the drive, we can give them the tools to succeed with a supportive culture and real-life experience from the very beginning of their career,” said Ian. “At Old Mill, we believe that Trainees are the key to our success and help to build the important talent pipeline for the business.

It is for that reason that Old Mill continues to invest heavily in its training and development offering year after year.” Ian explains: “We are therefore delighted that not only has Lloyd made it to the finals of the awards, but that we as a business have too. It shows not only how hard our individual trainees work, but also shows the calibre of training we provide here at Old Mill.” Lloyd adds: “I feel very proud and excited that all my hard work over the last two years has been recognised. I believe I work very hard within my team and tackle any situation to the best of my ability.” The entrants were whittled down to 30 finalists, and there will be 10 winners and one champion of the year. Lloyd explains “I think that doing an apprenticeship is a great way to learn because you can achieve a nationally recognised qualification and have no debt at the end of it. At Old Mill I have had a lot of support and guidance throughout my time as an apprentice, which has helped me to become an essential part of the team. I feel with an apprenticeship you are able to progress through the company and get real, practical work experience.”“Choosing an apprenticeship with Old Mill was down to my interest in IT and them needing an IT Apprentice; it was the perfect opportunity to start my career and it turns out it was the best decision I have made.”

South West law firm Clarke Willmott hosts business lunch A leading South West law firm has hosted a business networking lunch to bring together professionals from across Somerset and celebrate business success in Bridgwater. Clarke Willmott LLP, which has an office in Taunton, joined forces with Bridgwater Rugby Club and the Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce, to host the event aimed at helping local businesses and individuals build new relationships and network with existing contacts. The event comes after the successful inaugural lunch was held last year and this time saw over 60 delegates attending and enjoying a complimentary lunch at Bridgwater Rugby Club.

Kate Gardner, Head of Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office, said: “At Clarke Willmott we feel there is a lot of untapped business potential in Bridgwater and so we are looking for ways to collaborate with businesses and build client relationships there, as well as in the wider Somerset area. “Clarke Willmott was founded in Taunton over 100 years ago, and even though we are now a national firm, we have our roots firmly in Somerset and we’re committed to celebrating and promoting business achievements in the region. “The second Bridgwater Business Lunch was a great success and it’s excellent to see that it has grown in popularity since the first event in 2017.


We were delighted to receive such strong support from the local businesses and professionals who attended.”



Royal Honour for Weston College Weston College has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, one of only two Further Education colleges in the country to be awarded this prestigious honour this year. The award comes just weeks after Weston College took home two Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Beacon Awards for Widening Participation and Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities at the AoC National Conference. The Queen’s Award is one of the College’s most impressive achievements since it embarked on its 16-year transformation under the leadership of Dr. Paul Phillips CBE in 2001. Judges commended the College’s facilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), in particular the increased independence, the high retention rate of learners with SEND, the number of students with SEND who move on to meaningful destinations, and the impact that this has on the local community. The judges noted that the level of investment in the College’s facilities for SEND would not be possible without the sustained period of growth seen by the College under the leadership of Dr Phillips. Weston College is widely regarded as one of the Further Education sector’s greatest success stories. At the beginning of the 21st century, the College was in a poor financial position with a small curriculum and unremarkable outcomes for its students. When Dr. Phillips was appointed Principal and Chief Executive, he began the long process of investment, staff development and restructuring to turn around the College’s fortunes. In just over 16 years, the College’s

outlook has been completely reversed and is now one of the most respected in the country, being named both ‘College of the Year’ and ‘Overall Training Provider of the Year’ at the 2015 Times Educational Supplement Further Education Awards. Dr. Phillips, said, “This award recognises the massive transition that has occurred at Weston College. In particular, it acknowledges the close attention that has been given to make sure that every learner in the College has the same level of teaching and support, and the same chances of successfully progressing towards their goals. “When I think back to 2001, the most striking difference is the ethos that has grown within the College of putting the learner first and at the heart of what we do. At Weston College it does not matter who you are, your background, or what you study, the opportunity to access high-quality teaching and support, as well as incredible facilities, is the same. “The ethos of ‘creating brighter futures’ is more than just a slogan, it is a mission statement that applies to all of the young people and adults that we teach.”

Jude Ferguson, Chair of Corporation, said, “I am delighted to see the College recognised with such a prestigious award, particularly in the field of inclusive learning.” The Prizes are part of the honours system and are awarded every two years by The Queen on the Prime Minister’s advice. UK universities and colleges were invited in October 2016 to submit entries on any aspect of their work for assessment against the scheme’s criteria of excellence, innovation and practical benefit, to the institution itself and UK education, and to the UK economy and society and for public benefit in general. The Trust, charged by the Palace and the Cabinet Office with the administration of the scheme since its inception in 1994, undertook a process of independent assessment leading to recommendations by the Trust’s Awards Council in September this year. Sir Damon Buffini, Chairman of the Royal Anniversary Trust, said, “The focus of the Prizes on innovation and practical benefit to people and society is a great incentive to our universities and colleges to think critically about the direction of their work and its application and relevance in today’s world.”




Top Promotions Awarded at Battens Battens Solicitors has applauded the work of Sally Manning and Hollie Knapman by awarding them key promotions.

Local law firm Pardoes gets creative with New Head Of Communications and Marketing

Sally Manning, who has worked in the Private Client department of Battens for more than 15 years and has been heavily involved in building the firm’s presence in and around Castle Cary, has been promoted to Associate. “I started my career here with an English degree and have studied hard to get where I am today,” said Sally. “Battens has been incredibly supportive throughout my time here and my promotion officially recognises my diligent approach and my long standing commitment to the firm.

Sally Manning

“Being invited to become Associate just as we open our permanent branch in Castle Cary is a fitting recognition of that work.” Hollie Knapman has been with Battens’ Family team since 2008; her promotion to Senior Associate Solicitor will see her work more closely with the department head, and become more intrinsically involved in the team’s management.

Hollie Knapman

Hollie said: “I have worked for Battens for almost 10 years now and the culture is very much one where hard work is rewarded. I am delighted that my commitment has been recognised and acknowledged through my promotion.”

Red Berry MD Featured in Top 50 South West Entrepreneurs list

Helen Noel, who has over twenty five years experience in the design, publishing and communications industries has joined rapidly expanding local firm Pardoes Solicitors as the new Head of Communications & Marketing. Helen founded design consultancy Perfect World Communications in 2001, rebranding as Brand+Soul in 2014. She works with lifestyle brands and non-profit organisations to help drive business performance through effective creative campaigns, including This Works, ESPA and local firm Kettlewell, as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Royal British Legion.

chosen people who are all risk takers, wealth creators and in the magazine’s own words “trailblazers”. Helen is accompanied on the list by the great and the good of business from across the region. The list includes key figures from wellknown businesses such as Superdry, Pieminister, and Lovehoney as well as celebrity entrepreneurs such as Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden.

Managing Director of Red Berry Recruitment, Helen Lacey, has been named in Business Leader Magazine’s Top 50 South-West Entrepreneur list. Helen is one of only three women who have made the prestigious list – something that is a real achievement for the Somerset Businesswoman. For the feature “50 Business Leader Trailblazers” Business Leader magazine selected 50 business people who have had a positive impact on the South West economy in their respective sectors. The magazine has

Helen said: “It was a genuine surprise to receive the email from Business Leader Magazine telling me I had made the list of their top 50 SouthWest Entrepreneurs! I am extremely honoured to be featured especially alongside Deborah Meaden – a woman that I really admire and is an inspiration to me. It is even more special to be one of only three woman who have made the top 50. Thank you so much for the honour – I am really proud.” To see the full list the latest edition of Business Leader Magazine is available now online and in print.

Helen Noel commented: “I’m delighted to join the Pardoes team and excited to develop new initiatives that strengthen their brand and champion their collective expertise, with a firm focus on their roots in our local community.”

32 Somerset Cricket players visit Selworthy School Somerset County Cricket Club are delighted to be able to announce their hugely successful education partnership with Selworthy School will continue in 2018. Selworthy School is a co-educational special school for children and young people with learning disabilities aged 4 – 19. Last year the two organisations worked together to deliver a four-part programme designed to benefit the children at the school and this will be run again this year. To mark the return of the programme, George Bartlett, Tim Rouse, Ben Green and Ollie Sale visited the school and spent the day with the learners.

and Ollie really bought in to what we are trying to achieve and were a real credit to the Club. They really engaged with the children and enthusiastically took part in every element of the day. The Club can be really proud of them and what they achieved on the day.” Over the course of the year, the programme will cover: • Healthy eating – Somerset players visited the school and helped to cook lunch.

In the morning the players helped a number of the students cook lunch for their classmates before joining their new friends in the dining hall.

• Numeracy – Somerset players will visit the school and help to deliver a cricket themed maths session.

Following a tour of the school, which involved visiting a number of class rooms, the four Somerset players helped a class with their reading.

• Literacy – Students will visit the Cooper Associates County Ground and have a tour. This will be followed by a mock press conference. The students will then spend the afternoon in a hospitality suite writing a report of their day.

In the afternoon it was back to the kitchen as they helped the children make cakes for a bake sale in aid of CLIC Sargent. The day was finished off with choir and assembly which saw George, Tim, Ben and Ollie taking an active role in the singing and signing of songs with the help of several children. The four players thoroughly enjoyed the day and Tim said: “It was a great experience. It was really good to meet so many of the kids and to get to know them a bit. They seemed to enjoy the activities and it was great to be able to put a smile on their faces. It was good fun and I’m glad that I was able to do it.” Ollie also enjoyed the visit. “It was an amazing day,” he said. “It was an eye-opening experience and I really enjoyed meeting all the students and staff. A lot of people put in a lot of time and dedication so that these kids can be as happy as they are. It was really enjoyable and it was great to be involved.”

• Physical activity – Students will visit the Cooper Associates County Ground and have fun training sessions in the indoor Centre of Excellence For more information on Selworthy School please visit www. selworthy.somerset.sch.uk or www.somersetcountycc.co.uk

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Mark Ruffett, Headteacher from Selworthy School said, “It is always wonderful to welcome Somerset County Cricket Club to school. The players quickly built a rapport with our learners and learnt that cooking is not a clean and tidy activity!” Regarding the project as a whole, Spencer Bishop, SCCC’s Media and Community Executive, said: “Last year’s partnership with Selworthy School proved to be a real success for both the school and the Club. It was of genuine benefit to both the students and our players. “Given the success of the programme last year there was never any doubt as to whether we would repeat it again this year. “The recent visit was extremely enjoyable and once again the learners and our players had a great time. Ben, Tim, George

AND NOV 2017


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Source: BAD News (Business Advisers News)

Government urged to improve governance of LEPs

Changes to business rates revaluations announced

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned the Government that it must “get its act together” and improve the governance of LEPs (local enterprise partnerships). The warning follows the publication of a PAC report which revealed that some LEPs are failing to meet adequate accountability and transparency standards. In response, the PAC has called for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to introduce the recommendations of the Mary Ney review. The review outlines measures to improve the governance of LEPs, such as subjecting all LEP decisions to scrutiny arrangements and strengthening conflicts of interest policy.

The Chancellor’s Spring Statement 2018 has confirmed that business rates revaluations will take place every three years from 2021. In addition, the next revaluation of business rates will be brought forward by 12 months from 2022 to 2021. Currently, business rates revaluations take place every five years. More frequent valuations will mean that rate payers will face less significant business rates rises after each revaluation. The Chancellor has also announced that plans requiring business owners to self-asses the value of their property for business rates have been scrapped, and that the Valuation Office will continue to value premises.

For further information, go to: http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2018/03/ government-told-get-its-act-together-over-leps

Consultation on governance rules for company insolvencies

For further information, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/businessrates-delivering-more-frequent-revaluations

Treasury explores impact of cash on tax evasion

The Department for Business and the Insolvency Service have opened a consultation into proposals to improve corporate governance rules for companies that are in or entering insolvency. The proposals are intended to crack down on directors and employers who behave irresponsibly. For example, they would empower the Insolvency Service to claw back money from directors who have asset stripped a company immediately prior to insolvency and to disqualify directors who have sold a company knowing that it would fail. Responses will be accepted until 11 June 2018.

HM Treasury has launched a consultation on the role of cash and digital payments in the economy. The consultation is asking for feedback about the impact of the growth of digital payments on the economy, as well the role of cash in facilitating tax evasion and money laundering. The consultation is seeking feedback about how cash contributes to the tax gap due to business owners using it to hide their taxable income. It also explores the impact of cash on unintentional tax evasion, for example due to business taxpayers keeping inaccurate records about cash transactions. The consultation closes on 5 June 2018.

Read more about the consultation at:

For further information, go to:



Farmers urged to use tax relief for energy-efficient machinery The National Farmers’ Union is urging farmers across the UK to make better use of the Energy Technology List (ELT) scheme. The scheme provides tax reliefs to encourage farmers to purchase energy-efficient machinery. The Department for Business has published updated guidance about the equipment which qualifies for full tax relief through the scheme. For further information about the ETL scheme, go to: http://www.fwi.co.uk/business/energy-experts-urgefarmers-to-use-tax-breaks-to-buy-kit.htm

Inquiry into illicit trade in the UK A cross-party group of MPs have launched an inquiry into the impact of illicit trade in the UK. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Illicit Trade will explore the main causes of illicit trade, its impact on business and consumers, and whether the Government is doing enough to tackle the issue. In addition, it is seeking feedback from business and consumer groups about the impact of illicit trade on the UK economy. Following the inquiry, the group will publish a report to outline recommendations to Government to improve the UK’s approach to addressing illicit trade. For further information, go to: https://www.talkingretail.com/news/industry-news/mpslaunch-inquiry-illicit-trade-08-03-2018/




Somer Valley Town Chamber News Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce is continuing its core work in the community and supporting businesses through the challenges that have faced the region during the first quarter. So far this year, many members have seen difficulties with struggling high streets and weather disruption, as well as changes to business practices. With the changes being made to data protection, we have been working hard to ensure local businesses and members are fully aware of these changes and to ensure that they are compliant. As GDPR comes into effect on 25th May this year, we have strived to make sure that all companies in our area have been supported through this transition. To this end, we held a free to attend seminar with a leading industry consultant to allow businesses to ask any questions, as well as providing an overview of the GDPR changes, and which cyber schemes are available to keep businesses and their customers safe online. Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce has been working to guarantee broadband for the whole community through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which would enable businesses to receive the fastest and most reliable speeds available. Many companies, especially in the Midsomer Norton area and the surrounding villages, have

had to relocate or close completely because of inadequate broadband coverage. This voucher scheme, which is supported by the Chamber, aims to give businesses the opportunity to upgrade their broadband connection, which will make life easier for them and hopefully keep them in the Somer Valley area. This is something we’ll be focussing on over the coming months.

In the next quarter, we plan to continue our work in the community by arranging a number of networking events, as well as continuing our work with the broadband scheme. To keep up to date, visit www.somervalleychamber.co.uk

Affiliate Town Chambers & Business Associations Axbridge Chamber of Commerce T: 01934 733078 | E: mike.sartain@hale-events.ltd.uk www.axbridgechamber.co.uk

Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce T: 07530 042627 | E: plenty.jon@gmail.com www.somervalleychamber.com

Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce T: 01278 228004 | E: talk@bridgwaterchamber.org.uk www.bridgwaterchamber.org.uk

Taunton Chamber of Commerce T: 01823 230898 | E: office@taunton-chamber.co.uk www.taunton-chamber.co.uk

Bruton Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 813291 | E: brutonchamber@gmail.com www.brutonchamber.org

Wells Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 685236 | E: info@wellschamberofcommerce.co.uk www.wellschamberofcommerce.co.uk

Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Trade & Commerce T: 01278 238959 | E: deryk@kds-interiors.co.uk www.burnhamonseachamber.org

Wincanton Businesses Together T: 01963 34327 | E: john@wincantonbusiness.co.uk www.wincantonbusiness.co.uk

Cheddar Chamber of Commerce & Industry T: 01934 742326 | E: mike@lanesofcheddar.co.uk www.cheddartradersassociation.co.uk

Wiveliscombe & 10 Parish Business Group T: 01984 684777 | E: secinfo@10pbg.co.uk www.10pbg.co.uk

Frome Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 342255 | E: president@fromechamber.com www.fromechamber.com Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce T: 01458 835678 | E: office@glastonburychamber.co.uk www.glastonburychamber.co.uk Levels’ Best Community Interest Company T: 01935 851280 | E: enquiries@levelsbest.co.uk www.levelsbest.co.uk Shepton Mallet & District Chamber T: 01749 681413 | E: alanpaulstone@gmail.com www.shepton.biz

Somerset Chamber Affiliate Board Member, Nigel Pearce, is the primary contact for all Town Chamber dealings. Nigel would be very pleased to hear from any representatives with views they would like to express. He can be contacted at: nigel.pearce@pearcepractice.co.uk


Somerset Chamber believes that networking is key to helping you grow and promote your business. We offer the opportunity to develop your personal connections while learning about topics important to your business. Here’s a summary of our events from last year‌

Profile for Somerset Chamber of Commerce

Somerset Voice - April/May 2018  

Somerset Voice - April/May 2018