The Donna Louise is looking for supporters to take part in this summer’s RIDE LONDON cycling challenge.

On Sunday 4th August, you can take to the streets of London and Surrey and take part in one of the country’s largest bike rides – Prudential Ride London – Surrey.

Zoe Gregory, Event Manager at The Donna Louise, explained; “Places are very sought after and we’re lucky to have two places in the 100-mile challenge and five places in the 46-mile challenge.

“It promises to be a great event and we’re really pleased to have secured these places. We’re now looking for keen cyclists to take on the challenge and raise money for the children and young people, with life-limiting conditions, who rely on The Donna Louise.”

This is the first time that The Donna Louise has secured places in this prominent cycling event, and the hospice is now looking for cyclists to take on the challenge. Registration is £50, with an expectation that participants will raise at least £250 sponsorship.

For more information, or to register your place, contact or call 01782 654444.

The leader of a creative industries hub in Staffordshire is demanding greater recognition for the region’s thriving screen sector.

Peter Rudge, Chairman of moving image cluster Platform, has been invited to address industry leaders in London.

He will use the event, hosted by the British Screen Advisory Council, to call for increased support for the growing number of film, TV, games and animation businesses in the county.

Peter said: “The creative and digital sector as a whole is very strong across the UK, but many of the key industry bodies, and indeed the government, have been focusing support on the biggest metropolitan areas such as London, Manchester and Birmingham.

“Businesses in smaller cities and regions have struggled to attract funding as a result – and that has created a major challenge.

“The fact is the screen industries sector in Staffordshire has grown into something truly substantial and it’s about time that was recognised at a national level.”

Mr Rudge will deliver a presentation to senior figures including BBC and ITV executives, film company and studio bosses as well as MPs and business leaders, at a meeting of the Future Leaders Forum on Wednesday 13th March.

He’ll also take part in a round-table discussion at the event held at the Facebook offices in London’s Brook Street.

The British Screen Advisory Council is a membership organisation which promotes the interests of audio-visual and interactive entertainment industry across the UK.

Pete Johnson, Chief Executive, said: “One of our aims is to help develop the screen sectors in regions outside the biggest cities, so the work of Platform – and other organisations like it – is a topic of particular interest.

“Our Future Leaders Forum is a panel featuring a cross section of rising stars from across the screen sectors, so it will be great for them to hear first-hand about the growing screen sector in North Staffordshire and the challenges faced by businesses in that region.”

Film Producer, Mr Rudge, revealed his participation in the forum was born from a recent initiative to raise the profile of Platform and gather potential support for more than 160 businesses in the area.

He added: “The screen industries sector in Staffordshire is very strong and it’s Platform’s role to drive the development of that economy and increase both its value and levels of collaborative innovation.

“I’ve been holding a series of meetings with key industry organisations, MPs and creative leaders and it’s been a really positive exercise. There’s a lot of support for what’s happening here and I’ve opened several doors that could lead to significant developments in the near future.”

Hanley Economic Building Society has been awarded 3-star accreditation from Best Companies and has been identified as one of the UK’s best small companies to work for in 2019 by the Sunday Times.

On Wednesday 20th February 2019, team members headed to a black tie dinner in London with fellow small companies and not-for-profits to collect the award and to toast the fantastic achievement.

A coveted award nationally, the 3-star accreditation from Best Companies displays an organisations’ employees are truly engaged, “they’re happier, more productive and more invested in your organisation’s success” and shows an exceptional standard of workplace engagement.

Consistently appearing in the Best Companies list, the Society clearly displays an ongoing commitment to colleagues. Mark Selby, CEO of Hanley Economic Society said; “As a CEO it’s deeply important to me to create a great place to work. People forget the numbers but remember what it’s like to work with you. We’ve tried to create an environment where people feel valued and supported by their colleagues, paid fairly and invested in”.

The Society also encourages staff to give back to the community by offering up to 4 of their working days to volunteer for local charitable courses, supports their future by offering an enhanced pension scheme and everyone receives their birthday off.

HCL is delighted to announce the appointment of the first three key team members in its expansion plans.

Rich Urwin has joined as Creative Director to head up the agency’s concept creation and design services. Also joining is Luke Brookes as Digital Designer and Joe Ciavucco as Web Developer. Having previously worked at the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi, they have a wealth of experience between them working on high-profile projects, creating innovative and distinctive work. HCL is now in an ideal position to expand its offering to both new and existing clients.

The appointments come soon after the acquisition of HCL Marketing (Harrison Carloss Ltd.), Staffordshire’s longest running marketing communications company, by MyCleverGroup based on Festival Park in its 20,000 sq ft HQ.
HCL is a full-service creative marketing agency whose team has produced a string of highly successful campaigns and digital assets for a long list of well-known global, national and regional brands.

The agency offers a complete range of marketing services including web design, digital marketing, branding and marketing strategy, email marketing and direct mail, advertising, design for print and print management.

Gareth Mobley, CEO of MCG, commented: “We are very excited to welcome Rich, Luke and Joe to the team. They are a great fit for our culture here at MCG. This is just the beginning of MyCleverGroup’s recruitment process and ongoing investment in the agency to cement its place as a sector leader in the area and beyond. We’re building on HCL’s long-standing foundations as we continue to grow our in-house capabilites, increasing the focus on world-class digital, app development, data analytics and cloud-based software systems. Our mission at HCL is to offer our clients a truly first-class service to go along with the highest levels of creativity and digital innovation.”

More than 50 guests joined Hunter Heywood’s co-founders to celebrate the launch of the business.

Complete with music from local musician, Sam Austin, and photography from Stafford-based So Visual, the evening impressed local business leader and MD of NetBiz Group, Ryan Yates.

“It was a pleasure to be invited to attend the official launch of Hunter Heywood and it was a great success,” said Yates. “It’s fantastic to see another new business launching locally, especially one which has integrity and strives to build strong and transparent relationships with their clients.”

Co-founder, Ashley Heywood was also left impressed by the “astounding support from local business leaders” who arrived steadily throughout the evening.

“Hosting an event like this one is new territory for us, so it was incredible to see so many representatives of local business join us to celebrate the launch,” said Heywood. “We are committed to building relationships with local businesses and it was great to be able to introduce ourselves and our services at such an enjoyable and vibrant event.”

A partnership between Stoke-on-Trent College and Well Pharmacy has seen 18 apprenticeships created as part of the company’s expansion and the launch of its online pharmacy.

Well Pharmacy is the third largest pharmacy chain in the UK and its warehousing and distribution headquarters in Meir Park has over 340 employees. Apprentices at the site include five pharmacy technician apprentices, two supply chain apprentices and 11 warehousing and storage apprentices.

The ongoing expansion comes after more than 33,000 customers signed up to the company’s new online NHS prescription service. The app takes the hassle out of prescriptions, allowing customers to order their medication straight to their door, for free. The new apprenticeships are key to the new service, ensuring that existing staff are qualified to a high level.

Katy Chesters, Business Development Associate at Stoke-on-Trent College, explains: “Well Pharmacy is one of several large companies who are working with us to ensure the funds that have been set aside under their apprenticeship levy payments will be used to meet their business needs.

“We are the only pharmacy apprenticeship provider in the area where apprentices can come into college for their off-the-job training, which is delivered by experienced and qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They visit the apprentices in the workplace to set them tasks and assess their progress against the learning required for the qualification. We also have science lecturers who can deliver additional elements of the programme for individuals who progress onto level 3.

“We have also worked with the learning and development team at Well Pharmacy to introduce the supply chain apprenticeships for procurement and office staff based at the Meir Park site. Our logistics assessor, Andy Coomer, has delivered apprenticeships and functional skills for the company since 2008, including existing warehousing and distribution staff who are trained at a higher level to take on supervisory responsibilities.

“In addition, we are offering Well Pharmacy employees access to free distance learning courses, such as team leading and customer service. The apprenticeship model we deliver is very flexible and responsive and that’s what levy paying employers value.”

Heather Leonard, Learning and Development Manager at Well Pharmacy, said: “Under the levy scheme, we have been able to provide additional training to existing staff, as well as recruiting new apprentices as part of our ongoing expansion.”

Stoke-on-Trent College has an apprenticeships helpline for any levy employers who need help to plan or spend their levy funds before the April deadline, with HMRC operating a ‘use it or lose it’ approach to unspent levy funds.

Katy added: “We are seeing a big demand from companies who have had the apprenticeships levy deducted from their payroll but have been unsure how to use those funds to train new or existing staff. We have the helpline in place so we can provide the best advice and come up with a responsive solution to meet business needs.”

Michelin is looking to attract the stars of the future as it opens applications for its annual apprenticeship programme at its Stoke-on-Trent site.

The company has five places available for trainees in its 2019 intake, with roles in engineering and business administration.

Launched in 1927, Michelin’s apprenticeship programme is steeped in history and underpins the culture of the company overall, providing a springboard for trainees to start their careers through a tailored mix of training and work experience.

The scheme also provides a defined route for people to progress into senior leadership roles, with a number of former apprentices now at managerial and directorial level.

These include Rob Hewitt, HR manager of the Stoke industrial site, Andrew French, director of services and solutions for commercial vehicles and Helen Ratcliff, marketing director.

Helen started her administration apprenticeship within the engineering department at the factory, gaining experience across the business while building up a string of professional qualifications.

Helen said: “I was attracted to the apprenticeship scheme as it offered a wide range of development and career opportunities within a multi-national, highly reputable company, with one of the strongest worldwide brands.

“Since then I have gained multiple qualifications including a BTEC, marketing degree and post graduate marketing qualifications, whilst also working in various roles including, customer service, sales, key account management and marketing.”

Emily Masterson, 18, is an engineering apprentice in her second year at Michelin and joined the company after a work experience programme.

Emily said: “I came to Michelin for work experience in maintenance engineering, which is the role I do now.

“It all felt just right, I was made very welcome, so when I saw the apprenticeship advertised I applied and really hoped to get it.

“Now I am here I feel I am learning a lot and also getting involved in the company.

“It’s interesting, hands-on work and I like the fact I am working and learning, developing new skills from experienced engineers while gaining my BTEC qualifications.”

The new positions have been announced in the run-up to National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place between the 4 and 8 March.

According to Jane Belcher, Michelin HR manager, the week-long celebration, now in its 12th year, gives an opportunity to showcase how important and valued apprentices are in the business.

Jane said: “Apprenticeships enable us to invest in the next generation and to give trainees a great start to their careers. They also attract new talent into the business.

“National Apprenticeship Week highlights how valuable the programmes are for those taking part, their parents, family and employers, as well as the wider economy.”

A fleet of 24 JCB skid steers is destined for a unique working life – as the stars of a children’s theme park.
The 135s skid steer loaders are being enlisted for duty on the ‘JCB Robots’ driving experience at four Diggerland parks in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire.

They will join a host of JCB machines at the construction themed fun parks, which feature attractions such as driving the iconic JCB 3CX backhoe loader, riding in the ‘Groundshuttle’ – a JCB 540-140 with 15 seats, and being elevated to 18m in the air in a JCB 540-180. The Theme Park also has JCB 135 skid steer and 3CX backhoe loader racing experiences for adults, amongst other events.

The deal, worth £650,000, was placed through dealer Greenshields JCB and cements a long-standing relationship with Diggerland which was launched in 2000 by H.E. SERVICES boss Hugh Edeleanu.  Hugh started in business back in 1972 with a single JCB backhoe loader, going on to build the UK’s largest specialist excavator hire company with a fleet of over 3,500 machines.

Diggerland and H.E. SERVICES (Plant Hire) Limited founder Hugh Edeleanu said: “The Diggerland theme parks have gone from strength to strength over the past two decades. Visitors young and old continue to be thrilled by the opportunity to operate or ride in JCB machines, whether it is driving the 135s Skid Steer or digging with a JCB 3CX Backhoe Loader.”

JCB Group Managing Director Global Key Accounts Yvette Henshall-Bell said: “JCB machines can be found on every continent across the globe, but being the star attraction at a theme park has to be one of the most entertaining uses we know of. Showcasing JCBs at Diggerland brings the construction world within the reach of operators of the future, which can only be good news for our industry.”