M6 Toll Business Survey

Andy Cliffe, CEO of the M6toll, is making it his mission to ensure local businesses and commuters know that the road is for them, every bit as much as it is for through traffic and long distance drivers:

“There is a common misconception that the M6toll is only really for long distance traffic.  That means a lot of local drivers are missing out on the chance to save a great deal of time and stress, whether they’re going about their daily commute or travelling on business.”

“Each day 50,000 vehicles use the M6toll, as an alternative to the M6. But the road also helps drivers steer clear of some of the busiest stretches of the A5, the A38 and the A446.  Since we opened 15 years ago it’s done a lot to keep the region moving, but there’s much more we can do and so today we’re urging drivers across the region to complete our summer survey to help shape our next phase of product development.”

M6toll recently launched a range of ‘saver’ products primarily aimed at regular commuters.  ‘Hopper’ covers a weekly commute, and works out at £3.50 a trip.  Shuttle is capped at a weekly fee of £20 for unlimited short local journeys, and Return Pass cuts the price of a same day return by 20%.  An online advertising campaign is currently running to drive awareness of these new products, and will be followed by a bigger push in September, when the school holidays are over and traffic congestion is at its most severe.

“The time saved on the M6toll is up to 25 minutes each way.  Our customers avoid heavy traffic and get there on time, every time, because it’s predictable and reliable. That can be a real stress-buster for commuters at the start and end of a long day.

“Drivers choose the M6toll for a variety of reasons, and whilst many drivers pay the toll themselves, we’ve found an increasing number of employers cover the cost. The time savings really add-up, even for short journeys, so there’s a positive impact on productivity and staff welfare, even job satisfaction and staff retention where a lot of time is spent behind the wheel. This new study focuses on work-related trips and the needs of businesses, so we’re delighted to have the support of Chambers in reaching out to members so we can hear their views.

To have your say and complete the survey, simply click here: http://sgiz.eu/s3/M6toll-Businesses

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce have teamed up with Hays Recruitment to launch our eighth annual regional salary/recruitment survey.

The aim of the survey is to provide local businesses with an insight into local salary information, so they can make clear decisions on the salaries required to secure the very best candidates.

The report provides a snapshot of local pay levels, average rates of pay per role, employee benefits and working practices. The survey draws on results from previous years, identifying key labour market changes and trends that will affect your business.

Key to the success of the report is ensuring we get a strong response rate from local employers. The more data we receive from you, they better the accuracy of the report, so please take 10 minutes of your time to complete the confidential survey.

Please follow the link below and do not hesitate to contact tom.nadin@staffordshirechambers.co.uk if you have any questions.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/StaffsWorkforceSurvey

BusinessLodge used the event to show the stunning refurbishment of the old Npower building, which has stood empty for five years. The new building has been finished to an extremely high spec and offers contemporary serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and conference facilities, along with catering and relaxation facilities.

As well as showcasing the new space, the event saw a Business Expo, with over 40 leading local business exhibiting, creating fantastic networking opportunities. The event also had a series of seminars presented run by Mark Brammar of Mark Brammar Associates, Sara Williams and Siobhan Henderson of Opstech Services.

BusinessLodge has an excellent reputation for providing top-end office facilities combined with exceptional customer service and a true community feel. The building also features a free gym, catering facilities and free on-site car parking, and offers a totally unique space that isn’t available anywhere else in Stoke.

BusinessLodge Managing Director Kate Holt said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the success of our open event and it exceeded even our expectations.  It was attended by some of the top business figures in the area and not only did we had the opportunity to showcase the new premises whilst facilitating the business expo.”

The Chamber is seeking comprehensive external audit services to be in place from 31st March 2020 for a period of three years, with an option to extend for a further two years. Please note that whilst this is initially a three year contract, performance will be reviewed on an annual basis and re-appointment will be on an annual basis subject to the approval of the Audit and Governance Sub-Committee and the Board of Directors.

We invite suitably qualified and experienced firms to tender for the provision of these services.

INVITATION TO TENDER FOR EXTERNAL AUDIT SERVICES

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and Industry is a non profit organisation, and a company limited by guarantee. We are supported by the Chamber Council and the Chamber Board of Directors. A separate Audit and Governance Sub-Committee of the Board of Directors meets at regular intervals to examine all issues relating to audit and governance of the Chamber.

A £55million programme to boost people’s skills and employment prospects across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has launched a new round of targeted programmes.

The European Social Fund Operational Programme has so far seen £37million invested in a range of programmes since 2014 which by March this year had seen nearly 20,000 people participate with over 9,000 progressing into education, further training apprenticeships or employment.

It is being run by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and plays an important part in its strategy to secure a well-qualified and adaptable workforce with the skills sets appropriate to the needs of existing business sectors, as well as those where there are aspirations for economic growth.

The European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for England in 2014-2020.

Three partner organisations are supporting the programme delivery and providing match funding. They are the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and The National Lottery Community Fund (BBO).

Now four new targeted programmes have launched, running until July 2021 and will benefit from £15million investment. Over 60 delegates gathered at an event earlier this month to celebrate the success of the overall programme and to mark the launch of the new round.

The new programmes are:

  • Skills support for the unemployed which will include bespoke personalised support and training.
  • Support for people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or risk of being NEET which will encourage young people to realise their potential and progress in learning and in the workplace.
  • Community grants of up to £20,000 to develop the capacity of local community organisations and help them meet local needs.
  • Skills support for the workforce and redundancy – a programme to help people in work to progress and support those at risk of redundancy.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP deputy chairman Alun Rogers (pictured) said: “Developing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of our employers is essential to the LEP and the European Social Fund Operational Programme has been hugely successful in helping us to achieve that.

“It has delivered targeted programmes to those most in need of support and has benefited over 9,000 so far in terms of progression into education or employment.

“We are speaking to businesses now to help formulate our Local Industrial Strategy and finding out how training programmes can support them is important.

“We’re now looking forward to seeing the new programmes get underway and make a real difference to people and business.”

Businesses with an annual turnover above £85,000 are being urged by HMRC to sign up to Making Tax Digital before the 7 August VAT filing date. Many of the 1.2m businesses affected by the MTD rules, which became law for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April, will be required to submit their first quarterly VAT return to HMRC using software by the 7 August. If paying by Direct Debit, these businesses must register by Monday 29 July.

£55m employment and skills programme launches new round

A £55million programme to boost people’s skills and employment prospects across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has launched a new round of targeted programmes.

The European Social Fund Operational Programme has so far seen £37million invested in a range of programmes since 2014 which by March this year had seen nearly 20,000 people participate with over 9,000 progressing into education, further training apprenticeships or employment.

It is being run by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and plays an important part in its strategy to secure a well-qualified and adaptable workforce with the skills sets appropriate to the needs of existing business sectors, as well as those where there are aspirations for economic growth.

The European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for England in 2014-2020.

Three partner organisations are supporting the programme delivery and providing match funding. They are the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and The National Lottery Community Fund (BBO).

Now four new targeted programmes have launched, running until July 2021 and will benefit from £15million investment. Over 60 delegates gathered at an event earlier this month to celebrate the success of the overall programme and to mark the launch of the new round.

The new programmes are:

  • Skills support for the unemployed which will include bespoke personalised support and training.
  • Support for people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or risk of being NEET which will encourage young people to realise their potential and progress in learning and in the workplace.
  • Community grants of up to £20,000 to develop the capacity of local community organisations and help them meet local needs.
  • Skills support for the workforce and redundancy – a programme to help people in work to progress and support those at risk of redundancy.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP deputy chairman Alun Rogers (pictured) said: “Developing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of our employers is essential to the LEP and the European Social Fund Operational Programme has been hugely successful in helping us to achieve that.

“It has delivered targeted programmes to those most in need of support and has benefited over 9,000 so far in terms of progression into education or employment.

“We are speaking to businesses now to help formulate our Local Industrial Strategy and finding out how training programmes can support them is important.

“We’re now looking forward to seeing the new programmes get under way and make a real difference to people and business.”

This programme supports projects that will contribute to the transformation of high streets and town centres in England helping them become thriving places, strengthening local communities and encouraging local economies to prosper.  It is part of a wider initiative to revive heritage high streets in England, alongside Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action ZonesTogether, these programmes form part of the Future High Streets Fund, administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Our programme is for individual heritage buildings in, or transferring to, community ownership. We will support charities and social enterprises to develop projects with the potential to bring new life to high streets by creating alternative uses for redundant or underused historic buildings in town centres.

What types of funding are available and when can I apply?

The AHF can provide grants to help with assessing the viability of a project, or to help fund development costs or to match funds raised through Crowdfunding and Community Shares. We will also provide a small number of capital (delivery) grants for Transformational Projects. Below you will find the dates for the opening of initial grant applications and please download the Programme Guide to find out more about the types and amounts of grants available.

  • Project Viability Grants: up to £15,000, for early viability and feasibility work, open now for applications.
  • Project Development Grants: up to £100,000, for capital project development costs, open now for applications.
  • Crowdfunding Challenge Grants: up to £25,000, to match fund crowdfunding campaigns, open now for applications.
  • Transformational Project Grants: up to £350,000, for transformational capital projects, open for first round project enquiries from 29th July 2019 (with a second round to be announced in 2020).
  • Community Shares Booster Grants: further info to be announced.

Which areas will be eligible?

The programme will focus on places where strategic regeneration programmes are planned or are already underway. This includes Heritage Action Zones or places that have secured funding through the Future High Streets Fund. Historic building projects located within other area-based regeneration programmes, such as Townscape Heritage areas or where an applicant can demonstrate a significant community-led strategic approach is in place, will also be considered. Projects should not be standalone but sit within a wider initiative to regenerate and bring a new purpose to the immediate surrounding area.

Please note that our grants cannot be used to fund the same work that is being grant-aided through a Future High Streets Fund or High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme. These strands of funding cannot partner each other, but will fund projects that are complementary. These strands of funding may separately fund different stages of one project.

Where can I find out further information?

Please see Enquire or Apply for more details of application deadlines as these are announced.

The Programme Guide and Application Help Notes provide details of each Grant. You can apply to only one grant programme at any one time, but you may apply for further grants on completion of the funded work, subject to overall limits as explained in the Programme Guide.

A team of Programme Officers and consultant Project Advisors will support projects seeking and receiving funding through the programme. When you make an initial enquiry and/or make a grant application, we will identify the need for support and put you in touch with one of our TPTH Team.

Two of Beswicks Legal’s trainees have completed their training contracts and are celebrating becoming fully-qualified solicitors.

Sarah Abbotts and Hannah Johnson joined Beswicks in January 2017 as paralegals and have spent the last two years working across the firm as they completed their training.

Sarah said: “Training at Beswicks has been amazing, I have had the opportunity to work in multiple legal departments enabling me to find my preferred area.  I will be qualifying into the family law team with Sarah Jones. I am excited for what my future at Beswicks holds.”

Beswicks managing partner Nick Phillips added: “Our warmest congratulations go to both Sarah and Hannah. They have worked incredibly hard and made an outstanding contribution to the teams that they have worked with.

“As well as having excellent legal knowledge, they have proved themselves to be bright, motivated, team players. Qualities that are essential in delivering a five-star service to clients.”

The team at Beswicks Legal held a special lunch in the grounds of their Festival Park offices to celebrate Sarah and Hannah qualifying.

Strategi Talent is revolutionising the jobs market by working to find the perfect match for both employer and employee.

Instead of simply waiting for opportunities to open up, the service consistently builds relationships with potential applicants, so it can step in with a match soon as the right vacancy comes along.

The approach means that not only are candidates paired with the job of their dreams, businesses benefit from the expertise of individuals who naturally put their heart and soul into their work.

Talent Resourcing Executive Jonathan Nicholls said the service hopes to help firms realise that building a team can be a labour of love.

He said: “Clients have been impressed with the fact that we are not pushy and are open and honest, we take the time to advise and consult.

“We are also very clear with our convictions. ‘Hoping’ for the best is not the service we want to give our clients; we want to deliver it.

“Candidates are equally keen on our straightforward approach – if we can’t help someone then we will tell them, rather than string them along.

“Those that we can help we treat as a person, not a number.”

Strategi Talent was launched this year (2019) by Strategi Solutions in Newcastle under Lyme. The new, bespoke, recruitment arm of the business complements existing services offered by the business such as HR and Marketing support.

Jonathan and his colleagues have already placed candidates in a wide spectrum of industries including manufacturing, logistics and technology for clients ranging from SMEs to global organisations.

Instead of a fixed menu of services, Strategi Talent brings about boutique solutions and can help businesses with something as simple as drawing up a job spec to carrying out a full recruitment campaign.

It differs from traditional agencies because it has no targets, and therefore no ulterior motive for filling a vacancy. This prevents the background pressure to ‘make a candidate’ fit a role, even if this candidate might not be the right person for the job.

Strategi Talent also acts as a single point of contact, cutting out endless phone calls from multiple agencies, allowing our clients to focus on their daily job, taking the stress and worry away.

Coupled with a vast wealth of experience in the Strategi Talent team, the techniques have already seen an 5% increase in turnover despite the service only being six months old.

Jonathan said: “Strategi Talent has not come about by accident. We know that recruitment generally gets thrown at HR departments because it is ‘to do with people’.

‘As a result, HR contacts go out to agency which can be unappealing because they are often sold to at every opportunity, still do a lot of the work themselves and then pay for the privilege.

 “We want our clients to want to speak to us, not to dread having to get in touch. We don’t sell, we support and guide. We have the best interests of the client and candidates at the heart of everything we do.”

Earlier this year, Strategi Talent held a candidate open day to reach out to those looking to start or further their careers.

Strategi Solutions CEO, Wendy Dean, said Strategi Talent is now working to enhance the services it provides to employers as well as develop niche support for college and university leavers.

She said: “Recruitment services shouldn’t play gooseberry. We are the guiding hand that can help good working relationships to blossom.

“The first six months of Strategi Talent have been a fantastic success and the next six months will be equally exciting as we look at ways of bridging the gap from education to employment. We will also focus on helping businesses solve the issue of hard to fill roles.

“The sky is the limit for Strategi Talent, our clients and candidates.”

Last night saw over 400 guests gather in the sunshine to celebrate the success stories from some of Staffordshire’s finest companies. The Chamber’s annual black-tie business awards ceremony was held at the County Showground where finalists, sponsors and local media joined a wide variety of businesses that highlighted the innovation and diversity across Staffordshire.

This year 16 awards were presented, with Erwin Hymer Centre Travelwold receiving the most prestigious award of all, the Business of the Year.

The whole evening was a great success which showcased the valuable contributions both businesses and individuals make towards the prosperity and wellbeing of the area.

Over the coming weeks, case studies will be published on the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce website detailing profiles of the Staffordshire Business Awards 2019 winners.

Sara Williams, Chief Executive at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “This year we have seen a number of exceptional entries for this year’s awards, which made judging across the board very difficult.  More than other years this has showcased the innovation, spirit, creativity and ingenuity which should be applauded and supported across the whole of the county.

The evening was a true celebration of all things Staffordshire using locally manufactured awards, food and drinks sourced from Staffordshire farms and suppliers.

Thank you to all of our sponsors and to everyone who entered the awards. Many congratulations to all of our winners and finalists.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

  • Most Promising New Start-up sponsored by Grindeys Solicitors – Green Griddle Ltd
  • Digital Award sponsored by Synetics Solutions– SkinBase
  • Retail, Leisure, Culture and Tourism Award sponsored by Tile Mountain – Gladstone Pottery Museum
  • International Trade Award sponsored by The Department for International Trade WM – EffecTech
  • Science, Technology and Innovation Award sponsored by University of Wolverhampton – Specialised Orthotic Services
  • Environment / Low Carbon Award sponsored by Keele University – The Wool Packaging Company Ltd – Woolcool
  • Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Staffordshire University – Steve Timmis, Sempar Accountancy & Tax
  • Employee of the Year sponsored by Staffordshire Partnership for Employment & Skills – Danielle Louise Heath, Goddard Dunbar & Associates Ltd
  • Young Employee/Apprentice of the Year sponsored by Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership – Jake Gordon, Key Plant / Buxton & Leek College
  • Small Business of the Year sponsored by SBEN LCBEP – EPX Technical Services
  • Medium/ Large Business of the Year sponsored by Dains Accountants – Lodge Tyre Company Ltd
  • Manufacturer of the Year sponsored by Michelin – Addfield Environmental Systems Ltd
  • Professional Services of the Year sponsored by Finest – Infinity IT Solutions
  • Professional Services of the Year sponsored by Finest – Prosurv Consult Limited
  • Employer of the Year sponsored by NSCG – Freeths LLP
  • Business of the Year sponsored by HSBC – Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld