Staff in Burton and South Derbyshire College’s (BSDC) Sign and Print Academy recently used laser cut technology to create personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in local care homes. Andy Tipper, Teaching and Learning Technician and Bill Moorley, Course Leader for Art and Design/Product Design created PVC and Polypropylene face shields using laser cutting machinery, producing up to 90 per day. It took approximately 40 minutes to cut each sheet which produced 10 headbands. Then they had to be separated and cleaned before the PVC visors were hole-punched and assembled to the headbands.

The College’s Sign and Print Academy in partnership with Hardy Signs links design with high specification printing and 3D rapid prototyping equipment. The Academy enhances the College’s graphics and creative curriculum and was launched to help fill the skills gap in the sign making and product design sector. Over 800 face shields were donated to local care homes and charities between May and July to help them limit the spread of Covid-19. While the shields are not surgical visors, they provided much sought after PPE to staff in care homes with limited supplies.

The College has established links with all of the care homes and charities it donated PPE to as they have previously worked with the College to provide work placement and industry placement opportunities for health and social care students. These include, Castle Court Care Home, Oakland Village and Community Care Centre, Far Fillimore Care Home, Charlotte James Care Home and Bladon House School Children’s Home.

Andy Tipper, Teaching and Learning Technician at Burton and South Derbyshire College said: “We were delighted to be able to use our equipment and know-how to produce PPE equipment for care homes when they needed it most. These are unprecedented times with high demand for face shields for all front line health and social care workers. The visors we donated have assisted key workers with the important job of supporting and protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Nicola Yeomans, Registered Care Home Manager at Far Fillimore Care Home said: “We would like to thank the staff at Burton and South Derbyshire College for thinking of us and providing essential protective wear that will help to keep our residents and care team safe.”

North Staffordshire’s Rydale Roofing has signed a partnership with a training company which will give young people a pathway into the trade. With an ageing workforce, roofing is facing a skills shortage while, at the same time, there’s no formal pathway for school leavers to start a career in the industry. But Silverdale-based Rydale Roofing has joined forces with Juniper Training to launch the Building Futures, Stoke-on-Trent Roofing Hub. It is hoped the pathway – only the second to be launched in the West Midlands – will create job opportunities for youngsters not only at Rydale, but with building companies across North Staffordshire and beyond. Rydale Roofing’s Directors, Mick and Julie Mirowski are calling on roofing and building companies to register for an introductory webinar on Wednesday, 7 October, at 10.30am.

Julie said: “The Roofing Hub will give 16-year-olds an introduction to a trade. Rydale Roofing, working with Juniper Training, will give trainees taster sessions in skills such as slating and tiling, fitting waterproof membranes, sheeting and cladding, manual handling and working at heights. They will work with us for 24 weeks, both out on the job and in our training room at Rydale Roofing on the Silverdale Business Park. The first cohort is expected to start in January and, by the end of their time with us, which will include site visits to other local companies, they will have worked towards their CSCS site card. We think this new scheme is ideal for both construction companies and young people looking for work.  The trade needs an influx of young roofers and there’s work available, even at a time when the economy is slumping due to the impact of Covid-19. Once they have completed the course with the Roofing Hub, trainees will be in a fantastic position to go on to complete apprenticeships with companies in North Staffordshire. The hub will produce new workers for Rydale Roofing but also for several other companies. The whole trade in our area can benefit from this.”

Currently, there’s a £1,000 incentive from the Government for companies taking on apprentice sand and if Construction Industry Training Board apprentice levy payers there are £7,000 worth of grants available. Juniper Training has run a successful scheme with the SPV Group, a building and roofing company based in Walsall.

The Chartered Institute of Building has quoted that the construction Industry needs 157,000 new recruits by 2021 to keep up with demand but currently the rate of recruitment into the sector is far lower than the retirement rate within the sector. With the industry now experiencing rates of growth, particularly in housebuilding, this is putting further strain on an industry which has already been facing skills shortages.

The first step is for companies to join the webinar on 7 October. To get involved or for further information, please contact Lisa Jenkins on lisa.jenkins@junipertraining.co.uk or call 07923 209239 to book your place.

Driver risk management consultant and trainer Adrian Hide had to rapidly change his business model as Coronavirus swept the globe.  When lockdown put an end to face-to-face meetings, workshops, and client training sessions, Adrian moved swiftly to find other ways to deliver his business.

Adrian said: “Entering lockdown was a concern to me, and it made me realise that I needed to adapt to the new normal and to embrace technology more.  “A big part of what I do involves face-to-face meetings and training. Having recognised this will be a long time returning, I made sure I had the means to communicate to both existing and new clients via a stable video conference platform.  For the training side of my business I invested in an online learning and development platform and immediately began to create interactive e-learning content.”

Adrian, who lives in the Staffordshire Moorlands, set up Adrian Hide Consultancy in 2018 having developed his passion for road safety in 1986 when he began a driving training company.  This was followed by another 13 years as a Road Safety Manager for Staffordshire County Council and six years in the private sector in driver risk management.

He said: “I’ve loved all of my roles but working for myself means I can now help businesses, small and large, to understand and overcome the challenges associated with work-related road safety. As a business, you have a duty of care to those employees who drive on company business. If the worst happens and there’s a fatality and the company is found to have failed in their duty of care, the business owner can face a corporate manslaughter charge under health and safety law and, at the least, a hefty fine.”

Adrian now has several e-courses in the development stage, including ‘eco-safe driving’ and ‘driving an electric car for the first time’ to name just two.

He added: “With the huge rise in van usage fuelled by the increase in demand for home delivery, I’ve created a Safer Van Driving e-Learning course designed for people driving a van for the first time.  It is also useful to the more seasoned van drivers who just want a refresher and for businesses, who have a fleet of drivers, and want to ensure they are appropriately trained to meet their duty of care obligations.”

The entirely online ‘Safer Driving for Van Drivers’ course takes less than 90 minutes to complete and covers everything from pre-drive safety checks to defensive driving techniques. Other benefits to businesses who can demonstrate their employees have completed a van driver safety course include cost savings through increased fuel efficiency and reduced insurance premiums.

Adrian added: “As a member of the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been grateful for their help, support and guidance during these uncertain times. I feel confident about the future. It is important that we dust ourselves down, take stock, embrace change, think outside the box and futureproof our businesses. That’s what lockdown has taught me most of all.”

Adrian is a Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire approved training provider which means any business that pays business rates to a Staffordshire authority can reclaim 48 percent of the cost of his courses. For information about the van driver safety and e-learning courses call Adrian Hide on 07973 337251 or go to www.adrianhideconsultancy.co.uk/e-learning/

Rivetwise onsite at Unipres (UK Limited)

Rivetwise were delighted to be onsite with a customer from the automotive sector based in Sunderland last week. Managing Director, Sean Keeley and the Technical Team from Rivetwise attended a site visit at the global manufacturer of press-formed automotive components Unipress, to provide specialist onsite training and assistance with tooling installation of the Pop Avdel Prosert XTN20.

Supplying to global brands like Nissan, Renault and Honda, Unipres UK has established a reputation for excellence from their base in Sunderland. Unipress endeavours to find and create ways of improving manufacturing as a whole through advanced engineering, innovative technology, automation, mobile technology and systems integration.

Working in collaboration with the Stanley Engineered Fastening Automotive Division, the Rivetwise team provided a rivet tool installation service, helped to make adjustments to the robotics and jigs to ensure they were set correctly and offered training and advice to assist with the changes to the manufacturing process.

“It was fantastic to visit such a forward-thinking and innovative company. The site visit allowed us to understand the application process and how they were using the product to allow us to make adjustments and recommendations to ensure a smooth manufacturing run”.

Peter Normington – National Account Manager, Rivetwise

Peak Run and Ride, Staffordshire’s newest running and cycling shop will officially open on Saturday 19th September. With it’s aim to help build a community of runners and cyclist to help get the people of Staffordshire and Cheshire active!

The Trentham Shopping Village based shop, will be selling everything from bikes and running apparel to clothing and accessories. Whether you are a lifelong runner or new cyclist, we accommodate all ages, abilities, and interests. We’ll also be helping to get riders sitting comfortably on their new bikes with a Bike Fit service, and runners running more efficiently with a Gait Analysis service.

Sitting under the existing Peak brand established by Audley-based Managing Director Paul Ball, Peak: Run & Ride is set to dovetail perfectly with Peak, which is currently operating in ten different locations in the UK – including the southern entrance of The Trentham Estate with Trentham Treetop Adventures.

Peak currently operates in three sectors: outdoor adventures; education at four independent, Ofsted-registered schools where the emphasis is on an ‘adventurous’ curriculum; and as the largest provider of the Expeditions section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

For a company which employs more than 230 full-time staff nationwide, the new shop at Trentham is an exciting opportunity.

Paul continues: “Retail is a great opportunity for Peak. Trentham feels like the perfect fit for us now with 3.5 million visitors a year and will work very well with all other aspects of our existing business, while also focusing on all things to do with cycling and running. Anyone stepping inside can expect to find the highest quality of product for sale here, topped-off with excellent service and advice. We’ll also be selling vouchers for Peak’s huge variety of activities across our outdoor centres”.

My business is all about building a community. We want to help existing runners and cyclists, but also help people run and ride with local cycling or running clubs through our local club finder.”

Store Manager Andy Gray said “We have worked really hard to handpick some great brands for our customers including bikes from Corratec, Focus, Forme, cycle clothing from Endura and LeCol, Kask helmets. Running shoes from Asics, Sacony, Odlo and Miles Better clothing, along with nutrition products and more”

He continued “We’ll also be stocking a range of great mountain and eBikes that are becoming increasing popular. My team will be able help customers get set up on the bike with a new Bike Fit service that’s free if you buy a bike from us. What’s more we’ll give customers the opportunity to test ride our bikes near the shop. We’ll offer a running Gait Analysis service to help find the right running shoes for you so you can improve your fitness and run times.

Expert Store Mechanic Jacob Nicholls said “The shop will be offering bike servicing and repair packages to help you get back on the road if your bikes need some attention. Along with the government Cycle to Work scheme that helps you make savings on new bikes and accessories as an

employee benefit. This is great as the scheme aims to cut congestion on the roads, improve the health of the nation and have a positive impact on the environment.”

To find out more, visit the Peak Run and Ride shop at the Trentham Shopping Village, visit the website at www.peakrunandride.co.uk or follow us on Facebook @peakrunandride

Keele has been recognised as being among the best universities in the country, having been shortlisted for University of the Year in the 2020 Times Higher Education (THE) awards.

The prestigious THE awards recognise outstanding work in universities covering the whole breadth of their activity – both in academia and professional services.

The coveted University of the Year award is given to an institution which demonstrates exceptional performance across its research, teaching, leadership and business performance across its operations, and to be named as a finalist in this category is a significant achievement in itself.

The 2020 awards celebrate the achievements of universities throughout 2018/19, when Keele celebrated its 70th anniversary and enjoyed another outstanding year across all of its activities: from access through to teaching, research, and engagement.

Among the highlights from 2018/19 include a visit by Sir David Attenborough to open our new life science laboratories, during which he commended Keele’s work on sustainability and environmental issues; and the launch of the innovative HyDeploy project on campus, a pilot project which could drastically reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by decarbonising the gas grid.

The shortlisting announcement comes in the same week that Keele enjoyed a successful performance across several subjects in the Guardian University Guide 2021, ranking in the Top 10 in England for Student Satisfaction, and with four of its subjects achieving Top 10 in England status.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor of Keele University said: “I’m incredibly proud that Keele has been named as a finalist for the University of the Year award.

“This nomination is a fitting recognition of the outstanding work of the staff and students here. The world class research and teaching by our academic staff is having a significant impact in fields like climate change, green energy and sustainability, and inspiring our students to go forward into the world and tackle the biggest challenges facing society, the economy, and the world.

“We also have an incredible network of professional service staff, who work tirelessly to provide essential support for staff and students.  This nomination is shared by the whole Keele community and is a testament to all of their dedication and hard work.”

The winner will be announced from among the shortlisted universities when the THE awards are held this November.

Award winning integrated marketing agency Plinkfizz is going from strength-to-strength which is supported by the appointment of two new members of staff.

Account Managers Charley Bright and Emma Thorley have joined the team to support the continued growth of the agency. These appointments are the icing on the cake for Plinkfizz which has also taken on 12 new clients during the pandemic.

Charley is fully equipped to handle the role of Account Manager with more than 10 years’ experience in a marketing management role. Her skills include a range of online and offline marketing activities.

She joined from JCB Worldwide Marketing where she held the marketing manager’s title. There she led on and managed three agricultural exhibitions including the world’s largest show, Agritechnica. She also oversaw the launch of the Electric Teletruk, which is a new generation of innovative products.

Charley said: “I love nothing more than having a new marketing project or event to manage. I’m passionate about delivering successful campaigns that align with company objectives, drive business growth and deliver that all important ROI. I know I’m going to find great success here with the team at Plinkfizz.”

Emma also joined from JCB Worldwide Marketing where she held the position of Marketing Communications Manager. Emma oversaw the launch of the Fastrac 8000 which is JCB’s largest ever agricultural tractor alongside many other product launches and JCB exhibitions across a diverse range of industry sectors.

She has more than a decade of integrated marketing experience where she delivered creative and profitable solutions to drive sales, and attract and maintain customers globally.  Emma’s skills are in global communication plans, delivering high-energy business proposals and coordinating creative and innovative integrated marketing campaigns from conception to fruition.

Emma explained: “I’m an enthusiastic, conscientious and passionate Account Manager. With my marketing expertise I know I can help our clients to reach their full marketing potential. I’m looking forward to working with clients to enhance and support their business needs.”

Managing Director of Plinkfizz, Fiona Hawkins commented: “We’re thrilled to be bringing on new recruits, especially now we’re coming out on the other side of the coronavirus epidemic. I know they’re all going to be great assets to the business and to our clients. They‘re fitting in already and I can’t wait to see the whole team continue to grow.

“Our main priority at Plinkfizz is always our clients and making sure we can provide the best opportunities and services for them. Offering in-house marketing and PR solutions allows us to work seamlessly as an integrated marketing agency.”

These new appointments follow a further two. Annabel Fallows and Hannah Natalello took on their new roles just before the Coronavirus pandemic, and have both shown strength and resilience as new starters through a period of uncertainty.

Annabel joined as a Journalism graduate from Staffordshire University as Content Executive. Her role involves creating written content for clients from press releases and blogs to social media and web content.

Annabel commented: “I completed a placement at Plinkfizz when I was studying, so when I saw there was a vacancy, I knew I had to apply for the role. Plinkfizz was where I wanted to be, the working environment was perfect for me and the variety in an integrated marketing agency gives plenty of fresh challenges and opportunities for new skills.”

Hannah has joined as SEO Specialist and uses her passion and expertise to tie together creative and technical elements that help websites to thrive online.

Hannah said: “My background is in search engine optimisation, copywriting, and client management. I love staying ahead of the curve in terms of search trends and techniques so being part of a business that puts innovation first is exactly where I need to be.”

To find out more about Plinkfizz and to hear what the team can do for you call: 01782 630777 or visit the website: www.plinkfizz.com

The Hednesford based fastener and fixing company Rivetwise are proud to announce their strategic partnership with global leader in precision fastening and assembly solutions Stanley Engineered Fastenings, which makes them a leading authorised distributor of Stanley Engineered Fastening Products for the UK and Ireland. 

This exciting partnership has come at a time of growth for the fastener and fixing company who offer many application solutions including rivets; rivet nuts; structural rivets & fasteners; rivet tools; Helicoil inserts; rivet and rivet nut tool spare parts, and who serve a wide range of customers including traditional light manufacturing; automotive; rail;  aerospace; electronics; domestic appliance; HVAC and building and construction. The Rivetwise Customer base will  benefit from being able to quickly access a supply of the world’s most advanced fastening and assembly solutions, high levels of service, technical knowledge and expertise offered by the dynamic Rivetwise team, a one-stop-stop for fastening and fixing needs as well as value-added services including tool hire, maintenance, repair and tool sales all of which are competitively priced. 

“We are really excited about being aligned with the global leader in precision fastening and assembly solutions and the business opportunities now available to Rivetwise. As a result of this strategic partnership we have also recently found ourselves in a position where we have been able to increase our workforce in order to support business growth and customer demand which is fantastic considering the current economic climate.”

Sean Keeley-  Managing Director of Rivetwise

The Hednesford based fastener and fixing company Rivetwise are proud to announce their strategic partnership with global leader in precision fastening and assembly solutions Stanley Engineered Fastenings, which makes them a leading authorised distributor of Stanley Engineered Fastening Products for the UK and Ireland.

This exciting partnership has come at a time of growth for the fastener and fixing company who offer many application solutions including rivets; rivet nuts; structural rivets & fasteners; rivet tools; Helicoil inserts; rivet and rivet nut tool spare parts, and who serve a wide range of customers including traditional light manufacturing; automotive; rail; aerospace; electronics; domestic appliance; HVAC and building and construction. The Rivetwise Customer base will benefit from being able to quickly access a supply of the world’s most advanced fastening and assembly solutions, high levels of service, technical knowledge and expertise offered by the dynamic Rivetwise team, a one-stop-stop for fastening and fixing needs as well as value-added services including tool hire, maintenance, repair and tool sales all of which are competitively priced.

“We are really excited about being aligned with the global leader in precision fastening and assembly solutions and the business opportunities now available to Rivetwise. As a result of this strategic partnership we have also recently found ourselves in a position where we have been able to increase our workforce in order to support business growth and customer demand which is fantastic considering the current economic climate.”

Sean Keeley- Managing Director of Rivetwise

Stafford based IT provider 848 Group has tripled its workforce over the past four months going from strength-to-strength, offering its transformational business IT services.

 

848 Group has proudly recruited 12 new team members across the Managed Services, Business Solutions and Sales departments and the rate of growth 848 Group has experienced this year has made them a very desirable employer. So much so that they have been approached directly by many high-profile professionals interested in a developing their careers.

 

The senior team implemented a strategy which was to essentially “grow their way out of the Covid-19 problem” which has proven to be a success. The sales team itself has tripled in size and together 848 has managed a significant amount of work up and down the country, helping many businesses to secure their IT infrastructure during lockdown.

 

Three appointments of note include, Account Director Andy Parr, Business Central Consultant Gurnek Uppal and Solutions Architect Harikumar Nagappan.

 

Andy has re-joined the 848 Group sales team after initially joining the company in March 2019.

 

Sadly, Andy’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and so Andy left the company after 7 months to travel the world and spend time with his dad.

 

Due to his previous time at 848 Group, Andy was welcomed back with open arms.

 

He said: “I have always had the upmost respect for Kerry and David so when the opportunity arose to come to back to 848 Group, I jumped at it.

 

“It’s such a great team, we all genuinely get on and do great work for the clients.”

 

Andy was previously a Director at Clarinet where he oversaw the sales and marketing strategy for three companies as well as being heavily involved in business development and that gave him a great foundation for his new venture at 848 Group.

 

CEO Kerry Burn, said: “We are over the moon to have Andy back. He’s a fantastic communicator, with excellent leadership and management skills. He has a proven track record for success and is extremely solutions driven.”

 

Gurnek will be key to providing a service that can provide a full CRM and ERP experience for 848 Group customers. He has extensive experience of application design, integration and implementation.

 

Business Central, as part of the Microsoft Business Solutions suite, provides a cloud application which empowers the organisation from selling to manufacturing including finance in the way that Office 365 has done for collaboration and productivity across the whole workplace. 848 Business Solutions offers proven pathways for customers to move to Business Central allowing transformation of their back office and adopt modern digital approaches.

 

Kerry added: “Gurnek brings a methodical and agile approach to application design, which has been developed and supported by his long-term experience of technology implementations with both large and small clients.”

 

Hari is highly experienced in delivering end-to-end business critical solutions to transformation and migration programs. He has six Microsoft certifications under his belt and is an excellent management professional.

 

Kerry said: “Hari will bring a lot of value to 848 Group and our customers. He is an expert at guiding customers through the journey of “current-state to desired-state, by aligning the business-critical pillars to meet complex and constantly changing business needs.”

 

Group Technical Director Dave Burn added: “848 Group continues to expand in every division and the new employees show a continued commitment to being a full-service IT provider. This trio augment our teams providing key skills across the board.

 

“Growing our team not only adds depth to 848 Group, but it has significant benefits for customers as we are now a one stop shop. This also provides significant opportunities for employees to discover new skills and focus areas.”

 

Andy, Gurnek and Hari and just three of the 11 new recruits to have already joined, with the 12th due to start in September.

 

848 Group has recruited in all departments including, three new starters in sales, four on the support desk, two project consultants, one enterprise architect, one lead Microsoft dynamics developer and one senior functional consultant.

 

If you’re interested in working in partnership with an IT provider, contact 848 Group on  0344 9848 848 or info@848.co

 

For more information visit 848.co