Amber Mapledoram has joined Beswicks Legal as a Private Wealth Paralegal, adding to the expertise in the growing private wealth team, which supports families, business owners and sports people to take steps to protect their estates and assets. Having achieved a first class honours degree in law at Staffordshire University in 2017, Amber is now studying for a master’s degree.


Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce have long been an advocate of apprenticeships and the benefits which they bring to a business. We have been incredibly lucky over the years to have some outstanding members of staff who have successfully completed their apprenticeships and continued their development as long-standing members of Chamber staff.

Kelly Thelwell started out as an apprentice 15 years ago, and is now the Growth Network Co-ordinator, overseeing many core projects across our network. Kelly has also completed a Foundation Degree in Leadership, Management and Innovation. Lauren Oakley and Ryan Dakin have both been with the Chamber for 4 years, with Lauren now helping to drive the success of training in the post of Training & Connections Co-ordinator, having completed Level 2 and 3 in Customer Administration. Ryan completed his Level 3 in Social Media and Digital Marketing and now oversees the Digital Communications and led on the recent build of the new Chamber website. Katie Mountford is now our Events Administrator, having also completed Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration. Katie helps deliver all the Chamber Events across the year.

Esther Hield is one of our most recent starters, having only been with us for two months; she is our Training Apprentice where she works closely with Lauren to help deliver the Chambers training courses. Finally, our current Membership Apprentice, Lucy Adams, works half the day as the front face on reception, then also helps Start-Up businesses book onto our fantastic Start-Up Awareness Sessions.


This July a group of dedicated fundraisers will take on the challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon throughout the night, to raise money for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

For the third year The Donna Louise’s ‘Snowdon at Night’ challenge will see a team of early-bird supporters set off from base camp at midnight, climbing to the summit in complete darkness, with only their head torches to light the way.

The group will set off just before midnight on 27th July, aiming to reach the summit in time to watch the magical sunrise on 28th July. After admiring the views, taking a few photos and giving each other a huge pat on the back, the walkers will return to base camp to celebrate with a well-deserved breakfast.

Challenge Event Manager, Zoë Gregory, explained, “This is our third Snowdon at Night challenge. Last year 64 people took part in the trek, it was a fantastic night and between them our climbers raised almost £20,000, which is just brilliant. Having done the challenge myself I know that it’s tough-going, as it’s so dark, but it’s such a thrill when you reach the summit.

“While this is a tough challenge, it’s nothing compared to the ongoing battles faced by the families who rely on The Donna Louise. They face epic challenges on a daily basis as they juggle medications, hospital appointments and everyday activities, often on very little sleep. By taking part in our Snowdon at Night challenge you’ll be ensuring these families continue to receive support from The Donna Louise when they need it the most.”

Anyone interested in the challenge can contact Zoë at or call 01782 654444 for more information.

Sixteen years after last sponsoring Uttoxeter Racecourse’s biggest race of the year, the Midlands Grand National, Burton based Marston’s Brewery have signed as title partner under the 61 Deep Pale Ale brand on Saturday 16 March 2019.

Having sponsored the race for 6 years between 1996 and 2002, Marston’s Brewery are set to take the reigns of the most prestigious race in the Midlands in what is its 50th year once more. The second longest steeple chase in the country, The Midlands Grand National is a true test of stamina for both horse and jockey and has been the jewel in the regions crown since 1969.

Pat McGinty, Head brewer at Marston’s said, “This is a fantastic day which brings a special piece of jump racing magic to the area, and as headline sponsor this means that everyone at the course will be able to enjoy a brilliant event with a great pint brewed just down the road in Burton!

This year is particularly special as the race celebrates its 50th Year and we are particularly pleased to be to be key partner celebrating it with the visitors and Uttoxeter Racecourse.”

Executive Director of Uttoxeter Racecourse, David MacDonald, commented, “We are absolutely delighted to forge and extend an already fruitful partnership with Marston’s for the Midlands Grand National. They have been tremendous supporters of racing at Uttoxeter, and it gives me great pride to see such a fantastic national brand based just down the road in Burton take the top spot at our biggest meeting of the year.”


Paul Riley, Regional Sales Manager at Marston’s added, “We are excited to sponsor the Midlands Grand National 2019, this further cements and builds on our local relationship with Uttoxeter Racecourse.”

The Listed Handicap Chase has a long and proud history and always features some of the best chasers in training, with several of its previous winners going on to achieve glory at events such as the Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. To mark the special 50th anniversary, Uttoxeter Racecourse has announced a significant increase in the prize fund with a total of £272,000 on offer across the race card – with £150,000 of up for grabs in the feature race alone.

It is recommended that tickets are purchased in advance of Saturday 16 March 2019 as they will be in great demand. Tickets are available from £15 for Centre Course, £25 for Grandstand & Paddock and £35 for Premier online from  or by calling the Uttoxeter Racecourse Office 01889 562561 (option 1).

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.”

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.”