Staffordshire Chamber’s International Trade Team is celebrating after helping Staffordshire companies export more than £250 million pounds worth of goods to 115 countries.

That’s £50 million pounds more than last year and 15 extra countries.

The team help companies, from all sectors with advice, and support on the exporting process from start to finish. They work to ensure local companies trade with countries from Abu Dhabi to Zimbabwe and just about everywhere in between.

While the UK is currently in the European Union, companies exporting to Europe don’t need any documentation, because its free trade – that may change depending on what happens with Brexit.

Staffordshire Chambers is encouraging businesses to think about moving into new markets abroad and can support them with the relevant documentation, training, translation services and ensuring companies are legally compliant.

Staffordshire Chambers’ Head of International Trade, Robert Lawley, says the uncertainty of Brexit has helped lead to a boom in export to other countries. He said: “There is a feeling of making hay while the sun shines because there’s so much uncertainly of what will happen to the economy, when we leave Europe. That coupled with the fact that sterling is weak, which makes it cheaper to export, has led to at least a 20% increase in the goods we’ve helped Staffordshire companies export. This is great news for the local economy and for us as a chamber.”

He added: “I’d encourage any business that is thinking of either exporting for the first time or would like to enter into new markets abroad to contact our team as we can advise them on how to begin exporting and how to build their business overseas.”


ExtraMile Communications has completed a £60,000 expansion into new Staffordshire headquarters, as well as creating four new jobs and launching an office in London’s Monument area.

The Staffordshire agency, which specialises in multilingual website development and search marketing, has relocated from its previous headquarters in Eccleshall to a new 3,000 sq ft office in nearby Stone.

The company’s ongoing expansion follows a 93% increase in turnover in the last three years, thanks to growth in business from existing clients and new contract wins for web and SEO projects.

The company now employs a team of 22 working between the Staffordshire HQ and a new central London office. Recently created roles include a PR manager, sales executive, creative designer and SEO executive.

The team has also unveiled a rebrand and a new website as part of the expansion.

Gabrielle Hadley, Managing Director at ExtraMile Communications, comments: “Our new office enables us to continue to grow. We have plans to increase our staff from 22 to 35 over the next 3 years and of course to take on more national and international clients through our London office, which services our growing client base in the south.

“The team has recently been announced as a finalist in the UK Search Awards based on the results they have achieved for clients over the last 12 to 18 months. We have experienced a high growth in demand for these services, where we have delivered a sizeable return on investment across all client accounts.”

Commenting on the move to the new headquarters, Gabrielle says: “We have been extremely grateful to receive match funding towards the new offices through the Business Growth Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Birmingham City Council. It is this investment which should help us to continue our growth, continue new digital marketing jobs well into the future.”


Staffordshire and Cheshire hair salon owners will have the chance to attend an inspiring free masterclass and meet and greet event with Lee Stafford at Stoke-on-Trent College’s Cauldon Campus on Monday, 11th February, from 6pm to 8.30pm.

During the evening, Lee will be demonstrating the ‘long graduation’ – a simple and effective technique to layer long hair which he describes as ‘a real winner in the salon’. Lee will also be answering questions about his journey from the launch of his first salon, to creating his popular product range, appearing on TV and opening his education academy.

The event will also showcase the training and support on offer to local salons from the new Lee Stafford Hair Academy at Stoke-on-Trent College, where teaching staff have undertaken training on all the latest cutting, colouring and styling techniques from Lee and his team. Salon owners can also find out about new, fully funded business training workshops available for salons, including GDPR, social media, online marketing and PR.

Lee said: “Hairdressing is a huge industry. Figures from the National Hairdressing Federation show that more than 42,000 businesses employ around 260,000 people in hairdressing, barbering and beauty. What’s more, we contribute an estimated £7.5 billion a year to the UK economy. It’s a competitive industry and its important that training is kept up to date and that new recruits coming into salons have the right skills.” *

He adds: “This event is a celebration of all the great businesses in the area and all the talent that is being developed. It’s a great opportunity for business owners and salon managers to find out more about the expertise on offer at the college. I think employers who come along will be blown away by the standard of the college trainers who are all passionately committed to making sure the students are the most employable stylists and colourists in the area.”

Jo Sale, Team Leader for Hair, Beauty, Hospitality and Catering at Stoke-on-Trent College added: “Our partnership with Lee Stafford brings fantastic opportunities to local hair business owners who want to recruit or train the best staff, or keep up their own CPD. Our students are enjoying learning techniques from a multi-award-winning hairdresser and businessman.

“All students at Stoke on Trent College develop the very best technical skills, make strong professional contacts in the industry and learn from experienced business people in their chosen career.”

Stoke-on-Trent College provides level 2 and level 3 hairdressing qualifications, including apprenticeships. It is also introducing a new range of fully funded training workshops available to help salon owners grow their business.

The event on 11th February is free to attend and is open to any hair salon owners or hairdressing industry professionals. Advanced booking is essential – please call Stoke on Trent College B2B team on 01782 603603 or email business@stokecoll.ac.uk by 7th February to book a place.


Mitten Clarke had announced the appointment of James Beardmore as Director, who joined the firm in early February 2019.  James is a lawyer by qualification having worked at Knights Solicitors until 2014 when he moved to Butters John Bee as Director until January 2019.

Mandy Mitten, Managing Director at Mitten Clarke, said: “We know James is a great fit for us, having worked with him for the last eight years.  As a Lawyer and Director of a different professional services firm he will bring new skills to Mitten Clarke and we’re delighted to have him on board. ”

His role will be strategic, initially focusing on systems and technology then leading on the company’s expansion plans with new service lines.

James said: “Mitten Clarke is a business I’ve worked closely with and always held in the highest regard for its forward-thinking approach and positive culture. To now be joining the team is an absolute delight and a hugely exciting opportunity.”


Football officials have won support from a firm of chartered accountants as they kick off a scheme to upgrade facilities at the club.

Newcastle Town FC is NOW backed by Barringtons Chartered Accountants for a fourth year as part of its commitment to football in the community.

Manager Robin van der Laan, who formerly played for Port Vale and Derby County, said: “This year has seen big changes at Newcastle. There’s a new chairman, backroom staff and philosophy of developing talented youngsters from our local area.

“In the summer we re-branded as the Red Industries Stadium after teaming up with a local waste management company. We also had to carry out major pitch improvements after the hot weather left it parched. The grass needed a lot of work but is now greatly improved. Next we will be refurbishing the changing facilities which are original and need to be brought into the 21st century.”

The club, founded as a Sunday League in 1964, is now semi-professional with 28 teams from the FIRST down to under 7’s.

Director, Gavin Appleby, said: “The club costs around a quarter of a million pounds to run every year and without the support of businesses like Barringtons we would not be able to survive in such a difficult economic situation.”

Barringtons, based in Newcastle, supports the club with its payroll and tax returns.

Managing Director, Phil Wood, said: “Football bonds a community and we like to give back to the towns where we have offices and employ from the area.

“As a local man, I’m particularly proud of our association with Newcastle Town. The club has strong roots in the community and encourages youngsters to get out and kick a ball while enjoying friendship and the camaraderie of being part of a team.”

Barringtons, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, also supports Nantwich Town FC and Market Drayton Town FC.

An emphasis on service standards and customer focus has seen Adept Vehicle Management gain independent ISO 9001 certification.

The North Staffordshire based business fleet specialists have tested their service standards against criteria including relationship management, commitment to continual improvement and leadership.

“ISO is an independent qualification that fits our company ethos of aspiring to continually improve service standards,” said Adept Director Mark Pedley. “We win business based on a reputation for high quality customer service and we wanted to test our standards against the ISO “evaluation. The process was led by our Account Manager Heather Butlin who worked with locally based business standards specialists Eaglet over several weeks.”

Wayne Pearce of Eaglet Business Systems said: “We are delighted to have been able to help Adept in gaining certification to ISO9001 and are delighted to be able to continue to support them going forward with the continued successful management of the standard with ISOAIMS ™.  We know that the further commercial opportunities and the cost and efficiency saving opportunities will enable Adept to flourish and expand in the future and we are proud to be able to support them in that journey”.

Adept have pioneered unique levels of customer service with companies requiring a vehicle fleet. They have developed a system to embed a manager into the client’s team ensuring their specific service needs are met and this is complimented by Adept’s bespoke Fleet Check and Tracker systems which ensures standards of all cars and vans are constantly high and monitors metrics such as safety and fuel efficiency.

Catering solutions specialist Totally Delicious is fuelling productivity across a wide range of industries by transforming sterile staff rest areas with its very own Canteen Takeover.

It’s concession concept aims to help to feed the minds, bodies and souls of employees, resulting in a happier and healthier workforce.

Totally Delicious has already formed partnerships with a number of businesses in the midlands and north west by building and operating catering services within factories, offices and contact centres.

Occupying around 15 square metres, the new self contained units offer everything from hot drinks and snacks to nutritious balanced meals.

And by creating a separate ‘recharge’ area for staff downtime, Totally Delicious is helping clients to enhance their staff welfare offering, which is so topical right now for staff retention and productivity.

Managing director Dominic Bowers said: “The concessions model gives us the chance to offer businesses who have been put off by expensive fit out costs and disruptive commercial kitchen builds, it’s a genuine alternative to offering staff some added value at work.

“But it also allows businesses to serve up quality food to their teams on site. We formed Totally Delicious to challenge the mindset of what a canteen should be and I think this new concession concept is another step forward in helping us deliver on that goal.

“It is an ideal, self-contained solution for businesses that are growing quickly – such as finance, commerce and e-commerce operations. This type of client can expand rapidly and they then have to look at how they can look after their people with on-site, quality food facilities. The concession gives them a speedy, adaptable and cost-effective solution, quite often 50% less than traditional builds”

Concessions can also be built within 72 hours and open within a working week.

Operating costs roughly work out at the equivalent of £1 per member of staff per day, while the neat design of the concessions reduce any loss of valuable floorspace.

Dominic Bowers said: “More than 90 per cent of our normal menus will be provided from these concessions. The focus is on grilled, steamed or baked food for staff, it gives them healthier food options and simplifies the kitchen investment needed. The result is a healthier offering to staff and great value proposition to the employers.”

“Breakfasts dominate sales but then staff also want access to ‘graze and go’ with items such as coffees, drinks, impulse snacks, sandwiches, baguettes etc high on their lists. We also provide hot pasta and rice dishes so they can have nutritious proteins and carbs.”

The menus by Totally Delicious are already providing food for thought among its satisfied customers.

Dominic Bowers added: “One of the main goals of the restaurant concessions that we implement within businesses, is to provide staff with a contemporary, informal space in which to relax and connect with other employees.

“As a result our clients tell us that they have found that communication between their employees from all levels of their businesses increases dramatically, which has to be a good thing.

“For a management team, working with us not only means that they are investing in the wellbeing of their staff, but we also give them peace of mind from delivering a totally managed service.”



Leading accountancy firm Dains LLP has appointed a new Business Development Director to their Stoke office.

Daran Harding joined the team following over 30 years’ experience in corporate banking across the Midlands and North West. During his banking career, Daran supported clients with acquisitions, restructures and property purchases in addition to working capital support alongside the funding of trading assets.

Ann Diggins, Office Partner of Dains Stoke, commented: “Daran joins us during an exciting growth period in the region, as we see our staff members and client base increasing. Daran’s banking and funding expertise provides us with an additional advantage and broadens our capabilities in supporting our existing client base and new clients. Daran is already out in the local marketplace sharing the firm’s passion for building strong relationships and adding client value.”

Dains’ Managing Partner, Richard McNeilly, commented: “So far this year, revenues have grown by over 20%, following a record year last year for the Stoke office. All business areas are performing ahead of budget and strengthening the business development team will further support this growth.

“Daran will act as the eyes and ears of the firm sharing our corporate finance capabilities within the local professional services marketplace and coordinating this with our corporate finance team. Critically for the business community, we will keep these opportunities local in order that our banking and legal contacts will also benefit from these opportunities.”

Daran joins a growing team of over 180 staff from 5 offices across the Midlands.

The New Vic has joined forces with the country’s leading training scheme for aspiring directors – the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) – to launch a free Introduction to Directing programme.

The ‘Introduction to Directing’ programme, which runs from February to April, will see aspiring new directors given the opportunity to engage with the work of the New Vic through workshops, work shadowing and mentoring.

Aimed at supporting people from under-represented backgrounds to pursue careers in the arts, the course will see participants given the chance to learn what directing entails and work with and observe professional directors, designers, theatre-makers and playwrights to find out what is needed to take a play from page to stage.

Established in 1960, RTYDS works with theatres to provide high quality training and work experience to talented artists and enable them to build a professional career as a theatre director. The work of RTYDS is focused in towns and cities outside London where provision for those with ambition to develop a career in directing for the theatre is scarce or non-existent.

RTYDS helped launched the careers of the New Vic’s own Artistic Director, Theresa Heskins, as well as names such as Ken Loach, John Tiffany, Vicky Featherstone, Rupert Goold and James Dacre among others.

To apply, visit the New Vic’s website – newvictheatre.org.uk – and complete the application form. The deadline for applications is 10am on Friday 11 January. Applicants must be 18+ and must be based in the Stoke-on-Trent to apply.

Up to 15 new jobs have been created at ethical enforcement and debt recovery provider Dukes Bailiffs to complement its continued growth and expansion.

The Stone based family run business has just completed a large, new extension to its Dukes Court premises. The company now has a new office for the administration and enforcement teams, as well as a brand new, stunning breakout area which has been developed within the warehouse.

The office space which was previously occupied by the administration team is now two well-appointed meeting and training rooms which are available for visiting clients to use.

The extension has made room for the new members of staff to join. In the Stone office 7 call centre jobs are available. The company is also looking for an enthusiastic person to join the administration department, a new Human Resources Manager and mobile certificated Enforcement Agents.

Laura Naylor, Marketing Manager at Dukes Bailiffs said: “Everyone that joins Dukes is viewed as part of the extended family. Every member of the team is treated with respect and receives quality training to ensure they can provide a service which reflects the company’s culture and ethos.

“It’s an exciting period of growth at Dukes Bailiffs, we have just opened an office in the centre of London where we’re recruiting for a digital marketing executive. We also celebrated our 25th year in business throughout 2018 and have held many fun activities with the team to commemorate this.

“There are plenty of opportunities for progression at Dukes and we have many team members who have moved to different departments to expand their experience which is welcomed. We’ve celebrated some great internal promotions this year to senior, management or more client facing roles too. We’re always happy to hear from anyone in the team who’s interested in taking the Enforcement Certification for Taking Control of Goods too.”

Dukes Bailiffs has a unique claim in the industry as a truly family run business. This allows the team to offer a tailored service to client which is part of the reason the company is continuing to thrive.

If you’re interested in working at this progressive family business visit www.dukeslimited.co.uk