Wakefieldfirst | Latest News Feed http://www.wakefieldfirst.com Latest News from WakefieldFirst Tue, 17 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.srcreative.net/ Wakefield Business Conference Wednesday October 3rd 2018, part of the Wakefield First Business Week http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/wakefield-business-conference-wednesday-october-3rd-2018-part-of-wakefield-firsts-business-week/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/wakefield-business-conference-wednesday-october-3rd-2018-part-of-wakefield-firsts-business-week/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/wakefield-business-conference-wednesday-october-3rd-2018-part-of-wakefield-firsts-business-week/

DIGITAL INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE WITH NGC NETWORKS WAKEFIELD http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/digital-innovation-in-the-workplace/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/digital-innovation-in-the-workplace/#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/digital-innovation-in-the-workplace/ In just two years, artificial intelligence (AI) will create more jobs than it destroys by delivering more business value.

That’s according to Gartner, the leading research and advisory company which is also predicting an increase in the number of employees who will prefer to work remotely.The increase in new technologies such as full fibre gigabit internet speeds and cloud services is transforming the way we live and work, providing greater flexibility and the prospect of improved work-life balance.

Added to this is the smartphone revolution. In five years, the smartphone will be the most used digital device globally. More than 90 per cent of adults in the UK alone are expected to have a smartphone by 2023, says professional services giant Deloitte. Its 2018 Technology, Media and Telecommunications reports says that for half of the UK’s workforce, ‘the smartphone may be the ideal digital tool: its merits are its portability, biometric security and constant connection’.

Businesses across all sectors are having to adapt and embrace these digital innovations to support how they and their employees will operate in the years to come.Remote working – whether it be from home or in the field – means ensuring your staff enjoy strong digital connectivity to enable them to access records and systems that support the work they do.

It’s important that remote employees can continue to work together and share information in a remote working environment which is just as effective as if they were physically in the office. BT’s recent announcement that it is pushing ahead with plans to switch off its traditional telephone network is all the evidence you need of the digital revolution we find ourselves in.

BT wants to move its customers over to IP telephony services by 2025. This will see all voice calls delivered via an internet connection. Voice over IP (VoIP) is already favoured by most organisations who recognise the benefits of its reliability and, of course, its ability to allow businesses to adopt remote and mobile working by enabling employees to work from any location at any time.

With BT’s announcement, more businesses need to consider switching to VoIP which also provides business continuity and disaster recovery.

As a CityFibre partner, NGC Networks is witnessing at first hand the difference full fibre gigabit speeds are making to businesses across the Yorkshire region via its network of Gigabit Cities.

We are connecting businesses to the Gigabit City networks, enabling them to take advantage of new technologies, vastly improving their digital capabilities and revolutionising the way they do business.

Communication is at the heart of all businesses. The next generation of flexible business communications tools and technology will enable us to work smarter, not harder.

Sir Rodney Walker appointed Chairman of The Yorkshire Society http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/sir-rodney-walker-appointed-chairman-of-the-yorkshire-society/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/sir-rodney-walker-appointed-chairman-of-the-yorkshire-society/#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/sir-rodney-walker-appointed-chairman-of-the-yorkshire-society/ A Yorkshireman through and through, Sir Rodney Walker, born in Wakefield, has been appointed Chairman of The Yorkshire Society.

Established in 1980, The Yorkshire Society is a not-for-profit organisation that celebrates and promotes everything that is great about Yorkshire and aims to protect both the character and characteristics of the nation’s biggest and proudest county.

Sir Rodney brings to the Society a vast amount of experience gained over a long and illustrious career in business, sport and community service, during which he has lead campaigns raising more than £40 million for charities and good causes.

The worthy recipient of many accolades, in 1996 the honour of Knight Bachelor was conferred upon him by the Queen for his services to sport.

Sir Rodney said “Having been a vice-president and long-time supporter of the Society, the opportunity to assist the ambitious plans of the new committee is one I could not resist.

“It is right that at the outset I pay tribute to the outgoing chair, Keith Madeley MBE, who has worked to build the reputation of the Society over many years and I send him my best wishes for the future.

“The Society’s newly formed committee has a strong desire and determination to change its future direction and will be implementing new ideas designed to establish it as the champion of the County’s people and businesses, locally, nationally and even internationally.

“It is my earnest wish that the Society looks to work constructively and collaboratively with all other organisations promoting the values of Yorkshire and its people”.

Philip Bell, the Society’s new Chief Executive added, “We are delighted to have Sir Rodney on board. His contacts and leadership will help us implement a host of pro-active plans for Yorkshire, whilst his established relationship with HRH the Duke of York, the Society’s Patron, makes Sir Rodney an ideal Chairperson. We are all looking forward to working closely with him”.

CASTLEFORD CURTAIN MAKERS HAVE SUCCESS ALL SEWN UP http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/castleford-curtain-makers-have-success-all-sewn-up/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/castleford-curtain-makers-have-success-all-sewn-up/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/castleford-curtain-makers-have-success-all-sewn-up/ Nationwide Curtain Makers – recipients of a sizeable grant from ERDF funded programme, AD:VENTURE – celebrated the completion of its new offices and showroom with a star-studded ribbon cutting ceremony.

After successfully applying for the full £25,000 AD:VENTURE grant, the Castleford based curtain makers used the funds to facilitate the building of new meeting rooms, offices, reception area and trade showroom.

The company’s rapid growth was also thanks to support from a number of regional support programmes in addition to AD:VENTURE, namely the Leeds City Region LEP, Digital Enterprise and the Manufacturing Growth Programme, which were also instrumental in taking the business forward so quickly.

Now the family-run business has created 28 jobs for the local community, invested in a 5,500 square foot manufacturing facility and is developing its company website.

Wakefield Councillor for Castleford, Central and Glasshoughton, Richard Forster, said: “I’m here today because I wanted to show support to a business which has managed to transform itself from being a small supplier of local retail to an international commercial enterprise.

“This is a fantastic example of how local investment makes a dramatic and tangible difference to smaller businesses, delivering remarkable results for everyone involved. Castleford has a proud history of industrial heritage and Nationwide Curtain Makers have now managed to add a chapter to this.”

Mindir Paul, Business Advisor for AD:VENTURE, adds: “Nationwide Curtain Makers recognises the importance of its staff and works hard to recruit and retain the right people.

“The business has identified that seamstresses are hard to find these days, so they invest directly in local talent which is great news for Castleford as it provides the community with quality, skilled jobs. The grant process took around four to five months to complete but it is now wonderful to see that everything has come together.”

Nationwide Curtain Makers have also recruited staff through the Works Better programme, which helps people who want to secure employment overcome the barriers that are stopping them and is a collaboration of six partners and councils across the Wakefield district.

Nicola Boyd, who co-owns Nationwide Curtain Makers along with her husband Stephen and son James, comments: “This is our first birthday in the modern premises and we couldn’t have asked for a better turn out. We invited over 1,000 people altogether and it looks like most have them are here, which is fantastic. Guests have spent most of the day looking around the workroom seeing how we make curtains, leafing through the pattern books in our new showroom and exploring the different fabrics.

“We have been in the industry for over 20 years and have worked hard to build up our reputation - but we also recognise all of the external help and support we have been given in the form of advice, signposting and grants. This opening event was a great excuse to celebrate our success and send our thanks to everyone who has been a part of our expansion, whilst also raising over £300 for Hearing Dogs for deaf people.”

For further details about AD:VENTURE and the financial and practical support that is available from the programme please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk.


From strength to strength.. Wakefield based Topic UK, launches Yorkshire wide. http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/from-strength-to-strength-wakefield-based-topic-magazine-launches-yorkshire-wide/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/from-strength-to-strength-wakefield-based-topic-magazine-launches-yorkshire-wide/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/from-strength-to-strength-wakefield-based-topic-magazine-launches-yorkshire-wide/ As Yorkshire business magazine TopicUK has now reached its fifth Birthday, founding partners Gill Laidler and Rob Blackwell made the decision to amalgamate all editions into one Yorkshire edition and following the relaunch at the Dakota Deluxe Hotel on 6th April in Leeds, this has proved to be an amazing success.

The invitation-only event was attended by partners, contributors and friends of TopicUK, many of whom have been with us since TopicUK started.

Guests joined us for a welcome glass of bubbly before listening to guest speaker Sir Rodney Walker, who has been a supporter of TopicUK since it launched, who was followed by David from Coeur de Chocolat, who not only gave a brilliant demonstration of how to taste chocolate, but brought samples for everyone to try including a take home gift of chocolate caviar! Canapés were distributed courtesy of the Hotel Dakota Deluxe.

The magazine is now looking for new distribution outlets across Yorkshire, mostly in York, Harrogate, Sheffield and Bradford, so if you would like to stock free copies or if you would like to contribute, please do get in touch.

Partnerships are also available, so if you’re business is looking for affordable promotion in print, digital and on social media at extremely affordable prices, please do let us know.

Editor@topicuk.co.uk or call 07711 539047.


Quite literally a Star Studded event ... http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/quite-literally-a-star-studded-event-/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/quite-literally-a-star-studded-event-/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/quite-literally-a-star-studded-event-/ Theatre Royal Wakefield launched their new studio space and café bar with a ribbon cutting ceremony that saw all the Theatre’s donators and supporters celebrate the official opening.

Almost 150 people filled Theatre Royal Wakefield’s new building for an evening of speeches, drinks and performances, marking their unique extension well and truly open. Countless supporters who have donated to the project all joined together to admire the hard work and determination that has been put into this dramatic statement structure on Westgate.

Executive Director Katie Town welcomed guests into the space alongside Sir Rodney and Lady Anne Walker, whose generous support to the Theatre has been recognised with the naming of the new studio space: The Walker Studio. Following speeches from the Theatre’s Chair, Gill Galdins, and performance by Joe Davis, a talented student of the Theatre Royal Performance Academy, the grand opening came to a close with a ribbon cutting ceremony executed by ITV’s Calendar journalist, Sally Simpson.

Sally Simpson said: 'It was a real pleasure to be a part of tonight’s celebration. What you have created here at Theatre Royal Wakefield is a real asset to the district as a whole. It’s a feather in the cap of everyone whose hard work has brought it to fruition.’

Katie Town said: ‘Over the last two years we have raised over one million pounds to this cause and it was such pleasure to give a big thank you to all those that have helped the Theatre make this dream building a reality. This unique space will open so many doors for the Wakefield community and I’m excited that we can now open ours.’

This was also the first chance to see the Wall of Fame. This fundraising campaign was used to raise money for the space while adorning the interior wall with over 120 golden stars engraved with the donator’s name. The Buy a Star campaign continues to raise funds for the fit out of the Walker Studio and there is still the opportunity to donate and see your name up on the wall alongside the likes of John Godber, Jason Donovan and Chris Kamara.

With the space now finally open, Theatre Royal Wakefield are in their last leg of fundraising. The funds raised from now will be aimed towards the technical equipment that is needed to bring the studio theatre fully to life. To find out more information on how to make a donation, please visit theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk/support.

Family-owned Wakefield business set for 5.5m turnover boost with new Aldi contract http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/family-owned-wakefield-business-set-for-55m-turnover-boost-with-new-aldi-contract/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/family-owned-wakefield-business-set-for-55m-turnover-boost-with-new-aldi-contract/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/family-owned-wakefield-business-set-for-55m-turnover-boost-with-new-aldi-contract/ Family-owned woodworking firm HARTE is set for a multi-million pound turnover boost and workforce expansion after securing a contract with Aldi.

The Wakefield-based business will create 15 jobs, and see turnover leap by £5.5m, as it works on a project to provide shelving for the supermarket chain’s Project Fresh store refurb programme.

Aldi is investing £300m to upgrade all its stores with the new format by the end of 2020.

HARTE is tasked with manufacturing custom shelving units for the retailer’s beers, wines, spirits, and health and beauty products.

The selves will be installed in over 530 Aldi supermarkets in the UK during the next three years.

HARTE said the deal will make Aldi its single biggest customer, accounting for around 25% of the firm’s turnover and boosting revenues by £2.5m in 2018 alone.

HARTE commercial director Fraser Thomson said: “In the first six months of 2018 we provided shelving units for 79 of Aldi’s Project Fresh stores, with another 81 stores scheduled for the rest of the calendar year.

“Our relationship with Aldi is a huge boost to our business, enabling us to increase our turnover, expand into new premises, and create more jobs for people in our community.”

Aldi’s managing director of logistics and services, Fritz Walleczek, commented: “Our Project Fresh store format follows our biggest ever customer listening exercise and years of development, so we are working with partners such as HARTE to bring this vision to life, and to deliver an exceptional shopping experience for our customers.”

HARTE was founded in 1973 and currently employs 115 full-time staff.

Sewtec to create 40 jobs with new office in Wakefield http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/sewtec-to-create-40-jobs-with-new-office-in-wakefield/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/sewtec-to-create-40-jobs-with-new-office-in-wakefield/#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/sewtec-to-create-40-jobs-with-new-office-in-wakefield/ Dewsbury-based robotics specialist Sewtec is set to create about 40 jobs after opening a new mechanical and software engineering design office in Wakefield.

The new office at Silkwood Park, just off Junction 40 of the M1, will support the company's plans to double turnover to £32m and increase its headcount from 80 to more than 120 staff within the next five years.

The new office complements Sewtec's existing mechanical and software engineering design team based at the company's 23,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Dewsbury. Recruitment for positions at the new office, including mechanical design and software engineers, has already begun.

Sewtec managing director Mark Cook said: "The new office is strategically located to augment the excellent work of our existing design team, and to attract talent from across the region and beyond. It shows our commitment to accelerating Sewtec's growth to achieve our plans of doubling our manufacturing capability whilst expanding further into global markets.

"Since the beginning of the year, we have created 16 new jobs across our engineering, manufacturing and sales functions. Attracting new people to our Wakefield design office is the next important next step in recruiting for least 40 new highly skilled jobs which will underpin Sewtec's continued success."

Sewtec designs and manufactures high-technology factory automation systems for global blue-chip clients in the food, pharmaceutical, personal care and tobacco industries. It counts Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson amongst its clients, and more than 85 per cent of its sales are to export markets.

The company's expansion follows a management buyout (MBO) in August 2017, which was backed by Leeds-headquartered private equity firm Endless.

Yorkshire Business Woman Jo Haigh Wins the IoD Yorkshire & North East Non-Exec Director of the Year Award 2018 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/yorkshire-business-woman-jo-haigh-wins-the-iod-yorkshire-north-east-non-exec-director-of-the-year-award-2018/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/yorkshire-business-woman-jo-haigh-wins-the-iod-yorkshire-north-east-non-exec-director-of-the-year-award-2018/#comments Mon, 9 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/yorkshire-business-woman-jo-haigh-wins-the-iod-yorkshire-north-east-non-exec-director-of-the-year-award-2018/ With bases in Wakefield, London and Birmingham, Jo Haigh has been awarded the Institute of Directors Yorkshire & North East Non-Exec Director of the Year Award. This regional recognition solidifies Jo’s hard work and dedication over the last 28 years of supporting SMEs all over the country to help improve their board performance, strategic direction and practice good corporate governance. Jo is the CEO of fds, a corporate finance boutique.

The Non-Exec Director award recognises individuals that have made significant contribution to the organisation’s strategy, impacted on the financial success of the company, demonstrated high ethical standards and promoted the practice of good corporate governance.

The IoD Yorkshire & North East Awards celebrates the achievements of the region’s most hardworking and innovative business leaders. They recognise individuals who have displayed the highest standards of leadership in business, public and third sectors.

They aim to raise awareness among IoD members, the wider business community and public of the significant contribution business leaders can make to society and to economic prosperity in our region.

Jo was overwhelmed to win the award for the Yorkshire and North East regions. Jo commented “as with everything, no award is a solo achievement. My amazing team and great clients are the ones who provide me with the support and the opportunities to achieve”.

Winners of each of the Yorkshire & North East Awards are automatically entered into the national finals, showcasing the ‘best of the best’ in British business and take place in London on the 16th October.

GROUP RHODES INVESTS IN ITS FUTURE WITH WAKEFIELD FACTORY RELOCATION http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/group-rhodes-invests-in-its-future-with-wakefield-factory-relocation/ http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/group-rhodes-invests-in-its-future-with-wakefield-factory-relocation/#comments Mon, 9 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.wakefieldfirst.com/news/all/group-rhodes-invests-in-its-future-with-wakefield-factory-relocation/ Group Rhodes, the Wakefield-based advanced engineering company is celebrating relocating to new premises on Calder Vale, investing in refurbishing and re-equipping its new manufacturing facility and creating 21 new jobs. The new site is only half a mile from where the business was founded in 1824.

The company, which designs, manufactures and services machinery for the clay preparation, metalworking and materials handling industries, has invested £800,000 in its new premises, equipment and its infrastructure, including new heating and extraction systems, office equipment, new electrics and IT systems, mezzanine floors and production machinery. 

In addition, Group Rhodes successfully secured a Leeds City Region LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) grant of £70,000, which helped to create the new roles. The roles include CNC machine operators, service engineers, production support personnel, design engineers, sales engineers and a Quality Health and Safety and Environmental (QHSE) Manager. Over the past 12 months, the company has also invested in its service fleet, with eight new commercial vehicles acquired, taking the total investment in the business over the last 12 months to over £1m. 

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), officially opened the new Calder Vale site for Group Rhodes on 4th July, he said: “This is an exciting time for Group Rhodes as the business relocates onto one site, right in the heart of Wakefield.  The grant has enabled the company to grow even further, creating several new employment opportunities in the area.  The new factory gives a fantastic view of modern manufacturing and we wish Group Rhodes all the best for the future.”

To celebrate the move, Group Rhodes held an Open Day, which consisted of a factory tour for around 200 customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, followed by a presentation by Mark Ridgway, CEO of Group Rhodes and the official opening.  Speakers at the event included Richard Halstead, EEF Membership Engagement Director, North, who spoke about the importance of manufacturing to the UK, and Roger Marsh discussed the regional economy before unveiling a plaque to officially open the site.  Mark Ridgway, CEO of Group Rhodes, in his address to guests, spoke about the importance of innovation in an increasingly fragmented global marketplace.  The Open Day gave delegates the opportunity to learn more about Group Rhodes’ products and recent installations.  They were also able to take advantage of 3D visualisation technology to gain an insight into Group Rhodes’ future designs and there were video presentations on British manufacturing.

Group Rhodes CEO Mark Ridgway said: “The Open Day marks an important milestone in our company’s history and demonstrates our investment in the company’s future. By operating from these purpose-equipped premises and with access to the latest technology and equipment, we can now collaborate even better as a business and extend our growth into new UK and international markets, creating further prosperity in this region.  We are very excited about what the future holds for all our staff and our business.”

The relocation and investment has significantly improved the operational environment for both office and production staff at Group Rhodes.  The factory environment is much lighter and more modern and the office layout allows the different commercial divisions of the company to work more closely together.  The new layout should have benefits for customers too, allowing Group Rhodes to offer improved cover for technical enquiries, telephone support and service provision, with engineers regularly supporting other divisions, as necessary.  The group’s new IT systems also provide better communication between factory and offices, with the intention of real time mapping of production flows.

Within Group Rhodes there are a number of businesses which manufacture capital equipment and provide aftermarket services for different markets including Rhodes Interform, Hallamshire Engineering Services and Craven Fawcett. Rhodes Interform manufactures hot and cold forming equipment for metals and composites and is internationally recognised as a specialist in Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding for both the aerospace and automotive industries.  Craven Fawcett is a manufacturer of clay preparation machinery including Box Feeders, Grinding Mills, Mixers & Extruders sold globally for quarrying, mining & ceramics and Hallamshire Engineering Services is a manufacturer of materials handling equipment, including pulleys, rollers & conveyors, sold globally to mining, quarrying, agriculture & recycling industries.

Group Rhodes is focused on innovation and new product development, with new technologies being explored and patents developed.  The company currently has a patent pending on a device to enhance the processing of lightweight alloys at high temperatures and has also recently submitted a bid alongside several of the country’s leading universities to develop a means of designing, proving, optimising and industrialising ongoing and nascent metalforming processes.   Group Rhodes is also developing its European links in view of potential forthcoming changes in the marketplace. Its Craven Fawcett business now has a strong working relationship with Greek company SABO and Rhodes Interform has recently become the UK and Ireland distributor for Dr. Hochstrate Machinenbau, a German manufacturer of hydraulic folding machines and guillotines.

For further details visit the website: www.grouprhodes.co.uk.