NW business briefs: UKFast; AG Project + Building consultancy; Dow Schofield Watts; Manchester airport; Metrolink


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Manchester cloud, cybersecurity and managed hosting firm UKFast’s learning program has been rated ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted, making it the only technology company in the North to hold the highest rating. high education regulator.

The company’s technical academy received the highest marks in all four inspection areas – educational quality, professional development, behavior and attitudes, and leadership and management. UKFast is one of the top two nationally ranked technology companies, the other being Siemens.

Launched in 2018, UKFast’s learning and development program has supported nearly 100 apprentices, 79% of whom achieved distinction against a national average for top grades (credit or distinction) of 29%. The rating follows UKFast’s recent announcement of expanding its learning programs and working with sister tech company ANS to create the North’s largest and most comprehensive digital academy . In September, 30 new apprentices joined the program as first class as part of the expanded academy program, delivered by the UKFast on-site training center. Jointly, UKFast and ANS will open the program to the next class of apprentices in early 2022.

Apprentice Lucy turned down three hardcore offers for college when she chose to join UKFast’s apprenticeship program in 2018. She said, “I’m building a successful career at one of the tech companies. most exciting and fast-paced Britons right now. I have great ambitions to continue to develop and expand my experience. I know there are so many opportunities for growth here. I don’t think young people realize how much fun a technical apprenticeship can be if you find the right employer, and how quickly they can start a great career.

UKFast Managing Director Ian Brown said: “We are all absolutely delighted with our learning and development team and our apprentices. Ofsted’s exceptional rating is a testament to their passion and dedication. Through our training academy, we nurture some of the UK’s best digital talent of the future while providing them with an amazing place to work for them to thrive in their careers.


Jonathan shaw

Preston-based AG Project + Building Consultancy has secured another spot in a prestigious £ 120million public sector setting. The framework, the fifth version of Huyton-based Fusion 21, covers a wide range of consulting services including project management, building information modeling, building engineering services, civil and structural engineering, zero carbon and sustainability.

The £ 120million framework will cover four years and is designed to meet the needs of a range of public sector organizations including housing, education, blue light, local authorities and central government.

The Fusion21 framework covers the whole of the UK and the initiative is expected to be used on over 100 projects each year of its operation.

AG Managing Director Jonathan Shaw said, “This is great news for our business as we look to grow in the North and expand our service offering in the public sector. The executive appointment is particularly gratifying after securing a place in JV North’s £ 560million framework.

“Any member who purchases services from the framework will know that they will have access to expert property advice due to the rigorous screening process we undertook to secure a spot on the panel. “


Nicole burstow

Dow Schofield Watts, an independent business consultancy firm based in Daresbury, has opened a new office in Reading as part of its continued expansion across the UK.

The firm, which is known as a “challenger brand” in the accounting industry, operates a unique licensing model that allows professionals to run their own businesses under its brand. He currently has nearly 80 professionals in London, Leeds, the North West and Aberdeen, many of whom are from four large firms, and was recently ranked among the top 15 most active corporate finance advisors in the UK. United.

The launch of the Reading office follows the arrival of advisors Steve and Carla Holmes, who will operate their new business, providing due diligence and tax services, under the growing Dow Schofield Watts brand. A husband and wife team, each with over 20 years of experience. Steve, who is from BDO, previously worked with Haines Watts, EY and Grant Thornton, as well as spent time in the industry with GKN Aerospace and GE Capital. Carla, a Chartered Tax Advisor, spent the first part of her career at Haines Watts as a senior manager in technical tax. For the past 10 years, she has run her own accounting and tax consultancy firm.

The new office will also provide a base for Gavin Harrison, who heads the DSW debt advisory service in this region. Dow Schofield Watts plans to announce additional new arrivals and service lines in the near future.

Nicole Burstow, Chief Financial Officer of DSW Capital, said: “The Dow Schofield Watts business model offers greater autonomy and flexibility to professionals, at a time when many will rethink their priorities in the wake of the pandemic, and offers an additional choice to customers. The launch of the Reading office will further strengthen our presence in the South as we continue to roll out the model in key cities across the country. “


The Cheadle Hulme Cricket Club was among the recipients

The Manchester Airport Trust Fund has now pledged more than £ 80,000 to community causes in 2021, after the approval of nine grants totaling £ 23,146.46. The latest round of donations, agreed in July, follows 17 grants offered at the April meeting worth £ 25,770.60 and over £ 30,000 pledged after a meeting in January.

The Community Trust Fund has been in operation since 1997 and during this period provided over £ 3.5million in grants to community groups. The airport provides up to £ 100,000 a year, which is supplemented by fines imposed on airlines for excess noise. Applicants located within 10 miles of the airport site can request up to £ 3,000 for costed equipment or projects, with applications reviewed quarterly.

Recipients of the latest round of donations include three local cricket clubs, a community project promoting plastic recycling and a Manchester-based charity aimed at tackling food poverty.

Karen Smart, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: ‘We have received an unprecedented number of applications in recent months from community organizations in Greater Manchester and North Cheshire, as they begin to plan for the future with, hopefully, the end of restrictions on coronaviruses. . At times like these, we recognize more than ever the important role our airport plays as an institution at the heart of our community and are proud to be able to support so many great causes with this latest round of donations. “

The Board of Directors of the Community Trust Fund is due to meet later this month and is accepting applications up to £ 3,000 from local non-profit organizations.


Andy Burnham

Manchester Metrolink’s ‘London’ style contactless system is proving more popular than ever, with more than five million trips made since its launch. The tram network’s touch in / touch out system allows customers to travel quickly, safely and flexibly on the network without the need to download an app or purchase a paper ticket.

Originally launched in July 2019, it was further enhanced after the launch of Bee Flex Weekly in September, meaning customers can now travel with confidence knowing they’ll never pay more for a seven-way ticket. days when they show up and with a bank card or contactless device. Recent events in Greater Manchester have seen customers embrace the contactless payment system with 123,000 contactless trips made the week of September 6, which saw Parklife at Heaton Park as well as a Manchester United game.

On Saturday 25 September, 40,000 trips were made without contact and a new weekly record of 141,000 trips as the region hosted a number of major events including the Courteeners at Old Trafford and the Great Manchester Run.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “By making tram travel easier, more flexible and providing value for money to our residents and visitors, pay-as-you-go has really been a game-changer for our residents and visitors. Metrolink customers. I am delighted with the reception it has received and I am sure its popularity will only grow following the recent introduction of Bee Flex Weekly.

He added: “It shows what we can deliver locally and that’s exactly what I want to see through – and integrated with – all of our other modes of transportation. Our plans are ambitious but achievable and can be the foundation for the leveling of the North. Holding the Conservative Party conference in Manchester is a great opportunity for me not only to share our vision with the government, but also to discuss how we can work together to make it happen, because ultimately we need them to come with us. in this journey.

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