You’re Hired! Colmore Tang Construction takes on its first degree apprentice

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You’re Hired! Colmore Tang Construction takes on its first degree apprentice

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Colmore Tang Construction (CTC), the fast-growing Birmingham-based contractor, has hired its first degree apprentice following the completion of an innovative mentoring programme to link schools and employers.

A-level student Zaidan Khan, aged 17, was offered the post after completing a 12-month mentorship with Roland O'Connor, CTC’s Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality Manager, as part of the Career Ready scheme, which supports teenagers at school and college.

As well as having regular monthly meetings with Roland, the Washwood Heath Academy student completed a four-week internship with CTC’s commercial department.

Zaidan’s hard work and appetite for learning impressed Alex Pack, Commercial Manager, and Assistant Quantity Surveyor Chloe Cox, so much that when CTC directors were approached to see if the teen could be offered a degree apprenticeship - they endorsed the idea and quickly agreed.

When he has completed his A-level studies, Zaidan, who lives in Birmingham, will start his four-year Quantity Surveyor traineeship, when he will work four days a week and spend one day a week studying at university.

Zaidan said he was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to begin his career at CTC.

“When I signed up for the Career Ready programme, I never dreamed I would be offered the opportunity to do a degree apprenticeship,” he said. “I’m really proud because not only will I be gaining on-the-job experience with a really good company working on exciting development projects, I’ll also be studying for my qualifications.”

Roland O’Connor said: “In the last three years we have grown incredibly fast and that has been down to experienced people who have worked in the industry for years. Now we have the opportunity to  to build on these strong foundations and bring in fresh talent.

“It’s a great opportunity for Zaidan because he will get excellent support during his apprenticeship from some of the best in the business and it’s also great for Colmore Tang because it demonstrates that we are committed to finding local talent. It's important for us to employ local people to work on local projects.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Zaidan on board and hope that this is just the start of us working closely with local colleges and schools.”

Jonathan Griffiths, Key Stage 5 Achievement Leader at Washwood Heath Academy, added: “I think it is fantastic that Zaidan has been able to have hands-on experience at Colmore Tang as it has allowed him to experience what it's like to work in a successful company and this has undoubtedly filled him with aspiration to achieve.”

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

 

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Builders’ merchant Logmoor reaps the benefits of brand new IVECO Stralis from Guest Truck and Van

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Builders’ merchant Logmoor reaps the benefits of brand new IVECO Stralis from Guest Truck and Van

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Birmingham-based builders’ merchant Logmoor Ltd has taken delivery of a brand new IVECO Stralis 26-tonne rigid truck, thanks to leading UK dealer Guest Truck and Van.

This latest addition to the company’s fleet features a drop-side body with a rear-mounted crane, making delivery and collection of construction materials much easier and less time-consuming.

James Taylor, Group Retail Truck Sales Manager for Guest Truck and Van, explained the benefits of this vehicle.

He said: “Attaching a rear-mounted crane is a major plus for a builders’ merchant because it means offloading on site can be much easier and lead to less heavy manual handling.

“The fixed-grab crane is very agile and is moved using a remote control, and because it’s situated at the rear rather than at the centre, the reach is further so materials can be delivered directly to where they need to be.

“With a superb payload, productivity is increased generally as less time is spent making return trips to collect materials and this means greater time and fuel efficiency.”

As well as a reduction in labour costs and fuel consumption, there is also potentially less wastage on site as materials can get damaged during the initial shift from the kerbside into the site.

Tom Warren, Director at Logmoor, said: “IVECO and Guests have always been good, giving the right combination of vehicle and deal. A rear-mounted crane is a bigger investment, but pays off with improved flexibility and customer satisfaction.”

Guest Truck and Van and Sherwood Truck and Van form the UK’s largest IVECO dealer group with 14 locations across the country, covering the Midlands, South Yorkshire and East Anglia. For more information visit www.guesttruckandvan.co.uk.

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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Opus looks forward to future after appointing two new directors

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Opus looks forward to future after appointing two new directors

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Opus, one of the top fine-dining restaurants in Birmingham, has signalled its intentions for future growth by appointing two directors.

Pawel Skrzypinski, who has worked at Opus for four years, and executive chef Ben Ternent, who has just celebrated his 12th anniversary at the Cornwall Street restaurant, will join directors Irene Allan and Ann Tonks on the board.

The promotions come as the independent restaurant puts in place exciting plans for 2018 and beyond to build on the past 12 years of success. Not only are there plans to invest significantly in the Cornwall Street restaurant, the team will also expand with the appointment of a new head chef and a sales manager, both of whom are expected to start next month (December).

Ann Tonks said: “Since Irene and I opened Opus in 2005, we’ve guided its growth and it is now one of the leading restaurants in the city. We are now in the right position to strengthen our management team with the appointment of Pawel and Ben, who have long been incredibly supportive and creative members of staff.

“It heralds a new and exciting period for Opus, which is playing its part in the dynamic growth of the city centre hospitality sector and more specifically in the Colmore Business District and Cornwall Street, which is undergoing a transformation.

“As an independent business, we are able to make decisions quickly so that we are always working to enhance the customer experience in what is a very competitive market. Adding Pawel and Ben to the board of directors allows us to recognise their talent and put them at the very heart of our collective decision-making. We’re incredibly optimistic for the future.”

Thirty-year-old Pawel Skrzypinski, who has 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, re-joined Opus four years ago as restaurant manager after having worked there as head waiter.

He said: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play a central part in the strategic plans for Opus because we are all incredibly ambitious for its success.

“Birmingham is a brilliant place in which to be involved with the restaurant sector because it is growing all the time. This competition pushes us to be better across all parts of the business. We already pride ourselves on being innovative. This year we’ve built good relationships with other independent businesses and have showcased local artists, so we’ll continue to do that.”

Ben Ternent, aged 32, joined Opus as a commis chef 12 years ago and was promoted to executive chef two years ago. He said he will remain in charge of the kitchen and will use his new role to strengthen the team.

“It’s a real privilege to be appointed director and it’s an opportunity for me to focus more on the direction in which the restaurant will go and how we can continue to grow it,” he said.

“There’s a very strong restaurant scene in Birmingham, so it’s never been more important for us to develop fresh ideas, making sure we stay true to our ethos of cooking with the best, seasonal ingredients we can source, and working closely with our suppliers.”

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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Maple Hayes Dyslexia School rated ‘outstanding’ across the board by Ofsted

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Maple Hayes Dyslexia School rated ‘outstanding’ across the board by Ofsted

Delighted staff and pupils at Maple Hayes Dyslexia School in Lichfield are celebrating after receiving a glowing Ofsted report that rated the school as ‘outstanding’ in all areas.

Lead inspector, Sandy Hayes, praised the school for its unique approach to teaching and the staff’s commitment to making sure pupils thrive regardless of learning ability.

She wrote: “Inspectors agree that pupils benefit tremendously from their time at the school. The success of the school is due to the vision, expertise, determination and hard work of the proprietors and headteacher.

“Parents describe Maple Hayes as ‘an answer to prayer’. They say that, from the moment they start at the school, their children’s lives and those of their families are turned around.”

The school was deemed ‘outstanding’ in the four main categories which include; effectiveness of leadership and management (including governance and safeguarding), quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for pupils.

The report reads: “Pupils do, indeed, thrive at Maple Hayes. They grow quickly in self-confidence and become self-assured learners who are, rightly, proud of their achievements.

“A real community spirit exists in the school. Pupils are proud to belong.”

Headteacher Dr Daryl Brown said: “We are really pleased to be recognised once again as an outstanding school. We have a long history of receiving ‘outstanding’ results and this latest report is testament to the tremendous work by both our staff and pupils who always strive for excellence.

“The report highlights the importance of providing the highest standard of education for children with dyslexia and special learning needs and shows that our unique teaching method is vital to ensuring young people can achieve their full potential.”

Maple Hayes was founded by Dr Neville Brown, the school principal, who today works closely alongside his son Dr Daryl Brown, who is the headteacher. Together, the doctors have created a unique approach to teaching literacy called the ‘morphological approach’, using icons to make a visual link between meaning and spelling instead of pupils being taught using phonics.

To read the report in full visit: www.reports.ofsted.gov.uk. For further details about Maple Hayes Dyslexia School visit: dyslexia.school.

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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Park Regis Birmingham to ‘Pound Match’ funds this Christmas for local hospice

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Park Regis Birmingham to ‘Pound Match’ funds this Christmas for local hospice

Park Regis' Mark Payne and St Mary's Hospice Birmingham's Susan Newcombe 2.jpg

Park Regis Birmingham will be pound-for-pound match funding this Christmas, to help raise vital funds for its charity partner, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

The four-star hotel – which is the brand’s first in Europe – is launching ‘Pound Match’, a simple fundraising initiative that asks guests to donate £1 to their bill which the hotel then matches.

Taking place between Friday 1st December and Sunday 31st December, all funds raised will go towards the Hospice, which provides vital care and support to local families living with terminal illness across Birmingham and Sandwell.

Mark Payne, general manager at Park Regis Birmingham, said: “Birmingham St Mary’s provides an incredible service to local people, which is why we partnered with the charity earlier this year.  

“With Pound Match, we’re offering our guests a simple way to support the Hospice over the festive season. Together, we hope to raise as much money as possible for the charity, so that it can continue to provide such an essential role in our community.”

Susan Newcombe, director of income generation and marketing at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “Pound Match is a brilliant initiative that will help raise vital funds for our Hospice over the Christmas period.

“Every pound collected really will make a difference, helping us to continue to provide our expert care at the Hospice, in people’s homes and in the local community. All of our services are free of charge and so we rely on the generosity of local people – including Park Regis’ kind-hearted guests – to ensure that the best experience of living is available to everyone leading up to and at the end of life.

“Thank you to Park Regis for its continued support – with its help, we can continue to support even more local people living with terminal illness.”  

Park Regis Birmingham chose Birmingham St Mary’s as its corporate charity partner in April 2017. So far, the luxury establishment has hosted a number of fundraising activities throughout the year, including its ‘Fright of Flight’ challenge which saw local business professionals abseil 48 meters down the hotel or run up its 16 flight of stairs.  

To find out more about Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk.

For more information about Park Regis Birmingham, visit: www.parkregisbirmingham.co.uk.

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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What happened to real radio?

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Here's what Clive said on 24th March 2016. Today BBC Director General Tony Hall announced the BBC radio evening programme will be replaced with locally-made listening. Coincidence? We think not. 


My interest in media began while I was at school and it still continues nearly a decade later (do you think anyone will buy that?) - I was fascinated with radio, particularly local radio and was very excited at the launch of our very own BRMB in 1974. I was about to be ten. Local radio was fresh, vibrant, exciting and it spoke as great radio should, directly to me. It didn’t matter if anyone else was listening or not. I got involved in hospital radio, first at BHBN where I learned to operate an ancient BBC broadcast desk, then on to Sandwell Hospital Radio where I learned to operate a modern desk, one with faders and everything. There were even cart machines for jingles.

My ever popular kids programme, which went out on Friday teatimes taught me something else too - that I wasn’t cut out for a career in radio presenting. The strain of being pleasant, upbeat and not swearing for over an hour would be too much to bear as a regular job. But the media bug has never left me.

In the intervening years, local radio in this region has had some absolute greats, with Les Ross presenting a stunning breakfast show, Ed Doolan captivating the midlands with his consumer programme to such an extent that he was even called upon to talk down a listener from a rooftop whilst live on air. The point is, local radio was local, new and people loved it. Whole communities were engaged. BRMB, now Free Radio -  and don’t start me on that rebrand - managed to get a huge number of people walking around the outer circle bus route to raise money for charity, year in, year out. What is there now? Nothing.

I have to declare that I have friends who present radio programmes and they’re a bunch of talented, entertaining individuals whose creativity seems to be stifled by the constraints of programme homogenisation. Their programmes are good, but if they were allowed free reign, they could be brilliant. I expect that the reasons they’re not given a couple of hours to do what they like to entertain their audience is purely commercial, with statistics, charts and economic budgeting informing what the listeners hear.

Probably I should ask a radio person what their opinion is, but I’m sure I’d get a solid corporate response along the lines of: “There’s no call for larking about, listeners aren’t interested, they just want music and a bit of chat.”

Well I disagree. And I’m not just picking on the commercial stations, I’m picking on the BBC too. There’s usually a reason for my rant and let me tell you what triggered this one. On Sunday, I took part in the BBC WM takeover, where listeners have been involved in presenting programmes on the Birmingham based station all week. For me, their flagship programme is a treasure hunt, which happens on Sunday mornings, where listeners solve clues to send a presenter trekking to different locations around the region, in search of a person who’ll inevitably be involved in something interesting that day.

The programme is ridiculous, engaging, a very easy listen and laden with double entendres and stuff to make you laugh out loud. It’s what local radio is all about. People participate.

I was in the studio on Sunday morning, trying to help solve clues along with my partner Pet, who’s an avid fan and another three ‘normal’ listeners. And that’s what was so refreshing - these guys were really excited to be there. This radio station was really important to them. The programme was important and they were the sort of listener that I’d imagine most other programmes and stations are neglecting. So please Mr Producer, when you’re thinking about how to improve your RAJAR (it’s how radio listener numbers are calculated), please don’t forget that radio is the medium that can bring people together as a community and communities generally stick together. Will someone have a crack at getting the radio buzz back into Birmingham please? Promise to listen!

* Real Radio and Buzz radio were stations in the past, Buzz was particularly good, but those aren’t the ones we’re talking about.

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Watch out for fakes

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Watch out for fakes

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A Birmingham jeweller is warning buyers to beware of exceptionally good quality fake Rolex watches that are being offered for sale in the city.

Rex Johnson and Sons jewellers on Corporation Street have been asked to value and buy  three imitation Rolex watches on three separate occasions in the past week.

David Johnson who runs the company said: “The quality of the reproductions is remarkable. We have seen three different models, each of them incredibly detailed copies, but each with its own particular give-away flaws. On one, with a blue face, the colour wasn’t quite strong enough. That one also had poor enamel work on part of its bezel. I suspect that the steel strap on that one was a genuine Rolex part, which is a clever trick in trying to deceive buyers.

“The quality of the fakes is really good, which makes them difficult to spot. They have been presented to us in what look like genuine boxes, which could also make them look more like the real thing to anyone who doesn’t know what they’re looking for.

“The people circulating the fakes are asking for about £6,000 for watches that should have a £7,000 second hand value, making them seem like a bargain. If these were dress watches with no particular brand, they’d probably be worth about £300, but definitely not into the thousands.

“It really is a case of buyer beware. Birmingham is a city of jewellery and jewellers and I hate to think of Brummies getting conned by people with fake watches.”

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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Pupils bank on gifted groceries

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Pupils bank on gifted groceries

Pupils from Maple Hayes Dyslexia School in Lichfield have delivered an estimated £500 worth of groceries to Lichfield foodbank following a week of collections.

The school raises funds for a variety of good causes each year and collection for the foodbank has coincided with harvest festival.

Headteacher Dr Daryl Brown said: “We are a small school with around 100 pupils, so the huge response to anything charitable from our students and their families always astonishes me.

“We understand that since commencing work in April 2014, Lichfield foodbank has been able to provide the equivalent of 200,000 meals. They tell us that whilst they appreciate this is 200,000 too many, they are thankful that they are able to help everyone who turns to them in need.

“The work of Lichfield foodbank is only made possible through continued support and donations, so we are proud that Maple Hayes has been able to give them what we guess is probably seven supermarket trollies full of basic food."

Each school year group was tasked with filling a large basket and since collections started, several tables in the dining hall have been taken up by the groceries.

Maple Hayes Dyslexia School caters for pupils with specific literacy problems. For more information, visit: dyslexia.school.

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

 

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Guest’s makes top flight appointment as football graduate takes on quality manager role

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Guest’s makes top flight appointment as football graduate takes on quality manager role

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A football studies graduate with an eye for statistics and spreadsheets has been appointed Quality Manager by Guest Truck and Van, the largest IVECO dealer in the UK.

Mark Brooks, a graduate of Southampton Solent University, has been promoted in the company after spending five months working on a project to strengthen processes with one of the company's customers.

The 29-year-old, who lives in Warwickshire, will focus initially on delivering the Quality Management Standards ISO 9001:2015 across all 13 of its Guest Truck and Van and Sherwood Truck and Van locations, as well as progressing the company's commitment to vehicle type approval standards.

Guest Truck and Van’s West Bromwich-based head office and a handful of branches had already achieved the current 2008 ISO 9001 accreditation, but that will need updating before the current standard which will become obsolete in September 2018.

Now Mark, who has a background in accountancy and has also worked in back office functions in the film and video industry, will be responsible for rolling the new ISO 9001 out across the business.

"There are some key changes to the new standards, so it is important that we can meet them in good time before the 2008 version expires,” he said.

“Although each branch works with the same systems, across sales and servicing we work with IVECO and Fiat Professional, so some of our processes have to link to theirs to ensure total quality compliance right across every element of our service.

“I had no hesitation in taking the role when it was offered because over the past few months I’ve been really impressed with its operations and its ethos.”

Managing director Robert Spittle said: “We are committed to achieving high quality standards, for the mutual benefit of our team, our customers and suppliers, therefore, It’s important to keep processes and accreditations up to date. Preparing and updating Quality Management Standards is more than an academic exercise in box ticking, it gives us the opportunity to review our practices and incorporate any new processes and procedures to make sure that each of our branches across the regions works to the same high standard. I am delighted to welcome Mark to the team to further progress this fundamental area of the business.”

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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Why the Intaklean Maxi filter can keep your boiler running this winter

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Why the Intaklean Maxi filter can keep your boiler running this winter

With winter fast approaching, facilities managers in care homes, hospitals, schools and colleges will be checking that the boiler rooms can cope with the demands of the coldest season of the year.

Keeping the heating systems in optimal condition ensures that they run efficiently and also helps to control running costs. However, it is the cost of downtime when a boiler fails that could ultimately make managers shiver.

Because boilers are a significant investment for any business, it makes sense to put in place preventative measures to stop a build-up of contaminants, which can lead to sluggish performance, blockages and breakdowns.

Failure to put sufficient practices in place could be costly - with call outs costing around £130 to deal with a commercial boiler breakdown and thousands of pounds to replace parts or even the complete system.

The IntaKlean Maxi commercial range of magnetic filters has been designed to deliver all the benefits you’ve come to expect from an Inta magnetic system filter.

Designed and manufactured by Inta, the UK’s leading supplier to the plumbing and heating sectors, the magnetic filter that protects commercial installations from magnetite buildup, preventing corrosion inside the heating system, thus keeping it free of debris that can cause clogging and breakdowns.

It’s designed and manufactured to be retro-fitted easily and quickly for maximum convenience and, of course, it can also be installed with any new boiler to keep it at peak condition for longer.

Available in 2.5" to 4", and supplied with PN16 flanges, the IntaKlean Maxi commercial magnetic filter range features four 10,000 Gauss magnet.

It also features a manual air bleed as well as a 1" drain plug. With virtually limitless product life and negligible on-going maintenance costs, the magnets can be withdrawn from the filter without the need for draining down making servicing both quick and easy.

When you consider that in schools alone, most spend around 20% of their maintenance budget on their heating systems to make sure they perform well, it pays to be proactive by installing an IntaKlean Maxi to safeguard tight budgets.

Cost savings are also crucial for the NHS. In 2016, it published the Securing Healthy Returns, which identified 35 sustainability measures, 18 of which focused on energy saving that could result in a reduction of energy costs of £21.5 million*. The report also pointed out that good building management was crucial.

Inta offers the IntaKlean Maxi with a 12 year warranty, ensuring you and your building are in good hands this winter.

PR by Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham

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