Thursday, August 16, 2018

News: Rotherham dental practice changes hands

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Rayner & Horscraft Dental Surgery in Rotherham has been sold through specialist business property adviser Christie & Co to a local, first time buyer.

The long established business enjoys a prominent location in Wath town centre and a strong reputation in the community, having been operating for over 70 years. Comprising two well-fitted surgeries, the NHS practice also benefits from an unopposed trading position in the local area.

Having been run by the previous partners for 27 years, they decided to move on to retire. the previous owners said: "After speaking to a number of dental agents we decided to instruct Christie & Co to sell our expense-sharing practice as we felt they produced the most comprehensive sales package for us.

"We are very grateful to Jonathan Watson for working hard for us and helping to achieve our goal. Selling a dental practice is a rocky ride at times, but we are there now and delighted with the outcome."

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Principal Amir Arif is the new owner. He said: "I am delighted with the purchase, it is such a lovely practice to work in. I am now looking to refurbish the building and maintain the good reputation built up over the years."

Rayner & Horscraft Dental Surgery was sold for £675,000 plus the freehold interest.

Jonathan Watson, associate director – medical at Christie & Co, said: "This is yet another example of the continued appetite for profitable NHS practices in the North of England. Whilst some operators in South Yorkshire have faced challenges with recruitment, others have seen it as an ideal time to acquire dental practices. We generated multiple viewings and offers for this practice which shows the strength of the market right now."

Christie & Co website

Images: Christie & Co

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News: Caps off to AMRC Training Centre’s first foundation degree graduates

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The first cohort of students from the AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham have received their foundation degrees.

The £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham focuses on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Part of the The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, apprentices have opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses, doctorates and MBA levels.

Launching foundation degrees, which can be delivered as part of a Higher Apprenticeship, the aim was to provide the manufacturing industry with the higher skilled employees it desperately needs. The foundation could lead to a BEng degree after a further year of part time study.

Samuel Ferguson, 25, Sam Forester, 21, Alexandra Smith, 24, and Tom Kaye, 24, are the first to achieve the foundation degree in engineering qualification delivered by the AMRC Training Centre.

Samuel, Alexandra and Sam followed the Mechanical Manufacture pathway while Tom pursued Manufacturing Technology.

They were among hundreds of learners honoured at graduation ceremonies hosted by the University of Sheffield recently.

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Louise Cowling, head of degree apprenticeships at the AMRC Training Centre, attended the ceremony and praised the students' talent and tenacity to achieve.

She said: "The students graduating have risen to the challenge of combining work and study. This not only tests the students' academic ability but also their dedication and commitment to their academic progress and career.

"We are incredibly proud of Tom, Samuel, Alexandra and Sam. They have earned their foundation degrees through commitment, perseverance and dedication. This hasn’t been easy to achieve as full-time employees with responsibilities in their workplaces.

"There is emerging evidence of a positive impact on students' future prospects, including promotions and further employment opportunities as a result of their academic study, not least because the programmes include industrially authentic assessments.

"We are delighted that graduation affords our graduates the opportunity to receive their degree with their families and employers – to share their achievement with those who have supported and helped them along the way.

"We hope that Tom, Samuel, Alexandra and Sam will be the first of many more graduates combining employment and learning as part of our degree apprenticeship programmes."

Graduate Tom Kaye, who works for Arconic Forgings and Extrusions in Sheffield, is planning to continue his studies with the AMRC Training Centre.

After the ceremony he said: "It's been a really great experience and it was good to feel a part of the university and have that academic achievement recognised. It feels very good. The two years have been worth it."

Eleven students are now pursuing the top up degree delivered at the centre and they will hand in a final project at the end of August, graduating next summer with a full BEng.

The degree apprenticeship programme has been designed in partnership with academic staff and employers to ensure students can graduate equipped to meet the current and future needs of the advanced manufacturing sector and there are three types of foundation degrees to choose from: Mechanical Manufacture, Manufacturing Technology and Maintenance Engineering.

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC

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News: Clock is ticking on SCR business support

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Rotherham businesses only have until next month to make use of a grant support project via the Sheffield city region (SCR).

The SCR Growth Enhancement Project provides local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with grant support up to £5,000 towards consultancy projects, intensive one-to-one support from a business growth specialist or key account manager or access to free masterclasses delivered by private sector experts.

The opportunity to access grant support is only available until the September 19, so businesses who are hoping to take advantage of this initiative need to act fast and contact the SCR Growth Hub in a hurry to submit their application.

The SCR Growth Hub is the model that coordinates and simplifies business support so that it joins up national, local, public and private business provisions across the city region.

Support is available to high growth businesses, and the project is financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

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The project has so far committed to support over 190 businesses financially, with a vast sum of over £784k across the region.

Masterclasses and one-to-one support from a Business Growth Specialist or Key Account Manager will continue to be available to eligible businesses until the end of March 2019.

The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project is receiving up to £2.7m of ERDF funding.

Rothbiz reported in March, that a number of projects to support businesses in the SCR had been developed to utilise European funding before Britain leaves the European Union (EU).

The calls, totaling £7.2m focus on high growth SMEs, the digital sector, improving supply chains, investing in R&D and helping SMEs to harness graduate talent.

SCR Growth hub website

Images: SCR Growth Hub

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

News: Capita loses DWP contact centre contract

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A £40m Government contract will no longer be delivered by Capita in Rotherham but one of the new contract holders is keeping jobs in the Dearne Valley.

Capita's customer management business had been managing ten enquiry lines on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at its large call centre in Manvers - help lines for: the state pension; pension credits; Jobseekers Allowance; Jobseeker Direct; National Insurance number allocation, national benefit fraud reporting and the winter fuel allowance.

Now the DWP has concluded another tender exercise with the contracts for the helplines split into two separate packages.

Starting this month, Contact Centre Services Package A, worth £20.9m and initially running until 2021, has been award to G4S Outsourcing. Contact Centre Services Package B, worth £16m and also running until 2021 initially, has been awarded to Serco Ltd.

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Serco said it would deliver the work from its Knowsley contact centre on Merseyside but G4S has said it would deliver its work from Rotherham - the firm has a contact centre at the Callflex Business Park in Manvers.

Although TUPE regulations apply, Serco said during the tender exercise that "we do not anticipate that many individuals will transfer from Rotherham to Merseyside."

G4S said that it expects "80% of eligible staff will transfer to G4S" and added: "that we will recruit the additional staff from within the local Wath-upon-Dearne area."

Package A includes dealing with claimants wishing to use the telephony channel to make a new claim to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), supporting online JSA claims, pension credit claims and enquiries, state pension enquiries and the Winter Fuel enquiry line.

Job numbers were redacted in the tender documents so it is not clear what affect the change in provider will have in Rotherham.

G4S also revealed that it had 100 applicants for 15 FTE posts during a recent recruitment drive. It followed the closure of the EON site on the same business park.

Capita purchased Ventura and the Rotherham site in 2011 as part of a £65m deal. It currently operates contracts for the likes of O2, British Gas and William Hill in the Dearne Valley.

The Government's Crown Commercial Service established a contact centre framework last year, naming 14 preferred suppliers for public sector contracts. It included Serco and G4S but not Capita.

Capita website
G4S website
Serco website

Images: Capita / Telereal Trillium

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News: Changes at historic Ferham House

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Permission has been granted to enable residential healthcare provider, Exemplar Health Care, to make alterations at its Rotherham base.

The proposals are to create ten "One Care Units" within the existing care home, which will require some minor associated alterations to Ferham House.

The building on Kimberworth Road is Grade II Listed and also acts as the firm's head office. Exemplar operates 25 specialist nursing homes and employs over 2,000 staff across Yorkshire, North West and the Midlands.

Recognising that a care home environment may not be the right fit for some individuals living with complex care needs, Exemplar's OneCare service sees the creation of specially adapted individual houses and flats, for service users who do not require the full-time, high dependency care of a care home, but still require support.

Ten units will be created at Ferham by partitioning and demolishing walls. No external alterations are planned. Also referred to as "step out units," these units are often utilised by people with learning difficulties and dementia and form a home environment with ancillary care on site if required.

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Ferham House was originally commissioned by Jonathan Walker - the nephew of industrialist Samuel Walker, who along with his brothers had founded the Walkers' iron and steel businesses in Rotherham in 1746. The firm supplied iron and steel products around the world and for notable events, such as 80 of the 105 cannons on board the HMS Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Under local architect John Platt, Ferham House was constructed in 1779. It's Georgian style includes bays and symmetrical facades.

The building was purchased by the council in 1919 and Ferham Maternity Hospital was established a year later. It became Ferham House Clinic and parts of the house were later converted into offices.

Reports with the planning application, drawn up by Pegasus Group, state: "In 1974, the Rotherham Health Authority was established and staff from the Community Service Department were housed in the building. By 1985, however, the Health Authority faced a £100,000 repair bill. In 1989 the building was sold privately and became a nursing home."

Exemplar website

Images: Exemplar

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