Tuesday, April 24, 2018

News: Driving the skills agenda


In addition to showcasing science, technology and engineering to young people, parents and educators, the recent Get up to Speed (GUTS) event in Rotherham brought together a number of key figures to discuss the manufacturing workforce, now and in the future.

The event, driven by employers and delivered through The work-wise Foundation, is now believed to be the largest of its kind in the North. It started in 2011 and moved to its home at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham in 2015.

Kicking off the day at a business breakfast, Master Cutler, Kenneth Cooke, the owner of CTW (Hardfacing) Ltd, said that the drive by employers to establish the event showed that they "understood the need to promote industry, both nationally and within the area."

The guests heard of the shortage of skilled engineers in the region and the country. 186,000 new engineers are required nationally per year between now and 2024 to fill the expected skills gap.


John Bohan, senior director, engineering & manufacturing at Rotherham's Elevation Recruitment Group discussed the impact of skills shortages and described how the GUTS event was key to "inspiring the next generation, but also leading to conversations about how we drive forward the skills agenda."

And as Will Stirling, editor of The Manufacturing Review (pictured top, right), said: "If the local engineering sector doesn't come together to do this, then who will? It is unlikely to be the Government or schools."

The event, which attracts over 2,000 attendees, is delivered through The work-wise Foundation. Headline sponsors for this year were Liberty Speciality Steels, Cooper Brown Enterprises and Careers Y&H, with other event sponsors including the likes of AESSEAL, Doncasters Bramah, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Santander and Elevation Recruitment Group.

The business breakfast also brought together a panel comprising of David Richards CBE, chairman of Prodrive and chairman of the UK Motor Sports Association (MSA), Julie Kenny CBE DL, the entrepreneur who built the successful Pyronix company in Rotherham, and Rachel Abbot, managing director of Cobra Sport Performance Exhaust Systems.

The panel discussed a number of issues including recruitment concerns, inspiring young people, and especially women, into engineering, evolving a business and investing in skills.

Richard Caborn, president of the work-wise Foundation, said: "Events like this are not just recognised as an "add-on" but are integral to the skills agenda.

"We are 13,000 engineers short in this region and it will cost us if we don't address this and get it right.

"It's why the Government has asked us to double the number of apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre. We'll soon see a snotty-nosed kid from the Manor estate or Parson's Cross who will come out with a PhD in engineering. That is social mobility on a scale we've not seen in this country."

David Richards gave the keynote speech to discuss his aims for using motorsport as hook to attract people into engineering, similar to how GUTS has used speed for its attractions - the Bloodhound supersonic car, McLaren supercars and Rolls-Royce jet engines.

Richards (pictured top, centre) said: "This is a credit to Sheffield and Rotherham. I wish there were events like this when I was leaving school."

GUTS website

Images: GUTS / Andrew Klinkenberg


News: Rotherham bingo hall back under the hammer


The Mecca Bingo site in Rotherham town centre is set to go up for sale at auction in London next month.

The freehold leisure investment on Corporation Street is being advertised with leading commercial property auctioneers, Allsop and has been given a guide price of £875,000 - £925,000.

The 26,000 sq ft property comprises a substantial building currently used as a bingo hall providing reception area, gaming hall and ancillary and office accommodation over lower ground, ground, first and mezzanine floors.

The property last sold in 2014, when it went for £880,000, also at auction.

The property is entirely let to Mecca Bingo Limited until 2021 at a current rent of £125,950 per annum. The tenant has the option to extend the lease.


For the year ended June 30 2017, Mecca Bingo Ltd reported a turnover of £203.340m and a pre-tax profit of £39.807m. It is part of the Rank Group which has been struggling with a declining retail gambling environment and moves towards digital growth. For the six months ended December 31 2017, Mecca's like-for-like revenue fell by 3% due to a 7% fall in visits but the company is thought to be outperforming the market with visitors who spend more.

The building, which auctioneers say "may lend itself to a variety of uses and redevelopment subject to obtaining all the necessary consents," is situated alongside the key regeneration site in the town centre - Forge Island.

Along with the site of the Law Courts and Riverside Precinct, Rotherham Council is currently selecting a development partner for a £43m mixed-used leisure development proposal, led by a new cinema and hotel. The Forge Island redevelopment has been penciled in for completion by mid 2020.


Originally opened in December 1934 as the Regal Cinema the building was commissioned by Thomas Wade Cinemas Ltd of Wath-upon-Dearne, and designed by Messrs Blackmore and Sykes, Architects, of Hull. It had seating for 1,825, and was fully equipped for stage performances with three dressing rooms, and a theatre organ.

The site became the Odeon in 1946 and the café was turned into a Victor Sylvester ballroom in the 1960s. The cinema was taken over by Rank in 1975 and renamed La Scala. It showed its last film in 1983. It opened up for bingo as the Ritz, but was then taken over by Mecca Bingo.

The auction takes place at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge on May 15.

Allsop website

Images: Allsop


News: Horbury captures capital construction contract


Horbury Facades, part of the Horbury Group based in Rotherham, has secured a contract to install an inspirational brick and terracotta façade on Highwood Garden Terrace, part of the West Grove residential development on Elephant Park in London.

From its headquarters in the Moorgate area, the group combines a number of subsidiaries that specialise in areas including joinery, ceilings, dry lining and health and safety training. Horbury Facades is a specialist rainscreen cladding contractor offering full specification, installation and maintenance services.

Elephant Park is the new £2.3bn multi-phase regeneration of the former Heygate Estate based in Elephant & Castle, and delivered by Lendlease. Highwood Garden Terrace is a ten storey mansion style building containing 85 homes, situated on Elephant Park’s West Grove residential development.

Working alongside Lendlease, Horbury Facades is installing a Brickslip Corium façade in grey and red in assorted textures. Glazed terracotta tiles in seven varying shades that gradate from buff to a dark red, are also being fixed onto playfully arranged infills in a staggered bond of differing lengths.

The company has also rendered the walls and soffits of the balconies situated along the northwest and east sides of the building.


The design of the structure, created by AHMM architects, is inspired by traditional London mansion blocks and incorporates a number of tiers where the building steps back to offer terraces to many of the homes. The new build homes "fuse diverse historical influences, including the grandeur of the late Victorian and Art Deco periods, with a thoroughly modern approach. Each building has its own character, while retaining a timeless and classic aesthetic."

Adrian Storey, general manager at Horbury Facades, said: "This is an intricate and complex scheme and we will be utilising the strengths of our team in fixing the facade to meet the client's exact requirements. The location of the building means we have to work within a restricted area and to strict timeframes to ensure we can meet the project's deadlines. We’re looking forward to using our skills to help create what will be an eye-catching structure within Elephant Park."

Elephant Park is a major mixed-use development that will create almost 2,500 new homes and the largest new park in central London for 70 years. West Grove, which is due of completion in 2019, is the second phase of the development and will contain 593 homes in total.

Horbury Group website

Images: AHMM architects


Monday, April 23, 2018

News: Three Rotherham firms win Queen's Awards for Enterprise


Three Rotherham-based companies have won a Queen's Award for Enterprise recognising their outstanding achievements in international trade.

Now in its 52nd year, the Queen's Awards for Enterprise is the most prestigious business award in the country, with winners recognised as being among the best in the country and able to use the esteemed Queen's Awards emblem for the next five years.

A record 152 businesses have received Queen's Awards in the international trade category including Central Wire Industries UK Ltd, a specialty alloy wire manufacturer.

The CWI UK production facility in the Greasbrough Road area of Rotherham supplies profile wire internationally to companies involved in a wide range of industries and markets.

It specialises in very high quality stainless steel and nickel alloy wires used in demanding applications by many major companies involved in oil & gas, petrochemical, chemical, pulp & paper and water filtration.

In 2015, Canada's Central Wire Industries (CWI) acquired Rotherham-based Hempel Wire for an undisclosed sum. Hempel had recently purchased certain trademarks, trade names, and intellectual property from Fox Wire Limited in neighboring Sheffield. Included in this transaction were the rights to the SUPA family of alloys, including SUPA 75.

The firm dates back to when it was founded in Rotherham in 1983, and with the support of the Hempel family, H.A.Watson quickly established itself as a quality producer of stainless steel round wires.


Another Rotherham-based winner for 2018 is GO Superfoods Ltd, which trades as Green Origins and Rainforest Foods.

The Dinnington firm is a manufacturer and wholesaler of premium supplements and superfoods such as Acai, Hemp seed, Maca, Maqui berry, Spirulina and Wheatgrass.

GO Superfoods previously won the same prestigious award in 2016 which recognised rapid growth in turnover which almost quadrupled over a three-year period. About half of the turnover is overseas trade.

More awards followed in 2017 when Green Origins was awarded 2 star awards in the Great Taste Awards for its Bee Pollen, Cacao Butter and Virgin Coconut Oil and 1 star awards for its Baobab Powder, Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder and Hemp Seeds.

Rainforest Foods was awarded 1 star awards for its Organic New Zealand Wheatgrass Powder and Organic Maca Powder.

The third Rotherham winner is SBD Apparel, a UK manufacturer of premium supports and apparel for strength and fitness training.

Worn by elite athletes globally, the brand was founded to design and produce market-leading performance products in conjunction with a team of elite athletes, coaches and health professionals.

Founder Ben Banks, a former powerlifting competitor, developed better products and SBD is now a globally recognised brand, used by the majority of competitors at strongman events such as the World's Strongest Man (WSM).

SBD took space at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham in 2016, after the development of the SBD Belt which features a Patent Pending fastening mechanism combining the adjustability of a prong belt with the quick operation and tightness of a lever. It combines a high quality leather strap and a cast aluminium alloy buckle.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The UK has some of the most entrepreneurial and innovative minds in the world delivering jobs, growth and greater choice for consumers and I am proud to see a wealth of these businesses being recognised today.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – 99% of UK firms are small and over 1,000 new businesses start every day. Through our Industrial Strategy we are building a Britain in which they will continue to thrive."

CWI UK website
Rainforest Foods website
SBD Apparel website

Images: CWI / Go Superfoods / SBD


News: Former Rotherham school up for sale


A closed independent day school in Rotherham has gone up for sale.

The Bramley Campus of the Focus School on the Hellaby Industrial Estate closed in November and was formerly known as the Elsworth House School. It was operated by Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.

The school began using the site in 2004 and planning permission was granted on appeal in 2006. Rotherham Council had refused the change of use plans based on "inappropriate use in an allocated industrial area."

Now Crosthwaite Commercial has been instructed to market the property which the agents are calling a "unique freehold opportunity."

The property totals some 13,280 sq ft across four buildings on a site of one acre. It had the capacity up to 150 pupils.


The main two-storey building was constructed as an industrial unit but has been converted, at considerable expense, to provide high specification teaching space benefiting from air conditioning, suspended ceilings and LED lighting.

Further modular buildings are on the site where planning permission was granted conditionally in 2015 to demolish a technology block and erect a replacement buildings.

The freehold property has been given a guide price of £650,000.

The site benefits from planning consent for D1 Non-Residential Institution which covers uses such as schools, non-residential education and training centres, nurseries and places of worship. The Hellaby area is a popular industrial area and is home to the likes of KP Nuts, Pyronix and Stanley Tools.


The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church are involved with a long running planning battle over land at Common Road in North Anston. 2011 plans for a the erection of two buildings to form an independent school, convention centre and gospel hall were withdrawn following concerns over the impact on greenbelt land.

The application explained that the school needed to relocate from Helleby premises in order to meet future demands.

Updated plans were resubmitted and refused by Rotherham Council and further plans with the school aspect removed were also refused. 2017 plans for a church with football facilities have also been refused.

Crosthwaite Commercial website

Images: Crosthwaite Commercial

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