Your Business Bulletin from Thanet & East Kent Chamber
Thanet & East Kent Insider
1st August 2010 Issue No.:
1. Windfarm Opening
Thanet Offshore Windfarm has confirmed that its official opening ceremony will be on 23rd September 2010. The Chamber is hoping for some fine weather on the day, calm seas but enough wind to keep the turbines turning and the visiting VIPs interested in promoting a centre of excellence in Marine Energy in East Kent. The construction has offered a master class in project management. Vattenfall bought TOW in November 2008. On 28th June 2010, David Hodgkinson, UK Director and Head of Development, announced the successful installation of the 100th turbine and paid particular tribute to: “all the people in the Isle of Thanet, for their support in building the world’s largest offshore wind farm”. In an email to the Thanet & East Kent Chamber last week, Vattenfall noted that the construction of the windfarm has been achieved: “In what we think might be a world record rate of offshore wind farm deployment”. Maintenance for the next 20 or more years will rely on the services and skills of 20 technicians, all recruited locally from Kent, who will be looking forward to playing a full part in the marine energy sector. The Thanet & East Kent Chamber will be supporting proposals to create a Marine Energy Park in East Kent to act as a world-class centre of research and development in this sunrise industry which promises so much to those prepared to take the risk and accept the reward.
2. Making Money
3. Half Hourly Meter Users
4. Free Website
5. Skills & Schools
The Thanet & East Kent Chamber has received a letter from John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, who sets out his strategy for ensuring the skills of school leavers “respond to the needs of a dynamic economy”. He advocates greater freedom for providers but acknowledges that there will be some “difficult choices about the use of public funds”. Having ended the Train To Gain funding stream due to alleged “unsustainable deadweight costs”, the minister is looking to put greater emphasis on lifelong learning and a clearer progression route from the most basic skills to the most erudite. Thanet suffers from a net outflow of skills. Despite some excellent employment agencies, the expansion plans of local companies are hampered by difficulties in recruiting staff with the necessary qualities. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistic, NOMIS, show that residents of Thanet at NVQ Level 3, which equates to 2 or more A levels or their equivalent, represent 34.8% of the resident working age population. The average for the South East is 50.8%. In simple terms, this suggests that the average company in the South East outside Thanet has nearly a fifty per cent better chance of finding a skilled worker locally than a firm inside the district’s boundaries. Of course, anyone familiar with the large inward investment in the district from windfarms, Manston Airport, the Turner Gallery, the new Dreamland and the many other initiatives attracting inflows of capital will be aware that the opportunities in this part of East Kent have seldom been better and this should be reflected in data yet to be published. But, to attract and maintain the attention of inward investors, we must ensure that sufficient public funds are made available to upgrade our schools. The Thanet & East Kent Chamber is writing to the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Michael Gove, in support of a campaign to replace the ageing and inadequate buildings at the Hartsdown and Foreland schools. We intend to take him up on his offer to consider capital building projects that merit special attention. Thanet is special and the largest business support agency in Thanet thinks our children and our companies deserve better.
6. Teaching Grandmother To Suck Eggs
Anyone travelling along the M2 or M20 in East Kent during the weekend may have questioned the reason for spending so much money on large portable electronic signs on the roadside which display the words: “'TAKE EXTRA CARE WHILE TOWING”'. Allegedly these are targeted at drivers pulling caravans; an initiative sponsored by the Highways Agency in a bid to reduce towing related incidents on our motorways and the associated costs. Some readers might consider that a driver with a caravan might already be aware that there is something following closely behind which requires especial vigilance. The Thanet & East Kent Insider wonders if any Chamber members or readers have a suggestion for another banal message that could distract drivers from their attention at the wheel; such as: “USE YOUR MIRROR TO LOOK BEHIND YOU”. The cost of free NHS dentistry is a huge item in our national budget. Perhaps the signs could state simply: “BRUSH YOUR TEETH AT NIGHT”. That would save a few bob. All suggestions welcome.
7. The British Way
The Thanet & East Kent Chamber enjoys a warm relationship with the vast majority of members who are keen to relate their ideas and pass on examples of best practice. The Fire Strategy Company, tel: 01843 826282, and Safety & Management Solutions, tel: 01843 821406, offer professional solutions to disaster prevention, but most people in business will be aware that things do not always go as planned. The ability to react quickly to a non-standard threat to your company is one of the keys to success. Many readers will remember the days when car fan belts would fail, inevitably leading to overheating or a flat battery. The immediate response was often to replace the fan belt with a pair of tights donated by your latest girlfriend sitting in the passenger seat. This sort of pragmatic reaction is an especially British talent based on ‘if it works, do it’ not on ‘let’s see how it works and analyse it’. A story has reached the Chamber of a meeting in Brussels between a French politician and one from Westminster. When asked: “How does a bicycle work?” the Frenchman answered that the continuous shifting of the centre of gravity is used to balance the variable centrifugal force in harmony with the coriolis effect to produce a kinetic impetus in relation to the forces applied. The Englishman said simply: “Oh you just get on it and push one pedal down then the other.” The successful business finds pragmatic quick fixes all the time, just like using tights to replace the fan belt. It is not always easy. By the way, it used to take a lot of effort to weaken the fan belt just sufficiently so that it would fail at the appropriate time.
8. Our Sponsors
Girlings Solicitors has been managing the managing the legal affairs of commercial and private clients for over a century. Twenty-six partners and one hundred and twenty members of staff ensure a comprehensive range of services from the local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, Herne Bay and Margate. Offices in France and Spain complement specialist departments for charities, individuals and companies. For details, telephone 01843 220274. Express By Holiday Inn took on the daunting task of restoring the former Prospect Inn at Minster. The result is a spectacular hotel that combines the best of Oliver Hill’s 1930s design with ultra modern facilities and technological support. Conveniently located for business guests and holiday makers in East Kent, the meeting rooms and 105 bedrooms are available at competitive prices throughout the year. For details, telephone 01843 820250. Adecco is the world’ s largest HR solutions company offering a comprehensive service of temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outsourcing, outplacement, career services, training and consulting. Officially designated as a 2009 British Superbrand, Adecco is represented in Thanet and Dover by its Broadstairs office, tel: 01843 609292. CARISS design, install and support education and business computing systems as East Kent’s leading specialist company in Open Source Software. To lower your carbon footprint, reduce your power consumption and adopt a thin client system, call CARISS, tel: 01843 823724. Mach Associates are the high-fliers in providing Internet technologies and specialist software solutions with a particular expertise in servicing the travel industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and with ISO9001 accreditation, Mach Associates also offers reduces telecom operating cost through VOIP/PBX phone systems, tel: 0870 321 9986. Sota Connect offers a comprehensive IT service covering best-value voice, data and Internet services for companies of all sizes as well as public sector organisations. The company operates two state-of-the-art data centres of over 10,000sq ft. Sota Connect owns and operates a unique 200km fibre network from London to Ramsgate with high bandwidth Internet access giving superfast Internet connections, tel: 0800 072 2420.