Swansea young people build career skills with Supported Internships at Amazon

Three young people from Swansea have boosted their career skills by taking part in a Supported Internship at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea Bay. Amazon launched its Supported Internship programme in 2021, to help young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to gain work experience and skills as they transition to employment.

Latest figures show that just 4.8% of people with a learning disability and autism, that are known to adult social care, are employed. Supported Internships form part of a Government scheme designed to help change this stat, helping young people with additional educational needs and disabilities gain work experience as they transition from education to employment.

 

In 2023, Amazon started to work with national charity DFN Project Search, to expand their programme to help more people with SEND gain invaluable workplace skills. The internship combines classroom education and practical work experience in different Amazon roles to provide a rounded experience for interns.

 

Ricardo Pesarillo (20), Matthew Norman (18) and Lewis D’Angeli-Squires (21) from Swansea are some of the young people who have taken part in a Supported Internship at the Amazon fulfilment centre in the city.

Ricardo, Matthew and Lewis have now completed their internships and have taken permanent roles at Amazon in Swansea Bay, working in the customer returns team.

 

Ricardo explains the journey he’s been on through the internship programme. “I started my internship late last year, and I’ve moved around different teams during my training. I’ve picked and packed products, and now I work in returns. I find my job interesting and varied and it’s been a great experience for me,” he said.

Amazon is Ricardo’s first job, and he explains what he likes about working at Amazon. “The team here is great,” he said. “They’re so friendly, helpful and they’re a real laugh. I enjoy coming to work and getting to know people – that’s been massive for me. You spend a lot of time with your colleagues, and I feel lucky to have the workmates I have. They have helped me so much during my internship.”

Ricardo also called out the support that Amazon provides for his community. “The people are great here, but so is the work the company does in the community. We have lots of events, support local charities and do volunteering. I really like that,” he said.

 

During Matthew’s time on the Amazon Supported Internship programme, he says has learned new skills. What’s the most important skill or ability he’s learned? “I think it’s my confidence,” he said. “When I first started with Amazon, I was reluctant to ask people for help. I didn’t have the confidence to talk to people. Now I am settled here, I feel more able to ask for support when I need it. My team is always there to help me and that has helped me to approach them for help. I am comfortable talking to anyone now and that’s made a big difference for me.”

Does Matthew have a highlight from his time so far at Amazon? “Working on the picking team on Valentine’s Day was lots of fun,” he said. “I saw a lot of last-minute orders coming through from people who must have forgotten to buy a gift for their partner, and I enjoyed helping them with that special purchase.”

Speaking about his future, Matthew reveals that he has big ambitions for his career at Amazon. “I would love to keep working my way up to one day become a team leader,” he said. “After that, I’d love to train in robotics and move to Amazon in the US – that’s my dream!”

 

Lewis gives a special mention to his Swansea colleagues. “The team here is amazing. They look after all of us interns and they’re always there to support us. They also join in when we play pool competitions in the canteen. I really like that,” he said.

Reflecting on his time on the Amazon Supported Internship programme, Lewis reveals what advice he’d give himself on day one if he could go back in time. “Listen to everyone,” he said. “If you listen to your instructors and you follow all the rules, you will not go wrong. Try to enjoy it too. Be confident that it will work out for the best.”

How has the internship programme helped Lewis? “I’ve found my voice. I’ve become more assertive. I’ve learned that I have a contribution to make, and I should not be afraid to speak up, inside and outside work. It’s something my Mum has commented on too. It’s a big deal for me,” Lewis said.

 

Ricardo, Matthew and Lewis completed their Supported Internship at Amazon in June. Their success was celebrated at a graduation ceremony at the Swansea fulfilment centre, which was attended by their families and Amazon colleagues.

Amazon Swansea Site Leader, Dan Boulger, said: “It’s been great to have Ricardo, Matthew and Lewis complete their Supported Internships at Amazon in Swansea. We’ve loved having them on the team throughout their internship and are looking forward to welcoming them to the team as they join us as employees. The graduation ceremony was a great way to celebrate all the interns in this years as they progress to the next stages of their careers.”

 

“It has been brilliant to hear young people speak about their Supported Internship journeys with Amazon this year and to join in with the graduation celebrations across our sites. Young people like Ricardo, Matthew and Lewis talking about the experiences they have had, the skills they have learnt and the opportunities opening up is the definition of success for our collaboration. I am excited to see what we can achieve in the future.” – Carmel McKeogh, Chief Executive, DFN Project SEARCH

 

Since 2021, there have been over 50 Supported Internship interns based in various Amazon operations sites across the UK. Many interns, like Ricardo, Matthew and Lewis, have gone on to work full time at Amazon.

To learn more about Amazon’s Supported Internship programme with DFN Project Search visit About Amazon UK.

 

To find out more about Amazon’s commitment to being an inclusive employer for people with disabilities – https://www.aboutamazon.co.uk/news/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/amazon-disability-confident

 

Widespread Support for Utilising AI/Automation in the Background Screening Process

More than 9 out of 10 EMEA businesses would be comfortable with AI or automation being used by background screening providers for researching or compiling a screening report  

A leading provider of global employment background screening services, HireRight, has released the findings from its 17th annual benchmarking survey.

HireRight’s new and comprehensive report draws from the survey responses of more than 1,250 HR, risk, and talent acquisition professionals from organisations worldwide using employment background screening to help mitigate possible risks to their employees, customers, corporate reputation, and commercial success.

One of the key findings this year is the generally warm welcome from survey participants for the use of AI or automation for researching or compiling a background screening report. In fact, 83% of EMEA respondents said they would be comfortable with AI or automation being used to reduce the risk of human error and 79% were happy with its use if it helped speed up the screening process. Improving the candidate experience (64%) and cost savings (48%) were also among the top benefits that EMEA respondents said would warrant their usage.

 

Commenting on HireRight’s approach to the use of AI and automation, Marc Sharma, Director of Engineering, Applied Machine Learning at HireRight, said: “Given the sensitivity of the data HireRight handles, none of our planned process workflows can be considered a standalone AI system that automates employment decisions. Instead, we use a hybrid, and well-known, ‘Human in the Loop’ type system. The data from this survey appears to show that employers have an appreciation for the coupled human/machine hybrid handling of the security and efficiency of our internal processes and workflows, while maintaining the necessary human-only control.”

 

Essential Accuracy

One of the other key reasons respondents stated they would support the use of AI or automation by their screening provider in the screening process is to reduce the risk of human error and improve accuracy. And accuracy of results has climbed to the top of the priorities list for employers (72% in EMEA, up from 50% last year) when choosing a background screening provider, with speed (33%) and cost (35%) showing as less important to respondents than in HireRight’s 2023 survey.

When it comes to the specific candidate discrepancies employers are finding, again it varies around the world. In EMEA, it is inconsistencies found when verifying candidates’ employment history and education credentials that dominate. In contrast, in North America, undisclosed criminal convictions are the most common candidate discrepancies—identified by over double the percentage of EMEA respondents (40% in North America vs. 17% in EMEA).

 

The above is a brief snapshot from a much broader global report that dives into regional background screening, talent acquisition, and talent management trends from around the world. For more information and to download HireRight’s 2024 Global Benchmark Report, please visit www.hireright.com/benchmark2024.

 

 

IHRE24 Summit is back in Birmingham in October! Save the date: 8 October Edgbaston Stadium

IHRE24 Summit is back in Birmingham at the iconic cricket ground Edgbaston Stadium.  We’ve curated a fantastic line -up of sourcing and resourcing experts to share best practise along with powerful case-studies. Seminar and masterclass theatres are located on the main floor. Masterclass sessions are open to everyone – just arrive 5 mins prior to the start of each session.

Meet our suppliers who will demonstrate the latest products and services. Grab a tea, coffee or lunch and relax in our networking lounge or indulge in a ten -minute neck and shoulder massage in our performance lounge.

There’s complimentary, all-day car parking at Edgbaston Stadium. Train stations are also located just over a mile away from the venue.

 

Entry to IHRE24 Summit is free of charge – visitors will need to register in advance to book your seminar sesisons and to guarantee entry. Stay tuned for session updates over the coming months.

Get ready to attend for IHRE24Summit and save the date! We can’t wait to welcome you to the event on 8th October.

 

To register visit:

Click here to book your ticket

 

View seminar sessions:

https://www.inhouserecruitmentexpo.com/summit/seminars/

 

To enquire about exhibiting or sponsorship email: sales@inhouserecruitmentexpo.com

I’m a neurodiversity expert, these are the five biggest mistakes businesses make when rolling out new workplace policies

Businesses are increasingly finding themselves at the centre of legal action over claims they are discriminating against neurodivergent employees.

Last year, UK employment tribunals issued 278 judgements against employers for discriminating against neurodivergent workers. This was a sharp stark increase from just three which were issued in 2016.

According to the Local Government Association, one in seven people in the UK are neurodiverse, a figure which further underlines how many employees now need to be supported by businesses in this area.

One of the country’s leading experts in this area, Jamie McAnsh, Head of Inclusion at growth consultancy Champions (UK) plc, said: “I’ve observed numerous organisations over the years attempting to implement neurodiversity policies with varying degrees of success. I have also been witness to several common pitfalls that can have a massive negative effect on multiple areas of the business. Addressing these issues is crucial for creating an inclusive and supportive workplace for neurodivergent individuals.”

With that in mind, here Jamie offers what he perceives to be five biggest mistakes businesses make when rolling out neurodiversity policies.

  1. Not Having Any Policy in Place at All

Sad, but sadly true. Some businesses have no policy in place at all. And the absence of a formal neurodiversity policy leaves neurodivergent employees without the support they need to thrive. The organisation leadership team has no guidance and the business runs the risk of being left wide open to litigation for discrimination.

In one instance, a well-known company had a high turnover rate among neurodivergent employees, this left the organisation with a varying skills gap. With an investigation via a comprehensive audit, it became clear that the lack of a structured policy meant these employees were not receiving the necessary accommodations, leading to frustration and eventual departure. By implementing a comprehensive policy, the company saw a marked improvement in employee retention and satisfaction, a more productive workforce and the correct accommodations being sourced. A simple fix with a very positive outcome.

  1. Not Consulting with Staff from Day One

Engage leads to change. And failing to involve neurodivergent employees in the creation and implementation of policies can result in measures that do not address their actual needs. Remember, everyone is different and a one size fits all approach will not work. So, your policy has to be created in a way that can be utilised to support the individual and the organisation to build the right support framework for everyone.

A tech and AI company introduced a neurodiversity policy without consulting its neurodivergent staff, or seeking any form of professional advice. Resulting in a one-size-fits-all approach that didn’t cater to individual needs. After receiving feedback, they formed an advisory group (ERG) Employment Resource Group, of neurodivergent employees who provided valuable insights, leading to more effective and personalised support measures. This process supported everyone at all levels.

 

  1. Not Reviewing and Updating Working Practices

If you don’t look back you won’t move forward. Stagnant policies that are not regularly reviewed and updated can become obsolete, failing to accommodate evolving needs and best practices. This is actually across the board, policies should be live documents that get reviewed at regular intervals.

A service based organisation initially implemented a neurodiversity policy at the point when the organisation only had a few members of staff. However as the company grew they failed to review their policy over the years. As a result, it did not reflect advancements in understanding and supporting neurodivergent employees. By establishing (ERG) Employment Resource Group they were able to create a review committee and scheduling regular updates, the company ensured their practices remained relevant and effective.

  1. Failing to Utilise Available Tech and Support Systems

Don’t be afraid to embrace tech. Numerous technological tools and support systems can enhance the work experience for neurodivergent employees, but many companies overlook these resources. These resources are also evolving and improving on a daily basis.

A finance company struggled with providing adequate support to its neurodivergent employees until they invested some time with the team and utilised the support of access to work. This gave the organisation access, training and funding for specialised software designed to assist with time management and task organisation. This time and tech investment led to increased productivity and reduced stress among their neurodivergent workforce. With the addition of funding support the cost of implementation was kept to a minimal amount.

  1. Failing to Embrace Flexible Working Approaches

Be less rigid. Why? Right work environments can be particularly challenging for neurodivergent employees who may benefit from flexible working arrangements especially if they are medicated.

During the pandemic, many companies shifted to remote work, revealing the benefits of flexible working for neurodivergent employees. One company I have recently worked with noted a significant boost in performance and job satisfaction among these employees when they were allowed to choose their work environment and hours. Post-pandemic, the company adopted a permanent flexible working policy, resulting in sustained improvements. This is actually not an isolated case and I have seen many examples where this approach has benefited many staff members for many different reasons.

Final thoughts….

Implementing effective neurodiversity policies requires a proactive and inclusive approach. By avoiding these common mistakes and actively engaging with neurodivergent employees, businesses can foster a more supportive and productive workplace. As a specialist in this field, I urge organisations to continuously evaluate and adapt their policies to meet the evolving needs of their workforce.”

Ursula von der Leyen re-elected as President of the European Commission

Written by Martin Banks

In what some have called a “pivotal moment” for the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen has been re-elected as the President of the European Commission.

With 401 votes in favor, von der Leyen (VDL) will serve once more as the head of the EU’s executive.

She was re-elected by MEPs in Strasbourg a secret ballot on 18 July.

Image credit: CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2019 – Source: EP”. (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

A majority of MEPs at the parliamentary plenary in France voted for her in the four mainstream groups: the EPP, S&D, Renew and Greens.

This will be von der Leyen’s second term as Commission President. She was first elected by MEPs in July 2019.Parliament is currently composed of 719 MEPs, so the necessary majority was 360 votes.

However, some 284 voted against her getting re-elected, and 22 cast blank or invalid votes.

Just ahead of the vote, von der Leyen presented her political priorities for the next five years during a debate with deputies. The next step will be to confirm the 26 Commissioners and their portfolios.

All must appear at confirmation hearings with MEPs in the coming weeks.

The Greens said the vote “confirms a four-group democratic majority in the House and prevents the far-right from driving the agenda of the EU over the next five years.”

A large number of MEPs from the Right were elected to the EU Parliament in the recent EU elections.

The Greens, in a statement, said, “The four group majority is holding firm and is vital for defending our democracy against the far-right. We want to build on this majority to deliver for citizens.”

It said, “We welcome the commitments she has taken to build on the success of the Green Deal, to develop a climate-neutral industrial policy and boost just transition funding.”

It warned, “We will carefully scruitinise whether the new Commission as a whole will live up to our demands.”

Further reaction to the vote came from the EPP leader Manfred Weber, a German MEP, who said he considers von der Leyen’s election “to be a victory for democracy and a united Europe.”

He added,”Europeans want a democratic Europe, not a radical one. With the election of Ursula von der Leyen, we are strengthening a democratic Europe.The vote was also a vote for clear priorities: prosperity, security, and stopping migration. The next Commission will embody the EPP spirit.”

The S&D Group, the 2nd biggest after the EPP in the parliament, also voted to back the former German defence minister for another term in office.

Its leader Iratxe Garcia Perez said, “We have made the Commission’s Political Guidelines the most social and the greenest ever. With our demands, we shaped the chapter on the social dimension and we achieved a clear commitment not to cooperate with the far right, on the fight against climate change, and on a just transition.

“For the first time, the EU will have a European strategy against poverty and we will finally address the problem of housing, with a Commissioner for housing. And this will happen because we asked for it.”

However, there was severe criticism of von der Leyen from some quarters including the ECR group who voted against.

In a speech on Thursday, ECR Co-Chairman Joachim Brudziński (Law and Justice party) told von der Leyen,she had been “a very poor president, perhaps the worst.”

He added, “As ECR, we unenthusiastically supported your candidacy five years ago. We made this decision, choosing the lesser evil.”

He went on, “Your management style was terrible. Decision-making in a narrow group of German advisors, arrogance, hypocrisy, lack of cooperation with commissioners, exuberant ambitions and passionate concerns about your own image.This was your work style.”

Some in the world of NGOs were also highly critical, with Vicky Cann, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher and campaigner, saying von der Leyen’s “priorities have drastically changed compared to her first mandate.”

“Five years ago, she promised a transformative Green Deal but is now openly embracing corporate lobbyists and their deregulation agenda.”

Cann added, “At the beginning of her first mandate, von der Leyen lauded the Green Deal as a tool to reconcile the economy with our planet, a strategy that “gives more back than it takes away.” Despite her warm words, her first term as EU Commission president saw strong political, financial, and regulatory support for corporate power.

“By reappointing von der Leyen, the European Parliament has given corporate power a green light to keep on pushing its damaging pro-business and anti-regulation agenda.

“This is an agenda that is already well heard in VDL’s Commission and which does not bode well for ambitious action to tackle the cost of living crisis, nor the use of fossil fuels, harmful chemicals, and pesticides,” she claimed.

However, the EU wide body representing the electricity sector, Eurelectric, said it “welcomed” her renewed mandate.

Eurelectric’s Secretary General, Kristian Ruby noted, “Von der Leyen set out a pragmatic, yet ambitious agenda for the next five years to address the new challenge landscape the EU is facing with geopolitical tensions, sharpened industrial competition, on top of the impacts from increasingly extreme weather.”

“In particular, Eurelectric welcomes VDL’s announcement of a new Clean Industrial Deal to keep industry competitive while decarbonising. We support the call for implementing the Green Deal and positively note the reference to scaling-up investments in low-carbon green infrastructure as well as the creation of a Savings and Investment Union to back this vision with the necessary financial means.”

More comment on Friday came from Chiara Martinelli, Director at Climate Action Network Europe,who said, “Von der Leyen’s commitment only to 90 percent emission cuts is a step in the right direction but a missed opportunity to align EU’s ambition with science and equity by achieving climate neutrality by 2040 at the latest. She could at least have supported the EU’s scientific advisory board’s and the upper end of her own Commission’s Impact Assessment’s 95 percent reductions.”

Petri Salminen, the president of SMEunited, the EU wide body representing SMEs, said, “Small businesses emphasised the need to finally make policy on the basis of the 99,8% companies in Europe, instead of for the 0,2% and called for focus on implementation in this new mandate. We welcome that von der Leyen in her Political Guidelines states that future legislation must be designed with small businesses in mind. However, we have seen SME washing before, and therefore call to act according to this statement now.

“The 24.3 million entrepreneurs, craftswomen and -men and small business in Europe appreciate the recognition given by von der Leyen, when she refers to ‘we all know there is no Europe’ without SMEs.”

 

About the author

Martin Banks is an international freelance journalist with 44 years experience covering national and international stories.

Net Zero: Climate Solution or Financial Strategy?

Written by Lisa Baker

In recent years, the concept of “Net Zero” has gained prominence as a critical strategy for combating climate change. Net Zero refers to achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere and those removed from it. While its primary goal ostensibly is to mitigate climate change, there is growing evidence that the Net Zero agenda is significantly driven by financial interests. This article explores the financial motivations behind the Net Zero movement, examining how economic incentives, corporate strategies, and market dynamics are shaping this ostensibly environmental initiative.

The Financialization of Carbon

One of the clearest indicators of the financial motivations behind Net Zero is the burgeoning market for carbon credits. Carbon credits are permits that allow companies to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide, with the option to trade these credits on the open market. This system has transformed carbon emissions into a commodity, creating a lucrative market for trading these credits. Financial institutions and corporations are heavily investing in carbon markets, seeing them as a new avenue for profit rather than purely a mechanism for reducing emissions.

A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) highlights that the carbon trading market could be worth $22 trillion by 2050. This market is driven not just by environmental concerns but by the potential for substantial financial returns. Corporations and investors are capitalizing on this opportunity, often prioritizing financial gain over genuine reductions in carbon emissions.

Corporate Greenwashing

Many corporations have embraced Net Zero commitments, but there is skepticism about the sincerity of these pledges. Critics argue that these commitments are often a form of “greenwashing” – a strategy used by companies to appear environmentally responsible without making substantial changes to their business practices. For instance, a study by the NewClimate Institute and Carbon Market Watch found that many corporate Net Zero pledges are misleading, with companies relying heavily on carbon offsets rather than actual emission reductions.

Carbon offsets involve investing in projects that reduce or remove carbon emissions, such as reforestation or renewable energy projects, in lieu of reducing one’s own emissions. While offsets can play a role in mitigating climate change, they are often used to mask ongoing carbon-intensive activities. This allows companies to continue their business as usual while projecting a green image, thus maintaining profitability without making significant operational changes.

Investment in Green Technologies

The push for Net Zero has spurred a wave of investment in green technologies, from renewable energy to electric vehicles. While these technologies are essential for a sustainable future, the motivation behind these investments is not purely environmental. Governments are offering substantial subsidies and incentives for green technologies, making them attractive investment opportunities.

For example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that global investments in energy transition technologies reached $1.9 trillion in 2021. These investments are driven by the expectation of high returns, supported by favourable government policies and the growing market demand for sustainable products. Companies and investors are positioning themselves to profit from the transition to a low-carbon economy, which can overshadow the environmental benefits.

The Role of Financial Institutions

Financial institutions are playing a significant role in promoting the Net Zero agenda. Major banks and asset managers are increasingly incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria into their investment strategies. While this shift towards sustainable investing is positive, it is also driven by the recognition that ESG-compliant companies are becoming more attractive to investors.

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), launched at COP26, brings together over 450 financial institutions with assets exceeding $130 trillion, all committed to achieving Net Zero by 2050. However, the primary motivation for many of these institutions is to manage risks and capitalize on new investment opportunities. The focus on Net Zero allows financial institutions to attract clients and investors who are increasingly concerned about sustainability, thereby boosting their market position and profitability.

Government Policies and Economic Growth

Governments around the world are implementing policies to achieve Net Zero, but these policies are also shaped by economic considerations. For instance, the European Green Deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. While this initiative is crucial for climate action, it is also designed to drive economic growth and create jobs through investments in green industries.

Similarly, the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan in the United States includes significant investments in clean energy and green infrastructure, aimed at both addressing climate change and stimulating economic recovery. These policies highlight the dual objectives of achieving environmental sustainability and promoting economic development, however all too often it is the latter taking precedence.

Conclusion

While the Net Zero agenda is an essential component of global efforts to combat climate change, it is clear that financial interests are playing a significant role in shaping this movement, which is likely to lead to mistrust and conflict to a population who are becoming more wary thanks to the constant hard sell on net zero.

The commodification of carbon, corporate greenwashing, investments in green technologies, the involvement of financial institutions, and government policies all reflect the substantial economic motivations behind Net Zero and add to the mistrust.

Recognizing these financial drivers is crucial for understanding the complexities of the Net Zero agenda – and Governments and financial institutions need to be held to account in order that genuine climate action remains at the forefront of any global global endeavour.

 

AI was used as part of the editing process for this article

Parcels of land again in high demand at Halls’ £1.75 million collective auction

Strong demand for small parcels of amenity land in Shropshire, Worcestershire and Mid and North Wales continues unabated on the evidence of auction results last week.

 

Six parcels of land went under the hammer at Halls’ successful, £1.7 million July collective property and land auction in Shrewsbury which saw all 12 lots sold on the day.

 

Top seller of the land lots was 9.30-acres at Garthmyl, near Montgomery, which sold for £150,000. Versatile 11.73-acre and 2.24-acre parcels at Ridley Wood, near Wrexham sold for £106,000 – doubling its guide price – and £29,000, respectively and a 3.18-acre parcel on the outskirts of Newtown, near Wem made £35,000.

 

The lots also included Red Lodge at Frith Common, Eardiston, near Tenbury Wells, comprising a plot of land and a static caravan with planning permission for a year-round holiday let, which sold for £81,000.

 

Halls chairman Allen Gittins, who conducted the auction, said: “There was huge interest in the 11.73-acre parcel at Ridley Wood, with bidding starting at £40,000 and ending up at £106,000. The owner was absolutely stunned at the prices achieved for both his lots at Ridley Wood.

 

“The land at Garthmyl, which was ideal for arable cultivation or grazing farm livestock and horses, also sold well to it guide price of £150,000.

 

“We have never sold a lot like Red Lodge at Frith Common before, so it was a very rare and unusual opportunity to buy a plot of land with a static caravan where someone could go for a break any time they pleased.

 

“This auction again demonstrated how buoyant the market is for small parcels of land where buyers can graze horses or livestock or just own their own little piece of England or Wales as an investment.

 

“The nub of it is that they are not making any more land! Good parcels of land don’t come on the market that often and when they do, they command strong prices.

 

“Our collective auctions are popular because buyers leave knowing they have signed a contract, paid a deposit and the property or parcel of land will be theirs within 28 days.”

 

Entries are now being accepted for Halls’ next collective property and land auction on Friday, September 27 at 3pm. Contact Mr Gittins on Tel: 01691 622602.

Used EV market booming with record sales and record low prices – industry-leading data source Marketcheck UK

Data produced by Marketcheck, the most significant source of data on the UK used car market, show that the volume of sold EVs per month across the UK is at record highs. The average price of both stock on the market, and sold cars, is at the lowest it has ever been.

The average price of a sold EV has dropped from £30,441 in May 2023, to just £24,378 in June 2024. With the average price for stock on the market falling from £29,105 in May 2023, to £27,306 in June 2024.

In terms of number of used EVs sold – 7,073 were sold in May 2023, with that almost doubling to 13,421 in June 2024.

Alastair Campbell, Marketcheck UK, commented:

“The increased availability and more competitive pricing of used EVs offer great opportunities for buyers looking to make the switch to electric – as many more are choosing to do.

Prices for sold stock have plummeted, and we expect this fall to continue from analysing the growing volume of sold EVs every month.

Our research highlights that there has never been a better time to buy a used EV in the UK market – buyers and dealers should be aware of the potential opportunities. It is a booming market.”

Shrinking the cyberattack threat window – with InfiniSafe® Automated Cyber Protection (ACP)

Written By: Eric Herzog, CMO, Infinidat

The threat of a cyberattack has become so pronounced that in the 2023 survey of Fortune 500 CEOs, cybersecurity was cited as the #2 threat to their companies. These incidents are on the rise. As Prof Stuart Madnick from MIT wrote in a recent research paper, the number of data breaches between 2022 and 2023 rose by 20% and this frequency continues to increase. It’s not surprising because hackers want to wreak havoc and, in our data-driven society, breaches cause extensive damage and long-lasting suffering to enterprises and individuals alike.

So, if enterprises are investing millions of pounds into their cyber protection armour and disaster recovery strategy, why are hackers still managing to profit from data disasters? One of the big contributors to organisational vulnerability is the lack of integration between primary and secondary storage infrastructure and the data centre-wide cyber security software applications employed to spot suspicious activity.

If we assume that a cyberattack will take place at some point – this is a somewhat inevitable situation for enterprises to acknowledge – the question now for security administrators becomes less about attack prevention and one of attack recovery.  How can storage experts shrink the window of threat to their organisations once security systems have been compromised? And how do they minimise the impact of a cyberattack both internally and externally? It’s impossible to keep cyberattacks quiet. New laws and regulations for reporting cyber incidents for public companies in the USA and specific regulations pertaining to and written by the European Union, have made knowledge of these attacks highly visible to the public.

Part of the problem is that traditional storage backup methods using immutable snapshots are only effective to a point, because snapshot schedules are not automated. This means they are not running constantly and may even require manual intervention, which leaves dangerous gaps in data protection. Even replication means that data is available but not really protected, because once it is corrupted or encrypted, the compromised data can also be replicated, potentially causing even more havoc. Overcoming these problems is not a new challenge and has been part of the disaster recovery challenge for many years.

Enterprises have been trying to protect themselves from these threats, typically by employing teams of people to monitor and manage their cybersecurity. In spite of this, it can still take hours to determine if someone should call a storage admin and say, “we detected something in server x, why don’t you snapshot the data as soon as possible?” The reality is that this call often never happens, leaving the vulnerability window wide open for attackers to proliferate data corruption, encryption, or other attack vectors against enterprise data. For instance, if immutable snaps are taken four times a day, that means up to a 6-hour RPO (recovery point objective). Today, the amount of data that could be compromised in that timeframe can ruin a business.

To help ameliorate these issues Infinidat has developed a unique new solution to solve this longstanding problem and reduce the threat window. InfiniSafe® Automated Cyber Protection (ACP) is unique in allowing enterprises to regain control of the chaos that cyber attackers bring on, saving time, money and risks to reputation. It is available free for users of the new InfiniBox G4 family of InfiniBox® and InfiniBox SSA enterprise storage solutions and has been given rave reviews by storage and security industry analysts across the world.

According to Krista Macomber, Research Director at the Futurum Group, “Infinidat’s complete solutions have taken the lead by leveraging the syslog of security technologies, such as SIEM and SOAR to detect and respond to anomalies that belie potential threats.”

Storage analyst firm founder Chris Evans of Architecting IT, said, “Infinidat has carved out a unique leadership position as the only storage vendor to offer an automated enterprise storage cyber protection solution that seamlessly integrates with cyber security software applications.”

Andrew Buss, Senior Research Director, EMEA Future of Digital Infrastructure at IDC commented that “Infinidat has built on its proven and scalable storage platform to deliver a storage architecture that can deliver not only on today’s demanding requirements, but also on future storage needs as application demands continue to inexorably increase.”

How does InfiniSafe ACP work?

InfiniSafe ACP works to reduce the cyberattack threat window to enterprise data at the speed of compute, by automatically triggering a protection scheme to create immutable snapshots of any data within the InfiniBox SSA and InfiniBox platforms. These requests come directly from the enterprises’ cyber security software environments, the SOC, SIEM or SOAR, as soon as any concerning changes or events are detected. Application environments like these have extensible interfaces and so tying them together with the well-defined InfiniSafe reference architecture provides a fully automated set of seamless capabilities. These capabilities can be orchestrated to proactively and quickly create immutable snapshots to protect the most critical primary data assets.

InfiniSafe Cyber Detection can be integrated with ACP to take the process to the next step.  InfiniSafe Cyber Detection performs deep scanning of block, file, and database stores by presenting immutable snapshots to a powerful AI-based scanning engine. This validates the data integrity and through AI-based machine learning, can identify any malicious changes as a result of the cyberattack. More importantly, the scanning process uses more than 200 data points to determine which data may have been compromised, with 99.99% accuracy.

This ensures that any additional forensics are highly defined and easy to act on, by minimising any possible false positives. You need to be fast and accurate when dealing with a cyber event. Such a rapid, automated response means that full recovery from an attack can be guaranteed for entire snapshots of data, regardless of volumes.

Being prepared for cyberattacks is everything today. It’s not a matter of if cyber attackers will strike, it’s a matter of when and how often. Bad actors will attempt to create chaos and gain leverage over your most critical data assets if you are not prepared. Knowing the state of your data by proactively keeping it protected beyond scheduled events, is a key component to reducing the threat window, gaining back leverage, and thwarting those looking to extort you by compromising your data. Now InfiniSafe ACP is making these goals easier for every enterprise to achieve.

Author: Eric Herzog, CMO, Infinidat

Read more about how InfiniSafe ACP is reducing the threat window: https://www.infinidat.com/en/resource-pdfs/infinisafe-automated-cyber-protection.pdf

www.infinidat.com

Official launch event of new £800k development at Sauchope Links Holiday Park

Largo Leisure Holidays were honoured to host The Provost, Councillor Jim Leishman MBE, at Sauchope Links holiday park this morning (18/7), to formally launch their new £800k development with a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new development at the coastal park near Crail, is an investment into tourism in the area and aims to attract not only more holiday guests, but also to encourage longer term investment from holiday homeowners with 8 new holiday home pitches available.

In addition to the 8 new holiday home pitches, the park has also invested in 5 new holiday accommodations, and a recent addition of the park’s first three-bedroom caravan to attract families.

This impressive investment in Scottish tourism is part of an overall investment programme by private equity firm, Limerston Capital, who acquired Largo Leisure in March 2022.

The Provost was given a tour of one of the newly purchased holiday homes and gave a short speech before cutting the ribbon, saying: “I am extremely impressed with the quality of the lodges on the new development. In fact, they aren’t lodges they feel more like homes with some amazing views. I wish Alison and team at Sauchope good luck with the new development.”

As well as The Provost, the park had invited representatives from the Crail Community Partnership and the local community newspaper Crail Matters as well as local businesses in the area to come along for the event.

Group Operations Director for Largo Leisure, Alison Watson said: “We are really proud of the new development at Sauchope Links and have already sold a number of the new holiday home pitches including the one we showed our guests around today. The new pitches are literally metres from the coastal path, giving the most stunning, uninterrupted views of the sea from large, decked areas which also make a great spot for dolphin watching. They really are something special.”

“The new pitches provide buyers with an opportunity to build their own dream holiday home from plan and that’s one of the reasons we are seeing so much interest in them. Owning a holiday home which provides views like these across the Firth of Forth is a pretty rare thing and we don’t expect them to be on sale for long.”

More details about the new development can be found at Largo Leisure and holiday booking availability for the new holiday lodges can be found at Largo Leisure Holidays.

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