Category Archives: Business

Travel to and from Slam Dunk Festival with Veezu

VEEZU, Leeds’ leading private hire operator, is the official ride partner for the Slam Dunk Festival North this bank holiday weekend.

Formerly known as Amber Cars, Veezu will provide festival goers with safe and reliable travel to and from the festival at Temple Newsam Park. Veezu driver-partners will be based at the dedicated Veezu area at Slam Dunk North which will have a booking hub for passengers to secure a ride instantly.

Jasmine Hussain at Slam Dunk Festival said: “We are delighted to be working with Veezu for the Slam Dunk Festival this weekend. For many festival goers, travel is the last thing on their mind and the question of how to get home can lead to dangerous decisions. With the dedicated booking office and pick up area, guests can rest assured that they can get home safely after what is set to be a weekend to remember.”

Donna Coombs, Hyperlocal Marketing Manager at Veezu, said: “We’re very excited to be working with Slam Dunk Festival this year as official ride partner. We will be on hand to help festival goers get home safely after a fun-filled day of music and hopefully sunshine this bank holiday.

“There will be a dedicated Veezu booking office on site for those who have not pre-booked their ride home, and those that have booked through our app can find their ride easily at our dedicated pick-up point. Our mission is to provide safe and convenient travel to as many passengers as possible, and with the excitement of a festival, transport can often go forgotten. With our dedicated booking office, we hope that festival goers can relax and enjoy their weekend, knowing that they can get home safely.”

The Slam Dunk Festival North is an annual rock music festival in Leeds and this year will be taking place on Sunday 26 May. This year’s lineup includes headliners I Prevail and You Me at Six, playing their final UK festival performance.

To pre book your ride with the Veezu app click here.

Carmarthenshire Business Awards Welcomes Swansea Building Society as Sponsor

The inaugural Carmarthenshire Business Awards will feature Swansea Building Society as the sponsor for the Financial and Professional Service Business of the Year award. This much-anticipated event will be held on July 12, 2024, at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, uniting the county’s thriving business community to honour outstanding entrepreneurial and innovative achievements.

The Carmarthenshire Business Awards will commence at 6:30 pm with a drinks reception, followed by a dinner and the awards ceremony. This black-tie event aims to celebrate the vibrant business community in Carmarthenshire, recognising significant contributions to the local economy.

The Financial and Professional Service Business of the Year award, sponsored by Swansea Building Society, is open to any business operating within the financial and professional services sector in Carmarthenshire. The award celebrates excellence within the sector, recognising companies that demonstrate remarkable growth, strong financial performance, innovation, and exceptional customer experience. Judges are looking for companies that have achieved growth and strong financial performance through innovation and exceptional customer experience, with a clear focus on future business success.

Sioned Jones, Area Manager for West Wales, Swansea Building Society, said:

“We are thrilled to support the Carmarthenshire Business Awards and to celebrate the remarkable achievements of businesses in the county. At Swansea Building Society, we are committed to fostering innovation and excellence within the financial and professional services sector. These awards highlight the outstanding contributions of businesses that drive economic growth and provide exceptional service to their clients. We look forward to recognising and honouring their success.”

In addition to the Carmarthenshire Business Awards, Swansea Building Society will also sponsor the Financial and Professional Service Business of the Year award at the Torfaen & Monmouthshire Business Awards on September 19, 2024, at The Parkway Hotel, Torfaen, and the Vale of Glamorgan Business Awards on October 4, 2024, at The Vale Resort. These events continue to celebrate the vibrant business community across South Wales.

Why Businesses with Company Vehicles Should Consider Using Telematics

In today’s fast-paced business environment, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are crucial for success. For companies that rely on a fleet of vehicles, whether for deliveries, sales, or service calls, managing these assets effectively can be a significant challenge. This is where telematics suppliers come into play. Telematics technology can transform fleet management, offering numerous benefits that can enhance productivity, reduce costs and improve sustainability and efficiency while improving overall business operations.

What is Telematics?

Telematics refers to the integration of telecommunications and information technology to provide real-time data on vehicle usage, location, and performance. This technology uses GPS and onboard diagnostics to gather data that can be analysed and used to optimize various aspects of fleet management.

Benefits of Telematics for Businesses

Improved Efficiency and Productivity

Telematics systems provide real-time tracking of vehicles, allowing businesses to monitor routes, driving behaviour, and idle times. This information can be used to optimize routes, reduce fuel consumption, and ensure timely deliveries. By reducing inefficiencies, businesses can improve productivity and provide better service to their customers.

Cost Savings

One of the most significant advantages of telematics is the potential for cost savings. By monitoring fuel consumption and driving behaviour, companies can identify areas where they can reduce fuel usage. Additionally, telematics can help prevent unauthorized use of vehicles, reduce wear and tear, and lower maintenance costs by enabling proactive maintenance schedules.

Enhanced Safety

Telematics systems can monitor driving behaviour, such as speeding, harsh braking, and rapid acceleration. This data can be used to provide feedback to drivers, encouraging safer driving practices. Improved driving behaviour not only reduces the risk of accidents but also lowers insurance premiums and minimizes downtime due to vehicle repairs.

Regulatory Compliance

Many industries face stringent regulations regarding vehicle usage and driver hours. Telematics can simplify compliance by automatically logging driving hours, providing detailed records, and ensuring that vehicles are maintained according to legal standards. This reduces the risk of non-compliance penalties and enhances operational transparency.

Environmental Impact

Reducing fuel consumption and optimizing routes not only saves money but also lowers the environmental impact of a fleet. Businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to sustainability goals by using telematics to make their operations more eco-friendly.

Choosing the Right Telematics Supplier

When considering a telematics supplier, it’s essential to select a provider that offers a comprehensive solution tailored to your business needs. Look for a supplier with a proven track record, robust customer support, and scalable solutions that can grow with your business.

One such provider is Radius, a reliable provider that offers a wide range of telematics solutions designed to meet the diverse needs of businesses with vehicle fleets.

Conclusion

Incorporating telematics into your fleet management strategy can yield significant benefits, from cost savings and improved efficiency to enhanced safety and regulatory compliance. As the business landscape continues to evolve, leveraging advanced technologies like telematics is becoming increasingly important for maintaining a competitive edge. By choosing a reliable telematics supplier, businesses can ensure they are maximizing the potential of their vehicle fleets and driving towards a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable future.

For more information on how telematics can benefit your business, visit https://www.radius.com/en-gb/

His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC calls for criminal justice system ‘health check’ in Cardiff Business Club address

His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC, formerly Recorder of Cardiff and a Judge who sat in the Old Bailey and the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) addressed Cardiff Business Club at a dinner event sponsored by Knight Frank, on 20 May at the Parkgate Hotel.

The topic of his lecture was how the current criminal justice system needs a comprehensive health check. He opened with stating how this field of law has changed since he began studying in 1973, becoming more micromanaged and less subjectively determined by judges.

His Honour discussed miscarriages of justice and how they have always happened, the emperor’s clothes mentality surrounding them and how legislation has responded effectively to them, albeit following some pushing. He referenced the post office scandal in depth, describing it as the worst miscarriage of justice in Europe, and read an excerpt from his letter in The Guardian on the topic.

He also used the post office scandal to talk about trends and how they affect, or rather don’t affect, Crown Court judges. It has been said that Crown Court judges act independently and don’t need to take note of trend, but he disagreed and stated that if a judge becomes aware of a trend, he or she should note and respond to it. If the judges involved in the post office scandal had acted in response to trends, perhaps the miscarriage of justice wouldn’t have been so large.

His Honour then discussed a need for a more locally focussed criminal justice system and how one has the potential to reduce crime in specific areas, such as gang violence in London. With a local criminal justice system that reflects local needs, the whole system should work better. He questioned whether the British criminal justice system is the fairest in the world as many still believe but retains the hope we can make it so.

Delving into many of his past cases, cases that haunt him, His Honour then discussed how the current criminal justice system fails to deal with fatal violence against women. He called upon a need to change the starting points for setting minimum terms in murder, by referencing the weapon used, before speaking of Kirsty Treloar and Rebecca Sessacar’s cases, showing photos of the two women to emphasise how they were real people to be remembered. The cases involved “a catalogue of appalling failures” with previous warning signs ignored and other shocking errors.

His Honour used these strong stories to emphasise the need for a review of the entire criminal justice system, before delving into some questions posed by the room.

The next Cardiff Business Club lunch event will see speaker Anne Jessopp CBE, CEO of the Royal Mint, address the club on 27 June at the Hilton Hotel.

Zip World Boost Welsh Economy By £941 Million

An independent report from North Wales Tourism has revealed a figure of £941 million as Zip World’s 10-year contribution to the Welsh economy.

This milestone, following its latest Economic Impact Assessment, highlights a remarkable surge compared to the previous figure of £251 million reported in 2018, with over £690 million added in the last five years.

By analysing commercial data, survey insights, and research findings, the assessment explores Zip World’s visitor influences, staffing levels and economic contribution to its local communities.

Andrew Hudson, Chief Executive Officer at Zip World, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our contribution to economic regeneration in Wales, and this report underscores the impact we’ve had and will continue to have. Our ambition has always been to create long-term jobs and to support the wider economy of our local communities.

“Since launching in 2013, Zip World has opened seven sites – including our newest location in Conwy – and North Wales Tourism’s analysis will provide invaluable insight to guide our future endeavours in driving more growth and prosperity.

“There are also ongoing initiatives to expand our UK presence further including in the Lakes and proposals in the South East of England. Investment is key for us, not only in our new sites but by adding value to our existing locations.”

Zip World’s expansion plans and enhanced management of existing attractions are supported by both the Welsh and UK Governments, securing £6.2 million worth of matched funding as part of the North Wales Growth Deal.

This funding aims to further enable Zip World’s vision as a leading responsible tourism destination, facilitating sustainable transport links and year-round employment opportunities.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Energy and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “The Economic Impact Assessment from North Wales Tourism shows the benefits of world-class tourist attractions. Zip World’s growth, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic, has been instrumental in championing tourism in rural Welsh communities and generating more year-round job opportunities.

“Zip World is a North Wales home-grown company who have gone from strength to strength, and it’s great to see the impact they are having.”

Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism, said: “As Zip World continues to enthuse adventure seekers from near and far to Wales, the positive economic ripple effect of this leading tourist operator has been felt across our communities.

“Every pound visitors spend in North Wales circulates within the local economy, meaning the impact is even higher among other local businesses. By attracting tourists to the region, Zip World has injected over £414 million in local reinvestment across the last five years alone.

“Zip World has been the catalyst to the branding of North Wales as the Adventure Capital of Europe, and the company remains steadfast in its mission to not only thrill visitors but also to enrich and empower our Welsh communities.”

Operating 33 different adventures at seven locations across Wales and England, the company offers a range of experiences within the active leisure sector, including its latest locations, the indoor Zip World Conwy and its Zip World Windermere and Manchester sites.

In addition to its adventures, Zip World has recently launched its brand-new luxury Forest Lodges and Camping Pods as well as renovated its Tyn-y-Coed Hotel, further expanding its accommodation offerings in the region.

For more information about Zip World’s sites and adventures, visit www.zipworld.com

Welsh business success celebrated at awards

The winners of the Wales Business Awards 2024 were announced by Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid last night (16 May) at a ceremony at the Vale Hotel & Resort in Hensol.

Businesses and organisations from across Wales came together to celebrate business success, innovation and best practice at the ceremony which was saw broadcaster Andrea Byrne return as host.

11 winners were crowned across 11 categories, with one of the lucky winners also receiving the Wales Business of the Year award which was presented by headline sponsor Jardine Norton.

St Athan firm Metrology Engineering Services scooped the top prize in addition to winning Innovative Business of the Year.

A leading service provider in reverse engineering, 3D laser scanning, damage assessment and quality inspection, the firm was recognised for its use of cutting-edge technology to advance the field of repair engineering to meet the evolving needs of the aerospace industry.

Steve Beasley, CEO of Metrology Engineering Services, said: “We are delighted to have won two awards including the overall prize: Wales Business of the Year. We’d like to thank Welsh Government and Aerospace Wales for helping us get started in this dynamic industry. Over the last year we have secured contracts all over the world and expanded our team to 20 highly specialised engineers who share our innovative vision.  I’d like to dedicate these awards to our brilliant team.”

Other winners on the night included Arian Care, Dulas Ltd, Dylan’s Restaurants, Genesis Biosciences, Ogi, Peter Jones ILG, Route Media, Watkins & Gunn Limited, Welsh Refugee Council and Dorian Payne of Castell Group, who took home the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Paul Butterworth, CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “The Wales Business Awards showcased the best of Welsh business, recognising firms who play a fundamental role in driving the economy forward, implementing innovative initiatives and supporting their teams.

“We’d like to offer our congratulations to our worthy winners, as well as those who were shortlisted.”

Cardiff Capital Region at UKREiiF 2024

Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is attending UKREiiF in Leeds from 21 to 23 May to showcase £15 billion of investment opportunities and spotlight the Region as one of 12 Investment Zones selected by UK and Welsh Government last year.

UKREiiF, the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum, is a three-day conference that aims to connect people, places and businesses including the key players and decision makers within the public sector, built environment, investment and real estate markets to drive significant sustainable investment.

This year Cardiff Capital Region will be attending as one of the two sponsors of exhibitor Western Gateway, the pan-regional partnership for South Wales and Western England. The other sponsor attending is Bristol and Bath. CCR will use Western Gateway’s pavilion as a base for meetings and networking.

Attending the event for CCR is Anthony Hunt, Leader of Torfaen County Borough Council and Chair of CCR’s Committee and he said: “UKREiiF is an excellent opportunity for us to sell our Region’s competitive strengths, ambitious investment and development opportunities to key decision makers, future investors and partners. This annual event is now firmly on the calendar for investment opportunities within the UK and complements our international activities at expos such as MIPIM.”

CCR Chief Executive Kellie Beirne is speaking at several events during UKREiiF and is very positive about CCR’s participation: “Our proposition is strong and compelling with unique offers such as Aberthaw Power Station attracting more interest, I’m confident that our economic potential will continue to grow.”

Find out more about UKREiiF: https://www.ukreiif.com/

Two thirds of UK finance professionals optimistic about AI in accountancy

  • 66% of UK finance professionals believe that AI will allow them to add more value in their roles
  • 42% are concerned about the potential impact of AI on their roles in the future – but this is lower than the global average of 51%
  • 71% of finance professionals are keen for more training on AI to better understand it and integrate it into work

 

Recent research conducted by ACCA, the leading global accountancy body, takes a look at the current state of the UK workplace for finance professionals. Analysing key areas such as remuneration, staff retention, employee wellbeing, AI and diversity and inclusion, the study highlights the state of affairs for the finance profession across the UK.

 

AI has been dominating the conversation for UK finance professionals, but the response has been positive on the whole. Two thirds of survey respondents reported feeling positive about AI, seeing it as a tool to add more value to their roles and reduce data-heavy tasks. The fact that almost three quarters (71%) are keen for more training on how to best use AI demonstrates that the UK’s finance professionals want to understand and utilise AI effectively. Using AI to reduce time-intensive but low value work tasks means more time is freed up for high value work.

 

The pace of change in technology at work was a concern for one fifth (22%) of respondents, who felt overwhelmed by the rapid rate at which technology was advancing and changing.  However, the global average for this was 37%, indicating that UK finance professionals feel more prepared and resilient in the face of change than their global peers.

 

Concerns raised by respondents around AI included job displacement, qualifications taking longer, and the risks of AI such as privacy, security and ethical use of data, as well as potential issues of over-reliance on AI.

 

Alongside AI, ACCA’s survey revealed that finance and accounting employees in the UK are still very much embracing a hybrid work model, with 64% reporting this was their working pattern, almost a third higher than the global average of 41%. Only 21% of those surveyed are working full-time in the office in the UK – globally, that figure jumps to 52%. In the UK, Wales has the highest percentage of workers full-time in the office, at 38%. Only 52% of Wales’ finance professionals work in a hybrid pattern, the lowest of the UK nations surveyed.

 

However, there is a trade-off between productivity and team collaboration highlighted by the survey, with 68% saying working remotely improves their productivity, and 49% saying it makes team collaboration harder. Respondents did cite benefits of being in the office (in addition to improved collaboration) including workplace cultural reinforcement and adoption, particularly for new hires, organic learning and networking opportunities.

 

Joe Fitzsimons, senior manager, Policy & Insights, ACCA UK, and author of the report said: “The responses from UK finance professionals in this survey around AI reflects a growing conversation about how technology will change the future of work. It is positive to see that two third of respondents are optimistic about the role of AI and even more are keen to understand it more through training and upskilling. While UK finance professionals are more optimistic than their global peers, there is still a long way to go in full rollout of AI in organisations, and ACCA will continue to provide insight, research and support for a smooth transition.”

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, added: “Wales offers a diverse range of opportunities for those working in accountancy roles.

“We know from the many employers that we work with across Wales that attracting and retaining accounting and finance talent is a key focus, and that offering training, professional development and other employee benefits is something they are implementing in a competitive job market. The higher than UK average percentage of workers in the office full-time in Wales is interesting, and we’ll continue to monitor this from an employee and employer perspective.”

Read the full report here.

Change at the Helm: Swansea Building Society Welcomes New Chair

Swansea Building Society has signalled a significant transition in its leadership, as Ieuan Griffiths steps down after six years as Chair and nine years on the Board. Stephen Maddock will take over as the new Chair, bringing fresh perspectives to the role.

During his tenure, Griffiths has been instrumental in helping guide the Society through a period of sustained growth and development, leaving an indelible mark on its operations and strategic direction. His steadfast commitment and dedication to the Society’s mission have been deeply appreciated by colleagues, stakeholders, and the broader community alike.

Stepping into the role of Chair is Stephen Maddock, who brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in finance and governance. Stephen joined the Society’s Board in May 2016 and has served with distinction ever since. His appointment as Chair, effective May 2024, underscores the Society’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of leadership and governance.

A Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of ICAEW, Maddock’s professional journey is marked by a distinguished career in the financial sector. Beginning his career at the Swansea office of accountancy firm Deloitte Haskins & Sells, Maddock went on to join Coopers & Lybrand, now PwC, after qualifying. His career culminated in the role of Director of Financial Shared Services for Tata Steel Europe before embarking on early retirement.

In assuming the role of Chair, Maddock brings to bear a profound understanding of financial management, strategic planning, and corporate governance. His strategic vision, coupled with his deep-rooted commitment to the Society’s values, positions him as an ideal steward for the organisation as it continues its mission of serving its members and community.

Outgoing Chair, Ieuan Griffiths, said:

“It has been a privilege to serve as Chair of Swansea Building Society for the past six years. In fact, I’d have loved to have stayed longer but nine years is the maximum allowed on the Board, so it was time for me to step down. I’d like to thank my colleagues for all that they have done during my tenure, not only do they bring expertise, but they contribute – unstintingly – with their time. I’d especially like to thank Society Chief Executive, Alun Williams. Our working relationship has been uncannily good, and there is a culture in the Society that is very caring, which, I believe, underpins its success.

“I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved together during my time on the Board, and I have every confidence in Stephen’s ability to help lead the Society into its next chapter.”

New Chair, Stephen Maddock, said:

“I am honoured to take on the role of Chair at Swansea Building Society. In the six years of Ieuan’s Chair, the Society has changed and grown significantly. I now look forward to working closely with the Board, management team, and staff to build upon the strong foundation laid by my predecessor and help drive the Society forward.

“On behalf of my colleagues, Board, and the Society’s members, we would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Ieuan for his invaluable contributions and commitment to the Society.”

Paul Butterworth appointed Vice Chair of Regional Learning and Skills Partnership

Paul Butterworth, the CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, has been appointed as the new Vice Chair of the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership (RLSP) for south-west Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, the RLSP is dedicated to bridging the gap between education, skills, and regeneration. It aims to ensure that the skills provision is aligned with the economic priorities and opportunities of the region, as well as tackling the new skills landscape that is happening within the energy, construction, manufacturing and digital sectors.

As CEO of Chambers Wales, Paul brings a wealth of experience and a passion for the economic and skills development of Welsh businesses with him to the board.

As the voice of the business community with policymakers, Paul will advocate for enhanced skills training, infrastructure improvements and the creation of skilled jobs, all aimed at creating local economic growth.

Upon his appointment, Paul said: “I am determined to create a better and fairer business landscape for West Wales to ensure that the local economy has the best available skills development for future project development and the transition into the green economy and energy sector to ensure West Wales thrives.”

Jane Lewis, Regional Partnerships Manager at RLSP, said: “We are delighted to have Paul on the board. He will be instrumental in achieving our goals and look forward to the positive impact his appointment will have on the region.”