High performance cars: the vanguard of the UK engineering sector?

The automotive industry in the UK, and especially that of high performance cars, is a highly prized sector in the UK economy. It has in the past provided a benchmark for manufacturers in the rest of the world, and continues to do so. The country continues to invest in the development of high-level skills and engineering innovation, so as to keep its place as a major force in the automotive industry worldwide.

The history and future of the automotive industry in the UK

The UK has a rich history in the automotive industry, whether it is civilian cars or high performance racing and luxury brands. It has as a result earned itself a reputation around the world for high performance, quality, as well as engineering prowess. Some of the premium and sports car brands that the country is known for include Bentley, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce.

As far as the future of the industry is concerned, it seems quite bright. 2014 saw the industry hit record production levels, and this trend is set to continue in the years to come. The sector has been buoyed by a thriving export market, especially that of emerging markets where middle class populations are growing and their demand for goods, notably for luxury and high-end British brands, is increasing.

So as to ensure the country remains a base for high-level engineering skills, the British Government has put in place initiatives aimed at plugging the skills gap. This has led to more support and emphasis being given to the development of science and engineering skills through apprentices and vocational training. There has also been an effort to create manufacturing training and technology centres in a number of sites around the country, to nurture and grow young talent in order for the UK to keep its place as a major world leader in engineering.

Anthony Sheriff and his successful run at McLaren Automotive

Anthony Sheriff has worked as the Managing Director as well as a member of the Board of Directors of McLaren Automotive Ltd. While at the company, Anthony Sheriff had the responsibility of managing the various aspects of the road car business for the company. He steered the launch, in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, of the SLR into production. The development and launch of the SLR Stirling Moss and SLR Roadster that followed helped turn McLaren Automotive into a profitable company.

In a recent interview with McLaren Automotive director, Automotive Zone learnt that after this successful launch, Sheriff went ahead to launch three further products, the P11 (650S and MP4-12C), P12 (P1) and P13 (Sports Series), which established McLaren Automotive as a luxury sports car manufacturing company. The company also built a global distribution network and a dedicated production facility under Sheriff’s leadership.

The UK automotive sector, and especially that of high performance cars, has a bright future ahead of it, and should remain at the forefront of a thriving manufacturing industry in the country for many years to come. This will be as a result of the development and nurturing of an engineering skills base as well as the provision of the required financial support that will ensure the creation of a sustainable and stable industry.


Is tech knowledge essential for a successful manager?

A majority of businesses, especially new start-ups, are heavily exposed to technology, even if that technology is something as simple as a social media account for marketing purposes; so managers need to have at least some knowledge of technological processes and how they impact on the firm. As a manager, you need to understand your business systems and how they actually work; avoiding the role of technology in those systems because you have some type of tech phobia is no excuse.

If you want the definition of a manager put in simple terms, it is someone who organises and oversees the work that other people do. As such, it is not especially practical to expect a manager to have an in-depth or expert knowledge of every single business process and the finer details of how they work. Nonetheless, experienced and successful managers will tell you that some technical knowledge is essential. Take a scenario in which you are overseeing, as a manager, the implementation of a new IT system in your organisation and a member of staff or an outside contractor comes to you with a specific query that is tech related. You may have in-depth project management skills, but in the absence of any specific tech knowledge, on what basis are you going to be able to answer their query or question the assumptions it is based on?

Armed with tech knowledge, you can appreciate what staff are doing right, identify when they go wrong, and how problem areas can be resolved. Successful managers emphasise the importance of good communication, listening to employees and being supportive in what they say.

Having a certain level of tech awareness enhances your communication skills as a manager because it better equips you to talk with and listen to employees, and tech employees in particular, to boost mutual understanding. A certain amount of tech knowledge also serves to enhance the relevant employees’ trust in you and your capabilities. In turn, you are better able to trust them and the skill set they bring to the workplace because you have at least a rudimentary understanding of what it is they do. Another benefit of having some tech knowledge is that you can better support your tech team in representations to more senior management in the hope of attaining the necessary resources; alternatively, if you are the boss, you can better understand what it is they need and what level of investment is required.

The good news for managers is that keeping up to date with developments in tech is as easy as reading online tech blogs that offer the latest in tech news. If you leave aside a few minutes in every day for a read of the latest developments in technology, you can keep abreast of what’s new and how those developments might impact on your organisation.

The key to managing tech in business is having an overall understanding of the technologies deployed and how they tie into business needs.

On Purpose social enterprise leadership programme now open

Applications are now open for the October 2015 On Purpose social enterprise leadership programme.

On Purpose is a leadership programme that helps driven, talented professionals find a career that matters.

The one year On Purpose Associate Programme combines paid work placements in organisations which are using commercial dynamics to create social or environmental benefit (including Virgin Unite, Big Society Capital, National Citizens Service and JustGiving), along with weekly training (with professionals from organisations such as McKinsey, P&G, Ogilvy, the Design Council and the Cabinet Office) and regular one-to-one coaching and mentoring from seasoned business leaders.

Applications are now open until 9am on the 11th May 2015.

On Purpose was founded by Tom Rippin, a former management consultant with McKinsey, after having gone through a career transition similar to those that On Purpose now facilitates for its participants. “After leaving McKinsey to work in organisations that were using commercial dynamics for good, I had a steady stream of people who wanted to find out how I had managed to make that jump, so I knew there was a lot of demand out there.”

He decided to put his experience gained across the business, non-profit and public sectors towards helping others find more meaningful careers and, in so doing, help build and develop talent that bring about a more sustainable economy – one where the strengths of business are harnessed for social and environmental benefit.

On Purpose matches organisations that are using business for good with talented professionals who want something more fulfilling and meaningful from their career.

It’s a win-win; the social enterprise benefits from the carefully screened participants and the professionals being placed are offered a unique chance to not only work in these difficult-to-access organisations but also to learn with a group of like-minded peers and build a powerful network; all while at the same time putting their skills to use in organisations whose purpose they believe in.

Tom has previously advised the CEO of Comic Relief, and used to work with (RED) as Business Development Director, the company founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver, to help fight AIDS in Africa.

“For social enterprises to become successful, the movement needs not only entrepreneurs but also top quality managers and professionals who will grow and manage organisations. We are the only social enterprise programme focused on attracting these kinds of professionals.” explains Tom.

On Purpose recruits new professionals just twice per year. Applications are now open for the October 2015 intake and they are looking for emerging leaders from all disciplines who want to kick-start a career in social enterprises.

“We’ve already helped over 100 talented professionals change careers and are now recruiting again until 11th May when we will close our books.” says Tom.

Becoming an On Purpose Associate means taking part in a year-long programme where you:

  • are paid to work at organisations like Ben & Jerry’s, Big Issue Invest, Marks and Spencer Plan A
  • receive training from professionals from organisations including McKinsey, the Design Council, the Cabinet Office, Ogilvy and the Big Issue
  • learn from your peers, experienced mentors and executive coaches
  • become part of a collaborative network of emerging social enterprise leaders

Following the programme >85% of Fellows (alumni) remain working within this space and continue to benefit from On Purpose through additional training, social events and peer-to-peer support.

The Associate Programme is full time, based in London and starts on September 30th 2015. Associates work in their placements 4.5 days a week and spend Friday afternoon at training.  Associates are paid £21,000 for the year, which is a stipend for a year of training and development.

Applications are open from now until 9am on the 11th May at www.onpurpose.uk.com.

Life Changes Trust £90,000 prize for dementia ‘Bright Ideas’ competition

A competition to find the best ‘Bright Ideas’ to create a better life for people affected by dementia in Scotland has been launched today.

The competition is being run by the Life Changes Trust, an independent charity set up with a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £50 million to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people.

The challenge is to come up with a new and innovative approach or idea for something that would improve the lives of people who have dementia and/or those who care for them.

The competition is open to anyone – people living with dementia or their carers, students, academics, health professionals, designers, engineers, gardeners – anyone with a Bright Idea that can be turned into a working reality for people affected by dementia.

The idea could be related to mobility, to inclusion, to learning or to healthy living. It could be based around safety and security, housing or even just having fun.

Six applications will be shortlisted by a panel of people with dementia and carers who will score the applications on the extent to which they are:

• practical

• have potential to transform the lives of people with dementia and/or carers

• have potential to be sustainable in the long term

There will be three grant prizes, awarded at an event in November 2015: The first prize is £50,000, the second prize is £25,000 and the third prize is £15,000.

Chief Executive of the Life Changes Trust Maddy Halliday said, ‘The Trust believes that, as a society, we need to find and invest in new and innovative ways of helping people living with dementia and their carers so they feel valued, included and supported. The Trust is already funding a wide range of activities to support people affected by dementia and today we are delighted to announce our first, annual Bright Ideas competition. We hope to receive many exciting and innovative ideas and look forward to funding those that have the potential to provide the biggest benefit to people affected by dementia in Scotland.’

In Scotland:

• It is estimated that around 90,000 people have dementia in Scotland

• The number of people with dementia in Scotland is increasing because the population is getting older. Based on current dementia prevalence rates, the number of people with dementia in Scotland is projected to double by 2038*.

• Much of the care and financial burden of dementia falls on family carers and friends, who may also experience social isolation, exhaustion and health problems associated with the demands of caring.

• Dementia costs the country more than cancer, heart disease and stroke put together.

For more information on how to develop or submit your ‘Bright Idea’, go to the Life Changes Trust website

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London hackathon digital solution for UN Social Media Strategies

A transformative company is rethinking United Nations social media strategies with an intelligent software platform that employs gamification techniques. Smart, social and performance oriented, Rise powers the recently launched UN Social 500 leader board which is used to recognise, amplify and encourage UN staff to harness the power of social media.

Toby Beresford, Rise CEO said, “We are beyond honoured to contribute to what is undoubtedly the world’s most recognised organisation. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool and through UN Social 500 , we’re helping the United Nations make the most of online opportunities to engage with the world.”


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In conjunction with social analytics ranking engine Klout , Rise has developed the UN Social 500 website to honour the top social media influencers within the United Nations. Drawing on data from multiple channels, Klout issues individual social media account scores. Rise then provides personal tracking over time, comparative benchmarking with peers and an overview of which UN social media butterflies have been most successful in spreading their wings.

The initial idea came to light in the wake of the UN Influx hackathon, which challenged personnel to come up with ways to “use digital innovation to connect the UN and the public more effectively.” For Rise, the solution was the launch of social media leader board, UN Social 500. At its core, it encourages staff to augment their social media impact and promote UN efforts via personal online accounts. The board even boasts its very own #UNSocial500 hashtag to ensure followers stay up-to-the-minute on all the latest developments.




In today’s digital society social media has become an integral part of both personal and corporate communications. For an organisation focussing on peacekeeping, security, human rights AND economic development, social media is a hugely effective way to engage with global citizens. As such, UN personnel making the most of social media channels deserve to be commended for their efforts. The UN Social 500 leader board does just this, while simultaneously allowing members of the public to discover the most influential men and women who promote, discuss and describe the work of the UN on a daily basis.

From globally recognised organisations such as the United Nations to local SMEs and expanding corporations, the latest UN Social 500 drive is a lucid example of how a gamified performance management platform can be used to motivate employees to supercharge social media presence. For businesses and organisations of any size, it’s an innovative way to boost public profile, engage with a larger target audience and ensure that social media channels are worked at their hardest.

To find out more about Rise and sign up for a FREE membership to the online GPM community, go to: www.rise.global

BullGuard show who is tracking you phone

There are over one billion smartphones in use today – an enormous number and approximately one sixth of the world’s population. But are they just glorified trackers?

Smartphones are powerful tools enabling us to do all sorts of things while on the go. However, they can also track your every move and scoop up reams of personal information – without you knowing anything about it. If your phone has its geo-location services switched on, it most certainly will be monitoring your journeys. Even if it’s switched off but you’re hooked up to the internet via a Wi-Fi signal you can still be tracked. There are plenty of apps that persistently monitor your movements even when they’re not fired up. Of course you may say, and many do, that you’ve got nothing to hide, but this surreptitious mass surveillance is undermining privacy.

Take a look at this infographic from antivirus and mobile security expert, BullGuard, for a visualisation of exactly how your location data is being used and what you can do about it.




New Android Game Whack-A-Politician Launches

Ever wished you could bop a politician on the head, whack-a-mole style? Now you can – in a virtual sense anyway! – with a fun new political satire game which has launched for Android devices. ‘Politics Bash’ is a fun, addictive and topical game which puts a twist on the classic arcade favourite – instead of whacking moles, players will be whacking hilarious caricatures of David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon.

With the General Election just a matter of weeks away, the nation’s leading politicians have been forced front and centre, commanding the spotlight as they try to canvass votes and convince the country they are fit to rule. Unfortunately, the side effect of such media saturation is that many people are tired of looking at the same faces – and they might feel a slight urge to thwack them over the head!

Politics Bash allows voters to let out their frustrations with the political heavyweights in a fun and enjoyable way, totting up points as they go. Lined up before the iconic Houses of Parliament in London, there are seven holes in the ground, which politicians can poke their cartoon heads out of. Players can then tap the screen to bash the politician back down, before they run out of time!

The game is a great way for those disillusioned with politics to vent a little anger. Whether they’re fed up with Farage’s musings on Europe, or whether they’re tired of Nick Clegg’s broken promises, players can make their feelings known by whacking the brilliant caricatures of each politician and sending them crashing back down into the hole they popped up from.

A spokesman for Politics Bash says, “With the General Election fast approaching, we wanted to offer a light-hearted response to the media saturation that is surely to occur over the coming weeks. Many people will be sick of the sight of the key politicians fighting it out for seats and power – so we’ve offered them a fun and easy way to give the likes of Miliband, Clegg and Cameron a thwack over the head with a virtual mallet!”

Politicians have already started ducking and diving in the run up to the election, with carefully executed PR moves and events designed to make them the prime choice on the ballot papers. David Cameron has come under fierce scrutiny for his refusal to join the TV debates, while Ed Miliband still has many doubters who can’t see him taking the office at 10 Downing Street – no thanks to those unfortunate bacon sandwich images. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are facing a huge reduction in the number of seats, while parties like UKIP, the SNP and the Green Party seeing surges in membership. If you’re already sick of the sight of these faces on your screen – get downloading Politics Bash!

The app is available for just 96p on the Google Play store, and can be played on all Android devices, including tablets and smartphones.

For more information about Politics Bash, or to download the app, visit the Google Play listing: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.splashlime.politicsbash

Discovery Museum Newcastle to host launch of Civil Rights Movement Exhibition

Newcastle upon Tyne will host the launch of the Journey to Justice national multi-media travelling exhibition. It will be an extravaganza of music, history, poetry and film and include presentations of projects for local, national and international social change.

April 4th is the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination.

‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’ (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963)

The exhibition will be formally launched at 1.30 pm on Saturday 4 April 2015 by Marcia Saunders who was a volunteer in Freedom Summer, 1964, supporting African Americans in Tennessee to register their vote. Her story is one of those told in the exhibition. Former ANC activist and freedom fighter Archie Sibeko is the guest speaker and other performers include Crossings and Children NE.

Open to the public at Discovery Museum from Saturday 4th April to Monday 4th May 2015 the Journey to Justice exhibition will focus on some of the less well-known men, women and children involved in the US civil rights movement, featuring stories that are seldom told in the UK. Visitors will meet courageous, ‘ordinary’ people who challenged a violent, segregated America. The exhibition will make links to UK civil rights stories and will also highlight struggles for rights on Tyneside.

The region has a long history of leading movements for social justice. Newcastle was chosen for the launch because of its links with Martin Luther King, who was awarded an honorary degree in 1967 by Newcastle University.

“The North of England has a proud history of its people showing the rest of the UK how to stand together for those who are vulnerable. Journey to Justice will be striving, with everyone’s help and support to make a significant contribution to struggles for equality, inclusion and diversity today”. Lord Herman Ouseley, founder of Kick It Out and Patron of Journey to Justice.

Working with a steering group and partners including, TWAM, youth and community groups, trade unions, artists, Northumbria and Newcastle universities, SE colleges and students. Journey to Justice will offer a rich programme of events: courses, walks, talks, music and film to complement the exhibition as part of its mission to inspire and empower people to take action for social justice.
Journey to Justice was created by its director Carrie Supple, a member of the Tyneside Caller family. It is a national, volunteer-led alliance of educators, artists, historians, young people, lawyers, human rights activists, media works and faith representatives. Through education, music and the arts, Journey to Justice illustrates historical contemporary human rights struggles from around the world, to show how grass roots movements can bring about profound and sustained social change. The exhibition will tour the UK after its launch in the North East.

Actress Ronni Ancona Backing Brain Tumour Campaign

ACTRESS Ronni Ancona is backing a drive to raise brain tumour awareness after a young family friend lost his life to the disease.


Ronnie Ancona

Ronnie Ancona


Ronni – best-known to TV audiences for her celebrity impressions and her role in BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax – is urging people to don a specially-designed bandana and Wear it out! on 6 March, Bandanas for Brain Tumours Day.

The event is organised annually by The Brain Tumour Charity as part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

Ronni witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by brain tumours after the nephew of a close friend was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of the disease.

Eleven-year-old Silas Pullen died in December 2013 at his family home in Kent, 17 months after he was diagnosed with an incurable high-grade glioma.


Silas Pullen

Silas Pullen


Ronni, who has two young daughters, met Silas in the summer before his death when her family and the Pullens spent the day together.

Silas’s parents, Ben and Sarah, knew at that stage he had only a few months left but wanted to make life as normal as possible for their cricket-mad son.


Silas Pullen family

Silas Pullen family


Ronni – former star of TV show The Big Impression – said: “Silas was an incredibly brave, strong and kind boy. It was almost impossible to believe when I watched him playing with my girls that day that he was fighting a brain tumour, and that there was nothing anyone could do.

“When Ben and Sarah asked if I would help The Brain Tumour Charity raise awareness of the disease – and the need for more research to save children like Silas in the future – I didn’t have to think about it.

“Wearing a bandana on 6 March is a simple way for anyone to show their support for such an important cause.”


Silas Pullen at Olympics

Silas Pullen at Olympics


Ronni has made a video encouraging people to Wear it out! on Bandana Day, which can be seen at www.thebraintumourcharity.org/bandanas-for-brain-tumours

Ben Pullen said his family’s day with Ronni and her daughters was a precious one.

“It was just a great family day, mucking around in the garden at my sister’s house.

“Ronni’s younger daughter took a shine to Silas,” he said. “Silas was always very good with younger children and he spent a lot of time with her.

“When we asked Ronni if she would help by supporting The Brain Tumour Charity’s Bandanas for Brain Tumours Day, she didn’t hesitate. She said she would do whatever she could.”

Since Silas died, the Pullens – who have three other sons aged 15, 14 and ten – have vowed to do as much as possible to spare other families similar heartbreak.


Silas Pullen at the Beach


The Silas Pullen Fund has already raised more than £175,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity, all of which will go towards research into more effective treatments for childhood brain tumours.

Sarah said: “ We don’t want other parents to hear the same words as we did when Silas was first diagnosed: “There is nothing we can do – your son will die in 12-18 months.

“We want them to be given some hope however small.”

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We are immensely grateful to Ronni Ancona for her support.

“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 in the UK than any other cancer but receive relatively little public attention or research funding.

“To have Ronni backing Bandanas for Brain Tumours Day will make a real difference to the campaign and what we can achieve in terms of raising awareness of the disease.”

Does business success depend on online presence?

Almost any business can benefit from a good online presence. Here are some of the advantages of creating an outstanding online presence for a business.

Increased sales through a great website

When a business is put online, there is the opportunity to reach a much greater number of customers than is possible through other methods of advertising. More potential customers means more sales. A well-designed website shows customers that the company cares about doing business with them. Since it can be the first impression anyone has of a business, it is important that it be updated regularly, designed to be easy to use, clutter-free, with no typos or outdated information. If customers see that the site is neglected, then it can easily lead to them thinking that the company will be sloppy in doing business with them. Many potential customers will go elsewhere if the site is too hard for them to navigate or use easily.

Social media equals better customer relationships

While some argue that the internet has led to less social interaction, the truth of the matter is that it has led to more connections across broader demographics than ever before. Customers want to feel personally connected to those with whom they choose to do business. Making customers feel special is easy to do with social media. Twitter and Facebook can be used to announce sales, product or service updates, or news and events. Social media is also a great venue for collecting feedback that can be used to improve business and customer service.

Economical advertising and promotion

Print advertising and/or radio and television ads can be cost prohibitive and can miss reaching a broad audience of potential customers. Internet advertising is more economical because there is no printing or shipping costs, and it can reach an almost limitless amount of potential and current customers. Some advertising methods cost nothing more than a small amount of time and can have drastic effects on the profit margins of a company.

Keeping up with the competition

Having an online presence makes it easier to compete with others for customers. If a business doesn’t have an online presence but the competition does, then they have the competitive edge. When competitors offer deals and incentives it is then possible to get the word out about a deal that either matches or surpasses their own. A web presence promotes a business 24 hours a day.

Developing a unique brand

The internet can help build a brand and make it easier for customers to identify with a logo. Robert Bonnier was instrumental in making Scoot.com one of the leading internet listing services in the UK, helping it reach a value of more than £2.5 billion. It is possible to connect with Robert Bonnier for up-to-date tips on how to build a unique brand and get on the path to financial success. Developing a brand online should be one of the most important aspects of marketing a company.

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