ESF Co-Financing 2007-2010

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					ESF Co-Financing 2007-2010
                                                                                  ESF Co-Financing 2007-2010   3

                                                         SEEDA – looking back to the future                     3
                                                         SEEDA/ESF project staff                                4
                                                         Summary of achievements                                5

                                                         Project Summaries
                                                         SEED                                                   6
                                                         Simplifying Opportunies for Start-Ups                  9
                                                         Enviroskills                                          12
                                                         Management & Leadership for Priority Sectors          14
                                                         Skills for Technology – Advanced Instrumentation      15
Rob Douglas CBE
Chairman, South East England                             Skills for Technology – Marine & Aerospace            17
Development Agency                                       Gateway to SusCon                                     19
The South East of England is often perceived as
prosperous but has numerous pockets of deprivation
                                                         Case Studies
and many local communities have felt the impact of       Converting a Hobby into a Business                     7
the recession sharply. With the rise in unemployment     Complementary financial medicine                       8
and a decrease in job opportunities, the European
Social Fund (ESF) programme has helped to address        The write stuff                                        8
these issues and enabled us to reach out to support      Starting a new thread                                 10
communities, employers and individuals in these          The tools of his trade                                10
difficult times.
                                                         Out of print                                          11
SEEDA has acted as a co-financing organisation for
the ESF programme since 2002 and to date has co-
                                                         Earning a living through arts & crafts                11
funded over £40m of ESF and Match Funding. By            Plumbing the depths of opportunity                    12
developing and nurturing strong partnerships, the ESF    Environmental concerns are not skin deep              13
team have put in place 32 contracts supporting more
than 5,900 businesses and 16,000 individuals in the
                                                         Green is good for business                            13
South East. These activities have strongly supported     Forward looking Sonar                                 15
the competitiveness of the South East. The SEEDA         Short-circuiting to a new career                      16
ESF Programme is training in new skills and
techniques to help businesses offer new services and
                                                         The tell-tale signs of a great sailor                 17
expand their customer base, as well as preparing         Static and Dynamic                                    18
them for the new opportunities which will emerge as      Solid work with SolidWorks                            18
the economy recovers.
                                                         Retro thinking                                        19
As the current and final ESF programme draws to a        Solovyov energy = Solar energy                        19
close, the SEEDA ESF team is working to ensure the
South East can reap the full benefits of our remaining   Continuing professional development                   20
projects. I am in no doubt that the hard work of the
team and our partners has made a significant impact      Case Study follow-ups
on the lives of the individuals and communities in
the South East as a whole. I would like to offer         Innocence Beauty & Magic                              21
everyone involved my sincere appreciation for their      From concept to a viable business                     22
commitment and sustained enthusiasm for the task.

                                                         Fun quiz                                              23
4      ESF Programme

Making a difference to people
and industry in the South East
SEEDA has acted as a co-financing organisation for ESF           One of the strengths derived from SEEDA’s co-financing
since 2002; to date we have jointly contributed £22              with ESF has been the ability to generate close links
million to co-financing 32 contracts involving the               between the ESF-funded skills provision and other
training of more than 16,000 individuals and 5,900               economic development tools, either funded by SEEDA or in
businesses. As an economic development agency, SEEDA             which SEEDA has been involved. For example, ESF was used
has focused on ESF activities to encourage the                   by SEEDA in 2004-6 to enhance the finance available for
competitiveness of the region by providing skills training       the Manufacturing Advisory Service in the South East; and,
and promoting new and environmentally friendly                   recently, the new and environmental technologies theme of
materials and processes, as part of government                   the current programme has been enhanced by the business
objectives to enhance the green economy.                         support offered by the European Regional Development
                                                                 Fund’s Competitiveness programme.
Our 2007-10 programme was the culmination of our
developing ESF into a small number of specialised projects       The ESF team has negotiated, contracted and managed all
within different sectors. For example, SEEDA focused on          the projects mentioned above; SEEDA’s role has been
environmental technologies, advanced instrumentation,            providing active support especially during tendering periods.
aerospace and marine, and construction sectors. We have          Key members of staff within SEEDA have a variety of skills
encouraged businesses in the South East throughout the           which were critical to the development of specifications.
recession and helped them to prepare for the approaching         The ESF tendering process is very intricate and SEEDA
up-turn in the economy. Together with ESF, we have been          undertook the assessing and appraising of tenders according
able to support training in new skills and techniques, to help   to ESF policy to select the successful tenders that would
businesses offer new services and expand their customer          proceed to negotiation.
                                                                 Day to day ESF activities undertaken by SEEDA include
The key lessons that have emerged from SEEDA’s ESF               project management, contract negotiation, financial and
experiences are:                                                 project control; and to support identified match-funding
                                                                 projects from a single pot. The specialised activities of
• The importance of providing cutting edge demand-led            SEEDA’s team members for evaluation, sustainable
    skills training which is developed with clear business
                                                                 development, publicity, State Aid, equal opportunities, audit,
    engagement and aims;
                                                                 and systems & processes is complemented by SEEDA’s
• The importance of enhancing the packages already               cross-team working and the quarterly reviewing of project
    available for business start-ups;                            delivery.

• The importance to expanding businesses in the South
    East of equipping staff with higher level skills; and

• The importance of taking a holistic approach to different
    sectors; for example, using additional ESF money to
    support the Gateway to SusCon project for training
    unemployed and employed people in sustainable
    construction techniques.                                     The ESF team within SEEDA consists of:

 Dorothy Grobler                   Beatrice Hubert-Price         James Ruel                     Charlotte Ayling
                                                                                                Summary of achievements          5

ESF Projects
How SEEDA working with ESF is supporting local organisations and colleges
to deliver training and up-skilling projects to individuals and businesses.
Simplifying Opportunities for Start Ups (SOS)                     Skills for Technology – Advanced Instrumentation,
Simplifying Opportunities for Start Ups (S.O.S) is a suite of     ICT & Technology
bespoke project provision to work with those furthest away        The Skills for Technology project works with the existing
from the labour market and to enthuse, inspire and advise         Marine and Aerospace Regional Resource Centres to deliver
them about the prospect of self-employment. Led by                training. The specialised training covers key areas such as
Prevista, the partnership with SEEDA provides a deep              advanced composite materials, design and manufacturing
understanding of the issues surrounding business support          techniques, mechatronics, and skills based on new
and start-up and is joined by key agencies in the South East      technologies that are required both now and in the future.
to target specific groups such as: Disabled, women, and           Quarterly technology forums explain how advances in
BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) as well as                materials, technology and regulation are opening exciting
particular sectors like Social Enterprise.                        career development opportunities in these sectors.
SEED (Enterprise Coaching)                                        Enviroskills
SEED (South Eastern Enterprise Development) project               The Enviroskills project training in Environmental and
supports hard to reach participants in deprived                   related Bio-Science technologies, works with businesses to
communities. Trained coaches with business experience,            close gaps in training provision and ensure that training is
from within these communities, provide intensive one-to-          accessible and relevant. This is done by:
one support and coaching to help people with business
potential prepare to enter mainstream business support            • Deploying key regional brokerage and sector support
                                                                    partners to help define SME skills requirements and
services such as Business Link. All clients receive both Skills
                                                                    recruit SME staff to the programme.
for Life and soft skills assessments and, where appropriate,
bespoke personalised support to overcome personal barriers.       • Establishing a region wide network of HE, FE and other
                                                                    skills providers to deliver a comprehensive programme of
Gateway to SusCon (GTS)
                                                                    skills modules which address identified gaps in SME skills
The Gateway to SusCon (GTS) project provides an
innovative programme of activities to enable existing and
future employees in the construction industry to have the         • Providing specialist advice and impartial Training Needs
appropriate skills to meet the demands of sustainable               Analyses to ensure participants are signposted and
construction. The project is designed to help SMEs to be            supported into the most suitable courses.
ready and able to take up opportunities within the growing
                                                                  Skills for Technology – Marine & Aerospace
green economy, including new environmental technologies
                                                                  The Skills for Technology: Instrumentation, ICT & Electronics
as they arise across the South East.
                                                                  project is L3 and L4 bespoke demand-led training to meet
Management & Leadership for Priority Sectors                      both Mechanical and Electronic skills requirements of high-
Management & Leadership for Priority Sectors is a project         tech SMEs. The project is seeking additional funding to
to provide training in Management and Leadership skills for       support a Science and Innovation Resource Centre on the
the SME workforce in knowledge-based, high technology             Harwell Campus.
manufacturing sectors across the SE Region. It is designed
                                                                  Gateway to Suscon (GTS)
to reduce the growing skills gaps and shortages in
                                                                  The Gateway to SusCon project is in the pilot phase and is
leadership and management through training programmes
                                                                  delivered by the Institute for Sustainability (IfS) and
that lead to part qualifications at Levels 3 and 4.
                                                                  Gateway to. The project is skilling at least 1,250 individuals
                                                                  for 1,250 sustainable jobs that are responding to the needs
                                                                  of climate change within the construction industry.
6     SEED – Project Summary

SEED within Chichester College
Supported by the European Social Fund and the South               SEED coaching offers:
East England Development Agency (SEEDA), South                    • one to one mentoring and support
Eastern Enterprise Development (SEED) provides free               • help and advice to develop personal skills
coaching and mentoring to people who are unemployed               • ways to build confidence and self-esteem
or made redundant in order to help them set up their              • business planning advice and sales techniques
own business or become self-employed.                             • a route to financial independence
In the current economic climate, the certainty of full-time       Each year, thousands of people set up their own business
employment has left many people feeling unvalued and at a         and relish the chance to seek out fresh opportunities to turn
loss. To become self-employed and to develop a business           their idea into a money-making proposition.
idea takes a mix of practical knowledge, such as registering
                                                                  The SEED programme is available throughout the SEEDA
as self-employed with HMRC, and certain skills including
                                                                  region, but is specifically focused in:
personal accounting and knowing how to promote a service
                                                                  Hampshire: Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton
or product.
                                                                  Berkshire: Reading, Slough
SEED coaching is aimed at anyone who is over the age of           West Sussex: Adur
19, unemployed, redundant, retired, on incapacity benefit, or     East Sussex: Brighton and Hove, Lewes/Newhaven, Hastings
with other health issues, and wants to revitalise their           Kent: Medway, Shepway, Dover,Thanet, Swale
working lives. Intensive one to one mentoring helps
                                                                  Chichester College
individuals, with business potential, identify their personal
                                                                  Chichester College is the largest further education college in
skills and goals and create an achievable step by step plan
                                                                  West Sussex. Established on its current site in 1964, it has
to becoming financially independent.
                                                                  nearly 5,000 full-time students and over 12,000 part-time
SEED coaching together with the support of services such          students. Located in the Cathedral City of Chichester, the
as Business Link, builds confidence and helps people take         College offers a wide range of courses covering many
the tough first step to overcoming barriers and going out on      vocational areas.
their own. It takes courage to set up meetings, sell a service,
                                                                  Chichester College can be found online at:
and plan a workable business strategy, but SEED coaches
                                                         and the college representative for
work to develop Skills for Life, to build confidence and
                                                                  the SEEDA project is Mrs Patricia Goodchild who can be
establish a new way of working.
                                                                  contacted by email: or
                                                                  phone: 01243 786321 Ext 2195

    “    Each year,
    thousands of
    people set up their
    own business and
    relish the chance to
    seek out fresh
    opportunities to
    turn their idea into       “
    a money-making
                                          Chichester College
                                                                                                     SEED – Case Studies       7

                                             Converting a hobby into a business
    Attempting to convert a hobby into a business can end up as a costly disappointment, but
               not for Katy Wells who has turned her passion for wine into financial success.

                                                                                        vineyards. As Katy points out,
                                                                                        drinking wine is a social event and
                                                                                        provides a marvellous route for
                                                                                        people to expand their social
                                                                                        network without all the
                                                                                        associations regarding a person on
                                                                                        their own going to a wine bar.
                                                                                        Sometimes another great “sin” is
                                                                                        brought to complement the fine
                                                                                        wines at special tastings such as
                                                                                        chocolate, ensuring that two of
                                                                                        life’s great pleasures can be
                                                                                        enjoyed together. In fact, the
                                                                                        Cadbury chocolate company was
                                                                                        established by a Quaker who
                                                                                        created a chocolate drink to give
                                                                                        people something particularly
                                                                                        special to drink to replace alcohol
                                                                                        – that is certainly not Katy’s idea
                                                                                        for Love Wine! Of course, as Katy
                                                                                        Wells points out, it is important to
                                                                                        have really fine chocolate if it is to
                                                                                        fully complement fine wine
Every mother wrestles with the problem of balancing work         because, when they come together, the mix of tastes can be
and being a good mum and Katy Wells is no exception. She         pure heaven!
was looking for a way to get back into work but didn’t want
                                                                 To some extent, Katy is surprised by how well her idea for
to leave her toddler daughter all day at a nursery. It was the
                                                                 Love Wine has gone down but, she readily admits, that the
heady bouquet of fine claret that gave Katy her business
                                                                 coaching she received at Chichester College really gave her
idea but she needed the support of SEED coaching at
                                                                 the confidence to trust her own judgement. With two
Chichester College to give her the confidence to trust her
                                                                 young children to care for, Katy is more determined than
own instincts.
                                                                 ever to grow ‘Love Wine’. There is no doubt, that in the
Excited by the course, Katy was 100% involved in the             period of “mellow fruitfulness” more and more people are
training project when she discovered that she was pregnant       reaching for the corkscrew or simply twisting the cap.
with her second child. Some women may have been
                                                                 Love Wine is an idea that revolves around Katy’s character
daunted by the prospect of starting a business at such a
                                                                 and determination. The dragons on Dragons’ Den often
time, especially one that involved tasting wine, but Katy
                                                                 state that it is the person behind the idea who is equally as
regarded it as a spur to get on and create her company
                                                                 important as the idea itself. Setting up a wine tasting club
‘Love Wine’ before the baby was born.
                                                                 may not be an original concept but Katy’s spin on it
Katy’s idea was to set up a membership group under the           combined with her energy and enthusiasm for her product
banner ‘Love Wine’ and to organise events that revolve           ensures that Love Wine is a very appealing enterprise. In
around enjoying fine wine. Katy’s launch party was a             time, as the membership builds, it may well be possible for
massive success with an attendance of more than one              Katy to take more of a back seat and let others drive her
hundred wine aficionados. Subsequently, the Love Wine            Love Wine business forward – followed by a taxi home, of
membership grew at such a rate that Katy’s local paper, the      course!
Brighton & Hove Argus, wrote an article about her. Needless
                                                                 In fact, Katy already has plans for the future and they
to say, the publicity added more thirsty members to Katy’s
                                                                 include developing a strong corporate membership and,
expanding list.
                                                                 possibly, building a franchise network too. By then, Katy
The Love Wine club members enjoy a superb programme of           Wells really will be popping corks and, also, will have
events that inevitably include tastings and visits to            secured her young family’s financial future.
8     SEED – Case Studies

Complementary financial medicine
Qualified to help others in her role as a Homeopath, Dorothy Leslie
needed to turn her new skill into a viable business that left her time
to care for her two young daughters and financially independent.
There are always two parts to any business and Dorothy          employed and to develop
Leslie was halfway there having qualified as a Homeopath.       a marketing strategy.
Somehow, she had to turn her business dream into reality
                                                                Today, Dorothy has a
and her Jobcentre Plus supervisor suggested that she seek
                                                                growing list of clients and
coaching. Taking care of two young children as a single
                                                                is complementing her
mum is always challenging, but it can be doubly tough
                                                                self-employed income
when claiming income support and without a partner to
                                                                with working tax credits.
lend a helping hand. Life for Dorothy was an uphill struggle;
                                                                Most importantly, the
to win through and achieve her aims she needed to develop
                                                                success that Dorothy is
her self-belief and have confidence in her own ability to run
                                                                enjoying is mirrored by
a business and deliver a professional service.
                                                                her growing self-esteem coupled with a true belief that she
Lack of money for starting a business is a common barrier       really can look to the future with a genuine sense of
to achievement and Dorothy as a single mum had a lot of         optimism.
financial challenges. However, she did manage to get a
                                                                The jury may be out on the merits of Homeopathic
small amount of funding through an Advisor’s Discretionary
                                                                medicine but the verdict with regard to Dorothy is that she
Allowance from Jobcentre Plus and this money helped
                                                                has surmounted several large and seemingly impassable
Dorothy to buy special works clothes and produce flyers
                                                                barriers to becoming financially independent. Her
and business cards for promoting her business. Additionally,
                                                                confidence has grown to such a level that she wishes to
SEED-sponsored coaching hosted by Chichester College
                                                                help others by running Homeopathic workshops.
gave Dorothy the practical know-how to register as self-

The Write Stuff
Writers often have very clean houses because they’d rather clean than start a
new project. ESF/SEEDA funded coaching helped Sally White conquer her fears.
‘I needed to develop my freelance work as far as I could, but   lack of self-belief that held her back but she also wanted to
I was floundering,’ said Sally White after concluding the       understand the basic principles of self-promotion and
SEED course. ‘I was scared, because I didn’t know whether I     marketing.
could do it and I didn’t
                                                                ‘The SEED course boosted my self-confidence and helped
know where to start.’
                                                                me to take the necessary steps to earning some money and
Tough economic times                                            to feeling a real sense of achievement,’ said Sally. ‘There are
can engender fear in                                            possibilities out there and the coaching gave me renewed
people who are having                                           enthusiasm.’
to start new careers or
                                                                Since completing the course, Sally has written a book for a
new ventures but are not
                                                                publisher; she has been hired to give lectures at schools and
sure how to go about it.
                                                                on residential courses; and she has concluded a substantial
For Sally, the SEED
                                                                piece of written work for her local Council. ‘My plan is to
project course helped
                                                                continue developing freelance work in a variety of areas
her to believe that it was
                                                                whilst also working part-time and looking out for new
possible to pursue her
                                                                creative opportunities.’
ambition and that every
journey always starts                                           It takes time to build confidence, to develop a genuine
with a first step.                                              sense of self-worth and to keep motivated; projects such as
                                                                those co-financed by ESF and SEEDA show what a
Sally knew that her big
                                                                difference professional support, advice and encouragement
barrier to success was
                                                                can make.
herself. It was her own
                                                            Simplifying Opportunities for Start-ups (SOS) – Project Summary   9

Simplifying opportunities for Start-ups
There are many people who have only known full
employment or full unemployment and are now realising
that their financial future rests as one of the country’s
growing list of self-employed workers.
The ESF/SEEDA-funded project delivered by Prevista –
“simplifying opportunities for start-ups” – is designed to
inspire and energise people away from benefits and into the
world of work and personal career fulfilment. The project is
aimed at the recently redundant, the long-term
unemployed, people who are disabled or incapacitated,
women who have been off the job market for years, and
                                                                  that offer specialist training and advice. The courses are
those in the community who are Black, Asian and Minority
                                                                  presented by experts whose sole aim is to promote
Ethnic unemployed.
                                                                  innovation, excellence, personal achievement and to deliver
                                                                  tailored business encouragement during times when

                                                                  individuals often feel that they are facing insurmountable
       To deliver a bespoke service                               barriers.
     to those individuals who are                       “         The project helps individuals who are prepared to open their
                                                                  minds to new ways of thinking. Many employed people
     the furthest away from the                                   suffer stress working within companies, followed by a
     labour market.                                               different kind of stress when made redundant. Swiftly
                                                                  returning to full employment is the ideal solution for most
                                                                  but in the current climate, many will have to think again
One-to-one mentoring within the Prevista courses is               about what they can offer to society in return for an
undertaken by business advisors who are The Small Firms           income. The mental shift required to change from employed
Enterprise Development Initiative accredited. The SFEDI is        to self-employed can be traumatic but when individuals
principally funded by the Department of Trade and Industry        listen and trust advisers working within the Prevista project
to raise and deliver occupational standards for those             courses, unimagined achievements can often be realised.
wishing to grow as small business managers.
                                                                  Self-employment is never an easy option but there is
The advisers working within the Prevista project provide          support available in terms of mentoring, and financially
personalised one-to-one advice and encouragement during           through various benefits including Tax Credits. It takes
each individual’s progression through the course and raise        courage to start again, to sell oneself in a new work
the participant’s awareness of what is available in terms of      environment, often working from home alone; and yet,
additional training and support, including childcare and          equipped with the personal tools offered to those who
travel costs. The project is linked to Jobcentre Plus, Business   attend the Prevista courses, there is genuine scope for
Link, the Learning and Skills Council and various Regional        believing that almost any business idea can be realised.
Development Agencies.
                                                                  Making a good living as a self-employed individual is a
Those attending the Prevista courses are encouraged to            challenge, but with advice and encouragement from
develop enterprise skills and to explore their own business       ESF/SEEDA via Prevista it can be achieved and it can change
ideas within a framework of business related programmes           people’s lives.
10    Simplifying Opportunities for Start-ups (SOS) – Case Studies

Starting a new thread
A demanding job working in Human Resources meant that Elizabeth Brammall did not spend
as much time with her children as she would have liked. Unexpected redundancy left
Elizabeth free to be a fulltime mother, but she had to think of new ways to make a living
that fitted in with her young family.
                                    Elizabeth is brilliant with      and in Dorset, where she grew up. However, Elizabeth knows
 Elizabeth at her
 machine                            a sewing machine and             that starting any new business takes time and making
                                    wanted to use her skills         money a great deal longer; consequently, Elizabeth decided
                                    in a productive way. The         to complement her sewing business by working part-time
                                    Prevista business course         as a Clerk to the Governors at an Island school and by
                                    for start-ups provided           studying for the Level 3, Association of Accountancy
                                    Elizabeth with the               Technicians qualification. Once she has completed the
                                    information she needed           course, Elizabeth will be qualified to take on bookkeeping
                                    to become self-                  for other, self-employed people whilst she continues to
                                    employed and to                  grow her gifts business.
                                    effectively market what
                                                                     Two jobs and her own production line may not yet provide
                                    had been her favourite
                                                                     the income she received working in Human Resources, but
hobby. During the course, Elizabeth enjoyed comparing
                                                                     Elizabeth is using the skills she acquired with the support of
notes with fellow attendees and learned the less glamorous
                                                                     the Prevista Business Advisers to embrace exciting, life-
side of being self-employed – bookkeeping.
                                                                     changing challenges and opportunities.
Since completing the course, Elizabeth has created a range
                                                                     Elizabeth’s products can be viewed at
of embroidered greetings cards, bags and other fabric gifts
which are for sale in Tourist Information Centres on the Isle
                                                                     and are sold via
of Wight and in other local shops both on the Isle of Wight

The tools of his trade
Happy in his job as a pre-press Apple Mac                            employed to self-
                                                                                              Ken at work
operator for a local print company, it                               employed can be
came as quite a shock to Ken Wheeler                                 daunting especially
                                                                     when redundancy is
when his firm sold up and made everyone                              unexpected.
redundant. But it was a friendly face in
the local Job Centre who showed Ken how                              ‘Attending the
                                                                     course provided by
he could obtain the tools to capitalise on                           Prevista gave me
his design skills.                                                   time to adjust to my
                       There is no doubt that many people            new, uncertain
                       who enjoy the security of full                status and to appreciate that although I was in effect
                       employment are being forced through           unemployed I had to change my mindset and consider
                       redundancy to adjust to life as self-         myself as a self-employed businessman,’ said Ken. ‘I
                       employed. Ken Wheeler moved to the            received several good practical tips and advice that was so
                       Isle of Wight to escape the rat race          supportive it felt like I had my own personal mentor. Even
                       and found great contentment working           though I had financial help buying the equipment for my
         Ken Wheeler
                       for a local printer. His job as a pre-        business, I still wasn’t sure how to get known to potential
press Apple Mac operator involved a certain level of                 customers; Prevista gave me the confidence to get out and
creativity and precision. It is those skills that the local Job      sell my services.’
Centre supported and, encouraged by JCP funding, Ken
                                                                     Ken has adjusted to his new way of life although every day
purchased a computer and printer so that he could set up
                                                                     is tough which is why, when the job market improves, he
his own company creating press ready artwork.
                                                                     would like to return to life as an employee. Until then, at
The Job Centre also advised Ken to attend a small business           least Ken has the practical and psychological tools to
start-up course offered by Prevista. Transferring from               continue making a living.
                                                                  Simplifying Opportunities for Start-ups (SOS) – Case Studies   11

Out of print
Competition from Eastern Europe and the Far East,
combined with a reduction in demand for print owing to
the rise of the Internet, forced Michael Twyman to look
for a completely new career.
Michael was surprised by the level of support and
encouragement he received when he signed on at his local
Job Centre and he was particularly impressed by the
professionalism and understanding of the people who were
part of the Government’s Business Link programme. The
advice he received he took on board and he thoroughly
enjoyed partaking in the course run by Prevista.
The secret of success in business is often about spotting an
opportunity or a need and Michael recognised that his               camaraderie of the co-workers in his print works, getting
innate knowledge and skills in D.I.Y. would be in strong            out and meeting new people is one of the pleasures he
demand, once his name got around. Initially, he printed a           derives from being their local handyman – and doing a good
flyer and had it distributed but that was unsuccessful;             job too.
however, positive word of mouth worked much faster than
                                                                    The future is looking good for Michael, who joined a local
he had anticipated and very soon his time was taken up
                                                                    Breakfast Club and is fast developing a strong client base,
undertaking all those annoying little jobs that people are
                                                                    including a maintenance contract with a local pub. For the
inclined to put off.
                                                                    first sixteen weeks of his new self-employment Michael
Elderly clients have proved to be a rich source of work and         received £50 per week in Government support but, now, he
Michael anticipates that he will soon be affiliated to the          is getting so much work making ends meet is no longer a
charity, Help the Aged. For Michael, who misses the                 problem.

Earning a living through arts & crafts
It was when she attended Summer Camp in the USA that Jess Burton came up with her idea
for promoting art in schools.
                                       Teaching pottery skills      Jess decided to team up with another artist, Michael
                                       to young people in a         Rodriguez, a painter who specialises in murals. Working as a
                                       non-competitive              team added momentum to Jessica’s plans and now she and
                                       environment                  Michael under the banner ‘Laughs & Crafts’ provide
                                       prompted Jess to offer       workshops in several schools on the Isle of Wight.
                                       similar classes back at
                                                                    ‘We offer art workshops that inspire and encourage children
                                       home on the Isle of
                                                                    to give vent to their creativity. As well as being a potter, I
                                                                    am also a sculptor, painter, illustrator and writer of
                                         Her local Job Centre       children’s stories and my plan is to expand into offering
                                         proved to be a mine        workshops to people who are retired or are looking at ways
                                         of information and a       to relieve mental stress,’ said Jess. ‘Our goal is to make art a
                                         combination of             positive part of people’s lives.’
                                         support and advice
                                                                    Beyond the school gates, Jess Burton and Michael Rodriguez
                                         from InBiz and
                                                                    have provided ‘Laughs & Crafts’ workshops during the Isle
                                         Business Link led Jess
                                                                    of Wight Festival and for various other venues such as the
                                         to attend a business
                                                                    Art Centre.
                                         course hosted by
Prevista. The skills that Jess learned to complement her            ‘In time, I think that the format for ‘Laughs & Crafts’ will be
considerable artistry included basics such as registering with      developed to such a level that we will be able to franchise
HMRC as self-employed and how to promote and market                 the concept,’ concluded Jess.
her services.
12    Enviroskills – Project Summary & Case Study

Delivered by Business Support Kent and funded via                The business world is forever evolving; in order to attract
Business Link by the European Social Fund and the South          new business and compete effectively, companies have to
East England Development Agency, the Enviroskills                maintain focus on the latest technical skills and scientific
project offers expert training in Environmental and              innovations. Specialist advice and impartial training needs-
related Bio-Science technologies. Working with                   analysis is available to ensure that participants entering the
businesses, the project supports the re-skilling and up-         project are directed to the most suitable courses provided
skilling of employees within Small and Medium-sized              by BSK, a Community Interest Company with a record of
Enterprises to NVQ Level 3 and above by delivering skills        delivering UK and European funded programmes across the
modules that meet the specific needs of SMEs                     South East.
throughout the SEEDA region.
                                                                 The Enviroskills project is dedicated to helping SMEs
                                                                 develop and grow, complemented by a policy to inspire and
                                                                 equip course participants for personal development and
                                                                 success in tomorrow’s high-tech world.

                                                                 “        To inspire and equip for
                                                                          tomorrow’s world

Plumbing the depths of opportunity
A keen interest in environmental technologies and renewable energy is
the power source behind Vaughan Wiles’ career divergence.
After working for industry giants such as IBM, Teletext and      then for me to install the
Channel 4, Vaughn Wiles decided to build on his                  most appropriate
technological expertise and set up a renewable energy            equipment,’ said Vaughn.
supplies company called Future Aspects.                          ‘The accredited Enviroskills
                                                                 technology courses have
A fundamental shift is required in the thought processes
                                                                 given me a solid grounding
when going from employed to self-employed and Vaughn
                                                                 in current renewable
new that he had holes in his technical and business know-
how that needed to be filled with quality training. A
Business Link advisor worked with Vaughn to help him             Whilst Vaughn continues
formalise a business plan that had a concrete basis and          to develop his practical
clearly defined targets.                                         skills in the renewable
                                                                 sector and builds his
‘The action plan was great,’ said Vaughn. ‘I needed to put in
                                                                 customer base, he is
place business milestones to help me focus on what I had
                                                                 training as a plumber, as practical plumbing skills are
to do.’
                                                                 required for much of his renewable energy installation work.
Vaughn’s Business Link advisor recommended an                    Vaughn is also aware that it will take time to establish his
Environmental Technology course managed by Enviroskills          renewable energy business and working as a traditional
that covers a range of renewable technologies at NVQ Level       plumber will provide an immediate revenue stream.
3 and above. ‘My aim is to have the skills to be able to offer
                                                                 ‘I’ve got my City and Guilds Plumbing Level 2 and am
my customers a full in-depth technology review in order to
                                                                 working towards Level 3,’ concluded Vaughn.
help them select the right form of renewable energy, and
                                                                                                Enviroskills – Case Studies   13

                                 Environmental concerns are not skin deep
                      Environmental Development Manager, Karen Taylor, at Hampshire Cosmetics
                    saw her one-day training course snowball into training for her entire company.
Hampshire Cosmetics designs,                                      people attended each session. ‘Having an external company
manufactures and fills                                            presenting ideas makes staff think more clearly about how
products for a wide range of                                      they work,’ said Karen. ‘It was also seen as a real bonus by
toiletry and cosmetics                                            the staff that they were accredited by the Institutes of
retailers. Karen Taylor has                                       Environmental and Waste Management.’
many years of environmental
                                                                  The staff who attended the training found that the courses
management experience but
                                                                  gave them a new view of environmental issues,
was keen to update her
                                                                  complemented by practical money saving tips. Each of the
knowledge on energy
                                                                  participants was congratulated in Hampshire Cosmetics’
management. She attended
                                                                  monthly newsletter and the Managing Director is so pleased
the one-day Enviroskills
                                                                  with the results that the two courses are now available to
Carbon and Energy
                                                                  every member of the workforce that would like to develop
Management course and
                                                                  their individual environmental knowledge and skills.
considered it thought
provoking, informative and                                        ‘It has been exciting working with a company where the
practical and, importantly for Karen, also accredited. In fact,   culture to take on these new and developing issues has
Karen was so impressed by the course that she                     been championed by both the Environmental Development
recommended that staff within her company attend                  Manager and the Managing Director,’ added Sally Sly,
courses on Environmental Awareness for Business and Waste         Enviroskills Adviser.
Awareness for Business.
                                                                  Today, Karen Taylor is looking forward to seeing further
Enviroskills arranged with Olive Consultancy for the courses      improvements and cost savings in the way people work
to be held at Hampshire Cosmetics own offices and ten             within Hampshire Cosmetics.

Green is good for business
More often than not, what’s good for the
environment is also good for the bottom line.
                                    Peter Thompson,               ‘The course certainly got everyone talking and thinking,’
                                    Commercial Services           said Peter. ‘It really did get debate going although not
                                    Manager of Town and           everyone started from the position that environmental
                                    Country Cleaners, realised    awareness was something we needed to incorporate into
                                    that more and more            our business thinking.’
                                    tender requests were
                                                                  Since those early misgivings, the entire company is
                                    demanding environmental
                                                                  signed up to the new way of working. As Peter goes
                                    credentials. In a business
                                                                  on to say: ‘When we talk about using fewer materials,
                                    that relies heavily on
                                                                  cutting our carbon, having less impact on the
public sector contracts, it’s important for a company to
                                                                  environment; it means that we save money too.
stand out but, in today’s climate, it is equally essential to
                                                                  Securing the ISO14001 is much more to me than just
meet increasingly stringent sustainability and
                                                                  a piece of paper.’
environmental requirements.
                                                                  Green is proving good for business both away and at home;
Town and Country Cleaners is an environmentally conscious
                                                                  Town and Country Cleaners has seen its own lighting costs
organisation but securing the ISO14001 accreditation
                                                                  reduce by 50% just through staff being less wasteful. ‘There
became crucial for the company’s financial future. Peter
                                                                  is also a plan in place to reduce fuel costs through staff
Thompson heard about the Enviroskills programme and
                                                                  going on greener driving courses,’ added Peter.
decided to place twelve of his staff on the Environmental
Awareness for Business course. The fact that the course was       With the support of Business Link Kent and Enviroskills,
accredited and could be completed in a full day, in house,        Town and Country Cleaners achieved its ISO14001 in
was also very appealing to Peter.                                 February 2010.
14    Management & Leadership for Priority Sectors – Project Summary

Management & Leadership for Priority Sectors
“At a time when recruiting from outside the EU is restricted,    whether it’s the lack of available skills or the lack of capital
the simple solution is to re-skill or up-skill your current      to break into emerging markets. However, it is by training
employees.”                                                      existing personnel that advanced technology companies can
                                                                 show their mettle through a combination of concentrated
Led by Guildford College of Further and Higher Education,
                                                                 employee management and leadership training,
this project provides training in Management and
                                                                 complemented by product innovation and development.
Leadership for Priority Sectors to support the re-skilling or
                                                                 Success can often be achieved when leadership skills gaps
up-skilling of regional SMEs’ key employees in high
                                                                 are identified and resolved through relevant, quality
technology manufacturing sectors across the South East
                                                                 This project’s participating firms enjoy a mix of direct
The aim of the project is to reduce the growing skills gaps
                                                                 support from a learning coach, on-line resources and, where
and shortages in leadership and management through the
                                                                 appropriate, workshops. The intention is to create a non-
provision of flexibly delivered and imaginative on-the-job
                                                                 traditional, flexible learning experience that meets the
training programmes that lead to achieving part
                                                                 needs of employers and employees.
qualifications at Level 3 and above for participating SMEs
and their employees.                                             300 businesses engaged
                                                                 390 individuals engaged
Accessed through a consortium of independent training
                                                                 113 individuals completing a min of 3 units at L3
providers and Further Education colleges headed by
                                                                 237 individuals completing a min of 3 units at L4
Guildford College, the project is a three-year scheme that
                                                                 350 ILM Qualifications
was designed to deliver Level 3 and also Level 4
Management qualifications. However, during the course of         The globalisation cat is out of the bag and although there is
the programme, the Institute of Leadership and                   a temptation towards protectionism, that is not the
Management reclassified its Level 4 qualification to a Level     solution to plugging the skills gap. ESF and SEEDA
5 Award, as part of the national Qualifications and Credit       sponsored training is specifically designed to support SMEs
Framework developments; consequently, the impact on the          through individual and collective training and achievement
project participants was to result in the Level 4 ILM Award      goals. People and companies that work together as teams,
being unavailable to them.                                       whether within an organisation or as co-producing partners
                                                                 can often exceed preset targets by building a network that
The sectors listed below, for which the project was
                                                                 comprises partnership firms and client organisations.
specifically created, tie in with the regional priorities that
were identified by SEEDA and with the courses run by the         No one knows it all and training in management and
Regional Resource Centres (RRCs):                                leadership will sharpen skills and open doors to fresh
                                                                 thinking and opportunities that enhances growth and
• Bioscience and Healthcare                                      understanding. It is by attending training courses that
• Advanced Instrumentation                                       people generate a true sense of purpose as long as it is
• ICT and Electronics                                            supported by leaders that respect existing talent and
• Aerospace and Marine Technology                                potential.
• Environmental Technologies
Participating Regional Resource Centres and Further
Education Colleges provide management and
leadership training schemes that are structured to
foster personal professional development with the
aim of stimulating growth in the South East Region’s
advanced technology firms. SEEDA has identified
specific SMEs located in the South East region that
are world leaders in their fields but will only maintain
and improve their productivity and competitiveness
through the continual re-skilling and up-skilling of
their management and leadership skills.
Guildford College and Regional Resource Centres
encourage and support SMEs that want to
demonstrate enterprise and challenge global
competition. Often, these firms face huge problems,
                                         Skills for Technology – Advanced Instrumentation – Project Summary & Case Study    15

                               Boosting the South East’s technical skills
Working in conjunction with RRC training, the Sector            STFC and its partners are responsible for delivering training
Skills Council (SEMTA), Business Links, Innovation              that meets the requirements of most employers including
Advisory Services, Enterprise Hubs, Manufacturing               courses on Advanced Instrumentation, Electrical &
Advisory Service, Train to Gain and the National Skills         Electronics, ICT, and Machinery Directive Legislation & Value
Academies; Skills for Technology, led by the Science and        Analysis / Value Engineering. Within the four topics, the
Technology Facilities Council offers over 800 specialist        courses include project management, contract negotiation,
qualifications in Advanced Instrumentation, Information         financial and project control, and support for match-funding
& Communication Technologies, and Electronics. Co-              for projects.
financed by SEEDA and the European Social fund, the
                                                                Other areas of focus encompass aerospace, marine and
courses are boosting skills that meet L3 and L4 of the
                                                                green technologies complemented by specialised activity
Mechanical and Electronic skills requirements needed by
                                                                such as evaluation, sustainable development, publicity, State
high-tech Small and Medium-sized Enterprises across the
                                                                Aid, equal opportunities, audits, and systems & processes.
South East region.

                                                 “      100 participants achieve
                                                     qualifications above Level 4 per annum
                                                     and 800 qualify at Level 4 or Level 3
 Harwell campus

Forward looking sonar
EchoPilot team grounded by volcanic ash
Founded in 1969, the first product EchoPilot produced was a
battery operated "flasher" echo sounder. Since then, the
company has made hundreds of thousands of instruments,
always specialising in forward looking sonar, depth sounders
and speed logs. Keen to stay at the cutting edge of their
market, Susan Philips, a Director of the business, contacted
the Skills for Technology project to add five people onto the
Electronic Measurement & Testing course delivered by ATG
Training tutor, Richard Barrett.
Travelling from as far afield as Japan to take part in the      When asked to comment on why she was keen to attend
course, the logistics for the EchoPilot team were always        the course, Yvonne Richardson remarked: ‘I wanted to brush
going to be difficult, even in normal circumstances;            up on my skills and learn new ways of carrying out repairs.
however, no amount of advanced planning could cope with         It is always good to keep your mind fresh and learn from
Eyjafjallajokull erupting and its ash cloud disrupting flight   other experienced practitioners. The course has helped me
patterns around the globe resulting in only two of the          in my day-to-day role and I have put what I learned into
planned team attending the course.                              practice. Richard Barrett is a good tutor and very
                                                                approachable; his style always encouraged me to ask
‘On my way back from Japan I got stuck in Helsinki for a
                                                                questions and this suited my preferred way of learning.’
week without any warm clothes,’ said Susan Philips, ‘but my
son, Chris, and Yvonne Richardson attended the course and       Perhaps in the coming months, the remaining EchoPilot
found it excellent – it was tailor-made for them and pitched    team members will be able to take advantage of the
at just the right level. They were very pleased to be awarded   training offered by the Skills for Technology project unless,
their certificates at the end of the course.’                   of course, Eyjafjallajokull has other plans!
16    Skills for Technology – Advanced Instrumentation – Current Case Study

                                                     Short-circuiting to a new career
                                          Having sought a challenge that would occupy his brain as well
                                            as his hands, Dave Fox is now a skilled electronics engineer.

                                        Time passes far
                                        more slowly for the
                                        young; for Dave Fox
                                        his period of
                                        working for Varisys
                                        in High Wycombe
                                        seems a lifetime
                                        ago. Since that time,
                                        Dave has received
                                        specialist ATG
                                        Training in
Measurements and Testing and turned his Level 3 EAL
Certificate, funded by ESF and SEEDA, into a bright spark
with a future in electronics.
Dave’s first job in the electronics industry was to undertake
board inspections including checking power supply voltages.
It was just one of the many electronic skills that Dave has
been able to add to his CV; it has also given him a good
understanding of how the industry works and what he must
do to get better qualified as an electronics engineer.
Dave has used his newly gained experience and growing
knowledge to take advantage of fresh opportunities but it is
thanks to the Skills for Technology project, co-financed by
SEEDA and ESF, that his skills base and employment
prospects were boosted so considerably. It is the quality of
training that Dave Fox and many others have undertaken
that has made the Skills for Technology courses so                appealing to both employees and employers within SMEs.
                                                                  Currently there are 900 specialist qualifications that can be
                                                                  trained for in the Skills for Technology courses in key areas
                                                                  such as Advanced Instrumentation, ICT and Electronics.
                                                                  ‘Dave worked very hard to succeed and we’re pleased he
                                                                  has kept learning and improving his job prospects,’
                                                                  commented Dave Hughes from ATG Training.
                                                 Skills for Technology – Marine & Aerospace – Project Summary & Case Study    17

Skilling for global competition
Pera is one of Europe's leading innovation and business           processes by developing a higher level of competitive
support organisations and operates in eight European              thinking and innovation, complemented by robust business
countries.                                                        tools.
Skills for Technology courses run by Pera and sponsored by        The Pera courses are presented by leading scientists and
ESF and SEEDA have been devised to work with existing             engineers in their fields; they are designed to work with
Marine and Aerospace Regional Resource Centres to deliver         client companies to help realise new ideas and to reduce
specialist training. The technology courses cover key areas       the costs normally associated with research and
such as advanced composite materials, computer aided              development through the initiation of partnerships. It is by
design and manufacturing techniques, mechatronics for the         helping firms and industry sectors access information,
design of electromechanical systems, and various other            opportunities and partners, through specialist networks and
skills that are based on current technologies and those that      business intelligence, that Pera and Skills for Technology can
are soon to become available.                                     help organisations increase their global competitiveness.
Pera’s quarterly technology forums present the latest
advances in materials, technology and regulation, and are
providing exciting career development opportunities.
Currently, up to 300 businesses are engaged in the Skills for
Technology training programme; 800 individuals are
receiving unitary technical training; and 100 individuals are
receiving specialised vocational technical training.
Skills for Technology training is helping to improve the
growth and competitiveness of high-tech British companies.
These inspiring courses delivered by Pera enable individuals
and companies to transform their products and business                                                           The PERA house

The tell-tale signs of a great sailor
Technology may have taken away some of the guesswork, but nothing can replace the
considerable courage needed to sail solo across the Atlantic.
                                                                                        that it enables you to create designs
                                                                                        in a fraction of the time and allows
                                                                                        small or large changes in design
                                                                                        without having to revert to earlier
                                                                                        Ben looked around for courses that
                                                                                        would provide him with technical
 Ben at the helm                           High tech build                              software design skills and found the
                                                                                        course he needed at City College at
In his mid-twenties, Ben Rogerson is one of the UK’s most         Southampton. ‘As a Marine SME,’ continued Ben, ‘I was
promising yachtsmen and in training for the Mini Transat          entitled under the Skills for Technology initiative to have my
2011 yacht race, a 4000-mile single-handed race, in boats         course fully funded.’
that are only 21 feet long, from La Rochelle in France to
                                                                  This year, Ben is working with industry leaders Owen Clark
Bahia in Brazil.
                                                                  to produce an exciting new design to help him win the
In 2009, Ben became the first person to sail non-stop             2011 Mini Transat race, a feat no Brit has achieved.
around the UK in a boat only 21 feet in length; it was a
                                                                  ‘I’m certain that the Skills for Technology initiative provided
class of boat that had been designed for the Mini Transat
                                                                  me with a valuable part of the jigsaw to succeed,’ added
race. ‘In the past few years, yacht design has moved away
                                                                  Ben. ‘The SolidWorks course was both comprehensive and
from standard design and surfacing packages such as
                                                                  informative and I fully believe that I now have the key skills
AutoCAD and Rhino, to modelling packages such as a
                                                                  that will benefit my future yacht designs.’
SolidWorks 3D,’ said Ben. ‘This, in my view, is due to the fact
18    Skills for Technology – Marine & Aerospace – – Case Studies

Static and Dynamic
Teknoflex saw the future and the future is flexible
                                 Aerospace supplier                 circuits are three-
                                 Teknoflex Ltd has an               dimensional, lightweight
                                 enviable position as the           and reliable and the variety
                                 largest and technologically        in terms of material and
                                 most advanced UK                   construction permit their
                                 Company in the design,             use in a broad range of
                                 manufacturer and assembly          static and dynamic applications.
                                 of Flexible, Flex-Rigid and
                                                                    To expand on their technical knowledge, eight Teknoflex
                                 Sculptured electronic
                                                                    employees attended the Skills for Technology Marine &
                                 circuits. Teknoflex is also
                                                                    Aerospace training course that was presented by PERA
                                 recognised as one of the
                                                                    together with Farnborough College of Technology. The
largest suppliers of these technologies in Europe and has
                                                                    training was of particular interest to Teknoflex whose
well-established long term relationships with many
                                                                    circuits provide significant benefits with regard to thermal
internationally renowned blue chip organisations.
                                                                    stability and resistance to vibration, often essential when
Apart from a considerable involvement in Aerospace,                 operating in hostile environments such as within an
Teknoflex serves other diverse markets including Defence,           aeroplane engine management system.
Medical, Industrial, Communication, Motorsport and
                                                                    Teknoflex recognises that maintaining its position as the UK
Automotive. The company’s bespoke circuits and assemblies
                                                                    market leader in its areas of expertise requires commitment
are designed and manufactured in Chichester where the
                                                                    to continuous improvement and the ongoing development
company has a new, purpose-built facility. Flexible and Flex
                                                                    of its employees through attending training schemes such
Rigid Multilayer circuits offer huge advantages when
                                                                    as PERA’s Skills for Technology courses, which are funded by
compared with conventional wiring technology. The Flexible
                                                                    ESF and SEEDA.

Solid work with SolidWorks
Skills for Technology training in SolidWorks highlighted areas of document control and
where Trimline could improve the automation of Bills of Material.
Established in 1965, Trimline is well known throughout the          The company utilises the SolidWorks CAD tools to design
world for its Design & Build refit service and for its specialist   complete interiors rather than individual pieces of furniture.
skills in turn-key marine interior outfitting. The Skills for       The 3D models are used to create presentations to help
Technology course provided by PERA at Southampton City              Trimline clients get a better idea of how their interiors will
College Marine RRC is sponsored by ESF/SEEDA and was                look. Trimline also finds that producing 3D models is a
attended by Trimline CAD staff who wished to develop their          useful sales tool as it enables potential clients to get a real
knowledge of CAD SolidWorks 3D design program and                   feel for products in situ.
                                                                    Trimline is now in the process of writing in-house naming
The Skills for Technology course enabled two members of             conventions and work flows that will bring the whole of the
the Trimline design team who had AutoCAD experience to              CAD team in-line with standard in-house practices.
use the SolidWorks 3D program to model ship-specific
furniture for the refit of RFA Argus, part of a £23 million          Trimline example
service life extension programme for the primary casualty
receiving ship.
Computer Aided Design is a vital tool for creating a diverse
range of marine projects and the Skills for Technology
training in SolidWorks 3D gave the Trimline team more
control of the data contained within parts and assemblies
and with the subsequent output to drawings or a database
for use by other Trimline departments for manufacture,
costing and ordering.
                                                                       Gateway to SusCon – Project Summary & Case Study        19

Saving energy, saving money
                                     Introduction to Ecosystem     For example, introductory courses such as the “Green
                                       Services and Living Roofs   Doctor” provide instruction on effective domestic energy
                                                                   reduction and how to install Low and Zero Carbon
                                                                   technology in homes.
                                                                   Another of the courses offers practical training in
                                                                   Construction Waste Prevention and aims to make
                                                                   individuals aware of how to reclaim and reuse waste.
                                                                   Of particular interest to people already working in the
                                                                   construction industry is the course provided by Gateway to
                                                                   SusCon that makes the business case for significantly
                                                                   reducing energy consumption in existing buildings.
                                                                   CPD is a principal feature of the courses offered by Gateway
                                                                   to ; for example, a typical CPD course covers the key
Gateway to SusCon courses offer an innovative
                                                                   principles of sustainable retrofit.
programme of activities to enable builders and affiliate
professionals to develop the appropriate skills to meet
the demands of sustainable construction. Courses range
from introductory units through to courses that progress
towards formal qualifications and Continuing
Professional Development (CPD).
Funded by ESF/SEEDA, Gateway to SusCon equips
employees of SMEs to take advantage of opportunities
                                                                    “     Gateway to SusCon –
                                                                       leading the way in sustainable
                                                                       construction training hosted by
within the green economy and to understand and
implement in the workplace new environmental
                                                                       North West Kent College
technologies as they come online in the South East.

Retro thinking
In his role at Wycombe District Council, Paul Barnfather took it upon himself to learn more
about Domestic Mass Retrofit.
Technology may not be able to stop the globe warming up            enabling me to keep up to speed with what is going on in
but technological developments can make a difference.              the rapidly developing area of retrofit construction projects.’
People with a vested interest in sustainable construction
                                                                          One of the principal attractions of attending a
and domestic retrofitting projects such as Paul
                                                                            Gateway to SusCon course for professionals such
Barnfather can gain a great deal from attending a
                                                                              as Paul Barnfather is that the people presenting
Gateway to SusCon course hosted by North West
                                                                               the courses are experts in their fields. ‘It gives
Kent College and funded jointly by the European
                                                                               me confidence that I am getting accurate
Social Fund and the South East England
                                                                              information, rather than possibly biased data
Development Agency.
                                                                              from product manufacturers,’ continued Paul.
The courses, jointly delivered by RIBA and                                   ‘The case studies and practical exercises were
GreenSpec, are held within venues across the south-                        particularly helpful when considering what is
east of England and are constructed to enable                                   achievable in sustainable construction and
employees of SMEs and other                                                           retrofitting.’
individuals to understand green
                                                                                            Retrofitting courses, which can be
technology and how environmental
                                                                                             taken as independent units, offer
solutions can be best implemented.
                                                                                              impartial information and advice
‘I think the Gateway to SusCon                                                                 on how buildings can be
course will help me in my future                                                               retrofitted with energy reducing
career,’ said Paul Barnfather, ‘by                                                             materials.
20    Gateway to SusCon – Case Studies

Solovyov energy = Solar energy
Flexibility is often the key to career success
and Victor Solovyov decided that renewable
energy technology was his path to
Even the most sceptic observer must appreciate that the
buildings in which we all live and work are phenomenally
wasteful of energy; energy that is generated by the use of
fossil fuels. The simple answer is to invest buildings with
more effective insulation and to install renewable energy
technology wherever possible.                                     Victor at work

Victor Solovyov had a plan; he wanted to make himself            ‘and I did quite a lot of research and reading up on the
employable within an industry where the market is growing.       industry before deciding to go down that route.’
The renewable energy sector Victor could see offered a real
                                                                 The decision Victor made to learn about renewable energy
future in terms of employment because he felt that
                                                                 has certainly paid off; following completion of his course,
renewable energy installers would be in increasing demand
                                                                 Victor was offered and accepted a job as a solar thermal
in the coming years.
                                                                 installer for a company called My Green Power that installs
North West Kent College and Sevenoaks Energy Academy             both Photovoltaic technology panels and air source and
Ltd sponsored by ESF/SEEDA provided the training                 ground source heat pumps.
opportunity that would give Victor the skills he needed to
                                                                 It isn’t only Victor that saw that solar energy is the future;
become an attractive proposition to the renewable energy
                                                                 in 1931 Thomas Edison is reported as stating: “I’d put my
sector. Victor completed the solar thermal hot water course
                                                                 money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of
and now has the BSpec Installer Certificate and Card.
                                                                 power! I hope we don’t wait until oil and coal run out
‘Renewable energy is a totally new area for me,’ said Victor,    before we tackle that.”

Continuing professional development
The Royal Institute of British Architects requires members to undertake at
least 35 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year,
which led Jennifer Evans to book her place on a Gateway to SusCon course
in order to learn about the latest thinking on retrofitting buildings.
Gateway to SusCon courses can be taken as independent            the south-east. ‘Working alone, it is very easy to feel
units and, as an architect, Jennifer Evans was particularly      professionally isolated and attending the Gateway to
interested in updating her knowledge of energy                   SusCon course enabled me to meet other environmental
conservation techniques and performance and, specifically,       stakeholders, such as builders and surveyors, for discussion
the methods appropriate for upgrading existing buildings.        and exchange of views. I felt that it was important to get a
Retrofitting is a major part of the work that architects are     practical feel for the problems that can occur across the
asked to undertake these days as clients consider, and           disciplines when retrofitting buildings, such as external
require advice on, how existing old, and not so old, buildings   insulation potentially encroaching beyond boundary lines in
can be brought up to modern day standards in terms of            traditional terrace housing, and how those issues can be
insulation and the reduction of energy consumption.              otherwise addressed,’ continued Jennifer.
‘I saw the Gateway to SusCon course as an ideal                  Professionals, such as Jennifer, are always time poor, which
opportunity to fill in some gaps in my knowledge with            is why Gateway to SusCon CPD courses are short and
regard to sustainable retrofitting of commercial and             intense. As Jennifer explains: ‘The course was short in terms
domestic buildings,’ said Jennifer Evans, who is self-           of the number of hours but the expert information
employed and works alone.                                        conveyed was clear, succinct, detailed, informative and very
                                                                 well presented. It was certainly time well spent and I shall
The Gateway to SusCon course, which is funded by
                                                                 be attending other Gateway to SusCon courses.’
ESF/SEEDA, is hosted by North West Kent College and is
jointly delivered by RIBA and GreenSpec at venues across
                                                                                              Current Case Study Follow-up     21

Innocence, Beauty and Magic
Success as an illustrator, writer, painter and creative innovator
renowned in the USA for her work entitled ‘Out of the Hutch’,
slipped through Caroline Whittle’s fingers when illness took over.
                                    Demoralised and               thread and sold via Roy
                                    incapacitated by myalgic      & Jane Evans Designs;
                                    encephalomyelitis (ME),       Tiny Sleepy Baby which
                                    Caroline was helped back      is a miniature bear that
                                    onto her feet by a course     was inspired by a card
                                    on self-employment for        Caroline designed for
                                    creative people. The          Simon Elvin Ltd;
                                    encouragement she             exquisite hand-crafted
                                    received restored             fairies that are no
                                    Caroline’s confidence in      bigger than Tinkerbell;
                                    herself and her               acrylic paintings on natural stone; and wonderfully
                                    considerable artistic         illustrated wooden jigsaw puzzles.
                                    talent and, through the
                                                                  The above gift items only scratch the surface of what can
                                    financial support
                                                                  be viewed at; for example, there are beautiful
                                    provided by Incapacity
                                                                  painted portraits of teddy-bears and real live subjects in
                                    Benefit, was able to start
                                                                  delicate watercolours and bolder gouache.
                                    the process, after four
                                    years, of turning her life    Other works that can be viewed on the Flickr website
                                    and career around.            include stunning illustrations from some of the seven
                                                                  children’s stories Caroline has written. Currently, she is
‘Learning Links gave me what I needed to start my life
                                                                  seeking author-artist representation and is waiting to hear
again,’ said Caroline. ‘The course advisor, Hammie
                                                                  back from a literary agent in London regarding her
Tappenden, was truly inspiring and everyday my life gets a
                                                                  illustrated books. Even if you’re not in the mood for buying,
little bit better.’
                                                                  it’s worth taking a few minutes of your time to check out
Caroline knows how to successfully manage her illness and         the incredible variety and scope of Caroline’s artistic
has been able to move on from receiving Incapacity Benefit.       enterprise. Illness may have brought her down but it is clear
‘Financially, times are still hard,’ added Caroline, ‘but, with   from viewing her beautiful portraits of furry animals,
the support of Working Tax Credits and a steadily increasing      children and adults, that her talent is undiminished and is
income, I am more optimistic now about my financial well-         simply brilliant.
being than I have been for a very long time.’
                                                                  It is often said that being blessed with an artistic talent is a
Encouraged by her growing confidence, Caroline has                curse as making a living out of art is one of the toughest
developed a considerable portfolio of artistic enterprise. At     career paths possible. But, despite all the setbacks and lack
one time she designed wallpaper for Coloroll and her ‘Space       of financial security, Caroline is providing the world with
Shuttle’ border and ‘Space’ wallpaper designs are still being     inspired illustrations, paintings, designs and tiny models that
sold to line young boys’ bedroom walls.                           enrich everyone who cares to take a look.
‘I used to earn a lot of money creating popular illustrations
for all manner of goods including greetings cards, giftware,
fabrics and wallpaper. Since my illness, I realise that I want
to create images that are less ephemeral and have more
meaning; to convey the themes of innocence, beauty and
magic, to make people smile and believe in the good that is
all around us. After recovering my health and fitness, I now
feel ready to, once more, enter the commercial and
corporate market.’
Meantime, Caroline is selling her personal range of unique
gifts that can be viewed online at e.g. ‘Christmas
Roses’ – a silk painting embroidered with beads and metallic
22    Current Case Study Follow-up

From concept to a viable business
Themed-jackets for successful people interested in motorsport
was John Barker’s business idea and thanks to support from
Learning Links, John turned his concept into a viable business.
It is often said that it is not the first
year in business that is the toughest,
it’s the second and John Barker
would probably agree. Needing
support and encouragement to get
his Dream Jackets concept off the
ground, adviser Hammie Tappenden
at Learning Links enrolled John on
the SOS project led by Prevista.
Funded by the European Social Fund
and the regional development
agency, SEEDA, Hammie supported
                                                                                        current stock is sold, or I have a
John to help him develop his
                                                                                        minimum order secured, I will proceed
enterprising idea for bespoke themed
                                                                                        with new designs.’
                                                                                        One of John’s current business plans
Supported by one-to-one meetings
                                                                                        is to sell off all his old stock on eBay. ‘I
and counselling over several weeks,
                                                                                        have so many new designs and new
John had the impetus in his first year
                                                                                        directions I want to take Dream
to develop new contacts, suppliers
                                                                                        Jackets and eBay is an ideal market
and manufacturers. It is clear that
                                                                                        place for a clearance sale.’
the positive advice restored John’s
self-belief and encouraged him to                                                        Persistence is one of the lessons that
turn Dream Jackets into reality.                                                         John Barker learned when he attended
Following the successful launch,                                                         the Prevista course. ‘I’m not daunted,’
Edward Thomas at Prevista is quoted                                                      said John, recently. ‘It’s tough for
as saying: ‘I’m delighted John is                                                        most businesses at the moment and
doing so well, thanks to the support                                                     starting Dream Jackets at the start of
he’s received from Hammie.’                                                              the recession was always going to be
                                                                  a huge challenge. It doesn’t mean that the business concept
Initially, John thought that the place to sell his bespoke car-
                                                                  or model is flawed. I know that my idea is sound and once
themed jackets would be festivals such as Goodwood and
                                                                  money starts to flow again, there will be people who will
NEC classic car shows, but John has found that car
                                                                  want to wear their particular passion, whether it’s jackets or
enthusiasts are more interested in dream cars than dream
                                                                  waistcoats themed with boats, cars, planes or horses... or
jackets. Some potential clients wanted their very own one-
                                                                  even themed furniture.’
off jackets without realising the increased costs involved.
However, owing to the level of interest, John placed an
order with his overseas manufacturer but subsequent sales
were slow to materialise and John is left holding quite a bit
of stock.
There is no doubt, that without the SOS Project, Learning
Links and Hammie’s help, John would never have got his
Dream Jackets business started but now, after the initial
enthusiasm, John is looking at ways to advance his business.
‘In the first year, I had enough money in the bank to really
drive Dream Jackets forward. I was fortunate in that I didn’t
have to borrow money. Although the business is caught up
in what is the longest recession in my living memory, I am
confident that the concept is sound and that when the
                                                                                                       Quiz    23

Have you been paying attention?
Have a go at our fun quiz and see how well you know our programme!
Answers will be posted on the SEEDA website

                                                            1. Name the counties:

                                                            1   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            2   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            3   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            4   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            5   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            6   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            7   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            8   ……………………………….......................................
                                                            9   ……………………………….......................................

2. What is the threshold for de minimis?           4. Which two ESF Priorities did the programme cover?

a)     €100,000                                    a)     1&5

b)     €150,000                                    b)     2&3

c)     €200,000                                    c)     2&4

d)     €300,000                                    d)     1&2

3. How many projects did SEEDA co-finance in the   5. What is the combined experience of the 3 full-time
   programme 2007-10?                                 members of SEEDA’s ESF team?

a)     5                                           a)     0-9 years

b)     7                                           b)     10-19 years

c)     9                                           c)     20-29 years

d)     11                                          d)     30+ years
                             South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)
                             Cross Lanes
                             Guildford GU1 1YA
                             Tel: 01483 484 200

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