Insights

KPMG to support Manchester’s tech sector with £5.5m office redesign to spark innovation

KPMG UK has announced it will invest £5.5 million in its flagship Manchester office at One St Peter’s Square to enhance the services it offers to businesses in the region and provide improved working spaces for colleagues.

As well as redesigning the office space, the firm will build Ignition North, a new 25,000sq foot collaborative hub designed to spark innovation and support digital transformation on the site.

The new centre will be home to KPMG’s Ignition team. Along with technology experts from across KPMG, the Ignition team will support clients from the start of an idea through to the design, prototyping and development of solutions using a combination of methods, tools and technologies.

The new Ignition Centre, which will open in Spring 2023, will include the Discovery and Insights Centre, a state-of-the-art facility to showcase the latest data & analytics and artificial intelligence tools, and The Lab, where teams of 10-30 can translate ideas into specific strategies, solutions and plans.

Ignition North’s design prioritises meetings and presentations, as well as spaces for clients and colleagues to informally gather. The refurbished office space will take into account a new more flexible approach to working.

KPMG’s Manchester office is currently home to 1,200 employees, including more than 260 people in technology roles. Ignition North will create further jobs in the city as the firm recruits to support its new offering.

Jon Holt, chief executive of KPMG UK, said:Manchester’s thriving tech centre is a hive of activity and the city has really established its reputation on the world’s stage as a leader in this field.

“Our new Ignition Centre in Manchester will support a huge range of incredible businesses in the region and more widely, bringing together insights, people, and technology to accelerate innovation and help them solve some of their most complex problems.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:This investment, which will create new jobs in our digital and tech sectors, is a real vote of confidence in Greater Manchester’s thriving innovation economy. We’re the fastest-growing digital and tech hub in Europe, and Ignition North will be part of an expanding network of businesses and working spaces across our city-region driving that growth.”

Warren Middleton, Manchester Office Senior Partner at KPMG UK, added: “Bringing Ignition to Manchester really demonstrates the potential and growth trajectory of the office and the region more broadly. I am delighted we can make these significant changes and commitment to our Manchester office, supporting our own growth and that of our clients in the region.”

Netherlands based tech firm Workspace 365 chooses Manchester for its UK Headquarters

A new digital workspace platform from the Netherlands has officially launched in the UK, choosing to base its UK operations in Manchester.

Workspace 365 simplifies business software, empowering employees to be more efficient and enabling businesses to unlock the potential of their teams.

With Spaces in central Manchester operating as its British Headquarters, Workspace 365 allows users to access all their software requirements via one adaptive visual dashboard, either on their computer or their mobile device via an app, and boosts productivity by giving each employee up to 30 minutes of their working time back per day.

Erik Nicolai, CEO and co-founder of Workspace 365, said: “Our continued growth in the Netherlands is testament to the increasing organisational need for user-friendly, bespoke digital workspaces, accelerated by the hybrid working movement in response to Covid.

“Workspace 365 is a unique product which we were keen to launch in the UK to enable British businesses to meet growing employee demand for digital workplace experiences. With its thriving tech ecosystem and talent pool, Manchester was the natural location for our UK headquarters, and we’re excited to be a part of this great city.”

Workspace 365 choosing Manchester as their headquarters highlights the strength of the city-region’s tech capabilities and talent. As the UK’s top tech city outside of London, Manchester is proving to be a first-choice base for tech start-ups, SMEs and growing businesses.

Workspace 365 replaces the traditional computer desktop with a bespoke, employee-centric digital workspace solution. The interface allows users to access the individual pieces of software they need to do their job from anywhere, using any device connected to the internet.

The applications – which will be personalised to each individual user’s needs – are accessible from the one-stop Workspace 365 platform, which means users no longer need to open separate windows for tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing or email.

It’s thought that this technology will save each individual Workspace 365 user up to half an hour every working day, giving them more time to focus on core tasks. It will also streamline processes, simplify document management, and increase collaboration and engagement by improving communication, via apps such as Yammer. Workspace 365 will also simplify software adoption and access to information for businesses.

A key benefit of Workspace 365 is its simplified single sign-on, which significantly reduces concerns surrounding password management and makes the product accessible to those with lower IT literacy.

The system, which is already in use in continental Europe, has been built with evolution firmly in mind. New updates are released every three weeks and each user has a personalised dashboard aligned with the specifics of their role, regardless of how it may change. This includes the Hub, a platform on which knowledge can be shared and announcements – both company-wide and bespoke to the employee – are made.

Aimed at medium-to-large businesses with 200+ users, Workspace 365 allows for a smooth transition to the cloud as it integrates technologies into a secure, browser-based workspace available as an app on any device.

Danish Crown to invest over £100m in new Rochdale bacon factory creating 300 jobs

Food giant Danish Crown has revealed a new £100m pork processing plant will open in Rochdale in 2023. This major job-creating investment will boost the region’s manufacturing capabilities.

The factory in Rochdale will offer UK customers pork products produced more sustainably and provide a critical supply of bacon for the UK market.

Danish Crown will invest more than £100m in the 328,000 sq ft processing facility. It will use highly automated production equipment and the latest processing technology to slice and pack bacon and gammon produced to UK welfare and food safety standards.

The facility is due to begin production in the second half of 2023 and will create about 300 specialised jobs once it is fully operational.

The facility will produce over 900 tonnes of bacon and gammon a week and will be 100% powered by renewable energy along with being built to environmental standards, supporting Danish Crown’s ambition to achieve carbon-neutral meat production by 2050.

Heat recovery from the plant’s utility systems will supplement conventional heating sources to heat the office space and provide hot water, while ammonia will be used as a refrigerant to minimise environmental impact. Food waste will be reduced by using bacon offcuts in other products such as sausages, while a circular packaging system for deliveries of pork to the site will minimise packaging waste.

To support sustainability and transparency, Danish Crown will be able to provide customers with the carbon footprint of their products from farm to fork.

The new investment will create Danish Crown’s first production facility in the UK in three years, following the sale of its Tulip subsidiary to Pilgrim’s in 2019.

 

Jais Valeur, chief executive at Danish Crown, said: “Danish Crown has a long heritage in the UK, bringing British consumers high-quality bacon and pork products for over 135 years. This investment forms the next step in our commitment to the UK market, bringing our customers a reliable, transparent supply of high-quality bacon to help meet demand, produced to high sustainability and welfare standards.

“The future of meat will be based on high-quality products that are as sustainable as possible. We know this is an ambition shared by many of our customers in the UK and with this new factory, we look forward to working more closely with them towards a more sustainable future for food production.”

 

David Hilton, Business Development Director at MIDAS, Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency, added: “The MIDAS team, in partnership with colleagues at the Rochdale Development Agency and the Department for International Trade are looking forward to continuing work with Danish Crown on recruitment, training and innovation at the new facility in Rochdale.

This significant investment will not only provide a further boost to the local community through the creation of jobs, but it also shows commitment to two of our key growth areas – automation and net zero. “

 

New Skills Bootcamps launched to connect people with future manufacturing jobs in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has awarded £548k funding through the Department for Education to enable three providers to deliver training in future manufacturing skills as part of their Skills Bootcamps scheme.

Manufacturing has been identified as a key sector in the UK due to its contribution to the economy. Locally, manufacturing serves a long tradition in Greater Manchester. However, skills intelligence shows that manufacturing employers are facing growing challenges in regard to upskilling and recruitment.

The new Skills Bootcamps are designed to address these challenges as part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Plan for Jobs, helping to fill skills gaps identified by employers. They offer a flexible, up to 16-week training course which will build sector-specific skills and guarantee an interview with a local employer upon completion.

The three providers delivering manufacturing bootcamps in Greater Manchester are; 3D 360 who specialise in 3D Printing courses; Rochdale Training who are focusing on welding and Salford City College who are offering training in industrial textiles.

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester’s lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital said: “Skills Bootcamps represent such an amazing opportunity for our residents and local businesses. The number of Greater Manchester residents employed in the manufacturing sector is estimated to be between 100,000 – 116,000, representing 7.4 – 8% of the workforce.

“The scheme is designed to help local people gain new skills to pursue exciting careers and places an emphasis on the technical skills welcomed by businesses across Greater Manchester.

“This is not just about manufacturing and technology, it’s about the benefit and value we can provide to our residents and city-region.”

Rochdale Training’s Skills Bootcamp is a five-week training course in welding and fabrication. It’s designed in partnership with engineering employers across Greater Manchester and tailor made for people who wish to retrain and gain practical skills to pursue a new vocation.

Training will enable learners to develop the skills, behaviours, knowledge, and health and safety awareness required to prepare them for working as a welder or fabricator. 

3D 360’s Skills Bootcamp will focus on providing an understanding of the capabilities of Additive / Digital manufacturing & Industry 4.0. The courses include:

  • Intro to Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) and 3D CAD Skills Bootcamp (Level 3)
  • Digital Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Skills Bootcamp (Level 3)
  • Advanced Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Skills Bootcamp (Level 3/4)

Salford City College Group’s Production Sewing Machinist Skills Bootcamps course has been co-designed with UK Fashion & Textiles Association, to give learners the skills and knowledge needed to start a career in production sewing industry. The rejuvenated textiles industry is enjoying a renaissance, with manufacturers in fashion, interior design, health, automotive and other sectors requiring ethically sourced products to meet demand in a fast-growing industry. The course will suit residents in Greater Manchester who are:

  • Seeking entry to an innovative sector and understand manufacturing as the foundation for a career
  • A returner to the industry
  • Seeking a career change
  • A Sewing enthusiast, wishing to monetise their knowledge by upskilling and progressing to work as a freelancer

Jill Nagy, Chief Executive at Rochdale Training, said:This is an exciting project for Greater Manchester residents and employers. The training will allow people to re-train or upskill for a sector that needs a skilled workforce. On completion of the course, learners will have gained the valuable skills necessary to progress on to full-time employment, an Apprenticeship, or further study in the sector.”

Lee Fogg, Technical Director at 3D 360, said: “3D 360 is delighted to be partnering with Greater Manchester Combined Authority to deliver Skills Bootcamps tailored to support the Manufacturing industry to build technical capability. 3D 360 are experts in 3D Printing, 3D CAD, digital manufacturing integration and R&D.      

“All 3D 360 training courses teach industry transferable skills sets which focus on addressing regional skills gaps within the new emerging digital skills sectors.”

Victoria Kielty, Salford City College Group’s Head of Centre for Pendleton College and Future Skills, said: “Salford City College Group are delighted to be working in partnership with UK Fashion & Textiles Association to meet the skills needs of the sector with our new Production Sewing Machinist Skills Bootcamp. We are supporting employers in Greater Manchester with the recruitment of new staff and working with our learners to provide the foundations of a rewarding career. The partnership will contribute to our city’s distinguished legacy in the textiles industry.”

Skills Bootcamps are completely free for individuals looking for a career change, new job opportunity or wanting to upskill as the courses are fully-funded. Large employers looking to upskill their current staff will contribute 30% of the cost for their staff members upskilling. Small or medium employers (SMEs) will contribute 10% for their staff members upskilling.

Skills Bootcamps will focus on supporting individuals across priority groups including:

  • Low paid workers
  • The unemployed or out of work
  • Veterans
  • Ex-offenders
  • Women
  • Ethnic minorities
  • The over 50s
  • Those returning work after a break/maternity leave
  • People living with a health conditions or disabilities

To apply for Rochdale Training’s Bootcamps please visit: Skills Bootcamp in Welding – Looking for Work | Rochdale Training

To apply for Salford City College’s Bootcamps please visit: Production Sewing Machinist – Salford City College (salfordcc.ac.uk)

To apply for 3D 360’s Bootcamps please visit: Manchester: DfE Skills Bootcamps – 3D 360 Ltd (3d360printer.co.uk)

For more information about Skills Bootcamps please visit: Skills Bootcamps – Greater Manchester Combined Authority (greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk)

North West chemical manufacturer LCC secures £2.2m to supercharge growth after relocating to Wigan

Chemical manufacturer LCC has raised £2.2m of investment from a panel of regional investors, to expand its team and continue its global operation from the UK following its decision to move its headquarters to Wigan.

Originally born out of the University of Liverpool, LCC manufactures complex chemical components, which are used to test and create new drugs.

LCC counts 11 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies as repeat customers, who rely on LCC’s components to help fight a range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, pain and respiratory illnesses. 

The funding round was led by the new GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura, which consists of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, Bruntwood SciTech and Manchester’s Praetura Ventures.

The investment follows LCC’s decision to move its headquarters to a new office space in Wigan, which LCC hopes will help boost regional jobs for chemistry graduates and senior talent in the Greater Manchester region.

LCC has also hired Mark Jones as its head of chemistry. After time at AstraZeneca and running his own company, Mark is now leading LCC’s implementation of automation and digitalisation to increase production efficiency, with plans to take LCC’s current monthly production capacity from the hundreds into the thousands of new products.

LCC will use the money raised from the GMC fund and fellow investors to increase its presence in the US, which currently accounts for 80% of its customers and revenue. This will coincide with additional hires across LCC, including in business development, production and operations, with 50% headcount growth targeted by the end of 2023. This investment will give LCC a chance to showcase Greater Manchester’s Life Science expertise on a global scale.

In addition to the GMC funding, Deepbridge Capital contributed £1.2m to this round, alongside Maven Capital Partners, who added £250,000 through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund of which they manage the equity fund on behalf of the British Business Bank.  

Paul Colbon, founder and CEO of LCC, commented: “If a pharmaceutical company gets delayed when releasing a major drug, it can cost that company upwards of $50m a week in lost revenue, which is why it’s incredibly important that we can scale at pace. With this latest investment, we can now ramp up production and delivery of our specialist chemical components, and I’m incredibly proud that we’ll be doing this from the North West, a region which has given us so much.”

 

David Foreman, managing director of Praetura Ventures, added: “We have been hugely impressed with LCC’s traction and the company’s ambition to date. To now have the backing of a dedicated regional life sciences fund, which was created for businesses that are committed to the region’s future, is a huge win for all involved, another example of the North West blazing a trail in the chemical manufacture space.”

 

Dr Savvas Neophytou, Chief Investment Officer at Deepbridge Capital, concluded: “We’re delighted that the GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura and Maven continue to work with us to support LCC; a company which excellently showcases the North West’s life sciences expertise on a global stage. It’s great to have another North West-based fund that compliments the Deepbridge Life Sciences EIS fund.”

Journey to Net Zero programme helps over 100 Greater Manchester businesses take first steps to becoming greener

Over 100 businesses across Greater Manchester are successfully navigating their way to being cleaner, greener and more profitable with support from Bee Net Zero partner, the GC Business Growth Hub’s Journey to Net Zero programme.

The fully-funded programme, which launched in July 2021, works with SMEs across Greater Manchester who are at an early stage on the journey to net zero emissions, helping them to develop a clear plan of action to help them get there faster and more efficiently.

The Sustainability and Net Zero service at GC Business Growth Hub has been working with SMEs across Greater Manchester for over 10 years, supporting businesses with the transition towards a vibrant, sustainable, and low-carbon economy. To date, the team has helped SMEs across Greater Manchester to collectively save over 76,000 tonnes of CO2e per year.

As a Bee Net Zero partner, the GC Business Growth Hub is dedicated to making Greater Manchester the easiest place for businesses to become net zero. Bee Net Zero offers free, impartial advice to local businesses at all stages of the net zero journey whether they’re making the first steps or need help turning ideas into reality.

Manchester-based textile supplier Thomas Kneale is one of 107 businesses that have taken advantage of the programme delivered by the GC Business Growth Hub, which is part of The Growth Company, a partner of Bee Net Zero and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Since starting the programme, Thomas Kneale has been calculating its emission output from a baseline year in 2018 and has achieved a reduction to date of several tonnes per annum. The replacement of an old boiler with a modern, combi model is saving 2.3 tonnes of CO2e per annum alone.

Director Brett Mendell said: “The course was really insightful with lots of information and pointers for us to go and look into, which has been really important for us to be able to take the next steps & accurately measure and judge progress as it is made.

“Beforehand we knew what net zero was but didn’t know how to get there and the course has given us the knowledge and information as to how to start the journey.

“Since the programme we have taken actions to reduce our carbon – like signing up for our first ever 100% renewable electricity tariff – and reviewing all of our activities. We’ve signed up to a carbon calculator and inputted all of our data from 2018 onwards to look at how we are reducing our carbon footprint over time. That’s helping to drive our activities, actions, discussions and decisions.”

 

The Journey to Net Zero programme is designed to help senior decision-makers in all sectors develop a clear plan of action for net zero through online workshops, study materials, one-to-one advice, building business cases and staff engagement as well as other key areas.

Tech company IDS has also benefitted from taking part in Journey to Net Zero. With offices in Leeds and London, as well as Manchester, the software data consultancy needed support and guidance to help them begin the journey to net zero.

Donna Moores, Head of Quality and Compliance at IDS, said: “As a business we knew how important it was to start our journey to net zero, particularly with regards to tendering for work with big organisations in the future, who are going to want to know about our carbon footprint. But the scale of the challenge ahead of us was overwhelming and we weren’t sure how to even get started.

 “I’ve attended all the seminars as part of Journey to Net Zero and I would definitely recommend it. It’s especially useful getting to know the rest of the people on the course because you can learn so much from each other, particularly when you are coming from different industries and offering fresh perspectives on their challenges – and vice versa. I’ve attended all the seminars and I would definitely recommend it.”

 

Kevin Lambert, Sustainability and Net Zero Lead at GC Business Growth Hub said“It is fantastic to see how businesses like Thomas Kneale and IDS have embraced the support available through Journey to Net Zero. Reaching net zero can be a big challenge, but with support, you can build a strategic plan to cut your carbon footprint, reduce costs, minimise risk and make the most of the many opportunities awaiting you in the net zero world.”

To find out more and register your interest in the next cohort of Journey to Net Zero, visit: https://www.businessgrowthhub.com/resource-efficiency/journey-to-net-zero.

Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit www.businessgrowthhub.com for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services. This and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. The Hub is also supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester local authorities.

To find out more about how the Bee Net Zero partnership can help your business on the journey to net zero, visit https://beenetzero.co.uk/