December 2019 / January 2020 issue of the independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.
This issue includes the event guide for the BBxpo business exhibition and networking event in Bideford on Thursday 24 October 2019.
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Universities, colleges and employers across the South West have signed a partnership agreement signalling a multi-million-pound investment in the region. The South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT) will train thousands of students in technical subjects across the region, bringing unparalleled skills development and career opportunities. The government has plans for 12 new IOTs to equip the British workforce with skills across key sectors. The SWIOT is a unique collaboration between a number of partner organisations, including Petroc, the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College and Truro & Penwith College. Each will invest in the development of state-of-the-art facilities for training in technical subjects to create Britain’s next generation of highly skilled technicians and engineers. The SWIOT also draws on expertise from a group of ‘anchor employers’ who will lead its strategic direction and ensure focus on the latest industry skills. These include TDK Lambda in Ilfracombe, Oxygen House and the Met Office in Exeter, and Babcock in Plymouth. Investment will be provided through the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for the Heart of the South Barnstaple-based SEA Ltd has triumphed in the regional heats of a major national manufacturing awards programme organised by Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation. The Future Manufacturing Awards recognise manufacturing excellence in six categories as well as in two apprentice categories. The awards were presented at the South annual dinner of Make UK, sponsored by Japanese IT solutions provider Hulft and Menzies LLP. Innovation award win SEA Ltd, a world-leading electronic systems provider to the defence, transport and offshore energy market, was announced regional winner in the Innovation category sponsored by HVM Catapult. The judges commented: “This company sought to develop a miniaturised underwater acoustic sensing solution, reducing the size dramatically so it could be deployed from much smaller vessels, opening up a wider range of potential applications in UK and export markets. Whilst the project overcame technical and supply chain challenges, to deliver a prototype as swiftly as they did was quite remarkable.” MANUFACTURING New regional technology institute gets green light NEWS IN BRIEF Gradsouthwest has launched its South West Graduate Scheme Directory, which provides a guide to graduate schemes, graduate programmes and graduate traineeships available across the region. The Graduate Scheme Directory aims to help graduates wanting to work in the South West find graduate employment. The directory has three sections – a full listing of employers offering schemes with a graduate web address, and then listings by county area and by sector. Student interest Gradsouthwest has produced the directory in response to student requests for more information about what is available in the region. Its aim is to provide a quick, easy-toread guide for students and graduates that helps them find schemes in the region. It does not guarantee that every graduate scheme is included. In addition, Gradsouthwest continues to advertise hundreds of graduate job vacancies throughout the year, both graduate schemes and single job vacancies. Entries are free to recruiting employers – they just have to run a scheme offering job roles in South West England. ■■Details gradsouthwest.com West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Catering for up to 2,500 students in apprenticeship and full-time courses, from post-16 to Master’s degree level, the SWIOT’s combined facilities will match the best available in the UK and help put the South West region at the forefront of digital and engineering education. Facilities will include virtual and augmented reality environments, digital learning laboratories, artificial intelligence arenas, new clean workspaces, workshops, emergent manufacturing spaces with industry level equipment, and shared learning spaces. Speaking about the multimillion-pound partnership Success in manufacturing awards Triple finalist HepcoMotion, in Tiverton, was runner-up in three categories. Maurice Porter, group training manager, was named runner-up in the Leadership award and Andrew Crew, a final year engineering apprentice, also received recognition. The third award placed HepcoMotion as runner-up in the Developing Future Talent category, with judges commenting: “HepcoMotion’s approach to talent development gives back to the community by taking unemployed people, training them and injecting a huge level of enthusiasm”. Caroline Milton, partner and manufacturing specialist at Menzies, says: “UK manufacturing is a great British success story. A healthy sector is instrumental in driving economic growth and plays a critical role in rebalancing the economy. The Future Manufacturing awards recognise the importance of manufacturers and apprentices across Britain, reminding us of their contribution and the hard work, dedication and ambition going on in every part of this vibrant sector. We congratulate all winners for their achievements and wish them the best of luck at the national finals.” Dick Elsy CBE, chief execu- deal for South West Institute of Technology, Paul Swan, financial director at TDK- Lambda UK, says: “As a design and manufacturing enterprise based in North Devon, some distance from large cities and universities, attracting and retaining sufficient engineering talent can often be difficult. “The South West Institute of Technology partnership fosters the growth of and augments the collaboration within the region. We are delighted to be involved and excited about the new opportunities it will bring to young people in the South West.” ■■Details 01271 856600 or emea.lambda.tdk.com/uk tive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, added: “Innovation is the beating heart of a thriving company. Mastering its rhythm is key to developing great products, achieving outstanding productivity and putting a business ahead of the pack. Innovators are the drivers of opportunity. They create robust, sustainable growth, whatever the economic outlook, and deserve our recognition and praise.” Russell Kirby, senior director, Business Development EMEA at Hulf, said: “Britain is one of the world’s biggest manufacturing nations, and it is a great privilege to be working with Make UK to help support and champion UK manufacturing. The sector is facing significant change, as a result of what is being referred to as the 4th industrial revolution, and it is important that businesses are given the right opportunities to properly position themselves for the future. We are looking forward to getting out to meet Make UK’s members and being part of such an important and credible awards programme.” As a winner, SEA Ltd will go forward to the national finals to be judged in London in December. ■■Details makeuk.org 16 business action | December2019 / January2020 | business-action.co.uk
MANUFACTURING The Aramis digital scrum machine developed and manufactured in North Devon A family business: (from left) Roshni, Ryan and Vic Mahajan From the Punjab via Exmoor across the world When it comes to rugby equipment, all roads lead to South Molton where, just off the A361, Aramis Rugby has its global headquarters. A family business established in India in 1927, it first manufactured hockey sticks for the Olympics team before making cricket bats. The present company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rugby equipment, supplying 3,000 rugby clubs, rugby schools and universities in 23 countries across the world. Husband and wife team Vic and Roshni Mahajan head the business, operating their own factories in India and the UK. Vic has travelled extensively, taking his Master’s in International Business in Germany and initially settling in France to expand the business into the European market, which led to naming Aramis after the famous musketeer. It was through Australian connections established by Vic’s brother, Ajay, that the business moved into rugby equipment and started manufacturing in the UK. Vic moved to Devon in 2003 and, following an arranged marriage in India, which surprised some people here, Roshni joined him in South Molton. After the birth of their son Ryan, Roshni became fully involved in the business. “South Molton is home now. We all feel part of the community and our son goes to the local school,” says Roshni. “It’s a very beautiful place to live.” Building the Aramis brand A major step Vic and Roshni took in 2012 was to stop manufacturing for other brands to concentrate on establishing Aramis itself as a major, high quality, international brand. Another step was the development and manufacture of its own scrum machines in South Molton. The company already produced rugby balls, training equipment and high performance kit and clothing – being official supplier to many UK and worldwide rugby premiership teams – when it developed its scrum machines in 2013. “Scrum machines have existed, in one form or another, for a while now,” says Vic. “But we wanted to take the scrum machine on to the next phase, a ‘next generation’, and the incentive to do that has come from people within the game.” Digital scrum machines In 2015, ex-England International and British Lion Nigel Horton joined Aramis as an adviser, while Ajay was keen to use the latest technology. Nigel used his experience of the game to identify what rugby players wanted. Roshni adds that he suggested developing a scrum machine that would “not only measure weight and force but record and analyse figures”. Vic’s inventive skills brought together Nigel’s knowledge of the game, Ajay’s engineering input and Roshni’s AutoCad abilities, enabling Aramis to launch a model that displays the forces exerted, records them digitally and preserves a timeline for further analysis. Following an approach by sponsors of the Six Nations and Scottish Rugby Union for fanfriendly models, Aramis scrum machines have been featured at Murrayfield, the Hong Kong Sevens tournament in 2018 and the Premiership Final at Twickenham in 2018 and 2019. With input from global corporations including Airbus and the European Space Agency, Aramis’ scrum machines are now leaders in the field. Record breakers Vic and Roshni are keen that the business supports the community, both in terms of grassroots rugby and the local economy. To achieve this they are pursuing initiatives such as manufacturing the world’s biggest rugby ball, which recently put South Molton under the international media spotlight. They are also keen to invest in local skills through apprenticeships and create local employment so that Aramis has the technical, engineering and manufacturing capabilities to develop the full potential of manufacturing scrum machines in North Devon both for the UK and export markets. ■■Details 01769 550284 or aramisrugby.co.uk @businessactionm | December2019 / January2020 | business action 17