Made in Chesterfield

Fire safety advice now available to Chesterfield and Derbyshire businesses

Businesses across Chesterfield are being encouraged to ensure they are minimising the risks of fire, with guidance, support and advice now available from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The service has launched a campaign to contact businesses across the county, who trade in hot works or are having hot works completed on their premises, to offer essential safety advice on keeping their business and employees safe from the risk of fire.

Hot works is the term given to work that involves, but is not limited to, soldering, welding cutting, grinding, and using hot air guns. This work can pose a serious fire safety risk, which is why businesses have a legal and moral duty to ensure their premises, and any works carried out, are safe.

During the campaign, Derbyshire’s Business Safety Advisors and Firefighters will be working alongside local councils and network groups to complete site visits and deliver online presentations, where they’ll offer businesses free support and advice. They will cover topics such as whether the work is necessary or if there’s an alternative, identifying hazards, and how to raise the alarm if an accident was to occur.

Business Safety Advisor Andrew Mosler said: “It’s really important businesses understand the fire risks involved with hot works, and how to reduce them, as the implications can be devastating.

“If not carried out safely hot works can result in a fire which can have financial implications due to the loss of business premises, customers turning to competitors and increased insurance premiums. In the worst case scenario a fire could result in serious injury or loss of life.

“Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service has a whole team of dedicated Business Safety Advisors to help you keep your business safe from the risk of fire. The team provide free advice on ensuring your business is compliant with fire safety legislation, completing your Fire Risk Assessment, the types of fire extinguisher you may require, how often to test your fire safety equipment, or any other fire safety enquiries you may have.”

Whether you’re in retail, manufacturing, hospitality, or any other sector, a Business Safety Advisor will be able to help.

If you would like more advice on keeping your business safe, please get in touch with your local Business Safety Advisor, Andrew Mosler, on 01773 305681 or via email:

Posted in Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , ,

Promising response to Green Entrepreneurs Scheme from Derbyshire businesses

More than 130 people from businesses and community groups across Derbyshire joined the virtual launch of Derbyshire County Council’s Green Entrepreneurs Fund – a £2 million grant fund for organisations interested in developing and investing in green energy and carbon reduction schemes.

Businesses and organisations heard details about how they can apply for funding through the scheme being run in partnership with the University of Derby to help support green economic recovery across Derbyshire.

There are 3 separate funds:

Green Entrepreneurs Demonstrator Fund
£1.2 million set aside for a small number of high-quality projects from entrepreneurs wanting to establish green, alternative energy or low carbon initiatives in Derbyshire to provide community heat and power schemes. The minimum grant available through this fund would be £100,000. Applications for expressions of interest will open 1 April 2021.

Green Entrepreneurs Small Grant Fund
Grants of £10,000 – £20,000 for new and existing businesses with game changing proposals in alternative energy, clean fuel and carbon reduction. £500,000 will be made available through this fund. There will be 3 separate rounds in which to apply for funding – the first will launch on 1 April 2021 followed by further rounds opening on 4 October 2021 and then 3 January 2022.

Green Entrepreneurs Scholarship Fund
A training fund to support individuals to retrain with skills to enable them to enter the field of alternative energy. £100,000 will be made available through this fund. Grants will be awarded monthly from July 2021 onwards.

Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis added:

“We’re championing business innovation and want Derbyshire to become a leader in the field in the development of green energy as part of our bold ambition to cut the council’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2032 and that of the Derbyshire economy by 2050.

“We believe there is a unique opportunity to bring greater benefits to local communities and the local economic conditions to create high quality jobs driven by utilising the local skills base in engineering and manufacturing.

“We’re excited to be able to offer businesses the financial support needed to help turn their ideas into reality, through game changing proposals that help to tackle climate change and impact positively on the way we all live in the future both in Derbyshire and further afield.”

Councillor Tony King, Cabinet member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, said:

“We’ve had an unbelievable response to the scheme so far from businesses and community organisations across Derbyshire.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the applications start to come in with proposals for projects to kick-start the county’s carbon reduction and alternative energy agenda and boost the local economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would urge anyone who was unable to join the virtual launch to visit to find out more.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said:

“I am delighted that the Green Entrepreneur launch was such a success. It is really encouraging to see so much interest and enthusiasm from local businesses in taking up opportunities like this to operate more sustainably and to make a real contribution towards reducing their carbon footprint.

“We look forward now to working with the county council to deliver the scheme to our entrepreneur community, and to make Derbyshire synonymous with sustainable business.”

Find more information about the programme including application forms, timetable for grant funding and eligibility criteria.

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Destination Chesterfield chair, Peter Swallow: “This is a golden opportunity to transform the area for future generations”

Destination Chesterfield chair, Peter Swallow shares his optimism for the future of the town, following the government’s recent announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown and a big funding boost for Staveley.

With a clear route out of Covid lockdown now in progress, schools welcoming back children to classrooms and Spring in the air, we have much to be feeling positive about right now, not least a £25.2million funding boost, announced in the recent Budget, which will pave the way for significant regeneration in Staveley.

This is a golden opportunity to transform the area for future generations. Collectively we are working hard to ensure our young people are aware of both the career opportunities and are equipped with the skills they need to achieve their ambitions – and never more so than during Covid.

Works road and canal basin plans, Staveley

To ensure young people in schools remain connected to businesses during these trying times I am delighted to see the launch of three virtual workplace tours. Produced as part of the Made in Chesterfield campaign, the films feature three local businesses operating in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector – MSE Hiller, United Cast Bar (UCB) and Woodhead Construction.

At the heart of these films is the understanding of the challenges students and young people in our town are facing as a result of the pandemic. It illustrates why initiatives such as this and the MyFuture careers platform are an integral component to our continued collective future success.

The virtual My Future platform

Despite the constraints as a result of the pandemic over the last year, Chesterfield’s regeneration projects have forged ahead. Chesterfield Waterside, the new Enterprise Centre and The Glass Yard all continue to accelerate, increasing local job opportunities as well as opportunities for the town to benefit from the project growth in demand for regional satellite offices by large corporations.

We have all learned a lot, adopted new, sometimes better, ways of doing things and, above all shown we are a resilient and forward-thinking town. Our own Chesterfield Royal Hospital gained national recognition recently with the incredible Covid research work over the last year. It shows that we are a town that is constantly evolving and, more importantly, leading the way.

Who knows, in the words of Charles Dickens we may look back on this period in our history and declare ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’

With normality on the horizon and so much positivity around us right now, it feels more appropriate than ever to be celebrating everything we have achieved together this past year.

This is why I for one am looking forward to Destination Chesterfield’s annual Celebrate Chesterfield business event returning virtually on the 31 March 2021. It is an opportunity for companies large and small to come together and catch up on the latest progress in the local economy.

It is indeed an exciting time for Chesterfield, and we have demonstrated that through businesses and communities working together, we are stronger than ever.


Posted in Blog, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , ,

Virtual workplace tours launched to north eastern Derbyshire’s students during National Careers Week

National Careers Week 2021 (1 – March) sees the launch of three virtual workplace tours to students across north eastern Derbyshire.

Produced as part of the Made in Chesterfield campaign, the films feature three local businesses operating in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector – MSE Hiller, United Cast Bar (UCB) and Woodhead Construction.

The films, which are available to view on YouTube, feature virtual tours of the UCB foundry, MSE Hiller’s workshop and laboratory and Chesterfield Borough Council’s new Enterprise Centre which is currently being built by Woodhead Construction.

Each of the inspiring films feature details of the job roles available at each business, what they involve and qualifications and skills needed.

Produced by Chesterfield-based Defeye Creative, the films are designed to bridge the gap between education providers and businesses during the pandemic and answer the questions that young people are unable to ask while school trips are not allowed.

Despite the recent announcement that students across the country will be returning to the classroom on Monday 8 March, social distancing restrictions will remain in place until at least 21 June this year, preventing students undertaking vital workplace visits and work experience.

Sponsored by Chesterfield College, the annual Made in Chesterfield campaign is coordinated by Destination Chesterfield in partnership with Derbyshire Education Business Partnership, supported by Chesterfield Borough Council and North Derbyshire Careers Hub.

The campaign was originally launched in 2015 in response to companies in the sector reporting long term recruitment difficulties. Over the last six years, Made in Chesterfield has helped introduce thousands of young people in North East Derbyshire to careers in the STEM sector.

Ivan Fomin, Managing Director of MSE Hiller and Destination Chesterfield’s board member responsible for manufacturing and engineering in the Borough, commented: “I am delighted that we are able to take STEM experiences into the classroom and home. Although we are in the middle of a pandemic it is important that we continue to ensure that young people have access to education, training, jobs and work placements in Chesterfield’s STEM sector.

“With HS2 on the horizon, there is the opportunity for the region to become recognised as an international centre of rail research and innovation, but only if we have the skilled workforce to meet investor demand.

“Although virtual for now, I am confident that these videos will be successful in bringing together education providers and businesses to ensure local young talent is aware of the myriad of STEM jobs and careers available here.”

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Chesterfield Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “Workplace visits are essential for young people making important decisions about their future. It provides them with valuable insight into what the workplace is like and also gives them the opportunity to ask employers important questions about the skills they need to develop. I’m delighted that local employers have taken part in this because it is vital to ensuring we build a thriving borough and create excellent opportunities for young people.

“These videos will help support the careers information on offer through the My Future platform, making sure that young people can get excellent advice and information about the opportunities available to them. I hope lots of young people will watch these videos and use the information provided to plan their future.”

Daniel Heffernan, Senior Careers Hub Lead, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:  “In these challenging times it’s more important than ever to ensure our young people are given the opportunity to explore and understand the career opportunities open to them. These tours bring a little slice of industry into the classroom, which will help to drive up aspiration and subsequently attainment.

“They will play a key role in supporting localised skills development and support us in our ambitions to create a steady pipeline of talent, that our businesses will need to bounce back and thrive, as we enter the recovery stages of the pandemic.

“I look forward to sharing these resources with our network of 32 schools and colleges across North Derbyshire, and our wider network of 140 schools across D2N2 as we all work together to ensure that our young people are able to step over any economic cracks created by COVID-19, and that they are given as much support as possible to go on to lead successful lives after education.”

Charlotte Land, STEM Ambassador Hub Manager at DEBP added: “The Made in Chesterfield Programme is a fantastic opportunity for young people and teachers to gain an insight into the amazing places people work in Chesterfield.  DEBP work with employers to develop their programme offer and introduce them to local schools. The programme is an essential part of our work as a STEM Ambassador Hub to bridge the STEM skills gap by introducing young people to positive role models and work environments and through challenging stereotypical perceptions of engineering and manufacturing.”

Schools throughout north eastern Derbyshire are now being encouraged to share the films with students and give them a virtual taste of career opportunities in the STEM sector.

All the virtual tours, as well as informative videos on each organisation, can be viewed here:

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield

MyFuture careers platform shortlisted for prestigious industry award

An innovative online careers and employability platform, which was launched to Year 11 and 13 school leavers in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire last year, has been shortlisted in the Careers Development Institute (CDI) Awards 2021.

Since its launch, on GCSE results day, the MyFuture platform has helped hundreds of young people gain access to high-quality careers advice, employment support, and skills and educational programmes during the pandemic.

The online platform has been shortlisted in the Innovative and Impactful Employer Engagement category in the annual industry awards which identify and promote excellence in career development. The category is sponsored by the Department for Education (DfE) and CXK, a careers advice charity.

Developed by Chesterfield Borough Council, in partnership with Destination Chesterfield and the D2N2 North Derbyshire Careers Hub, MyFuture plugs the careers information gap left by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The innovative platform, which is believed to be a world first, was designed by Chesterfield-based Oasis Studio. It features around 100 virtual exhibition pods across 10 zones, providing advice on careers, transition, and employment in 16 sectors.

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted that our My Future project has been recognised in this way. Our team have spearheaded this project as part of our Economic Recovery plans, working closely with our partners to help ensure the My Future online platform provides valuable information on careers and skills development for young people in Chesterfield. We will continue to support and develop this platform and I want to encourage young people to log in because it will help them plan their future in our borough.”

Dom Stevens Destination Chesterfield Manager added: “Everyone worked tremendously hard in a very short timeframe to get MyFuture up and running and it has been incredibly well received by all users. To be recognised by the Careers Development Institute is testimony to the strong partnerships that exist in Chesterfield that together make positive changes happen for everyone who lives, works and does business here.”

D2N2 North Derbyshire Careers Hub Lead Dan Heffernan said: “Connecting young people to their future careers becomes an even higher priority during economic crisis as younger workers are at much higher risk of becoming casualties of recession. We are therefore delighted that this project has been recognised by the CDI for the value that it brings to young people across North Derbyshire. It is our hope that any publicity generated by this recognition will encourage further collaborative efforts not just in D2N2 but nationally. Only by working together are we going to weather the economic storm generated by the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

MyFuture is shortlisted alongside Creative Careers Programme and Discover! Creative Careers Week, Creative and Cultural Skills and Whole School Career Day 5th March 2020, Huntcliff School, Gainsborough. The winner of the category will be announced next month on Wednesday 10 March.

MyFuture is one of two North Derbyshire projects to be shortlisted in this year’s Careers Development Institute Awards. Derbyshire Education Business Partnership (DEBP) has also been shortlisted for the Best Practice Award – Careers Programme in a Special School or College category for its Project SEARCH.

To view MyFuture please visit

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , , ,

Fortem tackles youth unemployment with flexible work experience programme

Fortem have launched a virtual work experience programme, in partnership with the North Derbyshire Careers Hub (D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership), to help tackle rising youth unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-day virtual work experience (VWEX) programme prepares young people aged 14+ for the next steps of their career journey, raises aspirations and promotes inclusivity for all through the flexible delivery methods.

Fortem have developed a model which is easily adaptable and can be delivered online or offline, depending on the circumstances and needs of young people. Consisting of five modules; IT, innovation, customer care, design and planning, the programme helps young people identify transferable skills and how to put them into practice.

Since the start of COVID-19, the UK has seen a significant impact on 16-24-year-old unemployment. Comparing the latest quarter, September-November 2020, with the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020, unemployment for young people has increased by 13%, and is set to rise with the impending pressures on the economy. 2020 saw the highest level of youth unemployment since 2016.

Findings from a YouGov poll for the Sutton Trust social mobility charity state that opportunities for young people to get experience of the workplace have also been impacted considerably by the COVID-19 crisis. Many firms who previously offered internships or work experience placements have cancelled them, with just over three fifths (61%) of employers surveyed cancelling some or all of their placements.

Leigh Garbutt, Head of Customer Experience at Fortem, said “At Fortem we don’t leave anyone behind so it was important that we created a virtual work experience programme that could be easily adapted to suit individual needs. We work closely with our clients and partners in the education sector to ensure that our offer is relevant and can really benefit our communities. Delivering people-focused opportunities like this are at the heart of Fortem’s culture and we are dedicated to continuing our commitment to supporting young people.”

The work experience programme not only gives students valuable work experience and an insight into the world of work, it also helps to achieve Gatsby Benchmark 6. Gatsby Benchmarks are a set of eight benchmarks that schools and colleges can use as a framework for improving their careers provision and is widely adopted as best practice. Read more about the benchmarks here.

Emily Carter, Enterprise Coordinator at North Derbyshire Careers Hub – D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said “It has been a privilege to work in partnership with Fortem on their exciting new virtual work experience offer. The flexibility in delivery of this programme will help to reduce barriers to engagement and promote transferable skills in an interactive way for young people.”

Following a successful pilot of the programme at Career Hub school, Springwell Community College in Chesterfield, a feedback survey found that 100% of students found the programme enjoyable and would recommend it to their friends and family, while 78% feel better informed about future opportunities within the industry. Fortem are refurbishing properties across Chesterfield as part of the council’s commitment to investing in its housing stock.

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said, “Developing the skills young people have is vital to ensuring they can enter the workforce after they finish their education and is one of our key priorities as a local council. It’s brilliant to see partnerships like this forming and delivering meaningful outcomes for young people in Chesterfield.

“Our local labour clauses have helped ensure that all new development in Chesterfield has real employability benefits for the local community and this work experience programme is just one of many successful examples of this policy in action.”

For more information on the virtual work experience programme, please contact Rebecca Goodwin, Fortem’s Regional Customer and Community Manager, on

The topic of skills and careers for young people was recently on the agenda at the Chesterfield and North Derbyshrie Employability & Skills Conference. You can find out more about the event and watch it back here.

Fortem supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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Chesterfield College achieves ‘Great Place to Work’ status

The Chesterfield College Group has been awarded ‘Great Place to Work’ status after achieving high levels of staff satisfaction measured by an internationally renowned institute.

In a recent survey and culture audit, carried out as part of the Great Place to Work initiative, staff said they had high levels of pride for what they accomplish to deliver services to support students, apprentices and employers. The college also received high satisfaction scores for line management, corporate social responsibility and fair treatment.

The college first engaged with Great Places to Work in 2019 to assess how its diverse workforce felt about being a Chesterfield College employee and to help formulate a plan for developing the college team for the future.

The initial survey measured a wide range of categories through an in-depth survey, including values and ethics, leadership, wellbeing, career development, corporate social responsibility and culture.

After the initial survey, several initiatives were put in place to actively improve and enhance the college as a working environment, including:

• Appointing a ‘Wellbeing Champion’ in every team/department
• Asking teams to write 5 pledges to undertake together to contribute to the wider community
• A trial of flexible terms and conditions for staff.
• Investment in a wider range of staff benefits.
• Dedicated all staff training days, allowing staff the time to share best practice and develop their skills/knowledge
• A focus on individual career planning and succession planning
• Development of training for managers and staff including Mental Health First Aid and Managing Stress

Julie Richards, Principal and Chief Executive of the Chesterfield College Group said; “I was incredibly proud to hear that we had achieved the Great Places to Work status. It recognises the efforts that everyone has put in over the past 18 months to improve how we work and collaborate as one team.

“Our Wellbeing Champions and team leaders have already made some very positive changes across the college. We will build on this and continue to improve as we know there is still work to be done.

“It is particularly important for us to recognise how the world and our workplace has changed in the past year. With this in mind, we will continue to engage with our staff and let them lead us towards even greater and more positive changes in 2021.”

The Chesterfield College Group supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield FC pledges support to Plastic Free Chesterfield

Chesterfield FC and Chesterfield FC Community Trust have both signed up to become Plastic Free Allies.

Joining forces with Plastic Free Chesterfield, both organisations are pledging to reduce their plastic waste and move away from single-use plastic to alternate solutions.

Greg Hewitt, the community lead at Plastic Free Chesterfield, said: “We’re incredibly delighted to have the support of Chesterfield Football Club and Chesterfield FC Community Trust.

“The work they do in schools, raising awareness of single-use plastic pollution is inspirational, and it is fantastic that they now wish to take this a step further by signing up to our campaign and look at reducing single-use plastics at the football club.

“Their support is a huge step forward in our campaign to make Chesterfield an accredited Plastic Free Community.”

“We now look forward to being able to support the club in their efforts as well as being able to work in partnership to develop the schools outreach work on plastics, and to roll this out across all Chesterfield schools. We encourage schools to get in touch to request this.”

Martin Thacker, co-vice chairman of the football club and a trustee of the Community Trust, signed the pledge on behalf of both organisations. He said: “We are very happy to support the work being done by Plastic Free Chesterfield to reduce the use of single-use plastic in order to protect the environment.”

Recently, Destination Chesterfield also pledged it’s support for Plastic Free Chesterfield.  Destination Chesterfield Manager, Dom Stevens said: “In 2021 we’re encouraging businesses across Chesterfield to see if they’re able to make changes to their plastic use. If we all work together then, collectively, we’ll make a big difference in reducing the environmental impact on the rivers and beautiful local landscape here in North Derbyshire.”

Chesterfield Football Club supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

Celebrating Chesterfield’s STEM ambassadors

Educators, businesses and local authorities across Chesterfield have been working together in recent years, as part of efforts to encourage more students to consider further study of STEM subjects and progression into related careers, inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.

To help with enthusing and engaging our young people, STEM Ambassadors volunteer their time and expertise to promote STEM to young people in original, creative and practical ways. They also work to support the STEM curriculum in schools, raising awareness of careers and supporting activities in the community. Ambassadors cross all ages and backgrounds, representing a vast spectrum of different employers.

Chesterfield businesses can get involved in supporting STEM careers in a number of ways:

  • Sign up as a STEM Ambassador at
  • offering tours of your workplace for students and teachers
  • delivering talks to groups of learners in schools about your organisation and job opportunities
  • mentoring students doing projects
  • networking with students and teachers
  • setting a project related to your sector
  • doing mock interviews
  • filming a video of you at your workplace
  • and much more!

What are the benefits of being a STEM Ambassador?

  • Engage and develop your employees
  • raise your profile within the local community, whilst also expanding your regional and national media presence
  • promote your apprentice roles directly to local schools and colleges
  • support your recruitment efforts, boosting your future technical and graduate pipeline
  • offer specific and sector careers information to young people and their influencers

Meet the Ambassadors

Here are a few examples of how STEM ambassadors are helping to drive forward the future workforce here in Chesterfield:

Name – Lindsay Rowe

Company – AECOM

Position in company – Senior Mechanical Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

To me, being a STEM ambassador is an opportunity to raise awareness of alternative careers, share my knowledge about the world of work and show young people that there really is something out there for everyone and there is more than one way to achieve your goal.

What it means for your business.

STEM ambassadors not only raise awareness of our industry in general, but they show students that they don’t have to move to London and the big cities to follow an exciting and rewarding career in engineering. Our company name and brand becomes more widely known and we get recognised as a company that students want to apply to when starting on the career ladder. Ultimately this makes it much easier for us to hire the people we need to continue growing our business.

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

I’m always happy and proud when I see children being inspired to think differently about the type of work they might like to do in the future. My proudest moment though was when I finally got to attend a careers event at my son’s school, he was the reason I started volunteering in the first place.

Name – Ann Fomukong-Boden

Company – Kakou CIC

Position in company – Co-Founder/Director/Principal Electronic Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

Being a STEM Ambassador is my opportunity to give back to my community and also encourage people to see how creative the STEM subjects are. I got into engineering through my love of music. The STEM subjects play a huge part in every aspect of our lives – even the fun things! I also like to challenge people’s stereotype of what an engineer is or looks like. Most people I meet rarely guess my profession from my appearance.

What it means for your business.

We have a community engagement programme called Social Fuse. We produce and facilitate creative-arts based STEM activities for our community. Social Fuse provides us with the opportunities to meet new people, build networks and collaborate on diverse, interesting projects that we may not have been aware of through our normal engineering activities. It brings variety to the business and we get to interact with young people, teachers, parents and organisations that we may have not otherwise encountered.

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

To be honest, I feel a sense of pride whenever I volunteer, especially when you see someone who is new to an activity suddenly have that moment where it all starts to make sense and they realise that they understand something that they previously thought was difficult.

A stand-out moment was being chosen by the British Science Association to be one of their inaugural Community Leaders in recognition of my time volunteering within the community. As part of that I went to the Houses of Parliament to give expert testimony at the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. That day I also discovered that the Houses of Parliament use some equipment that I had designed – which brought a smile to my face.


Name – Julie Eley

Company – Ready4Work/School of Thought

Position in company – Co-Founder

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

It is a privilege to engage with young people, not only to give them information about different careers but also to offer hope especially in uncertain times.

What it means for your business.

We have set up a project called School of Thought so we can promote the Automotive Industry to young People. If it wasn’t for STEM we wouldn’t be able to do this, so this helps us tell everyone about the great Industry we work in, dispel myths and to build the pipeline for the next generation of Employees

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

Letting Young People know that there are different routes and that University isn’t the only choice. Personally, seeing some students tell me about their project of building a go kart, and seeing how excited and knowledgeable they were, I found it really inspiring

Name – Emma Knight-Strong

Company – Green Arch Consulting

Position in company – Owner

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

I am proud to be a STEM ambassador. I am passionate about my field and want to ensure that young learners understand what skills they need to have in order to follow their own dreams. I personally believe that a STEM ambassador is a person who can use their enthusiasm for their chosen profession to inspire young people to think about the huge range of possibilities available to them if they continue in STEM subjects. It’s less ‘teaching them a specific job type’ and more about showing them how STEM can help them be resilient and adaptive to a constantly shifting job market.

What it means for your business.

 It allows more people to understand the type of business that I am in and introduces learners to a sector that is still relatively new

 The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

Having a teacher say to me that the three young girls who had been asking lots of questions usually never said a word in class and he was amazed at how engaged they were with the activity.

Name – Tom Mowbray

Company – Rolls-Royce

Position in company – Sub-System Design Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

I find being a STEM Ambassador is a great excuse to share my excitement for Engineering with inquisitive minds. When I host STEM activities with kids it really is a two way exchange, whereby I’m sharing some insights about Engineering whilst setting challenges, and in return I get to see how young minds tackle the problem set. There’s some beautiful creativity that is quite inspiring.

What it means for your business.

“Our activities are designed to demonstrate the life-long opportunities that STEM careers can offer, helping to secure a future talent pipeline for ourselves and the wider industry. We hope that our education outreach programmes will inspire people to study the STEM subjects and show them the life-long opportunities that STEM careers can offer.”

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

I have participated in a variety of activities with children aged 7-18; covering topics such as friction, power and motion in primary ages through to GCSE maths tutoring, careers days and A-level mentoring. The range of options to get involved and the overwhelmingly positive feedback makes me proud to be involved.

For more information about the STEM Ambassadors scheme, you can contact the Derbyshrie Education Business Partnership (DEBP) on 01246 212535 or visit their website:

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Blog, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

£500,000 support boost for Derbyshire manufacturers

Small to medium-sized manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have received a £500,000 support boost to help them overcome challenges and make the most of new opportunities.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), which has already supported over 600 companies in other areas of the East Midlands, has agreed a deal with D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership to provide specialist assistance to firms in the two counties.

Manufacturing firms can now access a dedicated Manufacturing Growth Manager, who will use the GROWTHMapper benchmarking tool to identify pain points within the business, before delivering grants that can help support a third of the total cost of the business improvement project up to a maximum £10,000.

This new support covers manufacturing efficiencies, strategic marketing, new product development and leadership and management, with the programme due to help more than 85 business between now and June 2023.

It is anticipated that this manufacturing driven assistance will create 111 new jobs and 28 new product launches.

Martin Coats, Managing Director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, commented: “This is excellent news for SME manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and comes at a time when they will need access to industry specialists to overcome issues around Brexit and Covid-19.

“We have proven how successful this type of support, delivered by experts from the manufacturing sector, can be in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Across these three areas we have created nearly 700 new jobs and completed 805 improvement projects, helping many firms fulfil their potential.”

He continued: “Thanks to the backing of the D2N2 LEP, we can now give this targeted assistance to companies locally, making sure they are competitive in the sectors they have an undeniable edge in, including aerospace, automotive, food and drink, medical and rail.

“Each project is tailored to the individual company, so it has the biggest impact. Our Manufacturing Growth Managers are also very well connected and can link in management teams to other business support, funding or even supply chain opportunities.”

Mickleover-based Devtank is one of the companies that has welcomed the support boost, citing the need for manufacturers to have tailored assistance that will allow them to scale-up.

The open source test and measurement business currently supplies clients in defence, green energy, space and telecoms and has developed a range of products that help businesses automate their production testing and smart monitoring solutions.

“We are scaling rapidly and just about to launch a dedicated product page/e-commerce shop on our website, not to mention looking at ways where we can maximise our recent approval as a design partner for the Raspberry Pi Foundation,” pointed out Tim Telford, Chief Technical Officer at Devtank.

“The Manufacturing Growth Programme coming to this region means the right support will be available for us at the right time and I’m sure it will be beneficial to many other local businesses at this time of real need during the covid-19 recovery phase.

“Having access to dedicated manufacturing support is essential in helping us thrive. The last few years has seen us develop a number of new products and we have reinvested every last penny and more into the business. Being able to secure grants and specialist external assistant to capitalise on this investment is great news and will enable us to take the next step.”

Frank Horsley, Head of Business & Innovation at D2N2 LEP, concluded: “We are delighted to support the extension of the highly successful programme into our region.

“Manufacturing remains the historic bedrock of the D2N2 economy. If we are to transform into a more competitive, but greener economy, our manufacturers will need support to embrace the challenges of industrial digitalisation and net zero so that, similar to the first industrial revolution, we can lead the world.

“We look forward to bringing our strategic influence and partnership network to bear to ensure our businesses have the opportunity to benefit from the excellent support MGP can deliver.”

The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by ERDF and delivered by Oxford Innovation Services, is open to all manufacturing SMEs in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire that employ less than 250 people or have a turnover below £36m.

To apply for grant funding, please use the online eligibility checker.

Posted in Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , ,

Conference hears how digital upskilling and a human-first approach is key to developing resilient post pandemic future workforce

With demand for digital skills increasing by 36% in the last 12 months, digital upskilling in schools, colleges and businesses will be key to Chesterfield thriving post pandemic. That was the message from leaders at this year’s Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Employability and Skills Conference.

At the virtual, live-streamed conference, it was revealed that the pandemic has brought digital skills to the forefront of work and education and opened up a number of exciting new employment opportunities in the low carbon economy.

Leaders speaking at the fifth annual conference stressed that collaboration between education providers and businesses is key to young people taking advantage of these opportunities post 16 and thriving in the workforce post pandemic.

Speaking at the conference Rachel Quinn, Head of People and Skills at D2N2 LEP said: “Covid has given us the impetus to push forward to use and develop technology to connect people and work better. However, we have to make sure that everyone can participate and make sure the connectivity exists and that everyone has the digital access and skills they need to succeed and thrive. Getting that connectivity right, for the economy and through into our education system is absolutely essential.”

Chesterfield College reported growth in the demand for digital skills in the area and has invested in a digital skills centre. James Lund, Interim Director of Sales at The Chesterfield College Group said: “Apprentice recruitment is starting to return to pre-Covid levels, and we anticipate digital skills being a growth area over the next two to three years. Similarly, we have also seen a growth in demand for apprenticeships in health and social care and construction.”

To ensure young people maximise the opportunities, headline speaker, author and former headteacher, Richard Gerver urged the conference to “look to our inner child in order to succeed and thrive in a post pandemic workforce.”

He said: “By changing our mindset and encouraging people to meet change and uncertainty with curiosity, awe, wonder and questioning rather than fear, young people will see the opportunities rather than obstacles.”

He warned of the long-term impact of change and uncertainty on the self-esteem of young people and urged people to remember the importance of softer skills alongside technical skills.

Mr Gerver added: “Covid has been the most horrific experience in most people’s lived experience but it won’t be the first or last time we have to cope with profound levels of change in our personal lives. All too often our reflex when dealing with a problem is to go direct to the technical or strategic solution, but we need to understand the human first and
that has never been more true than it is now, particularly when thinking about our future workforce.

“Dialogue between educators and businesses is more important than ever to support young people with career development. Real partnership is the key to success.”

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and Vice Chair of Destination Chesterfield reassured the conference that the council is committed to partnership working in order to ensure the future workforce have the post pandemic skills required by local employers.
She explained: “We’re not standing still in Chesterfield. We and our partners recognise that with change comes innovation and with challenge comes resilience. Building resilience and raising the aspirations of future generations is a priority for Chesterfield.

“Our aim is to continue to strengthen links between education providers and local businesses to ensure that our school and college leavers have the skills to access career opportunities available in the borough.”

The annual, free Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Employability and Skills Conference is organised by Chesterfield Borough Council, D2N2 North Derbyshire Careers Hub, and Destination Chesterfield, and is open to businesses, schools and education providers from across North Derbyshire.

Chesterfield businesses that wish to work with the Careers Hub, provide work experience or workplace visit opportunities, recruit apprentices or upskill existing employees, are encouraged to get in touch with Emily Williams, Skills Delivery Officer at Chesterfield Borough Council by emailing or calling 01246 959717.


Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , , ,

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