We came back to the office to a full inbox in the New Year, thanks to GB News very kindly showing our launch advert over Christmas, so a great way to kick off the year! Matthew and I really appreciate this support and if you haven’t seen the advert, do have a watch here (and hats off to Sisters Motion for producing this advert in record time!).
With a spring in our step, we look ahead into 2024. The Jobs Foundation is now in a key building phase, working to sign up 1,000 members to our Business Council whilst simultaneously developing our core research programme. As such, I am delighted to announce that journalist, campaigner and author, Nick Tyrone, has joined the team as our Senior Policy Advisor. Nick will spearhead our research on employment and training, which as you can see from the newsletter below, is already taking shape.
In other news, please can I thank all the new Business Council members who have signed up so far this year. It has been fascinating speaking to so many new business leaders from a spectrum of industries. The Jobs Foundation’s output is enhanced daily by the experiences of our supporters, so thank you for breathing life into our work as we build on our launch last year.
Finally, if you have any suggestions of people who would be interested in learning more about our Business Council, or ideas for our research work (particularly if you have any contacts in Sheffield, Loughborough or Redcar!) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
CEO, The Jobs Foundation
PS – On a final note, I’ve written an op-ed for City A.M. on why finding a job you love is so important (and sometimes the convoluted process to getting there). I hope you enjoy!
The Jobs Foundation’s core research project for 2024 has begun
January 2024 marks the start of a 12-month research project at the Jobs Foundation. It will be our first major research effort that will take us across Britain in search of the answer to two questions: How do businesses help alleviate poverty and unemployment? And what tools do businesses need to help them in this effort?
We also plan to cover secondary questions such as: What do entrepreneurs look for in a community? What are the conditions for business growth in an area? How can local councils improve critical infrastructure for businesses and workers? What are the barriers preventing local people getting access to local jobs? Which public services are crucial for underpinning business growth?
Our plan is to focus our attention on four areas of Britain – the city of Sheffield, the Midlands town of Loughborough, and the north east coastal town of Redcar are three of the places of study. For the final region covered by the project, we will be moving to a southern English rural community, with several areas being considered.
The Jobs Foundation research team will embed itself in each community, meeting local businesses, charities, councillors, and MPs to better understand the importance of private enterprise locally. We want to know how important local businesses are in the creation of jobs and training opportunities locally. We want to know how local people feel when a new jobs are created and how important those jobs are for their long-term wellbeing and livelihood.
The Jobs Foundation will host local events, roundtables, and one-to-one meetings with local people over the course of the next 12 months. If you feel you have something to say or add to our research, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Our visit to Sheffield
On Monday, January 15th, Evolution Power Tools in Sheffield played host to the first Jobs Foundation research project roundtable. It brought together a dozen people who work in Sheffield, most of them small or medium-sized business owners. They included Brian Leece, who has run medical manufacturing businesses in Sheffield for the past 30+ years and is currently the CEO and Managing Director of Sheffield Precision Medical, the leading independent UK orthopaedic contract manufacturer; Ben Widdows, CEO of GWD, a company that helps socially minded organisations transition to digital systems; and of course, the founder and chairman of Evolution Power Tools itself, Matthew Gavins.
Matthew’s own story is inspiring.
“We’ve been here in Sheffield for 32 years. Started the business in my mum and dad’s single garage about 300 yards away (from the present UK offices) on a housing estate. About 150 people work across the business now. We have offices in Chicago, Shanghai, Poland and France. Last year, the American operation surpassed the European operations. I feel like we’re almost an American company now! But we’re very proud of our Sheffield heritage.”
The roundtable was greatly aided by the organising efforts of Ben Woollard, who runs an organisation called Together for Sheffield, a consortium of business, charities, NGOs and individuals who want to make Sheffield a better place to work and live.
While in the city, we also spoke to several local councillors and discovered a great deal about what makes Sheffield such an interesting city to make part of the Jobs Foundation’s work. It has many things going for it as a place to live and do business. It likes to describe itself as “The Outdoor City” – the Peak District begins right as Sheffield ends – and many people who work in town live there. It has two large universities in Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield. It has an up-and-coming technology sector, mostly fed by young graduates from those two higher learning institutions.
Of course, Sheffield has plenty of issues it is still facing – but what we’re seeing in the city can tell us a great deal about what is happening in cities around Britain.
After Easter, The Jobs Foundation will be releasing a full report about Sheffield, its jobs, its prosperity, the routes out of poverty and into jobs for people in the city, informed almost entirely by speaking to people in the area – those who run businesses, those in apprenticeship schemes, and those who work in charities and NGOs that help get people into work in Sheffield. If you have anyone in Sheffield or the surrounding area you think the Jobs Foundation ought to speak to, please get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com
Introducing our new Senior Policy Adviser, Nick Tyrone
We are delighted to announce that Nick Tyrone has joined the Jobs Foundation as a Senior Policy Adviser. Nick is an experienced journalist, researcher, and campaigner. He writes regularly for The Spectator and has a successful blog on Substack. His previous positions include being an Associate at Onward (where he wrote a large report on prison reform), Director General of the Red Tape Initiative (where he delved into post-Brexit regulation), and Executive Director at CentreForum. He played a large role in the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign during the electoral reform referendum of 2011.
Nick will be leading our research project in 2024. He will be touring the width and breadth of the country to meet businesses doing incredible things in their communities. If you believe you have a story that Nick needs to here, please get in touch.
Q: What is your favourite book and movie?
Favourite book: Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and Its Enemies”.
Favourite movie: I want to say something more original than this, but it really is “The Big Lebowski”.
Q: What was the last restaurant you visited (and what did you order)?
The last restaurant I visited was Spinach, on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich. It was my wife’s birthday and we had a turkey sharing feast that was fantastic.
Q: What’s your favourite TV programme of all time?
Nothing tops golden era Simpsons, but Seinfeld was probably the most solid TV programme, start to finish.
Q: Where was your first job?
At a not particularly nice restaurant where I was the dishwasher.
Q: What is special about the Jobs Foundation?
I think a focus on jobs right now is very timely. The importance of work to both society and the individual should be something that unites right and left, conservative and liberal. And yet, there is a sort of anti-business feeling that is felt across politics now. I believe a think tank that focuses on jobs is filling a much-needed void and I’m glad the Jobs Foundation is doing that.
Q: What are you most excited about for 2024?
Getting out on the road, talking to people about how we create jobs in Great Britain. I know I am going to learn a hell of a lot.
Q: Who inspires you?
Clint Eastwood is 93 years old and is directing a new movie. That’s pretty inspiring if you ask me.
Tom Milton from Amodo Design
A great example of a success story in Sheffield is Amodo Design, a small tech firm started by Tom Milton that won the Sheffield Business Awards Start-up of the Year Award last year. Tom grew up in west London and then came up to study bioengineering at the University of Sheffield in 2016. He then went to Cambridge, Orlando and Paris to work – before returning to South Yorkshire.
“In March of 2021, I saw a Linkedin post that said it was hiring an engineer to work on a start up in Sheffield working on cultivated meat. I thought, “Wow, there’s only five of these in the country, and one of them is in Sheffield!” That company was Unicorn Biotechnologies, a company run out of Sheffield Technology Parks. Tom was their first employee and after two years, left to start Amodo, an engineering design startup that has grown from a team of two to ten in its first full year operating.
If you want to read more of Tom’s story, it can be found here.