Below is the October edition of our monthly newsletter. The newsletter is sent out to Business Council members and friends of the Jobs Foundation. You can find out more about the Business Council here.
Jobs Foundation Hits The Road
“Come and see the great work we are doing in our local community” is a comment we get a lot of at the Jobs Foundation. That is why each month, members of our team travel to all four corners of the country to meet businesses, supporters, charities, and policy makers.
Each trip is an opportunity for the Jobs Foundation to learn more about the challenges facing businesses in Britain today. We encounter people who have piled everything into their business but still have trouble navigating regulations; HR departments that desperately want to take on more staff but can’t get access to qualified workers; and conversely people who have been out of work for a long period of time and are desperate to get back to work.
It may seem downbeat sometimes, but we also come across incredible businesses that are growing, hiring, investing and serving satisfied clients every day. We never cease to be amazed by the spirit of ingenuity you find in Britain. If you read the front pages of the business section in newspapers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Britain had run out of entrepreneurial gas. We know that the opposite is the truth and that there is a real zeal to make, create and innovate across Britain. We want to make sure that message gets through.
In this month’s newsletter we will take you on a journey from Bournemouth to Banbury, via Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Redditch. We will also introduce you to our newest member of the Advisory Council Akshay Ruparelia and cover some of the media coverage we achieved this month.
Of course, it would not be a Jobs Foundation newsletter without the obligatory call to those who haven’t joined our Business Council, to do so. Britain needs the Jobs Foundation, and the Jobs Foundation needs business leaders to join our movement. I am proud to say the Council is growing at pace, but we want as many as possible to get involved. To flag, membership is entirely private and there is no fee.
CEO, The Jobs Foundation
Akshay Ruparelia joins the Jobs Foundation Advisory Council
We are delighted to say that Akshay Ruparelia, one of Britain’s youngest and most exciting entrepreneurs, has decided to join the Jobs Foundation’s Advisory Council. Akshay founded Doorstep.co.uk, an online estate agency that grew to 60 people, the third largest online estate agency in the UK, and saw over £1 billion worth of property sold through its site. More recently he set up a Blockchain innovation agency, Impact3, and 1 Club, a leading members’ club for entrepreneurs and nonprofit initiatives for young founders. He sat on the board of The Prince’s Trust RISE programme and started his own social enterprise, AKR Growth. In 2021, he featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list.
Bristol, Redditch and Banbury
The Business Council is at the heart of what the Jobs Foundation is all about. Its members are businesses dotted across the country, of all sizes, and all ages. They represent the backbone of the British economy, and give us at the Jobs Foundation an insight in to what employers and employees up and down the UK are facing. This month we visited two members of the Business Council, The Bristol Port Company and DCS Group.
On Thursday 12th Jobs Foundation President Matthew Elliott and CEO Georgiana Bristol visited Sir David Ord, co-Chairman of the Bristol Port Company. David and his colleague Terence Mordaunt took Bristol Port private from the Local Council in 1991, and have since invested £600 million in the business, creating 600 jobs directly, and 12,000 jobs across the South West.
On a wet Thursday 19th October Georgiana travelled with Patrick Spencer to Banbury to meet Michael Lorimer, CEO of DCS Group. DCS Group is a manufacturing, sales, and distribution business with a specific expertise in everyday household goods. DCS was founded in 1994 and over 29 years has grown to generate £318 million in sales, working with over 500 different products, delivering to customers across the world. In the process they have created thousands of jobs. Georgiana and Patrick were shown around DCS’s new facility in Redditch before hoping on the M40 to see their HQ and meet senior members of staff in Banbury.
Michael and members of his team spoke to the Jobs Foundation about the importance of getting access to workers at all levels of the skill spectrum. They talked about needing skilled forklift drivers, admin and finance staff, and put a huge onus on the importance of keeping turnover low. This was exemplified by their commitment to supporting staff members across four pillars – Protection, Development, Reward, and Benefits.
Bournemouth, Manchester and Liverpool
As a charity, the Jobs Foundation is apolitical, but we are anything but agnostic on the issue of jobs, business, and poverty. That is why we listened intently to speeches delivered by senior political figures at all three major party conferences. We are pleased to report that there was a positive pro-business, pro-jobs, and pro-social mobility sentiment at all three.
Speaking in Bournemouth Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey MP described an economic plan that backed “entrepreneurs to grow their small businesses and create worthwhile, well-paid jobs in their communities.”
The Conservative Party Conference returned to Manchester this year. It was an appropriate setting as Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP celebrated Britain’s growing tech, clean energy, car, and media industries, and in a rousing finale called for “More growth. More jobs…. Less Poverty.” The Prime Minister’s speech espoused the values of business owners, and delivered a personal story of his parents’ own small business, a pharmacy in Southampton.
The Jobs Foundation took time out from Conservative Party Conference to meet one of the country’s largest energy suppliers SSE plc. SSE have launched a new programme to help people get back in to work. They use office space around the country as hubs for hosting people who previously had struggled to find work. Helping people find their feet in the work place has generated great results with retention rates high.
The following week it was to Liverpool for Labour Party Conference, where Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP delivered a speech infused with pro-business rhetoric saying, “The lifeblood of a growing economy is business investment. It is investment that allows businesses to expand, create jobs.” Leader of the Opposition Sir Kier Starmer MP followed up this sentiment by calling for business and workers to fight together for the jobs of the future, “Jobs that are well-paid and, in your town.”
Of course, conference season is always full of well-meaning statements, and the proof is inevitably in the pudding. But we are clear here at the Jobs Foundation that businesses are a force for good in society by virtue of the jobs they create, the training opportunities they provide, and the taxes they pay to fund our critical public services like the NHS. For that reason, we hope to continue to hear more pro-business and pro-job sentiment coming from all mainstream political parties in Westminster.
October Media Coverage
Jobs Foundation Director Patrick Spencer wrote an op-ed in City AM this month, welcoming the Government’s decision to cancel the planned introduction of new reporting requirements for mid-sized and large companies. The Draft Companies (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 included an expectation on businesses to make an annual resilience statement, summarise the company’s strategic approach to risk, disclose the distribution of profit, and include a description of the company’s internal audit and assurance capabilities. Patrick noted in his article the recent increase in the average size of annual reports, pointing to current requirements to report on a company’s commitment to net-zero and gender pay equality, among other things. He made the point that all reporting standards had an implied cost on the business, and those costs would inevitably be passed on to customers or mean diverting funds available for job creation and training opportunities.
He finished the article saying, “It is not a massive leap in theory to say that reporting standards, and regulations of all types, have economic and social costs as well as benefits. I applaud the government’s decision to scrap a set of new burdens for businesses at a time of economic strain and pressure. We need our business sector to be given the space it needs to grow, because a successful society requires successful businesses.”