Family-run plant and tool hire company Miles Hire, who have branches across South Wales, have been ‘Highly Commended’ at this years’ HAE Hire Awards of Excellence 2021.
Scooping up the accolade for the ‘SafeHire Plant, Tool & Equipment Company of the year [turnover up to £10 million], Miles Hire continue to uphold their reputation for being a trusted and reliable hire provider within the industry.
This prestigious annual event sets out to celebrate the amazing achievements of hire and supply companies across the UK’s plant, tool, equipment and event hire industry, and this year, recognised several local and national businesses at a much anticipated virtual awards ceremony. Shortlisted as Finalists for a category they have previously held the winning title for, Miles Hire are proud to be one of only two, from six, to come ‘Highly Commended’ at last month’s event.
This is great news and a highlight achievement for the independent, family-run firm who have just also celebrated several other business developments within the first quarter of this year.
Finalists were chosen from many applications, entered across 15 award categories, with an expert judging panel deciding the overall winners. The criteria for this award in particular, specifically looked for businesses that have demonstrated a continuous commitment to delivering high standards of service. Open only to SafeHire accredited suppliers, finalists must prove competency in safety, health, environment and quality alongside being able to show their workforces are well trained to be able to support customers.
A strong emphasis on the delivery of exceptional customer service has supported Miles Hire in defining the company’s core values throughout the years. From one small depot in Swansea, to several branches and depots across South Wales, the steady growth and development of Miles Hire is testament to the visions shared and passed down by the late David Sydney Miles, initial founder, and father to Ryan, Darren and Jo-Ann who now successfully run the company together.
It’s been strength to strength for the award-winning trio, who unveiled their brand new Cardiff depot in April this year. Stacked high with quality tools, equipment and plant machinery, their most impressive depot yet is the ultimate go-to place for all DIY enthusiasts and busy trades professionals. Just one facet to the company’s latest accomplishments, Miles Hire have also invested capital into the development of a brand new website and other marketing collateral. Stock has been updated and replenished with new plant, tools and equipment now readily available for customers.
Recent business growth has seen Miles Hire recruit new talent with the potential for even more exciting vacancies in the near future.
In the words of Director, Darren Miles: “This truly is an incredible time for Miles Hire. We’re so proud of our recent company developments and know there is much more on the horizon that we just can’t wait to achieve. Being awarded ‘Highly Commended’ at the Hire Awards of Excellence 2021 really is an honour, and we are grateful to have been given the opportunity to be recognised for our commitment to the hire industry.”
A live streaming of this years’ outstanding awards event can be found here: hae.org.uk
To find out more about Miles Hire, visit their website at: mileshire.co.uk
64% of Wales employees set to leave due to cost of living
During the biggest cost-of-living crises most people will have ever experienced, only 6% of employees in Wales believe their employer is doing enough to support them through the crisis.
Even though staggering 72% believe their employer has a responsibility to support them through the current climate.
That’s according to new research from Blackhawk Network, which says that according to employees, employee benefits are no longer just added incentives, they are now a way for employers to support their staff.
It says it’s now essential employers are informed on what employees want and ultimately need from benefits schemes to help guide them through the cost-of-living crisis.
Other key findings in Wales show 94% of employers agree that they have a duty to support their employees as the cost-of-living rises, with 79% of employees saying employee benefits play, or could play, an important role in improving the cost-of-living
Almost two thirds (64%) would leave their current job in order to find an opportunity that provides better financial support during the current cost-of-living crisis.
The findings come from research conducted by Blackhawk Network in conjunction with Sapio, to support the launch of its new Blackhawk Network Extras Benefits Platform.
Workplace benefits are hot property at a time of crisis
According to the UK-wide data, 85% of employers agree that they have a duty to support their employees as the cost-of-living rises. While raising wages might seem a simple fix, businesses are also impacted by rising costs and inflation making pay increases unviable. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing they can do to help. 83% of employees agree that workplace benefits play an important role in helping to balance finances as the cost-of-living continues to rise; and 95% of employers agree.
It is telling that almost a quarter (24%) of employees admit they’ve already used their benefits package more during the cost-of-living. In addition, almost three quarters (73%) of employer’s state that prospective employees are looking for employee benefits as part of the solution to the crisis.
Employers must dial-up on support to have real impact
The report says that dialling-up cost-of-living support through employee benefits is a must when talent is at risk. For example, salary sacrifice, where employees are offered the option to pay for services or products from their salary before they receive it to reduce tax, can be found with offers such as Cyclescheme, on technology or gym memberships, to save money that would otherwise eat into pay. However, there are still barriers to overcome.
When employees were asked what the term ‘salary sacrifice’ meant, almost three quarters (73%) admitted they did not fully understand it, including 18% who had not idea at all. In contrast, to almost all employers (98%) believing employees understand it to some degree. There is a clear disconnect between the employer and the employee, yet salary sacrifice can save employees money and help in mitigating the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.
If employers want to support employees, they need to make information about benefits, like salary sacrifice, more accessible and digestible to prove that it can have a real-life impact on their current financial situation by making their pay go further.
Over half (53%) of employees say they would be more likely to use salary sacrifice schemes if they had a better understanding of how they work. But this is an issue that only employers can fix. Better communication is essential to close the perception gap on employee benefits to be the support employees want and need during the cost-of-living crisis.
Chris Ronald, VP EMEA Incentives & Operations at Blackhawk Network said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that employers have a vital role to play supporting their employees during the cost-of-living crisis. But the rising costs also mean that businesses are unable to offer blanket wage increases.
“Our research takes an in-depth look into the current state of employee benefits and the perceptions of the employees who are in a position to use them. With the release of this research, we hope to give businesses the tools they need to improve their benefit packages so they continue to support staff throughout the crisis.”
Welsh insulation company partners with Swansea University to explore capturing carbon emissions
Brigend-based insulation company ROCKWOOL Ltd. has announced it is partnering with the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University to research the capture of carbon dioxide.
Researchers are aiming to develop new carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies that can assist Wales and the UK achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Researchers at ESRI have been working on a process called Pressure Swing Adsorption to separate carbon dioxide from a mixture of gases. To date, this has been shown to work under laboratory conditions and so the next step is to investigate how it works in a real life industrial process.
Over the next 12 months, researchers will be experimenting with different adsorbent materials and operating conditions to determine the most effective method for removing carbon dioxide. Isolating carbon dioxide from a mixed gas stream is an important step in developing opportunities for use or long term storage.
Darryl Matthews, Managing Director of ROCKWOOL Ltd, said: “Alongside ROCKWOOL Ltd.’s membership of the South Wales Industrial Cluster, I am delighted we’re partnering with Swansea University to pilot new technology designed to capture CO2 emissions and are excited about its potential in supporting the drive to Net Zero.”
The demonstration unit is being developed as part of the £11.5m Reducing Industrial Carbon Emissions (RICE) project which has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and is aimed at the deployment of industrial scale demonstrations of new technology.
Darryl continued: “Taking these important steps to understand how we can develop CCUS technology further is another important piece of the decarbonisation puzzle for us as a business. The ROCKWOOL Group has long been committed to operating sustainably and in December 2020, ROCKWOOL announced commitments to accelerate the decarbonisation of our business, with specific long-term targets verified and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.”
Professor Andrew Barron the Principal Investigator of the RICE project summarized the achievement, “with 2050 arriving fast, the time for research is over, it is imperative to get new technology onto industrial sites in order to demonstrate viability. Partners such as ROCKWOOL are vital in achieving this goal.”
In 2020 the ROCKWOOL Group announced ambitious, science based global decarbonisation targets that have been verified and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The targets, which supplement existing sustainability goals, amount to an ambitious one third reduction of ROCKWOOL’s lifecycle (Scope 1, 2 and 3) greenhouse gas emissions by 2034 while at the same time continuing the reduce the carbon intensity of production.
These commitments build on ROCKWOOL’s existing status as a net carbon negative company, in that over the lifetime of its use, the building insulation ROCKWOOL sold in 2021 will save 100 times the carbon emitted in its production.
Welsh Government Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “These are the partnerships that will drive a stronger, greener Welsh economy. Putting world class expertise into practice is critical to our journey to net zero and this work means Bridgend will play a leading role in these exciting developments. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the project through the European Regional Development Fund.”
(Lead image: ROCKWOOL)
Swansea shows rise in business growth despite fears high streets are empty
Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) are celebrating the opening of the 60th new business in Swansea City Centre since January 2020.
According to a recent Federation of Small Business report on Welsh towns, only 3% of people feel their town centres are thriving; but given the impact of Covid-19, Swansea BID have continued to see businesses opening since the pandemic began.
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Since January 2020, 66 new businesses have opened in the city centre. In the same period, only 27 have closed, with over half of these businesses citing the pandemic as the reason. As many large high street names such as Debenhams, Disney, Topshop and Pizza Express have closed, the rate of smaller, independent businesses opening has increased.
“We have seen strong growth in start-up businesses over the last few years. I think excellent customer service and experience is a key factor in their success,” said Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID Chief Executive. “We have also seen sharp growth in the hospitality sector, independents and more sustainable businesses.”
Responses to the FSB survey showed that 67% of people in Wales feel that their town centres are ‘bad’ or ‘bleak’. The Vision for Welsh Towns report makes a series of recommendations to support and grow businesses in town centres, many of which Swansea BID actively do; including helping to reduce business costs and directly supporting businesses.
The High Street is Resilient
Simon Kendrick, Director of the Games Emporium on Swansea’s High Street said the business is likely to renew their lease for another 10 years thanks to their confidence in the developments happening in Swansea.
“We’ve enjoyed growing with the High Street, it has been fabulous to see the once run down and talked down part of town continue its transformation towards a vibrant part of the city’s cultural life,” he said.
“Swansea BID have been helpful in driving some of that change with initiatives like the Big Heart and city-wide treasure trails to drive shoppers our way, as well as more behind the scenes support like advocating reductions in street-table rates for local cafes.
“Currently, the BID is assisting us (and many other businesses) with applying for grant funding to renovate our shopfront, which will further enhance the appearance and character of the High Street,” said Kendrick.
Investing in Regeneration
With £1bn set to be invested in regeneration projects over the next few years, the landscape of Swansea is set to transform.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism said, “The growth is encouraging. It shows the combination of our business talent and the work the council and its partners are carrying out to regenerate Swansea to create a modern, confident city that’s attracting more and more businesses to invest.
“We’re doing all we can to create an environment where businesses can thrive, such as the £135m Copr Bay district and our work to transform the look and feel of The Kingsway and Wind Street.
“Much more is planned too, including a revamp of Castle Square Gardens, a state-of-the-art office at the former Oceana nightclub site, and the work our development partners Urban Splash are leading on to transform parts of the city centre, including the old St David’s Shopping Centre.
“Our business community, residents and visitors have lots to look forward to.”
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