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Pembrokeshire student’s Welsh bakes are on the rise

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Pembrokeshire College A-level student Tom Wickens is a new and upcoming baking entrepreneur whose welsh cakes are grabbing the county’s sweet tooth.

Tom, a passionate baker, launched his business during the pandemic of April 2021 selling freshly baked goods from his family home and leaving out an honesty box as a form of market research to see how much people would pay for freshly baked goods and what the most popular flavours were.

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The launch became very successful, and the word soon spread, leading to Tom starting to take orders online.

Tom said, “The Welsh cakes really took off and I quickly realised I would need to create a website for customers to order them. This also helped me to stay organised and reduce waste as I was baking to order.”

Tom’s bakes soon started to attract local businesses and now Tom provides a service to local farm shops across the county.

Emma Lippiett, Pembrokeshire College’s Curriculum Area Manager for A-levels said, “Tom is an excellent entrepreneur; he has managed to build his own successful business whilst carrying out his A-level studies. We are thrilled to see Plumstone Bakes grow due to Tom’s hard work and commitment (and delicious Welshcakes). He is a true inspiration to students who have their own business ideas and a credit to the College community.”

After College, Tom is looking to start up his own mobile café in the hope that he can inspire others his own age.

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“You can never be too young to start a business. I would advise others to do lots of market research and find a gap in the market that has potential. You also need to be passionate! I learned all my baking skills from my mum and College has supported me with this dream. They have kindly provided me with branded marketing materials for me to use at various events.”

Tom has recently expanded the flavours of Welsh cakes he offers from white chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and raspberry, lemon and stem ginger and dark chocolate and ginger. To order your favourite flavours head over to his Facebook page.

(Lead image: Pembrokeshire College)

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Gower College Swansea

Sketty Hall Business School appoints Advisory Board

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Sketty Hall Business School has announced the formation of its Advisory Board – key industry figures who will help shape the future of education and training across South Wales and beyond.

With the support of Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, Gower College Swansea has recently transformed the much loved Georgian building into a contemporary Business School.

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As well as being home to a range of professional, management and degree programmes, Sketty Hall Business School will also host high profile training events where academics, captains of industry and leading sporting personalities will inspire both businesses and individuals.

The Business School will also look to introduce the concepts of management and leadership to all its students, enabling them to become the inspirational leaders of the future.

“We are delighted to announce Sketty Hall Business School’s Advisory Board which will support Gower College Swansea in further understanding employers’ needs, and strengthen our relationships with key industries. The Board will help ensure that we are delivering the right skills for both now and in the future,” says Director of Skills and Business Development, Paul Kift.

“Delivering a cutting-edge, employer-led curriculum which supports economic development, and which is aligned to regional and Welsh priorities, is our key strategic aim as a Board.”

“Board members will have a major voice in shaping the business skills that are available across the region, benefitting learners and College staff whilst also creating a pipeline of talent for organisations. This will help to develop the prosperity and productivity of the wider business community. Together, we can also create skills solutions that will assist the Swansea Bay City Deal – enabling economic regeneration, development and growth.”

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The Sketty Hall Business School Advisory Board members are:

  • (Chair) Chris Foxall, Finance Director, Riversimple and Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board Chair.
  • Deb Bowen-Rees, Chair of South West Wales Branch, IoD, formerly CEO of Cardiff Airport, and current NED at Milford Haven Port Authority.
  • Ian Price, Wales Director, CBI.
  • Lucie Thomas, Director of Recruitment, Learning and Development, Pobl Housing Association.
  • Adrian Sutton, CEO, Vortex IoT.
  • Lucy Cohen, Co-founder of Mazuma, and Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board member.
  • Tony Roberts, Head of Wales, Vodafone.
  • Adrian Chard, Strategic Human Resources and Organisational Development Manager, Swansea Council.
  • Louise Harris, CEO, Tramshed Tech.
  • Lisa Mart, General Manager, Swansea Arena/Ambassador Theatre Group.
  • Alison Orrells, Managing Director, Safety Letterbox Company.
  • Michael Kavanagh, Development Director, Short Brothers.
  • Matt Wintle, Head of Learning & Development, Admiral.

“It’s wonderful to see Sketty Hall’s outstanding redevelopment being put to such good use as the home of the Sketty Hall Business School,” says Chris Foxall. “I’m very pleased to be chairing the business school’s advisory board which is made up of some of the best local employers and businesses leaders in the Swansea Bay City region.

“As the markets and economy continue to change, the demands on our business managers and leaders are increasingly challenging and complex. It’s important that the requirements of businesses help to inform the skills and training provision being developed by our education partners so that businesses can remain competitive and fulfil their potential growth.

“The Swansea Bay City region is one of the best places for ambitious companies looking to grow and invest for the future and, clearly, the best investment any company can make is in its people. Gower College Swansea wants to make sure they’re offering courses that protect those investments and, at the same time, give their students the best chance at a successful career in business and management.”

“I’m delighted that, with the support of Welsh Government, we have been able to make these excellent facilities at Sketty Hall Business School available for all of our students,” says Gower College Swansea Principal, Mark Jones. “And now, with the support of our new Advisory Board, we can begin to make a real impact in this key area for all businesses.”

Lead image: Gower College Swansea Advisory Board Sketty Hall (Image: Adrian White)

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Llanelli

West Wales car dealership to double in size

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Dafen-based Llanelli Motor Company have broken ground on a new development that will see their forecourt double in size over the coming months.

Led by Managing Director Ian Jonathan, the two-phase project will see the independent car dealership increase the number of used vehicles it has on sale to over 400 by January 2023.

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“It’s certainly an exciting period for the business,” said Ian, “and with the significant changes to the used car market, we felt now was the right time to start the project, which has been in the pipeline for over five years.”

Although the business was potentially looking at 2020 as a start date for the developments, the Coronavirus Pandemic put the brakes on the project.

However, since the easing of lockdown restrictions and the delay in obtaining new vehicles, the used car market has seen an unprecedented spike in demand.

Dafen based Llanelli Motor Company is planning to double in size
The company have broken ground on an expansion that will see over 400 cars on sale by the end of January 2023

“The last 12 months have been exceptionally busy,” continued Ian.

“No sooner are we finalising our 140-point safety check on vehicles before placing them on the forecourt, than they are being purchased within a matter of days”.

With the ability to stock 150 nearly new vehicles of all makes and models at the moment, the 1-acre expansion will increase this to 250 by September before more than doubling it to 400 by the spring of 2023.

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In order to facilitate this growth, the company will also be entering a recruitment phase and looking to employ at least 10 new members of staff across its sales, workshop and admin teams as well as taking on new apprenticeships.

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Technology

£67k contract win with leading power tools specialists for Swansea’s Uplands Communications

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Uplands Communications is celebrating a major contract win to the tune of £67k, having closed a deal with a division of Techtronic Industries EMEA Ltd.

The deal sees the Swansea-headquartered telephony specialists supply connectivity for more than 130 users.

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Techtronic owns brands including Ryobi, Milwaukee and AEG. The company enjoyed record 2021 worldwide sales of US$13.2 billion and has more than 51,000 employees.

Paul Hooper, MD of Uplands Communications, which is based in Swansea, said: “We are pleased to forge a new partnership with Techtronic Industries EMEA Ltd, a leaders in its field which is committed to ensuring its customers receive the best experience whenever they interact with the business.

“The past two years have been challenging for businesses across all industries, including for telephony and communications, and, of course for construction and for their supply chain colleagues.

“However, we are seeing, across the board, companies becoming increasingly aware of the need to make sure their communications are in the best shape possible and are modern and fit for purpose.

“The pandemic has brought about a sea-change in the way consumers and businesses interact with each other. Carefully-tailored telephone and communications solutions are more essential than ever if businesses want to thrive.”

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Natasha Russell, Financial Accountant at Techtronic said: “We operate a multi-million pound operation across a range of products and sites and we deal with a broad customer base – both commercial and domestic.

“The solution we sought from Uplands will give us a more seamless billing functionality and smoother processes, as well as more robust day-to-day support. We are pleased to enter into an agreement with Uplands Communications and we look forward to our ongoing relationship with them.”

Uplands Communications, based at Swansea Enterprise Park, is a leading managed services company delivering flexible voice, data and mobile communications.

The firm, which has its HQ in Swansea and an office in Somerset, specialises in independent network management and providing bespoke, converged solutions that aren’t tied to technology and supplier.

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