People on the move: PHX Training; Colliers International; EVO Business Supplies; Marketing Lancashire; Exchange Chambers; MSB Solicitors

Briony Fawcett

A Lancashire training specialist has made a new senior appointment as it helps to find work for the region’s unemployed.

With experience in employability, welfare to work and skills, Briony Fawcett joins PHX Training as contracts director as it expands its services across the area including Preston, Blackpool and Morecambe.

The company offers training under the Journey2Work and Adult Education programmes including English, maths, IT, retail, employability and customer service.

Fawcett said: “We are working closer than ever with the learning programme contractors to make sure every part of the process is constructive for the learner, the employer where they get involved, and for those organisations involved.

“It’s all about delivering the key skills to help get people into relevant jobs across the board from individuals who need help in core skills such as English and maths to others more specifically. Employers want to know that the courses will add skills to those they are supporting, while other learners want to see opportunities opening up.”

PHX managing director Dan Scott said: “Briony is a great asset and will help us to grow relationships through our process from provision of these courses to final delivery and the difference it makes to people.”

PHX Training, which has seven centres across Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside, offers courses in English and maths leading up to a level 2 qualification, the equivalent to a grade C at GCSE.

Other training programmes available through the network include business administration, customer service, IT, management, team leading, warehousing, hospitality, health and social care, cleaning services and sales and recruitment.


The Project & Building Consultancy team of Colliers International in the North has almost doubled with four new recruits joining the department across Colliers’ Manchester and Leeds offices.

In Manchester, Jonathan Stirzaker-Philips joins as a Senior Surveyor from CBRE with four years’ experience in building consultancy.

Meanwhile, Gavin Foxton joins the Northern team and will split his time between Colliers’ Manchester and Leeds offices.

Foxton was formerly part of the London Project Management team at Bollingbrook and moved over to Colliers following the firm’s acquisition of the leading commercial building consultancy firm in October 2016.

Coinciding with his relocation to Colliers’ Northern team, Gavin has been promoted to Associate Director and will head the firm’s Project Management offering in the North.

The team has also taken on two new Graduate Surveyors, Cameron Reekie and Richard Chandler, who will be based in Manchester and Leeds, respectively.

Nick Twigg, director and head of Colliers’ Project & Building Consultancy team in the North, said: “We’ve been instructed to consult on some large-scale projects across the North in the last 12 months, including large scale commercial office, PRS residential and industrial schemes. In addition to these new projects, we continue to provide ongoing building consultancy advice to a range of high profile national and international names.

“As such, we’ve worked hard to build a team with the skill and knowledge to effectively service our key clients across the North of England. Our Northern team works very closely together with some team members, including myself, splitting their time equally across the Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool offices.”

The wider 11-strong Northern team is made up of: associate directors John Brannigan and Mark Alcock who cover Manchester and Leeds, respectively; senior surveyor, Paul Harris who’s based in Liverpool and graduate surveyor, Ross Hall in Leeds. The team is supported by secretaries, Stephanie Murray and Hazel Raines.

Other clients for the Project & Building Consultancy team in the North include; Aviva, Columbia Threadneedle, Thomas Cook, HSBC and Delancey.


Prestbury, Cheshire resident Ken Williamson has been appointed a director of the holding company of the UK and Ireland’s largest multi-channel business supplies and services distributor.

Williamson, who has spent much of his career working in Manchester, has joined the board of EVO Business Supplies in a non-executive role.

He brings significant successful senior level experience of merger and acquisition and financing work, as well as of general commercial affairs.

The EVO group of companies provides sourcing, storage and fulfilment services to over 50,000 resellers, corporate clients and public-sector organisations, through its two main trading companies: VOW, the business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, which has a network of over 2,000 resellers, and Banner, a major workplace supplies and service provider to the private and public sectors.

Williamson is currently chairman of Stoke-on-Trent based DW3 Products Group, a strategic investor in innovative, high growth manufacturing companies in the fenestration sector. The group is backed by North and Midlands-based private equity specialists NorthEdge Capital.

Williamson said: “I’m joining the board at a really interesting time. The EVO group of companies is a leading player, strategically well placed and performing strongly in a sector offering exciting opportunities through channel shift and ongoing consolidation.

“An important part of my role will involve supporting the management team as they look at a range of merger and acquisition and financing opportunities.”

Welcoming Mr Williamson to the EVO board, Steve Haworth, group chief executive, said: “Ken’s certain to be a major and positive influence on our organisation as we continue to exploit current opportunities and take advantage of new openings in the years ahead.”

The Sheffield-based EVO group of companies was formed in 2014 through a merger of business supplies groups Vasanta and office2office.


Marketing Lancashire, the county’s destination management organisation (DMO), has had a record year with visitor numbers, web visits, membership and events at an all-time high.

With more growth planned for 2018 it has recruited Vikki Harris, to join the team as marketing and partnerships director starting at the end of January.

Harris worked most recently at Manchester United where she led on the marketing of several high-profile projects for the club and prior to this, headed up all marketing activity at tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, where she played a key role in both the bid to bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to Yorkshire and in its delivery. Vikki has also worked for global agency Wunderman, as Brand Services Director based in their offices in Oman.

Harris said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining the Marketing Lancashire team and showing the world what the county has to offer as a world-class tourist destination from its glorious coastline to its thriving food scene.”

Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “Vikki brings with her a wealth of experience that will further strengthen the Marketing Lancashire team and the company’s growth ambitions working with partners to attract more interest, investment and visitors to the county from national and international markets.

“We’ve had another really positive 12 months at Marketing Lancashire with growth in events such as delivering the first ever Lancashire presence at the MIPIM International Property Show in Cannes and the first Taste Lancashire Conference showcasing our strength in the food and drink sector.


Exchange Chambers has announced that Liverpool-based barrister David Knifton has been appointed Queen’s Counsel.

The Lord Chancellor will preside over the appointment ceremony, where the rank will be formally bestowed upon all successful applicants, at Westminster Hall on 26 February 2018.

In total, her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment of 119 new Queen’s Counsel.

Knifton was called to the Bar in 1986 and specialises in high-value personal injury and clinical negligence cases, particularly those involving brain or spinal cord injuries, amputations and serious psychiatric injuries. He acts almost exclusively for claimants.

He has also acted at a number of high-profile inquests and public inquiries, including the North Wales (Waterhouse) Child Abuse Inquiry and the ‘Blue 25’ Inquest concerning the death of 5 UK Servicemen shot by a rogue Afghan policeman.

Tom Handley, director of Chambers at Exchange Chambers said:

“On behalf of everyone at Chambers, I would like to congratulate David on his well-deserved elevation to Silk.”


Liverpool law firm MSB Solicitors has hired well-known employment lawyer Christopher Hayes.

Hayes has joined from another Liverpool firm, Morecrofts, to strengthen the commercial team following other high-profile appointments in 2017.

An expert in both employment and HR law, Hayes has extensive experience representing both employees and employers. He particularly enjoys working on settlement agreements for people who are leaving a business and has conducted advocacy in employment tribunals on multiple occasions.

He joins the commercial team at MSB that was already bolstered by the arrival of solicitor Andy Matthias in the firms private client team and Phillip Coburn, who joined the department as an associate solicitor.

Partner in MSBs commercial team, Mark Forman, said: “Chris’s appointment is a significant one for the firm, as it will enable us to work more closely with our existing clients across a broader scope of services, but also gives us a competitive edge in attracting new commercial clients in the city.

“Chris’s experience will also be of huge benefit to a programme of seminars and campaigns we have planned in the new year. Chris has an excellent reputation and I’ve every confidence will be a valuable addition to the team.”

In the last few weeks MSB has also announced that managing partner and co-founder of the firm, Paul Bibby, is to retire from the role in March 2018. He will be replaced by partner and current head of the family department, Emma Carey.

Bibby said: “We’ve always said MSB is a firm that does things differently and we have seen over the past couple of years how that fresh and dynamic approach has paid huge dividends.

“The financial performance is obviously an important measure and we are delighted to have exceeded the £5m turnover mark but, our success is about much more than that.

“When I retire in March I leave a firm with a happy and highly-motivated team and a client base that returns to us time and time again and I am immensely proud to have played a role in creating that.”