People on the Move: The Lancashire Colleges; Buttress; Skout; RSM; Armstrong Craven; WSP

Wes Johnson

Wes Johnson, principal and chief executive of Lancaster & Morecambe College, has been appointed as the new chair of The Lancashire Colleges (TLC).

TLC has been working on behalf of the further education and sixth form colleges of Lancashire for more than 20 years, securing funds for education and training and supporting collaborative work and projects.

Mr Johnson has more than 20 years’ experience in the education sector, with 11 years as a senior leader in both general and specialist further and higher education institutions across the north of England.

He has taken over as chair of TLC from Ann Turner who recently retired as principal of Myerscough College.

Ms Turner successfully chaired the colleges’ group for two years during which time TLC helped secure £11m of European-funded projects that are supporting Lancashire’s communities and businesses.

Mr Johnson said: “I’m thrilled to be taking up the role of chair of TLC. I am a strong believer in the positive influence colleges have in raising aspiration, life chances and the economic well-being of individuals, businesses and the wider communities.”

Robin Newton-Syms, executive director of TLC, said: “Wes brings with him a great deal of experience, energy and drive and I look forward to the continuation of our success under his leadership.”


Manchester architect Buttress has added to its team with the appointment of senior architect, David Kells.

He joins the practice following a relocation from London where he spent more than a decade working for studios including Patel Taylor, EPR, Benoy and Rivington Street Studio.

Prior to this he spent six years at Union North in Liverpool, delivering projects across the North.

His experience includes large-scale residential, education, retail, leisure, and hotel schemes.

This includes working on the iconic Midland Hotel in Morecambe and leading the architectural design of the Beam Park regeneration project, one of the largest developments in London.

A talented designer, he has been recognised with a number of awards for his work and also spent seven years on the Haringey Design Review Panel.

Managing Director Gavin Sorby said: “As a practice, our values are creativity, quality, integrity and collaborative leadership – David brings all four to the table and I am delighted to have him on board.

“His knowledge and expertise will provide depth and strengthen our reputation for providing a first-class service across our residential, leisure and commercial sectors.”


Skout, the Cheshire-based B2B PR agency, has taken on two new recruits following five new account wins at the beginning of this year.

It has welcomed Lottie Buckley as account manager and Juliet Haley as account executive who will be based at Skout’s Macclesfield HQ.

To support its award-winning work in integrated B2B PR and its growing client base, Skout was on the look out for experienced candidates who demonstrated enthusiasm, a passion for PR and who would be a ‘great fit’ for the agency.

“We have ambitious growth plans in place for the future of Skout,” said Claire Lamb, director.

“Recruiting Lottie and Juliet is a key step forward in meeting our expansion ambitions.”

Lottie Buckley joins Skout from Johnson Reed, a business finance company based in Stockport where she spent two years as marketing and communications manager, previously working at a Manchester based PR agency.

Lottie Buckley, left, and Juliet Haley

She said: “I am really happy to be continuing my journey in B2B PR with Skout. I love its genuine ‘natural storytelling’ approach to PR and look forward to expanding on my experience in the financial sector in an agency with such a wealth of interesting and diverse clients.”

As a fitting contrast, her fellow new arrival Juliet joins Skout after spending time working across two agencies, Red Carpet Communications based in Bedfordshire and KBA PR in Soho.

With a background in consumer PR, Juliet is looking forward to broadening her knowledge of the B2B sector and getting stuck into her new role: “With such a varied and growing list of clients it’s an exciting place to be,” she said.

Managing director Rob Skinner added: “Both Lottie and Juliet are well suited to the Skout ethos thanks to the enthusiastic attitude and self-starter approach that they both share. They also bring unique, but complementary skillsets with them, which we will no doubt benefit from hugely.”


Audit, tax and consulting firm RSM has appointed John Guest as its head of social housing in the North West.

Mr Guest has more than 10 years’ experience advising social housing organisations within his role at RSM and brings an in-depth technical knowledge of the regulatory and reporting issues facing the sector.

He is a prominent adviser and works with a range of not-for-profit and corporate clients.

He succeeds Keith Ward as sector lead for the region following his appointment.

In his new role he will work alongside Mr Ward and the North West team to support a growing portfolio of social housing clients with a strong focus on tax, audit and advisory services, including consulting, legal and HR.

Mr Guest said: “I’m delighted to take on the North West role. The region has a strong social housing sector and we have an experienced, dynamic team in place that can help support associations to maximise key opportunities, but also potential challenges, such as board assurance, effective governance and digital transformation as these issues becoming increasingly more important to operations.”


Global talent mapping and pipelining specialist Armstrong Craven is planning the next phase of its international expansion.

The Altrincham-based company has appointed Helen Coult as its new regional director Asia Pacific to build on the year-on-year growth it has achieved since opening its Singapore office three years ago.

She has more than 15 years’ experience in executive search, recruitment and talent consultancy and has been with Armstrong Craven for just over three years.

She was previously senior global client partner for the company’s consumer and industrial division. She will continue to work with a number of her global clients alongside her new role driving growth for the wider business.

Rachel Davis, Armstrong Craven’s deputy CEO, said: “Helen was the natural choice to become director Asia Pacific. She already has a strong knowledge of the region and is fully atuned to the talent challenges and opportunities that exist.”

Ms Coult said: “This is a hugely exciting time to be moving to Singapore and I look forward to partnering with both global and Asian clients to put in place high quality talent acquisition strategies.

“Clients turn to us to ensure they identify and attract the best candidates for their senior and scarce roles.”

Armstrong Craven has seen annual growth in excess of 45% since 2014.

The company’s key sectors are healthcare and life sciences, financial services, technology, consumer, industrial and professional services.


Professional services and engineering consultancy WSP has appointed Jon Kelly as director of strategic bids and proposals based in the company’s Salford Quays office in Manchester.

The new hire is part of WSP’s ambition to grow its market share across all sectors following a series of major acquisitions.

Mr Kelly, who joins the business from his previous role as business development director at Atkins, will have a UK-wide role working from the Manchester office.

He will lead a team of more than 70 staff across the country with a remit to expand the Manchester team to harness the growing number of major public and private sector contracts across the North.

With more than 15 years’ experience working in the sector in procurement and business development, he joins WSP at a crucial time for the business.

It is now one of the largest professional services and engineering companies in the city following three major acquisitions over the past four years, including Parsons Brinckerhoff, Mouchel and Opus.

Later this year, WSP’s three existing Manchester offices at Oxford Road, Salford Quays and Queen Street, will combine under one roof, moving into a 54,000 sq ft office space at the new No.8 First Street development.

The city centre move will bring together more than 800 staff and a wealth of services, becoming WSP’s largest single office in the world.

Mr Kelly said: “I’m thrilled to join WSP, an ambitious and growing firm, as it looks to embark on a new chapter in the city.

Jon Kelly

“Our presence in the North West, which has the fastest growing construction market in the country, puts us in a strong position to secure the growing number of contracts in our existing specialisms which include development, infrastructure, environment and energy, and to grow into adjacent markets such as maritime and aviation.

“WSP’s multi-disciplinary offer is one of our biggest strengths, and this will become an even greater asset when our team is brought together in our new office later this year.”

WSP is currently working on a number of major projects in the region including two strategic development corridor studies for Transport for the North and the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Metrolink extension programme.

The company also recently helped a number of clients achieve planning permission for major high-rise schemes in Manchester including Angel Meadows, St Michael’s mixed-use scheme and the Owen Street Tower which is set to take the title of Manchester’s tallest building.