People on the Move: Northcoders; Hopwood Hall College; In the Circle; BAKO North Western Group

Amy Wild

Manchester- and Leeds-based Northcoders has grown its senior team with the appointment of Amy Wild who joins as its new chief commercial officer.

Amy’s new role will see her lead on the development and execution of Northcoders’ commercial strategies and objectives. She will also head up the sales, partnerships and marketing team.

Amy has worked in sales and marketing roles for more than 17 years in the digital, property, construction and aviation sectors.

She started her career at Finnair and, prior to joining Northcoders, she was an associate lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University where she delivered the sales and marketing module on the chartered management degree course.

Amy also ran her own consultancy called WildOne Consulting.

Over the years, Amy has built up a strong track record of managing complex commercial situations, thanks to her ability to influence change and deliver strategic leadership.

Central to her approach and ethos is balancing people skills with a belief that strong partner relationships are crucial to every business’s long-term success.

Amy said: “I’ve long admired what Northcoders is trying to achieve, and as soon as I met the team it was easy to see how the company is built on a foundation of passion that is focused on the training and development of people.

“Its culture and community-minded approach also has a strong ethical message which is combined with a well-respected offering in an industry that is set to grow and grow. I see nothing but opportunities for Northcoders and I’m excited to be part of its evolution moving forward.”

Chris Hill, chief executive and founder of Northcoders, said: “The last year has been a real period of growth for Northcoders and we are delighted to welcome Amy to the team.

“She brings with her a wealth of industry experience that will directly benefit the business in terms of our commercial activities. Her understanding of what we do, and her appreciation of how we operate, really stood out so I’m confident she will become a central part of our success over the coming years.”

Since its inaugural course in 2015, Northcoders has helped more than 500 people switch careers into tech, with average starting salaries of £25,000. As well as the Manchester campus, Northcoders also has a site at tech hub Platform in Leeds.


The principal of Hopwood Hall College has been appointed to join the board of Rochdale Development Agency.

Julia Heap said it was an “honour” to join the board and pledged to use her role to continue to raise the profile of skills and education.

She joined the college five years ago and was promoted to principal in April 2019. A qualified accountant she oversees a workforce of 450 staff and an organisation with a budget of £24m.

The college, which has 3,000 students aged between 16-18, 3,000 adult learners and more than 300 apprentices, has been widely praised for its response to COVID-19 and looking after the welfare of its learners.

Julia said: “Rochdale is a friendly, energetic place that is full of passionate people. There’s a real energy in the borough and there’s a vibrant business sector.

“I’m honoured to be joining the RDA’s board. The arrival of economist Paul Ormerod has added to the energy that has been growing. As well as being a Rochdalian passionate about the borough, he brings with him an objective macro view that we can benefit from.”

Julia is originally from Oldham but has lived in Rochdale for the past five years. She said: “My eldest son, Niall, went to Hopwood Hall College to do a BTEC in sport so I’ve always felt a connection with Rochdale.

Julia Heap

“Although my background is in accountancy I started my career working as an adult apprentice in a builder’s merchants in Oldham. I understand the importance of skills and training in the workspace and giving an opportunity to young people.”

Julia, who has three children and is a big rugby league fan, predicted the best days are ahead for Rochdale: “I’m really looking forward to building on the good work that has already taken place.”

Paul Ormerod, chairman of Rochdale Development Agency, said: “Julia brings a wide range of skills to the role, from her accountancy background to her vast experience in the further education sector.

“Julia has been the principal at Hopwood Hall College for just over a year and is already making her mark by delivering some excellent projects and dealing with the challenge of COVID-19.

“She offers a different perspective and has already agreed to chair a new RDA sub-committee focusing on the labour force and skills.”


Craig Walker has joined green initiative In the Circle, which is hosting a conference in Manchester in the Spring, as sales director.

With a 25-year track record working in a range of sales and management roles, Craig has experience in a variety of sectors including automotive, home renovation products and construction.

In his new role he will be responsible for attracting sponsors, exhibitors and delegates to In the Circle’s three physical and virtual sustainability conferences that are being held next Spring.

The series of regional events, sponsored by musicMagpie and Squire Patton Boggs, has been designed to help businesses of all sizes to move towards becoming part of the circular economy and to demonstrate the business benefits this will deliver.

The inaugural In the Circle conference will take place on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, in Leeds, with conferences also scheduled at the NEC in Birmingham on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and at Manchester Central on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Craig Walker

Delegates will be able to attend the conferences, either in person or via live streaming and each event will bring together more than 30 speakers and 50 exhibitors, showcasing best practice plans and initiatives to help all businesses build and develop their own sustainability policies and programmes.

Alec Walton, In the Circle chief executive, said: “While the COVID-19 outbreak initially disrupted our plans, we are now finding that the crisis has made many companies re-think their priorities and the desire for sustainability has moved higher up the business agenda.

“With his solid experience of developing sales and working across diverse industries, Craig will be a real asset to the team, helping us to connect with delegates, exhibitors and sponsors across Yorkshire, the North West and the Midlands.”

Craig said: “Sustainability is an issue I feel very strongly about. Many people still don’t appreciate the scale of the damage being done to the planet and this is an exciting opportunity to raise awareness and educate companies about sustainability.

“The conferences will bring people together to learn from some of the leaders in the field about how they can incorporate sustainable practices into their own businesses and the commercial benefits this will bring.”

The three regional conferences are expected to attract hundreds of business leaders, directors, managers and sustainability experts from across the UK.


Preston-based bakery products distributor BAKO North Western Group has appointed David Armstrong as group commercial director.

David has spent his career in retail and wholesale including M&S, Safeway, ASDA and Makro, as well as BAKO UK previously between 2007-2009.

For the past seven years David has worked at Spar UK as head of trading, where he was responsible for its own brand ranges.

Established more than 50 years, BAKO North Western Group distributes bakery products to customers across the UK from three national depots.

With a multi-temperature fleet of more than 70 vehicles, the company provides independent bakers and caterers with a wide range of ingredients and finished products from quality suppliers, as well as its own BAKO Select branded range.

David Armstrong

Mr Armstrong said: “I’m very happy to be back at BAKO and I am really excited about the opportunities ahead.

“While these are undoubtedly challenging times for many, BAKO is really leading the way in developing innovative solutions and finding inventive new ways to support the industry as a whole.

“With one of the most advanced multi-food product warehousing and distribution systems in the country, BAKO is in a really good position to help spearhead the independent bakery sector’s recovery and I’m really looking forward to the road ahead.”

BAKO group chief executive, Mike Tully, said: “I’m delighted that David had rejoined the business and I am looking forward to working with him and his team to drive the business to new levels over the next few years.”

BAKO North Western Group’s full list of divisions includes BAKO North Western, BAKO Northern and Scotland, and BAKO South Eastern.