North West Business Briefs: Leyland Trucks; Morecrofts Solicitors; Biramis Management Partners; Very Group/Deloitte; UCLan

DAF LF Electric
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Leyland Trucks will begin production of a groundbreaking new ‘zero emission’ electric truck this May, bringing this state-of-the-art technology to UK production for the first time.

Designed for urban and intra-urban operations, the 19-tonne DAF LF Electric offers a solution to retail distributors, beverage hauliers and other logistics operators as organisations drive toward carbon neutrality.

Leyland Trucks can call on 125 years of truck building experience, but recognises the value of ensuring its workforce possesses the capabilities and capacity to meet current and future truck building demands and innovations. The company continues to invest significantly in the skills of its people, including apprenticeship opportunities and comprehensive career development programmes, at all levels of the business.

Brennan Gourdie, managing director at Leyland Trucks, said: “This new technology will reduce commercial carbon footprints on a big scale. At Leyland Trucks we have been committed to environmental responsibility for decades, working constantly to improve the product technology we create and our manufacturing techniques.

“This latest step represents a leap forward and our world class engineers, many of whom were born and raised on our doorstep in Leyland, are proud to be among those leading the charge for environmental progress and industry-leading innovation.”

The technology utilises latest generation LFP (Lithium Ferro Phosphate) batteries, providing up to 175 ultra-quiet, zero-emission miles in one charge. The batteries can be charged from 20% to 80% within one hour using dedicated fast charge equipment or within 6.5 hours using the regular electricity network, meaning drivers could charge their vehicle at home overnight.

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Rebecca Dobbs

Morecrofts Solicitors has launched a new staff-led initiative aimed at maximising the firm’s environmental sustainability.

The Green Team is chaired by trainee solicitor Rebecca Dobbs with support from a panel of colleagues from all areas of the firm, which has offices across the Liverpool City Region.

Its goal is to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint through a series of practical measures and changes to its processes. This includes a commitment to become a paper-light business and encouraging colleagues and suppliers to adopt new habits around everyday issues such as reducing food waste, expanding recycling points at all offices and cycling to work.

There will also be a calendar of Green Team events for all staff throughout the year, which will comprise a broad series of educational sessions and practical exercises to further develop a collective culture of sustainability across the firm.

Rebecca said: “The Green Team is about harnessing the collective power of people who are passionate about protecting our planet and want to be part of the change. Our key approach is engagement through education and employee initiatives to cultivate environmentally responsible behaviour throughout our network, while assessing all aspects of our operations with the aim of reducing their impact on the environment.”

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Christiane Hutchinson

Since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, there has been an 18% increase in the number of business owners preparing to exit their companies in comparison to the year before, according to Manchester-based business consultancy Biramis Management Partners.

It says the figure has spiked again since the start of the November lockdown with the consultancy advising on three times as many enquiries in the three-month period following this, compared with the same timeframe in 2019.

This news comes as the UK readies itself to mark a year since the coronavirus pandemic forced people into their houses, staff members away from the offices and all organisations to adapt to largely online operations. However, Biramis Management Partners chief executive, Christiane Hutchinson, insists these figures should be seen as a good thing.

She said: “The increase in the number of owners coming forward and seeking advice on exiting their business is a positive – it means these individuals are thinking strategically about how they can maximise the value of their exit and taking care to ensure they are taking the right route out when the time is right.”

She added: “It’s more concerning, to me, how so many business owners still aren’t taking time to plan this monumental move.”

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Two North West businesses have announced generous donations of IT equipment to schools throughout the region to help pupils with online learning.

Deloitte North West will donate 300 laptops to its partner schools in Liverpool and Manchester, as part of its UK-wide drive to address the growing digital skills gap. Whalley Range High School and St Peter’s RC School in Manchester will receive donations, as well as Holly Lodge Girls’ College in Liverpool. Nationally, Deloitte has pledged to provide 5,000 laptops to schools, charities and families across the country.

Meanwhile, Liverpool-based online retailer The Very Group has donated 300 new laptops as part of educational bundles for 30 primary schools across Liverpool, Bolton and the East Midlands with the help of its charity partner, Coram Beanstalk.

Each school – including 20 in Liverpool and two in Bolton – has received 10 new laptops as part of a bundle that also includes two printers, books, Crayola bundles, data wifi spots and headphones. The educational bundles are designed to help pupils and schools with the ongoing challenges created by COVID-19, as well as support children’s long-term development through reading.

The schools were chosen because they have a high number of pupils who receive free school meals. They are located in areas where The Very Group has operational sites and are partner schools of Coram Beanstalk and Coram Life Education, a provider of health and wellbeing education.

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The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Cambridge Education Group’s Digital division (CEG Digital) have agreed an exciting new partnership enabling students across the globe to access UCLan’s postgraduate degree portfolio from the comfort of their own homes.

The new alliance will see both UCLan and CEG develop and market an initial set of part-time, online postgraduate degrees.

Over time, the partnership will enable UCLan to expand its international reach and recruit a diverse mix of students for an expanding number of online postgraduate courses.

From September 2021, students will be able to enrol on postgraduate programmes in course areas such as social policy, international business management and intercultural business communication. Next year the university is looking to extend its academic offer through further business-related programmes, public health-related provision, law and international relations and translation. Providing flexibility relating to programme start dates, an additional two student intakes are planned during each academic year.

UCLan vice-chancellor, Prof Graham Baldwin, said: “We are delighted to sign this partnership with Cambridge Education Group’s Digital division which gives us an exciting opportunity to bring our extensive range of postgraduate programmes to a new worldwide audience. Our ethos combines academic excellence and real world teaching, and whether online or on campus, we specialise in giving students the skills and experience industry needs.”

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