North West briefs: Zigaflow; North West Hydrogen Alliance; Poundland; Access; United Utilities

Tim Randall, CEO, Zigaflow with Euan Aitken, sales & marketing director
X The Business Desk

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A London-based international business automation software company has chosen Lancashire as the location for its new customer-facing division.

Zigaflow’s new office on Shuttleworth Mead Business Park in Padiham, Burnley, will be the base for the company’s sales, marketing, customer service and training teams, while the existing headquarters in central London will remain the base for software development teams.

Tim Randall, CEO at Zigaflow, said: “To support our expansion plans we’ve been looking for a location where there’s a great pool of candidates with the varied skill sets we’re looking for across different industries.

“Our new base is not only ideal from a recruitment perspective, but it’s also in a great spot in terms of accessibility and has plenty of space for our future growth.”

Specialising in software that helps growing businesses streamline and automate processes, Zigaflow has set up the new customer-facing division to enhance and develop the service and support provided to those using the software.

Euan Aitken, sales & marketing director at Zigaflow, said: “We believe that software as a service should be exactly what it says on the tin – not just a software, but a fully managed service with customer interaction at every stage of the journey, and that’s exactly what we provide.

“Zigaflow has always been 100% focused on enabling businesses to grow by simplifying their processes and expanding our customer-facing team solidifies that approach.”

Following a number of recent appointments, additional roles are also currently available across IT, telemarketing and creative specialisms.

Euan added: “We’re constantly on the lookout for great individuals to join the team and are proud to offer good quality, well-paid jobs with amazing prospects for people in the local area.”

Four new companies have signed up to join the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA).

The new members – Fichtner, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Powerhouse Energy and Swagelok – take the membership count to 30, cementing the organisation’s position as the UK’s largest industry-funded regional hydrogen alliance.

It comes as the Alliance throws its weight behind HyNet North West – the UK’s leading hydrogen and carbon capture project – which is seen as critical to delivering the Government’s Hydrogen Strategy and meeting net zero targets.

Professor Joe Howe, Chair of the NWHA and Executive Director, Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester, said: “The growth of the North West Hydrogen Alliance highlights the commitment organisations are making to decarbonisation and their desire to be leading the net zero mission in the North West.

“As the recent Hydrogen Strategy highlights, hydrogen is a vital part of our low carbon future and has the potential to create new green jobs, safeguard our industries and reduce emissions.

“With the right support from Government for projects like HyNet North West, we can create a world-leading hydrogen economy which can be replicated globally.”

Poundland is opening a new store in Salford – bringing its PEP&CO clothing and homeware and chilled and frozen food – at the city’s Regent Retail Park.

The new store, which will open on Saturday 25 September at 9am,  will employ 21 colleagues, and, at more than 8,000 sq ft, will offer the full Poundland and PEP&CO ranges under one roof.

The building was formerly occupied by Poundstretcher. Poundland will join neighbours including Sainsbury’s, Boots, Sports Direct and TK Maxx.

The new store will also offer Poundland’s range of chilled and frozen food that has been introduced to more than 200 stores as part of project Diamond Ice.

Poundland’s retail and transformation director, Austin Cooke, said: “We’re already well established nearby at Raven Way in Salford and at Manchester Arndale Centre, so it’s great to be opening another store in this vibrant part of the North West and creating new jobs.

“Whether customers are looking for household essentials, clothes for the whole family or ideas for a home makeover, they can get more of what they want in one shopping trip.”

Access has expanded its impressive client list with two new wins – international disability charity Leonard Cheshire and European B2B textile accessory business Beechfield Brands.

Working with Leonard Cheshire, Access will be providing a full-service digital programme – from supporting the charity in its choice of digital products and implementing best practice design, to undertaking site usability studies and website development to ensure it delivers an effective user experience.

For Beechfield, Access’ remit is to transform its five websites to create a digital experience platform that reflects the business’ creativity, innovation and core values.

While the platform will continue to be non-transactional, it will seek to inspire and leverage eCommerce design conventions in areas such as navigation and product search functionality, to improve the experience and usability of the websites as a sales channel/for its trade buyers.

Mark Hope, Digital Director at Access, said: “It’s fantastic to be partnering with such diverse and interesting organisations as they invest and focus on improving their digital operations and customer experience.

“It’s a credit to our team’s continued hard work that we continue to attract and win new clients, and we’re also successfully adding to our team with new staff across all areas of expertise. With specific sector and technology expertise to call on, we are looking forward to supporting our new clients’ ambitious plans.”

UU training centre

Water company United Utilities has taken on a record number of apprentices in 2021.

 After welcoming 56 new apprentices in January, United Utilities has recruited a further 46 apprentices, 24 Graduates and in October will be recruiting a further 24 customer service apprentices.

The only FTSE100 company in the North West has a strong track record in delivering an award-winning apprenticeship scheme and now has over 160 apprentices currently gaining valuable practical hands-on skills in a diverse range of roles, alongside achieving nationally recognised qualifications, including degree-level.

The new intake will be completing recognised programmes in a variety of roles from payroll, project controls, construction supervisors, income, 4ngineering, water technicians and trainee buyers.

They will also have access to the company’s state-of-the-art technical training centre in Bolton as part of their training programme.

Jacqui Kawczak, Apprentice Delivery Manager, United Utilities, said: “We’re delighted to be able to invest in future generations of our workforce as we recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.

“We’re committed to creating opportunities for people in the communities we serve and the contribution apprentices and graduate make to our business is invaluable.”