North West business briefs: UA92; Hurst; Unbranded; Fieldfisher; CTS; BCO North

Sara Prowse, 3rd left, Collette Roche, 2nd right, with work experience participants

Manchester United and innovative higher education provider University Academy 92 (UA92) have announced a strategic education and employment partnership.

UA92 and United will work together to provide work experience and mentoring opportunities to the students, with the club’s staff also delivering guest lectures and curriculum guidance to help prepare the students for future employment.

The first work experience programme took place last month with a group of seven students being involved in week-long placements across a range of departments at United, including media, communications, venue marketing, sports science and venue operations.

Manchester United also sees the partnership as a chance to support its longer term recruitment plans, helping to attract young people from across Greater Manchester and beyond who come from a range of different backgrounds. Both parties will also work together to engage and encourage local communities into education pathways and address socio-economic challenges faced by young people in the area.

Collette Roche, chief operating officer at Manchester United, said: “We admire UA92’s approach to education. They have a clear goal to unlock the potential of the young people that they work with and help them to overcome the barriers that they face. That really resonated with us. As neighbouring organisations we will work together to develop the curriculum even further and offer the students relevant work experience to help them on their career journey.”

Sara Prowse, CEO of UA92, said: “Working with a club such as Manchester United is incredibly exciting. We have a strong foundation in place for this partnership and will work together to support young people in Greater Manchester and beyond into higher education and onto successful careers. Our students have already had some fantastic guest lectures and interactive sessions from some of the Manchester United team and we have a programme of work placements and mentoring in place for next year.”


Helen Besant-Roberts and Greg Wilson, of Hurst

The National Football Museum, in Manchester, has appointed accounting and business advisory firm Hurst to provide audit and tax services following a competitive tender.

The museum is the latest addition to a growing roster of sports, leisure and not-for-profit sector clients for Hurst. It already counts Lancashire County Cricket Club, Super League Europe, Chill Factore, the Royal Exchange Theatre Company, Manchester Art Gallery and Life Leisure among its client base in these sectors. The Hurst specialists acting for the museum include Helen Besant-Roberts and Greg Wilson of the firm’s business services team.

The National Football Museum spans seven floors of the Urbis building in Manchester city centre. It attracts nearly 200,000 visitors a year from around the UK and overseas, and its highlights include a Hall of Fame, trophies, exhibitions, artefacts, interactive games and an educational space for schools and other groups.

Helen Besant-Roberts said: “Football is of immense national cultural and historical significance and we are excited to be able to play a part in helping the museum to share everything that is great about the sport. Using our experience, we will support the museum in the next phase of its development, through deployment of our specialist charity accounting and tax team and our digital enablement service.”

Tim Desmond, chief executive of the National Football Museum, said: “We’re excited to move into 2022 with Hurst, who align perfectly with our aims for the museum. They have shown a real passion for what we do, and we look forward to working together to engage an increased and wider diversity of visitors to our exhibitions and online.”


Unbranded Manchester

Digital agency, Unbranded Manchester, has won a competitive pitch to carry out a full platform rebuild for mobility comparison site, Mobility Compare.

Unbranded Manchester secured the brief following a competitive pitch process where it demonstrated previous successes of similar platform builds, including Machine Compare & Film Locations.

Ovié Oba, managing director of the London-based company, said: “Mobility Compare is the UK’s largest comparison site in the mobility and independent living sector, serving over 80,000 users monthly and we needed an agency that could deliver on our requirements.

“Unbranded Manchester listened to what we needed and went above and beyond to propose additional high impact solutions to help position us for maximum growth potential.”

Hamad Mian, of Unbranded Manchester, said: “This is another great win for our team. Our extensive experience with fully featured platform builds where automated onboarding and user journeys are giving businesses like Mobility Compare the foundations they need in order to rapidly scale without significant additional overhead.”


Fieldfisher Manchester

European law firm Fieldfisher has increased the pay of newly qualified solicitors (NQs) in its Manchester office to £50,000, up from £45,000 previously. The pay increase will apply to existing NQs from February 1, and to those due to qualify with the firm later this year.

The firm recently moved to new offices in No.1 Spinningfields. Key clients for the Manchester office, which is led by managing partner Ian Austin, include Allianz Real Estate, Getir,, EY, Co-op and Standard Chartered Bank.

Fieldfisher said: “We have increased our NQ salaries to ensure we continue to attract the best talent. While salaries are important, our offer to prospective staff extends far beyond pay.

“We pride ourselves on the strength of our Fieldfisher community, where we promote inclusiveness and diversity of all skills, strengths and perspectives, encourage innovation and endorse collegiality.

“We believe in giving our junior lawyers maximum exposure to a variety of experiences and opportunities to work with incredible people, both at our firm and on secondments. This helps them develop into, and be rewarded for being, the best lawyers in their field.”


Chris Bunch

CTS is on track for another year of growth after achieving a record breaking year of sales and customer wins during 2021. The company, which is already one of Europe’s largest dedicated Google Cloud Partners, celebrated a record year of sales with services revenues rising to more than £50m in 2021. The company also saw a 200% increase in its Google Cloud platform.

The past 12 months have also seen CTS secure several top industry awards and accreditations. CTS also achieved GCP Infrastructure Specialisation status, which recognises partners that have demonstrated success with customers in modernising, architecting, and building Google Cloud Platform infrastructure and workflows.

More recently, the company has renewed its Google Cloud Managed Services Provider (MSP) accreditation, following a rigorous third-party assessment of its people, process, tooling, and service to customers.

2021 also saw a restructure of the CTS leadership team, with former COO Chris Bunch moving into a managing director role, while previous MD, Tom Ray, was named CEO of the wider CTS Group, with oversight for both CTS and its partner company Cloud M.

Chris Bunch said: “It’s safe to say that we had a great 2021. Google Cloud continue to accelerate their growth, and CTS have been – and will be – right alongside them. As we look forward to 2022, we expect another year of record numbers and a range of interesting solutions to be created for our amazing customers, across both GCP and Google Workspace.”


Jon Moister

The British Council for Offices (BCO) is holding its national conference in Manchester this June, and has appointed Inform Communications to help raise its profile across the Northern region.

Established in 1990, the BCO is Britain’s forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector across North Wales, Northern Ireland and the North of England from Merseyside in the west across to Yorkshire and Tyneside in the east.

Inform Communications, which is a specialist in property and construction industry communications, will work with the Northern chapter to raise awareness of its work and research in the region, promote membership benefits, highlight best practice in office design and drive membership diversity. The team will also have an additional remit to support the conference which will be held on June 14-16 at Manchester Central and the regional BCO awards which take place in April.

BCO North’s chair, Jon Moister, said: “The future of the workplace is a subject of much debate and the BCO should be a leading voice in that conversation. The appointment of Inform as our new PR consultant is extremely timely ahead of the national conference which takes place in June this year.”

Inform Communications director, Kate Healey, said: “With the upcoming conference taking place in Manchester and the focus firmly on the future of the workplace post-COVID, it couldn’t be a better time to be working with the BCO.”

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