NW business briefs: Building Careers; Everton FC; Housemates; Genre Lab; Momentum Group; IACS Training

Mark Harris

North West construction recruiters, Building Careers UK, is under new ownership after co-founder Mark Harris took sole control of the company to realise its growth plans.

The Skelmersdale-based firm was set up by Harris, 41, and partner Carl Donegan, 43, in 2007. The pair steadily built the business from a dining room table to a £12m turnover company with more than 30 staff supporting the construction industry across the UK.

More than 17 years later the business has placed thousands of candidates into employment in every corner of the country and has established itself as a one-stop shop in the construction recruitment market, boasting some of the biggest Tier 1 construction outfits and registered providers in the affordable homes sector as clients.

The journey has seen Building Careers evolve its presence in Liverpool city centre, MediaCity in Manchester, and throughout Lancashire. With the recent acquisition, Harris believes the business is now primed and prepared to take its next significant leap forward. He said: “We’ve built a fantastic company from very humble beginnings and the time is right to take sole ownership of Building Careers UK. I, and my fellow directors, have ambitious plans to really develop this business and take it to the next level. This buyout is the first step.”

He added: “Building Careers is not just another player in the market – we have thrived for two decades. Our success is grounded in consistently delivering exceptional results to our clients and forging enduring partnerships. Ours is a company driven by genuine care and commitment, and we are poised to embark on an exciting journey of growth and innovation in new business areas and locations.”

Under the agreement, Donegan will continue to support the business in an executive role until December 2024.


Everton fan, Sandra, in the new shirt

Everton FC and its shirt sponsor, hummel, have launched a limited edition shirt to champion equality in football and to raise funds to support the club and Everton in the Community’s award-winning inclusion work.

The shirt, which is on sale online at evertondirect.com and in store at Everton One and Everton Two from Friday, September 29, is a celebration of hummel’s 100-year commitment to raising awareness of social issues and inspiring change through sport.

The initiative has seen the Danish brand, which was established in 1923, create limited edition ‘Equality Jerseys’ for seven of its clubs across Europe. The design is inspired by the iconic Denmark ’86 shirt, a template that has also been prominently featured across many of hummel’s kits for 2023/24, including the Everton third strip revealed last month.

To launch the equality shirt, players from across Everton’s men’s, women’s, Under-21s and amputee football teams took part in a photoshoot, alongside supporters representing the diversity of the Blues’ fanbase. A donation from each shirt sold will help Everton in the Community continue to deliver vital projects and education sessions in areas including disability, youth engagement, social isolation, as well as celebrating cultural diversity and the LGBT+ community.

Richard Kenyon, Everton’s chief commercial and communications officer, said: “We are proud to support this campaign and to help hummel celebrate 100 years of their brand and what is very much a shared value of championing equality and inclusion across our game and wider society. We want this shirt to raise awareness of all aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion and to celebrate that our sport is for everyone. We also intend to highlight the work we are doing to ensure anyone engaging with Everton or Everton in the Community feels respected, celebrated, empowered for who they are, and that they belong.”


Dfavo and Housemates teams

Manchester-based Housemates, provider of an instant booking student accommodation marketplace, has joined forces with Norway-based edtech company Dfavo in a move aimed at benefiting students worldwide.

As well as offering services from institution and programme selection to visa and study permit applications and more, Dfavo will now make Housemates’ inventory available across its platforms. Dfavo chief partnerships officer, Tom Pinder, said its partnership with Housemates has been designed to ease student concerns relating to increasing education costs and the extremely competitive accommodation landscape.

He said: “Dfavo’s partnership with Housemates is a match made with students in mind. By pairing our Scandinavian, egalitarian, and progressive values with Housemates’ mission to democratise access to affordable, quality, and secure accommodation, wherever students choose to study, we’re confident that this relationship helps meet the rising demand for PBSA and private housing options alike in a fair and equitable way.”

The Dfavo partnership follows the recent launch of Housemates Connect API, an intuitive booking engine which enables businesses to unlock revenue by offering fast and secure student accommodation. Lydia Jones is CEO of Housemates, a platform used by students from more than 20 countries which lists more than 1.2 million beds across the UK, Ireland and Australia.

She said: “This partnership is another critical milestone in Housemates’ journey. Dfavo handled more than 65,000 student applications last year and will continue to play a pivotal role in the lives of students worldwide. With the seamless integration of Housemates’ offer on Dfavo’s platforms, students will be provided with a one-stop-shop that has been designed to make their experience, during a stressful period, much easier.”


Dr Caty Flynn

Following her PhD award from the University of Salford in 2022, Dr Caty Flynn has embarked on an innovative journey as the founder of The Genre Lab.

Ushering in a new era of research, The Genre Lab. is the first independent interdisciplinary research organisation of its kind, helping all organisations to facilitate change, save and generate income and time, and create lasting and valuable impact through expert services and innovative products. With the support of Launch@ Salford, her visionary approach is rapidly coming to fruition.

Launch, Salford Business School’s purpose-built incubation space, is designed to support Salford students and graduates through the start-up phase of their business journeys. Launch provides the physical space for budding entrepreneurs to share ideas with like-minded people, organise meetings, and seek crucial support from industry experts.

Caty said: “My association with Launch@ Salford has been transformative for The Genre Lab. The insights, mentoring and valuable connections facilitated by the programme, especially from Paul Little, have played a pivotal role in our growth. Their dedication to nurturing entrepreneurial spirits is commendable.”

Paul Little, incubation manager at Launch@ Salford, said: “This year marks the fifth anniversary of Launch@ Salford, and over the years, we’ve successfully hosted 10 cohorts since our inception in 2018. It’s become a pivotal incubation hub for fostering community entrepreneurs. Caty perfectly embodies the innovative, ambitious mindset we strive to nurture at Salford Business School. The Genre Lab’s unique approach to research, emphasising accessibility and interdisciplinarity, showcases the transformative influence our alumni can exert in their chosen sectors.”


Chris Bliss and Chris Renshaw

Liverpool-based property services company, The Momentum Group, has tripled turnover in its first five years. The company turned over £7.5m in its fifth year, up from the £2.5m in its first 12 months of operation.

Founded by Chris Bliss and Chris Renshaw in Liverpool in 2018, The Momentum Group has grown from a team of 11 serving three clients in the city to employing 57 people advising almost 200 clients spread throughout the North West and beyond. To accommodate its team, the company has increased its office space from 400 sq ft in year one to 4,000 sq ft today, with Momentum now occupying a whole floor in One Temple Square, one of Momentum Manage’s portfolio of buildings.

The Momentum Group is now four separate businesses: Advise, Build, Manage and Maintain, and works on some of the best known landmarks in Liverpool and the North West, including Liverpool One in the heart of the city. The company is also expanding nationally, with instructions for Momentum Build with Gravity at Westfield Stratford in London, and Momentum Manage in Guildford. In addition, Momentum Advise has consulted with Value Retail on Bicester Village, and Momentum Maintain worked for Hamleys toy stores across the country.

Chris Bliss and Chris Renshaw said: “We established The Momentum Group to build a business that not only stands out for the quality of what it achieves, but for the way in which it operates. Five years on, and thanks to a great team, clients and supply chain partners, we have exceeded our expectations. Our choice of ‘Momentum’ as the name of the business was quite deliberate, and it is very gratifying to see it borne out as we look to the next five years of our growth.”

Bliss and Renshaw also created the Momentum Foundation to support community organisations in the Liverpool City Region. To date, the foundation has contributed £42,000 to grass roots organisations, alongside building an endowment fund that currently stands at £15,000.


Apprentices and scheme partners

A pioneering apprenticeship, and the first in the UK dedicated to pipeline inspection that incorporates qualifications in hydrogen awareness, has officially welcomed its first cohort of apprentices to Hopwood Hall College and University Centre in Middleton.

The ‘Practitioner in Pipelines for Hydrogen and Utilities’ Apprenticeship – derived from the Construction Support Technician apprenticeship standard) -integrates pipeline inspection with a comprehensive ‘safety module’, which includes the world’s very first Ofqual accredited qualification in hydrogen awareness.

The apprenticeship has been devised through a strategic partnership between IACS Training and Education, the training subsidiary of IACS, Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, an apprenticeship provider, and TWI, one of the world’s leading authorities on safety assurance through engineering, materials and joining technologies.

Taking place over a 16-month term, the apprenticeship will be supported by Hydrogen Safe, the specialist safety training provider and TWI, the BGAS-CSWIP certification course tutor that will be responsible for delivering the courses and examination. Starting on a basic salary of £28,000 a year, the apprentice will also be able to achieve performance-related salary incentive uplifts as they gain the individual certifications awarded by TWI. On successful completion of the apprenticeship, each apprentice will be offered a permanent role with IACS.

James Baker, director at IACS Training & Education, said: “We are delighted to welcome our first group of 11 apprentices, which have all been recruited from across the North. They are about to embark on a wonderful journey through a programme that has been created specifically for the role they have chosen as their career. Our single focus is to develop highly skilled tradesmen and women who will be able to confidently contribute to the green energy sector.”