People: Saint & Co; Cynergy Business Finance; Langtree; Exchange; Irwin Mitchell; Eddisons

Rachel Simpson

An accountancy firm has supercharged its commitment to the ongoing learning and professional development of its staff by enlisting 17 new apprentices, coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week.

Saint & Co offers a variety of apprenticeship programmes across four office bases in Cumbria to support people wanting to either start a career or develop their knowledge and qualifications within the industry.

Rachel Simpson, 37, is working towards her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification, 15 years after starting at the company. She said: “I feel very fortunate to have the great support of the company which has helped find ways of introducing me to new parts of the business I’ve not been involved in before, and I’m excited to be working towards my ACCA qualification.”

Teenager Alex Lamont, 17, has started working towards his Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) qualification after realising Sixth Form wasn’t for him. He will combine two years of studying at Kaplan Financial in Newcastle with working in the firm’s Carlisle office.

He said: “I did a year of Sixth Form but decided I preferred more practical learning so I went looking for an apprenticeship, which meant I could still get my qualifications while getting experience in the working world.”

In its latest intake, Saint & Co offered 10 apprenticeships at its Carlisle office, four in Ambleside, two in Whitehaven and Millom, and one in Wigton.

The firm’s Student Training Partner, Sophie Graham, oversees the apprenticeship programme and said the bumper intake highlights the firm’s desire to support people in their professional development journey, whatever route that might be. She said: “Working with apprentices is very important to us as a company and we want to ensure that we offer wider career pathways for all, and not potentially miss out on somebody who doesn’t go down the more traditional route of a university degree.”

Saint & Co’s apprenticeship programme is aimed at adults of any age and experience.


Dave Green

Asset-based lending specialist, Cynergy Business Finance (CBF), has bolstered its growing team with the appointment of Dave Green as Corporate Sales Director.

Green, a well known business finance professional in the North West, brings almost 25 years of experience within the asset-based lending sector, having previously worked as a Business Development Manager for nearly 16 years at RBS Invoice Finance, where he was one of the business’s top performers.

He joins Manchester-based CBF from Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, where he worked as Regional Sales Director for almost a decade. Green was one of the founding members of Secure Trust Bank’s asset-based lending arm, and has built a reputation for sponsor-backed and complex ABL transactions..

Green said: “CBF has really established itself as an ABL leader within a relatively short time period, building a strong client base and offering an exciting market proposition, so it is a great opportunity to be joining the team as it grows.”

Dan Burton, Executive Director at Cynergy Business Finance, said: “Dave brings with him a wealth of expertise with sponsor-backed deals, which is something that we’ve already built a strong reputation for in the sector. Dave’s experience on these deals will be invaluable to the team, allowing us to continue growing as a business and create more variety in terms of the deal structure and size we work on.”


Josh Downes

Josh Downes has been promoted to the board of Warrington-based commercial property business Langtree following almost four years with the company as senior development manager.

The move presages further recruitment to the development team as the company’s ongoing and anticipated workload ramps up, says chairman Tim Johnston: “Our model of development partnerships with key public authorities is in greater demand than ever as the country seeks to utilise its brownfield sites whilst bringing its stock of industrial and commercial buildings up to standard. Our expertise in delivering BREEAM ‘excellent’ buildings and meeting demanding ESG requirements has proven critical to our growth.”

Downes studied law at Liverpool before securing his Master’s in real estate at Reading. He joined JLL in Manchester from there in 2016 and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 2018, before joining Langtree in 2020.

The appointment is effective from April 1, and Downes said: “We have a demanding programme to drive through and real ambition to deliver on the regeneration and job creation that comes with it for our partners. I’m looking forward to welcoming new members to the team as the year unfolds.”


Rich Jones

Exchange, the tech start-up accelerator, has appointed Rich Jones as its new head, as it refreshes its programme and gears up for a year of growth.

Rich will oversee operations and programme structure for its Manchester and Leeds cohorts, bringing a wealth of experience in supporting early stage companies in the North.

Rich joins Exchange from NatWest Accelerator Leeds where he was enterprise acceleration manager for over two years. There he spearheaded initiatives to grow the tech ecosystem, supporting more than 250 businesses across four cohorts.

Exchange at Department currently supports nearly 100 early-stage tech businesses across its Manchester and Leeds sites, based in Department Bonded Warehouse and Department Leeds Dock, respectively. The programme’s impressive alumni include PixelMax, Financielle, Sparkbox, HACE and Housr.

Jones said: “Exchange has cemented itself as one of the premier launch pads for early-stage tech companies. Now in its fourth year, it’s well respected and trusted across the industry. But there is always more to be done. As the tech ecosystems in Manchester and Leeds continue to develop, there are new opportunities for us to expand our offerings.”

Anthony Powell, managing director at Department, said: “Rich’s experience in developing tech businesses and supporting tech founders made him the ideal person to lead Exchange in its next phase of growth. With his lead and the support of the expert partner, mentor, and advisory network, I am confident we will continue to see innovative companies coming out of Exchange.”


Richard Baigent

Law firm, Irwin Mitchell, is continuing to bolster its international services for UK and overseas businesses with the appointment of Richard Baigent as an International Trade Consultant.

Richard brings a wealth of experience from his role as Department for Business & Trade’s (DBT) International Trade Adviser for the Financial, Professional & Business Advisory sector. He’s also held senior positions in global organisations such as HSBC and Western Union, where he led national and international teams.

Richard Baigent said: “I am thrilled to join Irwin Mitchell and contribute to the firm’s ongoing investment in building a strong international team. With the complexities of international trade and the opportunities it presents, I am excited to collaborate with our clients and prospects, supporting them in navigating global markets and achieving their objectives.”

Bryan Bletso, Irwin Mitchell’s Director of Strategic Growth (International), said: “Richard’s appointment is a testament to our commitment to building a robust international team. His expertise and connections in international trade will further strengthen our capabilities and enable us to provide exceptional service to our clients on a global scale.”


From left: Josh Northcott, Phil Deakin, Kate Smith

Fast-growing property consultancy Eddisons has appointed a new director within the firm’s valuation team in the North West.

Based in Eddisons’ Manchester offices, Josh Northcott has joined from Colliers, where he was an associate director of the firm’s international valuation and advisory services.

With 15 years’ commercial property industry experience, Josh specialises in land and property valuation across a range of sectors for secured lending, accounting and purchase or disposals.

Phil Deakin, regional director at Eddisons and head of the firm’s North West and West Midlands valuation team, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Josh on board, marking the appointment of yet another high calibre team member, who brings with him extensive experience of working in a multi-national practice.

“The continued expansion of Eddisons’ North West valuation team complements our growth in other regions and targeted acquisitions in areas such as the South West with Bristol-based Andrew Forbes Chartered Surveyors.”

Also in the 10-strong North West valuation team, graduate surveyor Kate Smith, who joined Eddisons in 2022, has passed her Assessment of Professional Competence exams to become a qualified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Phil Deakin added: “Kate has gone from strength to strength since she became a member of our valuation team and we are really proud of her achievement in becoming chartered and attaining registered valuer status.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...