Tag Archive | "scotland"

She Was Cheesed Off and Ready to Quit, But Then…

How would you feel if you had been made redundant twice and gone to 60 job interviews without any success at all? Most people would quit I think.

This is exactly what happened to one 35 year old woman in Aberdeen, Scotland, who thought her only option might be to resign herself to going to sign on at the local job centre, week in and week out, with no hope of ever landing another job.

However, this particular woman wasn’t ready to give up just yet, and instead of looking for someone else to give her a job she decided to start a business centred around one of her passions.

As we all know, most businesses do fail pretty quickly, which means it wouldn’t have been any surprise to see this woman from Scotland back down the local job centre within a few months.

Not so… and in fact, she went on to start a business that now makes a cool £84,000 a year. Even better, she has 5 people working directly under her. She went from “looking for a boss” to “I am a boss” in only a short amount of time.

It just goes to show you the power of becoming self employed and taking control of your own financial situation if you ask me.

What is this business anyway? Well, she lives in Aberdeen and what is the one thing that almost everyone in that part of Scotland likes more than anything else…Cheese Toasties of course, preferably mixed with haggis to give it a proper Scottish flavour.

This was all made possible by a generous loan from the government funded Start Up Loans Company.

Usually the government are useless when it comes to this type of thing in my opinion, but on this occasion they seem to have got it right.

With the Start Up Loans Company you can get a loan up to £25,000 to start a business for a fixed interest rate of 6%. Not bad if you ask me, and a lot better than what some independent loan companies would offer you.

Back to the story and this Cheese Toastie shop owner from Aberdeen has just been chosen as a spokesperson for SULCo (Start Up Loans Company) who want to use her story as motivation for other wannabe British business owners.

SULCo are looking to provide self employed people in the UK with 50,000 loans over the coming year. They have already lent £345 million to startups, so we are going to be witnessing even more good things over there.

I think this story can serve as inspiration to anyone who is going through a tough time and considering retiring to the local job centre.

Don’t give up just yet. No matter if you want to start a business, become a freelancer or contractor, or simply offer your services in the gig economy…you can do it.

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Global Energy Group unveils new employment plans

Good news for those umbrella company workers who live across the border, as Global Energy Group announced new plans to hire an additional 400 staff in 2013.

The group’s expansion plans will see it needing a total of 800 people in Scotland over the next few years. First minister Alex Salmond made the announcement recently, remarking that the ambitious expansion efforts of Scotland’s energy sector would undoubtedly lead to continued growth to the workforce north of the border. Global Energy Group’s Nigg Energy Park will be the site of the expansion over the coming months, with the work leading to renewed demand for both temporary contract workers and permanent jobseekers alike and also aid in reindustrialising the Cromarty Firth, added Mr Salmond.

The oil and gas operations of Global Energy Group will be the primary focus for the new jobs, according to group chairman Roy MacGregor. In addition to those to be made available at Nigg Energy Park, additional positions will also be made for Invergordon Service Base, which is located in close proximity, Mr MacGregor added.

Scotland’s energy industry has been humming along for quite some time in the intervening years since the credit crunch and global economic slowdown. Gas and oil production has been prioritised by the Scottish government, though green technology such as offshore wind farms have also driven economic recovery efforts north of the border, leading to many new jobs for local residents.

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PCG talks to Scottish MSPs about independence

Contractors in Scotland may have started to wonder what their future will be after the Scottish Referendum on Independence takes place.

Scottish people will be going to the polls in the autumn of 2014 to decide whether they want their country to be independent of the rest of the UK. The PCG was quick to take up the cause of its members are seek assurances from the Scottish Parliament that whichever way the result goes, contractors north of the border would not be disadvantaged.

Fergus Ewing, the SNP Cabinet Minister in charge of energy, enterprise and tourism, met recently with PCG members in Edinburgh. He was able to reassure them that the Scottish government would not turn its back on the contracting community. He said he wanted to know about the barriers facing contractors and explained that he wanted them to feel free to run their businesses.

He went on to say that contractors can sometimes feel isolated, but he wanted them to know that self-employed people were welcome in the Scottish economy.

The PCG delegates also spoke with shadow ministers are raised their concerns with them. Ken MacIntosh, a labour MSP and shadow minister for enterprise, said he would be interested in meeting up with Scottish PCG members and this should happen later this year.

Contractors can rest assured that the PCG is doing everything in its power to ensure that leading politicians in Scotland do not ignore the contracting community.

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Image: William Wallace statue by theilr

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Shale gas and North Sea wind spell opportunities for contractors

Despite the fact that it’s freezing and extremely windy, the North Sea should be looking particularly appealing to umbrella company contractors with skills in offshore wind technology.

The government is keen to exploit renewable sources of energy and it has been keen to encourage the development of offshore wind farms. Now, OGN North Sea has announced it will investigate the feasibility of laying the foundations for wind turbine generators in the deep North Sea waters.

The DECC has given the company a grant of £640,250 and if it goes ahead with its plans they could lead to the creation of about 1,000 long-term jobs.

By 2020, ministers hope to see offshore wind contributing 17% of all our electricity production. Greg Barker, the minister for energy and climate change, expressed his delight at the news from OGN and said the coalition was committed to driving green growth in the UK.

He went on to explain that it made sound economic sense to make wind turbines more efficient and if costs come down, more companies will want to construct them and this will increase the amount of green electricity the UK generates. This funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting innovation and offshore power generation, he added.

Earlier this month, Professor Jane Bower suggested that Scotland should also consider shale gas as a renewable source of energy. She told the Scottish parliament that shale gas was a cheaper alternative to wind power and if her suggestion is acted upon, contractors could also find new opportunities appearing in the oil and gas sector.

© 2012 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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Opportunities abound for contractors north of the border

Umbrella company contractors north of the border will be pleased to learn that demand for their services continues to rise. The latest PMI shows that growth reached its highest level for four years in February and plenty of job opportunities are springing up for job seekers.

This welcome news came from the Bank of Scotland, which said the country is continuing to see “bountiful work” opportunities. The service sector demonstrated strong growth with its PMI increasing from 51.4 in January to 51.7 last month. That’s the 14th consecutive month when the PMI has increased, and that indicates positive times ahead.

Donald MacRae, the chief economist at the Bank of Scotland, said it was encouraging to see that the private sector still maintained a positive track after the financial meltdown. Both manufacturing and services registered increased output last month and increased recruitment in the service sector ensured the number of people in work grew at the fastest rate for four years. The latest results confirm that there is less likelihood of a double dip recession and Scotland should be able to look forward to a stronger recovery this year, he added.

After last week’s dismal employment statistics from the ONS, any positive news must come as a welcome respite to contractors. Scotland does seem to be well placed to recover, especially for contractors with experience in manufacturing, services or renewables.

Contractors in other parts of the UK may take solace from the fact that the BCC now says we are unlikely to slip back into recession.

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Image: Highland Cows by John_Brennan

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What should the mood of Scottish umbrella company contractors be?

The economic recovery in Scotland faltered during the bad weather last December, according to Lloyds TSB’s Scotland Business Monitor.

45% of Scottish firms saw their turnover decline in the quarter ending February this year, while 30% reported no change. Only 25% of companies saw turnover increase which means the result was the most negative for over a year. Consumer confidence in Scotland is still positive but at a low level and spending is constrained.

There’s good news for IT contractors north of the border. The Bank of Scotland’s Report on Jobs shows that demand for IT contractors witnessed the fastest increase in demand in the first month of this year making the IT and computing sector in second place on the demand list behind medical and nursing.

The chief economist at the Bank of Scotland, Donald MacRae, said the economy in Scotland is recovering from the winter bad weather. The Barometer has now improved for five consecutive months posting a reading of 55.2 last month, its highest level for over three years.

All eight Scottish sectors saw an increase in demand for contractors and permanent employees, and there was a noticeable increase in the number of vacancies in engineering and construction.

Opportunities in the Scottish gaming industry are also set to increase next year after Outplay Entertainment announced it will create 150 new jobs in Dundee. These will include roles for technical developers, producers and artists.

The founders of the firm will work with local recruiters and hope to source talent from the University of Albertay, a learning institution with a proven record for producing talent for the gaming industry.

Douglas Hare, Outplay Entertainment’s chief executive said Scotland has a reputation as a creative, inspired and innovative nation, with the right people, skills and support all in the right place.

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Image: Day 63 / 365 – There is no Happy here… by xJasonRogersx

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Economic recovery in Scotland to slow down this autumn

The chief economist at the Bank of Scotland has predicted that the Scottish economic recovery is going to slow down in Q3.

The Scottish economy has been on a bumpy road since emerging from the recession at the end of last year. Although the private sector has been growing for the past 13 months, economic growth actually stalled in the first quarter of this year.

Scottish manufacturers’ sentiment dropped 20 points to zero between quarters one and two according to the CBI index and the Consumer Confidence Index, compiled by Gfk NOP, registered -22 last month.

Those looking for new employment will be heartened by the news that the Bank of Scotland’s Report on Jobs showed an increased demand for permanent workers for the 8th consecutive month.

Growth in the leisure, tourism and travel sectors continues to outstrip growth in business and financial services. And the manufacturing industry is receiving more orders and they are rising faster than inventories, so manufacturers will need to increase the supply of finished goods if they are to keep up with demand.

However, it is thought that the recovery will slow down in the autumn months as widespread concerns continue over government spending cuts.

However, good news for the Scottish jobs market comes with the news that Hewlett Packard is to create 700 new IT jobs at its plant in Erskine, something which could benefit umbrella company IT contractors. The technology giant is setting up a service hub in Renfrewshire, partially aided by a government grant of £7 million.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister, is delighted at the news saying it is testament to the skilled workforce in Scotland that HP has decided to invest in the region and it also points to conditions improving in the IT sector.

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Scottish employment recovery stalls

The Scottish economy continued to improve in July, but this improvement did nothing to boost employment levels.

After five consecutive months of job creation, businesses north of the border reported that recruitment levels remained the same last month, compared with a slight increase across the UK as a whole.

Private sector companies continued to see an increase in new business albeit at a slower pace than in the previous 5 months.

The chief economist at the Bank of Scotland, Donald MacRae, said that this was the thirteenth consecutive increase in business activity. Manufacturing still led the recovery whilst growth in the service sector was moderate. There was an increase in new orders for the sixth consecutive month; however last month’s rise was weaker than in previous months.

The business and financial service sectors have shown welcome growth and tourism and travel continue to grow but at a slightly lower rate. MacRae concludes that the overall economic recovery news is positive, albeit slightly subdued.

However, there are fresh fears that Scotland may be about to suffer a surge in corporate failures. Figures from the Accountant in Bankruptcy showed that liquidations in Scotland rose by 103% in the 2nd quarter.

This was a rise of 8% over Q1. 572 companies in Scotland have gone into liquidation in the first six months, up by 265 on the first half of 2009.

Bryan Jackson from PKF business advisers and accountants warns that public sector spending cuts could lead to more corporate failures.

The largest rate of failures in Q2 were in the property and business activities sector, followed by the construction industry.

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Sluggish private sector recovery sparks fears in Scotland

The Scottish private sector recovery slowed down last month according to June’s purchasing managers index from the Bank of Scotland. This development could affect umbrella company contractors operating in Scotland.

The index measures activity across the manufacturing and service sectors in Scotland and last month it fell to 52.9 from the May figure of 53. Employment growth and new orders also decelerated during the period.

The chief economist at the bank, Donald MacRae, remarked that although the recovery slowed last month, manufacturing output achieved its best ever rise offsetting the sluggish growth in the service sector.

Clients appear to be postponing new projects due to fears that the recovery will not be sustained and this view was most apparent in the services sector.

Recruitment continued to increase in Scotland last month for the fifth consecutive month, although at a lesser rate than in the previous months.

In some circles there are now worries that Scotland could suffer a ‘double-dip’ recession. Scotland depends more on public sector employment than the rest of the UK and with government spending cuts looming more jobs could be lost.

There are also concerns that growth in the private sector may not be quick enough to soak up the inevitable redundancies in the public sector.

Elsewhere in the UK the picture looks slightly better although the PMI dipped one point in June. The index published by Markit/CIPS dropped to 54.4m the lowest level since last August. This was also the third drop in the index in the last 4 months.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: 163/365: There are days when I feel like I’m losing my head by by Janine

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