Responsible business week panel sees students put us in the hotseat again

  25 MAY, 2017
Responsible business week panel sees students put us in the hotseat again

Our chairman Stuart Seddon has chaired a ‘Question Time’ style panel of Staffordshire firms that faced a grilling on responsible business from more than 60 students from five local schools: Cooperative Academy, Thistley Hough, Ormiston Horizon Academy, Excel Academy and Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews.

The event gave local students the opportunity to ask representatives from six different businesses how their organisations endeavour to behave responsibly. This was followed by a networking session, where students were encouraged to share their ideas for improving the way businesses work, making workplaces better and helping communities thrive.

Stuart Seddon chaired the panel of local businesses that included Keele University, Lucideon, Waterworld Group, Stoke College and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.  The companies were joined by a group of enthusiastic young people from schools that are part of Business in the Community’s Staffordshire Business Class Cluster.

Organised by Business in the Community (BITC), the event took place for the second consecutive year as part of Responsible Business Week, an annual awareness week run by Business in the Community to inspire and challenge more businesses to take action which creates positive change in society when businesses and organisations share ways they can work together for a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

The schools and businesses taking part are all part of Business in the Community’s Stoke Business Class Cluster, a group of schools and businesses who work together all year round to ensure that young people attending local schools gain the workplace skills they need to build successful working lives.

The pupils had prepared a series of questions which they put a series of questions to the panel, covering issues such as Brexit, business ethics, technology, and opportunities the businesses can offer school leavers in Stoke.

Stuart Seddon said: “We’re thrilled to be taking part in this worthwhile event for a second year. It’s great to see the next generation showing an interest in responsible business and we hope we demonstrated the benefits of operating responsibly.”

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We are proud to announce record sales of £155.8m in 2018 (2017: £148.6m) alongside pre-tax profits of £5.536m (2017: £5.441m) reporting five years of unbroken growth. We operate from 27 locations across the UK, with our head office being in Stoke-On-Trent and have earmarked £2m of our profit to support new investment in 2019. Planned projects include several digital transformation initiatives. Being a leading provider of maintenance and construction services to the social housing, university retail and hotel sectors, we are developing solutions that will integrate our IT systems with clients’ estate management software and property databases to automate internal processes. We have stepped up our investment into apprenticeships and trainees last year, employing 91 (2017: 65) and are funding the training of 20 quantity surveyors as we seek to address specific skill gaps in the business and  the wider industry’s talent pool. We employ 1,000 people nationally. To celebrate our fifth birthday in 2018 we delivered a nationwide, community-led campaign called ‘The Big Five’ donating £100,000 in time, labour and materials to support five community projects across the UK. The projects were just five of 340 social value initiatives we led last year, positively impacting 14,659 lives.  Our achievements were recognised in 2018 when we were presented with a National Award for Educational Partnership by Business in the Community (BITC). Earlier this year, we were listed among the top five fastest payers to its supply chain with an average of only 26 days against an industry average of 43 days. Five months into the current financial year, we are targeting further sustainable growth and have 90 per cent of our 2019 turnover target already secured. In February 2019, Alan Nixon was appointed the new Chief Executive Officer. Alan, was an existing member of the board and has worked with us – Novus was a part of Seddon Group until 2013 – for more than 30 years. Commenting on the 2018 financial results, Nixon said: “In a market beset with uncertainty, we had another year to be proud of. We grew revenues and profits sustainably as we achieved our business plan, while significantly strengthening our balance sheet so that we can continue to invest in innovation this year and over the long-term. “Novus, under the guidance of its chairman and fourth generation of the Seddon family, Stuart Seddon, was committed to being a responsible contractor that gave something back to its communities, long before it became a requirement in contract bids. We’re pleased to report strong data on our CSR investment alongside our trading performance.      “Our BITC Award and recent commendation for industry-leading payment practices all stem from our culture, which is rooted in being a family-owned business. Ensuring the principles that stem from this continue to guide how we operate, even as we scale the business, is an important objective for myself and the board.  “Looking ahead, the market remains tight. But, with our customer-centric approach and spend on exciting new digital innovations, we’re well placed to continue on our path of manageable growth.”