Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

The University of Brighton is marking the launch of its new Journalism and Digital Media Hub by bringing together industry and academics involved in the digital creative industries for an early-evening gathering of short talks and discussion.

The aim of this event is to consider the future of the digital creative industries and ways in which universities and industry can work together in advancing the sector. The digital revolution has taken place – but how can the creative industries evolve?

  • De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
  • Wednesday September 23 2015, 4pm-6pm
  • Drinks and networking to 7pm

To book you place please visit the De La Warr Pavilion booking page. There is a £5 fee to cover the cost of refreshments

For the full programme and more information about the speakers, please visit the Hastings Exchange blog.

Posted by: In: Initiatives, Investment, Jobs, Manufacturing 22 Jun 2015 Comments: 0

An apprenticeship scheme to attract fresh engineering talent has proved so successful for Hastings-based Marshall-Tufflex that it is considering extending it to other areas of the business.

The cable management specialist, which has its manufacturing base in Hastings, East Sussex, has taken on four apprentice engineers in its Engineering Department. A fifth vacancy has yet to be filled.

“Engineering resource was identified as a big problem for us,” said Steven Baldry, Marshall-Tufflex Group Personnel Development Manager. “To help fill this gap in what is a critical area we’ve invested in an Apprenticeship Programme to attract young people into engineering so we may develop and grow the technical skills needed to meet our demands. The programme has proved so effective we’re considering broadening it to encompass other areas of our business, allowing for the development of good practice and skills to aid our future growth.”

Nationally there is a huge shortage of engineers, with statistics showing that more than 50,000 jobs need to be filled each year to meet industry demand for workers with engineering skills.

Marshall-Tufflex has worked with local training provider SIGTA to recruit and train the apprentices – Jon Aherne, Elliot Finch, Liam Shepherd and Josh Hayler – who are all assigned mentors within the business. Each apprentice is working towards an NVQ Level 3 Advanced Modern Apprenticeship in Engineering. The company is also looking to increase its collaboration with STEM Sussex, part of the University of Brighton, to help support the development of careers in engineering and engaging with local initiatives such as ‘Own Grown’, a project in Hastings and Rother to help young people enter the world of work.

Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye MP who held a Careers Fayre at the ARK William Parker Academy, Hastings, earlier in the year at which Marshall-Tufflex was an exhibitor, said: “We are so fortunate to have such an array of industries offering a wide range of careers, opportunities and apprenticeships here in Hastings.”

Underpinning the Fayre was the message to young people that there are prospects for them in Hastings, as ARK William Parker Academy careers advisor Marie Byas explained: “The purpose of this event was to ensure students are aware that there is a career and a future for them in Hastings.”

This view is shared by Marshall-Tufflex Chief Executive Paul Hetherington, who has made it clear he is keen to promote opportunities within Marshall-Tufflex to job seekers in Hastings and the surrounding area. “Hastings has been good to Marshall-Tufflex during its 60 years in the town and it has always been important to us to give something back, usually through our charitable trust. However, we also want to develop local talent and keep skilled workers in the town. Our Apprenticeship Programme is a really positive step towards achieving this,” said Mr Hetherington.

The University of Sussex is pleased to offer the opportunity for organisations to benefit from financial support to employ a Sussex student. Now in its second year, the University of Sussex First-Generation Scholars’ Summer Internship Programme is designed to offer relevant and meaningful work experience to students, and additional support with projects or tasks to employers.

First-Generation Scholars are current undergraduate students at the University of Sussex who are either the first in their family to go to university, or have a family income of less than £42,620 per annum.hr

The University invites you to express interest in receiving £3100 funding to offer a First-Generation Scholar a 10 week internship opportunity (organisations based in London attract £3600). Internships should commence during June 2015 and last for 10 weeks. Please note:

  • Applicants will be second year undergraduates, returning to the University of Sussex in September 2015.
  • We ask you to conduct your usual recruitment process; the University will not be matching candidates to your opportunity.
  • Internship providers should pay interns a minimum of £7.85 per hour (the UK Living Wage, organisations based in London are encouraged to top this up to £9.15 per hour).
  • Interns will be expected to work 37.5 hours per week for 10 weeks.

They are also interested in hearing from individuals who are able to offer 2 days’ work shadowing to First-Generation Scholars who are in their first year of study.

Your support for First-Generation Scholars will provide them with access to the social networks, contacts and experiences which allow them to explore future careers.

If you would like to express your interest in the either the fully funded Internship scheme or work shadowing programme please visit www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/aboutus/employers/findoutmore

Sussex based VG Scienta Apprentice Amy West wins the prestigious GTA England Engineering and Construction Apprentice of the Year Award 2014.


Amy West with her award

Amy West, an Engineering Apprentice employed by Hastings based VG Scienta Limited, was presented with her award by Nick Boles MP, Minister of State for Skills and Equalities. The presentation ceremony took place in the Houses of Parliament, as part of the Group Training Associations (GTA) annual conference and 50th anniversary celebratory event.

Amy was nominated for this award by SIGTA, VG Scienta’s Sussex based Apprenticeship partner and was one of many hundreds of apprentices from across England competing for the coveted prize.

During the award ceremony, Amy was joined by three other talented finalists, each recognised for their contribution to their employers, their training associations and to the wider Apprenticeship scheme.

Amy West, who lives in Battle, East Sussex, started her Apprenticeship Scheme with VG Scienta Ltd in 2012 opting for a more practical career path rather than the more traditional university based academic route.   The apprenticeship scheme encourages a hands-on approach to learning, coupled with BTEC qualifications in relevant fields and has proved extremely successful in developing talented and skilful individuals, ready, and qualified for the work environment.

As part of VG Scienta’s apprenticeship process, Amy spent time in each department gaining an understanding of high tech manufacturing processes and best practice product design. During her training within the sales and marketing department, Amy displayed a natural aptitude for graphic design, which coupled with her developing engineering skills helped create a product offering and brand new company profile which has been adopted across the entire Scienta group of companies in the UK, Sweden and US.

As part of Amy’s award she will also be travelling to Austria with other finalists to visit a state of the art manufacturing facility.

The Hastings Independent will be celebrating its six-month anniversary this Friday 15th August when its 12th issue returns hot off the press.

The fortnightly paper is a non-profit venture run entirely by local volunteers – writers, editors, photographers, designers and distributors. It was conceived in a pub, as all the best ideas are, and has grown rapidly. It expanded from 16 pages to 20 pages two months ago, and plans to increase its current print run of 10,000 to 13,000 as soon as finances allow.

Hastings has welcomed the paper with open arms, with letters and emails flooding in and more volunteers turning up to the public news meetings each week, asking how they can get involved.


The Hastings Independent News team

And that’s the plan, says Sam Kinch, one of the paper’s four directors: “I see the Independent as a mouthpiece for the town, to give people a voice to air their views, to take a stand or even just to share gardening tips. But more than that I see it as a vehicle for community-led regeneration.”

For some of the team, setting up the paper has meant learning a whole new set of skills – for example the chief designer, Joseph Gregory, who taught himself to use InDesign and the intricacies of newspaper layout.

Others have taught themselves and one another how to write and edit news. For those trying to build up their CVs, it has provided an opportunity to build up portfolios of published articles and gain insight into the journalism industry – experience that is increasingly hard to access in mainstream journalism.

However, there have been challenges – the biggest, of course, being money. While the paper has applied for and been awarded some grants, so far the £700 a month printing costs have been funded mainly through advertising sales and fundraising, leading to several white-knuckle press days. But with new and repeat advertisers steadily coming on board, and the introduction of new sponsorship packages for local businesses, the finances are slowly stabilising.

“There have been times when we didn’t think we’d make it,” says Cathy Relf, one of the paper’s volunteers. “But with a bit of determination and a fantastic and expanding team, we’ve got stronger and stronger. Getting to six months is a fantastic achievement, and the reader feedback makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

There are big plans for the next six months, including a stall at Brighton University’s Freshers’ Fair, collaboration with a group of year 12 and 13 students at Parkwood 6th Form College, an art auction at the Crown in September and the much-requested addition of a sports page. Watch this space!

For more information about the newspaper, visit www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk. You can also call them on 07961 108801 or email subs@hastingsindependentpress.co.uk.

Taste of Hastings day in the Houses of Parliament

Amber Rudd MP will be hosting a ‘Taste of Hastings’ day on 14th July.


To celebrate all of the wonderful local food and drink available in the Hastings and Rye area, Amber is inviting local businesses and producers up to Westminster to display and advertise their produce alongside other successful businesses from the area.

The Taste of Hastings day will be a chance to introduce your food and drink to new audiences and demonstrate what makes Hastings and Rye such a gourmet hotspot.

If you have any local culinary delights that you would are keen to show and would like to join Amber for the Taste of Hastings day on 14th July between 11:00am – 2:30pm, please get in touch with elishab.walia@parliament.uk, letting us know a few more details about your business.

Posted by: In: Initiatives, Transport 28 May 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: ,

There is only one week left to join the Sustrans TravelChoice Challenge. so far 17 companies have signed up to the scheme. Here’s what you need to do to enter your business and the criteria for the challenge itself. Is your business up for it?


Are you up for the Sustrans TravelChoice Challenge?

TravelChoice Challenge runs from 1st – 29th June 2014.

The aim of the Challenge is to get as many people as possible commuting to work (and back) and any journeys for work by walking, cycling, using public transport and car-sharing.

Anyone who works in East Sussex can join in.

Its great fun and They will be giving out loads of prizes along the way.

You can compete on your own or as part of a Workplace team. All you have to do is register and then start logging your journeys to get on the leaderboard.

Which journeys count?

The aim of the Challenge is to reduce the number of journeys by car on your own.

So any journeys to work (and back) or any journeys for work on foot, by bike, by public transport, or car-sharing count.

We’ll even let you log a ‘work at home’ day if it means you don’t have to travel to the office by car on your own. The only thing that doesn’t count is travelling in a car on your own (and taxis don’t count as car-sharing either!)

The more journeys you do the higher up the leader board you’ll get.

Have fun and enjoy the challenge.

Contact Sustrans

If you have any questions about the TravelChoice Challenge, please contact the Challenge Coordinator, at: harriet.knights@sustrans.org.uk

Posted by: In: Initiatives, Jobs 26 Mar 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: ,

The Government announced last year that it would introduce an employment allowance for all businesses, charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and this is going to be coming in to effect very soon.

From April 2014 every business and charity will be eligible for an “employment allowance”, which will give them a £2,000 tax cut off their National Insurance Contributions bill.


Employment Allowance of up to £2000 is available from April to those looking for new staff.

The Employment Allowance will reduce the cost of taking on new staff for small businesses; supporting those with an ambition to grow by hiring their first employee or expanding their workforce.

In practical terms this means that businesses will be able to employ four adults, or ten 18-20 year-olds, full-time on the National Minimum Wage without paying any employer National Insurance Contributions at all. Or, that a small business can pay an employee £22,400 without having to pay any jobs tax.

In Hastings alone this allowance will give around 7000 businesses a £2000 tax cut. Across the country it will mean that 450,000 small businesses—one third of all employers in the country—will pay no jobs tax at all. On average, employers with fewer than 10 employees over the course of the year will see their employer NICs bill reduced by 80 per cent.

For more information on the employment allowance and how your business can claim, visit –


Posted by: In: events, Initiatives, Investment, Jobs 20 Mar 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , ,

Lord Brett McLean Chairman of the FSB and County’s Economic Advisory Board has teamed up with Avanta Hastings to launch a new employment initiative “100 jobs in 100 days”.

The official launch takes place on Monday 24th March at 11am at the Avanta offices at 6 Bank Buildings Hastings.

The event launch will welcome employers and representatives from both small and large businesses into the Hastings AVANTA ‘S HQ’s and over a complimentary buffet lunch will introduce these business people to Avanta clients seeking part or full time employment.

Businesses who will be attending include:- Checkatrade.com, Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Co-op, Poundland, Hastings Direct, Azur Marina Pavilion, Observer Newspaper Group, Hastings Borough Council, Harcourt’s Tea House, XIII CONSULTANTS, FSB etc.

summer intern

100 jobs in 100 days launch is on the 26th March

As an incentive to employers there will be a ‘back to work payment’ awarded to each business to the value of £ 2,700. 00 per employee.

Lord Brett McLean said ” Following the successful 100 apprentices in 100 days campaign launched last year by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd I have decided to echo the initiative but with a difference – 100 real jobs in 100 days thus boosting local employment and economic development opportunities. If successful and there is no doubt that it won’t be; this scheme will then be launched as a nationwide initiative and I will be delighted as an ambassador for Avanta to ensure that this entire program is successful with Hastings and St Leonards on Sea being the flagship example for increased employment.

Hastings Borough Council is leading a European project to improve the environment with the SAFE-ICE initiative.

The ‘SAFE-ICE’ initiative brings together twenty  partners from four European countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom)  to develop a common understanding of what a low carbon economy actually means, and highlighting good practice in terms of research, innovation and business support. 



“The first phase of the work will be completed by May 2014, including a business congress and publication to share the good practice that has been identified.

“We pride ourselves in Hastings on being ‘famously green’, and it is a real feather in our cap to be leading on this work.”

For more information about the project please click here.