Minister urges firms to tap disabled talent pool

first_imgMinister urges firms to tap disabled talent poolOn 23 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Disabled staff can prove more reliable than other employees because theytake less time off sick and remain in their jobs for longer, according to theMinister for Disabled People. Maria Eagle, talking exclusively to Personnel Today, said people with disabilitiesare an under-used resource in the UK labour market and stressed it is inemployers’ interests to make the most of their skills. She said the Disability Rights Commission estimates that of the 8.5 milliondisabled people in the UK, 400,000 could find work with a little help from moreprogressive organisations. “Employers are missing a trick because they are falling foul of oldattitudes instead of taking a new look at what their businesses need, who canprovide it and who is out there. They need to be more broadminded. We oftenhear that companies are looking for skilled employees and complaining about[staff] turnover. “Disabled people are less likely to take time off sick and more likelyto stay in a job longer than non-disabled people.” Research shows that a third of organisations believe disabled staff willhave high sickness absence rates and be expensive to employ because of the costof altering buildings or providing specialist equipment, said Eagle. “Employers must think more widely than jumping to conclusions that seemobvious – but are often inaccurate,” she added. Eagle told employers to look closely at their HR policies and practices tosee if they can be adapted to incorporate disabled staff in the organisation.She cited flexible working arrangements as an example. “It is a lot easier than employers think to make adjustments for staffwith a disability. Often the adjustments are cheap or cost nothing –flexibility in hours, for example, so an employee with a disability is not tryingto get to work in the middle of the rush hour,” said Eagle. She demanded employers take the lead in changing employee attitudes todisabled staff. She said: “Internal disability awareness training forstaff is an obvious and valuable tool. Strong signs from above about how peopleshould be treated is a good start.” Eagle confirmed that the Government is committed to including staff with HIVand cancer – including those in remission – under new disability legislationtreatment. She also said the Government will extend disability legislation to ensureequal treatment in the workplace to all of the public sector, including policeand the fire service, but not the armed forces. “I do not think it is right for us to lecture the private sector iflegislation does not cover the public sector. We shall extend the reach of thecurrent legislation to cover most of the public sector, armed forces apart,within the lifetime of this parliament,” she said. By Paul Nelson Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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No weak Link

first_img“Not just brown bread”: the rise and rise of McCambridgeMcCambridge is the largest manufacturer of wholewheat soda bread in Ireland. But the last seven years have seen it branch out into other areas, following an ambitious acquisitions growth strategy, which has seen its turnover leap nearly five-fold in the last year alone.McCambridge was established in 1985 but has a history of food production and retailing dating back to 1945. It employs some 2,500 staff across 20 bakeries. Turnover for 2008 is estimated at £175 million, making it the second-largest cake manufacturer in the UK and it plans to build on the 110 million mice pies it supplied into retail last year.While the family business has roots stretching back to the mid-20th century, the McCambridge Group was formed in 1999, with a view to entering the UK market, and has since made 10 strategic acquisitions.The first of those came in 2001 with WR&SV Hussey, followed in 2002 with Aldreds the Bakers. Between 2005 and 2007, businesses came thick and fast, with Plymouth Premier Pasties and Plymouth Premier Bakeries, West of England Bakeries, Queen of Hearts and Tredinnick Fine Foods all joining, culminating in the big one in July last year, the purchase of ailing Inter Link Foods.The company also acquired three Irish bakeries – Duggans, Gill’s and Cookes – as well as a large-scale cake bakery in Poland, which came with Inter Link. The Polish bakery is spearheading a drive into Russia and the Ukraine and developing links into Germany, Holland and Spain. Innovation planThe three-year plan, Cox reveals, will be to complete the first phase of integrating the Inter Link businesses. After that, the longer-term group strategy will focus on product innovation, and an analysis of where its products sit in the category. For example, the delivery of Soreen into the marketplace could be improved.”We’re in an ongoing process of reviewing where our core capabilities are and where our core strengths are,” says Cox. “We’ve established that there are certain sectors that we’re very strong in, such as the Soreen brand, that we’re looking to develop. Soreen is a great brand and it’s got a lot of potential. But the snack bars are not always displayed in the right place, so we’re looking to help the retailers maximise their sales by putting that right.”He hopes to better utilise the specialist knowledge of the bespoke businesses in the south, as well as Ireland, for more creative NPD across the large capacity cake lines. “We have strengths in our more niche southern sites,” he says. “We’re trying to focus that creativity around those niche premium products, and bring them more into the mainstream capacity product lines of the old Inter Link.”Cox believes that its mix of premium niche bakeries and production scale give it a competitive edge going into retail. Part of that will involve bringing Fairtrade products into the mainstream, though he was staying tight-lipped on the details. “We’re working on some products that are confidential, which no other retailer is working on, and which will give us a leading edge in the marketplace.”While Inter Link was geared to own-label supply, we are likely to see more McCambridge branding on products, he added. Part of the long-term strategic plan is to develop the brands, especially the McCambridge one. “We’re in the infancy of that development. We’re considering some new products, and trying to work out where those products sit – whether that’s in own-label or a brand.”So what is Cox personally hoping to bring to the company? “My experiences are of working in much larger organisations, such as Uniq and Rentokil. There are some skills and disciplines I can bring from having worked outside the food business [though his last job was with St Ivel]. I’ve also been involved in turnarounds, looking at the key priorities and the longer-term strategy for the business.”Picking up Inter Link out of administration has taken a significant amount of our time and resources, and that will carry on over the coming weeks. So there has been quite a lot of focus on the short-term priorities that the business has. As we come out of that, we’ll be able to focus much more on the longer-term plans we have.” Back in 2005, McCambridge’s chairman, Michael McCambridge, was quoted in the Irish Times as saying: “McCambridge is linked almost exclusively with brown bread and we want to keep it that way.” Two years later, it acquired the second-biggest cake manufacturer in the UK, in the shape of Inter Link Foods. But they’d already picked up three UK businesses by that point, en route to the 10 in total that they’ve accrued in the UK and Ireland since 1999.What’s that all about? “That’s Michael McCambridge speaking to an Irish paper!” exclaims chief operating officer Martin Davey. “McCam- bridge in Ireland is known for its brown bread.” Fair enough. Lucky we’re called British Baker.So what’s changed? And, more crucially, what did the top brass see in the ailing cake giant Inter Link Foods, five times McCambridge’s size, that got their juices flowing? The last nine months will have been a fascinating time for any flies on the wall. Inter Link’s debts left a stream of seething creditors in its wake, while there were headaches with Inter Link’s logistics, with that business itself having undergone a series of quick-fire acquisitions.McCambridge had already had successes turning around the likes of handmade tarts specialist Queen of Hearts, which it acquired in 2006. That bakery was losing a lot of money before it was taken over – a situation that has since been reversed, says Davey. Inter Link’s massive scale and debt posed a bigger challenge, which it claims to be overcoming. But don’t call McCambridge turnaround specialists…”I don’t think we’re that arrogant! We just want to do a good job,” insists Davey. So the company is not some bakery equivalent to Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, stepping in to rescue struggling businesses? “Not everything we’ve bought has been out of administration. Until buying Inter Link, some of them were profitably trading businesses. The opportunities have not just been at the distressed end of the business.”And the opportunities were large. The reverse take-over of Inter Link offered a portfolio that McCambridge didn’t have: a route into some of the major retailers plus a huge amount of production capacity and capability. So what was McCambridge’s primary ambition? “To make a profit,” states new CEO Gavin Cox bluntly. “To take it from being a loss-making, apparently unwieldy business, into something more coherent and structured, as a sustainable business in its own right. What attracted me to McCambridge were the core strengths. It has some fantastic brands, fantastic businesses, and I saw it as a great opportunity.”Inter Link’s troubles appear to be in the past for Cox, who has had a rapid ascent to the top job since joining McCambridge in July 2007, being promoted from group finance director in February this year. The management team has largely been replaced, with the aim of addressing the question: what went wrong with Inter Link? “The directors of Inter Link went on day zero and we took over a pre-made management structure,” says Davey. We’ve realigned that and made some changes and we work well together; I don’t think we could have said that nine months ago. We have a common purpose.””We’ve tried to ingrain the McCambridge ethos,” adds Cox. “One of the things we’ve done is change the culture, change the behaviour and the way things are done. The core businesses were sound businesses. There was nothing fundamentally broken with them. There were inroads into markets and into the customer. It’s just a question of how you manage it and how you leverage that marketplace.”Following a ’period of adjustment’, creditors are on credit terms and, since January, the logistics have been overhauled. “We have a 250,000-case-a-week distribution operation, which is – if not perfect – well over 99%, and we’re very pleased with it,” says Davey proudly. “The savings we’d planned to make, we’ve made.”last_img read more

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Broadway Grosses: Those Mormon Boys Show No Signs of Slowing Down

first_imgThat’s a lot of “hello”s! The Book of Mormon continues to bring in Broadway audiences, reaching a capacity of 102.6% for the eleventh consecutive week. That’s a consistent 8,528 sitting and 224 standing audience members every week. The Tony-winning musical joined perennial box office hits The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical in the top five grossing shows. Andrew Rannells kicked off performances in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on August 20, with fans eager to catch his first week in the wig and fishnets at 87.60% capacity. The newest addition to the Great White Way, Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, had a quiet first week with seven preview performances; we expect numbers to grow as buzz develops. Meanwhile, two tuners that posted closing notices earlier this summer, Newsies and Bullets Over Broadway, took their final bow this past Sunday. Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending August 24: FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity) 1. The Book of Mormon (102.63%) 2. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (101.05%) 3. The Lion King (100.06%) 4. Matilda (99.97%) 5. Aladdin (99.95%) Source: The Broadway League View Comments UNDERDOGS (By Capacity) 5. Rock of Ages (78.60%) 4. This is Our Youth (77.72%)** 3. Bullets Over Broadway (68.98%) 2. Once (66.32%) 1. Cinderella (59.29%) *Number based on seven regular performances **Number based on seven preview performances UNDERDOGS (By Gross) 5. Chicago ($569,511) 4. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill ($511,741)* 3. Once ($425,535) 2. This is Our Youth ($365,614)** 1. Rock of Ages ($315,426) FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross) 1. The Lion King ($1,955,396) 2. Wicked ($1,795,268) 3. The Book of Mormon ($1,606,698) 4. Aladdin ($1,512,983) 5. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical ($1,282,410)last_img read more

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India in South Africa: I don’t play for personal glory, says Hardik Pandya

first_imgHardik Pandya has been the standout India player in the New Year Test against South Africa so far with a blistering 93 and crucial wickets.It was thanks to that sensational knock in the first innings that India still remain hopeful in Newlands and many would rue the fact that the stylish all-rounder missed a well-deserved hundred by only seven runs.However, the 24-year-old said a hundred was far from his thoughts when he unleashed some thrilling shots to try and take India close to South Africa’s first innings 286.India’s vaunted top-order – Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma – had caved in against South Africa’s four-pronged pace attack but Pandya met fire with fire and took the attack to the hosts with a 95-ball classic.He eventually fell to a short ball from Kagiso Rabada, South Africa’s most exciting pacer in a star-studded line-up but Pandya had no regrets on missing out on a milestone. He had done what he could do for the team.”It always feels good to help the team out. Credit goes to Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well for the way we played,” Pandya told the official broadcasters before start of play on Day 4.India had made a sensational start to the Test when Bhuvneshwar ripped apart the Proteas top-order. AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis counter-attacked brilliantly thereafter and the lower-order showed strong resistance, allowing the hosts to post a respectable total.And then followed an Indian collapse and all hopes looked dashed before Pandya stepped in to show his more experienced colleagues how it should be done.advertisementFor a Test cricket novice, Pandya showed amazing clarity of thought. He had made his debut against Sri Lanka last year and smashed a whirlwind hundred in only his third match. For Sri Lanka’s return tour, Pandya sought a break from the Test series so he could be fresh for the South Africa tour.So, how does a man with only three Tests under his belt and two years of international cricket experience behind him, come out and clobber the fiercest pace attack in the world with such disdain?”I am someone who likes to play according to the situation. When I walked in to bat, I knew we needed partnerships. But when we lost two wickets, I knew I had to attack and get as many runs as possible for the team,” Pandya said.”I never play for my own scores. My target was to push towards 250 – I was never thinking of a hundred,” said Pandya.Pandya was not content with just that 93. He returned to the field after India were bowled out for 209 to remove both South African openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar in a probing spell.Unfortunately, the entire third day was washed out to rain. But India would once again bank on the man who is quickly turning out to be their X factor in all formats of the game.Can he swing it for Kohli again in Newlands? It would be a huge step-up for Indian cricket if Hardik Pandya can win a Test match on his all-round efforts. For now, all eyes would be on the young star as he goes about his business in Cape Town.last_img read more

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