Nottingham – new apprenticeship scheme

I was at Antenna in the week for the launch of Nottingham’s Apprenticeship Hub. The evening was introduced by Sir John Peace – he’s a busy man. He chairs three FTSE 100 companies: Standard Chartered, fashion house Burberry and local credit-checking firm Experian. In July of this year he became Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A giant in the local community.

His pre-amble to the launch of the new apprenticeship scheme was inspiring; he is great public speaker. No notes. No ‘ers’. He spoke passionately about how we get people back into work – especially young people. He was joined by Councillor Nick McDonald from the City and by Craig Chettle – CEO of the Antenna Media Group.

It was a big audience – of businesses folks and representatives from the FE and HE sectors.

The intention is to create a simple ‘hub’ where both potential employers and employees (apprentices) can ‘meet’ and be matched. It’s a good plan as the current arrangements are a little disparate – as I found out a few years ago when I tried to employ an apprentice. The arrangements are really quite confusing.

The other good news is that Craig Chettle launched the Confetti Media Group’s Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship programme. This will be a first for Nottingham – and sounds really exciting. If I were starting out this is exactly the sort of thing I would do.

You can read about the hub here. It is good to see that there are already jobs advertised on the NottinghamJobs website.

We do have a duty to get our young people into work – and any initiative to do so should be saluted and celebrated. It was a good evening!

Notts TV Part two.

I blogged about the great news that Notts TV had won a local franchise for TV. Then the train fell of the rails as the decison was called back in by Ofcom two weeks ago. There were some discrepancies in the process.

Fortunately the decision has been up-held after a very brief review by Ofcom. So Notts TV gets the green light.

This really is excellent news for Nottingham. More news will follow about what the TV station will look like – you can read about it here on their website.

What we do know from Ofcom is why they chose Notts TV over the rival bid of Television Nottingham. And they said:

* The key difference between the applicants was in the range of programming proposed in the Programming Commitments. A greater range was proposed by Notts TV.
* The Committee particularly took into account the commitments by Notts TV to a range of programme genres other than news, and the specific programming about the local area. It showed a greater variety of content in its offering than Television Nottingham.
* Notts TV provided a level of detail in its programming proposals that gave the Committee confidence that the proposed programming would be responsive to the Nottingham community.
* Additionally, the integration with the local newspaper would benefit Notts TV’s proposed service editorially.

I am really excited about the prospect of this local TV service. I think it is a great news story for Nottingham.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged , Nottingham Post, NottsTV, Ofcom, Television Nottingham

A Nottingham Institution!

I have two really distinct memories of July 1979. Firstly the smell of hops and barley being boiled at Home Brewery – where I started my first job. Secondly the smell of ammonia from the ‘ozalid‘ printer we had in the office – which produced architectural prints. Unmistakable smells; good memories.

The original Home Ales sign – still there – but hidden!

On the first day I started work I was taken into Nottingham to become ‘equipped’ for my drawing office career. It was Monday 2nd July 1979. And John E Wrights was the ‘shop’ concerned. It was like an Aladdin’s cave of drawing and art material. I was bought a Rotring rapidograph pen and an adjustable set-square! I still have the set square but the pen has long since gone to pen-heaven. They both took some getting used to.

Yesterday I had reason to go to the John E Wright’s – I needed some large plans printing. I was reminiscing. The shop hasn’t changed that much – in 33 years. The man behind the counter told me they had been there for 50 years. The business was started by John Wright in 1900 – above a pub in Nottingham. They served the architectural community – printing plans predominantly. The business was later expanded to include selling materials – including artists materials. They moved to ‘Blue Print House’ in 1962 – I’m not sure the youngsters will get the name!

It is good to see these sort of shops still going. They have adapted (a lot of digital display material is now produced). But they have a foot firmly in the past too – I bought some scale rules (an ‘eighth of an inch’ – if you must know!) and some sketching pens.

It took me back and made me smile!

The LEP – a brighter future?

It didn’t exactly get off to a good start – the Nottingham / Derby enterprise partnership was like unholy marriage. The bridesmaids and ushers were reluctant – Nottinghamshire County Council and Derbyshire County Council. All at the same table. Even the name was either controversial – D2N2 (why Derby / Derbyshire first?) or ridiculed … R2D2?.

Originally it was suggested Leicester would be part – making a true east midlands based LEP – but Leicester wanted to be part of the posh south, not the rough north. Sadly the posh south had other ideas – so LLEP (Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership) was born – like a little orphan child.

But we have D2N2 as our LEP. That’s a fact. It’s been a long time in gestation – my view was that although EMDA came to a premature end, the LEP just didn’t start quickly enough. Time and again my friends and colleagues in the private sector just didn’t get the gap between the organisations – nor did we understand the constant mantra put out – that they have no money. It all seemed a little pointless.

Coupled with this was there was a ‘shadow board’ – more perplexing.

Bt last week I had coffee with the new Chair – Peter Richardson. He was CEO of the Derbyshire Building Society until 2008. His background is in business and he is acutely aware of the uphill battle he and his board have to bring about a change of heart in the business sector.

The LEP is here to stay – that is fairly obvious. After a tricky start it is now up and running. It will be a conduit for some funding – and it will have mandate to promote the region of Notts / Derbys. That in itself is a massive challenge.

But Peter is determined to make it happen. I suspect that if anyone can – he can. He is keen to get the private sector behind the organisation – as that is seen as key!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged D2N2, LEP, LLEP, Local Enterprise Partnership, peter Richardson

Flooding – and weather weirding?

On Sunday night there were 500 flood risk warnings across the UK. Over 800 homes had been flooded – and areas like Exeter were like a war-zone. 2″ of rain fell in a 12 hour period in some parts of the south.

Flooding is one of those natural disasters which can hit quickly and is simply unstoppable. The force and volume of water is one of the most powerful, natural forces on the planet. The real damage is done no so much by the water falling, but rather the fact that the drains don’t work – in fact they work backwards – waste comes back…

The question on everyone’s lips is – are these freak weather storms caused by global warming? The reality is that we don’t know – it is difficult to make a snap decision – although this doesn’t usually stop the newspapers.

There is a new phrase – which is probably more accurate – ‘global weirding‘. In other words we are being subjected to weird changes in the weather.

The UK had drought like conditions in the early part of 2012 – but by the time I headed out to the Isle of Wight in June – it didn’t look like a drought!

There is some melting of the sea ice at both the north and south poles – which can then impact on the gulf stream. The movement of ice means a change in the physical state of water (obviously) – but this just means we get the stuff shifted around. The jest stream moving around also means a change in temperature – we are more likely to see this in increasing frequency.

So whilst we are subject to this weirding – you have to feel sorry for those who have their homes flooded.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Green stuff Tagged flooding, freak, Global Warming, global weirding, , , sustainable, weather

The best Bond yet – Skyfall

I missed out on the premiere of the new Bond film a few weeks – it clashed with the AGM of Nottingham Squash Club! It’s taken a few weeks to get organised to go to the cinema – but last night I finally got to see Skyfall in all of its glory.

It’s the 23rd film in the Bond franchise and the third film for Daniel Craig. He is apparently contracted to do at least two more – to include Bond 25. It was Judy Dench’s seventh and last film (oops I have spoiled the plot?). Sam Mendes directs.

It is rather good actually. There are compulsory car chases, shoot outs and steamy shower scenes. But the gadgets have gone – Q is a geeky computer whizz kid. The film races through Istanbul, London, Shanghai, Macau and Scotland. It brought back memories of both Istanbul (although they didn’t let me race a motorbike across the roof of the Grand Bazaar!) and Shanghai – with the Jin Mao, World Trade Centre and Pearl Towers taking centre stage on that amazing backdrop.

The filming budget was $200,000,000! But it looks as though this has all paid off – it has become the highest grossing Bond film ever.

If you haven’t seen it – it’s worth seeing.

And the great news at the cinema was that it looks like the fifth best film of all time is about to arrive on our screens. To coincide with that most romantic of days – Valentines Day 2103 – will be the premiere of … A Good Day to Die Hard! Yippekayae! (in case you were wondering the best four films are : Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Live Free of Die Hard). Roll on Valentines Day!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man! Tagged 007, Bond, Daniel Craig, Die Hard, Judy Dench, M, Q

Mixing flying and photography?

In the last few months I have had reason to commission some photography – of sites I am selling. At one time it used to be necessary to pay for a photographer and a pilot – and then wait for the weather. But now photography can be done from a ‘pole’ – which is quite impressive.

I have an interest in photography and flying so this new ‘toy’ from Lehmann is right up my street. It’s not really a toy – it’s a real aeroplane built of carbon fibre and foam. It carries a Go_Pro video camera and can fly a pre-determined flight path for around 5 minutes. You don’t actually ‘fly’ it – you simply program it and set it free – it does the rest!

It will fly at around 300 ft – lower than a light aircraft can go safely! But higher than the pole system.

The blurb says, “Launch it, wait 5 minutes, enjoy your images”.

The downside? Well it’s about 1,000 euros. And then you need a Go-Pro camera.

But the results on their web-site are impressive!

As I have suggested before if Lehmann Aviation want me to play with one for them, I am fully available!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged aerial photography, , Flying, Go-Pro, Lehmann Aviation, , pole, PPL

The Bowie Quest?

After the Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ shot it is perhaps the most iconic image for an album. I’m talking about The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album cover.

The photograph was taken in January 1972 on a cold, wet night by photographer Brian Ward, who had a studio on Heddon Street in the West End of London. It’s about as iconic as they get! The sign above Bowie’s head has been the subject of much speculation – and urban myth. K. West or quest? I prefer the fact that K. West was a furrier and the photographers studio was there – so it was just coincidental, but you just never know!

I was in London in the week and the original sign was on show at a Gallery – along with lots of original Bowie rare posters. The sign has been restored and is owned by a collector. It made me smile to see it. The sign was thought to be lost as many fans had tried to remove after the furriers stopped trading – it would certainly have been a great prize.

The rest of the stuff on display is pretty good too – mostly from the earlier Bowie years (1969-1981). There are many posters from the USA and the UK.

I parted with some hard earned cash to buy a promotional poster from 1975 – for the then new album ‘Young Americans’. To which the title track remains my favourite Bowie song of all time. It would have been criminal not to buy it!

The exhibition only runs for a short period of time – but if you are in London you can still see it until Saturday 1st December – details of the gallery are here.

If only Bowie would come back and play again, but I have a feeling that he might not? Still, I did see him that last time he played in the UK – June 2004, The Isle of Wight … happy days!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man! Tagged David Bowie, exhibition, furriers, K West, posters, sign

and and and and and?

And the answer to yesterdays question?

Can you make a proper English sentence which has the word “and” in five times consecutively? It needs to make grammatical sense…

A man is painting a sign out side the Dog And Duck pub when the landlord comes out and says,

I’d really like more space please between the “Dog” and “And” and “And” and “Duck” …

Easy really? or just irritating?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Grumpy Old Man! Tagged and and and and and, Dog and Duck, question, quiz, wordsmith

Life moves on…

It was in 1829 when William Burt invented the typewriter – although they weren’t mass produced until much later. In the last 20 years or so the humble typewriter has rather lost its place to the keyboard.

In fact this blog is being written on a virtual keyboard – an iPad. Apple announced the latest mini iPads a few weeks ago – which are a million miles from a typewriter! Back in 1829 who would have imagined that you could type on a screen and post it electronically? Let alone watch TV…

There was news yesterday that Brother made their last typewriter in the UK this week. Such is the change in our habits. What I hadn’t appreciated that there are still 400,000 made each year around the world! Or that the Police still use the for filling in evidence report tags!

But the best fact – which is great for pub quizzes – is the longest word in the English Language you can make from the top line of the keys?

T Y P E W R I T E R ….. Genius!

Which reminds me of a word question I heard a few weeks ago, Can you make a proper English sentence which has the word “and” in five times consecutively? It needs to make grammatical sense! Answer tomorrow …

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business