May 252017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Former Oil and gas worker Mark Cran undertook a barbering course at the Scottish Barbering School.

A former oil and gas worker has made the cut in a new barbering role at an Aberdeen-based luxury gents barber after being made redundant from his previous job.

Formerly a workshop technician at an oil and gas company, Marc Cran, from Insch, now works at Huntsman Barber after completing a specialist six-month course in barbering.

The 27-year-old is now a stylist at the city centre barbers, after he approached owner, Kyle Ross, on completion of the course.

Mr Cran worked in oil and gas for seven years, but lost confidence in the industry after he was made redundant from two separate companies within the space of six months. When deciding what career to pursue next, barbering immediately stood out to him, due to its creative and hands-on nature. 

To help improve his employability and skillset, he then undertook a barbering course at the Scottish Barbering School.

This involved living in Glasgow for three days a week and spending the remaining four days working at a local supermarket in Huntly.

Remarkably, he managed to juggle this heavy workload for four months without any days off, alongside looking after his two-year-old daughter. It was this hard work and dedication that impressed future employer, Mr Ross, and subsequently landed him the job at Huntsman.

Mr Cran said:

“I have really enjoyed my first couple of months at Huntsman, I am getting busier with clients every week and learning new skills on a daily basis. I am very grateful to Kyle for giving me the opportunity to progress within the barbering industry.

“It was the impact of the downturn that gave me the final push to try something different and take up a completely new career. I am actually really thankful that it did, as I am enjoying work a lot more and meeting new people every day. I get such satisfaction from seeing people leave my chair with a new-found confidence after getting their hair cut, I have never had that before.”

Mr Ross said:

“Marc is getting on really well at Huntsman, as he is both confident and competent in the role. I am very impressed with everything he has displayed so far and how quick he is to learn new skills.

“He has an eye for detail and is a complete perfectionist, which serves him very well in his new career as a barber. Our clients have really warmed to him and he is certainly a welcome addition to the Huntsman team.”

Huntsman is open from Tuesday to Saturday.  For more information on the hair salon visit:   

www.facebook.com/HuntsmanAberdeen 
www.twitter.com/huntsman_abrdn 
www.instagram.com/huntsman_aberdeen

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May 252017
 

Scott Findlay, Managing Director at CFF Contractors who have been awarded a £1.4m contract.

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Local developer LOJJ Scotland has awarded a £1.4 million contract for the development of Loch Street property to local firm CFF Contractors.
The 30 bedroom student accommodation development is due for completion this year and will provide much needed accommodation in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.

LOJJ Scotland who have a number of other developments in the area is run by Aberdeen local Alana Stott who is passionate about supporting the local economy and fellow businesses.

Alana said:

“Having worked with CFF Contractors previously we are delighted to award them this contract; knowing their workmanship and reliability made choosing them an easy decision”.

Scott Findlay, Managing Director at CFF Contractors said:

“it’s a pleasure to be working with LOJJ Scotland on this exciting project”

“Aberdeen has seen more than its fair share of challenges recently so it’s great to see new developments taking place which will have a positive impact on the city and surrounding areas.”

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May 192017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

One of the biggest shake ups of European privacy legislation which is expected to have a significant impact on the way business is done comes into force in 12 months’ time.

It’s going to have a huge impact on how businesses store and process data and carries tough penalties and hefty fines for breaches.

The Government will implement the General Data Protection Regulation and it is expected that the UK will continue to comply with GDPR after Brexit – so all businesses should be assessing how they use personal data and how this legislation will affect the sector in which they operate.

Advanced planning is key to ensuring compliance with the new legislation which comes into force from 25 May 2018, according to Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies.

 “The changes that will come with the 2018 deadline will have implications for businesses of all sizes that handle the personal data of EU residents, regardless of location,” Mr Clark states.

“The GDPR is going to have a huge impact on how businesses store and process data and they need to act now to make sure they are properly prepared for this major overhaul of data protection legislation which will impact on us all. Dedicating time to this now will ensure businesses have procedures in place to be able to comply with the new regulation.

“This isn’t just for big businesses – a gym that offers a members’ loyalty scheme or a one-person chiropractor that asks patients to complete a wellbeing form will have to ensure that personal data is stored in line with the new regulations and not breach them.”

GDPR will directly apply in EU countries and replaces ageing European and national data protection legislation, with companies given until until May next year to adopt the measures and become compliant.

Influenced by technological advances, it introduces new accountability obligations, stronger rights and ongoing restrictions on international data flows. GDPR seeks to protect individuals whose personal data is handled by companies. Data processing refers to the handling, storage, evaluation, reference or general use of information relating to individuals. Businesses should only be collecting necessary data and discarding it when it is no longer required to protect data subject rights.

So an online retailer running a small e-commerce site that holds customers’ personal details is subject to GDPR regulations. And any company or individual providing marketing, IT, accountancy or business support that may have access to a wealth of client and customer data needs to ensure this is collected, stored and protected in specific ways.

One of the biggest considerations of the new regulations is ensuring sensitive data is handled correctly.

Government help to prepare for the regulation is available, with webinars, training courses and data flow audits and Mr Clark suggests a good starting point is to carry out a gap analysis of current processing in line with GDPR.

“Understand what data you hold, how you are using it, and make sure that you are practising good data hygiene by limiting access to data to only those who need it, and ensuring that authentication protocols are up-to-scratch for those users,” Mr Clark advises.

“Businesses should also consider deleting data that is no longer required so that it does not become an unnecessary risk.”

Clark IT is already working with clients to assess how GDPR will impact on them and the sector in which they operate, to guide them through the complexities of the legislation and to ensure they become fully compliant. The IT specialists can take clients through the process from start to finish using its unique portal and working with partners to cover legal, datacentre, insurance and finance matters.

While it may seem like a daunting process, GDPR should not be viewed as unnecessary red tape says Mr Clark, who predicts that the legislation has the ability to bring benefits to both businesses and individuals.

Mr Clark states:

“This creates a new single data protection act, and has scope to bring increased consistency to data protection practices, eliminating problems arising from the existence of different national variations.

“There are enhanced powers given to data protection authorities in tackling non-compliance and it will also be easier for individuals to claim against data controllers where their data privacy has been infringed.

 “GDPR will also give individuals greater control and rights over their personal data. As a result, individuals will be able to request that businesses delete their no longer necessary or accurate personal data.

“The regulation could also prove to be an advance in the war against cybercrime, given mandatory breach notifications. Taking GDPR seriously will see businesses invest in, and demonstrate, high levels of security which could in turn raise customer trust.”

Clark IT based near Turriff in Aberdeenshire is one Scotland’s leading independent providers of managed ICT solutions with a broad range of corporate and commercial clients not only in the North-east but across Scotland and beyond.

Its clients benefit from the specialist knowledge of its 26-strong workforce to support their systems and through managed IT services. Clients also benefit from Pro-active IT Support, 24/7 Monitoring, A virtual IT Manager, predictive IT costs and a strategic IT plan tailor-made for their business.

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May 192017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Lisa Thomson, owner of Hardy’s Chocolates

A new Aberdeen-based independent chocolate shop has invested a five-figure sum into the start up and renovation of a city centre premises.

Recently opened in the Rosemount area of the city, Hardy’s Chocolates was established by former IT operations director, Lisa Thomson, and specialises in bespoke and ‘free-from’ chocolates.

To coincide with its launch, Hardy’s has also agreed to become an exclusive stockist of chocolate from a Shetland-based chocolatier.

Hardy’s Chocolates is the only shop in the North-east to stock Mirrie Dancers chocolates from artisan chocolatier, Dave Williams. It also sells high-quality chocolates from Belgium, as well as bars, truffles, speciality chocolates and sweets from across the UK and Europe.

The deal between Mirrie Dancers and Hardy’s Chocolates resulted after Mrs Thomson, 44, noted the high demand for Scottish-made confectionery from her customers. After reaching out to the Lerwick-based company, it was agreed the shop would start exclusively stocking a variety of the brand’s luxury chocolate selection.

Launched in 2016 by former military chef, Mr Williams, Mirrie Dancers specialises in unique flavour combinations, including port and stilton and lime and prosecco, and has distributed its chocolate to countries as far as South Africa, Switzerland and Australia.

To celebrate the collaboration between the brand and Hardy’s Chocolates, a selection of Mirrie Dancers chocolates will be available for the public to sample from Friday, 19 to Saturday, 20 May.

Lisa Thomson, owner of Hardy’s Chocolates, said:

“After a very exciting first few months for Hardy’s Chocolates, I am thrilled that we are continuing to increase the shop’s selection of high-quality confectionery by stocking Mirrie Dancers chocolates.

“Dave is a master in his craft and we both share the same values when it comes to chocolate and how it is made. We believe that to truly appreciate the taste, chocolate needs to be of the highest quality.

“Working with Mirrie Dancers will also help us grow the business and what we can provide for our customers, as we are now able to offer an even wider made-to-order service for corporate gifts and events.”

Dave Williams, owner of Mirrie Dancers, said:

“Mirrie Dancers has come a long way since it first launched at the beginning of last year. I am absolutely thrilled that Hardy’s Chocolates will now be the sole stockist of our products in the North-east and I am looking forward to hearing the feedback from people within the region.

“I founded Mirrie Dancers with the support of local businesses and friends, since then it has grown to employ three others, so I am extremely supportive of small, independent businesses like Hardy’s Chocolates.”

For more information about Hardy’s Chocolates, visit:   

www.hardyschocolates.com
www.facebook.com/HardysChocolates
www.twitter.com/hardyschocs
www.instagram.com/hardyschocs

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Graeme Johnson and June Jones from ITCA, alongside four of the pupils and Turriff Academy depute rector, Jane Bisset.

A leading apprenticeship-training provider is calling on North-east schools to prepare youngsters for the workplace through an industry initiative aimed at plugging the engineering skills gap.

For the second year running, Aberdeen-based ITCA Training offered pupils from Turriff Academy the opportunity to gain an industry standard accredited qualification.

Six pupils, aged 16-18, successfully completed units in health and safety, machining, lathe work, fabrication, welding and general engineering hand skills at ITCA.

ITCA is now calling on other secondary schools to follow in the footsteps of the school by providing additional skill development opportunities for pupils.

Managing director of ITCA Training, June Jones, said:

“It is extremely promising to see a secondary school so focused on the development of its pupils. I can only hope that other schools follow suit by providing even more young people with the opportunity to gain useful skills and additional qualifications that add to their SCQF points.

“At a time when recruitment in the North-east is low, it is now more important than ever to provide promising young engineers with the skilled training and support they need to pursue a career in this field.”

Jane Bisset, deputy rector at Turriff Academy, said:

“We are very appreciative of the partnership between ITCA, Turriff Academy and Aberdeenshire Council. The initiative is very beneficial for our pupils, as they are able to gain an industry standard qualification whilst still in secondary school.

“This qualification stands alongside their academic achievements and will instantly give them an advantage over other jobseekers in a very competitive market.”    

ITCA Training, which is one of the largest engineering apprenticeship-training firms in Scotland, is situated at Howe Moss Drive in the  Kirkhill  Industrial Estate, Dyce. The base, which spans almost 22,000sq feet, includes offices, classrooms, a storage yard, and workshop space. The company has been in operation in the   North-east  since 1989, and provides training for young employees in various sectors including welding, fabrication, mechanical engineering, business administration and logistics.      

To find out more about ITCA visit www.itca-training.com  

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Aberdeen business, Ruby Cleans reports an impressive first year of trading despite the current downturn.

The company which started in May 2016, to work alongside partner business Ruby Irons, has more than exceeded first year targets.

MD Johnny Montgomerie was made redundant from his most recent Business Development position within oil and gas in August 2015.

The last thing he expected was to be running a cleaning business but with the first year of trading under his belt he is now optimistic for the future.

Mr Montgomerie said:

“The downturn has had a significant impact on most people residing in Aberdeen and beyond, it’s very worrying to discover that the job you rely on is no longer there.”

He continued:

“looking back I am glad that I took the step of going into the unknown, it’s amazing how you can turn a major setback into something positive when you put your mind to it. I am not going to lie it has been very hard work. We believe that solid branding, excellent customer service and quality eco-friendly products and equipment have contributed in no small part to our success so far.”

Ruby Cleans serves both residential and commercial clients in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. The company has long term plans to further develop the commercial side of the business, as well as sustaining steady growth in the residential market.

Apr 282017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Construction work has begun on a £16 million student accommodation development in Aberdeen.
Focused on sustainability and technology this next generation of student accommodation will meet the needs of the newest university generation.

The development, is located on the former tyre depot at the corner of Willowbank Road and Hardgate, will serve both Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Aberdeen, benefiting from good public transport links and close proximity to the city centre.

Carlisle-based Northern Developments has started work on a 222 en-suite student bedroom scheme which received planning consent in 2016.

Northern Developments has delivered more than 1,000 student beds across the North of England and bring 32 years’ experience in design and build delivery. This experience is reflected in the focus on sustainability of the building and ensuring that the experience of the students living in it will be of the highest quality.

Aberdeenshire sub-contractor Andrew Cowie Ltd has started groundworks on the site and the project will be complete in the summer of 2018 for September arrivals.

Eddie Ward, commercial manager for Northern Developments, said:

“We are very pleased to have started work on the Willowbank Road site and look forward to delivering this exciting development.

“It will meet the demands of modern student living in every respect and will be very appealing to the millennial generation who quite rightly expect high standards and the latest technology to suit their technological and educational needs.

“As a business we strive to use a local supply chain to both deliver the best in class development but to also support a local economy such as that in Aberdeen.”

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Apr 282017
 

With thanks to Beverley Tricker, Tricker PR.

IFB, one of Scotland’s leading managed service and data network providers, has recently formally appointed Jane Stewart as Non-Executive Director to the board.

Jane’s appointment strengthens the team at IFB as it further commits to its major strategic growth plans throughout the UK. Jane brings proven strategic, commercial and high growth experience to IFB. 

With a CA background, Jane has over 20 years’ experience in private equity, corporate finance and Board level finance and strategy roles.

Jane is also currently part-time Strategy Director at William Tracey Group having formerly operated as Group CFO.      

IFB’s CEO, Graeme Gordon says:

“Jane has supported IFB in its development over the past two years in an ad hoc capacity and I am delighted to welcome her formally to the Board at a key point in the company’s continued growth story. Despite tough local trading conditions, 2016 saw IFB achieve year-on-year revenue growth with continued positive financial performance. 

“This has allowed the business to further invest in the right team structure for the future, including Jane’s appointment and recent additions to our Business Development team in the central belt.  Whilst we seek to further expand across the UK, the North East continues to be a key market for IFB.”  

Jane Stewart, IFB’s Non-Executive Director comments:

“It is an exciting time for IFB and I’m thrilled to work with the Board as the business looks to further evolve its strategy and prepare for significant expansion into new services and new geographical markets.”

Graeme Gordon added:

“As our customer needs have evolved, so has our strategy and approach. IFB recently announced investments totalling over £1.5M in network and managed services which has enabled the business to improve its service offering and to develop new solutions to bring to market in conjunction with key partners. 

“Our priority continues to be supporting our customers to get on and stay on through exemplary customer service coupled with competitive, innovative connectivity, networking and managed services solutions, delivered via our own infrastructure or that of our key partners.  

“This, combined with our focus on building the right team for the future, cements our growth ambitions. Jane’s wealth of experience will help IFB move forward with these plans.”

In addition, IFB has increased its Cloud based data protection service offerings with support from Dell and Cisco Finance.

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Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies.

A major UK business survey revealing that a fifth of British businesses have been hacked by cyber criminals hammers home the need for all firms to ramp up their defences against cybercrime.

With only a quarter of firms surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) saying their business has security measures in place to guard against hacking, Austen Clark of Clark Integrated Technologies warns that too many firms could be exposing themselves to the very real danger of being hit by cybercrime.

Mr Clark, managing director of the Turriff-based ICT firm, says that the BCC report published this week drives home need for all businesses ramp up security defences to protect against hacking – and there are simple, tangible actions that all organisations can follow to reduce their risk of becoming a victim.

Larger companies – defined as those with at least 100 staff – are more susceptible to cyber attacks, according to the report, which found that 42% of big businesses had fallen victim to cybercrime, compared with 18% of small companies. Only a quarter (24%) of the survey’s 1,200 respondents said their business had security measures in place to guard against hacking.

Cybercrime can jeopardise a firm’s finances, confidence and reputation as well as causing disruption to business and productivity, warns Mr Clark, adding that while data breaches at web giant Yahoo, telecoms firm TalkTalk and the dating website Ashley Madison are the ones to grab headlines, the BCC report shows how worryingly widespread the problem is across the economy.

Mr Clark says:

“The internet brings huge opportunities but it also brings risks and every single day businesses face cyber-attacks, with attempts to steal information and money, or disrupt business. It is increasingly important to manage these risks to take advantage of the internet whilst protecting your business.

“As cybercriminals become more determined and better organised, no business can afford to take its eye off the ball. Firms of all sizes, from major corporations to one-man operations, can be victims so all need to be proactive about protecting themselves from cyber-attacks.

“Cybercrime is a bit like the elephant in the room – everyone has heard of it and has stories relating to ‘other businesses’ but no one wants to admit they have been hit by a cyberattack as there seems to be a stigma around being a victim of a scam or con. But reports like this one show the alarming extent of the problem, and its impact on the economy.”

The good news is that there are regular and simple actions that can be taken to help businesses promote good cyber health and Clark IT advises the following:

  1. Install and update anti-virus, anti-spam, and firewall/s
  2. Carry out regular updates on all software and devices
  3.  Change your password regularly (make it difficult to ever guess)
  4.  Secure your network
  5.  Provide clear and concise procedures for handling email, internet and mobile devices
  6.  Train your people in good security practices
  7.  Implement and test backup plans
  8.  Carry out regular security risk assessments to identify important information and systems
  9.  Carry out regular security testing of your business
  10.  Be suspicious – not everyone is a prince with $100 million dollars to send your way

Hacking attacks on British businesses has been said to cost investors £42bn.

Clark IT is based near Turriff in Aberdeenshire and is one Scotland’s leading independent providers of managed ICT solutions with a broad range of corporate and commercial clients not only in the North-east but across Scotland and beyond.

Clark IT clients benefit from the specialist knowledge of the firm’s 26-strong team to support their systems and through managed IT services. Clients also benefit from Pro-active IT Support, 24/7 Monitoring, A virtual IT Manager, predictive IT costs and a strategic IT plan tailor-made for their business.

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Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Seb Coles leads a team of developers creating and engineering software-based solutions.

A team of specialist software developers from a leading Aberdeen-based managed print services company recently revealed their latest support app developments at a major print management industry event.
Four in-house developers from Xeretec Scotland’s Aberdeen office travelled to Uxbridge, near London, for the Xerox Application Forum on Wednesday, 5 April.

Senior software developer, Seb Coles, announced the development of the Xeretec Support Application Suite, an on-device customer service that provides immediate, next-generation support for users of Xerox devices.

The team of developers, led by Seb Coles, specialises in creating and engineering software-based solutions that optimise the print experience for end users and spent 12 months developing the support apps.

Mr Coles said:

“I am extremely proud of my team and what we have achieved over the past year. We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to developing the Xeretec Support Application Suite, so to be able to demonstrate how it works at the Xerox Future of Work event was an incredible experience.

“The app enables Xeretec to access the printer’s health and deliver the user an unparalleled level of support immediately at the device. It was designed to simplify and speed up fault resolution, while maximising user convenience and productivity, as we are constantly aiming to bring a higher level of customer service to our clients.”

Marino Keith, operations manager at Xeretec Scotland, said:

“I would like to offer my congratulations to Seb and the software development team for continuing to create industry-leading applications that aim to improve the overall customer experience. The work they do is completely unique to the industry and differentiates Xeretec from its competitors.

“Customers today expect instant, multi-channel support when encountering a problem. With the Xeretec Support Application Suite, Xeretec has created a new era of on-device customer service that meets the need for simplified instant access to support.”

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