Aug 252017

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, PR and Marketing Manager at Think PR.

Ross Jolly, Richard Tinto, Duncan Skinner, Kenneth Salmon (top), Barry Mole (bottom), Stacy Edghill, Rob Cowman, Heather Sharkey, Keith Murphy, Steve White, Rod Hutchison.

Members of the Aberdeen Young Professionals network are being urged to take advantage of this year’s mentor scheme. In what remains a difficult economic climate in the city, Aberdeen Young Professionals (AYP), a networking group for workers in and around the city, launched this invaluable resource last year, and have grown the number of mentors for this year’s intake based on the 2016-17 success.

The organisation, which is now in its ninth year, is urging its members to get in touch and benefit from being partnered with one of the established mentors, each of whom bring a different skill set to the scheme.

Mentoring is open to individuals of all ages and backgrounds looking for career advice and direction.

Potential mentees include those looking at a career change after redundancy, individuals aiming to progress to the next level, or people who want to develop a specific skill set.

Ross Jolly, founder of AYP, said:

“AYP had a fantastic response to the mentor scheme last year and we are pleased to be building on that success. We have a great group of highly respected mentors on board, who are all looking forward to helping our mentees progress their careers.

“This is an opportunity for anyone who needs some guidance, advice and support from people who have the experience and expertise to help.”

Catriona Stevenson (pictured below) recently joined the organisation seeking a friendly and listening ear, along with support and guidance as she faced a crossroads in her career.

Originally a banker for 15 years, she took voluntary redundancy in 2013, just as she became a mother for the second time. A year later and keen to return to work, Catriona realised she still wanted to utilise her banking skills, but didn’t want to return to the world of finance.

A PA job with Thor Holt Ltd followed, which eventually led to a business development role.

Catriona said:

“Fast-forward three years and with the oil and gas downturn still in full stride, I have moved into a business development and marketing role with RCP Ltd.

“Whilst I am comfortable building relationships and getting out there to meet new people, the oil and gas industry can be a real minefield and despite a great network both face to face and within LinkedIn, I felt I needed some support from those on the inside.

“Sometimes we just need someone to listen and offer a bit of advice, and that’s where I was at when I applied to the AYP mentoring scheme in May of this year.”

Paired with mentor Kenneth Salmon, business development director for Merseyflex, Catriona is looking forward to what the partnership could bring.

Kenneth said:

“I was delighted to be paired up with Catriona and look forward to using my experience to help her in whatever way I can. I am sure we will learn a lot from each-other as we go through the mentor process.

“I would advise any professionals who are looking for some guidance, particularly in the current challenging climate, to find out more about AYP and the benefits it provides.”

New mentors taking part in AYP this year include: Duncan Skinner, Barry Mole, Kenneth Salmon, Colette Backwell, Leigh Stott, Dave Grant, Stacy Edghill, Richard Tinto, Keith Murphy and AYP Founder Ross Jolly.

At its regular events, which consist of discussion series, networking opportunities and social meet-ups, AYP provides an opportunity for members to network with like-minded individuals and make new contacts in a relaxed environment. The group currently has more than 6,000 members.

Details for joining the network can be found at

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Sep 182015

With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford MP

Eilidh Whiteford, Parliament [2015]Prime Minister David Cameron needs to give a serious answer about the UK Government’s involvement in proposals to use state aid to entice jobs from Fraserburgh to Grimsby, following a parliamentary intervention from Banff and Buchan MP, Eilidh Whiteford.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Dr Whiteford (pictured) asked the Prime Minister directly what action the UK Government was doing to keep jobs in Fraserburgh. The Prime Minister, in response, gave a much vaguer political answer about keeping inflation and taxes low – failing to address the UK Government’s involvement in Grimsby’s bid as a base for centralisation of Young’s operations.

It was reported earlier this month that North Lincolnshire Council, in conjunction with the UK Government, will deploy a £1.34 million funding package to persuade the company to move jobs from Scotland to Grimsby.

It is understood that the money comes from unused cash in the area’s Regional Growth Fund.

However, Scottish politicians have cast doubt on the funding package, highlighting European Union State Aid rules which place strict limits on the direct financial support governments can offer to companies. Since the UK Government and North Lincolnshire’s offer, the Scottish Government has stated that it will match the funding package – provided it can be demonstrated that such a move would be within the law.

Last month, Dr Whiteford and local MSP Stewart Stevenson wrote to the UK Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, asking for more information about the UK Government’s legal basis for making the offer.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“I asked the Prime Minister a straightforward question, and he tried to dodge it. It won’t rub with my constituents, who stand at risk of losing their jobs because the UK Government plans to directly subsidise Grimsby’s rival bid.

“The Prime Minister made no effort whatsoever to address the fact that his Government is in the process of breaching state aid rules, with the specific goal of consolidating jobs in Grimsby – to Fraserburgh’s direct detriment.

“The Scottish Government will aim to match this assistance – if it emerges that it is legal to do so. However, it is disappointing to note that the Prime Minister cannot defend his own Government’s role in damaging the local economy.

“I will continue to ask difficult questions at Westminster, and my colleagues in the Scottish Government will continue to ensure that Fraserburgh remains an attractive place for Young’s to continue doing business.”

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]


Aug 102012

Local folklore will tell you of a night, some years ago, of Antarctic-proportion blizzards and mini-Himalayan snow drifts, somewhere on the A9 between Inverness and Wick. To help assure the well-being of travellers, locals being far too sensible to venture out on ‘sic a nicht’, the local police had a patrol out at the start of the affected area, preventing would-be Ice Road Truckers from venturing into the blin drift. 

One traveller was determined that he had to get through. The cops were equally adamant that he should turn around and seek shelter for the night away from the freezing trunk road hell beyond the road block. As he pleaded his case, from nowhere came a vehicle, lights ablaze and wipers working double time, before disappearing into the whiteout ahead. The traveller’s protests that this vehicle had been allowed to venture beyond the official barrier was waved away by the bobby, “That, sir, was the P&J van.”

News has broken this week that the twin local institutions of The Press & Journal and Evening Express have entered consultation with 59 transport, circulation and finance staff in Aberdeen and Inverness over redundancy, writes our Business Correspondent.

Ellis Watson, CEO of DC Thomson Publishing commented on the BBC News website,

We have been working hard to assess how our business can meet the challenges of the dramatic changes in the publishing industry and the turbulent economy.

“We are one of the last publishers in the country still distributing our own titles. The cost of producing and distributing to market is ever-increasing, which is why we’ve had to make this decision to outsource, rather than to see our business decline.

“We are working with our affected staff members to ensure the best possible outcome for each individual during this difficult period.

“By facing the challenges head-on and investing for a new era, we will maintain a strong position on the news stands and continue our important role as an employer for the future.”

In the P&J’s own Business supplement, Mr Watson was more forthcoming,

“We are actively considering the option of outsourcing to a third-party provider for the distribution of our Aberdeen titles”.

The piece credited to Ian Forsyth reveals,

Newspapers would be delivered and collected by an external provider; likely to be John Menzies.”

Voice contacted a staff member likely to be affected by the outcome of the consultation who said,

“Alarm bells rang when The Courier and Telegraph distribution was outsourced to Menzies. When we asked them, managers said there were no plans at that time for Lang Stracht. That would have been late last year, or early in 2012. In fact, we had understood that when the costs of keeping distribution in-house were compared with the costs of outsourcing, our own transport was the cheaper option.

“The Dundee outsourcing started in July. Staff were asked if they wanted to move to Menzies under TUPE, but enhanced redundancy terms were attractive to them which meant that most left.

“We expected this, but thought that we would have had longer notice. The Dundee staff were given three months, but because there are under a hundred of us, only a month needs to be given.

“We’ve been told that the company wasn’t in a position to comment on enhanced redundancy terms just now, but that if there was no rocking of the boat, the company would consider enhancing the conditions.”

This will inevitably mean that Aberdeen Journals’ most visible presence in local communities, the ubiquitous (once red, now blue) transit van will disappear as the distribution service is outsourced.

No more ducking in Northern Road in Kintore as a tightly-rolled consignment of the latest edition is flung expertly on to the newsagent’s doorstep by a passing, yes passing, P&J van and consigned to the past will be stories such as that featured in our opening paragraphs.

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Jul 202012

Our News Editor, Gubby Plenderleith, provides a brief outline of some of the main news stories from around Scotland.

Police raided a further 10 homes in Strathclyde at the weekend as part of a major crackdown on people who are in possession of products which have passed their ‘use by’ dates.

Officers targeted properties in the Paisley area as part of a second week of strikes on suspected offenders. Two men and a woman have been charged with ‘use by’ date offences, while a further two women were arrested in connection with a number of offences relating to keeping a dirty house.

Dozens of homes have been raided since the campaign – code named Operation Dirty Minger – began and more than 40 arrests having made over the last fortnight.

Interviewed following the raids the officer in charge, Inspector Malkie McSpankiebot said:

“Some o’ they people is pure dead manky, by-ra-way!  One of the wumming involved had a raspb’ry yoghurt in her fridge that was o’er a week past its ‘use by’ date. 

“Do these folk no’ have ony dignity?”

A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal and Aggie McKenzie.

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Following the recent publication of the business case for Aberdeen’s City Garden Project, a local business man has spoken out passionately in support of the development:

“It is my genuine belief that if this iconic development is allowed to go ahead, there will be many tangible benefits far in excess of the estimated 6,500 new jobs and average annual growth of £142m for the city.

“I have spoken to a number of people about the plans and am more than ever convinced that this project could also result in solving the country’s current economic crisis, reversing the negative effects of global warming and finding a cure for both cancer and the common cold.”

He has asked to remain anonymous in case he is asked to contribute towards the cost of the scheme.

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In response to Lord Luvvaduque handing down a 30 year sentence to gangland boss Charlie ‘Pit Bull’ McNutter at Edinburgh High Court on Tuesday, Johan Lamont has asked Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill what he is going to do about the fact that over 30 of Mr McNutter’s employees are now facing redundancy.

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Addressing a meeting of the Carnwath Guild of Mothers for Bigger Bridies this week, Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore made his most impassioned plea yet for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom:

“What you must remember,” he said, “is that a vote for independence is a vote that’ll put me out of a job!”

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Police in Achiltibuie have reported that a 48 year old man has been detained in custody following an incident in the town centre on Wednesday evening.  A spokesman for Northern Constabulary has said that the man cannot be named on account of him being the Chief Constable’s brother in law.

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Archie McDreich, who stood unsuccessfully as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Auchtertool South at the last general election, has announced that he is giving up mainstream politics and joining the Liberal Democrats.

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In the wake of the recent controversy over the proposed visit of the Duntocher Weighwatchers Club to Shetland, Aberdeen Voice can report that NorthLink Ferries have decided to give them a wide berth.

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In a recent interview with Hullarrer magazine, Hollywood megastar Mel Gibson revealed that, on principle, he never wears under vests.  A spokesman for Mr Gibson has since denied that the actor is anti-semmitic!

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Clarifications & corrections

In last week’s edition of Aberdeen Voice we described councillor Tam Sproat as a self effacing pragmatist when we should actually have said is that he is a fat, ugly, moron.  We apologise for our error.