What domestic abuse means to an Employer?

It was just days before the coronavirus lockdown, at a local networking event where I met Lucy Whittaker, founder and lead trainer of Alpha Vesta CIC, and after listening to her journey from spending many years working as a frontline domestic abuse practitioner, partnered with her academic study and her very strong ethos that ‘we need to do more in order to reach people sooner before their lives often reach crisis point and they end up embroiled in the criminal justice system and social care arenas’, that I realised how little I knew and truly understood about domestic abuse, and especially the impact of domestic abuse within the workplace, and here is where my journey to fill that lack of knowledge started. 

I never realised how incredibly complex domestic abuse is.  Not all domestic abuse is characterised by patterns of coercive control, and some incidents of domestic abuse are characterised by underlying vulnerability and a toxic mix of unmet needs that occasionally spiral into some form of emotional abuse and violence.

Did you know that one in four women and one in six men will be affected by domestic abuse at some point during in their adult lifetime (HM Government, 2019) and the NSPCC have released a report this year estimating one in five children are growing up in a home where domestic abuse in occurring (NSPCC, 2020).

In a Home Office study released last year on the Social and Economic Costs of Domestic Abuse is estimated to be £66 billion per year with £14 billion of that as a direct cost to the economy in terms of lost economic output. 

High absenteeism, lateness, impact on mental health and wellbeing sit very prominently but studies have also shown that one in two victims of domestic abuse said their work colleagues were also affected, and one in ten will have to leave their job due to the abuse (Opinium Research commissioned by Vodafone, 2019) and broader patterns of poor career progression (KPMG, 2019), high recruitment costs, low staff morale and productivity have also emerged.

With one third of a working adult’s life being spent in work, employers are in a unique position to create a supportive workplace with a culture that encourages all health and wellbeing needs and to help break the silence around the domestic abuse issue.

With the funding Alpha Vesta have received from the Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner, the Essex Community Foundation and The National Lottery, Lucy has been able to deliver fully funded online awareness sessions and training workshops to put into action Alpha Vesta’s strong foundation and mission statement of ‘Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse through awareness, prevention and early interventions in the Workplace’.

For more information about the impact of domestic abuse in the workplace, please visit www.alphavesta.com

To book on one of Alpha Vesta’s events please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/alpha-vesta-cic-30277303852

S Potter Talent Ltd working in collaboration with Alpha Vesta CIC.

Contact details:

Mobile phone – 07486 073844

Email – info@spottertalent.com

Interested in finding out more, then please feel free to book a discovery call at: https://calendly.com/spottertalent/discovery-call

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Epic Swim – As National Maritime CEO Swims the English Channel

Our CEO Peter Green has just successfully swam the English Channel. He says;

To the team, in a COVID ridden season we went back and we were successful, thank you.

I am now going to enjoy a glass of beer to myself or maybe a little bit of humbleness.

I hope I have inspired others to keep their dreams alive.

Peter Green, English Channel Swimmer, 6th August 2020 – 22hrs 40mins.

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Get yer Kit On – As Propeller Club members compete to win the National Maritime Fantasy Premier League Championship

Great to welcome Propeller Club members to this seasons National Maritime Fantasy Premier League Championship.

It’s a great opportunity to network and get to know maritime professionals around the country, and should be a lot of fun to boot!

The 2020–21 iteration begins on Saturday, 12 September, and will again see those working in or associated with the global maritime community compete to win the National Maritime League and Cup.

Last year’s winner was National Maritime, Chief Executive, Peter Green who amassed 2,181 points. More even than Liverpool winning the title!!!

To join the official National Maritime Cup couldn’t be easier. Simply use the link below, enter the code and you’ll be added automatically after you’ve entered the game.


League Code: cei6e8

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The Falls of Clyde – bringing a 140-year-old bulk carrier into the twenty-first century; an alternative power project.

When you’re asked to work on a project restoring a 140-year-old
bulk carrier to her former glory, it’s something you simply cannot

The Falls of Clyde, the only remaining sail-driven oil tanker in
the world, is heading back to her birthplace in Scotland after sailing the seas
for 140 years. Built in 1878 she is a survivor and the last of her kind, a
testimony to the workmanship of Scottish shipbuilding.

Currently based in Honolulu and at risk of neglect, David
O’Neill, the creator and director of Falls of Clyde International, an
organisation founded to save the historic Falls of Clyde from being ‘scuttled’
by the Honolulu harbours department.

“She will become a symbol of Scotland’s lead in the world
of new eco-technologies, alternative propulsion and hydrogen/ electric power

David’s vision wasn’t to keep her as a static nod to Scotland’s
proud nautical past by turning her into a dry-docked museum, but rather create
a unique piece of history capable of sailing for a further 140 years. With a
passion for the environment and climate change, David set out to create a
carbon-neutral vessel that will fly the flag for Scotland’s engineering and
green tech abilities.

MIT is thrilled to have been approached by the Falls of Clyde
International to look at developing a sustainable diesel alternative power
solution for this unusual project. Our expert team of alternative power
engineers have been working on a range of solutions to deliver emission-free

The initial plans are to use a combination of industry-leading
marine thrusters, driven by either electric or hydrogen power. Manufactured by
Veth Propulsion with an ethos built around simplistic and intensely engineered
solutions. Over the last 5-6 decades, they have developed a range of robust and
sustainable emission-free power alternatives, suitable for a variety of vessels
due to the flexibility of their models. 

Tom Binns, Sales Manager, MIT, said “With sustainability at the core of our business strategy, we are delighted to play a role in such a historical project. Backed by Veth Propulsion, we are confident we have the best solution to deliver years of emission-free sailing. We look forward to welcoming such a prominent part of Scottish maritime history back to our waters”.

Falls of Clyde International are currently engaging with a property developer
based in Glasgow to discuss a new home for the vessels rebuild. The proposal
would also offer the possibility of creating a new maritime centre on the site.

architects and designers also have the opportunity to be involved with the
project. FOCI plan to launch a competition for the redesign of the entire
ship.  Details to be released shortly.

You can follow her journey in full here: https://www.foci.scot/

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Reich – MIT Partnership Boosts Coupling Business Success In 2020

In the six months since the partnership between Reich and MIT (Marine & Industrial Transmissions Limited) was formally announced, the commercial and business landscape has changed significantly. Notwithstanding the challenges presented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the combined efforts of both parties have resulted in successful contract wins across several different market sectors.

The new working partnership, established in January 2020, set out to capitalise on Reich’s technical expertise and the international reputation for reliability and performance of their torsionally flexible and torsionally rigid coupling ranges. Combined with the recognition of MIT as an established centre of excellence for driveline systems, this delivers unparalleled customer support throughout system design, supply, commissioning, maintenance, repair, spares and overhaul or replacement.

(Reich’s TOK Coupling – LEFT and VSK Coupling – RIGHT have been at the heart of success for MIT so far in 2020)

Despite the cancellation of exhibitions and events planned to reinforce the partnership, enquiry levels and sales have met expectations. Tom Binns, Sales Manager MIT, comments: “While, like most businesses, we have had to re-think our sales and marketing strategy for 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have started to gain traction within the market place and are working on a number of new coupling projects. We are committed to focusing on our ability to deliver a comprehensive and tailored technical solution into both marine and industrial market sectors, backed by Reich’s quick response on technical queries and their short delivery lead-times.”

Reich UK Ltd General Manager David Proud added, “Our D2C (design to customer) philosophy has been instrumental in strengthening our working partnership with MIT. To date, we have delivered a number of application-specific coupling solutions based upon our TOK and VSK ranges, and we are currently working on several additional opportunities where our technology will deliver robust and reliable driveline solutions for MIT and their customers. ”

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A Guide To Auxiliary Power Options

Auxiliary Power Options – Marine Applications

Working vessels that need to ensure optimum profitability and power efficiently often require auxiliary power, which is achieved by using a range of solutions utilising both pump drives and PTO’s.

Auxiliary power is commonly required mostly in the form of hydraulics operating equipment such as cranes, fishing equipment, winches, pot hauliers and water pumps, enabling vessels to be more efficient and run multiple types of equipment direct from the power train or gen-sets. Operators appreciate the additional benefits auxiliary can deliver; however, available solutions can vary depending on the operation, accessible power and specific installation requirements.

Pump drives, available in several ratios, allow hydraulics to work in a more efficient speed window. They also allow for shorter installed length and remove the need for multiple belts and pulleys, providing a neater, resilient and safer solution. Whereas, PFI clutches enable pump drives to be clutched from a remote location anywhere on the vessel with straightforward wiring, requiring only a 12/24v connection to function. This solution is more commonly achieved with manual clutches; however, they need to be engaged manually in the engine space. PFI clutches alleviate the need to operate within the engine room.

For users where space is imperative, multi-head pump drives can be sandwiched between the engine and gearbox, to utilise space in the engine room better. Furthermore, coupling solutions provide a direct drive from the engine crank, removing the need for additional belts.

When looking at auxiliary power, one consideration that must not be overlooked is varying installation factors and engine models. Various coupling options and connection interfaces can be used to ensure the benefits of hydraulic power solutions are available to all operators offering,

  • Front and back engine mounting
  • Flexible or rigid mounted
  • Clutched and live options
  • Speed up/down ratios
  • Driveshaft options for remote mounting on pumps, clutch or pump drive.

Users should also ensure full six degrees of freedom and TVA calculations are completed to confirm acceptability and control of torsional and linear vibrations.  Modular and commercially available options are the smart solution due to varying application needs and requirements.

MIT has supplied several auxiliary power solutions and have equipment successfully installed onboard vessels such as fishing boats, FI-FI vessels, ferries and superyachts and can work with you to specify the best solution for your application.

About MIT

Since 1974, MIT has been designing, supplying and servicing transmissions and driveline systems across the UK/Ireland, becoming a centre of excellence in driveline systems providing customers with full product life cycle support from system design, supply, commissioning, maintenance, repair, spares, and overhaul or replacement.

MIT has bases in southern and northern England, providing comprehensive UK and Ireland coverage along with an established global mobile support service, delivered by a highly trained and dedicated technical engineering team and a significant inventory of world-class brands, including new and refurbished transmissions, driveline systems and spare parts.

MIT is the sole UK/EIRE distributors of Twin Disc, Transfluid, Rubber Design, Arneson, Rolla and Quincy compressors.

Axel Johnson International is a global industrial group of more than 120 companies in 28 countries. We drive business development and growth through a long-term approach to ownership in strategically selected niche markets, primarily technical components and solutions for industrial processes. Axel Johnson International is organised in six business groups: Fluid Handling Solutions, Industrial Solutions, Lifting Solutions, Power Transmission Solutions, Transport Solutions and Driveline Solutions. We are part of the Swedish family-owned corporate group Axel Johnson.


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Returning to the Workplace

On 10th May 2020 the Government began to outline its plan to enable certain sectors to return to work.

Whilst employees who can operate from home are being advised to continue to do so, official guidance on the government’s plans for returning to the workplace continue to emerge, and I urge you to ensure you keep up to date with the governments guidance.

  1. Planning

Communication is key, and you should be consulting with your staff about returning to work.  If you have trade union, employee and health and safety representatives then you need to be including them. 

If you do have trade union or employee representatives, please check any agreements you have in place with them to see if you should be formally consulting.

Whilst employees and workers should be ready to return to work at short notice, you should be flexible where possible.

  • Making the workplace safe

As an employer you must make the workplace as safe as possible for employees, contractors, customers and everyone who needs to visits.  Wherever possible encourage employees to work from home and ensure you follow the government guidelines on working safely during coronavirus on GOV.UK

Risk assessments should be carried out to identify what might cause harm, and reasonable steps taken to prevent them from happening.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have a great managing risks and risk assessment at work section on their website, along with working safely during coronavirus from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at find coronavirus advise on the HSE website

  • Discuss plans with your employees

It is important to make sure you talk to your employees as soon as possible with regards to returning to work, and your conversations should include:

  • when employees might return to the workplace
  • how they will travel to and from work
  • how health and safety is being reviewed, managed and the latest risk assessment findings and actions
  • any planned adjustments to be made to the workplace, e.g. phased return to work, staggering start and finish times, floor markings to help people keep 2 metres apart
  • working from home arrangements

It is so important not to forget any changes that might affect an employee’s employment contract needs to be consulted with them.

  • If someone does not want to return

You may find some people are anxious about safety and going back to the workplace, and it is important to encourage them to talk to you about any concerns and try to resolve them together.

Some people may feel they do not want to return to work or they may be unable to return yet, for example, they may be:

  • worried about catching coronavirus
  • they may be at high risk of getting a severe illness if they catch coronavirus
  • caring for children
  • living with someone who is shielding

As an employer you need to listen to any concerns your staff may have and take steps to ensure you protect everyone, this may be

  • offering extra car parking so employees do not have to use public transport
  • keeping someone on furlough if they are temporarily unable to work
  • temporarily changing hours of work to avoid peak travel time

If after reviewing any reasonable adjustments the employee still does not want to return to work, you may want to consider letting them book annual leave or unpaid leave.

If someone is refusing to return to work without a valid reason, this could result in disciplinary action and your disciplinary policy and procedure needs to be followed.

S Potter Talent Ltd is an award-winning consultancy offering bespoke apprenticeship scheme management, human resources and learning & development strategies for business.

Contact details:

Mobile phone – 07486 073844

Email – info@spottertalent.com

Website – www.spottertalent.com

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To recruit or not to recruit an apprentice in 2020 – that is the question

According to the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), more than a quarter of businesses (27%) plan to reduce the number of graduates they recruit this year and 23% will cut apprenticeship and school leaver programmes.

Covid-19 has also impacted internships and placements, which will be reduced by 31%, with more than two thirds (68%) cancelling work experience and other taster opportunities.

With around a third of the businesses replying to ISE’s survey saying they were simply uncertain about their hiring plans, on a positive note a third of businesses were continuing with their recruitment plans, moving their interviews and assessments online.

The situation business owners find themselves in with covid-19 is not for the faint hearted. Do you err on the side of caution, slow down or stop the hiring of apprentices until you know more about how your business with weather the storm or do you carry on as normal with your apprentice strategy for the year and carry on with the original apprentice recruitment plan?

In my experience of running apprentice programmes, one of the key factors to a successful programme is consistency with the apprentice intakes, Missing a year may seem like the only thing to do at for that year, but the knock on effects to the business can have a huge impact in the long term, especially when using the apprenticeship programme to ‘grow your own talent’ to help fill the national skills shortages within your industry. Now is a good time to remind yourself on why the company has an apprenticeship programme in place, and to explore and understand what effect to the business there will be if an apprentice intake is not recruited in 2020.

One thing I have done in the past is to reduce the intake number to ensure the talent pipeline is still resourced rather than skip a whole intake, this is where the company’s succession plan springs into action, in identifying available experience and capabilities in the talent pipeline of the business and taking into account national skill shortages and hard to recruit for role, as well as potential retirees in the coming years.

Whilst these are uncertain times for businesses, I urge you to keep on planning ahead for when this period passes, and it will.

“Always plan ahead, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark” quote from Richard Cushing, America prelate of the Roman Catholic Church

S Potter Talent Ltd is an award-winning consultancy offering bespoke apprenticeship scheme management, human resources and learning & development strategies for business.

Contact details:
Mobile phone – 07486 073844
Email – info@spottertalent.com
Interested in finding out more, then please feel free to book a discovery call at: https://calendly.com/spottertalent/discovery-call

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Key points of Furlough

Key points on coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme

The Government has published a guidance on claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, known as the Furlough Scheme.

Below are key points only, you must also read the Governments full guidance, which can be found here, the ensure you have all the relevant information, as these key points on their own, will not be enough.

• Employers can claim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Fees, commissions and bonuses are not included.

• Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:

  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE who are not working)
  • Public authorities

• Must have a PAYE payroll on or before 28th February 2020 and must have a UK bank account.

• Employers can claim for:

  • Full time employees
  • Part time employees
  • Employees on agency contracts
  • Employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

• Individuals are only entitled to minimum wage for the hours they work. If someone is furloughed and are not working, and 80% of their normal earnings would take them below the minimum wage based on their normal working hours, they still only receive 80% as they are not working.

• Any time spent training will be paid at national minimum wage.

• Employees must have been on the company’s payroll on 28th February 2020 to be eligible. Anyone employed after this date are not eligible. If someone was on the payroll from 28th February 2020 and has since been made redundant, they can be rehired and put on the scheme.

• Furlough leave must be taken in minimum blocks of three weeks to be eligible for funding.

• The employee must not be working at all, if they work for even an hour, they will not be eligible. However, they are able to undertake training and do volunteer work, as long as they do not provide services to or make any money for their employer.

• Normal employment law applies when agreeing changes in hours and acceptance of 80% pay, assuming the employees’ contract does not already allow for that.

• The selection process for furlough should follow the organisations standard redundancy process.

• Employees on sick leave or self-isolating cannot be furloughed, but can be furloughed afterwards. Employees who are shielding* can be placed on furlough.

• Employees on maternity, or similar leave can continue to draw SMP, or similar payments.

• Claims can only be made one every three weeks, and can be backdated to 1st March 2020. The scheme is expected to be up and running by the end of April 2020, with further guidance being issued by the Government on the mechanics of claiming the payments.

* shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.

S Potter Talent Ltd is an award-winning consultancy offering bespoke apprenticeship scheme management, human resources and learning & development strategies for business. Contact details: Mobile phone – 07486 073844 Email – info@spottertalent.com Website – www.spottertalent.com

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National Maritime welcomes the development of a new shipyard on the Thames

National Maritime very much welcomes the development of a new shipyard on the Thames and the Expression of Interest from London & Regional Properties Ltd and the Port of London Authority for shipyard operators to develop a new facility on the River Thames.

The development of a new shipyard supports one of the key priority frameworks set out by us in 2009. National Maritime has long recognised the strategic position and importance of the River Thames to supporting regional maritime sector and economic growth. We have always believed that with the right partnership approach, it can become the central axis in promoting and developing excellence in all maritime activities related to business, education and skills.

Expression of Interest: Albert Island Shipyard – Deadline for submissions 10 Feb 2020

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