Please tell us briefly about your career to date and what you are most proud of achieving.
"I started working when I was 14 as a waiter at The Beverley Inn, Edenthorpe and at 17, started my first full time role with Cosyhome Insulation. Starting work at an early age gave me a real grounding and an appreciation for the value of both time and money. At 18, I joined TrAchem as an Office Junior and have now been with them for more than 12 years, covering all roles from admin, warehousing, marketing, accounts, sales and purchasing. In my current role as Sales Director, I oversee the day-to-day running of the operation, with a strong focus on growing our customer base and customer & supplier relations.
I am most proud of the growth achieved in my first 2 years as a director for the Company, having overseen our revenue increase by more than 40% in that time. I’m also extremely proud of the small team we have built over the last 5 years, having undergone a major transformation in both staff members and business strategy between 2016 – 2018."
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Doncaster businesses today?
"The biggest challenge I see facing Doncaster businesses today, is a shortfall of applicants for open job vacancies. Companies throughout the borough, in all industry sectors, have struggled over the last 18 months, but have survived and are still here doing business today. They are emerging from the other side of lockdowns and restrictions, and are ready to grow in this post-pandemic world that we all find ourselves in. That growth gives a welcome boost to the economy and provides new jobs for the region; but these new jobs need filling, and it has become a very competitive marketplace with so many vacancies available. More needs to be done to bring those currently out of work back, and those coming out of full-time education, into a job."
What is the best thing about Doncaster and what do you think are the borough’s biggest opportunities?
|"The best thing about Doncaster, for me, are the transport links that have helped mould Doncaster into what it is today. Great motorway links with the M1, M18, M180, M62 and A1, Doncaster Sheffield Airport (with the new link road, Great Yorkshire Way), and of course the railway station and iPort freight terminal. Doncaster has a rich history in the rail industry, and I’ve seen first-hand how deep the railway runs in the veins of the town having worked in partnership with various Doncaster businesses in that sector for much of my career.|
With the recent bid for City Status, there is great optimism in the borough for what investment that may bring, and I think this is the biggest opportunity for the region. It’s a great time for businesses to relocate to Doncaster or develop and grow existing operations in the town. We have an abundance of land that is prime for redevelopment in addition to the new industrial areas that have already been built. I hope city status attracts more engineering and manufacturing businesses to the borough which in turn will generate more highly skilled jobs for our citizens."
What would you like Doncaster Chamber’s priorities to be for the next 12 months?
|"The Chamber should be proud of the work it does with larger companies, and having them on board certainly helps. However, I would like to see the Chamber continue to prioritise SMEs over the next 12 months. These small to medium sized enterprises are what keep the wheels of industry turning and in Doncaster, we have so many amazing SMEs to help, and shout about, through the Chamber. It is these businesses that need the support the most, given the current financial climate.|
I would also like to see the Chamber concentrate on the link between education and business. Making sure our young Doncastrians in the 16-24 age group transition from education into work is so important and is something that can ease the pressure on the employee shortage we see today. Investing in our youth should be a priority for businesses across the borough; they are the next generation of factory floor workers, business leaders, CEO’s, Managing Directors, and entrepreneurs."
What would you like the Chamber to be famous for in three years’ time?
|"I want to see the Chamber Membership grow exponentially over the next 3 years to a point where more Doncaster businesses are members than are not. Let’s be famous for having the highest percentage of businesses as members in the whole of the British Chambers of Commerce. Let’s build that network of local businesses working together and championing one another. The larger the network, the more we can do to support all local businesses, achieve that much-needed growth in our economy, and create those skilled and non-skilled jobs for our young people.|
Increasing the membership will not only help Doncaster businesses directly. It will help the Chamber access vital funds to better represent us, to run more workshops, training, and networking events, and to have a louder voice on a national scale."