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James Hart

Please tell us briefly about your career to date and what you are most proud of achieving. 

"My early career was spent working in public houses, initially in the M62 corridor and then as a manager in Chalfont St Peter. These formative years enabled me to build my leadership skills forming a dynamic service team focused on delivering a great customer experience. Since 2003 I have worked in the Skills Sector, in 2014 starting my own consultancy focused on supporting organisations in further education to get established, grow and improve. A year later I established an Apprenticeship training provider with my business partner which specialises in the Education and Childcare sectors. This organisation has grown to employ over 20 people and we current work with over 300 Apprentices throughout England.

In 2018 we opened a nursey in Intake, starting from scratch we built a highly skilled team that could deliver a high standard of childcare. We experienced a period of steady growth which was curtailed by the pandemic. Though the last 18 months have been a challenge my most proud achievement was recently being inspected by Ofsted and achieving a Grade 2 result. I have also served as a DMBC Councillor & Hatfield Town Councillor and stood to be Mayor of Doncaster in May 2021."


What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Doncaster businesses today?

"I believe that the biggest challenge to Doncaster business is currently the ability to attract and retain the brightest and most talented individuals to enable our organisations to grow and reach their full potential. We need to address the brain drain we’ve experienced for more that 25 years to create a vibrant town to live, to work and an to have fun in. I believe that Doncaster needs a clear vision and strategy for the future that will enable the town to grow, thrive and build communities that attracted talented people to our town.

The chamber can support the local authority in delivering this buy creating a connected, positive and vibrant business community and by lobbying the authority to take advantage of funding and inward investment to build the towns infrastructure."


What is the best thing about Doncaster and what do you think are the borough’s biggest opportunities?

"Doncaster has fantastic transport links and is situated perfectly to service a wide variety of sectors. Investment in our transport infrastructure and a commitment to identifying land for key developments adjacent to key transport links will further encourage investment into Doncaster and provide room for our businesses to grow.

We also have a great opportunity to redevelop major aspects of our town centre, building on the new station gateway, to provide more jobs, housing and a brighter retail experience. As a business community we need to come together to champion our town centre and influence local government to be more business friendly and make Doncaster town centre a more welcoming place.

Doncaster has a huge number of day visitors and post pandemic we have a great opportunity to convert these into overnight visits to increase overall spend per visitor.

The latest opportunity for Doncaster to become a City is a opportunity to relaunch Doncaster on every front and it’s great to see the Chamber at the forefront of the campaign."

What would you like Doncaster Chamber’s priorities to be for the next 12 months?

"Doncaster has some great SME’s that have the ability to grow, I would like to see the chamber providing additional support to high growth business to enable them to provide more sustainable employment opportunities. By providing businesses with mentors and linking them to existing support opportunities we can boost these businesses and enable them to achieve their goals.

In addition to this I would like to see a campaign to attract and retain talented people to Doncaster showcasing why Doncaster is a great place to live and work coupled with high profile vacancies.

Finally I’d like the chamber to lobby the local authority to have a more ambitious and forward thinking infrastructure and development plan that includes the whole borough and not just the town centre and a few other sites. The local plan is finally here but it’s not enough."

What would you like the Chamber to be famous for in three years’ time?

"Supporting a number of great campaigns that successfully bring the British Railways Headquarters to Doncaster, city status, a new hospital site close to the town centre and a train station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

I’d also like to see that the chamber has supported more new and sustainable businesses per head than another local authority area in the UK."

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