People & Appointments

Recruitment, HR and training sector news in Swindon and Wiltshire.

Sales expert hires her first employee - her ex-boss

Written by Peter Davison.

Alison Edgar and Louise EliottSales expert Louise Elliott has become the first employee of growing Wiltshire business Sales Coaching Solutions.

Lou has been headhunted by managing director Alison Edgar and started in her new role as business development and training manager on Monday. 

Alison knows about Lou’s background in sales and customer service as Lou used to be Alison’s boss. They met more than 16 years ago when Lou recruited Alison to her successful sales team at Yell.

It was Lou who was responsible for passing on the skills, which later allowed Alison to become the founder of Sales Coaching Solutions Ltd. Now in an unexpected turnaround, Lou has joined Alison in her own company.

Lou said: ““I am thrilled to be working with Alison at Sales Coaching Solutions Ltd. I’m looking forward to working with business owners and employees in the near future.”

Alison said: “I cannot express how delighted I am to be bringing Lou into the business. Together we’ll make a great team and we offer customers a huge wealth of experience in sales training.”

Lou’s passion for sales and good customer service started over 30 years ago when she joined Yellow Pages. During her time with the company, she became successful in people management, sales training and coaching. She’s also worked with blue chip companies including Marks & Spencer, Global Radio and Celador Entertainments.

Both Lou and Alison believe sales and customer service are the same thing – when delivered correctly. Alison is becoming well known in the south west as the founder of Sales Coaching Solutions, a specialist sales training provider.

The company focuses on sales and customer service training for start-up enterprises, SMEs and corporate organisations. For start-ups and growing businesses, there are often grants and funding available to help cover the costs of training and development. These include the Growth Vouchers’ Programme and the Growth Accelerator Service.

Lou lives in Chipping Sodbury and has two grown up children. When not spending with family and friends, she’s is a mentor for breast cancer sufferers and raised over £30,000 for charity.

Shop manager hitches a ride with cops as part of charity relay

Written by Peter Davison.

A shop manager hitched a 10-mile ride in a police car as part of an ‘unusual transport relay’ charity fundraiser for Sue Ryder.

Adrian Botwright, manager of the M Local convenience store in Marlborough High Street, drove in a police car for 10 miles to Wroughton in the seventh leg of a twenty-four hour relay race across the South West.

The 334-mile race across six counties connected all fifteen Morrisons M local stores within the South West region.

It started with the Plymouth leg at 08.30am on Friday, August 1, ending in Bristol Portishead at midday the following day.

Over 15 Morrisons M local colleagues took part. Each leg of the route was completed using an unusual mode of transport, including a kayak, tandem and tractor.

At each stage of the race, participants handed on a specially created South West Morrisons M local ‘apple baton’.

The relay raised £8,000, which will enable Sue Ryder - the retailer’s nation-wide charity partner - to establish new community services, family support teams and an online support community across the UK including in the South West.

Adrian said: “We hope our relay race has raised significant funds for Sue Ryder’s vital community care and support in the South West. Thank you to everyone who has made such generous donations so far.

“I was pretty nervous. However, colleagues and the general public kept me going during my leg.”

Samantha Steadman, from Sue Ryder, said: "It's fantastic that Morrisons M Locals in the South West are taking on this challenge to raise funds for the new healthcare services being set up by Sue Ryder.

"With the help of Morrisons colleagues and customers, we're already making a lasting difference to thousands of families at the most difficult time of their lives, and we're hugely grateful for their support."

Thirdline appoints new support specialist

Written by Peter Davison.

Cullen Owen of ThirdlineLeading IT, cloud and communications firm, Thirdline has appointed a new support specialist at its Swindon headquarters.

Cullen Owen, 40, is a highly qualified server engineer being the man behind pitching and integrating the VMware platform at Aviva, the insurance group.

He will be a vital part of the core team as a senior engineer with a proven track record in both virtualization and server infrastructure management. Cullen also has strong experience working with all operating systems including Apple and Linux.

CEO of Thirdline, Jack Peploe commented: “We’ve grown dramatically over the last year, appointing a number of new staff, mainly in the technical department to cope with our ever increasing client base.

“This is an exciting time for Thirdline, we have so much in the pipeline. I wish I could reveal more, but you’ll start so see this changes in the next few months, with our presence in Wiltshire rapidly increasing.”

Cullen moved back to Swindon after leaving his Site Lead role at Aviva, in Ireland, to pursue a more exciting, progressive career path within an innovative technology firm.

“It was time to move on,” he said. “Aviva is great company to work for, but my role had remained the same for too long, I needed a change, I wanted to work somewhere exciting and passionate about customer service.

“I feel Thirdline is the perfect place for me. The company has given me the opportunity to progress my career and made me a senior engineer of the support team – a role I’m very excited about.”

This appointment is the second in less than two months, with Daniel Webb joining the team as PR and marketing manager back in May.

For more on Thirdline, visit

Sales specialist takes up role as school business ambassador

Written by Peter Davison.

Alison Edgar James Stewart and student Kieran KaurA dyslexic who overcame adversity to enjoy a successful corporate career which took her around the world has become a business ambassador at her local school.

Sales specialist Alison Edgar, who founded Sales Coaching Solutions, admits that her Glasgow school never expected her to be a high achiever.

Abbeyfield School in ChippenhamHowever, she went on to work with blue chip companies including Yell, Douwe Egberts and BT as well as spending the early part of her career working for large global hotel chains in the Channel Islands, Australia and South Africa.

Her recent success in setting up her own business, Sales Coaching Solutions Ltd in 2011, has prompted her to give something back to young people studying at Abbeyfield School in Chippenham.

“I do feel the need to give something back to my community and to offer inspiration to young people. I’d like them to know that there are many options out there to consider, including running your own business,” said Alison, who was invited to support students at the school by careers coordinator James Stewart.

“Alison has been an inspiration to our students here at Abbeyfield School. She has gone out of her way on numerous occasions to help out the school,” said James.

“Alison has attended mock interviews, been part of a presentation panel, spoken to classes and attended our careers fair.

“She’s always been very motivational and inspirational to our students, she comes across extremely well to both young people and adults and her friendly personality has enabled our students to converse with her on many levels.”

New recruitment manager is ahead of the ‘Field’

Written by Peter Davison.

Emma Ryder of Field recruitment agencyA new manager is on board at leading Swindon recruitment agency Field, with a brief to take the business to a national level.

Emma Ryder has been appointed service delivery manager at Field Recruitment by managing director Andrew Careswell.

Based in Commercial Road and this year celebrating its 40th anniversary, Field has recently invested in new cloud-based IT which enables staff to work anywhere, at any time, and access all the company’s systems. This will give the company the platform it needs to expand nationally.

“I am very excited about my new role,” said 33-year-old Emma, who began her recruitment career nearly a decade ago.

“Our new IT systems allow us to work from anywhere, so we’re no longer geographically tied. This means we can provide a better service for our clients and our candidates, supporting them wherever they are in the country. I’m really looking forward to using this as a stepping stone to growing the business.”

Emma hails from the Midlands but moved to Wiltshire as a child. She began her working life with Zurich (then Allied Dunbar) in Swindon.

A move to Kent saw her working as a virtual PA. In 2005 she relocated to London and her career in recruitment began when she went to sign on with a recruitment company and ended up being taken on to work in their flagship Piccadilly offices.

Here, she sourced admin staff for high end clients including Buckingham Palace, Rothschild Diamond and Deloitte.

In 2009 Emma moved back to Wiltshire to manage part of the temporary recruitment staffing programme for Nationwide’s managed service provider.

She then set up a business with her father – which he continues to run - and prior to joining Field had been with Vodafone’s managed service provider, tasked with managing its retail staff recruitment programme for Greater London.

At Field, Emma will work closely with business development manager Andy Wright.

Andrew said he was delighted to have Emma on board. “She has a wealth of experience in the industry, working both with clients and candidates. Having been with Nationwide’s managed service provider, she has an exceptional insight into a client’s needs,” he said.

“She’s exactly the person we need to head up Field and take it to the next level.”

For more information visit


Lawyers take up brief to sponsor memory gig

Written by Peter Davison.

Mary HoffmanSpecialist law firm Hoffman Male has stepped up to become the headline sponsor for a major Swindon event aimed at boosting funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Swindon-based Hoffman Male is backing the event - The Gig to Remember, due to be staged at The Oasis Leisure Centre on November 8 – to the tune of £5,000.

The gig will feature The Bootleg Beatles and beatbox band Duke, and is set to raise hundreds for pounds for the charity.

Mary Hoffman, partner at Hoffman Male, which specialises in conveyancing, wills and probate, said she was moved to sponsor the concert because of her own experience with her father, who was affected with Alzheimer’s disease.

“My Dad was a confident, strong and extremely optimistic man – sadly, Alzheimer’s took all of that away from him. Unfortunately, my story is like that of thousands of other families trying to cope with this cruel disease,” said Mary.

“We’ve been asked in the past to support charities, but this is Hoffman Male’s first major venture into sponsorship, and I agreed to do so because I believe passionately in supporting an organisation which is fundraising for research into finding a cure for this terrible condition.”

The Gig to Remember is being organised by Amanda Franks, of Swindon-based Frankly Recruitment, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 57. Now 64, she’s living in a care home.

Amanda said: “I had a dream and a mission to raise a substantial amount for Alzheimer's Research UK. With my mum deteriorating to be able to do something positive is a great distraction.

"The fundraising is quite a project with lots of events leading up to The Gig to Remember and I honestly don't think it would have been possible without the cash injection and support that Mary Hoffman of Hoffman Male came forward with. With our personal attachment to the cause, Mary is very much part of the team as well as our main sponsor.”

Tickets for The Gig to Remember are available from the concert website at or from the Oasis.

Amanda is also appealing for other businesses to come forward to help sponsor other events in the run-up to the gig. Any business people interested in helping should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thrings solicitors handed senior roles by leading property organisations

Written by Peter Davison.

Eric Livingston and Natalia SokolovSolicitors at leading commercial law firm Thrings have received recognition for their expertise and knowledge of the commercial property and construction sectors from two of the UK’s most prominent industry organisations.

Partner Eric Livingston has become vice chairman of the Great Western branch of the Forum for the Built Environment (fbe), while fellow construction law specialist Natalia Sokolov has been elected as vice chairman of the Association of Women in Property (WiP) in the South West.

In his new role, Eric will support branch chairman Peter Harris in delivering a programme of events for the fbe’s 150 regional members who are drawn from all built environment-related professions in the South West. This includes multi-national construction companies, cost consultants, architects and designers, property developers, engineers, planners and legal and financial specialists.

Eric, who has been an fbe committee member since 2008, is acknowledged as a leader in the field of construction law. Chambers UK, the leading independent legal directory, describes him as ‘a highly experienced and well-respected figure in the region’.

Eric said: “Since its inception in 1946, the fbe has continued to provide its members with the opportunity to discuss local issues and local projects, and assess the economic and political landscape of the area in which they work with fellow building environment professionals.

“This year’s programme will include the long-established formal dinners, attended by approximately 400 industry professionals, regular lunch and evening networking sessions and even a sponsored cycle ride from Tewkesbury to Land’s End. The chairman has said he views our year in office as a partnership, an ethos for the fbe, which I wholeheartedly support.”

Meanwhile Natalia, who specialises in construction procurement projects and engineering disputes, becomes the new vice chairman of WiP in the South West.

WiP is the national organisation that seeks to enhance the profile of women in the property and construction industry sectors. It represents all disciplines within the property and construction industry, providing a forum for business opportunities, the exchanging of views, networking and personal development.

Natalia said: “The Association of Women in Property attracts members from a wide industry base, from architects and engineers to planners and surveyors, and women at all levels, including graduates, senior partners and directors.

“But women currently account for just 15 per cent of the property and construction industry workforce in the UK . As an organisation, we are focused on redressing this balance by highlighting the numerous benefits and opportunities that a career in property can offer.”

Natalia becomes the second member of Thrings’ commercial property team at WiP in the South West, following fellow solicitor Naomi Butler’s election to the position of joint committee secretary and joint student awards coordinator earlier this year.

Warren Reid, head of commercial property at Thrings, added: “Eric and Natalia are highly experienced solicitors, who possess a deep knowledge and understanding of the construction and commercial property sectors. The firm would like to congratulate both of them on being appointed to key positions at two such established and respected organisations.

“Many of our lawyers are members of independent professional bodies, and by continuing to work closely with their peers, they gain a deeper understanding of that industry and the issues and challenges it faces.

"This additional knowledge ensures Eric and Natalia are ideally placed to deliver specialist, proactive legal advice to clients operating in increasingly active South West commercial property and construction markets.”

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