Another city employer joins academy project

ANOTHER employer academy has been added to Derby College’s portfolio of links between itself and businesses, which are intended to benefit students’ job prospects.

The latest company to form a partnership is web and software development company iBox Security, which is based in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.

The firm has an apprenticeship programme, offers internships to university and college students and works with Derby City Council to support IT and coding teaching through schools and libraries.

The iBox Web and Programme Development Academy is the next step in the company’s commitment to skills development, according to managing director Sean Price.

He said: “Our industry faces similar challenges to those in construction and engineering. Although young people have the interest in and passion for technology, they often do not come out of college or university with the up-to-date skills that are relevant and viable in a business environment.

“Web and software development are fast-moving and are led by industry rather than the education sector. We relish the opportunity to work with the college to ensure students have the skills and attitudes we need as employers.

“We will be offering master classes for IT students, work placements for academy members and everyone will be guaranteed an interview for jobs and apprenticeships at the end of the course. We envisage taking on one or two young people as part of our expansion plans.”

Other employer academies are: Atlas Building and Groundworks Academy; Cricket Derbyshire Hospitality Academy; Cricket Derbyshire Sports Academy; Derby Telegraph Media Sales Academy; EPM Technology Advanced Composites Academy; Huub Marketing and Product Development Academy; and The Finesse Collection Professional Cookery Academy.

Interviews with employers are being held and the first students will join the academies this month. This will be followed by recruitment in October for September 2016.

For details about the academy programme, call 0800 0280289 or visit www.derby-college.ac.uk.

eCommerce sales through social media

Did you know there are over 200 social media platforms?

Did you also know that a handful of these could actually drive REAL sales through to your online business. 

Since building our marketing division in house, after exponential growth over the last year, we have excelled in social media marketing. From running seminars in the early days of social 2007 – 2009 to developing our own social media marketing strategies internally ever since we have seen an incredible amount of business revenue from social media.

With these lessons learnt it was a no brainer to help our ecommerce clients profit from this knowledge. Strategizing and executing social media marketing for clients we have seen sales double and some more with some of the companies we work along side.

We find many companies use social media neither effectively nor efficiently, placing our reputation on the line – ecommerce clients have been queuing up to test our social media team. Such success from this we are actively growing our digital marketing team to accommodate client demand.

Facebook are forever restricting businesses policies and chances of making sales through traditional Facebook business pages with its algorithms limiting 5-10% of the audience to seeing your page content. Businesses all over the UK are wasting money hand over first by clicking that little BOOST button to pay for their content to gain more exposure – you couldn’t be doing anything further from the right thing!

We as a company beat targets without spending tons of money on ads like most business do! Facebook is really trying to make everyone spend on ads now and most still think that it is the only way to execute on Facebook.

A recent client invests a few hundred pounds in Google ads and Facebook ads and sees a tiny return, the same investment with our social media team drove a couple thousand pounds of directly attributed sales through their online store. 

The best thing is….the following months – it only got better.

Alzheimers — Ben Nevis Trek

So next weekend I’ll be lacing up my hiking boots (June 19) and trekking through the night up Ben Nevis in a bid to raise money for the Alzheimers society and it is planned that we shall reach the summit at sunrise the next day, I’ll be doing this with a group of other fundraisers from The Alzheimers Society.

As I used to sit on the executive board of a care home I have seen first hand what a debilitating disease that Alzheimers can be.

More research needs to be done into this disease, which effects over 850,000 people in the UK alone. The Alzheimers Society does some fantastic work, and more local businesses should pledge to support them- Especially as 42,000 sufferers being diagnosed, are still of working age.

The organisers originally set a fundraising target of £400, the sponsorships have rolled in despite little effort on my behalf with being so busy the last few months. So far I’ve raised £600 and would love to hit £1000 for the charity.

The support so far has been amazing, and I cannot thank the people who have already donated, enough. To have already surpassed my original target which is unbelievable.

To sponsor me, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/iboxsean

Bespoke software leads the way in promoting business growth

What’s holding your business back in 2015? Are you tracking your sales leads efficiently? Are you remembering when to contact that client who said six months ago to remind them in a few weeks time to get back in touch? Do you know at the touch of a button how much revenue you have derived from a particular client whilst flipping through email?

In business there is no shortage of necessary evils we all have to take care of no matter our position in the company. Be it a sales rep or small business owner who needs to keep track of new leads, potential clients, deals that are in development or just who said what about a particular project that is being discussed – this problem is typically solved by CRM systems. However, the problem here begins when your business doesn’t fit into one of the cookie cut CRM systems out there on the market and you require something a little more suited to your exact business.

Perhaps your company maintains mission critical data on your clients finances, stock management or resources – the Excel spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore in today’s digital work. With all aspects of software moving to the cloud – the ways in which your business can benefit from such a change is endless there are a number of cloud providers that offer productivity suites from the likes of Salesforce for CRM or Microsoft 365 that allows your to get not only email but also project management and CRM aspects in the cloud. But what about your business, that may not fit into the ‘general’ CRM mould or perhaps you need some integration with your accounting package – this is where bespoke software comes in and really can help improve the productivity of your staff and business as a whole. 

With the economy bouncing back from recent years, companies are beginning to fight back with growth and looking to increase sales and profitability. The systems your organisation uses every day really does power how effectively your team works together – understanding how your staff is performing with resource management, inventory tracking or customer relationship management systems that is all available from your iPhone/iPad anywhere in the world aids companies to achieve massive growth, and this is where a good software development agency can help sit down with your organisation, identify the pain points, areas of improvement and explain the benefits a system could improve your business efficiency. 

Functional bespoke software doesn’t need to go down the route of typical IT projects the likes of the NHS has seen which cost millions and over run by five years that said the benefits of such software could end up saving your business thousands, even millions and weeks or months of lost productivity. A recent bespoke CRM client we worked with commented that last quarter their CRM system helped them keep on top of deals they weren’t giving enough attention to, keep in contact with customers and maintain proactive relationships that generated further business with customers that otherwise may have slipped through the cracks.

Derby Telegraph — My view

Code Club teaches children aged 9 to 11 how to code computers. There is a waiting list of youngsters wanting to join but more volunteers are needed to pass on their programming skills.

IN every industry, it is vital businesses pass their knowledge on to the next generation.

Failure to do so could result in that industry failing.

That is why I’m surprised at the severe lack of volunteers coming forward to support a project I’m involved in.

The project is called Code Club. It is a voluntary initiative aimed at teaching children aged 9 to 11 how to code computers.

It involves volunteer programmers and software developers giving their time to run courses, passing on their programming skills and mentoring the young pupils.

It has enabled children to create their own computer games and robots and learn how to use technology creatively.

As someone who is fuelled by a passion for getting kids off the streets and equipping them with the invaluable skills needed for a career in IT, I decided to set up free Saturday morning sessions for children at Derby Central Library.

The classes have proven to be so successful that there is now a waiting list to attend.

The hour-long free sessions take place between 10.30am and 11.30am and teach children fundamental programming elements.

Each week, the pupils are set the task of creating a game, animation, or puzzle, that is then built using a piece of software known as Scratch.

Indeed, when I first heard about Code Club, I instantly wanted to be involved.

My father taught me how to programme when I was just five years old, and I now run a very successful ecommerce and software development business in Derby.

Without that early tuition, I may not be where I am today.

Computer programming skills are becoming more and more prevalent in the industry and I believe that it is vital to pass this knowledge on.

At the ages of 9 to 11, children are impressionable and it is important to get them doing something productive.

All this is why I’m surprised that there is a severe lack of volunteers coming forward to support this initiative. Volunteers are only required to give up one hour a week and it is an extremely rewarding experience.

At iBox Security, we firmly believe in giving something back to the community, and that is why I have also just signed up to mentor a GCSE student for a year.

It’s time that other businesses did the same.