Exam success for West Suffolk accounting students

ACCOUNTING students at West Suffolk College are celebrating after totting up a 100% pass rate at this year’s AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) exams. 100% of students studying for the AAT NVQ Level 4 in Accounting passed the Planning and Control of Resources and the Preparing Personal Tax Computations papers compared with a national pass rate of 87%.

Course director Alison Dunn said: “The College’s results are always good but for all 23 students to pass both subjects is exceptional. We are extremely proud of the students’ achievements. They have demonstrated tremendous motivation and application to pass the exams after little more than three months of study.

“There are 3 further exams in June and a work based project to be completed by the end of April. This is a tall order but one which these students have the motivation and ability to achieve.”

The students come from a wide range of employment backgrounds, not all in accounting.

Some, like Claire Allen from Bury St Edmunds and Amanda Blows from Cranwich in Norfolk, are funding themselves, hoping for a career change in the future.

Others are employed in an accounting role. Gemma Taylor and Karl Scadding work in the accounts department for Klub Group Ltd in Stowmarket. Elizabeth Turner and Beverley Mullarkey work for the Ministry of Defence at RAF Honington and RAF Mildenhall respectively.

Megan Evans and Elizabeth Payet from Bury St Edmunds, Rachel Durey from Long Melford, Christina Jarvis and Ziaf Kulasi from Mildenhall and Emma Lane from Lawshall are all in training with accounting practices locally. All completed AAT NVQ 3 in Accounting as Apprentices and have progressed to level 4 with the support of their employers.

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Colchester-based care company Healthcare Homes has announced the appointment of two new regional managers who will oversee the running of 16 care homes in the Eastern region.

James Sewards has been promoted to regional manager for care homes in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and central Suffolk. He previously managed Beaumont Park Nursing Home in Biggleswade and has been with Healthcare Homes for more than eight years. He has been a qualified nurse for 36 years, most of which which were spent in the army and nursing homes, and is co-chairman of the Bedfordshire Care Group.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to supporting, helping and developing managers in all aspects of running a care home. It is vital to remember a care home is much more than a building and my aim is to ensure residents continue to receive the highest standards of care and attention.”

Dani Gaston will be responsible for the overall management of care homes in Norfolk and the coastal area of Suffolk. She has worked in the care sector for more than 20 years, beginning her career as a care assistant. Ms Gaston, a qualified nurse, has delivered training programmes in the health and social care sectors, managed care homes and ran her own consultancy company. She says she is looking forward to working alongside home managers to deliver quality care. “

I joined Healthcare Homes in November and it is a great company to work for. I am very much looking forward to the challenges which lie ahead and the opportunity to make a real difference,” she said.

Healthcare Homes’ Chief Executive, Richard Clough said: “James and Dani have a wealth of expertise and experience, which will be of huge benefit to the company, and ensure that our already excellent standard of care continues to be maintained.”

HADLEIGH-BASED Free Rein has made two new appointments to strengthen its customer service team

Iona Deanjoins the internet marketing company as account manager and will be responsible for developing the client portfolio and raising Free Rein’s profile across East Anglia and the UK. Iona brings extensive traditional and online marketing experience to the role, having been based in London for many years working with multinational businesses. Since moving to Suffolk she has run her own retail business and worked with local SMEs in the eastern region.

She is joined by Mark Oxford who has been appointed as Account Executive. Mark will primarily be involved in providing customer support and managed services to our existing client base. He will be responsible for managing customer content, project management and data analysis using our web based content management system (CMS).

BLYTH Online, the ICT division of Blyth Valley, has marked its continued growth by appointing four new staff.

Ryan Morris, Troy Challenger, Mike Taylor and David Pawson are joining the Ipswich-based insurance service team.

Mr Morris, 26, joins as a solutions developer from a previous position as an IT manager.

Mr Challenger, 26, comes on board as an operations assistant. He previously worked in IT support at Suffolk County Council and then in the shipping industry.

Mr Taylor, 41, is a web developer, bringing with him over 20 years of experience across a number of local companies.

Mr Pawson, 22, who studied software engineering at university, becomes ecommerce assistant for Blyth Online. Managing director Valerie Hockley said: “The arrival of these four team members is great news for Blyth Online and particularly shows how much emphasis we are placing on that aspect of our business delivery.

“Blyth really is a strong player in the world of insurance and truly understands the importance of reaching clients online.”

AN Essex businesswoman has scooped a national award after rising through the ranks to own one of the UK’s leading High Court enforcement agencies.

Claire Sandbrook, chief executive of Braintree-based Shergroup, took the title of Credit Personality of the Year at the Institute of Credit Management Awards 2010. She won the award partly through her work supporting local charities and setting up a national organisation, the Sherbet Foundation, which helps families affected by enforcement action.

Shergroup specialises in commercial debt management and enforcing court judgments, as well as repossessing land and property backed up by a specialist security division. The company also provides outsourced business services, including administrative support and voice/data systems.

The company employs around 80 staff across the UK and in India and has a �8million annual turnover, making it one of the top enforcement agencies in the country. It has developed a range of award-winning services which are now used by others across the enforcement industry.

As chairman of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, Mrs Sandbrook is recognised as a forceful advocate in raising industry standards, another aspect which impressed the judges.

She said: “It is a great honour to have received the award, but it is credit to the company as a whole. Shergroup is a very innovative business and we have worked hard to make it one of the largest High Court Enforcement agencies in the country.”

Mrs Sandbrook started as the company’s secretary more than 25 years ago and progressed to a number of different roles before taking over as chief executive and owner. She is actively involved with the Institute of Credit Management and has also co-authored four books on debt recovery and enforcement.

HSBC Commercial Banking team has strengthened its Central and Eastern real estate team with the appointment of Andrew Russell as deputy commercial director.

Mr Russell joins the 12-strong real estate team, reporting directly to central and eastern commercial cirector of real estate, Andy Cole. In his new role, he will provide support to existing and potential commercial real estate customers.

As well as being a respected member of the professional community in East Anglia, he brings a wealth of experience to the role including 25 years at HSBC and more recently, two years in the real estate team at Lloyds HBOS.

Andrew Russell, HSBC deputy commercial director, real estate, said: “I’m really pleased to be joining HSBC’s real estate team in the Central & East Region and look forward to consolidating my experience to assist our real estate customers across the region in achieving their potential.”

Ian Urquhart, HSBC regional commercial director, central and eastern region, said: “I am delighted to welcome Andrew back to HSBC. His skills and experience will strengthen our commercial real estate team as we continue to support our existing and new real estate clients.”