Movers & Shakers: Realise Futures chief Sarah Sharlott connects with students in Australia

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of the Ipswich-based Realise Futures.

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of the Ipswich-based Realise Futures. - Credit: Archant

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of Ipswich-based Realise Futures, has been giving budding social entrepreneurs “down under” the benefit of her experience of heading an award-winning social enterprise.

She took part in a seminar run by the Australian School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) which runs courses for people that have an idea for a business with a community benefit.

By Skype from her Ipswich office, she talked to students for an hour-and-a-half about leading culture change within a social enterprise and answering their questions about how to run a business with a social benefit. Realise Futures was set up two and a half years ago and specialises in providing a range of employment services to help people who are disabled and disadvantaged.

Since its formation, the business has created more than 100 jobs and last year won a national award for being a “trailblazing newcomer”. It was among five winners chosen from 1,365 social ventures listed on the RBS SE100 Index in the UK.

The students in Australia, from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, asked a wide range of questions and were interested in how the company runs its chain of seven cafés across Suffolk.

Sarah, who has 30 years’ experience of working in the social care sector, said: “It was a very interesting thing to do – I’ve never used Skype to take part in a forum in Australia like this. They asked lots of questions about our business, particularly in relation to the transition of services from the public sector, with a disability focus.

“The Australian model is different – social enterprises are mainly from either charity or faith-based backgrounds. But, like us, they are experiencing public funding cuts and so are keen to learn about model for replication, and they are interested in disability and welfare changes whereby people have individual budgets and buy the services they want.

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“There are around 70,000 social enterprises in the UK but a lot less than that ‘down under’ – but it is a growing sector, like it is in the UK,” she added.

Amanda Blake, student services manager at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Australia said: “Sarah’s imparted knowledge and passion was warmly appreciated. Students appreciated her openness to share more about her journey and experiences.”

: : Thetford-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning firm TROX UK has appointed two senior technical staff.

Mike Gosling joins the business as product technical manager for grilles, diffusers and louvres. Stuart Maddock joins as product technical manager for fan coils.

Mike is returning to TROX after four years working as a technical sales manager for Frenger. Prior to that role he served eight years at TROX in various engineer and sales management positions.

His job will involve reviewing designs and progressing product development.

Stuart joins TROX from the role of engineering manager at Aermec UK Ltd, and previously worked for the likes of LG Electronics and Lennox Industries.

He will be focusing on client enquiries concerning the fan coil range, as well as helping ensure TROX UK remains at the forefront of noise reduction within its sector.

Sales director Neil Addison said: “It has been a deliberate intention to enhance our senior technical team in this first part of 2015 and we are delighted to have two exceptionally well qualified people joining us for the next stage in TROX UK’s journey.

“This is a great time for the company as a whole because we are completing some stunning projects at landmark venues around the UK and our reputation in the industry is a strong one as a result of our continual development and product enhancements.”

: : Milsom Hotels & Restaurants has appointed Sue Tasker to head corporate sales across the group. She will work with all the group’s properties in Dedham, Harwich and Kesgrave to enhance the corporate activity of the business for accommodation, meetings and dining, but will mainl be based at Le Talbooth in Dedham.

She said: “I am delighted to be working with Milsom Hotels. It’s a company that I’ve always admired. I’m looking forward to increasing the corporate sales side of the business and getting to know the many companies who already work with the group. As well as introducing new business and communicating the unique corporate offering the Milsom brand provides.”

Managing director Paul Milsom said: “Sue Tasker has a wealth of knowledge in the business sector, having worked both locally and nationally as well as running her own successful business and we are really pleased that she has come on board to add strength to our sales and marketing team.”

: : Commercial solicitor Ashton Carter has been made a partner at Colchester-based law firm Fisher Jones Greenwood.

The promotion is the latest step in Ashton’s career at Fisher Jones Greenwood having joined the firm as a paralegal in 2010.

He subsequently went on to complete his training contract and qualified as a solicitor in March 2013. He specialises in corporate, commercial, company, charity and partnership work and also has expertise in intellectual property law.

Mr Carter said: “I am immensely grateful to FJG for supporting me throughout my legal career, which has now led to this development. Having been with the firm for five years, starting out from a paralegal position, it is extremely satisfying to reach partnership level and I look forward to continuing help the firm grow in the future.”

Paula Fowler, managing partner at Fisher Jones Greenwood, said: “Ashton’s ability to provide excellent client service, his dedication, hard work and commitment to FJG made this decision to promote him to partner a very easy one.

“Career progressions such as Ashton’s are testament to the development and support that we provide to all our staff. We are now looking forward to seeing Ashton going on to make ever more significant contributions to the firm over the next few years.”

: : Colchester-based Ellisons Solicitors has welcomed Stewart Nicholson as a qualified solicitor following the completion of his training contract with the firm.

Mr Nicholson attended Nottingham Trent University from 2007 to 2011, graduating with a 2:1 Law degree. He joined Ellisons in October 2011, initially working in an administrative role while studying part-time for his Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Nottingham Law School.

He joined the commercial property department as a paralegal in November 2012, before starting his training contract in July 2013 after completing his LPC, which he passed with distinction.

Stewart joins the commercial property department as an assistant solicitor. He will be based at the firm’s Colchester head office.

Senior partner and commercial property department partner Guy Longhurst said: “I am delighted to welcome Stewart to the department.

“As a trainee, Stewart excelled himself and proved he is already an asset to ourfirm and so we were very pleased to offer him a permanent position upon completing his training contract.”