A Superyacht Way Of Life

This job is a one-off. To be eligible, it is a requisite that you know how to sail across the oceans with the use modern naval apparatus, keep away from pirate attacks, know floral arrangement, offer an excellent service, meet the topnotch standards in cleaning rooms, organize events, and have a grasp of exceptional wine. Being a multilingual is a plus.

It surely looks demanding, this is due to the employers are accustomed to having the very best. Owning a yacht is an understatement for these employers, they own an extravagant superyachts that is valued up to £400 million – this is why they are demanding the staff to complement it, and expects a first-class handling of their ship.

Finding such people is very challenging. The method of finding a crew is grueling enough even for a smaller boat, given that most of the members are being endorsed from docks all over the world. This is where yacht crew agencies such as Silver Swann Yacht Crew come in.

The increasing industry of super-yacht requires a smoother process of getting a crew, this is why UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) was established. UKSA is a charity that can be found in the Isle of Wight at Cowes. UKSA is offering courses that will develop young adults into super-yacht deck hands with becoming a captain of one of these boats as their ultimate goal. It has been the sole place that offers this kind of courses for the past seven years. The programme for cadetship will usually accept applicants mid-year and starts in October. The whole cadetship lasts for four years with almost half the time spent learning the job in the ocean.

Last 2014, there were 12 endowments to cover a portion of the course costs, offered to chosen applicants aged 18 to 25. A shorter course is available that teaches student all the things they are expected to work below the deck and concentrates more on hospitality. Competition is up rising as the opportunity to travel around the world with very good pay is waiting for these cadets. The cadets in the programme can already earn £1,600 every month even though they are still on training, while captains can earn up to £250,000 anually.

Based on the 2012 record, 4,549 superyachts are in use, and by 2031, the industry will likely grow to about 7,500.

It is hard to withstand the charm of the superyacht way of life. Some of the graduates of the programme have been employed on Motor Yacht A, a £174 million boat built for the Russian billionaire Andrei Melnichenko created by Philippe Starck, a French designer. The boat has a helipad, a room to accommodate 37 crew, two pools, and six magnificent guest suites with each having its own Jacuzzi.

Eclipse, a German-built superyacht owned by Roman Abramovich is 162.3 metres long, has 2 helipads, 24 guest cabins, and has a 16 metre pool that can be converted as a dance floor. This was the largest superyacht in the whole world until Azzam was built in 2013. Azzam costed £390 million and said to be the most intricate and difficult yacht ever built.

Social enterprise – it’s all around you

According to a report by Melanie Mills, the chief executive of Social Enterprise West Midlands CIC, for the Guardian, there are at least 62,000 social enterprises based around the UK.
What you might not realise is that these firms are based in just about every industry you can think of. Change your way of life today by seeing what these not-for-profit organisations can offer you.

Begin a new chapter with an independent bookshop

Instead of hopping online and choosing your next book from the selection on offer at Amazon, consider dropping by an independent bookshop.
There is likely to be a store within a short drive of your address, with the Arnolfini a highlight if you are based in the south-west of England. As well as stocking an intriguing range of publications, the arts centre also plays host to intriguing eco festivals from time to time.

Wash away those old habits

Did you know that there are an estimated 14 million people in the UK who use the services of Thames Water? How about that this same company did not pay any corporation tax in the past financial year?
Customers do have an alternative – Welsh Water. A not-for-profit organisation, the company is also free from the demands of shareholders and the money they receive from bills are pumped into environmental projects.

Get on the right track

Public transport also has an excellent social enterprising company in the shape of the HCT Group. An organisation which runs services in London, Bristol, Humberside, Yorkshire and the Channel Islands, the firm passes all of its profits into training and providing even more services.
As if that was not enough, the HCT Group tries to focus these projects on the UK’s most deprived areas.

Say no to that bitter taste

The drinks industry is a great example when it comes to showing the best of the country’s social economy. Fair trade coffee company Cafedirect, for example, uses its profits to help coffee producers keep on top with their work.
Then there is Belu. Plastic bottles may not be environmental in their general design, but this bottled-water company claims that its products are 100 per cent carbon neutral. On top of this, the firm refuses to export and delivers every penny of its profits to WaterAid.

A comfier fit

Pants to Poverty has created a social enterprise that is more a cycle of heart-warming gestures. For starters, it only sells clothing that has been created using cotton that is grown and manufactured in India.
Once it has sold these clothes, the firm uses its profits to support farmers, seed banks and fund schools in the Asian country. Then the acquisition of more clothes from India takes place once more.

This article was provided on behalf of Viking UK, which stocks all the stationery you need to create an efficient workplace or a home office to be proud of.

The 3 P’s of social value?

People, Planet, Profit? Well those 3 P are very much at the heart of social value.  The balancing act where we aim to ensure a profit or purchasing initiative does not undermine people or planet. After all is a saving really a saving, if we then have to invest more in our communities or the environment as a result of our poor purchasing? At Aster we say “we make a difference by investing in people and communities.” Therefore part of that investment is about recognising the significant power of our supply chains to deliver social value to our customers and the communities which we work in.

Social value is as much about an organisations mind set at it is about its procurement practices. However changing a mind-set is never an easy task, I will share with you my diet analogy. Crash buying is much like crash dieting , In the short term many congratulate  you on your results, however as time passes what often seemed to be a big weight loss, converts into a smaller or worst still a gain and often a return to unhealthy lifestyle . Contrast this with following a healthy lifestyle and while it may take people a little longer to notice your changes you can be sure the impact will go beyond the new jean size. Since I am not qualified to offer healthy life style advice, I will share instead My 3 P’s of learning regarding social value.

Persuasion, since to some social value sound like one of those “fluffy concepts” you’re going to need to enlighten a few people. You can have the best procurement manager(s) in the world but there is a lot of buying that goes on below strategic procurement. Everyone needs to understand the impact of their purchasing not just those with it in their job title.

Persistence, Increasing the social value we deliver through our supply chains is not some thing that will happen over night. People have their own priorities and prejudices.  Just because something becomes part of the process does not mean your job of championing social value is done.

Patience, apparently good things come to those who wait (well I am not advocating you sit back and wait for social value to appear. However after base lining current social value in the supply chain, implementing processes to support social value, and working with staff on social value. A certain amount of patience is required to examine the differences you have made in your organisation over time.  So while we wait I will leave you with some of my Aster social value highlights of the last year.

Over the past year Aster has:

  • Ensured social value is firmly embedded in it value for money strategy
  • Provided briefings to staff on the social value act and offered advice and guidance to staff who may be tendering for work on how to demonstrate social value. As well as how to include social value in the procurement process
  • added questions re social value in large procurements
  • examined its supply chains to look at the number of social purpose organisations we are buying from
  • Required each department in Aster companies to report on social value through Asters service review statements.
  • Designed and deliver social value training to staff
  • Invested in the housing charity HACT to develop a national model and understanding of social value which looks at the whole organisation rather than just individual projects

This is a guest post by Charlotte Weedon, Social Enterprise Development Manager, www.aster.co.uk

Opportunities And Challenges When Expanding Into Europe

One of the greatest joys of running a business is watching it grow and adapt to the world around it, especially when it takes a brave leap across the ocean to try and set up shop in a foreign land.
While the potential rewards of a successful international business expansion can be huge, glittering and glorious, there are a whole host of legal, administrative, technological and cultural obstacles that need to be vaulted.
Just like when moving to another country to live or study, you cannot expect to just turn up and fit right in. Your business needs to have an appreciation of how things are done in its new home, while retaining a clear grasp of its own identity and purpose.
So what do you and your business need to consider and plan for when you have set the European market in your sites? Also, what extra challenges will social enterprises face?

Why expand into Europe?

The simple answer is that the EU taken as a whole is one of the largest markets in the world, one that accounted for 25.8% of the global GDP in 2010. The EU is also the largest exporter of goods and services in the world and since 2008 has also been one of the largest importers of these crucial trade fundamentals as well.

Taken altogether, it should be pretty clear that Europe is a hive of business activity where companies from all over the world clamour to buy and sell, and that any company with international ambitions would be foolish not to get involved.
As a company that originates from a country that is already an EU member, UK businesses already have a number of potential structural advantages when it comes to doing business in Europe. The Single Market is based upon the free movement of people and goods between member states, making your business’s life potentially much easier.
But these benefits are not immediate and guaranteed, and despite the Single Market there are still a number of possible pitfalls.

Cloud Computing and European expansion

In recent years the move towards cloud computing has emerged as a possible way of dramatically lowering the costs and logistical complexity of internal business expansion.  The key features of cloud computing that international businesses are beginning to really grab hold of are the pay for what you use model, the ability for rapid scalability and the short-term savings in hardware and software costs.
Cloud computing makes it a much less tricky proposition for you to support and collaborate with remote workers connected through remote servers and the internet, which is of particular value to social enterprises – dependent as they are upon co-operation and maintaining close ties and close collaboration.
If you’re operating across multiple countries, another potential advantage is availability, which, with cloud computing, can comfortably reach the magical “five nines” threshold. On tight deadlines, five nines of reliability can be vital.

Potential challenges of European expansion

Setting yourself up in Europe requires some serious planning. Where are you going to go and why? How is that choice likely to be affected by the following factors which are all definitely capable of bringing your whole European adventure grinding to an unprofitable and expensive halt.

Different legal and administrative environments

It is a long term goal of the EU to create a homogenised legal environment for business from member states, but at the moment each individual country has its own distinct legal and administrative environment for you to consider.
You are going to need to work out which aspects (if any) are governed or protected by international treaties (such as those of the WTO) and which are purely governed by the domestic legal system. An example of this would be Germany’s very strict personal privacy laws which have lead it to clash repeatedly with Google and Facebook.
The diverse tax regimes that you are going to be facing in different countries also need to be considered, especially when it comes to corporation tax. To give some idea of the potential discrepancy between different member states, Malta’s current rate of corporation tax is 35% while Irelands is 12.5%.

Different cultural environments

The 500 million inhabitants of the EU speak a huge range of different languages, with 23 official ones and a huge array of regional dialects. While this is obviously going to be an important factor if you are planning on setting up offices in particular European countries, but you are also going to need to think about this when considering your website, promotional and sales materials, instruction literature, legal documents etc.

Skill levels

Another important variable, and one that can be difficult to judge accurately, is the skills makeup of the EU. In exactly the same as each individual domestic economy will have a geographically uneven distribution of skills, the EU does not have a uniform level of ability or labour resources that you can just plug into. While the current financial malaise has created a certain degree of uncertainty, it is generally thought that the number of workers with medium to high level qualifications and that young people will tend towards having better qualifications then their retired parents.

Special challenges for Social Enterprise expansion

Social enterprises face two main challenges when expanding to any other country, technical and cultural.
The technical challenges arise due to the loose definition of a social enterprise in most parts of the world. This holds especially true for Europe, where the ‘main’ definition is descriptive rather than prescriptive. This results in huge variation in whether the term is even legally protected or recognised from country to country, even ignoring the specific rights and responsibilities a social enterprise must uphold.
Generally, you should expect to research the status of social enterprise in your target country thoroughly and carefully, liaising with helpful local authority figures wherever possible.
The cultural challenge is obvious. Different ethical standards, a different culture, and a community which may be hostile to outside help – you absolutely need at least a small team of people who are actively involved with the roots of your community.
Of course, any good social enterprise should be doing this in any case, but once any business is large enough to expand it can become rigid, centralised, and inflexible. If you allow this attitude to persist, it could prove to be poisonous.

Only innovation and good business can save Europe

This whole conversation has up until this point to a large extent avoided the elephant in the room that is the on-going ‘Eurozone crisis.’ While this unfolding drama may be putting off some businesses from taking the leap across the pond, the truth is that many are still investing and doing very well from having a place in the largest market place on the planet. Throughout all of the recent turbulence the EU has retained its status as the premier exporter of goods and services.
But what is good business?
It is a key tenet of the social enterprise ‘movement’ that good business is more than turning a profit. Good business is turning a profit while helping the community to grow and develop – and it is in taking such a long-term view that social enterprise avoids the short-term money-grabs which caused the current recession in the first place. Good business is good in both senses of the word; well-crafted, and ethical.
Ultimately it is impossible that any other factor other than businesses like yours providing products, services and innovation is going to be the thing that gives Europe the spring back in its step.
What do you think about the possible benefits versus possible pitfalls of trying to expanding your business into Europe?

James Duval is the business, finance and technology editor for GKBC, an online magazine dedicated to celebrating and encouraging great online writing and design.

Students turn social enterprise market traders for the day

The battle is on to find the best student entrepreneurs in an Apprentice style selling task.

Organised by the University of Bath, UniPopShop will give students a taste for social enterprise and give them great experience to take into a crowded job market.

Eighteen teams from 15 universities across the country are taking part and each team of five students has been given a £300 start-up loan, a business mentor and the use of a stall in London’s historic Spitalfields Market to sell their social enterprise products.

The big selling day is on Tuesday 25 June when the teams have just eight hours to sell as much as they can, with money going to the social enterprise of their choice to support its work. And winning teams will be presented with an array of exclusive money-can’t-buy prizes from UnLtd, digital agency The Eleven and Ernst & Young.

The event has been organised by the university in partnership with the foundation for social entrepreneurs UnLtd and HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

“Nowadays students need more than a good degree when they leave university. We’re giving teams a unique opportunity to test out how entrepreneurial they really are,” explained Siobain Hone, Enterprise Education Manager at the University of Bath’s Student Union.

“This contest shows the true entrepreneurial spirit of today’s students and gives them a great opportunity to test out and develop their leadership, marketing, creativity, financial and problem solving skills – all vital in enhancing their employability. Whatever they want to do when they graduate – whether or not they are interested in being social entrepreneurs – they will learn how to build and run successful businesses. It’s a real chance to put theory into practice.”

UnLtd Lead Partnership and Support Manager, Lauren Croll said: “UnLtd is delighted to be University of Bath’s partner to bring social enterprise student start-ups into the spotlight. Our work is all about helping passionate, entrepreneurial individuals for whom positive social and environmental change is as important as financial profit, and we’re seeing many of the next generation of social entrepreneurs coming from UK Universities.”

As well as selling for a day, the students also have to come up with a digital marketing plan in advance to create some buzz around their products. And they have to present these plans and their approach to the task to bosses from Ernst & Young, which is sponsoring the event, and The Eleven.

Offering inspiration and advice after the event will also be the former winner of BBC1 series The Apprentice, and Bath alumnus, Tom Pellereau, who will share his entrepreneurial journey with the students.

So if you’re in London – and anywhere near Spitalfields on Tuesday 25 June – then why not drop in and support these entrepreneurs of the future.

Find out more about UniPopShop at www.unipopshop.com

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