First IWG Scotland franchise deal

HELLO and welcome to the AM Business Briefing, as new research suggests demand for workers remains high as thousands of new job adverts are posted and the shortage of workers grows.

Recruiters reported there were 1.66 million jobs on offer last week, a weekly increase of 193,000.

Jobs most in demand include dispensing opticians, driving instructors and vehicle body builders and repairers, said the report, and six of the UK’s top 10 hiring hotspots were said to be in Scotland.

Also today, a major flexible workspace provider as hailed its first franchise agreement in Scotland, an Ayrshire businessman turns down bids worth millions which would have seen job losses and relocation, and Business Voices features Tracy Black of CBI Scotland.

Workspace giant signs first franchise agreement in Scotland

IWG, a major provider of flexible workspace including Regus and Spaces, has signed its first franchise agreement in Scotland “to meet growing demand for hybrid ways of working”.

The new deal will serve towns and suburbs in the Central Belt of the country and give those previously commuting into cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh the chance to work closer to home long-term.

The new agreement will see three franchise-owned centres opened across Lanarkshire between now and 2024. This growth follows a surge in demand for IWG workspaces in Scottish suburban areas, where the provider has witnessed a 20-25% increase in enquiries for its centres over the last quarter.

Partnering with IWG to spearhead its franchise expansion into Scotland are Tommy Nevin, experienced BT and EE franchisee; Graeme Orr, freelance project management consultant for multiple blue chip organisations; Tony McCabe and Scott Gibson, both vastly experienced operations directors who have ran and partnered with some of the UK’s biggest organisations in financial services and telecoms.

Mr Nevin is described as “one of Scotland’s most experienced franchise investors and with Mr Gibson and Mr McCabe now runs 70% of BT’s Scottish operations through his existing portfolio”. They are planning to move their BT staff members to the first IWG franchise centre in the country.

Julian Chambers, head of franchise at IWG – UK & Ireland, said: “The pandemic has accelerated a trend that we were already seeing across the world, the shift towards hybrid working. Employees want the freedom to work closer to home, avoiding a lengthy commute to the office – and businesses are listening.

“We’ve seen the demand soar considerably around the world in 2021 with more than a 350 percent increase in new locations committed by franchise partners so far this year, compared to the same period in 2020. Our UK partnerships have played a huge part in this and now, we are delighted to bring the opportunity to Scotland where there is still plenty of unmet demand across the country.”

Mr Orr said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for the flexible workspace sector and we’re delighted to be spearheading IWG’s franchise network in Scotland. For years, people have commuted to cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and further afield for work, sometimes spending over two hours on public transport or on the motorway. Additionally, we believe many Organisations will be seeking property solutions with greater flexibility, that can rise and fall in line with actual business demand, providing agility that is missing in traditional real estate arrangements.

Mr Nevin also said: “We’re putting our collective business knowledge together to make a real difference to the lives of commuters, and we are on the lookout for property owners who are interested in helping this vision come to life.”

Microtech Group: Chris McMail opts for employee ownership after rejecting bids

The owner of an Ayrshire information technology business which counts NHS Scotland among its clients has turned down multi-million-pound offers for his firm to pass it on to employees.

Chris McMail rejected bids from companies from around the globe which “were looking to relocate operations from Kilmarnock because he had “no intention of uprooting the business after more than 30 years in Scotland”, his adviser Ownership Associates noted. The value of the business was put at around £15 million by Ownership Associates.

Tracy Black: Young people face uncertain world

Opinion: Just a few weeks back, young people across Scotland received their Higher and National Qualification results in a year like no other.

There were record rises in the highest grades, with teachers having to make assessments of each pupil given that exams were just not possible this year once again.

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