As part of our We’re Backing Stroud campaign, this week we take a look at employment and what makes the district such a great place to work.
BUSINESSES in Stroud are growing dramatically and, as a result, the demand for new employees is always rising.
For example, green energy giant Ecotricity is forever expanding and creating more and more jobs, and, unlike many other town centres, independent shops rule the high street here in Stroud and people have the chance to work in quirky and exciting businesses that are not necessarily available in other parts of the country.
Furthermore, Stroud District Council (SDC) are doing their utmost to help equip young people for the working world, through a number of schemes and apprenticeship programmes.
Ecotricity is one of the business powerhouses of the Stroud district. The firm recently announced plans to revamp the old tax office (New Axiom House) in Merrywalks and is currently hoping for the go ahead for their ambitious £100million Eco Park.
If all this goes ahead, the world’s first totally green energy company will increase its number of employees by a substantial amount.
A spokesman at Ecotricity said: “Almost 800 people currently work at Ecotricity, mainly in the Stroud district but also across the UK in Loughborough, Leicestershire, Louth, Lincolnshire and Inverness.
“New Axiom House will accommodate up to 300 extra staff and Eco Park will have expansion offices for Ecotricity as well as accommodating up to 4,000 jobs in the Green Technology Hub.
“We hope this will provide skilled, high quality employment to people in Stroud district, Gloucestershire and beyond.”
He added: “There is a fabulous array of job types and skills needed to run a business like Ecotricity.
“We do regular staff surveys in order to gauge satisfaction and scope where we need to improve. However the very fact that we are always handing out numerous 5, 10 and 15 year service awards each year is testament to the culture of the business and the satisfaction of the staff.”
SDC has joined forces with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College to deliver high quality apprenticeship programmes from business and administration to sports and leisure.
The apprenticeships are part of different service industries and will prepare students for the world of work by earning a salary while learning the trade.
SDC has also developed an employability charter ‘Skills for Stroud,’ which provides businesses, schools and colleges with accreditation to ensure that their work to help young people in the workplace genuinely equips them for life after education.
Businesses are encouraged to sign up because it attracts young, enthusiastic employees.
Fiona Hammond, the council’s learning and development officer, said: “Over the past five years we’ve been delighted to have had 33 apprentices at the council. Some have stayed on and progressed internally, whilst others have moved on to jobs and opportunities elsewhere. We provide a huge and varied range of services to a population of over 112,000, so it’s a great place for apprentices to learn.”
With independent shops and cafés prevalent in Stroud town centre, our high street employees benefit from working for small, family-run businesses.
Lise Hooper, the manager of Moonflower Too, loves working in Stroud and says the community spirit is one of the main reasons.
She said: “There is a great sense of community about Stroud and the wide range of independent shops we have here means we get along and support each other, making work really enjoyable.
“In the internet era, it is important to be quite different and it’s nice working in a business where people actually enjoy coming into the shop instead of buying it online.
“It’s always a pleasure when people from the area visit the shop because they are generally very friendly and that’s not something you necessarily get in big cities.
“Getting to know the customers who come in regularly and learning about their life events is another benefit of the job.
“There’s a customer whose birthday is coming up in the next week and we want to make it a special day for them.
“Working in Moonflower is a lot more personal and everyone loves working here.
“We are just one big family and I enjoy every day I work here.”