Watson Burton's newest graduate intake
Jamie Hardesty

This week’s North East appointments

A roundup of the latest job moves from across the North East.


Watson Burton

Newcastle-headquartered law firm Watson Burton’s has recruited six university leavers to its graduate training programme.

During the course of the two-year programme, the trainees will have the opportunity to work across Watson Burton’s key practice areas, including corporate and commercial, real estate, construction and engineering, professional indemnity insurance, employment and commercial litigation.

The training programme covers four six month rotations across Watson Burton’s national groups and each trainee will be supported by an experienced mentor.

Sophie Robertson from Northumberland, who undertook an English Language Degree at Newcastle University and an LPC at Northumbria University, Newcastle University graduate Rosie Roof, from Washington, plus Northumbria University graduates Leah Pattison, from Scarborough, and Megan Irons and Matthew Watson - both of whom hail from Huddersfield - all undertook Watson Burton’s vacation programme and have now been awarded training contracts by the firm.

The graduates will be joining Kieran Kelly who joined the training programme earlier in the year after also completing Watson Burton’s spring vacation programme in April 2016.

Christopher Graham, partner and training principal at Watson Burton, said of the latest round of graduate trainee appointments: “Our graduate training programme forms a pathway for those aspiring to have a successful and rewarding career within the legal sector.

“Many of our partners and senior staff started with us as graduate trainees and their dedication, alongside the breadth of expertise and ‘hands on’ experience they gained during their traineeship, meant they were able to progress within the firm and become specialists in a range of disciplines.

“We’re looking forward to helping Sophie, Rosie, Megan, Kieran, Matthew and Leah progress their careers in law.”

Allan Armstrong, Wates Construction

Wates Construction has embarked on a strategic expansion of its presence in the North East with the appointment of Allan Armstrong as Regional Commercial Manager.

In a significant move to strengthen its senior team in the region, the appointment follows Wates’ successful delivery of Newcastle High School For Girls and Select Property Group’s Vita student development at Strawberry Place.

Joining from Laing O’Rourke, Allan will lead the execution of major pipeline projects in the North East and Yorkshire while also providing strategic support to Wates’ Northern teams.

The Newcastle Eagles basketball fan brings with him a wealth of construction experience having overseen a substantial number of developments from design to completion throughout his career to date including Cleveland Police Authority’s Action Stations PFI, Darlington Memorial Hospital and Middlesbrough College. Allan has also had a keen involvement in graduate training and mentoring up and coming industry talent.

Allan’s appointment is one of four for the rapidly-growing regional team with Jon Mangham also joining the business as Operations Manager, Mark Howl as Design Manager and Scott Wadsworth as Project Surveyor.

Paul Dodsworth, Business Unit Director, Yorkshire and North East said: “It has been a fantastic year for our region and we are extremely proud of the high standards we have set in Newcastle and the North East through our recent education and private rented sector developments in the city. It therefore made strategic business sense to capitalise on this momentum and expand our talented team.

“Allan has 30 years experience in the industry and under his guidance and leadership, together with the appointments of Jon, Mark and Scott, I know that we can continue to build an excellent and highly skilled team that will underpin our plans to enhance our project portfolio in the North East.”

Adrian Hill, Square One Law

Experienced property lawyer Adrian Hill, who has worked in the industry for the past 30 years, has joined Square One Law, where he will jointly head the firm’s property team.

Adrian was head of the real estate team in Eversheds, Leeds, working with senior management and the national finance team looking at resource, utilisation, financial models, structure, technical delivery, IT innovative services, client satisfaction and profitability.

He said, “I’m at a stage in my career where I want to join and be actively engaged in a business that allows me to do what I do best.

“What I think clients are looking for, is to have an experienced lawyer they can trust, who understands their sector and can help deliver value for money solutions to suit their business needs, rather than what many law firms do in the current market – retro-fit their own resources and cost model to how they deliver service rather than listen to the client and understand what the client actually wants.

“I admire that Square One Law is challenging the status quo in the legal marketplace and their client base is very impressive. I have immediately been struck by the energy and positivity of the people and the way everyone is totally focussed on the firm’s clients.”

Matt Sharpe, Stephen Poole and Simon Newsham, Baldwins

Matt Sharpe, Stephen Poole and Simon Newsham have joined North East accountancy practice Baldwins as tax directors.

The trio, who take the company’s overall headcount to 232 people, will be based in the firm’s Portobello office in Durham.

Having worked with one of the big four accountancy firms, KPMG, leading law firms and having run his own boutique tax law firm, Simon plans to bring his commercial awareness and great sense of humour to the team.

Speaking about the latest appointments, North East Board Director, Dawn Walton, who specialises in tax services, said: “The recruits have already brought a new drive into the tax team and their in-depth knowledge will enable us to attract new clients, due to the specialities each director possesses.

“This is such an exciting opportunity for Baldwins, which has enabled us to expand the services we offer to become a tax team that can rival the big four in many respects, while retaining the more personal service for clients.”

Keith Moody & Krzysztof Wieckiewicz, Omega Plastics

Plastic injection moulding and tooling specialist Omega Plastics, which boasts manufacturing facilities in Washington, Hartlepool and Blyth, has appointed Keith Moody as project manager while Krzysztof Wieckiewicz has been taken on as a quality engineer.

Having worked for the Omega Plastics Group before as a key account manager in his new role as project manager, Keith will be responsible for the management of new tooling projects from the initial purchase order through to tool sign-off or production release.

With over 18-years’ experience in toolmaking, with 10 years of this being spent in tool design, Keith was the ideal fit for the position, which will see him primarily focused on tooling products manufactured offshore.

Keith said: “In my previous employment, I looked after large new product development projects that were manufactured offshore in China, so I spent a lot of time travelling back and forward managing these.

“When the project manager role looking after offshore tooling came up at Omega Plastics, it was the ideal opportunity for me to combine my knowledge of tooling and product design together with my experience of working on offshore projects and get back into the industry that I’ve spent most of my working life in.

“Having worked for the company before, I already knew the business really well and this role was exactly the challenge I was looking for so I’m delighted to be back onboard with a great team.”

Newly appointed quality engineer, Krzysztof Wieckiewicz, has joined the Omega Plastics Group from one of the North East’s major automotive manufacturers.

In his new role, Krzysztof is responsible for maintaining quality assurance procedures, carrying out quality tests and recording and analysing data collected throughout the product development and manufacturing process.

Krzysztof said: “Having worked in the UK automotive sector for over 12 years, I was already aware of Omega Plastics and I personally know a handful of people who had worked there so I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the company.

“The team are absolutely fantastic and there are lots of opportunities for future growth, so I am happy to be a part of it.”

Sarah Harper, Jackson Hogg

North East recruitment firm Jackson Hogg has appointed Sarah Harper, formerly of Perfect Image, as a consultant.

Sarah brings with her more than ten years’ experience in recruitment, business development and software management and was previously a member of Microsoft’s P-Seller programme.

Working alongside MD Richard Hogg, Sarah will head up the new IT, Tech & Digital division, in order to grow the specialism within the firm through networking and business development. She has also been put in charge of Jackson Hogg’s internal IT projects, where she will introduce new CRM and voice software to increase productivity.

Richard said: “Sarah’s appointment comes at an interesting time for Jackson Hogg, as we look to expand our thriving client network both here and abroad. We have previously made appointments in the tech industry, but Sarah’s appointment to head up the new IT, Tech and Digital team and her wealth of experience will bring a new perspective to our firm; we are being increasingly challenged by our clients to venture into new areas of recruitment.

Sarah said: “I’ve always kept an eye on the growth of Jackson Hogg and their excellent reputation in the market. Developing the IT, Tech and Digital division seemed like a natural fit and I’m enjoying the opportunity to work with Anthony and Richard again.

“Jackson Hogg has great clients, a talented team and an excellent track record which I am really looking forward to building upon. But what impresses me most is its commitment to truly stand by its core values, which is imperative when building long term relationships internally and externally.”

Join us next monday for more North East appointment news.

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