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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 178

Date:- 04 December 2004

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A LIVERPOOL accountant has realised his dream of running his very own Engineering firm by purchasing one of his client's businesses, after securing six-figure funding from Bank of Scotland Corporate. 

A management buy-in (MBI) at Skelmersdale-based components manufacturers Auto Screw Products has enabled accountant, Stewart Case, to secure ownership from outgoing vendor Mike Worsley. 

Auto Screw Products, which was formed in 1970, specialises in the manufacture of components for products and tools used in the automotive and electrical industries. 

Stewart worked for a number of engineering clients and having gained a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, as well as previously spending seven years working as an engineer for BNFL Plc and British Aerospace, engineering is something that has always been of interest to him. 

Stewart said:- "Buying Auto Screw Products has given me the opportunity to give up my desk job and get my hands dirty again. Bank of Scotland Corporate was recommended to me by Mike and I found them to be extremely helpful. Peter ensured that all areas of the deal were covered and delivered everything that he said he would, rather than making false promises that couldn't be seen through." 

Stewart aims to make Auto Screw Products the leading supplier of components in what is a niche market. Unlike its main competitors in Asia, Auto Screw Products is able to produce small to medium sized batches of components at speed, which Stewart believes sets it apart from the rest. 

 Warrington makes national top twenty!

PRIMARY Achievement Tables, published by the government on Thursday 2 December, showed that Warrington is one of the top twenty local education authorities in the country for performance in English, maths and science. 

All pupils in the top year in primary schools sat these tests last summer.

Of those pupils, a total of 83 percent of pupils achieved Level 4 and above in the national tests in English, 80 percent in maths and 89 percent in science. 

Warrington also topped the tables in the northwest region in English and came second in the region in maths and science.

Cllr Maureen Banner, Executive Member for Education, said:- "Warrington's primary age pupils and schools have once again excelled in performance and we are all very proud of the hard work and effort that has produced these fantastic results."

Malcolm Roxburgh, Strategic Director for Education and Lifelong Learning, said:- "We would urge parents to be cautious about the way they read these tables. The results vary for every school and reflect both the success of the school and the ability range of the pupils within the school. The tables include a 'value-added measure', which shows how much progress pupils have made since the tests they took in Year 2."

Full details of the Primary Achievement Tables for Warrington can be obtained from the DfES website at:- 

Big Chip Awards 2004 Launched

CALL for entries from Merseyside companies by 7 January 2005 across all sectors. The Big Chip Awards for North West companies excelling in the use of IT and digital technology are back, bigger than before and more accurately reflecting the region's changing digital landscape. 

Awards organiser Manchester Digital is inviting companies from all sectors across Merseyside to submit their entries for the 2004 awards. 

The call for entries is going out not only to digital sector companies but also to businesses, creative agencies and organisations in other sectors which have undertaken digital initiatives in 2004 - everything from a company website to wireless technology.

Now in its seventh year, this year's Big Chip Awards boast nineteen categories including Best Digital Marketing Campaign, Best Freelancer and Best 'Not for Profit' Project. 

New categories such as Best Game and Best DVD or CD have also been added to incorporate new technologies and represent areas of activity where Northwest companies are strong.

Last year's winners spanned a wide variety of sectors and ranged from small businesses, such as BossCo UK and Stardotstar, to larger firms like McCann-Erickson. Mando Group, a Liverpool-based web development and design consultancy, picked up last year's Digital Accessibility Award for its development of Manchester Metropolitan University's website.
Mando Group's Managing Director, Matt Johnson said:- "The standard of work coming out of Merseyside's digital sector is extremely high. The Big Chip Awards are a great way for Merseyside companies to gain the recognition they deserve and promote the area's growing digital sector.

We were able to use the award as a springboard to highlight our expertise in accessible web development for the public and private sector."

Organised by Manchester Digital, the trade association for the region's digital sector, the awards are open to any organisation with an investment in the North West that has designed or commissioned any digital projects in the past year. This can include website, DVD, animation, wireless or SMS projects.
Entries are submitted free online at:-

The closing date for entries is Friday 7 January 2005. The Big Chip Awards will be announced at a glittering awards dinner on Thursday 24 February 2005, at New Century Hall in Manchester.

This year's judges will be made up of a panel of figures from the sector including Michael Nutley, editor of weekly industry 'bible,' New Media Age. 

Chair of Manchester Digital, Shaun Fensom, said:- "The digital sector in the North West boasts a wealth of skills and expertise. The Big Chip Awards offers a great opportunity for our sector to shout about the excellence and best practice in the region. 

This year's awards are set to be the best yet. With over ten new categories we are sure that The Big Chip Awards will help highlight the breadth of talent the North West has to offer." 

Compere for the black tie event, which includes reception, four-course meal and post-awards entertainment, is broadcaster Anthony Wilson.

The Award categories are:-

Best E-Commerce Project
Best Public Sector Project
Best Not for Profit Project
Best Commercial Website
Best Use of Design
Best Use of Broadband
Best Animation
Best Game
Best E-Learning Project
Big Chip Accessibility Award
Best Wireless / SMS / 3G Project
Best DVD / CD
Best Digital Marketing Campaign
Best Professional Services Firm to the Digital Sector
Big Chip Education & Training Award
Best Freelancer
Best New Talent
Grand Prix
The Big Chip Hero Award (individual or company)

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