Thumbs up for Charlie

WHY LEJOG?

‘Thumbs up for Charlie’ has been created in memory of Charlie who was a beautiful 5 year old who died after heroically battling an ependymoma brain tumour for three years.

Our aim is to support other families living with or affected by childhood brain tumours offering respite breaks to make memories or simply to reflect.

13 friends and players from Garstang Rugby Club have committed to completing the Lands End to John O’Groats bike ride in Charlies memory.

Funds raised will go the “Thumbs up for Charlie” Foundation and will help provide respite breaks for families whose child has been diagnosed with a brain tumour or families bereaved because of a childhood brain tumour.

We will also be using money to contribute towards future research, specifically around paediatric Ependymoma brain tumours.

Track the riders here;
https://live.opentracking.co.uk/thumbsup/

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Our son Charlie was diagnosed with a grade 3 ependymoma in June 2018. Charlie underwent a major brain surgery at Manchester Children’s hospital to remove the tumour and underwent a course of chemotherapy which was unsuccessful. We were told that nothing more could be done and that Charlie was being referred to Christie’s for palliative care.

As Charlies parents we were not prepared to accept this and sought a second opinion from an incredible surgeon named Conor Mallucci based at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Conor was very honest about the severity of Charlies tumour, he said he was willing to carry out a second look surgery but couldn’t make any promises. Charlie was then admitted to Alder Hey in September 2018.

The day Charlie had his second look surgery he was in theatre for a total of 14 hours. As you can imagine we were beside ourselves with worry, but to our complete amazement Conor informed us he and colleagues had managed to remove almost all of Charlie’s tumour. We felt utter relief. Conor had given us hope again.

Charlie was not unscathed following the surgery as he suffered cerebral mutism and had to learn to walk again. Once well enough Charlie underwent a third major brain surgery to remove the remaining tumour. Having then achieved a full resection (something we were initially told would not be possible) Charlie went on to have a 6 week course of proton beam treatment in Germany funded by the NHS.

We spent Christmas in Germany as a family with Charlie and his two brothers Jack (then aged 5yrs and Harry aged 1yr). Charlie completed his last treatment on 31/12/2018, we then boarded a plane and was home to see in the New Year.

Charlies following 3 monthly scan was all clear we could barely believe it, we felt such relief. Unfortunately Charlies following scan showed something suspicious, unable to confirm if this was a relapse for 6 weeks we decided to visit family in Australia for 4 weeks. Following our return Charlie’s scan confirmed our worst fears and Charlie had relapsed. On Charlie’s 4th birthday September 2019 he underwent his 4th major brain surgery, once again Conor was able to carry out a complete resection.

Charlie was given a course of introventricular chemotherapy which was cut short following a swelling in his head. Charlies next 2 follow up MRI’s were all clear, but sadly Charlie relapsed again in October 2020. Charlie had his 5th major brain surgery which again resulted in a full resection. In February 2021 Charlies tumour had returned and the scan showed multiple new tumours, Charlie was given palliative care but died on 07th April 2021 at home with his family.

We could not have been prouder of Charlie he fought all the way to the end. Charlie never ever complained and we would go so far as to say, he loved going to hospital. Charlie always carried his favourite “Blue bear”. He had the brightest most beautiful smile and an enormous heart.

As parents we are completely heartbroken and the most difficult thing to accept is that we know Charlie loved life and wanted to live.

During all his treatment Charlie was supported to attend a mainstream school with his brothers. Everyone loved him and he loved them. On the day of his funeral the village where he was buried was adorned with flags and people all wearing blue (charlie’s favourite colour).

It is utterly devastating to lose a child, it hasn’t just affected our family it has impacted everyone whose lives Charlie touched. In his memory we will be setting up the “thumbs up for charlie foundation” and in doing so hope to give back to families also affected by childhood brain tumours and give back to our local community who never stopped supporting us throughout.


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Recruitment Resource Planning Is A Critical Business Function

Despite being two of the most important pillars and processes of business, workforce planning and recruitment resource planning don’t often get the attention and care they deserve. Many business leaders understand the importance of planning, but they don’t take the time to focus on it in the strategic way they need if they hope to grow.

When you look at it, human capital is quite literally capital. The people you hire for your organisation impact every facet of your business. Achieving your growth and business goals becomes immensely challenging without the right people in the right roles. Below, we’ll touch on why companies need to emphasise their recruitment planning and headcount strategies if they hope to succeed in the years ahead.

Recruiting Isn’t Just A Line Item.

Often CEOs and CFOs look at recruiting as a cost centre item that needs to be handled and managed within the HR department, rather than embracing it as the core business process. Without recruiting vital employees, an organisation can’t hope to succeed or expand its business operations.

In the past, corporate leaders might have gotten away with this attitude. Still, in the midst of the “Great Resignation” and the candidate-driven market we’re currently experiencing, it is crucial that you align your business goals and people strategy. In September 2021, the quit rates, or the rate at which workers leave their positions, skyrocketed, hitting a record number of resignations. October was not much better, seeing more employees leave their jobs and join in on the rising resignation trend.

How Headcount Planning Can Help

Having a headcount strategy in place can help organisations offset the negative impacts of such high quit rates. The trouble is that creating a headcount plan for this year has become increasingly complex with the added factors of significant employee attrition and challenging workforce availability.

One problem companies face when trying to implement a headcount plan is getting executive buy-in. Talent leaders need to convince their executive suite that recruiting is not just a one-off process but is instead a core business function.

Think about this: when a company builds a sales team, it is common to work backwards, starting with your revenue goals. The team works to establish the company’s revenue generation and then has to hire additional sales representatives based on those numbers. Much of the same strategy can be seen in the construction sector. Planners need to establish their production goals and then work backwards to determine the resources required to reach those goals.

Recruiting should be viewed in much the same way.

First, you should set the headcount goals for the upcoming year, and then you and your team can realistically calculate and determine the productivity per recruiting resource. Only once you’ve chosen this value can you discern the recruiting resources needed to reach your business goals.

What’s difficult is that CEOs often are more hesitant to add positions or scale their recruiting functions, leaving their departments under-resourced and overworked. But, there is never much hesitancy to increase capacity and add posts for the sales team. Recruiters and hiring managers need to convey the importance of a supported and staffed recruitment department so that they can focus on finding and retaining the best talent.

How To Create A Headcount Plan

Creating a headcount plan and recruitment resource plan is a fairly straightforward process:

  • Leaders need to determine the new roles they need to achieve this year’s business goals
  • These numbers need to be adjusted for turnover and internal churn
  • The revised numbers then generate the total number of positions that your recruiting team needs to fill

Typical challenges are that planners will often underestimate the attrition rate and overlook the impact of internal churn on their planning. This and the open roles that are filled internally can create additional positions that your recruiters need to be backfilled. All-in-all, a realistic recruitment demand plan needs to reflect the following:

When your team has an accurate visual for the total demand for recruiting and the recruiting productivity metrics you’re analysing (such as how many roles a recruiter can manage per month), you can calculate the number of resources you need. The result is something similar to the salesforce analogy.

It’s no secret that securing quality recruiting resources is a challenge in today’s environment. Strong, skilled recruiters are in high demand, and the best ones are hard to find. This means that talent leaders need to demand a seat at the workforce planning table to more accurately convey the importance of seeing recruiting as a business function that drives outcomes versus just a cost centre. Hiring managers are no longer just “filling a job.” Today’s professional hiring roles demand natural talent and a specific and robust set of skills. These positions call for expert human capital that can be difficult to locate and retain.

In times of tough competition, enlisting the help of an external recruitment and sourcing team can lessen the burden your internal team faces. Lechley Associates is here to support your hiring goals and help you find the talent your company needs. To learn more about how our expert sourcers can help or start determining your headcount plan, reach out to us today.


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March 3, 2022

Henry Clarke, construction partner at Spencer West, explores how the Russa-Ukraine conflict will have a noticeable impact on the costs of UK construction projects, due to fuel inflation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in increased sanctions against Russia and exposed the vulnerability of the European continent’s fossil fuel supplies, but how will increasing fuel costs impact construction projects here in the UK?

Up to 43% of the EU’s oil comes from the Russian Federation, along with up to 25% of its oil. The medium to long term nature of the conflict in Ukraine, and related sanctions means fossil fuel supply and its vulnerability will be an issue for the construction industry for some time.

High fuel prices may be a stimulus to at least non-OPEC oil and gas production, but perhaps not generate enough additional oil and gas flow from existing non-OPEC sources to reduce prices to pre-invasion levels. This means energy costs in producing construction materials and for direct use in transport and on construction projects may remain high generating an inflationary trend within construction.

Impact of increasing fuel costs

What does that mean for construction projects from a contractor perspective?

The attractions of off-site construction become stronger if contractors can demonstrate they can manufacture units more cost-effectively off-site with resultant fewer vehicle journeys to and from site or around the site compared to traditional construction (and with more efficient use of labour). A realisation of this attraction would mean a wider prevalence of contracts with such suppliers on projects.

The combination of high energy prices, increased recognition of the environmental impact of fossil fuels and their security vulnerability and the national security risk of reliance on oil and gas will encourage an increase and acceleration of the construction of renewable and alternative energy projects to wean the UK off such fuels.

Some proposed projects will be shelved as the finances become less certain or not profitable as costs rise. The property market may become subdued as the public and the business community assesses the economic impact of the Ukrainian conflict. In future, such shelved projects may raise planning issue renewal issues and perhaps disputes between successive landowners over the interpretation of overage clauses if such projects are started later.

New projects that do go ahead will have liquidated damages clauses that contractors should carefully assess to ensure they are realistic pre-estimates of loss in the current environment and a liability that they can accept. Contractors will place greater preference on the use of fluctuation clauses. The fluctuations clauses in these contracts should be carefully reviewed by contractors to allow for price rises in an inflationary environment so the risk of the inflationary impact of the Ukrainian conflict is passed on to the employer.

Cost-based issues for contractors

Existing projects will have had their financial models dented with rising costs. This will lead to a range of cost-based issues for the parties to tackle in what is a traditionally adversarial industry.

In particular, contractors making a loss on a project will be carefully considering the nature of the loss that is recoverable under their contracts, thereby testing the interpretation of ‘direct loss’ at law.

Contractors will also check fluctuation clauses for the same reasons as for new projects.

Contractors will focus on properly documenting loss or increased costs to ensure any claims stand a good chance of success in negotiations or at later stages of dispute resolution; and should check their project management processes and procurement processes as the timing of the ordering of supplies or services and thus fixing their pricing will impact the costs of projects and the grounds for claim by contractors.

If the Ukrainian conflict causes a bulge of construction industry claims because of rising costs, then the litigation funding industry may also focus on innovating the financing of such claims. Look out for new product offers from such providers.

The Ukrainian conflict has reinforced competitive pressures in the UK construction market. It is a market in which well-managed contractors with good project management skills, an appreciation of risk management and an openness to innovation and investment in training are likely to succeed and thus not have to rely as much on the points set out above. Nevertheless, all contractors should consider these issues as part of their project management cycle.

Post List #2

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Crystal Palace FC is expecting to begin a long-awaited stadium expansion at the end of next year. The 8,000-seat extension to the Main Stand at Selhurst Park, which would see the ground’s total capacity reach 34,000, is moving forward as…

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Michael Masi expresses confidence over the construction of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

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