Archives for posts with tag: Kirsty Davies Chinnock

kirsty may award At the International Convention Centre on Wednesday November 26th, Paul Brown from Ernst and Young presented the NatWest Venus Award to Kirsty Davies-Chinnock, Managing Director of Professional Polishing, based in Smethwick.

She was one of a thousand nominated for this award by people in the West Midlands.

Formally known as the Venus Awards, this programme was set up in 2009 to recognise, reward and celebrate local working women in eight regions: Dorset, Southampton, Devon, Brighton, Bristol, Portsmouth, Oxford and Birmingham.

venus graphic

Paul Brown from Ernst and Young praised Kirsty’s leadership and dedication and the ambition of the company. She used her acceptance speech to further the cause of engineering and manufacturing as a career choice for young people (see video).


Opening with, “Us metal-bashers don’t often get much credit”, Kirsty – a ‘traditional manufacturer’ – urged those listening to encourage their young relatives and friends to enter manufacturing, engineering and “any kind of industry with a base in the UK”. She recalled that 20 years ago manufacturers were being called dinosaurs, and added triumphantly:

“We’re still here, we’re still alive and we’re still manufacturing!”

Visit PPS via their website’s interesting video as Kirsty takes viewers around the factory.


In the council chamber, Cllr John Clancy’s passionate address about the ‘Unemployment Iceberg’ earlier this month, was warmly applauded and can be seen on video here.  

He said that long-term unemployment is soaring – up 49% during the last 12 months – due to the economic crisis caused by the financial sector, not ordinary people. No one is spending and we need to change course before we hit the iceberg.

Today’s news questions the value of demoralising training for jobs which do not exist and of ‘providers’ like A4e, with its average success rate of 3.5%, according to data seen by Channel 4 News. Let’s find out more about actual working models created by local people: 

A revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund 

Years ago, Sir Adrian Cadbury set up the Aston Commission which published several findings; one was that people in the area were unable to get bank loans to start or improve businesses because they had no form of security to offer. To address this, he worked with Localisation West Midlands’ co-founder Pat Conaty, then working at the Birmingham Settlement, to set up a revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund – the Aston Reinvestment Trust [ART] . When loans are repaid the money helps another business and profit is reinvested in the company. Over the years it has created or retained more than 4000 jobs in the city.  

Paid work experience, with training for long-term unemployed, through community businesses 

Dr Christine Parkinson studied as a biologist and spent the first part of her career in medical research before changing direction and moving to Birmingham, where she has helped to develop three socially beneficial projects in the inner city. One was the Jericho Community Project, which continues to offer paid work experience with training, to the long-term unemployed, through community businesses. 

Resisting off-shoring and training apprentices

The Davies family have a proud, unbroken record of training apprentices, the industrial norm until the 70s. Managing director Kirsty, currently West Midlands Family Business Director of the Year, hit the headlines when the Chamber of Commerce was vigorously promoting offshoring to local manufacturers. She ‘went public’: “With what they are proposing, they will take work away from the West Midlands and once you do that then you will never get it back . . . It may be old fashioned but I think firms have a moral duty to protect their employees and exporting manufacturing abroad is no way to do that.”

And with help from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund . . .

Winson Green-based Sunsolar which currently supplies and install PV Solar Panels has been awarded £5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to build solar PV panels. This will be added to a £5 million company investment in building a new factory in Oldbury for the purpose, employing local suppliers and hoping to create as many as 565 new jobs over the next five years. Rob Grant, Sunsolar’s Business Manager adds:

“To begin with the modules will be produced using cells purchased from Europe; however this is only on a short-term solution to get the factory up and running this year. The company is currently placing an order for cell manufacturing machinery which it expects to be in place by the beginning of next year. At that point the manufacturing of the whole module will come from within the UK.”

News of other enterprises directly or indirectly addressing the demoralising unemployment ‘iceberg’ will be welcomed and featured here.

More news from Kirsty Davies-Chinnock, head of Professional Polishing Ltd and chair for The Women in Business Association. Kirsty and quantity surveyor Hilary Allen, Birmingham Young Professional of the Year 2011, an associate at Davis Langdon, are joining forces with Pavilions to celebrate the inspirational women who live and work in our city. Kirsty says: “It is great to see a shopping centre celebrating the achievements of women in the city. When Pavilions contacted me to ask if I was interested in being involved, I jumped at the chance.

“There a lot of incredible women out there but as a whole our gender is quite reticent about ‘blowing our own trumpet’ and so I’m really keen to get involved and promote women’s achievements in Birmingham.

“If someone had told me that I would be close to my 40th birthday and asked to take part in a fashion campaign for inspirational women, I’m afraid I would have laughed. Yet, my involvement with Pavilions Birmingham has not only helped me celebrate my professional success – always helpful with a milestone like 40 – but also reignited an interest in fashion. I tend to avoid clothes shopping in busy malls as often I’m faced with an array of clothes and no idea what will suit me, but this experience has shown me that in a relaxed and stylish environment I can shop, ask advice and choose something stunning in a less stressful atmosphere.

“The experience has been fantastic, my team at Professional Polishing Services Ltd were amazed at the transformation.”

Kirsty and other local activists will feature in a post about unemployment, introduced by Cllr John Clancy’s recent Council Chamber address.


At an Institute of Directors award ceremony held in the new Edgbaston Stadium, Kirsty Davies Chinnock, Managing Director of Professional Polishing Services, won the West Midlands Family Business Director of the Year Award. The judging panel were impressed by her passion for the future and conviction that UK manufacturing and SMEs as a whole are essential to growth within the UK. The judges termed her an ‘Ambassador for Manufacturing’ and Kirsty further stressed her support for this sector:

“I believe a pro-manufacturing strategy needs to be created in line with further encouragement of SME’s. SME’s have a unique perspective when it comes to being a successful business; well-managed, they are the life blood of the UK.”

In the headlines a few years ago when she sharply criticised Birmingham’s Chamber of Commerce for its promotion of out-sourcing – and resigned – she added:

“On a personal level I want to show that there are many managing directors working for the benefit of the company – and the employees –rather than themselves. We take our responsibility as an employer seriously and do everything we can to create sustainable employment.”

Kirsty will go forward to the National Competition in London in October 2012.