Agency Bites

Agency Bites


Our second round-up of the year finds some the industry’s biggest names up to their eyeballs in new work, new joiners and award wins. So far it looks like 2019 is going to be a bumper year…


It’s been a while since Ri5 heard from WDAD, but we’re pleased to report that the agency is in rude health and beavering away on a number of new creative projects for a diverse range of clients.  A particular highlight is the ongoing employer brand roll-out for technology reseller, Softcat, including a recruitment website and a stop-motion video. They’re also busy in the NHS sector helping Trusts build their recruitment messaging off the back of the government’s ‘We are the NHS’ campaign. Projects include two locally focused multi-media campaigns for Berkshire Healthcare. WDAD’s EVP and employer brand project for Sir Robert McAlpine is in the process of launching and they’re excited to be working with Manchester Metropolitan University to help them communicate their senior roles.

Talent Works

March was an exciting month for Talent Works. They welcomed two new starters, Tom Chapman (Digital Marketing Executive) and Danielle Knibb (Traffic Manager). Both new hires have enabled Talent Works to expand their Creative and Digital teams to give their clients a more refined service. For example, they recently started working with a leading pharmaceutical company who are utilising Talent Works’ social media and Insight services.

It was also the month of their 10-year anniversary. Celebrations consisted of a conference and party at The Belfry Hotel with team members from both Manchester and Northampton. They also welcomed to the UK, from the Boston office, VP of North America Jody Robie and Account Manager Karen Sommers. It was special to have all their teams together and it was a great way to treat their employees.

Talent Works published two new blogs on their website to mark the occasion. In one they interviewed their CEO Neil Purcell about what it was like to start his own business from scratch, and how it feels to have made it to 10 years. In the other, they spoke to their employees about their experiences working for Talent Works.


Conference season is here, and Penna teams are connecting with their networks countrywide.

Executive Search and Interim travelled to Hertfordshire for the MJ Future Forum this month. The event celebrated innovation in the public sector and was attended by over 40 Chief Executives. Julie Towers and Toni Hall presented a session and live-polled the audience on all things Talent.

Penna Education will be joining their university HR contacts at the UHR conference in Manchester this May.

Penna’s Spring agenda includes sponsoring ‘Leadership Team of the Year’ at the MJ Awards. In April, finalists Thurrock, East Hertfordshire, Hull and Isle of Wight Councils pitched to a panel of local government leaders and Penna Director of Executive Search Local Government, Maggie Hennessy. Penna are also up for some awards at May’s PPMA conference.

Aspiring Chief Executives opens for applications in June. Penna’s development programme for local government directors had 18 delegates in its first year, two of whom have already secured Chief Executive roles. Interest can be registered at

Sue Atkinson has re-joined Penna as Commercial Director. She will be working across the business to cross-sell solutions, develop existing client relationships, and foster new ones. Sue will also be working closely with sister agency, Stafford Long.

Blackbridge Communications

As Blackbridge looks back on the last couple of months, they’re in a celebratory mood. 

At the EBMAs, they were recognised across four categories, including their highly-praised work for Babcock International Group and Bupa Dental Care. They were also thrilled to take the much-coveted Best Supplier Partnership award for their work with Babcock at the FIRM Awards. 

More good news just in - Blackbridge has won the s1jobs Best Digital Creative Recruitment Award with Babcock's 'What Makes You' graduate campaign. They were also acclaimed in the same category for Rolls-Royce’s early careers campaign ‘Beyond tomorrow’.

Their reasons to be cheerful don’t stop there. Keen to recognise and celebrate people for a job well done, Blackbridge has recently promoted Matt Flynn to Middleweight Designer.

And finally, what’s on their radar for the future? Well, following on from the success of March’s GTI Breakfast News around ‘How Brexit will really impact on employers and graduates’, Blackbridge has got their sights set on the planning process for the busy early careers season ahead. They’re also looking forward to the next GTI Breakfast News in June, which promises to be as thought-provoking as the last one.


The highlight for SBW this quarter has been two short listed campaigns for their client Welsh Government in the Better Society Awards.  They’re looking forward to the ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel at the end of May. Other news is a new Welsh speaking Account Director in their Cardiff office and four client wins. They’ve been kept busy with two NHS recruitment sites being built, a couple of film projects, their first magazine being designed and produced and lots of social media content being produced. They’re also starting to prepare for a big birthday party, SBW will be 15 in May.


Basis have recently launched a career website for Arriva, along with a Corporate Website, Career Website and our ATS NexGen, for International Procurement Logistics (IPL), who are part of the ASDA Walmart family. 

JD Sports, who already use Basis’ NexGen ATS here in the UK, have recently rolled out into Spain and Portugal, with further plans to continue deployment across Europe. 

Basis have just launched a brand new onboarding journey for Sainsbury’s and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Onboarding Line Manager Portal has also just been rolled out. 

New work for National Express, Poundland, JCB, Alliance Medical, Brakes, Autoglass and GAME is all underway, along with NexgenAI which is now fully in development and will have its official launch on the Disrupt Stage at RecFest in July. 

Smart Resourcing Solutions

It’s been a busy couple of months for Smart Resourcing Solutions. MD, Sophie Milliken secured a place on the 2019 UK Social Entrepreneur Index which celebrates entrepreneurs running businesses with social purpose and acts as a benchmark for good practice as well as inspiring the next generation.

Helen Liddle joins the team as University Partnerships Manager. Helen will work with their University clients providing students with first-class employability opportunities that build confidence, aspirations and ultimately inspires them to apply for and secure graduate jobs and high-quality placements.

Smart Resourcing Solutions, together with University of Leeds, have been shortlisted for the ISE Awards 2019 in the category for Outstanding University Partnership with an Employer and/or Supplier. The awards ceremony will take place at the Gala Dinner on 9 July as part of the Annual Student Recruitment Conference and Awards 2019 at Hilton Deansgate, Manchester.   

Jupiter & Sparks

There’s a huge piece of news coming from the Jupiter and Sparks team in the coming weeks. In the meantime, they have announced another big piece of news - that their Media Executive Marie Sloane has this month celebrated her 20th Anniversary with the business. Marie is reported by all as being one of the kindest, warmest and funniest people in the agency. She goes out of her way to help and is reported as, ‘an absolute ray of sunshine,’ by Managing Director Fiona Horton.

Also just in… O’Callaghan Collection, Kwik Fit and PizzaExpress employer branding projects are all underway. Fiona Horton, along with Creative Director Nick Mitchell Maiato and Account Director Doug Elliott all spent the afternoon of 9th April celebrating Beaverbrooks’ 100th anniversary with no less than a private reading of a poem by ‘This is the Place’ author, Mancunian Poet Tony Walsh. And a brand new Insights section has been launched on the Jupiter website featuring dozens of articles, interviews and blogs from people across the agency on everything from workplace culture to how designers think.


Agency Bites is published bi-monthly.  To be included in June's update, email your submission, of no more than 200 words, to by Friday 14th June.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

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