Wiith more than a year having now passed since the UK first entered COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the landscape is beginning – thankfully – to show signs of positivity. The vaccine rollout is delivering new energy to a nation left exhausted by remote working, home schooling and the long-term shutdown of leisure activities – not to mention the stresses of furlough and job losses – as the country enters the first days of spring. It puts me in mind of a phrase that has really entered parlance during the last 12 months – ‘hitting the reset button’. Coined to refer to the changes both companies and individuals have undergone as a result of the pandemic, be they operational activities or new personal goals, it feels like, as a country, we’re ready to press the plunger and engage with 2021 in a way we could never do with 2020.
At North East Times are all about championing the region’s innovative and game-changing spirit. Such a philosophy has always been – and will remain – the bedrock of our magazine, and this month’s edition is no different, turning the focus to the organisations and people making a crucial impact not just to the North East, but to national and international markets too. They include Billingham’s FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, which gained headlines aplenty last month for its work with Novovax to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine that could inoculate tens of millions of people. Sticking with the theme of innovation, we also focus on CellulaREvolution, the Newcastle Helix-based firm behind work on cultured meat technology that is primed to revolutionise the food industry and dinner tables.
This month we speak to Natalie Ibu, Northern Stage’s new artistic director and joint chief executive, and learn how the Newcastle-based theatre company is shifting with the times digitally to continue entertaining audiences. Staying on the theme of alternative methods to deliver an accustomed service, we mark National Apprenticeship Week – by highlighting how, despite changes to learning in the classroom and on site, education providers and companies are still nurturing the next generation. Taking that point further, we speak to Bill Scott, co-founder of Wilton Universal Group, who tells us why an apprenticeship leaves you set for life. We also look at change in the automotive sector and the growing momentum behind a new green revolution, which is being led in no small part by Consett-based Elmtronics.
This month’s magazine looks at opportunities for the region’s business community and highlights significant investment deals and development plans that all stand ready to make a decisive impression on the North East. We speak to Stephen Waddington, a man with extensive media and communications sector experience, to track his career journey and look further into why 2021 represents a good time for businesses to reset and thrive. Tackling the theme of growth, we speak to Coatsink chief executive and co-founder Tom Beardsmore. And, we also champion the spirit, drive and innovation of the region’s businesspeople in our Impact List, which acknowledges the determination of individuals to adapt and thrive despite such unprecedented times. And much more!