I've been to Birmingham a couple of times before but have stayed in the centre of the City. My exercise regime has suffered since being back in the UK so thought I'd have a go at finding somewhere to run in Birmingham. Not usually the easiest task in the centre of a city, but actually Birmingham is set on a series of canals and the tow paths make a perfect running track. Winter has started to set in but I can imagine that an evening drink next to a canal on a hot summer’s day would be lovely and so close to the centre of a big city.
UKTI Australia New Zealand
We help British businesses succeed in Australia and New Zealand and ANZ businesses expand into the UK. We also celebrate everything that contributes to the close and long-lasting relationship between the UK and its southern cousins. We watch cricket. We eat pies. We spell things with an ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’. We talk a lot about the weather. We are UKTI Australia & New Zealand.
I'm surprised by the conscious, obvious, effort that UK companies are taking to reduce their carbon footprint. It's everywhere and it has changed so much even though I've only been gone a year.
After Exeter I drove up to Worcester for the Export Factor an event where over 100 companies from the West Midlands met to hear how UKTI can support them to export. The West Midlands, with its dominant automotive, minerals and metals and advanced engineering industries, has had a tough time in the recent recession. Unemployment has risen sharply. The Export Factor brought together businesses that were looking to export their way out of the slump.
I left the UK a year and a month ago, to the day. And now I'm on my first business development visit (BDV) back in Blighty.
After a long flight, I land at Heathrow and, apart from the rain, spot the new Terminal 5 building. I'm taken aback by the sheer scale of glass in the building, and honoured by the fact that Lord Richard Rogers, the architect of this sustainable terminal, spoke less than 48 hours earlier in our boardroom back in Australia.
This is my first time in Exeter. I enjoyed the drive down through Somerset and into Devon. I tried out my best West Country accent in the car on the way down with lots of drawn out vowels. Glaaaaaastonbury, Yeooooooovil and salvaaaage! Probably good that it stayed in the car!
I have a soft spot for Bristol. A great combination of old and new UK and lots of innovative SMEs!
We have seen large numbers of companies from the South West in Australia in recent months and they have demonstrated many times that smart companies with good products who prepare well often do good business in Australia.
I had forgotten how beautiful the scenery is across the North West of England and into Southern Scotland. Even the heavy, dark sky did not take away from the majestic vistas. The journey put me in a great mood for my first working visit to Glasgow. I met with five fantastic companies all looking to build their export markets into Australia. They told me that the retail sector had been hit quite hard by the recession. But they, and many other companies, were seeing great opportunities for export. The weaker pound meant UK exports looked better value in overseas markets and that UKTI could support them to make the most of these opportunities.
I am writing this as I sit on the new Qantas A380 heading for UK. It’s over a year since I was back in UK. The last time I arrived I turned on the radio in my hire car to hear the news that Lehman Brothers had collapsed. The subsequent four hour drive to my home in Yorkshire left me concerned for the first time in my life that the banks might just fall over and something which had always felt guaranteed was actually at risk. So what will I find this time?
Well it’s day two of four-day-long AusBiotech2009 and I must say Melbourne is putting on a cracking show! It’s not just the weather, which is a most un-Melbournely, mid twenties and sunny with consistent blue skies, but also the biotechnology …
I'm not sure that I'd be able to catch Richard Morris as he speeds around the region but I have had quite a breathless time myself as an International Trade Advisor in the South-West and now as a Trade Development …