Archive for July, 2011

Lykke Til Norway!

Posted: July 26, 2011 in Opinion
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By Rob Petersen, Managing Director

My great grandfather was a Norwegian sailor who arrived in Cardiff in the latter part of the 1800s. Born in Bergen he sailed the world – and like many of his countrymen settled in Cardiff where he had a warm Welsh welcome.

It is with this distant relation in mind that I, along with the rest of my family, feel the greatest empathy with the people of Norway on the tragic events of last week.

A nation united in grief and yet defiant in upholding their unique way of life can only deserve the greatest admiration from all of us.

Good luck, Lykke til Norway!

Professor Amanda Kirby, The Dyscovery Centre

At our last meeting of the season, the Cardiff Breakfast Club was greeted by Professor Amanda Kirby, Founder of the Dyscovery Centre at the University of Wales,Newport.

As a medic, writer and lecturer, Professor Kirby specialises in supporting those with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia (DCD), ADHD, and ASD. The short survey issued at the beginning of the meeting clearly signalled how little many of our members, myself included, knew about such learning difficulties, and thus we were all willing to learn more when Amanda took to the stage.

Amanda explained that her interest in these disorders came from her 25-year old son who has suffered with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD for many years. Now comfortably in employment, the challenges faced by Amanda’s son whilst growing up and finding a supportive and rewarding job encouraged Amanda to raise awareness of these problems, particularly in the workplace.

Explaining that we not only need to be familiar with terms like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and ASD but also aware of what they mean, Amanda certainly persuaded us to reflect on our own recruitment and support systems in order to accommodate people with learning difficulties.

Professor Kirby maintained that changes to our systems only need to be ‘tweaks’ and ones in which make good business practice anyway, such as interview tasks that reflect the actual job and extra support during the first few months within a new role.

With approximately 10% of every workforce facing the challenges which arise from these disorders, it is clearly important, particularly for the effectiveness of your business, to make these small changes as they could make a great difference to those being penalised, and often sidelined, due to their learning difficulties.

In many cases, disorders like Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, make little difference to the individual’s abilities – only perhaps effecting their coordination and initial speed of work. However, as Amanda explained, simple tasks may take a little more time for these individuals and therefore it is important both for the employee to firstly disclose their difficulties and finally for the employer to understand and offer their ongoing support.

Just because a person is a sufferer of a learning difficulty, it does not mean they are less able than others. In fact, often these conditions come with positive skills such as methodical and logical thinking in addition to creativity and the ability to think outside the box.

However, it is not only employers that need to be persuaded of this – often those with learning difficulties feel they should hide their disorder within a business environment.

Often those with learning difficulties feel they should hide their disorder within a business environment

Through the Dyscovery Centre, Amanda hopes to combat this lack of confidence by raising awareness within the business place whilst offering support to those who are faced with the challenges that arise from learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and ASD.

We hope Professor Kirby’s presentation this morning will prompt the business community in Cardiffto reconsider and reflect upon their employee support programmes, because after all, as Amanda concluded, she could probably diagnose us all with something!

Further information on the Dyscovery Centre can be found at:,

Tips for employers:



By Rob Petersen, Managing Director, Petersens PR

Bulldog Lings Motorcycle Display

I enjoyed a lovely day out at the Royal Welsh Show on Monday. After spending months on the show’s annual publicity campaign, it was a great thrill to go there and personally experience what a truly marvellous day out it is.

I had the pleasure of attending the president’s lunch on the day and enjoyed food and refreshments from local Welsh suppliers.

On our table were representatives of the Young Farmer’s Club,  Lantra and the Farmer’s Union of Wales who’s President, Emyr Jones’ members supply many thousands of Welsh Lamb and Beef to market, who reacted with a smile on his face when asked by an innocent young waitress if there were any vegetarians present!

“Any vegetarians…I think not!”

Typical humour from a North Wales Welsh Black Farmer!!

There’s only one day left for those who have not yet made it to Builth Wells for undoubtedly the greatest agriculture show in Europe!


Dennis Farrell, Purchasing Director, Emyr Jones, President Farmer's Union Wales, Rhys Davies, Hafodarthen Farm, Alun Davies, AM Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes


On Friday 8th July Glyn Davies of FUW (Farmers Union Wales) invited Alun Davies, the newly appointed Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes in the Welsh Government, to a site visit at Tillery Valley Foods – followed by a tour of Hafodarthen Farm – a local supply site for the company.

Present at the meeting were representatives from Tillery Valley Foods, Members of the Farmers Union Wales, Alun Davies AM and local farmers who supply Welsh Lamb to Tillery Valley Foods.

The visit followed TilleryValley’s successful implementation of a sustainable procurement program for Welsh Lambs in 2010, sourcing directly from local farms with the aim of reducing food miles and supporting local business.

Philip Hall, Site Director Home Service, Tillery Valley Foods and Alun Davies,Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes

A national provider of chilled and frozen prepared meals to the healthcare sector, local authorities and education, Tillery Valley Foods is a major employer in the area with over 350 people at its site in Abertillery.

With 64% of its spend invested in businesses in Wales and adjoining regions, collaborative initiatives such as sustainable local sourcing that help to support both local businesses and the wider community are top of Tillery Valley’s agenda. The company is also proactively helping to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.


The visit involved a tour of the factory and food production area followed by a local farm visit to show the local and environmentally responsible sourcing of the lamb used by Tillery Valley Foods.

It is clearly a well supported and successful initiative supporting Welsh Business and local produce – We hope to see many more programmes like this in the future.


View from Hofodarthen Farm


Presentation Topic: Recognising differences and maximising potential- a business opportunity

Special Guest Speaker: Professor Amanda Kirby, Director of The Dyscovery Centre, University of Wales, Newport

Professor Amanda Kirby is the medical director of The Dyscovery Centre, and a parent of a young adult with Dyspraxia, ADHD and Dyslexia. She founded the centre in 1997 for children and adults with a range of specific learning difficulties including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is internationally recognised as centre of excellence and has a research team, clinical team and undertakes training up to masters level.

 Amanda has lectured across the UKand internationally as far as Singapore,Brazil and New Zealandand is a patron of several charities. She has published widely in the field and has acted as an advisor to government bodies. She is currently on the Hidden Disabilities working group for Job Centre Plus to ensure that adults are recognised and supported in the workplace appropriately.

We would be delighted if you were able to join us.  If you wish to attend, please email Becci Gould on or call 02920 549597 , no later than Tuesday 19th July 2011. Events cost £29 per person. To avoid any problems, please clearly state your breakfast choice when booking your place.

Please note, any seating requests should be made clear at time of booking.  The Cardiff Breakfast Clubregrets there can be no refunds should you cancel after Tuesday 19th July 2011.  Should you be unable to attend, a substitute is welcome at no extra charge.

We hope you can find time to join us and look forward to seeing you.

Morgan Cole. Western Mail. Lloyds TSB Commercial. Marsh