Newhaven Champion Q&A: Kirsti Peters, Group HR Manager, Brightwell Dispensers
Posted on 17/11/2022
Welcome to our new series of interviews with our Newhaven Enterprise Zone Champions – the people who are helping to grow our town’s economy and secure our future as a destination for businesses to invest.
Our first interview is with Kirsti Peters, the Group HR Manager for Brightwell Dispensers, a global designer and manufacturer of innovative soap, paper and chemical dispensers and dosing systems.
Founded in 1947, Brightwell has its head office in Newhaven, but boasts offices around the world, including USA, Germany, France and Spain.
Tell us what you love about Newhaven?
The seafront in the town holds a huge appeal. The proximity to South Downs is also a positive. The improvements to amenities and the plans for improvements to the town centre areas and the introduction of new businesses can only make the town even more attractive.
What are your favourite things about working in Newhaven?
There is an honesty to the town, it’s industrial but there is also incredible innovation happening here, with a special focus on the environmental agenda which I believe is close to everyone’s heart, or at least it should be!
What do you think makes Newhaven a great place to base a business?
Its proximity to excellent travel networks to Europe, the south-east road network and it’s only an hour from London. The town is growing and the plans for improvement mean it is a great time to get in before the square foot price for commercial rental becomes highly competitive.
What would you like Newhaven’s future to look like in 10 years’ time?
I’d like to see a meaningful town centre, a mix of thriving local business as well as big corporate names and sufficient amenities to fulfil the local population and that appeals to visitors alike.
What makes Brightwell Dispensers a great place to work?
Brightwell invests heavily in the people agenda, in particular in the growth and development of the talent here as well as employee welfare and engagement in the business, in order to fulfil its future growth plans.
We understand you have helped to tackle recruitment issues as part of your role. Can you tell us more about what this involved?
We partnered with the Local Job Centre and held recruitment events. We also provided work experience for local candidates, networked with other employers and attended local STEM Task Groups and Educational colleges to promote STEM opportunities via apprenticeships.
Tell us about your time with Newhaven Enterprise Zone. What made you decide to join? What’s your experience been like?
Very positive. The Enterprise Zone has introduced me to local employers with similar challenges and ambitions to us. We’ve also been introduced to other networks which have benefited us.
We understand you helped set up the Avis Way Forum. What made you decide to set this up? What have the forum’s main achievements been so far?
It was a very useful business network where we could discuss and debate local business needs that provide insight into what potential resolutions and focus areas might be. It provided a voice for our employees with regards to local area improvements and resources required.
Tell us more about the great skills programmes you have championed?
We championed the STEM Engineering Task Group which raised awareness of STEM careers with colleges to influence educational pathways.
We also functioned as an Education Industry Champion where we attended school and college events such as mock interviews, round table discussions and work experience.