Your Eye on the Region
Alan Metcalfe, director, Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) and commercial director at Zenith People.
Did you grow up in the region or did you decide to relocate here in later life?
I grew up in the North East – the West End of Newcastle and two miles from St James’ Park.
What do you think it means to be a business person in the North East of England?
It is a close-knit community. Any business person who grew up in the North East is proud to have built a business here and we have a strong support network to offer from our peers.
As a director at the Advanced Manufacturing Forum, the North East is a hot bed for manufacturing and the AMF plays a huge part in linking businesses and encouraging collaboration.
It is important that we pay homage to our industrial heritage, yet move forward with the times and continually make advances in manufacturing.
What is your favourite aspect of life in the North East?
Quite simply, it is a great place to live, work and play. It is a bustling region, full of activity but you don’t have to go far to be away from the hustle and bustle, with a mixture of the countryside and range of beaches on our doorstep.
Where do you like to eat out in the region?
I always enjoy trying new places but two of my favorite restaurants would have to be Café 21 in Newcastle and Peace & Loaf in Jesmond.
Are the people really friendlier?
Absolutely. It doesn’t matter where you go you can always talk to someone. We are a friendly bunch and this is part of our heritage. We are proud to show the region off.
What do you think is the best view in the North East?
The central point on the Northumberland coast looking out across all of the beaches – Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh castle and crossing over the Tyne Bridge. Whenever I have been away this always feels like coming home.
Do you think living and working in the North East offers the same opportunities as elsewhere in the UK?
It depends on the sector. Technology and IT is growing rapidly and big city companies are moving to the region. If you look at the arts and culture, I would say not so much and they have been badly affected by the pandemic.
Have you had any experience of working elsewhere and how did it compare?
I have worked in Manchester and it is similar to the North East in that the people are very friendly and welcoming but I found it too big. Our region has smaller cities and with that the sense that people have more time to develop relationships.