5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
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Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

Astute Recruitment separate the fact and the fiction about St George's Day











Think of St George and you’re probably picturing a heroic knight, slaying a ferocious, fire-breathing dragon! As the country’s patron saint, today, the 23rd April 2020 St George’s story is as iconic as his white and red flag.

However, like many early saints, the exact details of his life remain a mystery. Here, we separate the facts from the fiction, establishing the truth behind the legend of St George.



St George might be hailed as a national hero, but he was actually born – in the 3rd century AD – more than 2,000 miles away from England in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey).

He is thought to have died in Lydda (modern-day Israel) in the Roman province of Palestine in AD 303. It is believed that his tomb was in a place called ‘Lod’, a centre of Christian pilgrimage.



Often portrayed as a knight in shining armour, the truth is less fanciful.

Whilst St George was depicted from the 11th century as a heroic knight or a warrior on horseback, it is more likely that he was a humble officer in the Roman army.



Like many saints, St George was described as a martyr after he died for his Christian faith. It is believed that during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century, St George was punished by execution, for refusing to make a sacrifice in honour of the pagan gods at that time.



Yep, St George never actually visited England. However his reputation for virtue and holiness spread across Europe and his feast day – the 23rd April – was celebrated in England from the 9th century onwards.

He became popular with English kings. Edward I (1272-1307) had banners bearing the emblem of St George (a red cross on a white background) and Edward III (1327-77) had a strong interest in the saint and owned a ‘phial’ or ‘relic’ of his blood. It was not until the reign of Henry VIII, that the cross of St George was used to represent England.



The story goes that St George rode into Silene (Libya) to free the city from a dragon who had a taste for humans, but it’s a story that post-dates the real George by several centuries!

Images of George and the dragon survive from the 9th century – 500 years after his death. Originally these may simply have been symbolising the battle between Good and Evil. In the Middle Ages, the story was developed and popularised in a compendium of stories about saints’ lives called ‘The Golden Legend’.



St George was canonised in AD 494 by Pope Gelasius, who claimed he was one of those ‘whose names are justly revered among men but whose acts are known only to God’.

A feast day of St George has been celebrated in England for hundreds of years on 23 April, which was possibly the date of his martyrdom. Following the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, St George’s Day became one of the most important feast days in the English calendar.



St George is truly an international saint and England is not the only country or region to claim him as its patron. Something that in todays multi-cultural England, ought to be celebrated!

England shares St George with Venice, Genoa, Portugal, Ethiopia and Catalonia among others as their patron saint and many of these places have their own celebrations and ceremonies in his honour.



During the Middle Ages, people believed that St George was one of the ‘Fourteen Holy Helpers’ – a group of saints who could help during epidemic diseases. St George’s protection was invoked against several nasty diseases, many fatal and with infectious causes, including the Plague and leprosy. It is a shame we cannot invoke his name to defeat the Coronavirus!

From around 1100, St George’s help was also sought to protect the English army. In William Shakespeare’s Henry V, the monarch calls on the saint during his battle cry at the Battle of Harfleur in the famous, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” speech, crying “God for Harry! England, and St. George!”

Five hundred years later – during the First World War – a ghostly apparition of St George is said to have aided British troops during their retreat from Mons, and the naval commander of the Zeebrugge Raid, cited the saint as inspiration!



The Order of the Garter (founded by Edward III in 1348) is the very highest order of chivalry in the country, with Queen Elizabeth II at the helm as ‘Sovereign of the Garter’.

To this day, St George’s cross still appears on the Garter badge and his image is the pendant of the Garter chain.

In 1940 King George VI created a new award for acts of the greatest heroism, bravery or courage in the face of extreme danger. The George Cross, named after the king, bears the image of St George vanquishing the dragon. The image of St George also adorns many of the memorials built to honour those killed during World War One.


Poignantly, perhaps in 2020, we should use this legendary award for bravery to honour the frontline workers and NHS staff working so valiantly to help those affected by the Coronavirus and COVID-19.

What next for people, business and jobs? An article by Mary Maguire, MD of Astute Recruitment Ltd









An article by Mary Maguire, MD, Astute Recruitment Ltd

Everyone everywhere has been touched, affected and humbled by the unfolding events. From Miami to Mumbai, from Derby to Damascus.


Politicians, scientists, and medical experts update us daily on our national progress ‘beating the curve’, what steps we need to take to protect our amazing NHS and sadly how many have succumbed. But, what next?


What is key to businesses, workers, Recruiters, and MDs is when can we get back to work? What will work look like? Will I be able to find a new job? How will my business survive? How can I feed my family/ pay my mortgage without an income?


It’s natural and normal to feel anxiety, alarm, and stress on what is going on around us now. I feel it. Everyone does.


Thats an entirely normal reaction. But it isn’t very constructive or inspiring or healthy to constantly dwell on the news feeds. Lets not focus on what’s happened, instead, what can we do? What does the future hold?


We need to view our working futures and embrace a bold, new tomorrow. Learn from remote working, digest how much can be done by workers at home.


What can help everyone is thinking ahead.

Imagine what the new normal will be.

In your mind’s eye, visualise you/ your business / your team working again. What could that look like?


I’ll help.


First, companies and business owners.


It will be a completely different business climate compared to just a few, short months ago. Many companies and businesses were doing well, looking to expand, take up larger offices, increase the number of employees.


Others were having some difficulties but just about coping, having just enough ‘in the bank’. For many, there was no contingency, no ‘rainy day’ cash for unforeseen situations. And my goodness, this needed a Noah’s Ark of a contingency!


As we come out of this, working restrictions will slowly be lifted. Antigen tests will enable employers, employees and people everywhere to finally understand if they have/ hadn’t had ‘it’ or if they are immune. As this gets rolled out, companies will have to maintain social distancing, but teams will be able to go back to work on a phased return. Many of them. All of them in time.


Employers will need to keep ahead of changes to employment contracts to cover working from home. Businesses will need to ensure the relevant insurance covers are in place to cover remote workers. HR experts like


Overhangs in business will mean remote working is a ‘thing’. If nothing else, the myriad companies who have initiated, innovated IT enabling their employees, where possible, to work from home, can see that this flexible option can work, and work well. Presenteeism should finally be killed off.


Companies will benefit from a genuinely mobile, flexible workforce. Ongoing rotas with team meetings but with the flexibility to accommodate those who need to be at home, won’t be frowned upon. Their bosses and work colleagues will know they are busy doing their jobs and are working hard in their offices at home. This is also an opportunity, as an employer, to show your staff you care, are fair and decent. If you can do this, your staff will never forget this and you will build the strongest bonds of loyalty in your workforce and retain talent.


Show your business cares about your employees. Having the empathy and time to understand the personal dilemmas faced by your staff, showing them you are there to support them psychologically and practically are key.


Ensure your balance sheet has some ‘give’, look to build trust with your suppliers, debtors and clients. Ensure protocols are in place if lockdown procedures have to come back. Preparedness and contingency planning will be essential. You need to be totally aligned with your Financial Director / Financial Controller and Senior Management team. Scrutinise your credit control processes. This is also an opportunity to build lasting relationships too with your suppliers by having proper negotiations on payment terms and perhaps temporary measures. Help your suppliers to help you.


Ensure your customers KNOW you are still in business. This is a biggie. Use great local businesses like Mark Saxby, at Derby’s Status Social to professionally keep your brand alive, online and seen by potential clients and customers.


Create useful, impactful content but always be mindful not to appear arrogant, ignorant and ill-tuned to businesses and people currently having a very hard time. Have opinions by all means, but you need to make sure not to damage your brand inadvertently.


Unsure about content creation? Organisations including East Midland’s Love Business, East Midlands Chamber, Marketing Derby  are experts in business and can put you in touch with marketing content writers, often local businesses in your local area. Remember, you need to try and ensure your customers know you exist and are ready to help them when they need your service. You need to keep your brand and team alive and in the thoughts of your potential, target customers while the lockdown continues and consistently after the lockdown starts to be lifted. Now is not the time to furlough your marketing team.


Take heart too. The demands for services, retailers, manufacturers, builders, engineers and suppliers WILL return. So those companies that have used the Government’s support mechanisms and been able to utilise their accountants and credit control teams to bolster cash, WILL be in demand.


The dreaded B word, ‘Banks’Many, many business owners, Financial Directors, CFOs and MDs have said that the Banks continue to be very nervous about lending and not as helpful as the government or the business community would like. Some much more friendly banks to approach who appear to be much more helpful are HSBC, Allied Irish Bank and Natwest.


What about employees?

Workers are beginning to realise to know just how big a seismic shift economically, socially and psychologically has been created. There is no magic bullet to get us back to where we were before. Instead, online communications via Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom will be key. If you haven’t already used one of these, check them out. This will be a much greater part of our working world as we move forward.


Create a household timetable. Set alarms to ping for regular breaks from work. Many, many people I’ve spoken to have struggled to work on their own and have found themselves working 4 or 5 hours without a rest. No usual office distractions are great to create focus to get projects and key work done, but it’s not healthy mentally or productivity-wise to soldier on without regular breaks.


Exercise, take a walk, a yoga workout will all help. Exercise releases endorphins, magical feel-good hormones that will sustain energy levels and make you feel better.


Set regular bedtimes for everyone in the household and regular waking up times.

One good tip I read was how making kids wear school uniforms whilst doing their schoolwork and, adults wearing more formal office attire, triggers recognition in the brain and sets the frame for ‘work time’. This hasn’t worked in my case- I’m rocking the jeans and t-shirt look! I do other things though. I have my designated ‘desks’ in the house for working and stick to them. One is in my bedroom, one is at my kitchen table and the other is the front room sofa when I’m writing articles or compiling marketing early in the mornings before the rest of my household awakens. The point? Have set, defined ‘work areas’ so that psychologically your brain shifts into ‘I’m in work mode now’.


Eat well, Eat healthily. This is a biggie. Working from home can create a lot of temptations to ‘nibble’ and ‘just pick’ at snacks constantly. I have a rule in our house – no food upstairs. So, when I’m ‘hotdesking’ in my bedroom, I’m not tempted to constantly graze on munchies. Everyone needs a treat- just keep to regular mealtimes and regular times to have that choccie bar. Try and create meals from scratch. Frozen vegetables actually have more nutrients than fresh. You can freeze soups freshly made to have the next few days.


Um, alcohol. Yes, we should eat well and not drink ourselves silly either. A healthy way of having a little of what you fancy is fine. Try and build 2 or 3 alcohol-free days during the week. Another tip is to only have a drink at regular times. For me, this is usually at 10pm when the kids are asleep! Little known fact: During the lockdown, a number of people have managed to use this as an opportunity to continue their ‘dry January’ and improve their overall wellbeing at the same time.


The point is, having routines is essential to build healthy habits that become more natural. A new habit takes just 28 days to form so some of us will only have another 1 or 2 weeks and this will begin to feel oddly part of our daily routine. If something feels more ‘normal’ in turn this can help lessen anxiety and worry.


What about my sector – Recruitment?

For my sector, recruitment, business will continue with relative ease. Our clients and team are already conducting interviews of candidates online instead of face to face and this trend looks to continue. My team and I have been using Skype and other apps for some time as a natural part of the recruitment process to help clients and candidates. This will just continue to grow. Meetings with clients will be easier and quicker to book virtually online.

Saving fuel costs.

Saving time.

Saving the environment.


The key for recruitment businesses and companies across the board, will be ensuring internal infrastructure, IT, training are all strong, faultless and as seemless as possible. Consultants need to become more and more comfortable being ‘on-screen’. That goes for employees in all offices. Online, real-time, on-time training and support, needs to be available to consultants and resourcers as and when they need support.


And what of the unemployed? What of the companies that sadly couldn’t survive?

I myself was made redundant in 2009. The gutwrenching, knife twisting agony of job insecurity I understand all too well.


But know this. When the lockdown is phased to gradually open up, there will be opportunities for businesses to be reborn and for those not working to find jobs. It may take some time, but there are great, positive steps you can take to speed up your search for a new job or business opportunity.


If you are unemployed, furloughed or feeling uncertain, there is no harm reaching out to trusted recruiters who have helped you before. But be discerning. Use the people who know you as a person, not just another candidate. Contact the companies that have been busy putting positive, useful, thoughtful content ‘out there’. These are the contacts and connections that will have your genuine, best interests at heart.


Be more active on LinkedIn or set yourself up on LinkedIn if you aren’t already. This is the proper reason why LinkedIn was set up. To allow connections with other business and career professionals to work and help each other, forge new relationships and new opportunities.


Above all, try and be positive.


Talk to trusted friends, work colleagues, and business professionals. Keep connected.


And, most importantly, even if you are on your own, know you are not alone.


If you feel things getting on top of you, reach out. Ring a friend, colleague, family – never feel embarrassed about feeling anxious. They will probably be feeling similar anxiety and be equally grateful to share some experiences.


Human beings are natural, social creatures. Our mental health suffers when we are in isolation and on our own. Talking to one another is one key antidote to dark feelings.


We are all in this together, and together we will survive.


Our next business event will be focussing on ways to cope working from home. We will be looking at how to harness your positivity, maintain energy levels and keep motivated when working remotely. We will be announcing details very soon and have a brilliant guest speaker lined up!


If anyone would like more information on any of the points covered in this article and would like a confidential chat, you are welcome to reach me through LinkedIn, email or simply call me on my mobile 07717 412 911. Alternatively, if you have any ideas for articles or information you would like us to put together – let me know!

Be Safe,

Be Well,

Be Astute.

An article by Mary Maguire, MD, Astute Recruitment Ltd

Supporting people and business.



If we fail to believe we believe in failure
If we fail to believe we believe in failure.


Whilst Sarah Stevenson and I set up in ’09, clearly a very difficult time, we knew we were great at what we do, confident to carry this through with just Sarah’s redundancy and ultimately we believed.

In ourselves and our ability to source talented accountants for local clients.

We believed in our relationships.

We believed in our loyal clients and believed in our trusted candidates.

Here we are again. Facing a seismic shift in global wealth. But hey, ho. Confidence favours the brave!

We have not made any of our talented family of recruitment consultants redundant.

We have not shut down operations.

We have adapted to the current circumstances, found new ways of working and retained our team spirit and strength.

We continue to work with amazing people and businesses who are also finding new ways of working. New ways to ‘onboard’ new staff.

We have said we will carry on. We believe in our staff, and our clients are working with us to carry on and recruit talented people for their teams even in the current crisis.

Yes, things are different.

Yes, things are difficult.

BUT, if we accept failure is an option, failure becomes a guarantee.

Now is the time for ingenuity, bravery and spirited belief by business owners leading from the front.

If we fail to believe, we are believing in failure.

#believe #belief #BePositive #business #Strength #recruitment #accountancy #accountancyrecruitment #derby #derbyshire #nottinghamshire #eastmidlands #motivationalmondays

The great gift of Easter is hope
The great gift of Easter is hope










In the wise words of Basil Hume, “The great gift of Easter, is hope”, and this Easter, hope, renewal, and faith are definitely needed.

Whatever your faith or denomination, this Easter is a time to pause, reflect and think of all those suffering. It is also perfect to remember Easter is a symbol and celebration of renewal.

It’s a powerful thought that Easter symbolises a journey of anguish and pain, but that in the end, there is hope, renewal, celebration, and a future.

This year, while we can’t be together with families and friends, as usual, we can all take the time to be thankful for every brave, brilliant person working to keep societies going and saving lives.

From the humble shopkeepers, delivery drivers, carers, bin men, and so many more, to those in the emergency services and NHS frontline workers.

This Easter, we salute you all and look forward to next year when hopefully things will be so much better.

Happy Easter from all of us at Astute.

Be safe
Be strong
Stay at home, protect our NHS, Save Lives

To furlough or not to furlough? Here at Astute Recruitment Ltd, we answer your questions.
To furlough or not to furlough? Here at Astute Recruitment Ltd, we answer your questions.














To furlough or not to furlough? That is the question for businesses up and down the UK. But, what does it really mean for employers AND employees?

Here we break down the common questions employees, accountants and employers have been talking to us about.

The recent launch of the Government’s ‘Coronavirus job retention scheme’ enables companies to continue employing staff with 80% of staff pay covered (up to £2,500 a month) by the Government.

Why the £2,500 ceiling?

£2,500 is the monthly equivalent to the average UK worker’s annual wage of £30,000.

The idea is that staff who would otherwise be made redundant or laid off, can be retained, allowing businesses to retain their talented workforces.

But, there are some strict caveats if a company wants to ‘furlough’ all or part of their employees.

The UK’s Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced several measures to help safeguard the wages of millions of hardworking employees who would otherwise have been laid off, and try and relieve cashflow and prevent bankruptcies.

Sunak’s scheme, applicable to all businesses with PAYE employees, will be up and running by the end of April and backdated to the 1st of March 2020. The self-employed are not covered by this scheme.

To access the scheme, businesses have to ‘furlough’ their employees who they can no longer afford to pay.


What does it mean if you’re an employee being ‘furloughed’?

If you’re being furloughed by your boss, it means you’re being sent home, but will still receive 80% of your monthly salary, by the Government, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

First, you need to agree to be put on furlough by your employer. They can then apply for the money directly to the Government. You cannot apply for it yourself.

Your employer can choose to ‘top up’ your pay with the remaining 20 per cent of your wages, but they are not legally obliged to do so.

If your annual salary exceeds £30,000, i.e. You earn more than £2,500 a month, your employer can choose to ‘pay the extra’, but again, this is at their discretion.

You will still continue to pay income tax and national insurance contributions while on furlough.

Whilst furloughed, your employer cannot ask you to perform any work duties or services which will generate revenue for the business. They can, however, ask you to do ‘training’ to improve your job skills.

Employees on zero-hour contract CAN be furloughed.

Temping through a recruitment agency or working on a flexible contract? You are also eligible to be furloughed; –

For those on zero-hour contracts, where you don’t necessarily earn the same amount each month, your employer should give you 80% of your average monthly salary since you started working.

That also applies to workers employed for less than a year.

If you have worked for your employer for 12 months, or more, you should receive 80% of your average monthly salary OR 80% of what you earned in the same month during the previous year – whichever is the higher.

If you only started work in February, your employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month. But if you’ve started working on the 28th of February or after, you are not eligible.

If you have been made redundant after the 28th of February 2020, or even if you left a job after that date, you could be re-employed under furlough if your employer is willing to do so.  Otherwise, you will have to claim unemployment.

Can you be furloughed if you are off sick?

If you have fallen ill, and in the meantime, your employer has had to shut down, you should get statutory sick pay first, but can be furloughed after that.

Those who are self-isolating because of coronavirus are also covered.

What if you have been off ill and in the meantime, your employer has had to shut down? First, you should get statutory sick pay, but you can be furloughed after that.

Employees who are ‘shielding’ and those vulnerable to potential severe illness caused by the coronavirus, can also be placed on furlough.

Currently, employees can be furloughed from a minimum of three weeks up to three months, although the Government may look to extend that if needed.


Which businesses can apply?

Any company with employees can apply, including, but not limited to; charities, recruitment agencies, and public authorities.

Most public sector organisations are not expected to apply, as ‘the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak’ say the Government.

Businesses who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to the coronavirus outbreak are not expected to furlough staff.

Employers can furlough staff for a minimum of three weeks and are not allowed to rotate employees on furlough.

In order to access the scheme, businesses need to change the status of their employees to “furlough workers” and submit the information to HMRC.

HMRC is currently working to set up a system for reimbursing companies with access anticipated by the end of April. Due to volumes, accountants and businesses are warned that they may not be able to receive payments until mid-May.


For the Government’s full, current, official guidance click this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#employees-you-can-claim-for

Astute Recruitment Ltd.

Supporting people and businesses through the current crisis.



Mary Maguire
MD Astute Recruitment Ltd

Mobile: 07717 412 911
Head Office: 01332 346 100