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.
Contact us
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Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

Sarah Stevenson, (far right) Astute Recruitment’s MD with all the other winners at the Leadership Awards

All of us were thrilled to watch Sarah go up on stage with all the other winners at TheBusinessDesk.com’s East Midland’s Leadership awards!

Sarah has tirelessly led her team from start up through the most difficult of times. Through every crisis, she has managed to lead from the front through grit, determination and inspiration.

Sarah has also managed to enable her team to adapt to every problem, rise to every challenge with support, help and passion.

Its fair to say that all of us, from the bottom of our hearts, could not be happier for her or think of a more deserving winner for this category.

You can watch Sarah’s speech after collecting her award on the link below.


A huge thumbs up also goes to Sam Metcalfe and everyone at The Business Desk.com for putting together a brilliant evening.

Thanks to the sponsors too for their support.

The biggest thanks goes

to all the winners and

finalists at the evening.

Everyone of them showed that

hard work,

inspiration and successful leadership

can achieve wonderful business success

for their staff, families,

and teams!

Everyone getting settled for a great evening at the BusinessDesk.com’s East Midlands Leadership Awards

Here at Astute, we love to celebrate success, so tonight we are keeping our fingers crossed for one of our founders, and MD, Sarah Stevenson who is one of the finalists at The Business Desk.com’s prestigious East Midlands Leadership Awards.

After a couple of difficult years, it is brilliant for us to have most of our team together and celebrate an evening toasting the most talented leaders in our East Midlands business community!

Our table is booked at Nottingham’s Crowne Plaza.

TheBusinessDesk.com wanted to create the East Midlands Leadership Awards to celebrate the leaders in business who are role models within their organisations. The bar is set high this year with a great selection of business owners and leaders who have done so much for their organisations and teams.

The winners will show the qualities of extraordinary leadership and be able to demonstrate the positive impact this has had.

The Leadership awards offer a great opportunity to recognise and showcase the achievements and success of businesses in the region.

There are ten categories at this year’s awards evening, which will see the winners acknowledged in front of the cream of the East Midlands business community.

The judging panel for this year’s awards was: Amanda Fletcher of the Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club; Reshma Sheikh of Octavian Security UK; Richard Blackmore of the CBI and Jude Weston of NG Chartered Surveyors.

TheBusinessDesk.com’s Midlands editor Sam Metcalf, who chaired the panel, said:

“The standard of this year’s entrants was higher than ever, displaying the depth and breadth of the leadership talent in the East Midlands.

“I’d like to thank our judging panel for their time and expertise and wish all the shortlisted individuals all the best for our awards evening in March.”

We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for Sarah, but we wish the best of luck to all the finalists this year. You have all done brilliantly to be shortlisted and all deserve to celebrate!

The Categories and Shortlists for this year’s business awards are: –

Young Leader of the Year

Adam Horton, Hortons Estate Agents
Louisa Hackford-Gentle, Autistic Nottingham
Roheel Ahmed, Forsyth Barnes
Samantha Wilde, Retail Assist
Stephen Mair, Andrew Granger & Co

Transformational Leader

Adrian Buttress, PermaGroup
Alan Forsyth, Hockley Developments
Bev Wakefield, Vibrant Accountancy
Roland Kendall, Retail Assist
Sarah Stevenson, Astute Recruitment

Public and Third

Sector Leader

Amo Raju, Disability Direct
Ann Bhatti, Connect Derby
Ian Cooper, Speakers for Schools
Marysia Zipser, Art Culture Tourism
Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska, NW Counselling Hub CIC

Mentor of the Year

Adam Rhodes, Rhodes Wealth Management
Justin Donne, Art Culture Tourism
Kirin Abbas, Paragon Law
Laura-Jane Turner, Jigsaw24
Richard Fairey, Rushton Hickman

Emerging Entrepreneur Leader

Amad Tababa, Autify Digital
Daniel Connor, DC Personnel
Luke Draper, IDT
Rob Spence, Paragon Sales Solutions

Diversity & Inclusion Leader

Amo Raju, Disability Direct
Barjis Chohan, Art Culture Tourism
Kul Mahay, Ignite Your Inner Potential
Mark Esho, Easy Internet Services
Thalej Vasishta, Paragon Law

Professional Services Leader

Amit Sonpal, Barclays Corporate Banking
Andrew Robinson, Andrew Granger & Co
Carl Hilton, BSP Consulting
David Ryley, Ryley Wealth Management
Tony Sherwin, Retail Assist

Green Leader

Becky Valentine, Spenbeck
Gary Styles, Zellar
Lance Hill, Eight Days a Week Print Solutions
Roger Whittle, Jigsaw24

Non-Executive Leader

Jade Martin, Rushton Hickman
Justin Donne, Autistic Nottingham
Rita Carta Manias, Art Culture Tourism

Company Leader

(up to 100 employees)

Adrian Buttress, PermaGroup
Alan Forsyth, Hockley Developments
Arran Bailey, ALB Group
Edward Acres, Acres Group
Lance Hill, Eight Days a Week Print Solutions

Company Leader (100+ employees)

Ian Williamson, ITP Aero UK
Rob Darby, 200 Degrees Coffee
Stewart Vandermark, Nelsons

Leader of the Year?

To be announced on the night !

We wish everyone the best of luck!

“I can be changed by what happens

to me. But I refuse to

be reduced by it.”

–Maya Angelou

What a great definition of resilience! Whatever stage of life and career, there’s no denying that strength of mind and spirit are powerful keys to succeed and overcome life’s hurdles.

From job interviews, applying for promotions, working to get recognition to achieve that promotion, all require tenacity and resilience.

Not everyone passes exams or aces their job interview first time. Most of us have to learn through making mistakes.

Along as we can recognise where we have gone wrong, and have the will to make sure that the same mistake is not made time and time again, that’s progress!

The spirit to keep trying to achieve your goals despite setbacks, that’s true resilience.

All extraordinary achievements come from an ordinary person giving that little bit of  extra


The extra in extraordinary comes from  that seed of self-will to try one more time.

To make that final push.

To revise for that extra hour.

To re-read that cv one more time before an interview.

Reading from autobiographical books by champions from the worlds of sport and business, or all have one overriding strength in common.


At some point, all of them have had problems.

Often huge setbacks.

From injuries, failed attempts to ‘win’ to bankruptcy, but they have bounced back.

They have refused to accept defeat on their paths towards their goals.

They have had an inner steel core that has said, ‘You are enough. You will get through this. You will succeed’.

What are the keys to building your own personal bank account of resilience?

We’ve broken them down into 5 bitesize ‘keys’.

Each one will need consistent, hard work to maintain and develop, but together they are a set of keys that will unlock your true potential, and help you achieve strong levels of resilience personally AND professionally!

Let’s turn each ‘key’ and see what it could unlock for you..

What are the five keys 

to unlock resilience?

Think of people you feel are resilient. Chances are, they will have some core strengths in common.

1. Inner self-belief/ drive
2. Strong personal sense of emotional well-being
3. Forward/ future focused mindset
4. Solid friend/ relationship/ social network
5. Strong personal sense of their own ‘Physical well-being/ physical health’

For employers and businesses, a crucial strategy to develop in their staff and teams are strong levels of personal resilience. 

For example, in a sales / recruitment environment- high levels of individual resilience allows individual consultants to overcome a declined job offer, or failed recruitment campaign, chalk it to experience and crucially move on.

Equally,  in a pressurised accounts team, it allows the team to bounce back when a deadline is missed, or accounting error is made.

High levels of resilience will create a positive ‘can do’ mentality in teams to overcome the problem and create the shared impulse/ desire to make sure the same error/ difficulty isn’t repeated.

Individual resilience in a team setting, will encourage an underperforming, overworked, or even an under-challenged employee within a successful team, to gain a fresh and objective perspective on the situation at hand.

Sometimes thats all that’s required to make lasting positive, changes. A simple gear-shift towards a more positive mindset.

So, here are our 5 ‘keys’ to unlock resilience.

Emotional wellbeing

The first and most fundamental key to unlock resilience is emotional wellbeing. This is all about how someone – an employee/ manager – understands and is able to manage their emotions.

This is all about being able to see things from multiple perspectives, able to resolve internal arguments, whilst smoothing conflicts between others, and healthily being able to express emotions.

Resilience is critical in times of stress AND conflict, and it’s crucial to achieve a rational, calm responses to ‘difficult situations’.

When something upsetting or frustrating happens, we recommend trying these four easy steps;

• Stop. Take a second (or 20 🤣), to think about the emotions you’re experiencing. Breathe in, breathe out,  take the time to pause. Allow yourself to ‘be in the moment’ and truly ‘be present’. Be properly focused on the issue at hand. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. 

• Remind yourself that emotions are short-lived/ temporary, but your actions/responses won’t be!

• Attempt to identify what exactly upset/frustrated you.

• Explore ways to handle the situation in order to reach the most positive outcome

Looking to the Future

A resilient person is a person focused on their future – ready to embrace change and new challenges.

Until someone invents a time-travelling Tardis or Delorean, nobody can predict the future.

But, it is possible to be prepared to successfully handle unforeseen obstacles. The ability to ‘Look to the future’, is the ability to plan ahead, and to ultimately be ahead.

To achieve this, a person must set themselves a realistic goal – or a ‘SMART‘ objective.


Write down your SMART goal(s), or if you have a few, keep the number achievable.

Write down any achievements that you’re proud of. Anything important that this taught you.

By doing this, if you find yourself feeling unmotivated at any point, you have something real to refer you back to of how adaptable and successful you can be when you put their mind to it.


Inner drive

Inner drive is all about a person’s ability to focus on themselves on a daily basis. Although a person shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves, they can do the following things on a daily basis:

• Be ‘in the moment’ – in other words, use their own self-awareness as a guide

• Practice managing thoughts, emotions, and actions

• See constructive criticism and setbacks as opportunities for development.  Learn not to take criticism personally,  but see it as an opportunity to grow. To improve. Actually encourage constructive feedback if you face a work criticism from your boss.

• Write a to-do list that keeps you on top of your tasks and holds you accountable

• Focus on your core values

A person’s core values can form a major part of their personal identity, and include the things that are most important to them. If they make choices that deviate from their values, they are likely to lose motivation. As a result, their mental health could suffer.

Knowing what they believe in can allow their core values to help them make decisions that drive them to succeed.

Adopt good physical health habits

As we’ve mainly focused on ‘fluffy’ things like thoughts and emotions, it might be a surprise that physical health is a definite key to resilience! It is vitally important!

To truly take care of their physical health, a person needs to eat properly, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and actively listen to their body. By maintaining good physical health habits, it will give a person the energy and drive to maintain all of the other keys to resilience.

When a person takes care of their body on a daily basis, it sets a reminder of something many people often forget – that small, consistent improvements stand the test of time in comparison to sudden, grand gestures.


A person’s relationships can drastically improve their resilience, and their life overall. By having a healthy social network, it becomes far easier to develop and maintain resilience, even if the social circle of friendship is small. Quality not quantity counts in relationships.

This means having trustworthy people to lean on when a person needs support, advice, or someone to listen.

Those looking to develop their resilience should ask themselves:

• When was the last time they were stressed at work?

• Did someone help them?

• If so, who was it?

A person must recognise those who are loyal and helpful, to be able to recognise and identify their meaningful relationships. If they found that the answer to their question was that no-one helped them, think – did they reach out for help? Or did they keep it to themselves and find that things escalated – to a bad day or even a bad week?

But a person also needs to make time and emotional space for others – this is all part of being resilient. Being genuinely interested in what others have to say and showing them that they can lean on you in hard times too. This will create genuine, lasting relationships built on trust and empathy – and it’s an enormous source of strength. Good social connections give a sense of belonging and it will increase happiness, enjoyment – and in turn – it will reduce susceptibility to stress and increase a person’s ability to handle adversity.

So there you go.

If you follow the above consistently – you should notice that your average mood will be more positive. Your relationships will be happier.

Your work colleagues and job may become easier to manage.

Who knows? You may be ready to go for that promotion, new job or take that exam!

International Women’s Day is a global, annual opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements and rally together for women’s equality.

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to:

Celebrate women’s achievements

Raise awareness about women’s equality

Lobby for accelerated gender parity

Fundraise for female-focused charities

This #IWD2022, our thoughts turn towards the women in Ukraine.

Mothers, daughters, women of all ages fighting for survival against aggression by Russian forces.

Women reporting from Ukraine war zones to ensure the world knows the truth.

Women forced to flee their homes with their children.

Women forced to give birth in bunkers.

We send our support to all the women of Ukraine.

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women issued the following statement ahead of International Women’s Day: –

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the power and potential of women and girls. We recognise their courage, resilience and leadership. We mark the ways in which we are making progress towards a more gender-equal world.

 Sima goes onto say;                                                                                             

“At the same time, we see how that progress is being undermined by multiple, interlocking and compounding generational crises.

Currently, we are witnessing the horrifying situation in Ukraine where the impacts on women and girls, including the hundreds of thousands displaced, remind us: all conflicts, from Ukraine to Myanmar to Afghanistan, from the Sahel to Yemen, exact their highest price from women and girls. The Secretary- General has been clear, War Must Stop.”

Watch a video of Sima Bahous: https://youtu.be/HvBUwrIp9k0

This year’s campaign is represented by the #BreakTheBias hashtag and calls on people to work towards a world that is equitable, inclusive, and free from bias and discrimination so the playing field is levelled for women moving forward.

Back to Sima:-

“The impacts of COVID-19 have increased inequalities, driving poverty and violence against women and girls; and rolling back their progress in employment, health and education. The accelerating crises of climate change and environmental degradation are disproportionately undermining the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. They are multiplying insecurity at all levels, from individual and household to national. Rising temperatures, extended droughts, violent storms and floods are resulting in loss of livelihoods, they are depleting resources and fuelling migration and displacement. The latest major IPCC report on climate change, and our Secretary-General, have warned us that ‘nearly half of humanity is living in the danger zone – now, ’and that ‘many ecosystems are at the point of no return – now’.

Climate change is a threat multiplier. But women, and especially young women, are solution multipliers.

We have today the opportunity to put women and girls at the centre of our planning and action and to integrate gender perspectives into global and national laws and policies. We have the opportunity to re-think, re-frame and re-allocate resources. We have the opportunity to benefit from the leadership of women and girls environmental defenders and climate activists to guide our planet’s conservation. We need Indigenous women’s inter-generational knowledge, practices and skills.

It will take unprecedented levels of global cooperation and solidarity to succeed, but there is no alternative to success. We must protect our hard-won gains on human rights and women’s rights and lead decisively to leave no woman or girl behind. 

We have a blueprint to follow. It involves women’s full and equal participation and leadership in decision-making; their access to green jobs and the blue economy; and their equal access to finance and resources.

We need to ensure universal social protection and a care economy that protects us all. We have to scale up financing for gender-responsive climate, environmental and disaster risk initiatives; including for COVID-19 recovery and to increase resilience to future shocks. The solution is there. We resolve to pursue it.

Let us make this International Women’s Day a moment to recall that we have the answers not just for SDG 5 but, through the advancement of gender equality, for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. I look forward to working with every one of you to that end.”

Wise words which all of us here at Astute thoroughly support.

And our thoughts and prayers go to all in the Ukraine.

We’ve done a fun straw poll in the office to see how people like their pancakes.

Sarah Stevenson – ‘Lemon and sugar all the way!’

Mary Maguire – ‘Thin with a generous drizzle of honey’

Sarah-Louise – ‘Lemon and sugar for me!’

Tom Norton – ‘Smothered in maple syrup and bacon’ Prize for weirdest preference surely?)

Andy Lilliman – ‘Not the biggest fan – sorry!’

Richard Bowe – ‘Maple syrup and ice cream on the top!’

Josh Dunn – ‘Lemon and sugar all the way!’

Jess Starns – ‘Lemon, sugar and bananas (sometimes with a bit of cream!)’

Liz Champion – ‘In the bin’ – really made us laugh this one. Clearly not a fan!

Matt Morgan – ‘Maple syrup, then fold the pancake, then lemon juice, fold again then sugar!’

Harry Langridge – ‘Bacon works for me!’

Tiarna Boler – ‘Bananas and whipped cream!’

The most important bit is the recipe for the pancakes themselves!

Below is our classic recipe you can use! And a top tip at the end too, for the perfect pancake every time!

Alternatively, just pick up a pack of pre-made pancakes, pop in the microwave and voila!


100g plain flour

2 large eggs

300ml milk (Semi-skimmed works best!)

Optional – you can add 1tbsp of sunflower or vegetable oil, but this is down to you.

Ditto a pinch of salt – totally optional – they work just as well without!

And of course – make sure you have your fillings ready and waiting! Whether thats fresh lemons, oranges, honey, maple syrup or Nutella!

These measures make around 6 – 8 pancakes depending how much batter you use each time. If you want to make more – just double the measures above. If you don’t have large eggs – just use one more ‘medium egg’ than the recipe above instead and that works just as well!


1/ First – put the flour, eggs, milk (and add pinch of salt and dab of oil if you wish at this point) into a large mixing bowl

2/ Whisk to a smooth batter – (you don’t want any lumps in your pancakes!)

3/ Small frying pan (optional – you can have as big as you prefer, but tossing them may be harder!)

4/ This is the key bit! Drizzle some oil onto the pan and heat gently. Use a fair bit. When heated, use several sheets of thick kitchen roll folded up, to wipe up the excess oil but DONT throw this away. Just pop this with the oil soaked bit to one side. You’ll need this later!

5/ pop the pan back onto the heat for a few moments to heat it – then pour one ladle of your batter into the pan. Leave the pancake for a few seconds, then using your spatula – go around the edges and gently push any excess pancake mix so it forms a neat circle.

6/ Now for the fun bit! After waiting 30 seconds to a minute (depending how hot you have the heat set), gently use the spatula to lift the pancake at the edges, then gently shake the pan. As soon as the pancake can glide over the pan – you’re ready to toss!

7/ After tossing once, just repeat every few minutes and cook to your taste. Then slide onto your plate and its ready to eat!

8/ Every two or three pancakes, glide the oil side of the kitchen tissue you used earlier over the pan. This will stop the pancakes from sticking to the pan but also avoid you using too much oil as there will only be the lightest of sheens on the pan. It also stops your pancakes sticking when you are trying to toss them!

9/ Eco/ stop food waste tip: Cooked too much? Simples. Just leave the excess pancakes to cool, and when cold, layer them in-between grease proof paper, wrap altogether in clingfilm and pop in them in the freezer for up to two months!

Now you are all ready.