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
Suite 1, Ground Floor West,Cardinal Square,10 Nottingham Road,Derby. DE1 3QT
Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

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!

CV Magazine Award Mary Maguire Most Influential Woman in Financial Recruitment 2019
CV Magazine Award Mary Maguire Most Influential Woman in Financial Recruitment 2019








Our MD, Mary Maguire, was delighted to receive the award for “Most Influential Woman In Financial Recruitment 2019” by CV Magazine.


Here’s what Mary had to say about this achievement: –

“I’m so thrilled to be awarded “Most Influential Woman In Financial Recruitment 2019″!

Those that know me, know I’m ultra reluctant to put myself forward for awards, let alone shout about them! However, pester power from Hubby, my Business Partner, Sarah Stevenson and friends have finally won the day I posted recently on LinkedIn.

My passion is sending positive messages about business, careers, and inspiration for individuals.

As a former Londoner, who moved to Derby 17 years ago, I’m proud to say my home is in Derbyshire.

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know so many brilliant people, whether in business or not.

The East Midlands is an amazing place. Its been brilliant to share some of the successes our region has achieved. To receive an award like this means a lot.

I hope I continue to inspire, continue to provoke thoughts and sometimes raise a smile!

Thank you if you’ve enjoyed my articles and posts.

I hope I’ll continue to air and share content people enjoy, find useful and hopefully inspire their personal and professional success and wellbeing.”

It is safe to say we are all really proud of Mary’s award. It is great to see her receive an award in her own right after all the success she has achieved in securing Astute’s other 15+ award wins over the years!



Sarah Stevenson Shortlisted Midlands Leadership Awards

As featured in TheBusinessDesk.com, their Midlands Leadership Awards have been created to celebrate the people and organisations across the entire region who are role models for their teams and who have continuously raised the bar for their competitors.

Those shortlisted have showcased the very best qualities of modern leadership – of inspiration, collaboration and empowerment. The winners will be announced at an exclusive awards lunch on Thursday 15th November 2018. The day will be a celebration of the transformational impact great business leaders are having in our Midlands Region across Finance, Professional Services, Accountancy, Manufacturing, Service and all other industry sectors.

The Leadership awards offer a great opportunity to recognise and shine a light on the achievements and successes of businesses in the region. Sarah’s inclusion as a finalist for these prestigious awards follows on her successful recognition as Entrepreneur Of The Year, awarded by the Derbyshire Times, Small SME Director Of The Year East Midlands, awarded by The Institute of Directors and Finalist of The East Midlands Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year. The Midlands Leadership Awards also serve to recognise the fantastic work Sarah’s team here at Astute Recruitment Ltd have achieved in becoming the go-to accountancy and office recruitment specialist in the East Midlands. Our unique Triple-Point Guarantee and other innovations will reach a wider audience and we hope inspire other innovations in excellence across the recruitment sector.

Fingers crossed for Sarah and all the other Finalists below!

Leader of the year – This person will be selected from the other award winners and will be the person or organisation that embodies outstanding leadership and is an exemplar for the whole Midlands Region.

The finalists for the 2018 Leadership awards are: –

Professional services  

David Richardson, Lloyds Banking Group
Nick Green, Squire Patton Boggs
Sarah Perry, Wright Hassall
Sarah Stevenson, Astute Recruitment
Steve Allen, Mills & Reeve

Best leadership programme

Birmingham LGBT
Meridian / Common Purpose
Plink Fizz
Streetwise MBA / Common Purpose

Empowering Potential                           

Anthony Burns, Paycare
Anthony Ratchford, Intec Microsystems
Lee Southen, Grayling
Sallie-Ann Allen, Enploy
Simon McAlpine, Infinity IT Solutions

Diversity and inclusion leader

Carmen Watson, Pertemps
Claire Bell, West Midlands Police
Hilary Smyth-Allen, BPS Birmingham
Prof Kiran Trehan, University of Birmingham
Yetunde Dania, Trowers & Hamlins

Public and third sector

Mike Hopkins, South and City College Birmingham
Paul Kalinauckas, BCRS Business Loans Limited
Tom Clarke-Forrest, Sport 4 Life UK
Dr Yeow Poon, Chinese Community Centre

Transformational  leader

Greg Reed, HomeServe Membership
Matt Jones, Oxbridge Home Learning
Mike Hopkins, South and City College Birmingham
Pauline Biddle, Deloitte
Phil Mead, NEC Group Arenas

Company leader (up to 100 employees)
Jonathan Evans, Discovery
Keir Edmonds, MCS
Kevin Rogers, Paycare
Mike Brooman, Vanti
Scott Parsons, Forsyth Barnes

Company leader (100+ employees)

Craig Dickson, DAC Beachcroft
Greg Reed, HomeServe Membership
James Rigby, SCC
Shahid Sheikh OBE, Clifton Packaging Group






Why Awards Can Make You Win Big Press Article Written By Mary Maguire MD Astute Recruitment Ltd
Why Awards Can Make You Win Big Press Article Written By Mary Maguire MD Astute Recruitment Ltd

Mary Maguire, Managing Director at award-winning Chamber Member Astute Recruitment, assesses how business can improve their chances of award success – and what winning can do for your business. This article was featured in the EMC’s Business Magazine.

Let’s go back to March 2014. I was a new business owner who had tried entering awards for the first time. I wasn’t consistent. I wasn’t disciplines. I did not have a strategy or plan. However, this changed the following year when I was encouraged to re-think my approach.

Scroll forward to 2018. It has been an amazing four years with awards successes from the IoD, ICAEW and the Chamber’s own Business Awards in 2011, 2015 and 2017. At the end of 2017, we won a couple of prestigious global awards too.

Entering and winning awards has introduced the company to a bigger audience, gaining credibility and new business in the process. Our company is now more appealing to potential hire. We have achieved a record year of turnover, secured record amounts of new clients and hire two new, experienced recruitment experts into our team.

I recently talked to fellow Chamber member Owen Conti, Founder of Code 56. Owen recently won Marketing Derby’s Rising Star Business Award 2018, and I asked Owen what winning the award meant to his business in real terms.

He said: “To be recognised as the winner means experienced business professionals have heard and trusted our story. You can’t buy that kind of third party trust that this panel of business leaders have given to me and my Business.”

“People are already taking us more seriously. For example, contracts I have built up over the past year have come back with requests for how we can help develop their business strategies using the latest technology. “

“My audience reach has increased on social media which in turn has driven increased enquiries and new business. This award acted as a catalyst in inspiring confidence for other businesses to use my company, so if you have recently started your own business, entering awards is an accelerated pathway to increased awareness of your brand and what you stand for.”

The institute of Sales & Marketing Management discovered more than 70% of consumers are influenced by awards when buying products and services, so unlock this potential for your business.”

So, what are you waiting for? Enter your business for an award. You have nothing to lose and may just win a lot more than a trophy.


Four Key Steps to Successful Awards Entries


  1. Recognise what makes your company successful.
  2. Select the right awards to enter. Local awards recognising local businesses are the best way to start. Make sure the awards you choose have categories that play to your strengths.
  3. Read and then answer the questions – not what you think they want to hear. Be clear, concise and passionate. Judges are not looking for the next poet laureate but love to hear your passion and enthusiasm come across.
  4. Leave enough time. Awards take a lot of time to complete. There are often word limits and specific financial information you will need to provide from your annual accounts. This all takes Time.

Mary Maguire

Astute Recruitment Ltd named Best Regional Niche Recruitment Consultancy Of The Year 2017 By ACQ Magazine
Astute Recruitment Ltd named Best Regional Niche Recruitment Consultancy Of The Year 2017 By ACQ Magazine

Astute Recruitment has been named ‘Regional Niche Recruitment Consultancy of the Year’ at ACQ (Acquisition Finance) Magazine’s Global Awards.

ACQ Magazine holds its usual Global Awards programme annually to recognise firms who demonstrate ongoing outstanding performance and lead the way across the entire corporate sector including accountancy and finance.

Mary Maguire, managing director of Astute Recruitment, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award by ACQ Magazine. It caps a great year where we achieved record revenues.”

“We’re passionate about supporting local businesses by matching them with the right people and we’ve worked hard to establish a reputation as experts in this field. We already pride ourselves on being the ‘go to’ financial recruitment agency in the East Midlands but it’s an honour to be recognised on a much wider, international scale.”

“The team routinely goes above and beyond in terms of what we offer our clients and candidates, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of what has previously been thought possible for recruitment firms. One example of true innovation is the launch of our ‘Triple Point Guarantee’ for clients – unique across the recruitment sector.”

“We also have our hugely successful series of business breakfast events, with the next one in February. International guest speaker an published Author, John Dabrowski, will be speaking about mental resilience.”

“These events are designed to be educationally innovative, inspiring and powerful workshops, where SME business & professionals can genuinely take away key techniques to improve their engagement with staff and ultimately improve business performance.”

Astute has worked to secure more than 1500 jobs for local businesses and is continuing to go from strength to strength, hiring 3 new consultants in the last 6 months and launching a successful commercial division.

Derby-based business Astute Recruitment has been named ‘Best in Accountancy and Finance Recruitment 2017’ at Acquisition International (AI) Magazine’s 2017 Global Excellence Awards.

Corporate finance publications AT Magazine holds its Global Excellence Awards every year to recognise firms that demonstrate ongoing outstanding performance and lead the way across the entire corporation finance sector.

Mary Maguire, MD of Astute Recruitment, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award.”

“At Astute Recruitment we’re passionate about supporting local business by matching them with the right people and we’ve worked hard to establish a reputation as experts in this field. We already pride ourselves on being the ‘go to’ financial recruitment agency in the East Midlands but it is an honour to be recognised on a much wider scale.”

Elliot Ashbourne from AI Magazine said: “These awards showcase businesses that routinely go above and beyond in terms of what they offer their clients, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of what has previously been though possible for firms in their industry.”

“Winners are chosen through a rigorous and in-depth selection process from our in-house award specialists. The team left no stone unturned to ensure that every winner was selected based on proven performance over the past 12 months.”

Sarah Stevenson MD of Astute with her husband Robert and the rest of the team at Astute at EMCs Business Awards Evening
Sarah Stevenson MD of Astute with her husband Robert and the rest of the team at Astute at EMCs Business Awards Evening

EMC’s 2017 Derbyshire Business awards were a huge success!  We brought our team down for the awards dinner and had a great time!

Our very own Sarah Stevenson, MD, did not win but we are all really proud of her for making it to the final 5 in this tough category. We managed to capture a video snippet of her being announced as one of the finalists which you can watch HERE.

Everyone was delighted for Mo Suleyman of Derby Museums to receive the award for Entrepreneur of the Year. You can watch Mo receiving his award on a video we took by clicking HERE. His work for Derby Museums has been tireless and this accolade is well deserved.

Ashley Sowerby of Chevin Fleet Management was delighted with both of his company’s awards on the night. Firstly for Excellence in International Trade which was sponsored by Greenbank. Runners up included Global Brands and Picsolve International. Chevin’s second award was for Business of the Year sponsored by Mazars. Again we managed to capture a video clip of Ashley Sowerby and his team receiving their award and you can watch this HERE.


Chevin Fleet Management on stage with their award for Business of the Year at EMC's Derbyshire Business Awards 2017
Chevin Fleet Management on stage with their award for Business of the Year at EMC’s Derbyshire Business Awards 2017


You can watch a video of Matt Wheatcroft, MD of Purpose Media and his team receiving their award for Marketing Campaign of the Year HERE. Commiserations to DrivenMedia, Koobr and Tidyco who came valiant runners up.

Thank you to all the Sponsors this year and of course to the EMC themselves for showcasing the top talent across Derbyshire once again!


A full list of all the finalists and winners is below: –


Business Improvement through Technology:
Sponsor: Greendog
Winner: Hardy Signs
Runners-up: Chevin Fleet Solutions, Picsolve International

Community Impact Award:
Sponsor: Futures Housing Group
Winner: Cosy Direct
Runners-up: Derby Museums, Hodgkinson Builders, Sarah Gatford

Outstanding Growth Award:
Sponsor: East Midlands Airport
Winner: Fifteen Design
Runners-up: ChargedEV, Chevin Fleet Solutions, DG Light Haulage, Purpose Media

Marketing Campaign of the Year Award:
Sponsor: Kemps Publishing
Winner: Purpose Media
Runners-up: DrivenMedia, Koobr, Tidyco

Commitment to People development Award:
Sponsor: PKF Cooper Parry
Winner: Talk Staff Group
Runners-up: Fujichem Sonneborn, Sky Recruitment Solutions

Apprentice of the Year:
Sponsor: Babington Group
Winner: Zachary Beer – Hodgkinson Bricklaying Contractors
Runners-up: Bria Kiely – Buxton and Leek College, Tom Lacey – Mercia Image Print, George Faulkner – Peak Sensors, Ollie Henderson – Purpose Media

Entrepreneur of the Year:
Sponsor: Shredall SDS Group
Winner: Mohammed Suleman – Derby Museums
Highly commended: Caroline Hopkinson – Emerald Accountancy
Runners-up: Sarah Stevenson – Astute Recruitment, Mark Pymm – ChargedEV, Matt Wheatcroft – Purpose Media

Education and Business Partnership Award:
Sponsor: Blueprint Interiors
Winner: R.E.A.L Education
Highly commended: Derby College
Runner-up: Skills for Careers

Excellence in Customer Service:
Sponsor: The Money Shop
Winner: Bright Side Vets
Runners-up: Banner Jones Solicitors, Fujichem Sonneborn, Geldards’ Family Team, trentbarton

Excellence in International Trade:
Sponsor: Greenbank
Winner: Chevin Fleet Solutions
Runners-up: Global Brands, Picsolve International

Small Business of the Year:
Sponsor: Geldards
Winner: Bright Side Vets
Runners-up: Bowers Electricals, DG Light Haulage, Frame Fast UK, Tidyco

Manufacturer of the Year:
Sponsor: Rolls-Royce
Winner: Frame Fast UK
Runners-up: Bowers Electricals, Mercia Image Print

Business of the Year:
Sponsor: Mazars
Winner: Chevin Fleet Solutions










Managing Director Sarah Stevenson at Astute Recruitment has been shortlisted for another prestigious business award by the East Midlands Chamber!

Sarah has been named as a finalist for the East Midlands Chamber 2017 Business Awards under the category of Business Woman of the Year for her work establishing and continuing to grow Astute Recruitment.

After facing redundancy, Sarah and Mary Maguire set up Astute Recruitment in 2009 with nearly 20 years’ experience in recruitment each. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, growing to a team of nine across two offices in Derby and Nottingham.

Co Owner of Astute, Mary Maguire, said: “Sarah and I have become great business partners and friends, and it’s been amazing to work alongside her as we continue to grow our business.

“Right from the outset, Sarah’s dedication to Astute and the team has been infectious. She has worked hard to create a workplace culture that makes Astute a great place to work – from introducing flexible working to initiating a new bonus scheme for staff to helping team members map out personal development plans.

“Sarah has also been vital in helping Astute develop its brand, working with our non-executive director to establish our new logo, plus a total re-haul of our website and social media presence.

“We are delighted that she has been recognised through these awards and the whole team has their fingers crossed ahead of the big night!”

Sarah said: “I’m honored to have been shortlisted. Setting up Astute has been a real step out of my comfort zone, both personally and professionally but it has been a fantastic journey so far.

“Being Managing Director of your own business is a challenge, but I’m proud of the team we’ve built and excited for what the future holds for Astute.”

The judging day for finalists took place 17 July at the East Midlands Chamber’s Chesterfield offices and since then Sarah has been announced as one of 5 finalists for the awards evening on Friday 8th September. The awards evening is being held at Derbyshire Cricket Club’s 3aaa County Ground. All of the team here are looking forward to the night and will be keeping our fingers crossed for Sarah!


This morning it was brilliant to hear from Ian Evans, Editor at East Midlands Business Link that Sarah-Louise Wykes here has successfully been shortlisted as one of the finalists in the Fastest 40 Professional category this year! We are all thrilled for her but also for all the other finalists too. These awards are designed to bring much needed recognition to all the up and coming professional businessmen and women making a valuable contribution to their respective businesses and teams.

An Overall Winner – sponsored by NTU Employability – will be selected from the winners of each category.

The awards ceremony is set to take place on Tuesday 16th May, 4pm-6.30pm at Genting Casino Riverlights Derby and it is fair to say everyone here will be there with fingers crossed for Sarah-Louise!

Congratulations to all the other finalists who are detailed below…

Fastest in Tech & Creative – Sponsored by High Growth

Mary Baird-Wilcock, The Simplifiers; Tom Craig & Aaron Dicks, Impression; Ross Davies, Strafe Creative; Jon Martin, Hallam Internet; Sam Stoffel, Profit Accumulator; Rob Twells & Liam Nelson, Frogspark; Matt Wheatcroft, Purpose Media

Fastest in Professional Services – Sponsored by East Midlands Business Link

Jahid Ali, Spearing Waite; Kay Botley, Duncan & Toplis; Simon Browning, UHY Hacker; Young Zoe Dowthwaite, Flint Bishop; Ginny Hallam, Halborns Sarah-Louise Wykes, Astute Recruitment

Fastest Restaurant and Bar – Sponsored by Poppleston Allen

Craig Bunting, BEAR; Sophie Green, The Cross Keys; Craig Poynter, The Bakehouse; Christian Wirizlay, The Pillar Box

Fastest Owner-Manager – Sponsored by Qdos Consulting

Tom Craig & Aaron Dicks, Impression; Mark Dryden, Box 09; Tim Emmony, MNE Accounting; Bradley Gough, Davies Gough Recruitment; Ed Hollands, DrivenMedia; Matt Wheatcroft, Purpose Media

Fastest in PropertySponsored by Cartwright Communications

Arran Bailey, ALB Investments; Graham Bancroft, BB&J Commercial; Tom Drew, LK2; James Roys, David James Estate Agents