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OPENCAST HITS 400 EMPLOYEE MILESTONE AS RAPID EXPANSION CONTINUES

INDEPENDENT technology consultancy Opencast has reached a milestone on its rapid expansion journey with the recruitment of its 400th employee.

A clutch of new employees who started with the Newcastle-headquartered business this week takes the number in its team past the 400 mark.

The company was co-founded 10 years ago by Newcastle-based entrepreneurs Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien. In early 2020 Opencast set out an ambitious growth strategy in the public and private sector. The rate of growth – more than doubling in 2022 alone – has seen the company achieve targets set for 2025 by the end of this year.

Opencast specialises in designing, building and running user-centred digital and technology solutions with purpose. Its work for the government – including its biggest clients HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – develops services that support critical national infrastructure, aid Covid recovery, and help millions of citizens through tax, benefit and support services.

Chief executive Tom Lawson said: “We are delighted to welcome our latest cohort of employees – including the 400th permanent member of our team – to the Opencast family. I’m also proud that this group, like so many others on our team, is drawn from a wide range of backgrounds. We now have more than 30 nationalities on our team.

“Such has been the success of the company that by the end of this year we’re expecting to have grown our revenue by 150 per cent to £35m. That is beyond the ambitious targets set in our five-year plan just two years ago.

“We are now aiming to employ 550 people by the end of 2023, with new clients and partnerships, and revenues exceeding updated projections from last year. Our success is way more than about numbers, however. Numbers are a by-product of our exceptional people, culture and interesting work.”

Tom added: “Last year we launched a radical share options scheme, giving our whole team a stake in the future success of the business. The move sees Charlie and Mike – both 50% shareholders to this point – commit to giving away a third of their shares in the business to colleagues. Alongside our people-focused culture, the scheme gives all of our team a great incentive to stay and help the business grow.”

Opencast has a range of long-standing partnerships with clients in government and global enterprise The company is targeting further growth in health, financial services and renewable energy sectors. Client credentials and experience in these sectors include Sage, NHS Business Services Authority electric vehicle charging company Mer and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

The cohort of new recruits includes senior consultant Jim Morris, from Derbyshire; interaction design consultant Allan Robinson, from Newcastle; consultant business analyst Keith Lisle, also from Newcastle; business analyst Festus Ikotun, from Nigeria; consultant user experience researcher Polina Lysenko, from Russia; and senior consultant product owner Elizabeth Crompton from Manchester.

Jim explained why he was joining Opencast: “I have worked as a consultant before and enjoyed the role; however, I almost felt like a contractor after moving around clients too often, with little say in the matter or available training. When I heard about Opencast’s people and training oriented approach I was eager to apply.”

Allan said: “I have some ex-colleagues who moved to Opencast and raved about it. Being part of the community at Opencast appeals to me. From my discussions with the team so far, I feel confident that I will be well supported in learning, growing and developing. Opencast are expanding rapidly; it’s exciting to be part of that.”

Keith, joining from BT, agreed: “Opencast appealed to me because everyone I spoke to about the company was glowing in their praise. It’s a really forward-thinking business and is ambitious which made me think ‘I want to be a part of that.”

Elizabeth said: “The culture at Opencast is something that seems very important to the company and is something that is very important to me too. Opencast seems to pride itself on doing things differently and delivering true value for clients – that’s something I can wholeheartedly get on board with. I’m excited to be working here and can’t wait to get involved with my first client.”

Elizabeth has joined Opencast after working for the Department of Education and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Polina, who has been working in New York for the last five years, said: “I’ve been working in ed-tech recently and during my four years of UX experience, I’ve learnt a lot and met a lot of incredible people. I’m excited to continue my journey at Opencast.”

Festus added: “Opencast’s reputation is certainly one of the reasons I joined. I am proud to work with an organisation that has a long history of leadership in the industry. Being an ambitious, fast-growing technology consultant with a good reputation in the industry is key for me. I am also thrilled with Opencast’s level of achievement in the past 10 years.”

Opencast works a flexible hybrid model, with new city hubs in London, Leeds and Edinburgh, as well as a new company HQ in Newcastle. Its people take a ‘right place, right time’ approach to work location.