Insider North West held one of its excellent breakfast events earlier in the month with a panel comprised of Martin Ainscough – Chairman of Ainscough Group; Phil Clarke – former GB and Wigan rugby league captain, Sky Sports presenter and now Director of The Sports Office; Brian Stewart – Managing Director at Electric Glass Fibre; Andrew Dickman – Director at DB Symmetry; and Donna Hall – Chief Exec of Wigan Council; all discussing business opportunities in Wigan and the benefits of working here.

As a resident ‘Wiganer’, I’ll admit I’m biased when it comes to its attractions – if you don’t know the Borough you’d be surprised at the amount of green spaces there are and from a business perspective it’s so well connected being in the heart of the North West’s motorway network plus it’s just 2 hours to London from the mainline station. Then of course there’s rugby league and pies!

The write up in this month’s Insider magazine also features an article focused on the creative and digital sector in Wigan, which I was more than happy to make a contribution towards with a few comments on the advantages of working in the town. This is keenly felt, particularly by those who live locally but have had to commute into Manchester. I reminded myself of this joyless experience recently as I had to be in central Manchester for ‘Greater Connected’ – which was, by the way, an excellent Business Growth Hub workshop.

Given that this event was at a venue on Oxford Road, and bearing in mind the car park otherwise known as the rush hour M61/M60, I decided to get the train. By the time the few carriages arrived, the platform was pretty busy and the train was already fairly full, so getting on was like being a rugby hooker trying to join a fully formed scrum. A few potential passengers gave up on this battle and were left behind. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, I managed to wedge myself in as I couldn’t afford to wait half an hour for the next one. So, with my head bowed to fit under the closing doors and my face inches away from a guy who’d clearly had a strong curry the night before, we lurched our way to Manchester like Antarctic penguins.

How anyone could make this journey everyday is, to be honest, beyond me. Especially when there are local businesses, such as ourselves, who offer all the benefits of working in Manchester – a great package, excellent working environment, large scale projects for blue chip clients, real flexibility and of course the of Wigan – but none of the hassle. If you’re one of those people who value a good work/life balance, maybe we should chat? We’re always looking for people with the right skill set and attitude to add to our team.