British America Tobacco Outstanding Contribution to the South Coast Region

Winner: Highfield Professional Solutions

SPECIALIST recruitment agency Highfield Professional Solutions’ efforts to promote skills in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) sector.

The firm specialises recruiting for construction and civil engineering.

To tackle the skills shortage the firm has set up its own Highfield Academy training development programme with local colleges and universities and has even worked with primary school pupils to promote STEM subjects..

Liam Thomas, director and co-founder of the company, said: “Our business model is about recruiting and developing local people and finding jobs for local people.”

However, Highfield has also had success abroad and has supplied staff from the UK to 15 countries in the last year.

Highfield Solutions was started in 2006 by Liam and his business partner Sam Hughes and has seen its staff numbers increase by almost a third in the last 12 months – the company now employs 38 and has just moved from Botley to larger offices at Durley.

“The judges were pleased that we had decided to open up a larger office in the area rather than a smaller satellite office elsewhere,” said Liam.

The firm’s recent growth was also recognised in the awards as Highfield were also shortlisted Scale-Up Business Award.

Alex Osborne of sponsors BAT said: “The shortlisted businesses cover a broad spectrum but they one thing in common – they are all integral parts of the south coast community and they are ambassadors for the region.”

The judges’ verdict on Highfield was: “A worthy winner whose contribution to the region is an outstanding example, theirs is a business that keeps on growing. Their passion for investing in their employees, developing and growing the local talent and supporting the local community makes them truly stand out.

“By championing the region they’ve not only attracted business from across the world, but have showcased the South Coast as a great place to do business.”



Founded in 1842 by Thomas Elliott, Elliotts is the South’s leading independent supplier of building materials for the trade and public.

Currently celebrating its 175th anniversary, Elliotts is one of the oldest family businesses in the South and ranks 111th in the world, according to The company has 13 branches across Hampshire and Dorset, including two specialist tool centres and four kitchen, bathroom and bedroom showrooms under the name of Elliotts Living Spaces.

Today, Elliotts is run by the sixth generation of the Elliott family, Tom Elliott. His father, Stuart Mason Elliott, remains active in the company as chairman.


Founded over 10 years ago, Silver Lining has grown to become a leading name in communication technology throughout Hampshire and the UK.

Their success lies in their ability to create an innovative product offering for their customers – from business IT and telecommunications to data and mobile solutions, and everything in between. Their dedicated team in Whiteley focusses not only on excellence for the business and their customers, but also commitment to the region and charitable causes through fundraising, specialist educational programmes and donated services.


Set up in 2011 by Cait Salanson, The Little Kitchen Company is one of Hampshire’s leading independent caterers.

It specialises in creating beautiful hand-made food using the finest, locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients. The Little Kitchen Company provides delicious, bespoke, imaginative menus for a whole range of customers and events including intimate dinner parties, corporate events, weddings and other special occasions. It incorporates The Little Kitchen Bistro which opened in May 2015 and is situated in the unique setting of Winchester Golf Academy