We believe in ‘doing our bit’ and have actively supported a number of local and national charities and worthy causes over the years. Beyond donating, we also believe in making time to ‘pay it forward’ too – providing encouragement to students and others in the business community through mentoring, coaching and public speaking.
Helping other Businesses to Grow
Hydraulics Online is seen as an exemplar and role model to other businesses and the community more broadly, so much so that in 2021 Manchester Metropolitan University’s triple-accredited business school approached Helen to be a mentor supporting their delivery of the Government’s Help to Grow Management Programme. She has worked with well over 20 businesses since.
In addition, two highly regarded not-for-profit organisations, the Family Business Community and Be the Business, asked Helen to provide non-executive advisory board support to other businesses within their communities nationally.
Contributing to Local and Higher Education
Hydraulics Online has provided work experience placements to local school students and has donated resources to support specific projects from time-to-time. For over 7 years, company time was also donated to enable Helen to fulfil her duties as a governor at a local primary school.
Back in the classroom, Mark and Helen were interviewed by pupils at Seabridge Primary School as part of their school radio project. The pupils asked probing questions about setting up a business and showed a great deal of enthusiasm and potential as budding entrepreneurs of the future.
In more recent years Hydraulics Online has regularly taken part in its local high school’s Year 10 Careers Day, hosting popular sessions on ‘Running your own Business’ and engineering as well as helping to facilitate mock assessment centres for the students.
Collaborating with the University of Leeds
Established in 1904, the University of Leeds is part of the Russell Group of leading UK universities. As one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK it is renowned globally for the quality of its teaching and research, featuring in the top 100 in the QS World University rankings.
Eighty miles away, Cheshire-based Hydraulics Online – named as Export Champions by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade since 2019 – continues to attract wide-ranging recognition for its vision and credentials in serving a truly global customer base.
Having first worked together throughout the summer of 2020, the Leeds University Business School (LUBS) later reached out to Hydraulics Online co-founder, Helen Tonks, asking to step their collaboration up a gear – inviting her to join the LUBS International Business Divisional Advisory Board. Read more here >>>
Working with Young Enterprise to Promote an Exporting Mindset
Young Enterprise works directly with young people, teachers, volunteers and influencers to build a successful and sustainable future for all young people.
It operates a range of entrepreneurship programmes, including Start-Up, which is open to Higher Education and Further Education students and Company Programme, which is open to school age children. Both enable students to gain first-hand experience of the world of work, to develop the qualities and skills that employers value and be able to evidence examples of these skills, and to explore self-employment and entrepreneurship as possible career pathways.
During 2021 and 2022 we worked with Young Enterprise to develop additional material for the YE Start-Up and Company Programmes for universities and schools. Our blend of digital and live content for Young Enterprise participants highlighted the importance of international trade as a route to growth and led to Helen judging and presenting the inaugural “exporting mindset” award. Read more here >
Paying it Forward to the Next Generation of Business Leaders
We have presented to students of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School; sharing details of our global marketing strategy and experience trading at home in the UK and overseas – providing the students with a real business development case study.
Following this, two of the students undertook work experience with Hydraulics Online as part of the university’s business outreach programme. One later returned to assist with a key marketing programme and further extend his skills; it proved to be time well spent as he secured permanent, full time employment with a global brand shortly afterwards.
In our latest collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University, Hydraulics Online offered a year in industry work placement to a student studying for a BA in Advertising and Brand Management at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Inspiring others in Business
When Hydraulics Online began gaining increasing external recognition back in 2017, so Helen found herself invited to speak at local and regional events.
She was asked to share the Hydraulics Online ‘story’ at the 2018 International Festival of Business in Liverpool as the Federation of Small Businesses’ North West Business Exporter of the Year. Being told that delegates found Helen’s presentation “inspirational” filled the whole team with further vigour to support other businesses in making the leap to be successful international traders. Read more here >
Events like these are not only fantastic for providing us with the opportunity to reflect, but they also strengthen our links with the local business community and provide us with new opportunities to learn and grow ourselves. Over the last twelve months, we have found that inspiration is, more often than not, a two-way process.
Supporting the Tomorrow’s Engineers Code
Launched in October 2020, the Tomorrow’s Engineers Code aims to enable those in education, government and industry to work together to foster the critical engineering and technology skills needed for the UK to be a leader in innovation and improve societal and economic resilience, and environmental sustainability.
Engineering is a varied, stimulating and valuable career and we need to work harder than ever to ensure that it is accessible for this generation of young people – for their own life chances and so that we have a diverse and insightful workforce that enables the UK to thrive.
Many organisations are already doing important work but together, via The Code, we can deliver a joined-up approach to drive change at scale.