The latest national Employer Satisfaction Survey 2015-6 has revealed high levels of employer satisfaction with East Berkshire College and its apprenticeship training provision.
Employers gave the Berkshire-based training provider high marks, scoring the College 8.3 out of 10 for overall employer satisfaction and 8.4 out of 10 for overall quality of training.
The College, which has campuses in Langley and Windsor, scored well in all aspects of the survey, including understanding the employer’s needs, overall quality and likelihood of recommendation. The survey also highlighted the professionalism of the staff delivering training.
Juliet Holloway, Assistant Principal for Marketing and Business Development, commented: “The College prides itself on delivering the highest standards of service to businesses and this survey is a wonderful endorsement of our achievements. We believe the key factors in our success has been our ability to respond to the changing needs of businesses, our flexibility in tailoring training and, of course, our talented team of industry-trained staff, who provide support to employers as well as their apprentices.”
East Berkshire College works with a wide range of regional employers, from SMEs to multinationals, including Stoke Park Hotel and Country Club, Costain, Marriott Hotels, Paradigm Housing Group and Classico Marble Ltd.
Linda Hawkins, Multi Property Director of Human Resources at London Heathrow and Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotels, has been working with the College for the past few years. She explains: “We believe firmly in developing local talent and apprenticeships have been a key initiative for us over the last few years, especially in terms of attracting young chefs. East Berkshire College have been exceptional in helping us find the right candidates and providing us with regular updates on their progress.”
With over 40 years of experience in working with businesses in a wide variety of industries, the College delivers a range of cost-effective and tailored training solutions – from apprenticeships to one-day workshops – at a time and place to suit business requirements.
Global exhibition and events company, FX4 Solutions in Maidenhead have been working with the College to hire and train carpentry apprentices for their business. Lauren Fisk, HR and Business Administrative Manager at FX4, explains:
“We have been working with East Berkshire College for over three years and I always find them very accommodating. They made it very easy for us to set up an apprenticeship scheme, they quickly resolve any issues that arise and their regular site visits provide us with the chance to give and receive feedback on our apprentices. As exhibition carpentry is a specialist area, they have even gone out of their way to tailor the course to our specific needs. Their service and knowledge is second to none.”
The results of this latest survey is a further endorsement of the quality of the College’s apprenticeship provision, which has been graded as good overall by Ofsted. In addition, the National Student Survey 2016 on Higher Education providers has rated East Berkshire College as one of the top 15 colleges and universities in the UK for student satisfaction.
East Berkshire College offers a wide range of apprenticeships in areas including Science, IT, Engineering, Business & Administration, Construction, Hairdressing, Health & Care and Hospitality & Catering.
A new travel agency, which will be open to the public, was officially unveiled at Langley College in Station Road on Saturday (6th May 2017) as part of its Open Day event.
Run in partnership with Sunninghill Travel in Ascot, the new travel agency will be based in the reception of the College and staffed by trained travel and tourism students under the supervision of expert employees from Sunninghill Travel. As well as providing real work experience for students, it will also offer the community a convenient and local, independent travel agent.
Open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am until 4pm, the new agency will offer an exciting array of holiday packages and travel options, everything from exotic destinations for sun-seekers to adventure holidays for thrill-seekers.
Sunninghill Travel is an independent travel agent in Ascot, which is a member of ABTA and offers everything from tailor-made luxury holidays to city breaks and cruises. Sarah Lidenhammar, Managing Director of Sunninghill Travel Ltd, explains:
“Sunninghill Travel is an independent travel agency that strives to provide a high quality, personal service. By opening up an agency at Langley College, the aim is to serve the local community and to provide valuable work experience for college students. As there is no travel agent in the local area, this offers a great opportunity for local residents to benefit from speaking directly to trained individuals to help find the best deal and a holiday that really suits their needs.”
The new agency in Langley will offer its clients a personal and professional service. To ensure customers receive a high quality experience, the six students working in the agency have received specialist industry training and will be mentored by Sarah and her expert team. Frederique Connor, who is studying the Foundation Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management through the College and employed by Sunninghill Travel, will act as a team leader at the new agency.
Talking about working in the agency, student Oliwia Sikora (aged 18, from Slough), who is currently studying a Travel & Tourism Level 3 course at the College, said:
“The new agency is a great opportunity for us to learn, keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the travel industry and gain experience working with real customers. I think people prefer to speak to someone when booking a holiday as we can offer them advice on destinations and help them choose the right holiday for their needs. We have already received a lot of enquiries and we are looking forward to welcoming in local residents.”
East Berkshire College offers a range of travel and tourism courses, from level two right through to a foundation degree. For further information, call 01753 793000 or click here.
The London Borough of Hounslow is helping local people to launch their careers and improve their skills through an award-winning apprenticeship scheme in partnership with East Berkshire College.
Leading by example, the Council is a big advocate of apprenticeships and currently employs 27 apprentices, aged 17 to 51, in its property repairs and contracts teams. As well as expanding their knowledge and qualifications, the apprentices help to maintain over 16,000 homes across the borough.
The London Borough of Hounslow’s multi-award winning apprenticeship programme provides the apprentices with the opportunity to gain qualifications in a wide range of sectors including construction trades and business. Now in its fourth year, the scheme is going from strength to strength, recently winning Apprenticeship Company of the Year 2016 at the Spark Awards.
John Laparte (aged 20) is one of the individuals who started a carpentry apprenticeship through the Council and the College last September:
“Apprenticeships are good because they prepare you for real life and help you develop real skills. I have a mentor who is really good at explaining things and has helped build my confidence. Each day is different. I can be doing anything from general repairs to changing a front door. Every day, I feel that I am taking a step towards my future and working for the council makes me feel like I’m giving something back to the community as well.”
With apprenticeships now available from intermediate (Level 2) right through to higher apprenticeships (Level 4/5) and degree level, becoming an apprentice isn’t just for school leavers either.
Daniel Twyford (aged 34) is a multi-trade apprentice in the repairs and response team at the Council. Having worked as a carpenter at the Council for 13 years, he mentors new apprentices like John as well as adding to his own skills by undertaking a multi-trade apprenticeship.
Daniel explains: “The apprenticeship has given me the chance to expand my knowledge by going back to college. I was already a qualified carpenter, but now I’ve been able to gain skills in other areas such as bricklaying and roof tiling, which has given me more confidence to tackle a wider range of jobs at work. As a mentor, I’m also passing on my knowledge to other apprentices, who are just starting out.”
Sharon Nicholls, Trade Apprenticeship Co-ordinator at The London Borough of Hounslow, explains: “As a council, we are dedicated to supporting apprenticeships and providing local people with the chance to gain employment and skills. Our apprentices are really enjoying the chance to continue their learning and, as well as their studies at college, we provide additional in-house training, including courses in manual handling, first aid and money matters. All mentors also undertake a mentor training, so they know how to effectively support an apprentice.
“East Berkshire College works very much in partnership with us to tailor training to our needs, particularly with our more experienced employees. For example, the College organised for all the functional maths and English element of the course to be completed first, so our apprentices can now focus on their industry qualifications. We chose to work with the College because they were able to deliver the range of apprenticeship qualifications we required, now and in the future. Over the next few years, we hope to continue to expand our apprenticeship scheme, particularly in terms of higher level apprenticeships.”
The Council promotes apprenticeships both internally and externally throughout the borough. Through its 106 agreements with developers, it encourages and supports developers to hire apprentices.
Further demonstrating its commitment to investing in its employees and local residents, the Council is also working with East Berkshire College in Langley to upskill its team of caretakers. The College, which has been delivering apprenticeships for over 40 years, has devised a special training programme for 12 caretakers employed by the Council.
As well as the more traditional trade-based apprenticeships, East Berkshire College offers a range of apprenticeships in areas such as Business Administration, Accounting, Science, Engineering and Hospitality & Catering. An increasing range of new higher apprenticeships (Level 4) are also available, offering a more affordable and convenient alternative to university.
A group of training providers, led by East Berkshire College, has secured a £900,000 contract from the European Social Fund (ESF) to help small to medium-sized businesses across Berkshire to upskill their employees for free.
Businesses with less than 250 employees* and operating in Berkshire will be able to access the fully-funded training for employees aged over 16 (and resident in the UK/EU). Training will be delivered on a flexible, modular basis and will be specifically tailored to the needs of the individual business and its employees.
The Skills for the Workforce programme is being delivered in partnership with Bracknell & Wokingham College, Newbury College, Reading College, TESS Group and West Berkshire Training Consortium.
Lynette Chadwick, ESF Project Manager at East Berkshire College, explains: “With over 40,000 SMEs in Berkshire, we want to support as many businesses as possible in their growth plans. The focus of the Skills for the Workforce programme is to deliver free workplace training to develop highly skilled employees.
“The training programmes are fully funded and flexible in order to be most effective for businesses. Whether a company is looking to develop senior managers or employees with no formal qualifications, we can deliver appropriate training at a time and place to suit. All the training partners in this project have years of experience of working in a wide range of sectors, and can ensure businesses receive high-quality training to meet their needs.”
The Skills for the Workforce project, which runs until June 2018, is designed to boost the skills of the local workforce and help local businesses to be more productive and competitive. Employers can access training for their employees in a range of areas including management and team leading, innovation and business development, IT and specific industry-related skills to meet the requirements of their business. Other key sectors include IT, administration, science, health and care, nursing, engineering and hospitality.
Employees can gain accredited units, certificates or diplomas as well as non-accredited training to enhance their knowledge and skills. They will then have the opportunity to go on to complete a full, industry-recognised qualification, such as an apprenticeship.
The Skills for the Workforce programme is part of the Employees Support in Skills project, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency.
*Businesses who have less than 250 full-time equivalent employees.
Bringing the flavours of Ireland to local residents, the Zest restaurant at Langley College held its first theme night of the year on Thursday (16 March 2017) to celebrate St Patrick's Day. The sold-out event was packed with visitors enjoying an array of dishes including Bubble and Squeak, Irish Stew and Apple Amber, all prepared by the College’s talented catering students.
Diners at the restaurant, which is open to the public for bookings, were treated to a mouth-watering menu at a pocket-pleasing price. Level three professional cookery student Amy Brooker, 18 years old, from Slough, devised the menu for the evening, which offered guests a three-course menu for just £18.50 per person, and included a complimentary amuse bouche and petit fours.
Talking about the event, which was inspired by her Irish roots, Amy said: “My Nan is Irish so that’s where the theme came from. The evening went as well as I had hoped and everyone gave good feedback. My family were here to support me and they were impressed.”
Fellow student Tony Peverill (17, from Langley), who is studying a professional cookery level two course at Langley College, said: “My uncle used to be a professional chef and he inspired me to cook. I’ve learnt so much since I’ve been at college as it is like a real restaurant. I really enjoy the team spirit in the kitchen and the theme night gives us a chance to do something different.”
Local resident, Steven Gillingwater, was one diner enjoying the authentic Irish cuisine. He said: “The bubble and squeak was lovely. It took me back to Ireland. My Nan was Irish and it was just as good as she used to make. I’m definitely interested in coming along to the Spanish night.”
Fellow diners, Councillor Preston Brooker and his wife Shirley, agree: “It is good to support young chefs. Everyone should come and experience the restaurant here. It looks very professional.”
Providing a real work environment for students, the Zest restaurant at Langley College is open to the public for bookings and serves a range of delicious seasonal dishes at competitive prices. All food is cooked and served by talented students under the supervision of industry-trained staff.
Zest holds a variety of special theme nights throughout the year, to give diners the opportunity to try different dishes from around the world including classic French cooking and Thai cuisine. Upcoming theme nights include Spanish and English cuisine.
The Zest restaurant is part of East Berkshire College’s Hospitality and Catering Academy in Langley. Officially opened in 2013, the academy works in partnership with patrons from some of the most prestigious restaurants, contract caterers and hotels within the region, to provide students with the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.
From professional cookery (levels one to three) and food hygiene to front of house service, the academy offers an array of full-time and part-time courses, including apprenticeships. The College also delivers a range of short courses including wine tasting, Italian cookery and cake decorating.
For more information on the Hospitality & Catering Academy at Langley College, please visit www.eastberks.ac.uk or call 01753 793000.