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A dedicated apprenticeship service has been set-up to offer free and impartial advice to businesses in Berkshire.

Providing a one-stop shop for businesses of all sizes, the service will provide fast and easy access to information on apprenticeship programmes and the latest funding. It will even help employers find the right apprenticeship programme and training provider for their needs.

Led by East Berkshire College, the service is being delivered in partnership with a group of local training providers including BCA, Bracknell & Wokingham College, Newbury College, Reading College, TESS Group and West Berkshire Training Consortium.

Juliet Holloway, Assistant Principal for Business Development at East Berkshire College, explains: “This new service will make it even easier for businesses to take on an apprentice and maximise the benefits of an apprenticeship scheme by providing a free and local source of up-to-date information.

“Whether developing the skills of a current employee or recruiting a new individual, apprenticeships are a great cost-effective way for employers to develop their workforce, address future skills gaps and drive growth.”

Co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the project aims to help businesses develop their workforce and increase the number of apprentices, particularly at level three and above.

The creation of the Berkshire Apprenticeship Service responds to the objectives of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s Skills Priority Statement, which reports that the proportion of businesses offering apprenticeships in Berkshire is lower than the national average and identifies the need to address skills shortages in key areas such as engineering, digital technologies, science and healthcare.

Dominique Unsworth BEM, Community Sector Representative on Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Forum and Managing Director of Resource Productions, commented: “As businesses in Berkshire continue to report on high skills gaps within their organisation and the difficulty of recruiting new talent with the right skills, the Berkshire Apprenticeship Service will go some way towards helping businesses develop existing employees’ skills and/or take on a new individual, thereby ensuring Berkshire’s economic potential is not restricted by the labour supply.”

For more details on the Berkshire Apprenticeship service, please click here, call 01753 793370 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alternatively, businesses interested in finding out more about the service can drop into a breakfast networking event on 28th June 2017 at 8.30am at the Slough Aspire Centre, 350 Edinburgh Avenue, Slough Trading Estate to talk to members of the Berkshire Apprenticeship Service.

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Talented visual merchandising students from Windsor College have created an inspirational piece of interactive art for Windsor Baptist Church in Victoria Street. The vibrant tree-themed artwork, which has been sensitively designed to reflect the values and diversity of the church, was officially unveiled on Tuesday (13th June 2017).

The three students, Frankie Di Gangi, Manisha Kumar and Diya Seepaul, who are all studying a level three course at the College in St Leonard's Road, designed and constructed two six foot trees to adorn the quiet balcony area of the church. As well as providing a beautiful back drop for the space, the colourful trees have been specially devised, so those visiting the church can write a thought, feeling or prayer on a leaf and hang it on one of the trees as a way to express themselves or connect with the church.

Student Frankie Di Gangi (aged 19), said: “We are really proud we have created something for the community for local people to enjoy. We’ve never done anything quite like this before and the experience has taught us a lot about teamwork and working to a client brief.”

Kate Saunders, Community Pastoral Manager at Windsor Baptist Church, explains: “We had an idea about creating some artwork for the Church and approached the College after seeing the beautiful window displays created by their students. The students visited us to understand how the space is used by the community and what we were looking to achieve.”

“The ideas the girls came up with were so good. We’ve had a very positive response from people who have seen it, with many commenting on how it joins the different areas of the building together. It is something that is going to be used and loved by the community for years to come.”

Windsor Baptist Church is truly a space for the community, being used by a wide range of different groups including the Windsor Homeless Project, Street Angels, UP Depression and Anxiety Group, Blossoms Ballet, Rattle ‘n’ Roll Drama Group and a local rock choir. The Church also includes the popular Treehouse Café, which is open six days a week. For more details, click here.

Windsor College, part of East Berkshire College, has an extensive art department that includes facilities for fine art, graphics, 3D design, photography, media production, fashion, interior design and visual merchandising. The College also offers a wide range of A Levels as well as specialist courses in performing arts, science, accountancy and business.

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses available, click here or call 01753 793000.

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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.

Businesses interested in finding out more about apprenticeships and other training opportunities can contact East Berkshire College on 01753 443855, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.

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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.”

Sunninghill Travel at Langley College is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 4pm. For more information or to book an appointment outside of these hours, please call 01344 627586, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.

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.

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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.

East Berkshire College, which has campuses in Langley and Windsor, has over 40 years of experience in delivering high quality training to SMEs and multi-nationals in a wide range of industries. Businesses interested in finding out more about apprenticeships can contact the College on 01753 443855 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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