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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.

For information on the project and how your business can access free training, 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.

*Businesses who have less than 250 full-time equivalent employees.

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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.

Zest will be holding a Spanish theme night on Thursday 30 March from 5.30-8pm. To book a table please call 01753 793344 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For menus, theme nights and more information, please click here.

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Apprenticeships were top of the menu at a special Business Breakfast for local employers on Thursday (9 March) at Langley College. Celebrating the benefits of employing apprentices and providing details on apprenticeship funding reforms, the event was part of a series of activities to mark National Apprenticeship Week (6-10 March 2017).

Over 50 employers from across the region attended the event including Marriott Hotel Group, Mars, Morgan Sindall, Oakley Court Hotel, John Guest and Housing Solutions. The ‘Business Breakfast’ event provided local organisations with the chance to find out more about the College’s apprenticeship programmes, the new funding changes and the benefits of taking on an apprentice.

The event featured a number of short presentations by key speakers such as Linda Hawkins from The Marriott Hotel Group, who has recruited apprentices through the College, and Dominique Unsworth from the Thames Valley Apprenticeship Ambassador Network. Meanwhile, the College’s catering students prepared a delicious buffet breakfast for guests, which included a cooked breakfast, croissants and handmade pastries.

One of the guest speakers at the event was Linda Hawkins, Multi Property Director of Human Resources, London Heathrow and Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotels. Speaking at the event, she said: “We believe firmly in developing local talent and apprenticeships have been a key initiative for us. They provide young people with top quality training and valuable life skills in a supportive, dynamic environment within the College and our hotels. The College has been exceptional in helping us find the right candidates and providing us with regular updates on the progress of our apprentices. Not to mention, the training facilities here are amazing.”

Guests were also provided with a tour of the College’s excellent facilities including the engineering workshop, which features a state-of-the-art CNC Milling machine, the hair and beauty salons, sports centre and the STEM Project & Research Centre.

Langley College, part of East Berkshire College, has been helping small to medium-sized businesses and multinational companies in a wide variety of industries recruit and train apprentices for over 40 years.

Apprenticeships are available in areas including Science, IT, Engineering, Business & Administration, Construction, Hairdressing, Health & Care and Hospitality & Catering. New higher apprenticeships (Level 4/5) also provide a more affordable and convenient alternative to university and graduate training schemes.

Businesses interested in finding out more about apprenticeships and how funding changes can benefit their business can contact East Berkshire College on 01753 443855 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here

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East Berkshire College is delighted to announce that the prestigious Stoke Park Hotel, Spa and Country Club in Buckinghamshire and its award-winning Executive Chef Chris Wheeler will be a patron of the successful Hospitality & Catering Academy at Langley College.

Celebrated chef Chris Wheeler and the team at the five AA red star hotel will be working with the College to help develop new talent for the industry. The partnership will mean budding chefs, hotel managers and those aspiring to a career in front of house service will have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business, through a series of masterclasses, work experience opportunities and enrichment activities.

To mark the beginning of this exciting new partnership, level two and three catering students from Langley College visited the hotel recently for a behind-the-scenes tour and the chance to quiz the resident chefs and front of house team on their roles and experiences.

Chris Wheeler, who has been Executive Chef of the hotel’s Humphry’s fine dining restaurant for 14 years and was recently crowned Hotel Chef of the Year (over 250 covers) at the prestigious Hotel Cateys 2016, is keen to inspire young people to pursue a career in the industry.

“We are absolutely delighted to become a Patron of East Berkshire College and their amazing Hospitality & Catering Academy. To be able to support the students, to offer apprenticeships and to encourage them to work in our industry is fundamental and something which is very important to us,” commented Chris Wheeler.

College Principal, Kate Webb, explains: ““We are passionate about providing our students with an enhanced learning experience through our links with leading industry figures. We are, therefore, absolutely delighted to have Chris Wheeler and the team at Stoke Park as a patron of our training academy. By working together, we will be able to give young people, who are just starting out in their careers, the chance to learn from talented individuals at the top of their profession.”

The College’s Hospitality & Catering Academy works in partnership with patrons from some of the most prestigious restaurants, contract caterers and hotels within the region to provide an enhanced learning experience for students. Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin star Hand & Flowers restaurant in Marlow is also a patron of the academy, representing the restaurant sector, along with Caroline Fry, Chief Executive of leading corporate and commercial catering company CH&Co, who represents the contract catering sector.

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 and a new foundation degree in tourism and hospitality management.

For more information on the Hospitality & Catering Academy at Langley College, please click here or call 01753 793000.

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For all our good intentions, the majority of us will not keep our New Year resolutions. So instead of making the same old resolutions, why not try learning a new skill or language, improving your career prospects or taking up a hobby this January.

Whether you want to study part-time or full-time, there’s a variety of courses on offer to suit your needs and you don’t have to wait until September to start. From computing to interior design and Italian to construction, there are an array of courses at East Berkshire College starting in early 2017.

“It’s never too late to learn something new,” says Juliet Holloway, Director of Learner Services at the College. “We have students aged from 15 to 87 years old. With our part-time courses, people can learn at a pace that suits their lifestyle or work commitments. There are courses at various levels to suit most people’s needs and a growing range of apprenticeships, from catering to engineering.

“This year, we have a new Skills Pathway course for 16-23 year olds, which provides a first step towards a career and the chance to try a range of practical subjects, from motor vehicle to hairdressing. We also have a range of professional qualifications and language courses as well as English, maths and IT classes. Some people may even be eligible for free course fees or a government loan.”

With everyone expected to work longer before retirement, keeping your skills up-to-date or training for a career you enjoy, is a wise move.

Farooq Ahmed found going back to college gave him a new career path and renewed confidence: “I was concerned about returning to education after 10 years, but the teachers were fantastic. They were so supportive from the word go and you could email them any time if you had a question.”

Meanwhile, for those interested in taking their skills to a higher level, the College now offers a growing range of Higher Education courses, including a new Foundation Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. These courses provide a more convenient and affordable alternative to university.

Lauren Elliot, who recently completed an HND course at Windsor College, believes studying for a higher level course at college offers a greater degree of flexibility. Lauren explains: “I wanted to take my studies further, but university wasn’t for me. An HND at college is a great alternative. You get more one-to-one time and the lecturers are amazing. Because the course is flexible, I was even able to work while I studied.”

For more details on over 800 courses and apprenticeships at East Berkshire College, please click here or call 01753 793000.

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