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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.

Published in Business Services

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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.

Published in Retail Merchandising

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