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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.

Published in Business Services

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Slough Aspire has been crowned Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 at the Slough Business Awards during a glittering ceremony on 26th March at the Hilton T5 Hotel. As a lead partner in Slough Aspire, East Berkshire College was delighted that the public-private sector led skills and training social enterprise was honoured at the auspicious event, which celebrates the success of businesses in and around the Slough area.

Open to all businesses operating in the Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead area, the awards recognise businesses for their performance, excellence and entrepreneurship across a number of categories, from start up to corporate business, providing them with an opportunity to be recognised by their peers and the wider community.

Kate Webb, Principal of East Berkshire College and Chair of Aspire's Board of Directors: "Slough Aspire is a real asset to the community, so we are thrilled that the project has been recognised at the Slough Business Awards. The College is proud to play a lead role in the initiative, resourcing and managing the Aspire Centre as well as delivering flexible training to meet the needs of businesses through Aspire for Business."

Located in the heart of Slough Trading Estate, Slough Aspire is one of the country's most innovative training and development projects. Aspire is designed to be the first port of call for training and development needs for businesses and the local community.

Slough Aspire is backed by local business with supporters including SEGRO, Mars, Arvato, UCB, Kier, Lonza, O2, Polycom, the Federation of Small Businesses, East Berkshire College, Learning to Work, Slough Borough Council, and Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy.

Fiona Jones, Slough Aspire Manager, collected the award on behalf of the Aspire partners from award sponsor B P Collins LLP and guest speaker, Lee Hurst. Fiona said: "We are extremely honoured to be named Entrepreneur of the Year. Aspire prides itself on being business led, so it is amazing to be recognised by the Slough business community in this way.

"It is important for us that local companies get involved in our activities and events, from design to delivery. Bringing together local businesses, residents and education providers, Slough Aspire is dedicated to developing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of local businesses and ensure the future prosperity of Slough."

Since the Aspire Centre launched in 2013, thousands of young people, their parents and teachers have engaged with local businesses at careers fairs and other pre-employment events. The programme has supported local residents to improve their interview skills through workshops held by local businesses; delivered a range of short courses in team leading and management, provided support and advice for budding entrepreneurs and held a series of Slough specific careers training workshops to local front line careers advisors whilst also providing a series of successful networking events for businesses. In addition, Aspire has recently launched a new jobs board to provide local people with greater access to local job opportunities.

For more information on Slough Aspire, visit www.sloughaspire.com or call 01753 530146.

For more information on the Slough Business Awards and a full list of winners, visit www.sloughbusinessawards.com

Published in Business Services
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 17:45

Start Up Berkshire Goes Live

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Young people at colleges across Berkshire will be given an exciting opportunity to start their own business thanks to an innovative scheme designed to encourage young entrepreneurs.

The five further education colleges in Berkshire, Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVBLEP) and Fredericks Foundation are delighted to be working together to launch a brand new scheme to loan start up business funds to young people aged 17-23 who are students or recent students at each of the five colleges.

BCA, Bracknell & Wokingham College, East Berkshire College, Newbury College and Reading College will each receive £50,000 to work with Fredericks Foundation to provide loans to those students who show the most promise in running a business.

Officially launched on 18th March, the loan scheme is a new initiative and has the backing of the TVBLEP Forum, the decision making body of the LEP. The focus of the Start Up Berkshire scheme links closely to the skills agenda of the LEP and builds on the skills, education and employment programme in the LEP's Strategic Economic plan.

Potential entrepreneurs will submit an application form and then pitch their business plans to a panel of experts that will approve the level of the interest free loan, usually up to about £5,000, and based on the risks identified in setting up and successfully running the proposed business.

The five colleges are also working with employer representative groups such as the Institute of Directors who will provide mentors to the young people to support and guide them in their business ventures.

Tim Smith MBE, Chief Executive of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, explains: "Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is charged with driving local economic growth. This investment aims to support the next generation of start up businesses, and complements our dedicated loan and equity fund for high growth potential SMEs, as well as our Business Growth Hub. It knits together two programmes from our Strategic Economic Plan, which aim to drive enterprise and to create employment."

A group of young painting and decorating students from East Berkshire College in Langley are set to be the first to apply for the new scheme in order to set up their mural painting business. If successful in securing a loan, their business will look to provide specialist painting services to private customers and businesses, who are looking for bespoke designs for their premises.

Kate Webb, Principal of East Berkshire College, said: "Innovation is key for local economic growth and the Start Up Berkshire initiative is a fantastic way to inspire and develop young entrepreneurs. We already have students with impressive business ideas wishing to apply for the scheme, so we are looking forward to working with local employers and the LEP to help these ambitious young people realise their aspirations."

The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is committed to building a world class workforce and ensuring the next generation of Thames Valley residents is equipped for the future workplace, which forms a key component of the Thames Valley Berkshire Strategic Economic Plan www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk

Published in Business

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The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are helping local people to launch their careers through an apprenticeship scheme in partnership with East Berkshire College.

Following the success of its first intake of 11 apprentices in 2013, the council is now recruiting a further 14 apprentices in the second year of the scheme, to support its work throughout the borough and develop fresh new talent. The positions cover various roles across a variety of departments, ranging from highways to the youth service and health and social care.

Joanna Horton, Employment & Training Advisor for the Royal Borough's Grow Our Own service, explains: "We launched the apprenticeship programme last September as we recognised the benefits it could offer to us as an employer in terms of developing our teams and to the individuals themselves. Working with East Berkshire College was a natural progression as we were already working successfully with them on other projects.

"Our first group of apprentices have already made a positive impact on the work of the council, injecting fresh ideas and enthusiasm into our teams. Meanwhile, those staff mentoring the new recruits have enjoyed passing on their skills and knowledge. We are very much looking forward to seeing this year's apprentices grow and succeed over the coming months."

Jenna Moody (24, from Maidenhead) is one of the individuals who joined the council as an apprentice administrator last September. As well as undertaking general administrative duties, she also helps members of the public with job search activities through the council's outreach service.

"An apprenticeship is the best way to get to where you want to be," explains Jenna. "I had been working in various offices doing sales and admin roles prior to this position, but didn't have a real career path. I'm so glad I applied for this apprenticeship because I've learnt so much and it's given me greater confidence and ambition. I love working with the public and I am now hoping to train to become a careers adviser."

Oliver Carroll, an Electoral Services Apprentice at the council, agrees: "Apprenticeships enable you to learn, earn and gain work experience. I had just finished school and was wondering what to do next, when I saw the apprenticeship position advertised. I really enjoy working at the town hall. There are lots of different departments, so you get to learn about all the aspects of the council's work. It has been the best possible start to my career!"

The scheme enables the apprentices to combine on-the-job training at the Royal Borough with studying for a nationally recognised level two or three qualification at East Berkshire College.

East Berkshire College trains hundreds of apprentices every year, in subjects from accounting to catering, and helps businesses recruit apprentices.

As well as the more traditional trade-based apprenticeships, the College offers a range of apprenticeships in areas such as Business Administration, Accounting, Customer Service, 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 and graduate training schemes.

The College works closely with employers of all sizes to meet their training needs and even helps businesses recruit apprentices. To find out more about hiring an apprentice, contact East Berkshire College on 01753 443855 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses including apprenticeships click here or call 0845 373 2500.

Published in Business Services
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 16:54

Careers take centre stage at Langley College

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Hundreds of students were inspired by a host of careers, from catering to crime-fighting, at East Berkshire College’s annual Careers Fair in Langley last week (Wednesday 23rd April).

A diverse range of employers and organisations exhibited at the event including British Airways, Microsoft, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Santander, Thames Valley Police, the Hilton London Heathrow and the Royal Navy.

Held at Langley College and organised in partnership with Learning to Work, the Careers Fair was designed to help students gain more information about the range of career paths available and understand what is required to work in various industries.

British Airways was one of the businesses that attended the event to talk to students about the wide variety of careers in the aviation industry.

Amar Gill, Apprentice Programme Manager at British Airways, explains: “As a company we strongly believe in developing young talent, which is why we were happy to support the College’s careers event and advise students on the opportunities available to them. Many people are unaware British Airways offers apprenticeships in such a wide range of areas, including IT, engineering, administration and finance.”

Toyin Headley, who is studying a travel and tourism course at the College, found the event to be extremely informative:

“The Careers Fair is a great chance to find out about lots of different careers, speak to many different people and find out what apprenticeship opportunities are available. I’ve been able to get lots of useful information as well as advice on how to make my CV look more professional.”

As well as meeting employers, students were able to find out about apprenticeships and voluntary work. Advice was also available on CV writing and job interviews.

Through the National Careers Service, East Berkshire College offers a range of free advice, guidance and job search activities for adults as well as students. These are held at various community venues in addition to the College’s Langley and Windsor colleges. Designed to help individuals develop the skills needed to progress onto a course or find employment, the service includes workshops on CV writing, interview techniques and job hunting.

Each year, East Berkshire College supports the education and training of over 8,000 individuals, helping them to achieve their personal and professional goals. A recent destination survey of former students revealed that 81% of the College’s 2011-12 leavers are in employment or education.  

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses including apprenticeships, click here or call 0845 373 2500.

Published in Business
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 00:00

Awards honour star students

stand out_awards_3071a_400pxTop achievers at East Berkshire College were celebrated at the College's annual Stand Out Awards yesterday (8 November 2011).

Acclaimed independent film director and former student James Fair was guest speaker at the prestigious event, which took place at the Copthorne Hotel in Slough.

The awards acknowledged the outstanding achievements of over 60 students, across both the Langley and Windsor campuses. Prizes were awarded for excellence, endeavour, achievement, service to the community and the learner of the year for each of the College's schools of study as well as an overall learner of the year.

Beauty Therapy student Jade Corentin (22, from Slough) was one individual whose hard work was recognised with an award at the event. Originally starting on a level one course, Jade has made exceptional progress at the College and is now studying for a level three qualification.

"I am so happy to have won an award. It has been an enjoyable evening and it was great to meet a former student who has become so successful. It shows that studying at college can help you achieve your ambitions. I've learnt so much at college and my dream is to run my own salon one day."

James Fair, who graduated from East Berkshire College in 1999 with three A Levels, returned to the place where his success story began to give an inspirational speech about his career in the film industry. A career which has seen him direct and produce programmes for Channel Four and make a number of independent feature films. Last year, James enjoyed success and controversy at the Melbourne International Film Festival when he made the audience top 10 with a feature length movie he shot, edited and screened in just 72 hours.

stand out_awards_3073a_400pxJames, who grew up in Slough, said: "I'm proud to have been invited back to speak at these awards. My career takes me to many different countries, but for me it all began in the media suites of East Berkshire College. The lecturers there changed my view of education, they made learning fun and I gained a variety of valuable skills.

"It has been great to celebrate and reward the achievements of this exceptional group of young people. I've been where these students are now and I'm pleased to be able to pass on the benefit of my experience to them. I believe it is important to make the most of your opportunities and never stop learning."

The special evening event was attended by over 250 people including Councillor Sukhjit Dhaliwal, Mayor of Slough and Councillor Asghar Majeed, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 600 courses available call 0845 373 2500.

Published in ICT
Thursday, 24 November 2011 00:00

Business students go dotty over fundraising

children in_need_newsShowing their spots to raise lots, business students from East Berkshire College have been putting their enterprising skills to good use by raising £169 for Children in Need.

The 12 students, who are all studying the BTEC National Diploma in Business at the College's Langley Campus, recently organised a series of fun events including a cake sale, raffle and a box-a-thon in support of the children's charity.

Student Morihinzi Richardson explains: "We decided to organise a fundraising event at the campus as part of the event management unit of our course. We handled everything from the marketing of the events to the finances, with everyone taking on a role.

"It was great to have the chance to put our ideas into practice and support a good cause. The boxing event with boxing coach Ian Bailey was particularly popular with students and staff."

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 600 courses available, call 0845 373 2500.

Published in Business
Thursday, 09 February 2012 20:05

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

This year sees the launch of our brand new Enterprise and Entrepreneurship BTEC Diploma. This course is developed by Edexcel in association with the National Enterprise Academy, founded by Dragons' Den star Peter Jones. If you dream of setting up your own business and want to find out what it takes, this course is for you. You'll not only gain the underpinning knowledge to plan and set up a micro business, you'll also be able to meet and learn from entrepreneurs, work on real business challenges and attend networking events.

For more details on this course, and our other business courses, click here. You can also call us on 0845 373 2500 to speak to a student adviser.

Published in Business

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