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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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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.

Published in Business Services

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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..

Published in Business Services

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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

Published in Business Services

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