Over forty five leading businesses and organisations attended a Work and Careers Fair at Newbury College on Wed March 28th and it was the biggest of its kind ever to be staged in West Berkshire. The organizations that were present represented a wide range of sectors; many were familiar high street names including new comers to the area, Harrods Distribution and John Lewis, alongside two of the largest employers in the region, the AWE and Vodafone.
Last November, some very insightful research was conducted amongst young people aged 16-18 who were studying in West Berkshire, as to their perception of the skills that were considered of most value by employers. This survey was constructed following two sets of comparable research amongst employers on the subject of "employability skills", by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) at a national level and at a local level the Berkshire Education Business Partnership Organisation. From these studies seven sets of skills were presented to local young people, who ranked them in order of importance:
1. Self Management
2. Communication and Literacy
3. Team Working
4. Business and Customer Awareness
5. Problem Solving
6. Application of IT
7. Application of Numeracy
When compared to the employers feedback there was a consensus that self management and communications skills are key, there was a concern from employers that amongst young people communications styles are too highly influenced by social media and texting, resulting in people struggling with basic skills required to write a good CV and covering letter. Equally and perhaps more importantly, employers see numeracy skills as being at the top of their list of preferred skills.
These young people were also asked what local employers could do to help them get the skills they'd need when they start work. The resultant feedback included CV practice and interview tips as well as the opportunity to talk with employers both at their place of study and at local careers fairs.
With the budget recently having revealed very little in the way of short term improvement for unemployment levels, the West Berks Work and Careers Fair, couldn't have been timelier. Dawn Ray who organised the fair on behalf of the West Berks Skills and Enterprise Partnership, said, "The event unquestionably helped to address many of the points raised by this research. By meeting employers in person and through a full programme of workshops throughout the day, the event helped visitors to find out what businesses are demanding in terms of the right skills to meet the needs of today's economy and how to perform better in this challenging job market".
Both teams stayed relatively equally for the first two quarters, drawing 24 - 24 at half time, however an energetic push from Newbury Sound's ex-professional player Steve Tolloczko gave the "Feel good station" the lead.
All was not lost as last minute addition to the team, Dennis Davis, scored an impressive 3-point basket in the 4th quarter along with a flurry of points coming in from Matt Hall, Liam Hume, Mellanie Parehwa and Henry Johnson.
The game ended with a tiny 8 point difference at 54 - 46 to the away team and after the match News Journalist Emily Tolloczko said "We'd like to thank Newbury College for inviting us to take part in this charity challenge. We've had a great time, and are delighted to have raised money for Sport Relief. The Newbury College team demonstrated fantastic sportsmanship and made us feel very welcome, it's been a pleasure to be involved."
Reading Rockets Coach Mark Halewood was also on hand to offer tips to both teams and commented on the promising level of talent displayed by the students. Mark will be running after College sessions every Thursday after the Easter holidays for anyone that wants to get involved (see noticeboard in the Street for details).
Spectators, who watched from the viewing gallery on the mezzanine, and players alike had a really enjoyable time with the main highlight being the £150 (to date) raised for Sport Relief 2012. Our thanks to everyone for giving up their time and/or money for this event.
Hitachi Capital approached Newbury College as one of the leading education providers in West Berkshire to help develop a truly unique offer, which not only provides an apprenticeship qualification but also gives individuals the opportunity to develop a career within the organisation.
Chris Tarry, interim head of customer services and leader of Hitachi Capital's current graduate programme comments, "The scheme is in place to offer individuals a real chance to boost their prospects. We are focused on investing in the future and by offering the applicant's invaluable training; we are working towards best practice in the workplace. By setting up the apprenticeship scheme, we aim to support our local community and also ensure that the candidates get the opportunity to build the skills required to deliver excellent results."
The new recruits will gain experience within a number of different departments, providing them with training across the board and a competitive salary. Hitachi Capital is offering the local community an opportunity to enter the working world without the necessity of a degree. With the rising costs of higher education, this is something that those with A-Level qualifications can consider as a competitive alternative to going to University that will kick-start their careers.
Pat Frith, sales and account manager for Newbury College, comments, "We are pleased to be working in partnership with Hitachi Capital in this apprenticeship scheme and fully support them in offering young people in Newbury a vocational approach to developing a professional career, rather than undertaking a University degree. We have been working closely with Hitachi Capital to develop the programme and are impressed with their level of commitment to tailoring training to ensure that it attracts and develops high performing stars for the future."
Six individuals will be chosen to embark on a two-year customer service based programme where they will gain a Level 3 qualification as well as supported development within the company. Hitachi Capital is opening up this programme to those who do not hold a degree, but are drawn to a professional environment. Applications open in March, with candidates being selected in April. Please click the link to apply: http://www.hitachicapitalvehiclesolutions.co.uk/careers/
To find out more about Apprenticeship Schemes that Newbury College can provide please contact Pat Frith on 01635 845000