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Championship football club, Reading FC and East Berkshire College have teamed up to offer young people a fantastic opportunity to kick-start their sporting careers with a traineeship.

The club, which is based at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, has 12 traineeship positions available for those aged 16-24. The programme, which is designed to prepare young people for their future careers, will last between six weeks and six months depending on the individual's needs.

The 12 lucky trainees will have the opportunity to work with professional coaches, gain valuable work experience at the club, study for a NCFE Level 1 Award in the Principles of Coaching Sport, train in the club's state-of-the-art facilities and improve their English and maths skills.

Dave Evans, Reading FC Community Trust Manager, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with East Berkshire College, as a registered charity we are passionate about working with young people helping them to achieve their own personal development pathways and if by using football we can help them to achieve this then Reading FC Community Trust are happy to be involved.

"The traineeship scheme offers young people a foot on the ladder in the industry, combining academic learning with physical activity helping to promote young people's passion for sport, candidates will also have the opportunity to see behind the scenes of a football club, meet some of the players and train on the clubs academies category 1 facilities.

"We see this as a fantastic opportunity for young people in Slough and look forward to working with them in the new year."

Combining study at East Berkshire College in Langley with work experience at Reading FC, the traineeship programme offers males and females the chance to develop transferable skills through sport and gain an insight into the careers available in a professional club. In addition, trainees will be given careers advice, guidance on apprenticeship opportunities and a reference at the end of the programme.

Those aged 16-24 who are qualified below Level 3 (A Levels or equivalent) and are currently unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week are eligible to apply for the sporting traineeship.

East Berkshire College is fast becoming a centre of excellence for sport and offers students the chance to develop their skills in a modern £5million Sports Centre, which includes a multi-purpose sports hall, fully-equipped gym, dance studio and outdoor games area.

For more details on the traineeship programme, please contact East Berkshire College on 01753 793000 or click here. Alternatively, you can come along to the Advice and Enrolment Event at Langley College on 11th January 2016 at 3.30pm.

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Key organisations from across the region joined Fiona Mactaggart MP at Langley College in Station Road on Friday (28 March) to put apprenticeships in Slough at the top of the agenda as part of a new collaborative initiative. 
The landmark event was organised by the Slough Apprenticeship Group, which was set-up last year by Fiona Mactaggart to raise the skills level of Slough residents through vocational training. Bringing together experts from education and youth work as well as business, the event was designed to build effective partnerships to work with businesses and provide more apprenticeship opportunities for local people.

Representatives from training providers and organisations from across the region attended the event including; Slough Borough Council, Thames Valley LEP, National Apprenticeship Service, East Berkshire College, HIT Training, Bracknell & Wokingham College, Uxbridge College, TVRN, ATG Training, Baltic Training Services and QA Ltd.

Fiona Mactaggart MP explains: “Addressing the skills gaps of local people and the level of skills required by employers remains a key priority for Slough. I established the Slough Apprenticeship Task & Finish Group to achieve this objective with high quality local apprenticeships to give local people the chance to learn the skills they need to get a good job.”

The event featured a number of short presentations by key speakers such as Martin Towers from the Skills Funding Agency and Shabnam Ali from Slough Borough Council, as well as a discussion panel. The assembled group identified ways to increase participation in apprenticeships along with progress to Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4/5) and began the process of developing an apprenticeship provider strategy for Slough.

Virginia Barrett, co-chair of the group and Deputy Principal for Curriculum and Quality at East Berkshire College, said: “We are pleased to be a member of the Slough Apprenticeship Task & Finish Group and delighted to be able to host this latest event at Langley College. This is a great forum for local training providers and organisations to discuss ways in which we can work together to provide high quality apprenticeship opportunities for the people of Slough.”   

Training providers in Slough offer a wide range of apprenticeships in areas including Science, IT, Engineering, Business & Administration, Construction and Hospitality & Catering. New higher apprenticeships (Level 4/5) are also available, offering a more affordable and convenient alternative to university and graduate training schemes.

For further information on the Slough Apprenticeship Task & Finish Group, 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 apprenticeships, click here or call 0845 373 2500.

bentalls news_350pxWith the help of East Berkshire College, Bentalls department store in Bracknell – part of the Fenwick Group – has introduced an apprenticeship scheme to offer its staff the chance to develop their skills and gain a nationally recognised qualification.

As part of its commitment to staff development and delivering the highest standards of customer service, the well-known retailer is working in partnership with the College to train 16 apprentices (aged 18-50+) at its Bracknell store. And the individuals, the business and its customers are already seeing the benefits.

Store Director, Craig Strugnell, said: "As a company, we pride ourselves on investing in people. The apprenticeship scheme is beneficial for everyone. Developing and supporting our employees in this way, gives them the chance to improve their skills and recognise the importance of their role in the business. It also means our customers can be assured of receiving a first class service."

Bentalls, which employs over 200 employees at its Bracknell store, is a premium department store offering an extensive range of brands across womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, cosmetics and home.

Though traditionally the retail industry is not a sector automatically associated with apprenticeships, more and more retailers are recognising the initiative as a cost-effective way to develop their workforce and recruit fresh new talent.

Jacqui Cumbers, HR Manager at Bentalls in Bracknell, explains: "We offered apprenticeships to employees of all ages, from new recruits to long serving members of staff, and received an extremely positive response. Since introducing the scheme in March, the employees have grown in confidence, expanded their knowledge and developed a real sense of pride in their work. Ultimately, this has led to improved team morale and a higher quality of service for our customers.

"The College's flexible approach has made the whole process of setting up the programme very easy for us. As well as helping us access funding, they are able to schedule training around our busy trading periods to minimise disruption and tailor the course to our specific needs. In fact, the scheme has been so successful we are looking to run it again next year."

Fiona Allen, Assistant Sales Manager for Cookware, is one of the employees studying for the intermediate apprenticeship in Customer Service (NVQ Level 2). Having worked for the company for 13 years, Fiona was keen to improve her skills and gain a qualification.

"As it had been about 30 years since I last took any formal qualifications, I wasn't sure what to expect. However, the workload is manageable and everything I'm learning is relevant to my role.

"The course has given me a greater understanding of the entire business and made me look at things in a different way. I've particularly enjoyed learning more about retail law. Legislation is constantly changing, so it is important to know the latest information. Especially as I am often the first person a customer meets when they enter the store."

East Berkshire College trains hundreds of apprentices every year, in subjects from engineering to hairdressing, and even helps businesses recruit apprentices.

As well as the more traditional trade-based apprenticeships, the College offers new apprenticeships in areas such as IT, Business Administration, Accounting and Customer Service. A range of new higher apprenticeships (Level 4) are also now available.

For more information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of apprenticeships call 01753 443855.

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