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

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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.

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.

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.

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