Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:23

It’s never too late to learn something new

Alexandra Gibbs web press


For all our good intentions it is estimated that less than a quarter of us keep our New Year resolutions to lose weight, drink less or stop smoking. So instead of making the same old resolutions this year, why not try learning a new skill, improving your prospects, changing careers or taking up a hobby.

Whether you want to study part-time or full-time, there's a variety of courses on offer to suit your needs and you don't have to wait until September to start. From hairdressing to computing and Italian to carpentry, there are a variety of courses at East Berkshire College starting in January and February.

"It's never too late to learn something new," says Juliet Holloway, Director of Learner Services at East Berkshire College. "We have students aged from 14 to 90 years old. With our part-time courses, people can learn at a pace that suits their lifestyle or work commitments. We have courses at various levels to suit most people's needs and a growing range of apprenticeships and traineeships, from catering to engineering."

"For 16-18 year olds, we have a number of courses starting in January, which are stand-alone qualifications or can lead to a course in September. For those over 18, there are a range of opportunities to gain a professional qualification or try something new, through our flexible part-time courses. Some people may also be eligible for free course fees or the new 24+ Advanced Learning Loans."

With everyone expected to work longer before retirement, keeping your skills up-to-date or training for a career you enjoy, is a wise move that is sure to pay off.

Julie Pearce, a sales assistant at John Lewis, found going back to college to study an interior design course has opened up more opportunities for her professionally and personally:

"I had been out of education for many years before taking this course, but the lecturers were so supportive and encouraging. Now I feel I can do anything if I put my mind to it. Having interior design skills definitely played a part in securing my position at John Lewis. At work, I am able to apply my knowledge to provide an enhanced level of customer service to clients. For me, returning to college has been a life changing experience."

Ian Battersby, Apprentice Chef at Eton College, agrees: "I've always loved cooking, but never thought of it as a career until I got my apprenticeship. I didn't enjoy school, but I really enjoy learning at college because it is more practical. My apprenticeship has turned my life around and given me a career path. Not many people can say they have cooked for The Queen, Bear Grylls and Boris Johnson!"

With the cost of university education on the rise, many people are also finding studying for a higher level qualification (e.g. Higher National Diploma, Foundation degree or Higher Apprenticeship) at college is a more convenient and affordable alternative.

Alexandra Gibbs, a Trainee Estimator at SAS International, is one individual who decided to start her career debt-free.

Alexandra explains: "I wanted to continue my studies but I also wanted to start earning money. Studying a part-time Construction HND course at my local college while working at SAS seemed like the perfect alternative to university. At the end of the course, I'll have gained a higher level qualification and two years of experience, but no student debts."

From Applied Science to Engineering, the College offers a growing range of Higher Education courses including a new HNC in Computing & Systems Development. For those who are returning to education after a long break or don't have the relevant qualifications to start a higher qualification right away, Access and Pre-Access courses are available in various subjects to help you prepare for studying at a higher level.

For further information on courses and the financial support available, contact East Berkshire College on 0845 373 2500 or click here.


East Berkshire College courses starting January & February 2014: 

Access & Pre-Access courses

Various levels & subjects available

Apprenticeships & Traineeships

Various levels & subjects available


Accounting (AAT)

Business Management & Entrepreneurship (HNC)

Computerised Book-keeping


Computing & IT

A + Comptia

IT Users Skills

CCNA (Exploration) Part 1

Computer Literacy & Information Technology (NEW CLAIT)

Computers for Improvers - Internet & Email

Computers for the Older Learner

Computing & Systems Development (HNC)

Databases ECDL Advanced

Dreamweaver Non Accredited Introduction

Flash & Fireworks Non Accredited Introduction

IT Practitioners Technical Certificate

Microsoft Office Specialist

Presentations ECDL Advanced

Spreadsheets ECDL Advanced

Word Processing ECDL Advanced


Basic Bricklaying

Brickwork Advanced

Carpentry & Joinery


Fitted Interiors

Floorcovering Occupations

Multi-trade construction

Painting & Decorating

Plastering DIY

Plumbing (Heating & Ventilation)

Site shop Fitting

Tiling DIY

Wall & Floor Tiling

Creative Studies

Art & Design

Asian Cookery

Contemporary Flower Arranging

Creative Cookery

Digital Photography

Interior Design

Painting & Drawing

Wine Tasting


Career Launch

Life Skills - Literacy & Numeracy

Hair & Beauty

Bridal Hair

Bridal Make Up

Dynamic Blow Drying for Hairdressers

Eyebrow Shaping & Eyelash/ Brow Tinting

Eyelash Extensions


Hair Extension for Hairdressers

Hopi Ear Candles

Hot Stones Massage

Manicure Workshop

Nail Art

Health & Caring

Children & Young People's Workforce

Health & Social Care

Set Up Home-based Childcare Service

Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools

Hospitality & Catering

Intro to Chinese Cooking

Bread Making

CIEH Food Safety in Catering Award

CIEH Level 2 Health & Safety in the Workplace

Spanish Cooking

Vegetarian Cookery



British Sign Language - BSL

English as a Foreign Language - ESL

English for Speakers of Other Language - ESOL








Motor Vehicle & Engineering

17th Edition Wiring Regulations 2382-12

ATA Diagnostic Technician

Electrical Installation

Engineering (HND)

Motor Vehicle Maintenance

Requirements for Electrical Installation BS7671: 17th edition (2382-10)


Applied Science Technicians Certificate

Sport, Travel & Tourism

Personal Training

Gym Instructing

Teacher Training

Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector

Published in Higher Education
Friday, 20 December 2013 12:56

A sign of the festive times

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Students from East Berkshire College took part in a Christmas concert with a twist at Windsor Royal Shopping Centre on Sunday (15 December). The twist being that all the singers were silent!

Students and staff from the College's British Sign Language course signed, rather than sang a variety of Christmas carols and songs for deaf and hearing shoppers in Windsor. The silent choir, which featured current and former students, entertained the crowds with some dramatic signing of festive favourites such as All I Want for Christmas, White Christmas and Silent Night.

As well as putting shoppers in the festive spirit, the carol concert also raised over £400 for South East Berkshire Deaf Children's Society and Sound Seekers.

Leading the choir was Fiona Barker, a clinical scientist at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor who also studied sign language at the College while training to be an audiologist. Since completing the course over 15 years ago, Fiona has continued to work closely with the College to stage the charity carol concert each year.

College tutor, Pat Foster, explains: "The concert is a great way for our students to demonstrate their communication skills, raise awareness and raise money for a good cause. Every year, we have a mix of current and former students taking part in the event. Some are advanced signers like Fiona and others are beginners."

East Berkshire College offers a range of British Sign Language courses, from introductory right through to level two, at its Windsor and Langley colleges. The courses are ideal for those who want to learn sign language for either personal or professional reasons.

From Spanish to Mandarin, East Berkshire College offers an extensive range of language courses at various levels. For further details on these and many other part-time courses, please click here or call 0845 373 2500.

Published in Modern Languages
1976-2013 web

As part of its multi-million pound investment in its facilities and services, East Berkshire College has launched a new official alumni association to create a range of services especially for its former students.

The new alumni association is aimed at anyone who has studied a course at East Berkshire College or any of the former colleges in Langley, Windsor and Maidenhead which were later merged to collectively become known by this name.

By joining the association, former students will have access to a free package of benefits and services including exclusive discounts, access to careers advice and support, quarterly newsletters, events and an alumni directory to help them reconnect with old college friends. The network will also provide a platform for former students to support the College and inspire current students through guest speaking opportunities, careers talks or providing work experience placements.

Principal Kate Webb explains: “We are very excited about our first ever alumni network. We believe in supporting our students even after they leave college, which is why we have put together a comprehensive package of services to help our former students continue to develop their careers and their skills.

“We are extremely proud of the achievements of our alumni, some of whom have gone onto attain great success in their chosen fields. We would love to hear from anyone who has studied with us over the last 45 years. By joining the association, our former students can share their experiences and make a real difference to current students in many positive ways.”

International bestselling author Anne Jirsch (from Bourne End) is one of the first former students to join the College’s new alumni association. Having studied English and Sociology at Langley College in the early 1980s, Anne is now a successful writer whose books include Cosmic Energy and Create Your Perfect Future. She is currently writing a screen play and working on various TV projects.

“I think the College’s new alumni association is a great idea and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Anne. “I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the College. My reading and writing skills were quite poor when I first started Langley College aged 24. However, the lecturers there were so encouraging and supportive that my confidence and my ability improved dramatically. I now have a successful career as a writer, which gives me the chance to travel all over the world.”

Each year, the College organises a series of talks by guest speakers and former students to enhance the learning experience of its students and demonstrate how the curriculum relates to future careers. Some of the College’s most famous former students include Cloud Atlas actor David Gyasi, Genie in the House star Katie Sheridan and acclaimed independent film director James Fair. All of whom have visited the College to talk to students about their careers and experiences in recent years.

East Berkshire College has been serving the communities of Berkshire and West London for over 45 years. Over the years, the College has continued to go from strength to strength in terms of raising standards and enhancing its range of courses. In February 2013, Ofsted rated the College as ‘good’ with outstanding features following a week-long inspection. Alongside other key strengths, the report recognised the real difference the College makes to the lives of its students in terms of their progress, success and employability.

For more details and to join the East Berkshire College alumni association, visit www.eastberks.ac.uk/alumni

Published in News no category
Monday, 26 November 2012 18:06

Paralympic star inspires students at awards

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Top achievers at East Berkshire College were honoured by paralympic gold medal winner Jeanette Chippington at the College's annual Stand Out Awards Ceremony recently.

Former swimming champion, Jeanette was guest speaker at the prestigious event, which took place at the College's Windsor Campus in St Leonards Road.

The awards acknowledged the outstanding achievements of 67 students, aged 17-60, across both the Langley and Windsor campuses. Prizes were awarded for excellence, endeavour, achievement, service to the community and most promising student for each of the College's schools of study as well as an overall College learner of the year.

A delighted George Annan (19, from Slough), received the accolade of the College's most Outstanding Student 2012 and most promising student for Computing and ICT.

"I was so surprised when my name was called out," enthused George. "It is such an honour to win these awards. Since my childhood, computers have been my passion. Studying at College is helping me to gain the qualifications I need to become a computer engineer and build a career in the IT industry."

As well as shining academically, George gives up his own time to help his fellow students and, outside of college, works in care homes providing help for those in need.

Another winner was actor and former student David Gyasi, who won the coveted Alumni Award for his outstanding achievements since graduating in 1999 as well as his continued commitment to encouraging young talent through his visits to the College. His recent achievements include roles in The Dark Knight Rises, Doctor Who, the George Lucas blockbuster Red Tails and the Wachowski Siblings' epic film Cloud Atlas with Tom Hanks, which is due out in the UK next year.

"It is a great honour to be awarded in this way. My teachers at College were the first ones to tell me that I could go far if I put my mind to it. They were very supportive and it was really emotional to see them again after all this time. My philosophy is to make the most of every opportunity and to see each knock back in life as a golden opportunity to come back stronger."

Jeanette Chippington (from Maidenhead) also gave an inspiring speech, talking about the virus that left her disabled, her rigorous training programmes and the unwavering determination that ensured her success in the pool. Success that culminated in achieving medals at five consecutive Paralympic Games. If that wasn't enough, Jeanette has now swapped the pool for the open water and is training in paracanoe, with the hope of adding to her medal tally in Rio 2016.

"I believe it is really important to recognise people's achievements, so it is an honour to be asked to present these awards. You can either sit back and wish your life away or work hard and achieve your goals. These students have worked hard over the year and they should all be very proud of themselves."

Principal of East Berkshire College, Kate Webb, praised the students' achievements: "The awards evening is about recognising talent. We have over 7,500 learners enrolled at the college and this year's winners are an inspiration to us all."

The special evening event was attended by over 180 people including Councillor Christine Small, Mayor of Slough and Councillor Colin Rayner, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses available, call 0845 373 2500.


Published in A Levels
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 00:00

Top marks for GCSE language students

East Berkshire College students celebrated outstanding GCSE results this summer, achieving a 100% pass rate for GCSE Italian and Spanish for the third year running.

Language students were rejoicing as they received their final grades at the College's Windsor Campus on Thursday 25 August. All nine students who studied the part-time Italian course passed with an A or A* grade. Meanwhile, all 16 learners taking Spanish gained an A*.

Having achieved their grades, many of the students are now progressing on to AS level courses in their chosen language.

Published in Modern Languages
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

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