With many organisations left feeling uncertain, Chamber member, Weston College have proactively mobilised their services to be able to continue to offer expert advice and support. Despite the College campus buildings not being open following government advice, the College is certainly open for business, moving its whole course provision online, and proactively engaging with employers, hour by hour.
Classrooms have moved to Microsoft Teams, offices are set up at home, and face-to-face business meetings have taken place over Skype, Zoom and other digital platforms, to create #MyVirtualCollege. The driving concept behind this initiative is to encourage human connectivity, and to ensure that our region is ready to move forward together when we come through this unprecedented time.
The College has mobilised an entire suite of fully funded online courses available to all in subjects such as Leadership and Management, LEAN business techniques, Understanding Autism, and recognising the increase in remote based working with social distancing, courses are also available in Digital Skills and Improving Personal Exercise and Nutrition.
The College continues to engage with employers. During the first week of online mobilisation, we held a virtual Industry Advisory Board (IAB) meeting with employers. The Finance and Professional Services IAB included attendees such as Natwest, the Soil Association, Triodos, Lloyds Bank and Reed, to discuss opportunities to collaborate, ensuring the College will continue to create the future workforce for this significant employment sector.
Stuart Harrison, from FinTech West, was part of this meeting, and said:
“I’m a firm believer in trying to ensure the entire ‘supply chain’ works well when considering the future of an organisation, business sector or part of the economy.
“The region already has a great FinTech community and anything we can do to help that develop we’re clearly keen to do.
“Even though the recent meeting had to operate online, the positivity shown by everyone was very encouraging for the future when we finally emerge from these difficult times. In fact, as we become more adept as a society at online meetings, perhaps we can learn to be more efficient and ‘green’ as a result…although I do miss my coffee shop catch ups!”
These thoughts were echoed by Katie Dominy, Head of HR at the Soil Association:
“The Soil Association is keen to understand and influence the skills, capabilities and confidence of our next generation of the workforce.
“The session we held online last week was very proactive, enlightening, and encouraging. Seeing how open businesses were to discuss avenues, in which Weston College can then explore to move forward and help deliver the best outcomes for their students through business partnering and experiences was very encouraging.
“We are learning more about T Levels, apprenticeships and shared work experiences across organisations to see how responsive we could be as an organisation to support students in their learning requirements.”
Paul Grantham of Natwest also comments:
“These are unprecedented times. Like many sectors, Financial and Professional Services are evolving rapidly. Weston College are showing that they are keen to keep up with this pace to ensure that we have the talent of tomorrow in the South West.”
Dave Crew, Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnership, said:
“We are extremely passionate about creating brighter futures, both for learners and employers.
“It is obviously a very tough climate for businesses at the moment, with many having to close their physical doors. We want to support frontline services, employers and community partners across the region, and we can help in several ways; from digital courses to upskill whilst you’re at home, to employment support and developing bespoke training programmes for employers, responding to individual business needs.
“Weston College are open for business and our team will support your organisation and the workforce through the coming weeks and months. Contact us to have a conversation and explore the options available.”