West London College held the first in a series of planned ‘Business Breakfast & Networking’ events in its award-winning TASTE Restaurant on 21 November 2023. Connecting over thirty employers and stakeholders from a diverse range of industries across London, the presentations, Q&A, and networking proved highly informative. Training providers, apprenticeship agencies, and small businesses were able to meet over breakfast and share opportunities, learn about new local initiatives, and improve staffing strategies.
In the opening talk Matt Fawcett, Deputy Principal – Planning, Partnerships & Projects, introduced the partnership opportunities available to businesses who want to work with West London College. Matt described the college’s commitment to collaborate with employers in its curriculum design, to meet industry needs. He also outlined WLC’s involvement in the London Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF). This multi-million-pound scheme allows WLC to develop specific areas, spanning health and social care, creative and cultural, retail, food manufacturing, transport and logistics, as well as employer engagement.
Matt said: “One of the most thrilling retail initiatives we’re currently working on is in creating a new Retail Skills Academy at the Westfield London shopping centre.”
Delegates at the event reinforced the need to create a community resource for local businesses that benefit businesses as well as jobseekers.
Sukh Sahans from Ealing Council said: “Access to opportunities which enhance local residents’ job prospects are always welcomed.”
Sukh found the insights he gained into the way further education was developing in London, essential knowledge too.
Ajay Purbhoosing from Workwhile (formerly London Progression Collaboration) told the gathering about the benefits companies gain from working with them. Workwhile provides funding opportunities and a mentor programme for line managers, managing apprentices.
Ajay’s colleague, Emma McWalter explained that Workwhile is a not-for-profit that works with large companies who transfer their unused apprenticeship levy to them, so they can then offer services to SMEs for free.
Emma said: “We’re employer-facing, but we couldn’t do what we do without WLC to open doors for us.”
Sukirat Bhoghal from Mindful Education who works with the college on CIPD and AAT courses and apprenticeships echoed Emma’s sentiments.
Sukirat said: “We have a wonderful partnership with WLC. Their delivery is great and the provision has been growing well.”
Additional guest speakers included Adam Durrant and Walter Bachenheimer from Metro Bank. They explained how the bank has grown from one to seventy-six banks in just over 13 years. They emphasised their focus on providing business banking to meet employers’ needs.
Adam said: “You can come into the branch and walk out 90 minutes later with a functioning business account, with your credit card and debit card. That’s because Metro Bank prints your cards in our branches.”
West London College’s next Business Breakfast & Networking event will take place at Southall Community College on 6 February 2024, as part of Apprenticeships Week 2024. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org