On Thursday 22 March 2012, Newbury College's new Sports Hall hosted its first charity basketball match, a close but a well fought battle against Newbury Sound (The Breeze Newbury from 2 April 2012).
Both teams stayed relatively equally for the first two quarters, drawing 24 - 24 at half time, however an energetic push from Newbury Sound's ex-professional player Steve Tolloczko gave the "Feel good station" the lead.
All was not lost as last minute addition to the team, Dennis Davis, scored an impressive 3-point basket in the 4th quarter along with a flurry of points coming in from Matt Hall, Liam Hume, Mellanie Parehwa and Henry Johnson.
The game ended with a tiny 8 point difference at 54 - 46 to the away team and after the match News Journalist Emily Tolloczko said "We'd like to thank Newbury College for inviting us to take part in this charity challenge. We've had a great time, and are delighted to have raised money for Sport Relief. The Newbury College team demonstrated fantastic sportsmanship and made us feel very welcome, it's been a pleasure to be involved."
Reading Rockets Coach Mark Halewood was also on hand to offer tips to both teams and commented on the promising level of talent displayed by the students. Mark will be running after College sessions every Thursday after the Easter holidays for anyone that wants to get involved (see noticeboard in the Street for details).
Spectators, who watched from the viewing gallery on the mezzanine, and players alike had a really enjoyable time with the main highlight being the £150 (to date) raised for Sport Relief 2012. Our thanks to everyone for giving up their time and/or money for this event.
Over forty five leading businesses and organisations attended a Work and Careers Fair at Newbury College on Wed March 28th and it was the biggest of its kind ever to be staged in West Berkshire. The organizations that were present represented a wide range of sectors; many were familiar high street names including new comers to the area, Harrods Distribution and John Lewis, alongside two of the largest employers in the region, the AWE and Vodafone.
Last November, some very insightful research was conducted amongst young people aged 16-18 who were studying in West Berkshire, as to their perception of the skills that were considered of most value by employers. This survey was constructed following two sets of comparable research amongst employers on the subject of "employability skills", by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) at a national level and at a local level the Berkshire Education Business Partnership Organisation. From these studies seven sets of skills were presented to local young people, who ranked them in order of importance:
1. Self Management
2. Communication and Literacy
3. Team Working
4. Business and Customer Awareness
5. Problem Solving
6. Application of IT
7. Application of Numeracy
When compared to the employers feedback there was a consensus that self management and communications skills are key, there was a concern from employers that amongst young people communications styles are too highly influenced by social media and texting, resulting in people struggling with basic skills required to write a good CV and covering letter. Equally and perhaps more importantly, employers see numeracy skills as being at the top of their list of preferred skills.
These young people were also asked what local employers could do to help them get the skills they'd need when they start work. The resultant feedback included CV practice and interview tips as well as the opportunity to talk with employers both at their place of study and at local careers fairs.
With the budget recently having revealed very little in the way of short term improvement for unemployment levels, the West Berks Work and Careers Fair, couldn't have been timelier. Dawn Ray who organised the fair on behalf of the West Berks Skills and Enterprise Partnership, said, "The event unquestionably helped to address many of the points raised by this research. By meeting employers in person and through a full programme of workshops throughout the day, the event helped visitors to find out what businesses are demanding in terms of the right skills to meet the needs of today's economy and how to perform better in this challenging job market".
Staff, Governors and Learners at Newbury College are reaping the rewards of all their hard work after fantastic praise from its Ofsted inspection, which has awarded the whole College a rating of 'Good'.
This judgment represents the best Ofsted report in the College's recent history and confirms the consistently high value which the College adds to all learners. Out of a total of 22 categories looking at the College's overall effectiveness, achievement and standards, personal development and well-being of students, capacity to improve, the quality of provision, and leadership and management, the College received 19 'good' judgments and a considerable number of 'Outstanding' comments were made about specific areas. These areas included; the results for many 16-18 year learner areas, Working with Businesses, Working in Partnerships, provision for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities and the support from Governors.
Anne Murdoch, College Principal is thrilled and said, "I am truly delighted that, following a full Ofsted inspection, we are now able to confirm that Newbury College is 'Good' overall. The report also confirms the hard work and commitment of everyone to ensure that all learners at the College get a good deal. Ofsted confirmed that Newbury College fosters a learning environment of trust, confidence and respect. In addition, Learners highly value the arrangement for providing information, advice, guidance and support. These are indeed accolades which everyone involved in the work of the College deserve".
The report noted that over the past four years outcomes for learners have improved significantly. Learners get their qualifications at rates which are good and in some cases, such as Level 2 results for younger learners, the results are outstanding. An extensive, well-developed range of vocational
programmes enables learners to enhance their employability prospects or move on to Higher Education or training and Programmes for Apprentices are good and completed in a pleasingly prompt way.
A testament to the work of all staff is the progress made by the College. The report confirms Newbury College is in the top 5% nationally in the value it adds to its learners during their course of study; a position it has held for two years.
Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. Their aim is to raise aspirations and contribute to the long term achievement of ambitious standards and better life chances.
For more information about Newbury College and the range full and part time January 2010 start courses available, please contact Learner Services and Information on 01635 845000 .
Newbury College recently hosted West Berkshire Partnership's, Growing our Own' workshops for Small and Medium Employers (SMEs).
With Newbury College offering their facilities and admin support and funding from the Local Strategic Partnership these workshops were offered free of charge to all local small and medium businesses. Over three different dates there were three workshops put on for the businesses to attend in order to help them not just survive but thrive in the current economic climate. The first workshop Attracting and Retaining Customers' was held by Trainer Geof Thornton who talked about getting to grips with why people buy and keep buying, learning how to profile your customers and ideas on getting your business to stand out. The second workshop Marketing without Money' presented by Steve Mills from Steve Mills Marketing demonstrating how to make the most out of marketing, capitalising on word-of-mouth and gave a How To Guide' on free marketing options. Alex Petty from Alex Petty.biz' was the trainer of the third workshop Growing Your Own Business' which covered the crucial steps for business growth, systemizing and choosing the right team and how to ensure continuous growth for businesses. All attendees were greeted with a tea and coffee reception and were issued with accompanying workbooks to support each training session.
Matthew Lowe from Shoestrings Website who attended the workshops said, The workshops were highly informative and motivating. In particular the talk by Steve Mills provided some great insight into using social media to promote my business . Since the talk I have changed the way I use LinkedIn and have received work as a direct result of those changes! The direct nature of the workshops have made me face doing some things I've been putting off like creating a business plan, a mission statement, and even tasks as simple as deciding precisely what it is I want to get from the business and being self employed. After each of the courses I found the large gathering of representatives for local businesses made for excellent networking opportunities, which has provided me with a number of business leads that I hope to pursue over the coming weeks.
The workshops were supported by the Local Strategic Partnership and the College was able to provide the venue at no cost. About 80 people attended and outcomes from the workshops should make a real difference to those companies and to the economy of West Berkshire.
Anne Murdoch, Principal of Newbury College said, I am delighted that the College has been able to host the workshops which are free for local companies to find out how they can improve their business in the current economic climate. The workshop facilitators are all well known in their fields and provided excellent presentations on how small companies can grow their business, even in the most difficult circumstances.