College announces extended links with business at first anniversary party

Nov 24, 2014

The centre, at the college’s Silbury Boulevard campus, has dealt with more than 3,000 businesses in its first 12 months and is currently training around 900 people every month.

The centre is home to a number of small companies and used regularly by organisations as varied as Santander and the Institute of Directors.

Jane Horridge, the college’s director of business engagement, is pictured (left) chatting to guests at a party to mark the Business & Leadership Centre’s anniversary. She said: “It’s been an incredible first year. 

“Every way the College works with businesses has been brought here under one roof including providing training, office and meeting space and facilities for businesses as well as giving students the opportunity to get involved in live projects with real companies. 

“One of our greatest achievements is that large organisations are now coming to us suggesting ways we can work together, rather than us having to go out and chase them. 

“Companies we’re talking to at the moment include Amazon, Ocado and Tesco.  They’ve all approached us because of the reputation the Business & Leadership Centre has built up in just 12 months.”

The Business & Leadership Centre is to be the home of The Design House, a state-of-the-art creative studio that will be entirely student-led. It will offer services to businesses including graphic design and photography and will be a fully commercial operation.

It has also unveiled a Partners Programme, which offers the centre’s regular users a range of privileges including disocunts on conferences, training and the opportunity to sponsor the college’s Students of the Year Awards. 

Available at three different levels of Associate, Friend and Partner, some will also gain access to the new Business Advisory Boards which are also being introduced. 

Jane Horridge said: “The business advisory boards are potentially very exciting for us because they do exactly what everyone from the government to big business organisations is saying should be done.  That is, involving the companies who need workers in designing the training those potential employees will receive.”  

Each advisory board will specialise in a particular area of study and each helping to design what training delivery in their field of expertise should look like.  The first will be sponsored by IT support company Mirus IT, whose managing director, Paul Tomlinson, was among the first three Ambassadors for Milton Keynes College, along with Santander director Clive and Roger Bowden, chairman of award-winning hydraulic access platform manufacturer Niftylift. 

The involvement of business in training and education at the Centre will be further enhanced by the launch of the College to Careers scheme. Businesses will be able to identify potential future employees among the student groups months or even years in advance. 

College principal Julie Mills said: “We established this centre to support the business community in any way we can and will continue to do so. We’ve expanded our training repertoire in response to you, the businesses, telling us what you need. 

“It really is fantastic to see the way that employers are working with us; not only with how the Business and Leadership Centre can help them achieve their business objectives, but how they are so passionate about working with our students to help develop the talent of Milton Keynes.” 

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