MKC Business & Leadership Centre celebrates first birthday with bold new plans

Fri 21 Nov 2014

Milton Keynes College have chosen the first anniversary of the highly successful Business and Leadership Centre to launch a whole range of new offerings to local companies to support businesses and their students.

In just twelve months the centre on Silbury Boulevard has already had dealings with more than three thousand businesses of all sizes and types from start-ups to global brands and now trains around nine hundred people per month.  Based on Silbury Boulevard, it is home to a number of small companies and in regular use by organisations as varied as Santander and the Institute of Directors.

Director of Business Engagement, Jane Horridge, says, “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 twelve months.”

Now the Centre will also boast a state-of-the-art creative studio to be called, “The Design House.”  The new facility will be entirely student-led.  It will offer services to businesses including graphic design and photography and will be a fully commercial operation.

The centre is also introducing a Partners Programme which will allow regular users of the extensive facilities a whole range of privileges from discounts on conferences, training or networking to sponsorship opportunities at the College’s hugely popular 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.  “The business advisory boards are potentially very exciting for us,” Jane Horridge says, “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.”   There will be a number of boards, each specialising 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 tech support company, Mirus IT, whose managing director, Paul Tomlinson, was revealed as one of the first three “ambassadors” for the College along with Clive Hawes from Santander and Roger Bowden from Niftylift. 

College Principal, Dr Julie Mills, described ambassador status as, “recognising the commitment, contribution and advocacy key individuals demonstrate to Milton Keynes College.”  Mr Tomlinson said, “Last year we decided to focus on some of the softer skills with our staff, in particular, customer service.  We came to Milton Keynes College and the Business & Leadership Centre. They began working with us and as a result have really helped us increase customer satisfaction and created a happier work force. It is also through the Business and Leadership Centre that we have been able to offer leadership and management training to our senior staff, building up our middle managers to create a stronger support network for the whole team. With MK College and Mirus it is all about our long lasting partnership rather than just a training provider, they are constantly looking for ways in which we can develop our business by providing a custom made service.”

The involvement of business in training and education at the Centre will be further enhanced by the launch of College to Careers.  Under the scheme, businesses will be able to get to know students right at the start of relevant courses of study.  They will be able to identify potential future employees among the student groups months or even years in advance and be confident that those young people are completely suited and coached to fit right in with their business when the time comes. 

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.  Supporting businesses is something close to my heart as not only college principal but also a business owner myself, co-running a thriving engineering business.  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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