Berkshire: Portal launched for residents facing skills and employment challenges

Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched Berkshire Opportunities – berkshireopportunities.co.uk – the area’s premier gateway to finding out about jobs, apprenticeships and further education and Post 16 courses as well as local career-path options. The free online portal will help Berkshire residents to make informed career decisions and will support them through the employment and skills challenges they face now, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the future.

Local job seekers, students, residents and employers will be able to take advantage of the portal’s real-time features, including a quick and accessible tool to search for live job vacancies, apprenticeships, course data and training opportunities that are available locally. The portal will also signpost residents to Berkshire’s key recruiting sectors, highlighting those which are currently in urgent need of workers.

Funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP in conjunction with the six Berkshire Local Authorities (West Berkshire, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Windsor & Maidenhead and Slough), the five Berkshire further education colleges (Newbury College, Reading College, Bracknell & Wokingham College, The Windsor Forest Colleges Group and BCA), The Careers and Enterprise Company and supported by Adviza, the portal will aid local employers in their reach and recruitment of future talent, as well as promoting upskill and progression opportunities for their existing staff.

Katharine Horler, chair of the Skills Advisory Panel said: “Berkshire Opportunities paints a comprehensive picture of the area’s employment and skills offering in one easily searchable website. Residents can access relevant information and resources that will give them the confidence and capabilities to grasp the opportunities currently available on their doorstep.”

Alison Webster, CEO of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the health and economy of Berkshire and will likely result in significant consequences for the area for some time. Thames Valley Berkshire LEP recognises the challenges local residents and employers now face and has responded through the rapid launch of an online opportunities portal that will not only support job seekers in their immediate career, training and education goals, but have a positive impact on the skills and development landscape in Berkshire for years to come.

Josie Wragg, chief executive of Slough Borough Council, said: “We realised early on there was going to be a lot of uncertainty around the job market as a result of the pandemic and needed to assist people looking for employment, and that we had to act quickly. The council has worked hard in a short timeframe with Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to create this web portal to match people looking for jobs with employers. It is imperative the residents of Slough, as well as the rest of Berkshire, gets access to the latest and best employment opportunities, and for companies who are hiring to promote their vacancies to the widest number of people who possess the skills they need. These people and jobs will be the ones which will be key to the recovery of the economy.”