Cotton Court Business Centre

Author: Amy Blundell

CompTIA Opens free IT-Ready Boot Camp At Cotton Court

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We are looking forward to hosting CompTIA and it’s tech workforce charity, Creating IT Futures eight-week information technology (IT) boot camp which is the first of its kind in the UK.  Funded in partnership with the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership as part of the DCMS Digital Skills Innovation fund, IT-Ready will offer free technical support training to help adults launch their careers in IT.

“With more than 140,000 IT jobs open in the UK and the average IT salary being 56 percent higher than the national wage, employers need more tech workers and more workers need more opportunities,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures and vice president, social innovation, CompTIA. “With IT-Ready, we help more adults get the training they need to fill tech jobs, gain an upwardly mobile career, and earn family-sustaining wages.”

 “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DCMS to support the roll-out of the IT-Ready programme in Lancashire,” said Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, Lancashire LEP.  

“The initiative, which is fully aligned with needs of local business, offers Lancashire residents a fantastic opportunity to develop their digital skills and improve their employment prospects,” Lawty-Jones added. “It’s also another great example of how the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, which is part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is raising the skills of our digital workforce to boost productivity while also driving inclusive growth across the county.”

Interested adults can visit www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire by 23rd January to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 10th February 2020. IT – ready primarily serves:

  • Lower-income adults due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Displaced workers whose skill sets are no longer in high demand
  • Groups under-represented in the ranks of IT workers, such as women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a UK citizen or permanent resident and have 4 GCSEs (including Maths and English) or equivalent. No prior experience in tech is necessary, but a love of technology, a strong level of commitment and a drive to succeed are extremely important. 

IT-Ready students receive free tuition, learning materials, tech and soft skills training, and certification vouchers. They learn technical skills to help them successfully pass both parts of the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Plus, students receive professional development training to refine highly sought-after business skills including communication techniques, conflict management, teamworking, critical thinking and problem-solving. Graduates are prepared to apply both technical and professional skills starting day one of their first tech job. 

Creating IT Futures developed IT-Ready in 2012, and CompTIA UK Ltd staff will work with local employers to hire IT-Ready graduates in Lancashire. Within four months of graduating, 85 percent of IT-Ready students typically are working in a paid IT role with local area companies, earning £16,000 – £18,000 annually. Graduates move into help desk tech roles, building and maintaining a business’s IT environment and assisting its internal and external customers.  

Applicants should apply by 23rd January at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire

About Creating IT Futures
Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org.  

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

 

Yolo wellbeing

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As our visit from Cheryle at YOLO Wellbeing was such a huge hit last year, we have decided to do it again!

Cheryle is the founder and owner of YOLO Wellbeing. She created a sensory experience that combines massage and meditation in a specially designed mobile environment that means she is able to travel to you and offer this service from your workplace. The YOLO Wellbeing experience is designed to help improve physical and mental health and is a great way to reward and boost employees morale.

We have teamed up with Cheryle in order to be able to offer this unique experience again to our clients and staff for Stress Awareness Day on the 6th April, Massage at Work Week on the 3rd June and Stress Awareness Week on the 3rd November.

The feedback that we received from staff and clients last time round was really positive with everyone commenting on how relaxed they felt and how it had set them up to continue their day with a positive mindset. With the awareness days coming up, it seemed like the perfect idea to get Cheryle back and treat our clients and staff once again!

Growth Company Offering Fully Funded Training for Lancashire Businesses

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Cotton Court residents Growth Company are delivering the Skills Support for the Workforce programme across Lancashire. It is a fully-funded programme designed to help employers bridge skills gaps in their organisation through bespoke training. Businesses can access a range of accredited and non-accredited programmes to help them upskill their staff – helping employees to progress in their careers. Skills Support for the Workforce aims to enhance staff productivity, increase morale and improve staff retention in organisations across the county.

The Skills Support for the Workforce programme is commissioned by the ESFA and working with the Lancashire LEP, Skills Support for the Workforce offers fully-funded support to help you develop staff through a range of training programmes which are tailored to your business needs.

Growth Company offers a variety of accredited and non-accredited programmes in sectors such as Engineering & Manufacture, Hospitality, Logistics, Management, Health & Social Care, Construction, and Creative & Digital.

These qualifications are aimed at individuals who would like to develop the skills and knowledge to progress within their chosen career. They are industry-recognised qualifications, assessing both knowledge and competence that are transferable across a range of competencies.

What’s on offer:
Analysis of current skills gaps in your business and tailored learning plans to meet them
Delivery of the qualifications within the workplace and with minimal disruption

Our programmes:
Accredited full level 2 and part level 3 qualifications are available alongside tailored support for your business
Can be used to develop basic skills in IT and digital
Include specialist support for businesses going through restructures and where staff are at risk of redundancy
Benefits  for your business:
A higher skilled workforce
Fewer skills gaps
Increase staff productivity
Improved staff retention
Enhanced morale
Opportunities are available to progress onto apprenticeships or higher-level qualifications after completing this training.
For more information please visit

The Big PNE Sleepout

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Friday 15th November saw a team of us from Cotton Court take part in the Big PNE Sleepout. The event was organised by Preston North End in the Community, Blog Preston and BIFFA who have joined with The Foxton Centre – a Preston based charity celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Whilst we had time to prepare for this challenge, it wasn’t what we had expected and was much tougher than we initially thought.

We joined around 300 others who were also taking part, in the concourse at the stadium where we were handed a piece of cardboard that would act as our ‘bed’ for the night.

 

At first, it seems almost exciting to be able to take part in something that you wouldn’t usually find yourself doing. However, as the night goes on this challenge becomes exactly that and it is a hard one. The home comforts that we regularly take for granted like a comfy pillow and a nice mattress are missed. You may feel tired but to find that position that you are comfortable enough to sleep in without the luxuries that we are accustomed to is very difficult. The neck aches and back aches begin and it makes it somewhat impossible to sleep. On top of that you are battling with the cold!

 

When you do finally manage to drift off to sleep you are constantly tossing and turning meaning that you aren’t actually getting the sleep required in order to be able to feel satisfied.

This really highlighted for us what those that are homeless have to endure and on a much tougher scale. This helped us all stick it out despite some of us wanting to leave at points, because we knew that these people don’t have that choice.

It was a real eye opener being able to experience the sleepout and we are so very grateful to all of the organisers and everyone who supported us and donated. We were aiming as a team to raise £1000 and to date we have raised £1193 so a huge thank you to all of you. We sincerely hope that this money can contribute to making a difference in Preston where homelessness is a major issue.

The Sleep Out had a target of £50,000 to raise for The Foxton Centre’s Housing First scheme and has already exceeded this in online donations. 

You can have a look at our photos from the event here:

https://bit.ly/2O4PdVs

Natwest Events 26th November 2019

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We are excited to be hosting the Back Her Business workshop on Tuesday 26th November in partnership with NatWest and Crowdfunder. The event will teach entrepreneurs all about how crowdfunding works, and how crowdfunding in general and Back Her Business, in particular, can be an effective way to get your new business up and running.

These events are a must-attend for an idea or early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs that are serious about growth!

By joining the session you’ll learn about:

  • The importance of female entrepreneurship to society
  • The Rose Review
  • Back Her Business: how people can access it and the Bank’s role
  • What crowdfunding is, and all about Crowdfunder
  • Benefits of crowdfunding, including Back Her Business match funding
  • How to crowdfund

The event is free to attend, but registration is essential:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/back-her-business-preston-turning-ideas-into-businesses-free-event-tickets-74804100077

Hope to see you there!

National Stress Awareness Day with Yolo Wellbeing!

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Last week, to mark National Stress Awareness Day, we invited Cheryle from YOLO Wellbeing down to Cotton Court.

The aim was to provide our staff and clients with the YOLO Wellbeing Experience. 

 Cheryle’s mobile unit is geared up to provide a relaxing 15 minutes out of the office with tranquil mood lighting and a short video of either water, sunset or mountains to really help you relax whilst she gives you a neck, back and shoulder massage to relieve any tension that we may get as a  result of feeling stressed.

Mental health and stress is one of the most common reasons for absence in the workplace. The 2018 Wellbeing Survey from Cigna 360 reports that 87% of employees in the UK feel stressed, yet just one in 10 work somewhere that offers them a wellbeing programme.

It was really important for us to be able to highlight Stress Awareness Day and to be able to promote wellbeing in the workplace. Not only does it improve staff morale, it also increases productivity levels and greater engagement between staff and clients.

Cotton Court Director, Robert Binns, said “YOLO Wellbeing offered a completely unique way to improve workplace wellbeing and demonstrate our investment in our peoples welfare. The feedback from our clients and the staff at Cotton Court has far exceeded my expectations and I look forward to booking additional dates.”

Cotton Court client, VJ Brand from Waterbabies Lancashire said ‘ I loved the head massage and the meditation side of things where I could just relax, close my eyes, enjoy the treatment and open my mind as well. I’m ready to go, so thank you YOLO Wellbeing for a lovely massage and hopefully, you’ll be back at Cotton Court soon!’

It was a great opportunity to be able to offer this service to our clients and staff and definitely something that we would recommend to other businesses. 

If you would like your staff or your workplace to benefit from the YOLO Wellbeing Experience then visit https://yolowellbeing.co.uk/

Cotton Court take part in the Big PNE Sleepout!

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 On Friday 15th November the Cotton Court team along with hundreds of people will be sleeping out at Preston Deepdale Stadium to raise funds for the Foxton Centre. The Foxton Centre is a Preston based charity who are committed to helping adults and young people within the local community

Helping the city’s homeless, the sleep out aims to raise £50,000 to buy a house for Preston’s rough sleepers under the charity’s Housing First initiative. You can donate to our page here 

 

Here at Cotton Court we are entering a team of around 15 people, made up of staff and customers, to sleep out and hope to raise more than £1,000 between us!

Rochelle, said: “We are very proud to be able to be a part of the Big PNE Sleepout. Homelessness is a major issue in Preston and if we can contribute to raising awareness and money to support this cause then why not be involved.”

To make a donation towards this fantastic cause please visit Cotton Court group’s fundraising page here

 

Lancashire County Council chooses Cotton Court client to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud Fund

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A support fund available for businesses in Lancashire has a new team in charge of handing out loans designed to spark growth and jobs.

Lancashire County Council has chosen investment specialist GC Business Finance (GCBF) to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud business finance fund.

The team, based at Cotton Court, will oversee Rosebud loans from £10,000 to £300,000 for growing businesses over the next five years and will work alongside Lancashire County Developments.

It delivers more than £60m in finance to over 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises each year. This includes managing the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s ‘microfinance’ funds, providing loans of between £25,000 and £100,000 to businesses across the powerhouse area.

Rosebud aims to create around 150 new jobs per year and will focus on sectors such as aerospace; advanced manufacturing; digital and creative; energy and environment; health innovation; and financial and professional services.

County councillor Michael Green, a cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Over the last 30 years Rosebud has helped thousands of businesses across Lancashire to expand by tapping into finance to create new jobs, move premises and invest in technology. We’re incredibly pleased to be able to allocate a further £11.25m pounds to support growing Lancashire businesses to achieve their growth aspirations.”

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “GC Business Finance already works closely with the Access 2 Finance service in Lancashire and has strong relationships with local businesses and the professional services community.

“It will help provide a seamless transition for the delivery of Rosebud finance, helping businesses create employment opportunities, especially the graduate-level jobs that can help us retain talent in Lancashire.”

 

Paul Breen, director of GC Business Finance, said: “Lancashire is a strong and vibrant economy and home to a vast number of successful businesses. However, some companies struggle to access funding through traditional means which is where Rosebud can play a vital role.”

Businesses interested in applying for Rosebud finance can do so through the county council website or Boost Business Lancashire. Applications for finance will be considered from businesses based in the administrative area of the council.

“Alongside GC Business Finance, the Growth Company is heading up a new initiative that has been launched across Lancashire to boost business productivity. Skills Support for the Workforce is a fully-funded programme designed to help employers bridge skills gaps in their organisation through bespoke training. Businesses can access a range of accredited and non-accredited programmes to help them upskill their staff – helping employees to progress in their careers. Skills Support for the Workforce aims to enhance staff productivity, increase morale and improve staff retention in organisations across the county”.

If you’d like more information on Skills Support for the Workforce in Lancashire and to see if your business is eligible, call 01772 920 750 or email WorkforceLancs@gcskills-support.uk.

International Cultural Awareness master class with BDC Moore!

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Join BDC Moore on Thursday 14th November 2019 here at Cotton Court for their International Cultural Awareness master class!

For whom is this Master Class?

  • Business owners
  • Team members dealing with international clients and/or suppliers
  • Team members attending international Trade Shows & Exhibitions
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Graphic Designers and Web Designers
  • HR professionals

Why should you attend this Master Class?

  • Learn how to avoid cultural pitfalls, which can be costly
  • Learn how to stay safe on international business trips
  • Learn how to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships
  • Learn how cultural awareness has a direct impact on your bottom line

What will be covered in this Master Class?

  • Meaning and impact of words, colours and symbols in different cultures
  • Legal and financial differences
  • How to stay politically correct
  • Impact of positive and negative stereotypes
  • How to use humour wisely

Limited number of spaces! Book your place now! 

Refreshments, lunch, workbook and free parking are included.

HLS Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation

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We are pleased to be holding the HLS #SMSTS Refresher and #SSSTS course here at Cotton Court on the 23rd-24th and the 30th-31st October 2019!

HLS are specialists in Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation across the UK and are delighted to announce the launch of their new Preston Venue!

The team of multidisciplinary Health and Safety Instructors can provide you with both Training and Consultancy services on request. They are highly qualified and motivated to provide a top-class service.  Having a North West base in Preston’s beautiful Cotton Court is fantastic as it’s so close to all amenities and travel is made so much easier.  HLS will be launching the CITB Site Safety Plus courses in October 2019 including Site Managers Training Scheme (SMSTS) and Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) and more.

Book your place now! https://www.health-life-safety.co.uk/open-courses/

Why not check them out on Facebook or Twitter for additional courses and special offers Or call Michelle on 07961 588 881