Cotton Court Business Centre

Courses

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 16 August to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 16 September. 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 16 August at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire. Employers interested in hiring the applicants in November should contact Zeshan Sattar of CompTIA UK Ltd at zsattar@comptia.org

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.

 

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.

‘Cracking on with it’ in business

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Over the years we’ve been in business, we’ve developed a reputation as being the ‘go to’ guys for advice, or just to run ideas by. Our team is powered by a wide variety of disciplines, so we’re usually in a good position to help. The only thing that really holds us back is time.

Like most people in business, time can sometimes feel like it’s working against us. The hours in the working day fly by, and sometimes it feels as though you haven’t completed half of what you needed to get done. It can be frustrating, stressful and bad for business.

When people come and ask us for our advice or just to pick our brains, we always have the good intention of helping, but sometimes our complicated relationship with time gets in the way and we just aren’t able to.

We don’t like disappointing our friends and colleagues, so we’ve been thinking of ways that we can help as many people as we can, whilst not affecting all our essential tasks. We’ve decided to team up with Kennedy Ross Consulting to tackle that problem, and bring you a series of FREE events hosted at Cotton Court Business Centre. 

The events are aimed at helping business owners, managers or even just people thinking about starting a business overcome the main issues they face, and the main barriers to just ‘cracking on with it’ in business practice.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently on our Christmas Card list, an existing Cotton Court Customer or we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. The ‘Cracking on with it’ events are free and open to anyone looking to be more productive, improve their business and develop their skills. 

The first event is just around the corner, with limited spaces filling up fast. If you want to further your skills and develop your business, sign up free of charge now. The first event is focused on a truly universally applicable skill, getting along with people. 

Relationships are just as important in business as they are in your personal life, and getting off on the right foot can make a marked difference in your businesses success. The event titled “Getting along with everyone within the first seven seconds” promises to be an insightful, fun and useful session, that is already generating lots of interest.

Click HERE to register your interest (opens in a new window)

 

or call us on 01772 507 767

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

New Digital Art Classes from Digital Touch!

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Cotton Court Client Jilly of Digital Touch is setting out on her new venture of teaching her passion; digital art!

Here’s what Jilly had to say about it!

Digital Touch is delighted to have started taking our first bookings and will be teaching bespoke Digital Art on a one to one basis.

This service is available week days, (alternate weeks) : 5pm – 7pm or 6pm – 8pm

For more information please contact us at info@digitaltouch.co.uk

Cloud Accounting – Xero Basics Workshop with Together We Balance

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Our client Alys Stewart of Together We Balance is running a Xero Basics course at Cotton Court next week! To sign up just visit the link at the bottom of the page.

Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services. Xero provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position and performance in a way that’s simple, smart and secure.
This workshop will cover the basics of using the Xero cloud accounting software to simplify your bookkeeping and accounting process and is suitable for Sole Traders, Business Owners, Staff involved with bookeeping data entry as well as bookkeepers and accountants who want to expand the software they can use with their clients.
Areas to be covered in this initial workshop include –
Company setup
Creating and editing customers and suppliers
Sales invoices, purchase invoices and credit notes
The Chart of Accounts
Bank Accounts, payments and receipts
Futher workshops are planned to include reporting, bank feeds, VAT returns, contra invoicing, project tracking, inventory control, integration and other, more advanced aspects. Dates are TBA. A discount code for these future will be available to all attendees.
PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN LAPTOP OR MACBOOK, remember your charger.

To sign up just click here!

The 10 Step (Ethical) Plan to Ensure SEO Success – Mark Preston SEO

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From the success of his last event our client, Mark Preston SEO is holding another SEO course! Read all about what he will be speaking about on the day below:

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This is a one day course, where you will learn how to ethically drive a constant flow of visitors to your website and push your online brand awareness using the power of search engine optimisation.

It is so important that you fully understand what SEO is and how it impacts your business. If you get it wrong, it has the potential to do more damage than good. If you want to arm yourself with the skills and knowledge to pro-actively increase new business day after day, get booked on this one day SEO workshop seminar.

Who should attend?

If you own or manage a website, you need to attend this course.

  • Start-ups
  • Small business owners
  • Marketing executives
  • Web designers and developers
  • Bloggers
  • Website managers

I will teach you my 10 step plan I’ve personally used to help businesses, just like yours

Step 1: An Understanding of SEO

  • Introduction to search engines
  • Why ethical SEO should always be top priority
  • Paid vs organic search traffic
  • Why ranking factors matter

Step 2: Data is so Important

  • What’s data got to do with SEO?
  • Google Analytics: What, why, where and how
  • Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools): What, why, where and how

Step 3: Performing a Basic Website Audit

  • Why perform an SEO website audit?
  • Factors to consider when performing an audit
  • How to complete a basic SEO audit on your website

Step 4: Research is the Foundation

  • What is keyword research and why is it important?
  • Top free keyword research tools
  • The best paid keyword research tool
  • How to find keywords that will drive new business
  • Understanding your target audience
  • Keyword mapping explained
  • Competitor research

Step 5: Local SEO

  • Why you should consider local SEO, even if you trade Nationally
  • Local means local
  • Local SEO ranking factors
  • How to rank top on Google maps/places

Step 6: On-Page

  • Why on-page optimisation is important
  • Always put the user first
  • How to optimise a page for the related keywords
  • Deleting pages and what 301, 302 and 404 codes mean

Step 7: Content

  • Duplicate content myths
  • It always starts with the impact
  • How long should my content be?
  • Writing content for conversions

Step 8: Links

  • What are links and why we need them?
  • How to spot a bad link from a good link
  • Historical bad link clean-up
  • How to source new link opportunities
  • How to acquire new links

Step 9: Social Media

  • What’s social media got to do with SEO?
  • Which social media platform should I use?
  • How to use the power of social media to increase rankings

Step 10: Analyse, Measure and Tweak

  • How do I measure the success of my SEO campaign?
  • What is conversion rate optimisation and why it is important?
  • My best conversion rate optimisation tips
  • SEO is a constant marketing strategy – never stop!
  • Keep focused – Create an SEO strategy plan

Included within the ticket price

  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Buffet lunch
  • All course material and training documentation
  • Ability to email me anytime in the future to ask any pressing SEO questions
  • 25% discount on my personal SEO training

Don’t miss out – Book your ticket now!

SEO Workshop Seminars from Mark Preston SEO

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Client of Cotton Court Mark Preston is running an SEO Workshop at Cotton Court next month! If you’re bamboozled by SEO then this is the course for you! Have a look below for details about what’s covered and how to sign up!

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Entering the world of search engine optimisation as a small business owner can be totally daunting and a scary place to be. After all, one wrong move could send your online visibility plummeting but on the other hand – implementing the right SEO strategy has the potential to drive a constant flow of leads for you to convert into new customers.

Learn SEO from a true marketing pro

I am the person who goes into digital marketing agencies to train marketing professionals on SEO techniques, so when you attend one of my SEO workshop seminars, you are getting the real deal and total value for money. I’ll even allow you to pick my brains as I provide an ask me anything (AMA) slot in every SEO seminar I host. No pre-scripted questions. Just take full advantage of my decade and half of digital marketing industry knowledge.

SEO Training

Are my SEO seminars for you?

My seminars are tailored towards start-ups and small business owners who can’t afford to invest in an agency to help them with their online marketing presence but needs some solid advice and action points that they can use to help their business grow.

Introducing my one day SEO workshop seminar

Yes, this is a full workshop where you will need to bring your laptop along as I have found that the best way of learning is to do it yourself instead of me just waffling through a slide and having to wake you up because I might as well be speaking a foreign language.

My job on the day is to simply educate you on SEO techniques and make sure you have understood how SEO can help your business to grow.

Refreshments and buffet lunch included

As my SEO workshop seminars start at around 9:30 am and usually finish at about 4:00 pm, I don’t expect you to starve so you will be supplied with a constant flow of refreshments and a buffet style lunch.

Buy SEO Training Ticket
What you will learn

I do tend to go off track a little during the day and don’t totally stick to the planned schedule as I want to make sure that each person in the room goes away at the end of the day with the knowledge they wanted to learn that will help their business. With this in mind – I do tend to tailor the day a little if that is what my trainees require.

The planned seminar schedule will cover:

>>> 9:00 am to 9:30 am – Welcome drink and networking

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

  • Who are you and what do you do?
  • What do you need to learn from today’s SEO workshop?

INTRODUCTION TO SEARCH ENGINES

  • What exactly are search engines and how do they help us?
  • The top three search engine players – Google, Bing & Yahoo
  • Search engine’s journey of crawling and indexing

PAID SEARCH TRAFFIC vs ORGANIC SEARCH TRAFFIC

  • The difference between paid and organic search
  • Pros and cons of paid search
  • Pros and cons of organic search
  • Which is better – paid or organic search?

>>> 11:00 am to 11:15 am – Refreshment time

SEARCH ENGINE GUIDELINES

  • What are search engine guidelines?
  • The several types of guidelines you need to consider
  • What happens if I don’t conform to the guidelines?

UNDERSTANDING KEYWORD RESEARCH

  • What is keyword research?
  • Why is keyword research important?
  • How keyword research fits into a content plan
  • The diverse ways of conducting keyword research
  • Creating a keyword mapping plan

>>> 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm – Buffet lunch provided

ON-PAGE CONTENT

  • I hear ‘content is king’ – why?
  • What do I need to know when writing content for my site
  • When should you use a redirect?
  • What you need to consider before you delete a page
  • Understanding duplicate content issues

ON-PAGE OPTIMISATION

  • What is on-page optimisation and why it is important
  • Understanding search engine ranking factors
  • What should you consider when optimising a page?
  • How to optimise a page for a selected keyword

>>> 2:30 pm to 2:45 pm – Refreshment time

OFF-PAGE SEO

  • What is off-page SEO?
  • What are links and why they are important
  • The basic science behind link building
  • A discussion on some off-page SEO techniques

ASK ME ANY SEO RELATED QUESTION

>>> 4:00 pm – Finish

Between 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, I’m always available for a chat if required.

All attendees will be provided with:

  • A copy of all slides
  • My local SEO guide (never been published)
  • On-page optimisation checklist
  • Website SEO audit checklist
Ticket price

To ensure I have the flexibility to tailor the day if required, I always limit every SEO workshop seminar to a maximum of 10 people.

As a small business owner, I understand that budgets are tight so I want to make my SEO seminars excellent value for money. The ticket price is only £149 per person, including refreshments and buffet lunch. If you have any dietary requirements, please inform me in advance.

Available dates and locations

I plan to travel around the UK, hosting my SEO workshop seminar to small business owners so if the location(s) below is too far for you to travel, just let me know as I’m always planning new locations.

My next confirmed seminar is on the 16th May 2017
Location: Cotton Court, Church Street, Preston PR1 3BY.
Free parking available on-site but limited. Alternatively, nearby multi-storey parking at PR1 1YT.

More dates and location to follow very soon.

Don’t miss out – Book your ticket now!

Original source: https://markprestonseo.com/seo-workshop-seminars/

First Aid Course

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Cotton Court Clients M.A.D First Aid are holding a Level 2 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work on 28th April 2017 at Cotton Court!

This course is designed for anyone wanting to learn first aid or become an accredited emergency first aider or appointed person within the workplace. This course provides learners with skills and the knowledge to deal with first aid situations in low risk work environments.

All of the trainers are medical professionals and know the importance of A.E.D (Automated External Defibrillator) so incorporate an element of it into all thier

courses.

Length of course:

1 Day.

This course will enable you to:

  • understand the role and responsibilities of a first aider.
  • be able to assess an incident.
  • be able to manage an unresponsive casualty who is breathing normally.
  • be able to manage an unresponsive casualty who is not breathing normally.
  • be able to recognise and assist a casualty with external bleeding
  • be able to manage a casualty who is suffering from shock.
  • be able to manage a casualty with a minor injury.

Learner entry requirements:

No previous training required to attend this course, just a willingness to learn.

 

Boost, Winning Pitch & Enterprise4all choose us for next business event

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Next month we welcome Boost Business, Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all to Cotton Court again for another one of their Lean Launchpad events.

The Lean Launchpad is part of the Growth Support Programme, a fully funded programme delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all. The Launchpad is a 2-day programme of support that has been specifically designed to equip you with the tools, knowledge and techniques not only to launch a successful new enterprise but also to accelerate your growth.

Day 1 has been created to establish the motivation and ambition of you as an entrepreneur and to provide you with the proven lean tools and techniques to help you assess your position in the market place and develop your sales strategy for growth.

Day 2 is designed to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools to scale your new business rapidly and the essential building blocks needed to scale including support from Access to Finance specialists.

Features and benefits of the Launchpad:

  • Access to bespoke, innovative workshops tailored to examine your business model and assess the growth potential.
  • Access to a wide range of tools developed to minimise the risk of starting a business.
  • 1-2-1 coaching with a wide range of sector specialist growth coaches, trained to provoke, challenge and drive for success.
  • Personal Action Planning designed to help you reach your growth potential.

To find out more about how boost can help you and your business? Have a look at their website here!

boost-business-lancashire

Cotton Court to Host Boost Programmes

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We are pleased to be hosting a series of workshops for Boost

Growth Support Programme is a fully funded programme delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all, targeted at supporting potential entrepreneurs across Lancashire to start their own high growth business and existing Lancashire enterprises already trading to achieve their growth aspirations.
The Growth Support Programme is designed to support entrepreneurs who would benefit from deliberately challenging support to start and grow a business. The programme is designed to help ambitious young businesses to achieve their growth potential by providing credible, tailored and expert support, which is easy to understand and delivered face-to-face.

This support includes 1-2-1 coaching, seminars & master classes action learning, networking and signposting to other relevant support.This highly specialist programme of support is only available to businesses that have an overwhelming ambition to grow, raise investment and create jobs.
Features of the Growth Support Programme and wider support available:
• A specialist high growth coaching session designed to examine the business model and assess growth potential.
• Access to bespoke, tailor made, intensive workshops designed to equip entrepreneurs with the tools and techniques to launch a successful enterprise.
• Access to a wide range of innovative tools, including lean start up techniques.
• 1-2-1 coaching with a range of specialist growth coaches, focusing on the specific growth constraints your business is facing right now from a team of highly experienced and proven high growth entrepreneurs.
• Personal Action Planning – unlocking the potential in entrepreneurs and their enterprise.
• Specialist Master Classes through a tailored programme of Grow How Seminars, to up skill yourself and your team in the latest business growth techniques.
• Networking for Growth opportunities – access to a structured and informal networking group operating across Lancashire.
• Your own dedicated relationship manager supporting your growth journey
• Regular Lancashire wide Pop Up Cafes for business advice and Growth Summits aimed at celebrating business successes
• Access to wider support and finance through our partner network What are the benefits?
• Output focused coaching designed to provoke, challenge and drive for success
• Access to a wide range of core and sector growth specialists
• Two-way growth conversation which explores your business model and it’s ability to be high growth
• Access to an extensive toolkit, exclusive for this programme
• Introduction to lean start up techniques designed to minimise risk of starting a new business
• Opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and share experiences
• Personal Action Plan designed to help you reach your growth potential

The Growth Support teams at Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all have extensive industry experience and proven track record of working with high growth entrepreneurs and enterprises. Start your growth conversation now and contact Enterprise4all on 01254 693999 oboost_launchboost2info@enterprise4all.co.uk