Cotton Court Business Centre

Events

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.

 

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 are 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.

Here at Cotton Court we are entering a team of around 15 people, made up of staff and customer including 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

 

Sell-Out Flag Market Event a Quadruple Win for clients Invoke Media

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Invoke Media celebrate collaborative success of landmark local event

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media are celebrating a quadruple win after last week’s successful Prestfest event on Preston Flag Market.

The annual event is organised by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with the intent of bringing thousands of party goers into the city centre to stimulate the night-time economy & celebrate the coveted purple flag accreditation.

This year’s sell-out event has surpassed all previous years in terms of attendance, economic impact and customer feedback.

The planning and execution of the event has been led by Preston BID, alongside a careful selection of expert providers from the Preston and Central Lancashire area. 

Invoke saw three of its key clients involved in the event. Preston BID as the event organiser, Get Staffed providing the bar and hospitality team, and UK Media & Events as the event management and production agency. 

In addition to client involvement, Invoke Media took the marketing lead for the event for the third year running, providing paid social advertisements, messenger marketing, live video streams and overall marketing consultancy & support; helping Preston BID sell 95% of its online tickets before the event.

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“It’s one of those rare occasions where we get to collaborate with multiple key clients on the same project. It was a great experience to work with like-minded people, each an expert in their own field, to put together an excellent event that has driven thousands of people into the city centre. Our involvement and that of three key clients makes this a quadruple win for us and extremely satisfying.”

He continued:

“The main reason we moved Invoke Media to Preston from Manchester was to support and be a part of the development & investment that is happening in our city, my hometown. It’s events like this, local collaboration and hard-working organisations like Preston BID that are driving growth and making us a true contender in the region, we can’t wait until next year”

Mark Whittle, Manager of Preston BID said:

“Preston BID worked with a close-knit team of local trusted businesses, to plan and execute our most successful event to date. By working with Preston businesses we’ve not only ensured a sell-out, well-run event; we’ve fed back into the local economy and supported chamber members.“

Further Information

Invoke Media is a marketing agency based at Preston’s Cotton Court Business Centre. Incorporated as a limited company in 2013 and operating from Manchester city centre, it returned to Preston in summer of 2018 to support the development of the city and local area. 

Working with local success stories such as the San Marco Group, GetStaffed, Baluga Bar & Club, Cotton Court Business Centre and the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, they have truly ingrained themselves in the local economy and the success stories it creates.

PowerUp

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What does the Northern Powerhouse mean to your business?

The North has a long history of innovation, influencing the fortunes of the country and the face of industry further afield. Today’s global industry trends are driving new opportunities for growth and the Northern Powerhouse is working to help you harness their potential to benefit your business.

The time is NOW, so lets PowerUP!

Register for your free place today for a Northern PowerUP information and networking event near you to find out more about how the Northern Powerhouse is fuelling and supporting the growth of small and mid-sized commerce in your area. Hear from neighbouring businesses that have benefitted, and about support initiatives through your Local Enterprise Partnership.

  • LANCASHIRE, Tuesday 25th June

Cotton Court, Preston, PR1 3BY

Agenda

9.30am – Registration and coffee

9.50am – PowerUP panel and Q&A

11am – Networking

11.30am – Close

Speakers

Speakers include representatives of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Local Enterprise Partnership and your business community.

Register for your free place now!

Pitching secrets to be revealed at upcoming event

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Budding and established entrepreneurs from across Lancashire are invited to learn about creating the perfect pitch.

NatWest will be holding a pitching-based taster session for its Pre-Accelerator programme at Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston. The session will coincide with the Cotton Court Start-Up Competition which sees entrepreneurs from across the Red Rose County pitching for a chance to win everything they need to start, build and expand their business.

Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “During our Pre-Accelerator taster session, we will teach participants our award-winning pitch structure which enables entrepreneurs to confidently and effectively present their business in any given situation. Pitching is absolutely vital for skill any new business and having the confidence to deliver a good pitch can make or break a business opportunity.”

Robert Binns, Director of Cotton Court Business Centre, said: “Being able to shout about your business and tell your story is invaluable to any business person and this course will give people the opportunity to learn first hand how to accomplish this.”

Later this summer NatWest will be bringing its full Pre-Accelerator workshop to Cotton Court. The session is designed for early-stage businesses looking at ways to grow and enhance their business ideas. The programme is part of NatWest’s three-stage business accelerator scheme which is delivered across the UK.

The pitching event is on Tuesday, May 6 at the Cotton Court Business Centre from 10am to 11.30am. To register visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pitching-masterclass-tickets-60302903608

Christmas Toy Appeal Launch

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Friday the 9th November saw the Cotton Court Christmas party, and launch of our annual appeal in aid of Barnardo’s.

The event was a great success, with customers, friends and members of the Lancashire business community coming together to celebrate and donate to a great cause.

In its eighth year, the appeal aims to collect gifts for the 400+ disadvantaged children & young people that Barnardo’s supports across Lancashire; many of whom would otherwise be without a gift to open on Christmas day.

 

With the appeal now launched and in full swing, we’re reaching out to the kind people of Lancashire to ask for their help in bringing a smile to face of a young person in Lancashire this festive season.

Debbie Nolan-Plunkett, Assistant Director for Barnardo’s in Lancashire said:

“The Christmas gift appeal, which is always so generously supported by individuals and businesses across Lancashire, is such a heart-warming initiative. We cannot convey how excited and thankful the children and young people are to receive the thoughtful gifts that people purchase for them.”

Cotton Court has once again teamed up with popular media outlet Blog Preston to run this years appeal, after a successful partnership in 2017 that saw record levels of toys being donated.

You can help by donating an unwrapped gift for a child or young person between the ages of 0 – 25, with donations being received at Cotton Court Business Centre reception. Whilst all donations are welcome, there is a particular focus this year on gifts for teenagers and young adults, as it is those who we have historically had difficulty collecting for.

The appeal will close on Monday 10th December at 17.00 in order to allow the distribution of gifts in time for Christmas.

Drop Off Location

Cotton Court Business Centre (08.00 – 17.00)

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

 

If you’d like to know more or have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01772 507 767 or email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

5 Things to Consider When Planning a Conference

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Planning and organising a conference requires a great amount of forethought and consideration. It can become very easy to become focused on the minute details, whilst missing important overall factors essential to the smooth running of your event.

Whilst I started my marketing journey in the world of music events, I’ve had to cut my teeth in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions world (or MICE as it’s known in the industry!) most notably when conducting my undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

It’s a high pressure industry, and one which is thriving in the UK. In fact, Venuefinder reports that a recent meeting industry association report notes a 14.4% increase in domestic bookings since the result of the Brexit referendum was announced.

Danny Bee, Managing Director of UK Media & Events, based at Cotton Court adds:

“The meetings and conference industry is booming at the moment. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of enquiries we’ve received over the last 12 months. They can be difficult to plan and manage, but incredibly rewarding. The key is to not overthink your plan, stick to what you know works and think of creative ways to engage with your delegates ”.

To help you plan your next conference and pick the most suitable venue, we’ve put together a few key considerations that you’ll want to factor in.

Location

If your delegates are coming from across the country, you’ll want to pick an easy to reach and known location. Ensuring good motorway, train and bus links are in reach of your venue are a must; and you might want to avoid major cities where there is likely to be congestion.

If your guests are mostly local based and you’re holding your event closer to home, you’ll still want to consider road and public transport links when deciding on your venue. An easily identifiable location is important to ensure your guests can find it, or at the very least make sure it’s findable on a sat nav!

If you can find a venue with free on-site parking then you’re onto a winner, or at the very least a low cost car park that has sufficient capacity and is in short range of the venue.

Cost

Let’s not beat around the bush. Cost is a consideration for most businesses and organisations. You’ll want to ensure that the venue you choose is value for money and most importantly within budget.

Most conference space providers will operate on a pricing scale, adjusting the cost based on factors such as number of delegates, room size, date, length of hire and any specific requirements you may have.

Technology

One of the most overlooked factors when planning business events are technology requirements. Check to see what facilities are available at your venue, and whether you will need to hire in any additional equipment.

There are a lot of venues out there that have diversified to add additional revenue streams to their business. From church halls to schools and community centres. Whilst these often provide a cost effective solution, they may not have the technology in-house that you require and the cost of your event can soon mount when you start hiring equipment.

Factor in whether you need a full tech suite with equipment such as conference call facilities, touch screen tv’s, projectors, audio equipment etc. Don’t forget the free wifi!

 

A conference utilising the first floor tech suite at Cotton Court

Size & Capacity

It goes without saying that you’ll need to find a venue that can hold all of your delegates, but people often get this wrong. It might be that you underestimate the number of attendees or your event is more of a success than you could have imagined. Play it on the safe side and find a venue that can not only scale up their capacity offering, accommodating for more guests, but can also provide smaller space if the event doesn’t attract as much attendance as hoped.

Food & Refreshments

Most venues geared towards conferences and business events will offer food and refreshments as an additional service on top of your hire fee. They’ll either be able to make it onsite or will use a third party caterer. Make sure you identify any specific dietary requirements of your delegates, and communicate them at the earliest stage to your venue.

It’s also worthwhile thinking about local alternatives. Some people will want to get away from the business environment for their dinner break, whilst others may want to eat something different than is on offer. Ideally if possible, pick a venue that has nearby shops, restaurants and food vendors to give your delegates the most choice and convenience possible.

A final word…

Whilst the specific requirements of your event and industry will dictate how you plan your conference and the factors you need to consider, the five factors we’ve discussed here are a good place to start. Don’t get stressed about your event, follow a clear process and don’t be afraid to lean on your venue for support or advice.

We pride ourselves on the level of customer service we provide here at Cotton Court, and regularly help our customers and prospective customers in the planning phase of their event. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need some friendly advice or you have burning issues around planning your event!

Call us on 01772 507 767 or email conferences@cottoncourt.co.uk

Jack Barron

Marketing Director

Cotton Court Business Centre

Cotton Court Team Support Progression Day in Rochdale

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Last week a delegation from Cotton Court Business Centre attended Rochdale Sixth Form College to support a progression and employability day for Year 12 students.

Managing Director Robert Binns and Marketing Director Jack Barron travelled to the Rochdale town centre campus, to help deliver a series of events alongside employers from across the Northwest.

Jack conducted mock interviews with 20 students, grading them on criteria ranging from appearance & turnout, to confidence and preparation.

He said of his experience…

“It was a really enjoyable experience and I was happy to support it. The mock interviews were great and I got to meet a diverse group of young adults, each one of them impressing me in some way. I recall one particular student who I had an extremely lengthy conversation with and was amazed by the level of knowledge and maturity they showed. I would have hired them in an instant if in a real interview. All of them were credits to their college and I wish them luck on their path to employment”.

Meanwhile Managing Director Robert formed part of an expert panel, giving students the opportunity to hear his journey though the world of work and business, with the opportunity for a questions and answers session at the end.

Robert said of the day…

“We’re really passionate about supporting events such as this one, wherever they may be. The people that we’ve spoken to today are the future of business and enterprise, and I like to think that we’re helping them on their journey into the world of work by sharing our experiences and giving them the opportunity to ask any burning questions. It was an enjoyable experience for me and by all accounts for them also”.

The event was largely organised by employability and career placement coordinator for Rochdale Sixth Form College, Sarah Pollard. She comments:

“The students were  a real credit to the college and tackled the interviews fantastically well.  The two days are so beneficial for the students as for some it will have been the first interview they’ve ever had. The mock interview process helps the students have more confidence in themselves and their abilities. We can’t thank the businesses enough for their ongoing support, many of whom have been giving up their time on an annual basis to help make the day such a success”.

 

Cotton Court has a history of supporting young adults and those looking to progress their journey through the world of work and enterprise. In recent weeks we’ve supported several events such as the progression day at Rochdale Sixth Form, including a series of workshops for the National Careers Service and the creation of a new company, Cotton Court Futures. With more information being revealed on that project in the near future. If you have any questions or want to enquire how Cotton Court Business Centre could support you and young adults then please email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Cotton Court Apprentice Turns Dragon

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Last week Cotton Court Business Centre apprentice Grace attended a Dragons’ Den style competition at Ashton Community Science College in Preston.

 

At the event, Year 7 & 8 pupils were set the task of designing their own healthy alternative to fizzy drinks, before then presenting their ideas back to the panel of dragons. The panel consisted of previous Ashton Community Science College students currently on apprenticeships in the local area.

 

Grace Bennett, Business Administration Apprentice at Cotton Court says:

 

“It was a pleasure to watch the students present back their ideas and see how confident they were. It was an enjoyable day and helped towards my own personal development. It was a good opportunity for me to showcase apprenticeships and talk about the positive experience I have had from learning whilst in the workplace”.

 

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court added:

 

“We’re really proud of what Grace has achieved in the time she has been with us and continue to support the apprenticeship scheme. She’s a credit to the company and we think it’s important for her to go out and fly the flag for those considering an apprenticeship in the future. By all accounts it was an excellent day and both her and the students took a lot from it”.

 

Cotton Court Business Centre has a solid history of supporting the apprenticeship programme, and in addition to providing apprentice placements within the centre, it proactively engages with providers, employers and students.

Strategic Transport Plan Consultation Event

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On Wednesday 24th January we’re looking forward to hosting Transport for the North as they start the public consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan.

This is your chance to find out more about the recommendations and what it means for you and your area and give your feedback which will help shape the Plan in its development.

These consultation events are open to everyone and are your chance to hear from Transport for the North representatives and ask any questions you might have.

First stop is in Preston, at Cotton Court!

They’d like to invite you to a special pre-briefing at 3pm, where you can hear from their Strategy Director and discuss their proposals.

 

The outline for the session is as follows:

4pm – 5pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

5pm – 6pm: Drop-in Q+A

6pm – 7pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

7pm: Event close

If you are able to attend, please register your interest here