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Witney and Abingdon future business leaders given boost

PUBLISHED: 12:37 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:37 21 January 2014

A collaboration between Abingdon and Witney College and Witney Business & Innovation Centre, called The Futures Partnership, wants to improve the skills of students by drawing on the expertise of Witney Business & Innovation Centre and the wider area to give students a flavour of business ‘at the pointy end’.

Created to link with the curriculum and core skills programme at Abingdon and Witney College, a number of projects have already been ear-marked for the Futures Partnership. In January, entrepreneurs and business owners from Witney Business & Innovation Centre joined students at the Kassam Stadium for ‘Get Aware’, a Dragon’s Den-type nationwide event. While most will be on hand to offer one-to-one mentoring for the students, a number of business leaders will also be ‘experts’ putting the students through their paces.

Later in the year Witney Business & Innovation Centre will host students for an Entrepreneurship and Networking Event. A mix of skills workshops facilitated by the centre’s tenants and local business leaders, will give students networking experience.

Speaking at the launch of the Futures Partnership, Mark Byerley, Faculty Lead, The Oxfordshire Business & Enterprise School at Abingdon and Witney College, said:

“In an increasingly competitive market, providing our students with the opportunity to interact with local companies and business leaders is invaluable. Through our partnership with Witney Business and Innovation Centre our students will gain this experience, make useful contacts for their future and hopefully inspire some to become world business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.”

Witney Business & Innovation Centre will also offer its first apprenticeship to a student from Abingdon and Witney College. The apprenticeship will give the successful applicant the chance to experience the business administration of running a successful Innovation Centre while also being exposed to a broad range of the different businesses based at the Centre.

Stephanie Henwood, Centre manager, Witney Business & Innovation Centre is delighted that a brief conversation between herself and Faculty Lead, Mark Byerley, has resulted in the Futures Partnership, she said:

“We believe wholly in providing a collusive working relationship with all our customers at the Witney Business & Innovation Centre and through our sister centre’s in the Oxford Innovation group. Extending this collusive approach to business students at Abingdon and Witney College has made perfect sense and we really hope that in future some of those who attend our events this year, will in a couple of years be coming to us to take office space for their own business.”

A collaboration of Abingdon and Witney College and Witney Business & Innovation Centre, the ‘Futures Partnership’ is also supported by the Centre’s landlord, Blenheim Palace, and Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of innovation centre’s.

To find out more information about the services provided at Witney Business & Innovation Centre visit: www.witney-bic.co.uk

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