Skills show reveals career opportunities

The Bucks Skills Show at University Campus Aylesbury Vale has helped to inspire young people’s career choices in the county.

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership(BTVLEP), through its Buckinghamshire Skills and Employability Programme, was delighted by the positive response from attendees to the show, which was the first of its kind.

The show attracted more than 400 people looking for inspiration, advice and guidance on their career choices.

Aimed at those aged 14-19 and their parents, the show delivered more than a traditional career show. Lively exhibitors from household names including GlaxoSmithKline, GEHealthcare, The Royal Navy, Pinewood Studios, John Lewis, BBC Three Counties Radio and more were on hand with information and advice on a wide variety of careers and apprenticeships. These covered key industry growth sectors like life sciences, cyber security, IT, creative industries, retail, engineering and the care sector.

Aylesbury College Deputy Principal Fiona Morey said: “It was fantastic, a really incredible opportunity for young people and their parents to explore directly with employers the extensive range of career opportunities available.”

Joseph Bishieri of Aylesbury-based Sytel, who had a stand at the show, said: “I had the chance to look around a few of the stands and listen to some of the speakers and I have to say, the quality and variety of both was fantastic.

“Events like these are definitely something that I missed, and would have benefited me back when I was 16 or 17.”

Social Work Academy launched at University Campus Aylesbury Vale

A major initiative to attract new social workers has been launched in Buckinghamshire in an effort to secure jobs for local people and cut the costs of employing agency staff to cover vital roles.

The Social Work Academy, a high-quality centre of excellence for the training of social workers in the county, was unveiled at University Campus Aylesbury Vale with the aim of addressing a serious skills shortage.

The Academy is a partnership between Buckinghamshire County Council, Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College and will offer a variety of entry routes for training social workers.

As well as increasing recruitment into social work, the academy aims to develop the skills of current social workers; promote research into best practice and improve staff retention rates.

Mike Appleyard, County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We want to make it easier for people to train as social workers, either straight from school or as a career switch. We then want to give them the openings in Bucks so they can find a good job here locally and not have to relocate somewhere else to find work.

“If we can make this work with our education partners, we will be able to significantly reduce our agency costs while at the same time boosting the employment prospects for a large number of people.”

He added:  “It’s well known that, due to the complete withdrawal of Government grant funding announced at the end of 2015, the County Council has faced a severe financial crisis,” added Cllr Appleyard.

“We have done extremely well in dealing with this, but we know we have to cut agency costs, and we have high hopes that the new academy will create the conditions for doing just this by encouraging local people to train for local jobs.”

The Bucks Social Work Academy will provide a one-stop, employer-led, high quality centre of excellence for the training of Social Workers in Buckinghamshire. The centre will support the training of those currently working in the sector but also promote a careers pathway for school leavers into the profession and provide an entry route for adults wanting a career change. The offer will range from entry level through to Masters, including full, part-time and work-based delivery models.

The Social Work Academy includes a range of courses that those seeking a career in social work can undertake. The courses run at University Campus Aylesbury Vale for adult learners include an Access to Social Work course and the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care. Buckinghamshire New University runs a BSc and MSC in Social Work and for 16-18 year olds there is the A-level equivalent BTEC Diploma in Health and Social Care at Aylesbury College.

Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said: “We are a leading university for professional education and work in partnership to understand the needs and shape the future of the professions with which we work. I am delighted that the University is helping to address the skills shortage in Bucks by creating pathways to professional qualifications for future social workers

“The Social Work Academy cements our role as an anchor institution in the region and builds on our strong partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council. Our academics already share their expertise through masterclasses for qualified social workers in
Bucks to improve and develop their knowledge and skills. The University is also represented on the county council’s safeguarding boards for adults and children.

“This new initiative will provide exciting opportunities for applied research to shape future practice and in turn benefit the local people cared for by social workers in Bucks.”

Karen Mitchell, Principal and CEO of Aylesbury College, said: “Aylesbury College is delighted to be working in partnership with the Health and Social Care services team at Buckinghamshire County Council and Bucks New University to offer a clear training pathway and skills pipeline into a rewarding career in Social Work.

“By working together we are providing a highly-qualified locally trained workforce that is directly aligned to local needs in regard to social work and providing the highest quality service to communities across Buckinghamshire.”

For further information about training for a career in social work, please click here.


Choose your career at Bucks Skills Show

Bucks_Skills_Show_Logo-CMYK smallBuckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP), through its Buckinghamshire Skills and Employability Programme, prides itself on successfully supporting the educational and employment needs of young people in Buckinghamshire.

So much so it is hosting The Bucks Skills Show on Saturday 2 July to highlight the broad range of career options available to young people and allowing leading businesses to showcase careers in their business sectors.  The Bucks Skills Show takes place at University Campus Aylesbury Vale from 10am-4pm on Saturday 2 July and is aimed at people aged 14-19 and their parents, to gain impartial, varied exposure to as many careers and employers as possible. The event comprises exhibitors and speakers, so that 14-19-year-olds are inspired, become better informed, and ultimately make better decisions about the next stage of their education or career. For further information go to:

Exhibitors and speakers – including big names such as Glaxo Smith Kline, GE Healthcare, SEMTA, Silverson, Cisco, Intel, ICAEW, Sky, Pinewood Studios, BBC Three Counties Radio, John Lewis and the Big Bang – will be in attendance covering a diverse career selection, including key growth sectors such as life sciences, cyber security, IT, creative industries, retail, engineering and the care sector.

Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager at BTVLEP, said: “Young people are looking for fulfilling careers and want to be sure of their future direction.

“At our first Skills Show it is important that we showcase a wide spectrum of career paths for consideration through a range of experiential stands (everyone will be able to have a go and get involved!) and inspiring speakers, alongside the popular options of college and university to provide our workforce of tomorrow, and their parents, with all the facts and information to make informed career choices.”

All stands present an opportunity for young people to sample and try different careers. Edward Adoo of BBC Three Counties Radio will have recording and broadcast equipment; GE Healthcare will have high-end imaging equipment; and Silverson will have industrial mixers and strange ingredients. Colleges and training providers will also be present to advise on education and training decisions.

In addition, there is an exciting line-up of high profile industry and education professionals speaking insightfully about their careers throughout the day. Speakers include Sarah Wright, head of acquisitions at Sky TV, who bought Game of Thrones and Modern Family for Sky; Brendan Walker, described by The Times as “the world’s only Thrill Engineer” and the brains behind some of our most exhilarating rollercoasters; and Ketan Makwana, TED talker, serial entrepreneur, coach and mentor on being innovative and becoming successful. Others include Helen Pearce from John Lewis will be talking about careers in retail from the shop floor to head office; Paul Owen, from Talentspotters, on busting myths on careers in sales; and young apprentice Joseph Bishieri on how he left university when he changed his mind on becoming a doctor and is now building a successful career as a dynamic apprentice in IT and coding, and may even go back to university again!

The event is being promoted by radio station Mix96. The Buckinghamshire Skills and Employability Programme, which has at its heart improved engagement with employers by skills and education providers, is focused on inspiring young people and helping them understand the relevance of their education. A key element is bridging the gap between young people and employers. The Buckinghamshire Skills Hub is highly instrumental in helping local businesses reach students and help prepare them for the fast-changing world of work.

The BTVLEP, formed in January 2012, is a business-driven partnership of equals between private sector and Local Government and balances a uniquely strong collective business voice with a cohesive elected local leadership. Coming together to engineer the conditions needed to drive forward business prosperity in the county and beyond, BTVLEP recognises that an important part of this is to support education and skills providers and employers to ensure our young people have the right skills to meet the needs of the economy, including the growth sectors such as life-sciences, space, creative industries and advanced engineering.
The Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) is a business-led ‘partnership of equals’ between local government and the private sector, building the conditions for sustainable economic growth in the County.

Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), is the Growth Hub for Buckinghamshire and is backed by Buckinghamshire based entrepreneurs, thousands of SMEs and Local Authorities. BBF provides the link between public policy and the business community in Buckinghamshire and works with partners to create a dynamic business environment in the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain.

Bucks New University academic explains how telehealth and assistive technology are changing patients’ lives

The Centre of Excellence for Telehealth and Assisted Living (CETAL) at Bucks New University oversees the Buckinghamshire Assisted Living Labs centre at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

Director Firas Sarhan explains the importance of telehealth in today’s society and the difference assistive technology makes to the everyday lives of millions of people across the world.

Firas Sarhan, who is also a rehabilitation specialist in spinal cord injury, says: “Telehealth provides a number of solutions to help improve the quality of life for people living with conditions including chronic breathing problems, diabetes, dementia, spinal cord injury, and neurological and mental health issues. It also works to provide appropriate care to the elderly and can support a wide range of other health issues too.

“Rather than patients having to attend hospital every three or four months for routine check-ups, their conditions can be monitored almost continually and they can be observed and treated in the convenience of their own home.
“The Department of Health believes that at least three million people could benefit from telehealth and telecare services. Society is changing and, over the next ten years, we will see an increasing number of people aged 75 and over who are living with multiple long term health conditions which will have a profound impact on health and social care delivery.”

Led by Firas, CETAL provides education and training in telehealth; it also researches and evaluates telehealth services and takes on bespoke consultancy projects. The Centre has demonstration facilities for technology providers, including the Buckinghamshire Assisted Living Labs centre, based at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, where assistive technology is being exhibited, researched and developed.

“Technology and healthcare need to work side by side to continue to help patients manage their own conditions in a suitable environment,” adds Firas.

“Through academic and industry links, CETAL helps bridge the gap between innovation, research and implementation by bringing together potential users, industry, clinicians and academics. In order to advance skills and raise awareness of telehealth solutions, teaching and learning will need to become more accessible to clinicians, carers and patients.”

Telehealth also plays an important role beyond individual patient care. Firas says: “Through remote monitoring, researchers are able to collect clinical data that is relevant to patients’ physiological and psychological wellbeing. It can also collect data on self-management, lifestyle modification and medicine administration, which can be used to encourage and sustain healthy living.”

To find out more about the work of CETAL at Bucks New University, visit

Bucks New University to showcase business support opportunities with breakfast event at University Campus Aylesbury Vale

Buckinghamshire New University is inviting firms to a ‘Bucks for Business’ breakfast event from 8am-10am on Friday 27 May at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

The breakfast event, at the campus in Walton Street, Aylesbury, will introduce businesses to opportunities to work in partnership with Bucks New University.

Businesses will find out about areas including expert consultancy advice, how to work with students, gain training and professional development for staff, and assistance with research and development or business improvement projects.

Professor Tim Middleton, Pro Vice-Chancellor – Research & Enterprise at Bucks New University, said: “This is an opportunity for businesses to gain a flavour of what we can offer at Bucks New University.

“The event is informal with no set talks or presentations and attendees will be able to meet our highly-qualified staff and explore opportunities to work with us.”

Businesses which attend will be entered into a draw to win free consultancy or training opportunities.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a partnership between Bucks New University and Aylesbury College. For more information or to attend ‘Bucks for Business’ go to

Barclays Bank and Bucks New University present two free events to protect businesses in the region from cyber fraud

Protecting a business from cyber fraud can be confusing. Knowing where to start – and even the simple steps to take to protect the most common kinds of cyber fraud – can seem like an insurmountable challenge.


Often, business owners don’t believe that cyber fraud is their problem, but with the government reporting that 74 per cent of small businesses faced a breach of cyber security in the last year, it’s clear that fraud is everyone’s issue.

Barclays Bank, in association with Buckinghamshire New University, is holding two free evening events in March designed to support local businesses as they develop their cyber security defenses.

With speakers from industry, Government, the police and academia, these evenings are designed to introduce businesses to some of the most common problems, as well as the solutions that are available.

Neil Dymond, Relationship Director for Barclays Corporate, notes that Cyber Security is everyone’s business. He said: “Cyber Fraud is a growing menace in our digital age. These events have been designed as a “one stop shop” for SME owners to learn more about the threat, and find ways to protect their businesses.”

Emma Parkinson, Head of Security and Resilience at Bucks New University, added: “With cyber security and awareness of cyber fraud so high on the Government’s agenda, the University is delighted to be able to support Barclays by sharing its knowledge at this event.

“We’re looking forward to having so much expertise in one room which will be of real benefit to businesses in the Buckinghamshire area.”
The early evening events take place on 10 March at Bucks New University’s High Wycombe Campus and on 17 March at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, in Walton Street, Aylesbury.

The events begin at 5.30pm with registration, networking and a light buffet before the speakers begin at 6.30pm. There will be an opportunity for questions afterwards and the event will close at 8.30pm. Places can be reserved by contacting
Speaker biographies:

Phillip Wood MBE – Head of School, Management and Professional Studies.

Phil Wood has extensive knowledge in a wide range of security, resilience and asset protection disciplines. Before joining Bucks New University in September 2009, he was employed as a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force Regiment. This provides him with a high degree of specialist resilience and continuity knowledge in the physical, information, personnel and infrastructure domains, alongside his academic and applied knowledge in security and risk management.
Detective Sergeant Chris Greatorex – South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

An officer of Thames Valley Police, Chris works as part of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit where he focuses on cyber crime. With his specific knowledge about the threats faced by businesses in the region – including the surprising scale of local attacks – he can help businesses concentrate on the key issues and challenges.
Joe Cooksey – Barclays Bank

Joe is a Business Digital Eagle for Barclays. His role is to help SMEs make the most of their digital presence and demonstrate how they can both protect and grow their business in the digital space. Joe’s talk will cover the threats that exist to SMEs and how you can take steps to protect yourself.
Mike Gillespie – Advent IM Ltd (10 March)

The Managing Director of Advent IM Ltd, Mike is an information security practitioner and consultant of many years’ standing and is well versed in the threat to organisational information assets. An active member of the Security Institute since 2008, Mike was voted onto the board of Directors in 2013 and given special responsibility for Cyber Research and Strategy. Mike is called upon regularly to speak at events and contribute editorial, most recently for the BBC and The Sunday Times as well as other industry media.
Paul Oughton – Advent IM Ltd (17 March)

Paul Oughton is a highly experienced Security Consultant and trainer. With a security career spanning 10 years, Paul has specialist knowledge in the provision and review of security and resilience solutions for critical sites and high profile projects. An accomplished risk management professional, he has a wealth of client advisory experience and technical expertise. Paul has worked extensively within the fields of Critical National Infrastructure and Aviation Security as well as developing security solutions for operational sites used by the Military and Emergency Services both in the UK and overseas.
Allen Wilkes – DYTS Ltd/Cyber Essentials Scheme

With 15 years’ experience in protecting businesses against cyber attack, Allen will be explaining the benefits of the government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. This has been set up to provide clear advice and guidance regarding internet security. Cyber Essentials is designed for organisations, of all sizes, and all sectors, and covers the basics of cyber security in an organisation’s enterprise or corporate IT system. Allen will demonstrate how implementation of these controls can significantly reduce the risk of prevalent but unskilled cyber attacks.

High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire visits University Campus Aylesbury Vale

The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Francesca Skelton, and her husband John have visited University Campus Aylesbury Vale during a tour of educational facilities in the town.

Mrs Skelton was shown around the £16.5 million campus by Ian Harper, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Education, Skills & Training (BEST), the partnership between Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College which runs University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

Mrs Skelton’s next stop was at the Buckinghamshire University Technical College (UTC), which is also jointly led by Bucks New University and Aylesbury College, where she met students and staff including newly-appointed Principal Bob Harrison.

The tour ended at Aylesbury College where Mrs Skelton viewed a number of classes and chatted to students alongside College Principal Karen Mitchell. Mr and Mrs. Skelton then enjoyed lunch with all of the day’s hosts at Aylesbury College’s Harding’s Restaurant.

Mrs Skelton said that the visits had been a great experience for her and her husband and commented: “I was so impressed with the new University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

“I applaud this significant partnership between Bucks New University, Aylesbury College and Aylesbury Vale District Council. This inspiring new building transforms the whole area as it opens up the canal and creates an exciting public space.

“Even more importantly, it brings education, training and skills right into the heart of Aylesbury and its economy. Aylesbury now has a powerful offer of the successful Aylesbury College, the new University Technical College and the University Campus all working in positive partnership with business to drive forward the skills of Buckinghamshire.”

Photo: (L-R) Fiona Morey, Deputy Principal for Learning and Quality, Aylesbury College; Bob Harrison, Principal and Chief Executive, Buckinghamshire University Technical College; John Skelton; Francesca Skelton; Karen Mitchell, Principal and Chief Executive of Aylesbury College; and Ian Harper, Chief Executive, University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

Handover ceremony held for University Campus Aylesbury Vale

A handover ceremony has taken place for University Campus Aylesbury Vale (UCAV), marking the completion of the construction of the building.

The campus, in Walton Street, Aylesbury, was built by Morgan Sindall plc, and is owned by Aylesbury Vale District Council and leased to Buckinghamshire Education, Skills and Training (BEST), a partnership between Bucks New University and Aylesbury College.

Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor of Bucks New University, said: “We are excited to bring really important skills and development work into the Aylesbury Vale.

“University Campus Aylesbury Vale is an impressive and professional learning environment for the region’s students and businesses to enjoy.

“We will be offering courses that build new skills and offer professional development and vocational training, as well as taking learning to employers and employees. This is a proud development for Bucks New University.”

Karen Mitchell, Principal of Aylesbury College, Councillor Neil Blake, leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, and Neil Franklin, area director at Morgan Sindall plc, were among attendees at the handover.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale to host Buckinghamshire Digital Summit

The Buckinghamshire Digital Summit takes place from 12pm-5.30pm on Thursday 26 November at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

The Buckinghamshire Digital Summit takes place from 12pm-5.30pm on Thursday 26 November at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale is set to host its first major event, the Buckinghamshire Digital Summit, on Thursday 26 November.

Influential figures from the digital technology market will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise as well as digital solutions to digital problems at the Summit, from 12pm-5.30pm on the first floor of the campus, in Walton Street, Aylesbury.

It is organised by Buckinghamshire Business First and the Institute of Directors (IoD) Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes to help businesses see the steps they could take to capitalise on the wide spectrum of opportunities in adopting new technologies.

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Education, Skills & Training, a partnership between Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College, which runs University Campus Aylesbury Vale, said: “We’re delighted that our first major event at UCAV is the Buckinghamshire Digital Summit.

“It is an appropriate venue for the conference and provides a wonderful opportunity to show the campus to Buckinghamshire Business First and IoD members and their guests.

“UCAV is home to the Cyber Resilience Centre and a range of IT and cybersecurity courses that will be directly relevant to the summit content and appropriate for many of the businesses attending.”

Several businesses based in Aylesbury Vale will be present to provide first-hand accounts of how they embraced digital technology and saw it pay off for them, whether in the form of growth or breaking into new markets.

The speakers and their subjects are:

Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK; Area VP (Northern Europe) Citrix – ‘The UK’s opportunity to become a digital nation of significance’;

Che Smith, Head of Advanced Technology and Business Innovation, Virgin Media Business – ‘The internet of things, developing new applications, for the benefit of the private and public sector’;

Simon Hammond, 3DSystems Europe – ‘3D Printing: An Overview of a Disruptive Technology that Affects Us All’;

Marc Dowd, Co-Founder and Director, Manage Disruption Ltd – ‘Digital Disruption’;

Nick McQuire, Vice President, Enterprise Research, CCS Insight – Digital and Mobile Innovation Creating Competitive Advantage;

Alex Minchin, Managing Director, Zest Digital – ‘The Rise Of Mobile-First’;

Philip Boyle, Deafax and Roald Dahl Museum – ‘Augmented reality application’;

Ruth Cooper, Social Media Manager, Abode2 – ‘Breaking into New Markets’.

Phil Wood, Head of the School of Management & Professional Studies at Bucks New University – Digital Security.

To book a place at the Buckinghamshire Digital Summit go to

Morgan Sindall completes £16.5 million Buckinghamshire education centre

Morgan Sindall plc has completed work on a £16.5 million education centre, University Campus Aylesbury Vale (UCAV).

The four-storey centre built for Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) merges education space with a new public square. The building will be used by UCAV, a partnership between Aylesbury College and Buckinghamshire New University, from November onwards.

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