Oxfordshire among first to benefit from new electric vehicle chargers

Oxfordshire among first to benefit from new electric vehicle chargers

Oxfordshire’s drive to become Britain’s leader in electric cars has stepped up a gear with the introduction of new ultra-rapid charging technology.

The area is one of the first places in the country to benefit from brand-new, ultra-fast chargers from one of the
UK’s favourite rapid charging stations, InstaVolt.

The InstaVolt chargers have been installed at Frilford Service Station, near Abingdon, and are expected to be embraced by electric car drivers travelling to and from the city or using the busy A34. The site is a popular Shell forecourt that has recently undergone an extensive renovation, including a refurbished and expanded Budgens store.

The new stations are capable of charging at 125kW – halving the time it would take drivers of compatible vehicles, such as the Audi e-tron, to charge compared to rapid 50kW chargers.

Like all of InstaVolt’s existing charging stations, drivers can pay by simply tapping their contactless credit or debit card. They can even use their smart watch to pay if it is set up for contactless payments.

The introduction of the new chargers is particularly poignant as Oxford aims to become the world’s first zero-emissions zone and continues to take real action on sustainability. Despite the city’s forward-thinking approach to green issues, the county has relatively few rapid chargers available for public use, with only 12 live locations across the county prior to this latest site being energised.

Adrian Keen, Chief Executive Officer at InstaVolt, said: “We’re particularly excited to be adding to the charging infrastructure in Oxfordshire, which is well-known for being forwardthinking when it comes to sustainability and I applaud the great work that has been done to-date to provide charging to residents and visitors. It’s fitting that it’s one of the first places in the UK to benefit from our brand-new charging technology, which offers even faster rates of charging to drivers who need to recharge quickly and continue their day such as commuters, and drivers of electric taxis or delivery vehicles.

“Put simply, the more drivers feel confident that they’ll be able to charge up, the more likely they are to make the
switch to zero emissions vehicles.”

Karim Rashid, who owns and runs Frilford Service Station, added: “It’s a real honour to be one of the first places in the country to have these new chargers. They’ve been causing a buzz with visiting electric car drivers, who have been itching to try them out.

“For us, it’s set to be a real boost for business. It’ll attract new visitors to the site, who can enjoy our facilities and spend money with us locally while their car charges”

InstaVolt is one of the UK’s favourite rapid charging networks. In a recent national survey it was named as the top public network that can be used by multiple brands of electric vehicle, with particular praise for its ease of use.

To find out more about InstaVolt and find your nearest rapid charger visit www.instavolt.co.uk

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Rough Sleeping Oxford

We believe businesses can help a city solve homelessness

Oxford Homeless Movement, an exciting new citywide partnership, is launching on Thursday 10 October. This is an innovative, inclusive Movement aimed at reducing rough sleeping in Oxford which includes local homeless charities, housing providers, Oxford City Council, health providers, funding bodies, community-based organisations and businesses.

Street homelessness has been on the increase since the turn of the decade and hit record levels in England in 2017, including in Oxford.

We are working in partnership with local businesses including The Westgate Fund, John Lewis & Partners, Royds Withy King, Beard, Carter Jonas and College and County Letting Agents, who have pledged their support to The Movement. Together, we are looking at ways to bring additional funds into The Westgate Fund and help the city solve homelessness.

Businesses have helped with these types of projects:

• a pilot Housing First scheme has launched enabling people from South Oxfordshire sleeping rough in Oxford to receive local housing and intensive support more accommodation for those leaving psychiatric wards and needing support.
• a house for people who have been in hospital and require an extra couple of weeks off the streets to help their recuperation
• a new house opening in Oxford for ex-offenders leaving prison to give them the best chance of rehabilitating in the community
• established a homelessness prevention service, to engage and support people in the community at the first signs of homelessness
• a ‘public talking shop’ for inspiring city-wide conversations on housing and homelessness. Open House is a platform for the voices of people experiencing homelessness and insecure housing and is ensuring that this lived experience stays central to the Movement and wider action on housing and homelessness in the city.

OCF and Oxford Homeless Movement are calling on more businesses, organisations and individuals in Oxford to get involved, everyone is welcome to come along to the launch at Open House, 36 Little Clarendon St, Oxford, OX1 2HU at 11.30 am or 15.30, to find out more about this initiative and join The Movement.

Please visit oxfordhomelessmovement.org.uk and pledge your support by signing the charter or by making a donation.

Oxfordshire Community Foundation

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Oxfordshire Voice at Howbery Park

Standard Operating Procedures?

Can the Oxfordshire Voice Forum provide a standard of accreditation or champion key aspirational best practice for all businesses in Oxfordshire?

The OV Forum at Howbery Park was a highly interactive affair with absolutely every member contributing to an excellent discussion. Our two excellent speakers Grant Hayward and Chris Harvey led a constructive and robust discussion particularly in terms of the key business areas and companies that we can use as role models for better business growth, development and management.

Identifying individual leaders and those businesses which embrace and embed best practice as integral to their business development was concluded to be a key objective. Sharing ideas and almost evangelising these exemplars through OV could enable all businesses to overcome barriers in their businesses.

A mapping system to highlight the business areas where other businesses could improve and grow was seen to be an excellent route to integrate individual business change into the framework of growth and change that OV and partners were developing.

A “Manifesto” of managing change

Oxfordshire Voice is not simply about Oxfordshire as an entity at the largest scale. It is also a central focus for all businesses to engage with for sustainable and consistent growth which will benefit us all at all scales.
If we can engender change at all levels and collaborate effectively we all benefit and the Oxfordshire brand at the highest level benefits at regional, national and international levels.

Our “Common Cause” as business as a force for good is already a growing movement across the world. Our challenges are not unique although Oxford has specific barriers that can only be tackled with truly integrated thinking.

Mapping out our priorities, particularly ones that all businesses, irrespective of their resources can attain is a core element. This could lead to a shared toolkit of knowledge and best practice. Case studies of Oxfordshire business that are already on this path can be highly publicised and the toolkit enables other business to benefit from this growth.

Although the discussion was very wide ranging the focus must be on what is achievable and fits into the strategic plans at all scales. Accreditation and compliance is a challenge in all our individual sectors but our manifesto cuts across sectors to enable a shared educational and promotional process to benefit us all.

Aligning Priorities – creating change

Mapping out best business practice ideas.
How does better business practice align with a better Oxfordshire at all levels?
Creating a toolkit of resources for shared knowledge and support from key experts.
Developing a panel of experts who exemplify how their businesses are either already executing best practice or are on the road to achieving it.

The latest OV Forum was a stimulating and positive event to enable us all to be better leaders and managers, develop key priorities to move our businesses forwards and generate awareness of how we all play a role in understanding, communicating and overcoming the challenges we face at every scale.

“Oxfordshire Voice is further developing into an excellent platform to generate real change to enable us to play a role in changing Oxfordshire for the better. A better Oxfordshire for everyone irrespective of their role, age or background……it is a privilege to be involved”

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Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme

Full Fibre Broadband for Rural Communities – Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme

Higher value vouchers now available: There is a new, higher value full fibre broadband voucher scheme available to residents and business in rural areas. This is known as the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme and offers voucher values of £3,500 for SME’s and £1,500 for residential premises. Please see the link below to access the full details and conditions.

In summary, these vouchers can be used when the location is rural and the existing available speed is below 30Mb/s. The online tool automatically determines if the postcode entered qualifies for the rural voucher scheme. An application may only be made when there is more than one premise listed in the application. If the online tool evaluates that the rural voucher is not applicable, then the standard Gigabit Voucher Scheme will currently remain in place and the website will direct you to the details of that scheme.

Both of these options are funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and will operate until funds are exhausted.

Find out if you are eligible by using the postcode search, which will also list suppliers that are active in your area and be able to advise of your eligibility and guide you through the process. Full fibre broadband is a fibre-optic cable directly to your premise from the telephone exchange that is future proof and will offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available of 1 gigabit, which is the same as 1,000 megabits.

For further information regarding the Rural Gigabit Voucher scheme, please visit: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural Please contact broadband@oxfordshire.gov.uk should you have any questions

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Inclusive Growth Seminar Series

Inclusive Growth Seminar Series – Speakers now confirmed

As Chair of the Oxford Strategic Partnership, I would like to invite you to a seminar series on Inclusive Growth in Oxfordshire. These seminars, held in partnership with Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, will explore how we can collectively enable a more equitable and inclusive economy in our county. I would welcome your participation and contribution to this important subject.

Oxford and Oxfordshire are among the fastest growing local economies in the UK but also one of the least equal, so we want to examine what fundamental structural changes may be required to ensure our future growth delivers benefits to all residents and serves to narrow the inequalities gap.

Through the seminars we want to develop a common understanding of this challenge, learn more about the measures and policy interventions being proposed, and what strategies are being trialled elsewhere. This will help inform what we can do here to have a meaningful positive impact on inequities in income and opportunity.

Oxfordshire’s Local Industrial Strategy now includes a commitment to an Inclusive Growth Commission, development of which will be informed by the seminar discussions. This initiative is to be sponsored through the Oxfordshire Growth Board.

I very much hope you will be able to join us, for the first and subsequent seminars on this important topic.

Warm regards,
Baroness Royall
Chair of the Oxford Strategic Partnership and Principal of Somerville College, Oxford

Seminar 1 – Defining the Challenge and Potential Interventions

Wednesday 16th October, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, Somerville College

The first Inclusive Growth seminar will focus on the research, policy and data on economic and social inequality to define the real scale of the challenge nationally and locally. We will start the discussion on potential interventions to be developed through the seminar series and beyond.

If you have not received an Eventbrite invitation, please register for seminar 1 here or click on this link:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inclusive-growth-seminar-series-seminar-1-tickets-68443746087

Speakers confirmed as: Ed Cox, Dr Mark Fransham, Will Hutton and Professor Brian Nolan.

• Ed Cox is Director of Public Services and Communities at the RSA, where he is leading an ambitious programme of work on people, power, place and inclusive growth. Ed previously led IPPR North for 9 years where he was a champion for devolution and much of the thinking behind the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. Before that, Ed was an adviser to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government where he played a key role in developing the SubNational Review (2007) and the Empowerment White Paper (2008).

• Mark Fransham is a Researcher at the International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics. He is interested in comparative analysis of urban areas and their responses to economic and social change and has undertaken doctoral research at The University of Oxford about the spatial distribution of income poverty at neighbourhood level in England.

• Will Hutton is a British political economist, academic administrator, and journalist. He is currently Principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford, and Chair of the Big Innovation Centre, an initiative from the Work Foundation (formerly the Industrial Society), having been chief executive of the Work Foundation from 2000 to 2008. He was formerly editor-in-chief for The Observer.

• Brian Nolan is Director of Employment, Equity and Growth and Professor of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Intervention (University of Oxford). He is an economist by training, with a doctorate from the London School of Economics, and his main areas of research are income inequality, poverty, and the economics of social policy. His work seeks to understand why current growth models are failing those on middle and lower incomes in many developed countries, and what policies may help to promote better, fairer growth.

Seminar 2 – Place-based Strategies

Monday 28th October, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, Kellogg College

Economic inequalities and deprivation are often concentrated in specific areas of cities and towns, or affect places in specific ways. The solutions to the inequality challenge can also lie within these places strengths and opportunities. This seminar will focus on lessons learned from cities and organisations that are taking the initiative to lead publicprivate place based strategies and investments.

If you have not received an Eventbrite invitation, please register for seminar 2 here or click on this link:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inclusive-growth-seminar-series-seminar-2-tickets-69293279063

Speakers confirmed as: Gareth Hart, Bev Hindle, Neil McInroy and Jayne Woodley.

• Gareth Hart is Chair of Plymouth’s Inclusive Growth Group, a working group of the Plymouth Growth Board. The Growth Board is a private sector led partnership, bringing together representatives from important city organisations to collaborate and drive forward the economic priorities of Plymouth. Gareth led the bid that saw Plymouth become the UK’s first ‘Social Enterprise City’.

• Bev Hindle is Director of the Oxfordshire Growth Board and Oxford to Cambridge Arc Leaders and Chief Executives groups. His is responsible for coordinating implementation of the £215 million Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal agreed with Government in 2018, which includes developing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 that will consider the needs of the county and align its strategies so that plans for future housing and infrastructure are joined up.

• Neil McInroy is Chief Executive of the Centre Local Economic Strategies (CLES) a leading independent think and do tank, realising progressive economics for people and place. CLES’s aim is to achieve social justice, good local economies and effective public services for everyone, everywhere. Neil’s work as the Chief Executive is centred on strategic policy making, cooperation, developing strategies, and public sector reform.

• Jayne Woodley is CEO of Oxfordshire Community Foundation an independent charity connecting people who care with causes that matter. Since it was established in 1995 it has stewarded £12 million in donations from Oxfordshire’s generous givers, grown its endowment fund to nearly £5 million, and awarded £6.3 million in grants, benefiting around 2,000 local charities and community groups. They also host the responsible business group Reciprocate.

Seminar 3 – Economic Opportunities for All

Wednesday 20th November, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, City of Oxford College, Blackbird Leys Campus

This seminar will focus on the themes of workforce skills and training, employer engagement and initiatives, and the role the business sector can play to expand economic opportunities to all.

If you have not received an Eventbrite invitation, please register for seminar 3 here or click on this link:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inclusive-growth-seminar-series-seminar-3-tickets-69297782533

Speakers confirmed as: Trevor Philips, Anna Swaithes, and Paul Roberts.

• Trevor Philips is a writer and television producer. He is the cofounder of the diversity analytics consultancy Webber Phillips, and Chairman of Green Park Interim and Executive Search. He is the Chairman of the global freedom of expression campaign charity Index on Censorship, a director of the Barbican Arts Centre, and a VicePresident of the Royal Television Society. He was the President of the John Lewis Partnership Council until 2018, and founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

• Anna Swaithes is Head of Responsible Business, Inclusive Economy Unit, Department for Media, Culture & Sport. Her focus is on building partnerships between government, business and broader civil society to create social value and build sustainable businesses, and on driving a culture of business transparency and accountability.

• Paul Roberts is the CEO of Aspire, an Oxfordshirebased social enterprise which supports vulnerable local people into and towards employment and housing. Aspire runs social businesses which offer professional facilities management services to local councils, businesses, academic institutions and private customers. He is also co-Chair of Oxfordshire’s multi-agency Housing & Homelessness Group, and a Director of Makespace Oxford (Community Interest Company).

Any queries please contact inclusivegrowth@oxford.gov.uk or Shelley Ghazi on sghazi@oxford.gov.uk

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B4 NEXUS

OV Introduces NEXUS

The B4 community has established itself over the past 14 years by bringing together organisations from the public, private and third sectors, providing the platforms for all of our members to gain profile, learn and grow together.

Oxfordshire Voice was launched to give organisations in Oxfordshire the opportunity to have their say and help local government shape policy. However, despite the fact that we have some great partners in Oxfordshire Voice, to be a true voice we needed wider representation from all sectors at all levels.

NEXUS was launched to provide charities, social enterprises, small businesses, new businesses, entrepreneurs and more with the opportunity to have their voice heard through Oxfordshire Voice but also make invaluable connections through B4 and gain profile at BIO2020 (see opposite)….all at no cost.

Partnerships are formed between sponsors (existing B4 and OV members and partners) and partners (charities, social enterprises etc…..). Sponsors pay a fixed fee for a series of benefits that are mirrored for the partner. Sponsors and partners will also be able to submit any good news stories coming out of their partnership during the year and we will promote these stories in B4 Magazine, our e-Newsletters, social media and on our B4 website.

NEXUS is designed to grow a spirit of collaboration, sharing and support for the partners and will culminate with the NEXUS Awards at our 7th annual BIO event in June 2020, a black tie dinner where partnerships which have worked particularly well over the course of the year will be recognised with a NEXUS Award.

OV Partner, Grant Hayward of Collaborent, came up with the name NEXUS and feels the programme is perfect for many organisations in Oxfordshire who will benefit hugely. ‘I work with so many charities, social enterprises, not for profit organisations and small businesses who would never be able to consider investing in networking and conferences. As we know, particularly in the third sector, every penny counts. I am sure I speak for all of the organisations that could benefit from NEXUS, to have the ability to connect with the incredible companies in B4 and Oxfordshire Voice, not to mention the profile on offer at BIO2020, this really is an invaluable and welcomed opportunity.”

For more information, visit www.nexus.b4-business.com

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Collaborent OV Partner

Building a more resilient, purposeful and attractive business

Why this is important – it’s not just a “nice to have”

I tend not to refer to CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility these days as it’s so often misunderstood and underestimated. It has also been regarded as something that can be added once a business is well-established, but we are truly witnessing a sea change in the ways businesses are operating. Companies leading the way are recognising not only the shared responsibility they have to help make the world a better place, but also the opportunities opened up by embracing this and embedding it into the heart of their businesses – whether start-ups or well-established, and here is why……

An employer of choice – attracting and retaining quality people: The increasingly competitive market for quality staff is demanding that potential employers become far more attractive. Equally, those already employed are seeking far more satisfaction and fulfilment from their work, as well as having more flexibility and feeling valued and engaged. This is particularly important to younger employees.

Winning more customers and satisfying the ones you have: All of us as customers are becoming far more discerning in terms of who we buy from. There is also a shift in thinking from the public, especially around the ways those we buy from treat the environment and generally operate their companies. Social Media means that bad news can go viral in an instant, as can great stories!

Investment: As well as seeking the best return on funds, investors are increasingly looking for ways their money can make more positive social and environmental impact. Therefore, there is an opportunity for positive attraction, but also the danger of deterring potential investors if you aren’t operating in many of the ways you can.

What can you do?

Develop a strategy: Clearly this all should start at the top, but it’s equally essential for genuine engagement from all levels within the business. Understanding how all areas of a business are or can be affected is vital, as well as the ways these areas can engage and benefit.

There are a number of models that can help with the overall approach. One, which is completely free, is offered by B Lab, supporting and promoting B Corporations and can be accessed here: https://bimpactassessment.net.

The B Impact Assessment is an online tool that helps you analyse and assess your current position, but also highlights ways in which you can improve your business. It is broken down into 5 main areas:

Workers: the ways in which you manage and care for your people.
Community: The way the company engages in and supports the local community.
Environment: The impact it has on the environment
Customers: The way the company trades up and down its supply chain, treats customers and suppliers and the products and services it provides.
Governance: The type of legal entity and the way the business is run, including involvement of employees in the decision-making process.

As a “B Leader”, having trained with B Lab to help companies consider becoming B Corporations, I work with this tool and find it extremely useful and enlightening as to what can be achieved. I therefore wholeheartedly recommend accessing it to benchmarking the way your company operates, but to also shine a light on the ideas and opportunities you have to build an even stronger and more positively impactful company. Other models and resources are also out there, including Blueprint For Better Business (https://www.blueprintforbusiness.org) and Purposely. (https://getpurpose.ly).

Practical, local, activities and engagement: There are so many things you can do to develop a more purposeful business and have more positive social and environmental impact, so it’s not possible to provide a comprehensive listing here. However, below are just some practical ideas and initiatives that can help you on your way.

Employees/workplace
Inclusive Employment: This is an increasingly topical subject and one which, as a former employer, I had no real understanding of back then. Since I moved from the corporate world to this area of operation I have learned so much about the opportunities this brings to employers. And it’s not simply about gender and ethnicity. Check out Aspire Oxford’s offering on Inclusive Recruitment: https://www.aspireoxfordshire.org/what-we-offer

Workplace Wellbeing: More employers are keen to improve the ways in which they can support their staff, although sometimes aren’t aware of precisely how they can go about doing so. The Oxfordshire Workplace Wellbeing Network was set up by employers, for employers and is a peer network that is free to join. You can join the LinkedIn Group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8515963

Employee volunteering: Boosting morale and providing the opportunity for your people to get more involved in the local community is not only good for your business, but great for them and the local community too. There are some exciting initiatives developing, so watch this space, but in the meantime, you can download this handy guide: http://reciprocateox.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Reciprocate-Volunteering-Handbook-2018-ONLINE.pdf

Community
Community engagement is a huge topic in itself and there are so many ways businesses can develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships with the local community. Companies often immediately think about supporting local charities, which is absolutely something I would endorse and encourage. However, there are many more opportunities including local schools and colleges as well as supporting local community initiatives, business networks, parish councils and other local committees. Check out these resources for more information:
OxLEP Skills team for connections with local schools
https://www.oxfordshirelep.com/skills
The ROBIN Network – sharing skills and resources across sectors: www.robinoxford.org.uk

Environment
A particularly topical subject currently and another area that has a myriad of elements you can follow to improve your business. Check out:
OxFutures – http://oxfutures.org
The UN Sustainable Development Goals –
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org
Bioregional’s One Planet Living model –
https://www.bioregional.com/one-planet-living
Better Business (https://www.betterbusinesspack.com), developed by Seacourt Print.

Marketplace – Customers and suppliers
Asking more questions of your suppliers, the provenance of your products and services as well as being more transparent and responsive to customers can multiply your impact. Do you pay your suppliers promptly and treat them fairly? Buying from sources closer to you and from local, independent businesses can make a difference to the environment and local economy. Do you “Buy Social”? https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/campaigns/buy-social-for-a-better-world

Governance
It’s appreciated that most readers will be with private limited companies including micro businesses and perhaps even sole traders. But this sub-topic is still relevant to you whatever type or size. The word Governance is being used here in the widest sense, It could be the legal entity, the way a company is structured, managed and run. More private companies, like B Corps are embedding commitments to positive social and environmental impact in their Articles of Association to demonstrate transparency and accountability for the ways in which they operate.

Some companies are even choosing to share the wealth of the business with employees and a great local example of this is The Rooflight Company: https://www.therooflightcompany.co.uk. But even mainstream, private limited companies can engage and involve staff more in strategic development, the decision-making processes and operational aspects of the company to evolve it to become a Business as a Force ror Good

In summary

Hopefully this has helped opened your mind to some new ideas about embedding this as “business as usual” and shown how they might also help solve or alleviate some of your day to day challenges and open up business development opportunities for you. It’s my belief that companies that don’t adopt these ways of working will soon fall behind. Customers won’t want to buy from them, people won’t want to work for them, and investors will be directing their funds elsewhere. I am even seeing suppliers becoming fussier.

But this needs to be undertaken authentically, engaging your people, listening to your clients and other stakeholders and peers.

If you’d like to explore this further, send feedback or just connect, then please do get in touch:
grant@collaborent.co.uk

Collaborent

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Workplace productivity tools

STL Communications provide IT and Communications to businesses in Oxfordshire, and have over 20 years’ experience in the industry. Paul Ballinger, gives his thoughts on how technology can help organisations embrace the modern workplace.

In recent years we have found that technology is changing everything – the way we work, live and do business. The modern workplace is evolving at pace with most organisations now having a flexible workforce, new intelligent business models and digital tools that allows teams to connect and collaborate.

As a result at STL, our traditional ways of doing things are being replaced by new smarter ways of working. With just over 40 employees, our business was traditionally office based. However, we have recently introduced a combination of workplace productivity tools, an efficient operating system and smart applications to seamlessly support employees and encourage collaboration.

Employees, such as our field based engineers or sales team, need to be able to connect back to head office and immediately have access and transparency to data and systems – all done with the complete confidence that everything is resilient, secure and compliant. We enable them with office collaboration tools which provides access to all files and emails from anywhere. We also utilise video conferencing allowing our mobile workforce to discuss and meet virtually with screen sharing and video chat.

This has led to a number of benefits such as an improved work/life balance for our employees with less travel time and flexible working options, as well as increasing efficiencies and streamlining processes within the business.

Environmentally, in addition to our flexible working strategy, we have been focused on decreasing our carbon footprint by reducing travel and encouraging car sharing wherever possible, removing paperwork with electronic sharing of data and storage and encouraging our employees and customers to better use IT and communications so that they can reap the benefits of flexible working.

STL Communications Ltd
01993 777148
www.stlcomms.com

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Activate Learning Oxford

New business and education partnership will help to close the Oxfordshire technical skills gap

Over 3,000 creative and digital sector businesses are based in Oxfordshire, generating a total of £1.4billion to the UK economy each year. With such an important and rapidly evolving sector, it is vital for business and education to work together to drive progress and innovation.

A major new technology centre is being established to develop the skills Oxfordshire businesses need to grow. Based at the world-famous Bletchley Park and with hubs in Oxford and Reading, the South Central Institute of Technology (IoT) will deliver higher technical educational programmes with a focus on digital and computing to a thousand students a year.

Activate Learning, which runs colleges in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey, is working with Milton Keynes College and prestigious partners including Microsoft, KPMG, McAfee, Evidence Talks, VWFS and Cranfield University on the £28million project.

IoT hubs will be created at Activate Learning’s City of Oxford and Reading campuses to offer technical qualifications, higher apprenticeships and training to plug the growing gap between demand and supply for key technical and digital roles, including cyber security. The new facilities will enhance our business-focussed learning programmes that already provide employers with a skilled workforce and students with a clear route to technical employment.

Our award-winning Learning Philosophy has driven new models of applied learning, which develop motivated and emotionally strong learners. Every year our philosophy helps thousands of people to unlock their potential and switch on to the power of learning. We do this by developing independent learning skills, teaching active listening, building life skills, and through identifying technical and soft skills required for the workplace.

Last year we created over 300,000 hours of work experience and provided our partners with priority access to new talent that they helped to shape through joint curriculum design and delivery.

These partnerships are important because they drive up student performance, motivate young people to pursue careers in which they will thrive, and tackle the skills gap so that we can contribute to the continued success of our local economy.

The new IoT hubs will add to our commitment to providing the most up-to-date teaching methods, facilities and real-life work experience opportunities for all our students.

Jon Adams is Activate Learning’s Group Executive Director for Technology and explains why the South Central Institute of Technology will be good for Oxfordshire business.

He said: “At Activate Learning we’ve been working hard with tech employers and fostering good industry relationships for years to try and ensure that the talent is there for their businesses to thrive in the future.

“The creation of the new South-Central Institute of Technology will allow for an even higher calibre of training, with industry partners lending their expertise – both in terms of curriculum content and hands-on classroom time – to teach and train the next generation of digital pioneers.

“We know from all the work we do engaging with companies across the technology sector that their main worry is a lack of people in the market with the right skills to help their businesses grow.

“The new IoT based within the grounds of the historic Bletchley Park and the respective hubs in Oxford and Reading, will provide businesses across the region access to exactly the talent they need.

“Over the coming months we will be reaching out to businesses across the sector that we feel would benefit from a relationship with the IoT and we want to form long-lasting, meaningful collaborations.

“Because it’s not just about the talent that isn’t there yet, it’s also about the talent within businesses already. People who, with the right training, could contribute enormously to their business. There’s so much potential.”

So, as work progresses there is a lot for the technology sector across the region to be positive about and fortune will favour those who are bold enough to help drive engagement and support innovation.

The future starts here.

About Activate Learning

With colleges across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey, Activate Learning delivers education at both further and higher levels, as well as apprenticeships and a growing international offer.

We recognise that in order for our learners to be successful, we need to teach them the things that industry really needs. This is why we work with more than 2,000 companies across all sectors nationwide in order to address the challenges they face. And because of the scale with which we operate and our different provisions, we can offer support to businesses at every level and help their staff transform their lives through learning

0800 612 6008
www.activatelearning.ac.uk

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NXT Launch at Blenheim Palace

OV Spotlight: Engaging The Next Generation

Oxfordshire Voice has been set up to find solutions for the key challenges facing Oxfordshire businesses. Whilst many solutions have and are being implemented by businesses on a daily basis (flexible working, car pooling etc….) to overcome these challenges, larger policy related changes may well take years to implement.

Not only is it vital to have the next generation’s input and view with regards to policies which will affect their futures, it’s crucial to let them know their input is valued and required.

NXT has been established to engage the next generation through a series of events for those aged 18 to 30 years old, which will help them grow in their business careers. NXT events have provided advice on networking, financial planning and social media and will continue to be held in the future for young professionals, creatives and entrpreneurs.

However, a new and exciting magazine for the generation is being published for the next generation in schools and colleges to be inspired to follow a career in Oxfordshire and beyond with excellent examples of how young businessmen and women are carving out excellent careers for themselves at an early age.

Features in the first edition include Ellie Yendle, an HR apprentice from from Blenheim Palace; Hussain Manawer, a London based singer, poet and writer; New York based fashion designer, David Ben David; You HR’s Emma Crossley; award winning Sarah Jaycock of HS Composites; three times national champion boxer, Jordan Flynn; Radio 1 Xtra presenter, Silecta and many more.

NXT’s founder, Ed Rosser, said, “I am delighted to be working with Oxfordshire Voice and I look forward to helping contribute to a better future for all. We are really excited about the new magazine and strongly believe it will be instrumental in inspiring the next generation to begin a career, wherever that may be.”

Schools and colleges can subscribe for copies of NXT Magazine and local businesses can sponsor copies of the magazine to be circulated amongst students. More information can be obtained at www.b4-nxt.com

If you would like to find out more about engaging with NXT, please contact Ed via the website. If you would like to support Oxfordshire Voice and you are aged between 18 and 30 years old, please contact Oxfordshire Voice about helping to contribute to finding solutions for the key issues facing all of us.

b4-nxt.com

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