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12th Apr 2017

A network of educators, local enterprise and business partners, led by Adviza, has launched a major initiative to attract, recruit and upskill the talent that Berkshire’s employers desperately need to remain innovative and competitive. 

Called WOOP (Worlds of Opportunity), the programme promotes opportunities, seeks talent and helps to ensure that education and training programmes keep pace with employers’ needs.

Berkshire suffers major skills shortages for jobs that require science, maths, engineering or technology qualifications. 27% of all jobs in Berkshire are in these fields. 1 in 10 jobs is in digital technology – three times higher than the national average. Berkshire has 42,000 employers looking for these specialist skills. Many report that they struggle to fill vacancies, particularly for jobs in health, energy and the environment.

Inspiring events for all ages

WOOP events are a key element, showcasing job and training opportunities across Berkshire. Some events will be for students, but many will be open to the public and hope to attract people of all ages who may not have considered a career in these specialist fields, including women returning to work after a career break, or people who are underemployed and willing to take on new challenge.

Work experience opportunities

Work placements with local employers are also on offer through WOOP to students or graduates of all ages who have a Level 3 (A Level or equivalent) or higher science, technology, engineering or maths qualification.

Programme Manager Carly Grimster says, “A work placement is an excellent way to discover Berkshire’s real world of opportunity. It can be a way for mature candidates to explore new career options or to retrain, as well as giving young people a taster and a boost to their CV. Work experience often leads to a permanent job.”

Industry ambassadors

WOOP has a wide network of Berkshire employers who are keen to recruit from the local talent pool and build their network of like-minded professionals. Many of them nominate ambassadors to take part in events, set up work placements and generally inspire and educate the local community about the opportunities that exist.

Adviza welcomes any organisations interested in getting involved. Please email info@woop.org.uk or contact one of the partners.

The WOOP network includes Reading, Newbury, East Berkshire, and Bracknell & Wokingham Colleges, Central Berkshire Education Business Partnership, Learning to Work and other specialist organisations such as WISE and STEM Learning.

Funded by the European Social Fund and Education & Skills Funding Agency, the network has a grant of £450,000 to raise awareness and help plug the skills gap over the next 18 months.

Get involved! Go to the WOOP website to find out more.

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