Shared Vision: Training & Career Development in Reading
The Current Job Market and Employment Opportunities in Reading
Since the medieval era, Reading has been an important economic centre in the South of England. Reading was one of the top ten largest English cities as early as in the 16th century, mainly thanks to the income generated by the textile trade. The manufacturing sector also contributed to local employment from the 19th century onwards.
Today, Reading is a major commercial centre that benefits from excellent transport links with London, Oxford, and the south west of England. The town is also part of the prosperous Thames Valley region, which has the UK's highest economic growth rates. The current job market attracts as many as 30,000 commuters every day, who travel to work mostly in the various business parks that exist in Reading.
The main industries in Reading are information technology, insurance, telecommunications, banking, and business services. There are several business parks in the area that are home to the headquarters of several blue chip companies, such as ING Direct, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Verizon, Hewlett Packard, Ericsson, Regus, Pepsico, and Prudential. Other key employers are those in the education sector, such as the University of Reading and Thames Valley University. Retail is also an important source of local employment in Reading, since companies like Tesco, John Lewis, Costco, Makro, and Debenhams provide a significant number of jobs.
As of July 2012, the unemployment rate in Reading stood at 3.4 per cent, and average annual salaries are in the region of £22,000.
Professional career development in Reading
The Henley Business School, based at the University of Reading, offers a large range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in subjects including business management, finance, entrepreneurship, international business, leadership, and international business strategy. The school also hosts a number of monthly events like seminars, international conferences, e-business groups, and networking events.
Reading College is a long-established Berkshire institution that provides excellent business and commerce training opportunities. The college offers funded training in the form of government-sponsored modern apprenticeships in Accounting, Business Administration, and Management, as well as NVQs in Business Administration and Business Improvement Services, to mention just a few. The college also runs one-day workshops on the topics of leadership and management through their associated consultancy, the Business Hub.
The local government in Berkshire also offers a range of workplace skills training courses, most of which are partly or wholly government-funded. These courses are available in fields like management, leadership, IT, sales, marketing, and soft skills. Reading College also works in partnership with local employers, sourcing and delivering personalised work skills training in-company on a wide range of business-related subjects.
The Henley Business School runs a variety of accredited and non-accredited executive education programmes, which deal with topics like leadership, finance, management, strategy and change. The school also offers a customised leadership training programme for enterprises, as well as their accelerator programmes, which help train the future leaders of small and medium enterprises.
Henley also offers a number of coaching qualifications open to university students, organisations, and enterprises alike. There are other training providers who also offer coaching and training in the areas of management, communication skills, business development, project management, decision making, team building, and leadership. Some Reading-based accredited providers include KSL Training and Activia UK.
As for networking events, the British Federation of Small Businesses has a local chapter in Reading that organises networking meetings on the third Wednesday of every month. The First Friday Club also meets once a month, and is considered one of Reading's leading networking events.
You'll find more information about business training companies and services on Actual Reading.
Further Considerations: If you have not yet learned to drive now is a good time to make a start. Not all positions are located within easy walking distance of public transport and some positions, such as sales and on site support, require that you be able to drive. If you have a license it makes you more desirable as a candidate and provides you with greater flexibility in the roles you can apply for and locations you can work in. To find a driving school in your area visit this site.
Recommended by Prime Office Space, the commercial property partner for Shared Vision: Training & Career Development in Reading.