You cannot fail to be impressed by the enormous opportunities for growing business and developing our young people now on offer at SGS Berkeley on the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park. Apart from South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the University of Gloucestershire, the site is now home to nearly 20 companies.
And it is growing.
We have recently seen Gloucestershire police deciding to open a training centre there and companies like Allard Sports Cars and Green Fuels are among those trailblazing firms establishing a base there. I believe that Berkeley is a real business jewel in the crown for Gloucestershire, where companies struggle to find suitable employment land. I am a great supporter of Kevin Hamblin’s team at SGS where they have a total focus on employability of their students.
I went along to Berkeley to see their most famous resident-the Bloodhound Land Speed Record team-before they took the jet car to the South African desert for speed testing. What impresses me is that Berkeley students studying engineering and cyber particularly, are working cheek by jowl with a world leading engineering project like Bloodhound. They are literally next door in the same building.
And their headteacher Louise Davies tells me:
“Working alongside professionals in the fields means that students tend to adopt a more professional approach to what they are doing. It makes them feel like young adults in an environment where they need to take things seriously.”
To me, the Berkeley experience for students is the future for many of our young people who do not have the same opportunities to study digital and engineering in the traditional curriculum. Plus, it makes them so employable.
And that is what companies tell me they really want. Berkeley is a real jewel for companies and young learners alike.
*Ian Mean is on the main board GFirstLEP representing SMEs