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GC business breakfast guests enjoy insightful talk from Amazon Web Services


Local businesses visited Gloucestershire College (GC) for a morning of breakfast, networking and talks with special guests Amazon Web Services (AWS).

On 17 February, GC’s Restaurant Number One was bustling with over 40 guests enjoying a delicious breakfast prepared by the College’s professional cookery students.

The breakfast kick-started GC’s first face-to-face business breakfast event since the pandemic and brought together Gloucestershire employers from various industries, including ICT, professional services, recruitment and engineering.

After the breakfast, the attendees proceeded to GC’s Advanced Digital Academy (ADA), a state-of-the art digital skills training facility, for presentations and discussion.

The topic of the event was of an importance to all, as it focused on skills shortage and how businesses can develop and retain a motivated, highly skilled workforce in the post-COVID era of the “Great Resignation”.

Special guests, Cecilie Lowson, Sr. Programme Manager for Digital Skills at AWS and Kira Levy, Head of Healthcare at AWS gave an overview of the Amazon culture and their emphasis on an inclusive environment and continuous learning.

They also shared AWS’s best practices in attracting and nurturing talent through upskilling and re-skilling initiatives and making digital skills more accessible to local communities through programmes like AWS Academy and AWS Educate.

“Calling out what a company can improve on is only beneficial if there’s a commitment from the top down to encourage change and dialogue. This means not only taking pride in the changes to come, but being accountable for the success of those changes.

"No one is perfect - give resources, new training and understand that change takes time and consistent effort. If you’re attempting to build stronger upskilling pathways for females in your firm, you must encourage all to come along with you on that journey. Build stronger relationships and be humble through that process.” – commented Kira Levy, Head of Healthcare, AWS

The next presentation was from Mark Higgins, GC’s Sr. Assessor/Trainer in Digital Apprenticeships. Mark’s passion for apprenticeships and respect for his learners shone through as he shared his perspective on the upcoming talent in the industry, and how apprenticeships can help employers address the skills gap, especially in the IT & cyber security field.

“Growing your own, through an apprenticeship scheme helps you to prepare your business in a sustainable way for the opportunities ahead” – said Mark. “Here in Gloucestershire, we have a broad and deep pool of talented people from a very varied skills mix to draw upon. By bringing in an apprentice, you bring in the enthusiasm and the energy of someone keen to learn and establish themselves and grow them into the perfect fit for your organisation, closely aligned with your own organisation’s requirements.”

The breakfast meeting concluded with Q&As and networking.

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