Business moguls who develop your entrepreneurial side

Our business experts teach industry-trending practical skills that build up your entrepreneurial acumen, provide real networking opportunities and connect you with work experience placements.

An award-winning department

As part of The Oxfordshire Business & Enterprise School (TOBES), you will benefit from taking part in social action projects that teach valuable business skills and have gained national industry recognition.

See how businesses function

To understand what makes businesses tick, you need to get a view from the inside. You will visit small and large, local and multi-national businesses from a broad range of industries, including Disneyland Paris for a business conference and Vodafone HQ in Newbury.

Through our high-quality Business & Enterprise programme, we teach and train future entrepreneurs.
The programme uses a mix of traditional teaching, employer engagement and social action projects with a high level of community engagement. With this in mind we start the year with a 'Dragon's Den' style Venture Vortex ideas generator workshop.

Are you excited by the idea of brainstorming business ideas?

All industries need people with a head for how business works, whether it's finance, retail, property, entertainment – whichever career path interests you the most!

We will teach you the core skills that apply across all the different business careers that are out there. Visits to organisations like the Vodafone HQ in Newbury, along with bringing in guest speakers from companies such as BMW Oxford, gives you career insights directly from the major business players.

As part of our business courses you will work on a number of projects both within the college and with local businesses, potentially working with charities to support fundraising or organising and promoting events on the college's campuses.

These experiences will develop your teamwork skills, test your ability to strategise and communicate plans, and reward your efforts as your successful business projects achieve real-life results.

Staff Profile: Martin Burgess

Staff Profile: Martin Burgess

Martin graduated in 2010 with a BSc from the University of Gloucestershire, and went on to gain his MSc and Certificate in Education in 2011/12.

He has been working at the College since 2011 with experience teaching full-time and higher education courses. Prior to teaching, Martin spent several years working at managerial level for Royal Mail and is a keen dealer in contemporary and modern British art.

He is also a governor at Kempsford primary school, where he sits on the resources and standards committees.

"As a second year course leader, I really love seeing our students succeed and progress onto the next level, whether that is university, an apprenticeship or full-time employment. By being exposed to highly-qualified and experienced lecturers, they can soak up a lot of knowledge and use that to influence whatever they enjoy doing most.

At college, students have an opportunity to develop their transferable and employability skills alongside their course too. It could be a someone improving their teamwork or taking that first attempt at using a bit certain software – we find that as their confidence grows in gaining more soft skills, their projects improve and they become more successful."

Staff Profile: Fiona Eriksen-Coats

Staff Profile: Fiona Eriksen-Coats

Fiona's academic background includes graduating from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with an honours degree in Business Science and majoring in accounting, economics and marketing. Not stopping there, she also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and is currently a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

The focus of her career has been on marketing and business across a range of different industries, including B2B, charity, pharma, and fast-moving consumer goods such as Birds Eye, Wall's and Smirnoff.

Fiona's most recent role before joining the College has been as a Marketing Capability Manager at Britvic, alongside teaching CIM certificate and diploma courses.

"I only started at the College in August 2019, and already it feels I've been here for years!

I enjoy sharing my knowledge with young people who wish to become successful in business and help them to be the best they can be, and building the future entrepreneurs and senior managers of the future is an exciting challenge. Everyday in the classroom brings new ideas and thoughts, which I love.

Abingdon & Witney College focus on developing well-rounded individuals, not just their vocational knowledge, but other life skills. For example, learning to work together as a team and take responsibility for their own actions; these, and others, are important skills to develop for students so they can go out into the world and be productive, happy and successful students."

Staff Profile: Sam Upton

Staff Profile: Sam Upton

With a degree in Modern History from Coventry University, Sam's career has taken him into the world of banking and also in safety equipment sales.

He then joined the College in 2017 as a Student Performance Manager, where he continues to support TOBES students alongside completing his AET qualification in April 2018.

"The thing I enjoy most about working at college is being around students and seeing the tangible difference you can make to students and their education.

The main benefits to students are that we offer more than just vocational courses and we give the students the opportunity to develop as individuals and equip them with the skills they need for the workplace.

My AET qualification helped me with the running and structuring of core tutorials and assignment workshops and I'm very happy I decided to go down this route."

Did you know?

Jordan

Business Study Programme Level 3

Previous school:
St Birinus School


The structure of studying here really suits me rather than A Levels, as there are opportunities to improve on what you enjoy doing most.

I like that it is a broad course and that it provides lots of options for you once you're finished - if you don't have a specific idea within business what to do, this can help you to build a specialism.

My highlights so far would be the guest speakers from BMW and Vodafone coming in to talk about apprenticeships, giving us an insight into what you need to give to get into these places.

Studying Business Management at university is my next step.

Elise

Business Study Programme Level 3

Previous school:
Chipping Norton School


I chose the college because it's local to me and I'd heard good things about its reputation for teaching business.

There is a lot of freedom and much more support from tutors. You get to know your tutor well, which feels more personal and has definitely improved my confidence and I find the teaching style more to my liking as I'm treated like an adult!

I feel like the course has solidified my career prospects and I'm enjoying it.

Ben

Business Study Programme Level 3

Previous school:
Fitzharrys School


I have always wanted to set my own business up since secondary school and I knew that to go down this career path, I needed a bit of pushing and confidence-building from the college.

I loved college; it made who I am today and I have my closest friends through studying there.

The College and the support staff pushed me to do my best, convinced me to apply to university and when I found out I got in with an unconditional offer, the rest is history – I have just graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a First Class degree in Business and Management.

Amber

Business Study Programme Level 3

Previous school:
Burford School


I came to a college open day and a business taster day, and I really liked it - that and my siblings also came here and recommended it!

Being here, I feel like I have more freedom as I can have a part-time job alongside studying. There's more time to balance things in your life, as I get to focus on just one subject. Jill, our tutor, motivates us and is really approachable and everyone wants to be on the course.

Even though I'm still unsure which exact career to go into, I know I'm getting a good qualification. Business gives you insights into some of the different careers out there, but for now I'm going to do the second year of the course, then look into university or apprenticeships.

Tam

Business Study Programme Level 3

Previous school:
St. Birinus School


During my time at college I developed valuable commercial skills such as communication, negotiation, personal organisation and customer focus. I feel I developed a lot as an individual and became much more independent and effective at communicating with people at all different levels.

In my current role as Apprenticeships Training Co-ordinator, I am responsible for overseeing apprentices in management, team leading and managing the training for Unipart. I apply much of what I learnt in college, especially when it comes to problem-solving, using my own initiative and time management.

I also utilise my negotiation skills and always try and give excellent customer service to the apprentices and organisations I work with.

Your future career

Events Co-ordinator

Finance Manager

Fundraiser

Human Resources Officer

Marketing Manager

Office Manager

Public Relations Officer

Retail Manager

Sales Manager

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