Milestone for employers’ network

More than 100 businesses have signed up to Harrogate College Employers’ Network.

The group has just welcomed its 103rd member – representing a four-fold increase since its first meeting in 2021.

The network was set up to create a direct link between the district’s businesses and the college so that training and work opportunities could be tailored accordingly.

That has resulted in closer collaboration which has brought a range of benefits to both parties.

Building something special

Principal Danny Wild said: “It’s fantastic to see the network growing so fast. To have gained more than 100 members in under two years is a real achievement – and a sign that we’re building something special here.

“The feedback we gain from businesses is invaluable and helps us identify and address any gaps in our courses, so we can keep ahead of the curve in terms of meeting emerging training needs.

“Our students also benefit from meeting employers when they come along to support our events, like recruitment fairs, or give guest talks – and this in turn helps them secure work placements or apprenticeships.

“Our business partners, meanwhile, get the opportunity to directly influence our curriculum to ensure it’s delivering the training, and future workforce, they need. They also get some great networking and free advertising opportunities, so it’s a win-win.”

A network that sets the college apart

One of the network’s many businesses is Boroughbridge-based ATM Ltd – contractors in vegetation management, fencing, landscaping and ecology. HR administrator, Kelly Thomas, said: “We appreciate and support the working relationship we have with the college and its employers’ network.

“We have worked out that the best way to grow our workforce is by identifying someone who has an interest in our industry, investing in their development, and nurturing their progression.

“We aim to do this through apprenticeships and encouraging those leaving college to consider a career at ATM – and that’s where the network comes into its own, and sets Harrogate College apart from others we work with.”

Other local employers can find out more when the network holds its next meeting – which includes lunch – on Thursday 6 July. Places can be reserved at .

Looking to the future – creating paths into hospitality

Our college prides itself on constantly evolving to provide the skills our key local industries most need.

Our Principal, Danny Wild, has been explaining some of the many ways in which we have been supporting the hospitality sector to local businesses.

Danny was one the key speakers at Helping Harrogate Hospitality on 25 November. The event, held at Goldsborough Hall, was organised by Philip Bolson of Mr B Hospitality in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Speaking on Supporting Hospitality for the Future, Danny told the guests and other speakers how the college was encouraging students to see the full range of opportunities that the sector offers.

Shining a light on opportunities – and role models

Catering stars Neil Mendoza and Callum Bowmer
Hospitality stars Neil Mendoza and Callum Bowmer

He said: “The college is providing careers advice that encourages students to think beyond ‘front-of-house’, because the hospitality industry also includes things like finance, marketing and much more.

“I also spoke about how our employers’ network, which ties into our commitment to delivering an employer-led curriculum, lets local businesses directly influence what kinds of courses and skills we provide based on their needs.

“We have also been active in producing media pieces to shine a light on locally-grown success stories in the media. For example, earlier this year we produced a widely publicised article which featured two former Harrogate College students who have become hospitality stars, Callum Bowmer and Neil Mendoza.

“These kinds of inspiring examples provide great role models for our students while promoting the local hospitality industry.”

Invaluable experience and collaboration

Danny discussed the lifeskills training that students have been getting too, such as customer service training experience – and how that was showcased at the college’s recent recruitment fair.

And he stressed the importance of developing students’ soft skills, especially STEM 7 (the core skills that underpin Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills, to arm them with transferable talents.

Our hospitality team ensures that our students gain some invaluable experience of working in a fast, public-facing environment through the themed dining nights that we hold during each year.

Hospitality students are also taken on regular fact-finding trips to local hotels and restaurants, like Rudding Park.Our partnership work with local businesses, meanwhile, has led to students producing sustainable dining menu ideas for RHS Garden Harlow Park.

National recognition for our sustainability work

Our commitment to sustainability has been recognised by a major environmental awards scheme.

The Green Gown Awards celebrates examples of exceptional green projects that are being carried out by education institutions across the country.

Harrogate College reached the finals this year after being shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s Employees category. The judges were impressed by the partnership work we are doing to provide retrofit training, our delivery of green skills based on local feedback, and our efforts to embed sustainability into our courses.

The 2022 winners were announced at Loughborough University on November 8, when Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council, congratulated all the finalists.

He said: “Their work is helping us to meet the challenge of ensuring environmental sustainability is an inherent part of research and innovation excellence.”

Another step towards green excellence

The college, which is striving to become a recognised centre of green excellence, also now provides carbon literacy training for all of our staff and students.

We have been teaming up with local organisations such as Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition to raise awareness of, and provide courses on, retrofitting – which makes buildings more energy efficient.

And we are working closely with businesses, too – through our Employers’ Network – to provide training in other green skill areas including electrical vehicle charging technology and renewable energy installation.

Principal Danny Wild said: “As a college that is determined to play its part in tackling the climate emergency, we are pleased to see our ever-evolving sustainability work being recognised in this way.

“The Green Gown Awards celebrate best practice in environmental initiatives across the country, so we are in good company.

“This recognition will inspire us to work even harder to become a centre of green excellence and, as outlined in our Sustainability Pledge, become a net zero college by 2035.”

The college’s environmental work was previously recognised by the Green Gown Awards in 2021, when its Performance and Projects Coordinator was shortlisted in the Sustainability Champion category.

Harrogate Business Newsletter – October

Harrogate College prides itself on working hand in hand with local businesses and organisations to provide the skills and training they need to ensure that our economy grows and thrives. Our monthly newsletter is a handy way of keeping our partners informed of developments at the college.
To receive future Harrogate College Business Newsletters directly to your inbox click here

Business Newsletter – October 2022
Dear partners,

We are delighted to include reports in this edition of three very positive events that the college has hosted over the past few weeks.

In October, some of the district’s key businesses sent along representatives to the annual meeting of the Harrogate College Employers’ Network, to hear more about how it is helping firms thrive.

Then on 2 November we had two events on the same day. Our Student Recruitment Fair gave employers a chance to talk directly to appropriately trained students about potential vacancies that might fit around their studies.

That was followed, in the evening, by our hosting of Retrofit for Landlords, which was held in partnership with Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition. Part of our continuing drive to promote sustainability and green skills, this event shone a light on the many benefits of eco-refurbishment.

Read on to find out more!

Danny Wild

Harrogate College Networking meeting explores opportunities
Representatives from some of the district’s highest profile businesses took part in the 2022 annual meeting of Harrogate College Employers’ Network (HCEN).The event, held on 20 October, gave local employers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the last year and suggest how the college could further support the needs of their industries.Existing and prospective members also heard more about what benefits the employer network offers, and how they can get involved in shaping the skills and training of the future workforce.The meeting also offered attendees a first-look at the proposed Pathway to Employment Programme, which, among other things, would support the costs and challenges relating to recruitment and employee retention.

Read the full story here


Landlords hear about the benefits of retrofitting
The district’s landlords have been finding out about the benefits of ‘eco-refurbishment’ at an information event hosted by the college.

Retrofit for Landlords, run in partnership with Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition, took place on Wednesday 2 November. Seventeen local landlords heard from expert guest speakers about how they could go about retrofitting their properties, thereby cutting tenants’ energy bills while reducing carbon emissions.

Harrogate College’s Principal, Danny Wild, said: “Improving the efficiency of our district’s rented properties is a crucial part of the wider push towards sustainability, so it was encouraging to see such a good turnout.

“As a college, we are committed to reducing our own carbon emissions while delivering the green skills training our economy needs.”

Click here for the full story.


A Bustling Recruitment Fair
Harrogate-based employers have been meeting and interviewing our students about exciting potential opportunities.

Representatives from 10 businesses visited Harrogate College on Wednesday 2 November to take part in a Student Recruitment Fair.

The event, set up through the Harrogate College Employers’ Network (HCEN), let local companies talk directly to students – all with customer service training experience – about their work.

They were also able to hold interviews with some students about positions with part-time, study-friendly hours – resulting in at least two job offers being made on the day.

Read the full story here.


Work with us! We are a college that prides itself on collaborating wth the district’s businesses and community groups. To find out more contact Business Engagement Advisor Susan Roberts, email:

We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of our Business Newsletter – we’ll be back with more next month!

Find out more about a network committed to supporting local businesses

Harrogate College Employers’ Network is inviting businesses across the district to get involved – and reap the benefits.

Set up to allow employers to have a direct influence on the courses and training the college provides, the network (HCEN) will hold its annual meeting on Thursday 20 October.

Open to prospective as well as existing members, the 10am to noon event will be a chance to hear about the progress HCEN has made over the past year, plus the rewards it offers.

Attending businesses will also be able to tell Principal Danny Wild about what they would like to see from Harrogate College, its curriculum and the network going forward.

Danny said: “This will be a great opportunity for employers to find out how we can work with them to fulfil their training and recruitment needs.

“It will also be a great chance to give us feedback, influence the education that is being delivered in the district, and shape our future workforce.

“Our Student Employment Programme, which we have just introduced, is a great example of how feedback from the network has led to positive change. This flexible work arrangement allows employers to hire students with the skills they need directly from the college, on a part time basis that fits around their studies.

“We will be targeting this at some of Harrogate’s core industries, including hospitality and health and social care.

“We hope representatives from as many local businesses as possible can get along to the annual meeting of Harrogate College Employers’ Network meeting to discuss how we can help one another while strengthening, and future-proofing, our economy.”

Click here for more details or to book a place at the annual meeting.

Local employers, meanwhile, can also look forward to coming into college on Wednesday 2 November for the Harrogate College Recruitment Fair.

This event, organised through the Student Employment Programme, runs from 10am to 2pm and will give businesses a chance to interview students who have had customer service training directly about work opportunities.

Students praised for sharing ‘new perspectives’ with one of Harrogate’s biggest employers

A high-profile local business has praised Harrogate College students for the fresh thinking they contributed during a work experience placement.

Three Digital Media students joined the Techbuyer Group, a sustainable IT solutions provider that operates globally with its roots firmly in Harrogate.

One was welcomed by Techbuyer’s marketing team while the other two joined the firm’s sister company, Ortial, for the week-long placement.

A rewarding and seamless experience

Techbuyer, a member of the Harrogate College Employers’ Network, was delighted with how the students got on and the contribution they made.

Senior Marketing Coordinator at Techbuyer, Maral O’Brien, said: “This was a rewarding experience all round.

“We benefited from the new ideas and perspectives imparted by the  students, and found working with Harrogate College to be hassle-free.

“We found that setting up the work experience was easy, with a placement coordinator from the college helping to facilitate the selection of students, making it a seamless process. Techbuyer would recommend working with Harrogate College to other businesses in the area – it’s an impactful way to help young people become career-ready.

“The work experience opportunity was also a good way of furthering our goal of educating young people about sustainable digital practices in our local community.

“Building and developing links within our community is so important to us, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the college and other local organisations.”

Allies in the fight for sustainability

Techbuyer’s commitment to sustainable practices saw it named Circular Economy Business of the Year at the IEMA Awards, in 2020. The business also set itself nine ambitious targets focused on education, health and wellbeing, and responsible consumption, in 2019 as part of its commitment to the UN Global Goals.

Harrogate College has also put the environment and sustainability at the heart of its operations, and has a Sustainability Pledge which outlines its ambitions to become net zero carbon by 2030.

The college also teaches carbon literacy training and continually updates its courses to ensure they meet the demand for green skills and have sustainability embedded within them. 

In March, meanwhile, the college held a Green Month packed with environmentally-targeted activities and talks.

Maral said this made the college a natural ally: “Contributing to the UN Global Goals is a company-wide effort, and it is initiatives like the recent work experience placement with Harrogate College that showcase our commitment to education and to our local community.

“There is a clear link with Harrogate College in that they aim to instill key sustainability skills through every course in their curriculum, to shape and advance students’ career prospects.”

To find out about setting up work experience opportunities with the college, email contact placement coordinator Susan Roberts at