Linking with colleges should be something all employers do

20th October 2020

Beauty salon and spa owner Stefania Rossi is urging businesses to get involved with their local college.

Stefania Rossi who owns Utopia Beauty Advanced Skincare in Hornchurch
Stefania Rossi who owns Utopia Beauty Advanced Skincare in Hornchurch

Stefania, who owns Utopia Beauty & Advanced Skincare in Hornchurch, believes that now more than ever, is the time that small businesses can really take advantage of partnerships with colleges. As part of National Colleges Week (19-23rd October) Stefania has been speaking out about the benefits on offer, particularly in a post-Covid climate.

Stefania has been working with her local college, Barking & Dagenham College for a number of years now and insists that it is incredibly important that other local companies do the same.

As she explains: “Colleges are where our future talent is. If a business wants to succeed it needs the right employees to do that. If you are working collaboratively with your local college then this is a direct link to skilled future employees.”

For Stefania linking with college’s makes total business sense. Companies working with colleges can help shape the curriculum so that students leave with not just a qualification but with the exact skills and qualities that employers are looking for. It is also a way for companies to ‘give back’ to their community and this is something that Stefania feels strongly about. With that in mind, Stefania frequently meets with students at Barking & Dagenham College to speak to them about the beauty industry, what roles are open to them and offers masterclasses on subjects such as interview and communication skills. She has also provided students with work experience placements and ultimately, employment too.

“A strong collaborative relationship is needed between employers and colleges. It’s crucial. Especially in the current Covid economic climate. All industries have been affected by the pandemic, in ours for example our clients’ needs have changed and as a business we need to reflect this. If you are working closely with your local college then you are ensuring that the future work force is moving with those changes too. It’s a win-win situation.”

More than that, Stefania points out that colleges have a pool of talent that businesses can utilise. For example, Barking & Dagenham College has launched a new programme to help businesses succeed post-Covid. It is giving businesses access to things such as digital skills development webinars, financial health checks and strategy building classes as well as offering qualifications in topics such as IT, finance, business and digital marketing. All the things businesses need to help them survive during Covid.

As Stefania adds: “Colleges are the heart of any community and deserve to be supported. I really enjoy being part of the students’ journey, watching them grow and being able to offer advice and support. It is really rewarding to do and ultimately helping our young people start out in their career is of benefit to us all. I wholeheartedly recommend all local businesses to do the same and get involved, you won’t regret it.”

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