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College group launches pioneering Indian ventures

Posted: 23 January 2015

West Nottinghamshire College Group has launched two exciting ventures in India to support the nation’s ambitious skills agenda.

Subsidiary company bksb has opened its new headquarters in the northern city of Chandigarh as part of its continued growth and expansion.

Its head office and training centre in the prestigious Taj Hotel Chandigarh will enable the company – operating in India as Skills Anytime – to showcase its e-learning products to the sub-continent.

The popular software packages have been specially- tailored for the Indian market to enhance people’s career prospects and opportunities for further study.

They enable people to improve their English by taking a short on-screen assessment of their current ability, followed by a series of self-paced tutorials to help them reach the required standard.

Suitable for all age groups, they are aimed at schools, colleges, employers and individuals.

Equipping more citizens with good English is considered an important part of the Indian Government’s ambitions for economic growth – and bksb, with its strong track record of success, is keen to support this.

bksb’s online learning resources have been used by more than 25 million people and thousands of education-providers across the world since the business was launched almost 20 years ago. In the UK alone, over 80% of colleges and hundreds of schools, training providers, local authorities and employers use bksb’s solutions to improve teaching and learning.

bksb managing director, Harvinder Atwal, said: "It is predicted that by 2025 a quarter of the global workforce will come from India. To make this a reality, India must maintain its focus on providing outstanding education and training, which instills confidence by allowing students and employees to develop and grow as individuals. A good grasp of English is an important part of that.

“Our tried-and-tested English language solutions will enable people to improve their skills, progress to further education and, ultimately, secure employment.”

To mark its official opening, the company hosted a launch event on Thursday 15 January where  guests saw the products first-hand and met the Chandigarh-based team.

Guest of honour at the official opening as Justice Mahesh Mittal Kumar, Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir, and Indian actor and singer Nav Sidhu, who spoke about the importance of good English language skills to India’s youth.

College principal and chief executive, Dame Asha Khemka, said: “Skills Anytime will make a huge difference to India’s skills development. I am confident its online learning tools will soon be used by many businesses and education providers in India; adding real value to the training of their employees and students by honing their speaking, reading and understanding of the English language.”

Meanwhile, the college has announced a partnership with the Indian-based Cordia Group of Educational Institutes, which is creating a new vocational training centre in the rural village of Sanghol, Punjab, specialising in masonry, carpentry, plumbing, and painting and decorating.

Using its experience and expertise in construction-related training, the college will design the courses that will be offered at the new centre – part of the Cordia Group’s campus of educational institutes on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway – as well as training the tutors that will deliver them there.

The Cordia Group is a venture of the Lord Rana Foundation, set up by successful businessman and member of the House of Lords, Lord Diljit Rana.

In addition to heading-up one of the UK’s most successful colleges, Dame Asha is the founding chair of AoC India – an organisation launched by the Association of Colleges to establish mutually-beneficial links between educational institutions in Great Britain and India.

She said: “UK colleges, with their vocational expertise, are ideally-placed to support India’s skills ambitions. By creating the training programmes that will be provided at this new facility, as well as training the tutors that will deliver these to students, I’m proud West Nottinghamshire College is playing is part.”

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