Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Barnsley College’s employer engagement initiative, Talent United, has been busier than ever. The College’s team share with unLTD the latest developments.

Created in 2015, Talent United aims to bridge the gap between education and employment by providing Barnsley College students with employer-led opportunities.

This is achieved by creating partnerships with businesses and individuals who may be able to provide presentations and workshops, work placements or workplace tours. In return, partners enjoy exclusive benefits and discounts including events and networking sessions, free and discounted training courses and promotional opportunities.

The team has been in regular contact with its local business partners and gathering them together for nationally recognised calendar events from Deaf Awareness Day and Mental Health Awareness Week to industry weeks.

Kerry Lawton, from Beacon South Yorkshire (BSY) carer support services, said: “BSY were delighted when asked by Talent United to come on board and partner with them. It gives the students at Barnsley College, our future generation, an insight into the potential career paths to choose from.

“BSY are proud to be a part of this and will offer support wherever we can – with volunteer placements, or inspiring students through guest speaker sessions and highlighting the value of becoming a volunteer in the community they live in.

“Being a Talent United partner has benefitted BSY enormously. We’ve been invited to networking events, meeting other carers, sign-posting and generally just making a difference within the community, and we are looking forward to upcoming events.”

Zoe Wadsworth, from Fab Events, said: “I wanted to become a Talent United partner due to the vast support that is available, as well as the facilities the College has to offer in the local community.

“Being a partner has benefitted Fab Events through increased exposure and PR. My favourite part of this partnership is definitely the long-lasting relationships that are being built.”

Mark Simpson, of Oh My Ganache, added: “I became a Talent United partner to give a little back and hopefully inspire others to work in a different way. Becoming a partner has given me support and new connections and I absolutely love working with students in the many sessions I’ve delivered.”

Jess Widdowson, enterprise team leader at Barnsley College, said: “It’s a real pleasure overseeing the Talent United programme – it’s completely free to become a partner and there are no expectations, partners can contribute as much or as little as they like.”

To find out more about Talent United or to become a partner, email

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