Staff login

0800 612 6008

Meeting local skills needs

At Activate Learning, we create career pathways to deliver a skilled workforce for Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Our learning experiences equip students with the knowledge and confidence to succeed, and the skills that employers want.


More than 660,000 people live in Oxfordshire, with the population expected to increase by 56,000 by 2026.

Business is booming, with 32,000 businesses across the county and a higher than average number of small and medium-sized enterprises. Unemployment is low at 1.8% (May 2012). Dominant sectors include: public administration, education and health, banking, finance and insurance, and hotels and restaurants.

Growing industries include:

  • Life sciences and medical instruments
  • High performance technologies: advanced materials, nano-technology, engineering
  • Energy and environmental technologies
  • Digital publishing and media

Oxfordshire also has particular specialist employment clusters in biotechnology, space, cryogenics and advanced engineering.

The Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal, approved in January 2014, will see the creation of 7,500 new homes across Oxfordshire, a new Growth Hub to support small and medium enterprises, improvements to local roads and transport and the creation of more than 500 new apprenticeships.



Reading, in the Thames Valley area, has been identified as one of the top five European cities of the future.

Its county, Berkshire, is home to 42,000 businesses. It is second (behind London) for the number of start-up businesses, but it is also popular with large employers, as a location of corporate headquarters.

The total population in Berkshire is 871,000, including 157,000 in Reading, and it is expected to grow by almost 10% by 2026. Just over 5% of the working population is unemployed.

Dominant sectors for employment in Reading include public administration, education and health; finance, IT and business; and distribution, hotels and restaurants. There are particularly big skills gaps affecting IT professionals and advanced engineering.

The Thames Valley Berkshire’s City Deal was approved in October 2013. It will support 4,500 young people and create 1,500 new work experience placements, 300 additional apprenticeships and 800 new youth contract wage incentives for eligible businesses.