Edwina Hart AM Officially Opens NILC
Newport Integrated Learning Centre – an IT training and examination centre – set up by young entrepreneur Karim Dastgir was officially opened by the Welsh Government’s Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart MBE CStJ AM on February 22nd, 2016.
Newport Integrated Learning Centre (NILC) is based in Pillgwenlly in Newport and is a one-stop-shop for professionally accredited training courses and computer based examinations.
Twenty-four-year-old Karim opened NILC after seeing a gap in the market in South Wales and the West for a computer based examination centre for training courses and assessments.
While at University, Karim set up a virtual transcription business called Virtutype, which provides digital, audio and specialist typing. Virtutype was a great success but Karim saw an opportunity with computer based learning and NILC was born.
Karim further developed the idea for NILC with the help of Big Ideas Wales, a Welsh Government initiative which aims to support the next generation of young Welsh entrepreneurs. Opened in February by Edwina Hart AM and continued help from the Welsh Government, NILC was able to launch with great success. He attended a bootcamp where the idea for NILC grew and came to life. Since then he has been receiving mentoring from Big Ideas Wales and its coaches.
As well as providing a place for candidates to sit computer based assessments and carry out online training NILC is now branching out to provide exams and training in other sectors such as health and safety and food safety.
It is already supplying training and providing an assessment base to staff of tech companies in Bristol and Cardiff. It provides accredited examinations for IT giants such as Apple and Microsoft.
On officially opening NILC, Economy Minister Edwina Hart AM said: I am delighted to officially launch the centre and to hear how the Big Ideas Wales Challenge has helped Karim in developing his business and that he is still benefiting from mentoring support through the programme.
Encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activity is high on the Welsh Government’s agenda and it’s good to know that Karim is now helping to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs through his work as a Young Ambassador. I congratulate him on his business and look forward to seeing NILC develop from strength to strength.
Karim Dastgir, managing director of NILC, said: It is great to see all of my hard work pay off and have NILC officially opened by the Minister. We are honoured to have her here today.
The help and support I have received from Big Ideas Wales has been vital in the development and success of NILC so far. I hope to take all that I have learnt to start up many other businesses and teach others about entrepreneurship in the years to come.
Karim decided to open NILC in the Pill area of Newport as he wanted to give something back to the area, which is one of the most deprived in Wales.
He has established a community interest company alongside NILC. A community interest company is a business which exists to benefit the community rather than its individual shareholders. Newport Integrated Learning Community Interest Company (NILCIC) offers Life in the UK citizenship courses, as well as English language lessons for students of English as a foreign language (ESOL) and Secure English Language Test (SELT), which are required for Visas to enter the UK.
Karim added: I am very lucky that I can give something back to the city and area that I care so much about. Starting the community interest company means we are totally integrated into our local community and have people popping in and out all of the time, chatting to us and telling us how they are doing.
It is wonderful to see the work we do here actually making a difference to these people’s lives. To be able to run a successful business and help my local community is very rewarding and something that I’d like to continue doing throughout my career.
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