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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Barrow event will promote skills and career opportunities

YOUNG people are being encouraged to get involved in the interactive and innovative SkillsFest 2013 this weekend.

A host of activities will be on offer to help promote employment skills and career opportunities in Furness when the event comes to The Forum in Barrow on Saturday.

SkillsFest is a collaboration between Furness Education and Skills Partnership and Inspira, Cumbria’s leading youth work organisation.

FESP incorporates local businesses and primary schools through to colleges, and many of them will be at SkillsFest.

The partnership has developed a list of 12 fundamental skills which they believe will produce rounded, grounded and employable young people and these will be promoted at the event.

The event will involve local businesses, training providers and schools.

Visitors can try their hand at digital art, psychometric tests and gain money skills from Barclays.

There will be demonstrations by Furness College in engineering, hospitality and construction, and college radio station Cando FM will be broadcasting live.

Teenagers who are Inspira’s Young Inspira representatives will be explaining the National Citizen Service summer scheme for school leavers, and there is a Choose Your Career Challenge.

The event will also offer a series of sessions and workshops for the visitors to get involved in (see list below).

A Labour Market Intelligence workshop will be led by Mike Ridyard, a professional adviser with Inspira.

Mr Ridyard specialises in careers information, advice and guidance.

He said: “In my job I guide young people to reach their potential. There are nearly 30 million jobs in the UK economy and over 200,000 jobs in Cumbria and, with an ageing workforce, potentially there are a lot of vacancies created by people retiring alone.

“Nationally and locally we are seeing an increase particularly in part-time work and also self employment, with almost as many people working for themselves now than work in public service (about five million).

“Nearly 40 per cent of young people progress on to university, with increasing numbers looking at job-related courses, perhaps heeding the government focus on the need for STEM graduates (science, technology, engineering and maths).

“If you think of the billions of pounds that will be spent on new power stations, infrastructure, oil and gas exploration, new medical treatments and advanced engineering, you can see why there will be demand for electrical engineers, railway engineers, chemical engineers, civil engineers, geo- scientists, geneticists and pharmaceutical scientists.

“If you think about the need to feed our and the world’s population you can see where the demand for agricultural scientists, biotechnologists and food scientists will come from.

“Surprisingly, however it is the wider employability skills developed by geography and psychology graduates that mean they have some of the lowest unemployment rates at present.

Locally in South Cumbria we have a multi-faceted job market with a healthy range of advanced engineering and manufacturing firms, including shipbuilding, sub-sea technology and LED/electronic areas, as well as a wide range of service industry with growth at the moment focused on a range of personal service and caring jobs created by an ageing population, as well as food preparation and customer service jobs created by the hospitality industry of the southern Lakes.

“All these areas have entry points available through the increasingly popular apprenticeship routes and college courses, as well as for graduates. Although this is a generalisation, entry-level jobs in many service sectors are not highly paid. Training and apprenticeships in these areas offer an opportunity to gain the qualifications and skills leading to supervisory level jobs with better pay.

“The recession has given everyone a reality check and hit the construction industry and retail sector particularly hard, both locally and nationally. Demand for the most popular apprenticeships is very intense, with at least 10 applicants per post, so it is tough out there, but resilient young people will not give up, will keep on fighting for the first step on the job market ladder and will get all the support and guidance they can from family, school, college and guidance services like Inspira, until they are successful.”

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