An interactive Furness skills festival returns this month with an exciting programme, top prizes and a free bus service.

Skillsfest 2018 comes to The Forum, in Barrow, on Saturday February 24 with more businesses, schools, colleges, volunteer organisations and workshops.

The free event, which runs from 10am to 3pm, demonstrates the skills employers are looking for.

Students of all ages, parents and the public are being encouraged to go along and discover the careers available on their doorstep.

BAE Systems will lead aptitude test advice sessions, giving top tips for problem solving.

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge will be at the event for the first time. Representatives from Oxford will deliver workshops about the skills required for success in higher education, in addition to grades.

Andrew Barnard is the keynote speaker at the event organised by Furness Education and Skills Partnership , Inspira , Inspiring Barrow and Hello Future. Mr Barnard will speak about skills and employability.

Paul Crarey, head coach of Barrow Raiders will explain how team sports can build skills for life. Barrow Raiders and Barrow AFC will also be running activities and drills at the venue.

Year nine, 10 and 11 students will receive scratch cards which they can use at the event for a prize draw. Other students and the the public can also enter the prize draw. The top prizes include a Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fires, and Bluetooth speakers.

The event aims to help young people be ready and have the skills to access some 80,000 jobs which will be available in the county.

Amy Lamph, joint co-ordinator of FESP and a design and technology teacher at Ulverston Victoria High School, said: “Skillsfest is going to be an exciting and interactive event with so much happening. It's an event for everyone. It's a chance to meet businesses and organisations.

“We have great opportunities in Cumbria. This is one of the best times to be school leaver.

"We want to make sure our young people are prepared to make the most of those opportunities and have the skills needed.

“We also want to show young people what they can do outside school to build a range of skills through volunteering and youth organisations.”

Free bus service schedule from pick-up points and then leaving Barrow Town Hall:

  • From Millom School at 9.30am and 11.30am, and return journey at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
  • From the Coronation Hall, Ulverston at 10am and 1pm and Dowdales School, Dalton, at 10.15am and 1.15pm, return journey at 12.30pm and 3pm.
  • Walney School and Furness Academy, Barrow at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm, and return journey at 10.50am, 11.50am, 12.50pm, 1.50pm and 2.50pm.