Form the Future’s annual flagship careers fair, Opportunities Ahead, welcomed over 550 students for another successful year connecting young people with their future careers.
On 16th October 2019, students from across Cambridge met with representatives of over 30 leading businesses to explore future career pathways and opportunities. The event was delivered by Form the Future as part of the skills services they run with funding from the Greater Cambridge Partnership.
The event, now in its fourth year, took place at Impington Village College and gave students the chance to learn about the diverse range of careers on offer in companies across Cambridge. Students were able to interact with exhibitors through different activities, helping to inspire them with a multitude of career paths, from construction and medicine, to engineering and the arts.
Students had the chance to attend two workshops throughout the day. Laura Sommerville from Stagecoach Saffron Walden delivered a masterclass on public speaking, and Sharon Livermore from Kameo Recruitment focused on essential interview skills. The workshops were well attended, and students left feeling more confident and motivated to utilise the skills they learned in their future careers and beyond.
Ryan Kelsall, Headteacher at Impington Village College, said: “We’ve been thrilled to be able to host Opportunities Ahead, with all of the providers that have been able to come and support us. I think these events are vitally important because they give students a real tangible sense of what is out there. I think there can often be disconnect between the messages we give out in schools, and the reality of what’s out there. This bridges that gap. That then motivates the students to be more focused because they’ve got a clear goal and aim, and that benefits schools as well.”
Opportunities Ahead provided local employers and colleges with the chance to connect with young people, meeting and attracting future talent into their workforce. Recruiting skilled staff is one of the biggest challenges facing local employers. Events like Opportunities Ahead are essential to help employers build their profile with a younger audience and develop their talent pipeline.
Corporal Victoria Medlin, The British Army, said: “I enjoyed giving students careers advice – going through apprenticeships that the Army can offer. I feel that the students are able to get an insight into Army life. Speaking as someone who is currently serving in the Army – I am able to answer all of the questions they may have.”
Dan Turner, Hill Group, said: “When I was at college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I came to one of these events, and when you ask questions to people on the stands you soon realise there’s a lot more out there than you first thought – especially if you’re not looking to go to university. Learning about options where you can work alongside studying is very important.”
Anne Bailey, CEO at Form the Future, said: “At a time when we’re learning how early children start to form ideas about careers and when it’s never been more important to grow our own talent, events like Opportunities Ahead are vital. Giving children the chance to meet people doing such a wide variety of jobs broadens their horizons and helps them focus on what they can do to achieve their goals.”