Eye opening experience for students at Opportunities Ahead 2018

Friday 6 July 2018

Cllr Aidan Van der Weyer, deputy leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and member of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board opened Opportunities Ahead 2018, Form the Future’s annual careers fair for students from local schools yesterday, 5 July at the Quy Mill Hotel & Spa, Cambridge.

The event, in its third year, gives students the chance to learn about the diverse range of careers in companies across Greater Cambridge. Form the Future delivers the event as part of the skills service they provide with funding from the Greater Cambridge Partnership. They also raised over £4,000 of funding from individuals and companies as part of their Global Giving crowdfunding campaign to support student transport.

Some of the 30 companies who attended were Marshall Aerospace, TWI, Turners of Soham, TTP, Citrix, Aecom, KISS, as well as the NHS, Royal Navy and local colleges.

Over 600 young people attended from schools in the region as well as several with parents. The exhibitors had a chance to connect with young people, attracting future talent into their sector and build their profiles with a younger audience. With recruiting skilled staff one of the biggest challenges facing local employers, events like these are essential to develop a supply of future talent to local companies.

Debbie, a parent, attended with two boys from Long Road Sixth Form College who were eager to learn more about apprenticeships. She said: “It was extremely helpful, the best event that I’ve been to, to consider options other than university. It was great to meet the employers in person and get a sense of the vibe at the different organisations. It’s been great.”

Callum, in year 9, from Chesterton, said: “It opened my eyes to different jobs, like architecture which I hadn’t really considered before. It really helped me understand what kind of grades I would need to do different jobs, and also what kinds of skills that employers look for. I found it really useful.”

Sophie from North Cambridge Academy said: “I was surprised by how many companies are offering apprenticeships. I knew I wanted to do one but was really pleased to see how many different types of apprenticeship there are. Students should definitely come to this event and take away as much as they can.”

Organiser Catherine Hay of Form the Future said: “We were really pleased that so many companies wanted to take part and share what they do with young people. It was wonderful to have the different schools bringing their students – Linton, North Cambridge Academy, Chesterton, Trumpington, Long Road and CAST as well as special schools including Harbour and the Gretton School. It was also great how many parents took the time to attend with their children as well, which meant students from other schools and home educating parents were able to join in.”

Quy Mill Hotel and Spa, Cambridge provided the venue free of charge and did their utmost to keep everyone comfortable on what was possibly the hottest day of the year.