In its first year, the Big Futures Show is indeed going to be BIG, and preparations for 20th April are hotting up…

On April 20 2016, the first annual Big Futures Show will be held in Winter Gardens in Eastbourne. Organised by Eastbourne Education Business Partnership (EBP) and in association with Eastbourne Borough Council, the show is targeted at Year 9, 10 and 11 (14 to 16 year old) students, their parents and the wider community. The show aims to offer a variety of careers advice and learning opportunities for students looking towards their future, and equally offer potential employers a chance to exhibit what they do to their most important audience: the next generation of workers.

DSC_0013A recent report by The Future Leaders Trust recently highlighted the challenges faced by coastal schools related to geographical, economic and cultural factors. Across the South East region, students often miss out from the benefit of national employability and skills events that are difficult to access. Equally, there is a whole generation of students who simply don’t know their options when it comes to their future; what skills they need; how they learn those skills; and how they access the help they need to get where they want to be. The Big Futures Show will bring the benefits of these events to East Sussex students considering their futures, and open their eyes to the possibilities.

With a catchment across southern East Sussex, the Big Futures Show will reach many thousands of potential visitors, providing those who attend with an impressive list of over 100 exhibitors including Sussex Business Times ourselves, employers, trainers and education bodies alike. Skills and employment opportunities on show range from art and creative through banking and the professions, construction and built environment, health and social care, engineering and electronics, public services, retail and personal services and many more.

Schools from across East Sussex have booked in groups of year 9 to 11 students, bringing the number of pre booked visitors to over 1600 – and counting. Pre-booked visiting students will be provided with a combined preparation pack and show guide prior to the event with lesson plans and additional content created specially for The Big Futures Show. Instead of taking home a bag of freebies after the show each student will be provided with material designed to help them summarise their visit – all far from the simplistic material often ensuring that ‘students are provided with high quality careers information and are fully aware of their choices following education’ by Ofsted or the DFE “Careers guidance and inspiration in schools” statutory guidance. Making sure that everyone is well prepared before the show there will also be briefings for teachers and school governors sponsored by the National Careers Service and hosted by The View Hotel in Eastbourne.

Exhibitors will be aiming to inspire and prepare tomorrow’s workforce, whilst helping students and their parents understand what they need to do to get to where they want to; explaining what qualifications they are looking for and what training and apprenticeships they can offer in the workplace.

DSC_0011Further and higher education and apprenticeships are well represented, with a range of Colleges and Universities on hand to explain and demonstrate where their training and qualifications fit in with employers’ requirements and what they are looking for in students, whilst other training providers can discuss the wide range of other possibilities that are on offer to young people today. Sussex Downs College, Plumpton College and South Coast College will all be keen to show what they have to offer. There will be 4 different faculties from University of Brighton as well as University of Sussex and Brighton & Sussex University Hospital offering advice for those considering attending university. More than 15 training providers and many of the employers exhibiting have a wide range of exciting offerings for anyone thinking about apprenticeships also. Many of the exhibitors are planning to raise the interest levels with interactive displays adding to the visitor experience. As well as curricular development, there will be representation from a variety of organisations that offer young people personal development opportunities.

The show has been hugely successful in its first year in terms of exhibitor bookings as well as student visitor bookings. Businesses find it easier to support one high quality regional event rather than being asked to support many small events by individual schools, so this event provides a fantastic platform for support and getting the word out about your business to those that matter most: the future workforce. The Eastbourne Herald has come on board as the Big Futures Show Media Partner alongside other sponsors including, Eastbourne Borough Council, Sussex Downs College, National Careers Service, Faithorn Farrell Timms, The View Hotel, Sussex Coast College and L J Edwards Coaches.

If you’re not already involved, be involved; in this show and in your children’s’ future.

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