Year 9 and 10 students made their way to Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens on Wednesday 20th April for the Big Futures Show, to be inspired by the many different career paths on offer to them

Students from across Sussex were given the opportunity to gain an insight into the many different avenues that they could go down for their future careers, and how to get there at the Big Futures Show on 20th April. Colleges, professional services and a range of local businesses all offering different paths to success and future career prospects lined the halls at Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens, all giving advice and promoting their apprenticeship programs or courses to interested 14 and 15 year olds. SBT attended the show as an exhibitor, also making our way around the room to find out how the day had gone for other local businesses, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive!

Matt Attrell, Customer Care Officer at Mears Housing Management commented: “Overall, this has been a great networking experience, both in terms of getting the word out to young people currently in education – potential employees – and in terms of business-to-business networking. These events give a really wide scope for future career prospects and new business ideas, and the kids seem to have been really interested.”

DSC_0171Emma Bell, Assistant Procurement Manager at Faithorn Farrell Timms said: “It’s been really good to see the youth coming through and to talk to them about their futures. We have had our own apprentice here, Georgia, who has been at the stand all day with us, giving advice to other potential apprentices on her experience with us as a company. We have found that many of the students simply aren’t aware of the industries that are out there, and often haven’t considered an apprenticeship with a company like us. We’ve been trying to push the fact that you don’t have to go down the traditional route, and that funding is available should they need it. Georgia has been fantastic. She came to us when she was 16 and was far more mature than many of the others we’ve employed through a more traditional route. She has grown with us and has done what she wanted, and we’re very pleased for her.”

Kerri Hynd from Sussex Police said: “We’ve been very impressed with the level of engagement from the students today. A lot of them have wanted to know more about careers in forensics or detective work, but we’ve also been trying to encourage them to think about the perhaps slightly less obvious roles in the police force: the non-uniform staff roles. Many of them have approached me and asked why I am not in a uniform if I am in the police – they’re not educated on the force as a whole. All in all, this has been a great event for us, and I hope for the students too.”

The TR Fastenings stand saw much interest also: “We have been giving out a lot of brochures to people keen on finding out more about what they can do with us. We’ve in turn been asking them about what they would like to do. They are young though (some only 14) so a lot don’t know what they want to do as a career at all, which is perfectly normal, but we are here to give them that kick-start and inspiration, so they can go away and think about it with us in mind. We’ve surprisingly had a lot of interest in engineering as a career path, which is great!”

Jamie Pierce, Marketing Manager of Parker Building Supplies, and the team added some advice for improvement next year whilst praising the event: “This event is a fantastic idea for youngsters to get an idea of what is out there for them. We think it should be expanded to older age groups who perhaps still haven’t had that integral careers advice though. It would be great if next year it was developed to encompass those older age groups.”

A representative of Eastbourne Borough Council at the show said: “This has been a really worthwhile event, which encourages young people to really think about their future at an early age. The amount of businesses here is wonderful as it gives them a wide range of ideas to go away and consider. All the children have been lovely and enthusiastic too.”

Helen Dode from Rix & Kay explained: “We’ve had a lot of interest both this morning and this afternoon. It’s something we feel is very important – we have taken on apprentices over the past 3 years and in fact have a new apprentice starting this week, so we know the interest is there and it’s all about expanding that. I think an apprenticeship is an equally good path to take as the ‘traditional’ route, and it completely depends on whether the individual is more academically focused or would rather have a more hands-on experience and begin a career immediately.”

DSC_0196The team on the NatWest (RBS) stand were particularly enthusiastic about the running and format of the show: “This afternoon has gone better than this morning for us, but overall the footfall has been far better than at other similar events that we’ve exhibited at. We have been particularly impressed with the organisation of this event, with the workbooks that the students were given ahead of today – this has meant that they’ve come to us with questions prepared and know exactly where they need to go and who they want to talk to. It gives the day a focus that other events don’t have, and I’m sure the students feel the same. We personally feel that schools often simply either don’t have or don’t share the right knowledge of apprenticeship schemes, or alternative routes to a career, so what better way is there to get that message out?”

The Big Futures Show will continue to drive regional and individual prosperity for young people and their future next year. Steven Goss-Turner, Chair of Eastbourne Education Business Partnership, organisers of the event itself, said: “It is the belief of the Eastbourne Education Business Partnership that the ‘BFS’ will become a highlight in the annual calendar of Eastbourne events, and a major contribution to the future economic and societal development of the region.”



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