Discovering the right career path is an overwhelming and often confusing process. Alongside revising for GCSEs and A Levels, thinking about the future for some young people can simply feel like too much. Employability and skills fairs all over the country aim to make this time as easy as possible; The Skills Show and Skills London are just a few examples.
However, these large-scale employability and skills events aren’t accessible for a whole range of students in areas outside of London, namely the South East, so many schools introduce their own school hall tabletop events. As much as this is encouraged, students in Sussex should be offered the same caliber of careers advice, the same level of opportunity and the same experiences to discover that opportunity as those in the Capital.
The Big Futures Show (BFS) is an annual employability and skills fair run by the Eastbourne Education Business Partnership at the Winter Garden in Eastbourne. BFS offers the many benefits of national shows with a strong mix of businesses, employers and educators in one room; to educate and inspire young people on their way into the working world. The Eastbourne Education Business Partnership work with a wide variety of partners to consolidate local ‘careers education’ experiences into one high profile and sustainable event, meaning there’s only one date in your diary rather than two, three or four.
With schools across Sussex and beyond attending, plus education bodies and businesses offering advice, information and interaction on their stands, the show is much more than ticking a CSR box. For businesses, it offers a fantastic opportunity to engage with and inspire students that will be their future workforce. It might inspire them to enter your industry, or even to work for a particular firm. Given a show guide, including a unique workbook prior to the event, students come prepared to learn more about their future; they know exactly what they want to know and where to gain that information from. Parents are also welcome to attend The Big Futures Show to encourage this discovering process and see for themselves what opportunities are out their for their children. Parental encouragement and support is such an important part of these key years in a young person’s life, so parents are invited and encouraged to come along.
Potential employers will be looking for tomorrow’s talent, and will be explaining what qualifications they are looking for and what training and apprenticeships they can offer in the workplace. Colleges and Universities will also be on hand to show what they have to offer, where it fits with employer’s requirements and what they are looking for in students.
Last year was a huge success, with feedback suggesting benefits all round; to businesses, to schools, to students and to parents.
Zoe Wilson, Business Development Manager at Ellis Building Contractors Ltd, who attended The Big Futures Show last year commented: “Last year we attended a number of careers fairs, but BFS was by far the best in terms of organization, promotion prior to the event, the running on the day and the potential for engagement with students and parents alike.
“We took 4 members of staff to hold the stand at BFS, and they had a wonderfully enthusiastic response from student attendees, who they were constantly talking to. We used the day as an opportunity to get the word out there that construction isn’t just hands-on work, but there is a huge element of white-collar work too; most young people don’t realise that 50% of the industry is professional, such as marketing. We chat to them in the hope that we broaden their perspective of the career paths on offer to them.”
She added: “Next year, we will certainly be going back to BFS, and in addition we get so much out of this one event that there’s no need to go to any others!”
This year, the show is offering something a little ‘extra’: The Big Futures Show Extra. This is an all new pre show event co promoted with Eastbourne Chamber & Sussex Business Times taking place on 2nd March 2017 at the View Hotel on Eastbourne seafront.
Aimed at both exhibitors, employers and businesses, BFS Extra aims to help with presenting and engaging show visitors – whether that is BFS and students or any other trade show. It will also offer help and advice across a broad range of topics related to attracting and employing young people.
The event will consist of 3 presentation sessions of about 2 hours, in the auditorium whilst outside of the auditorium there will be breakout zones for apprenticeship and training providers.
BFS Extra is free to BFS exhibitors 2 tickets for a full stand booked and 1 for a marketplace or charity stand. Others not exhibiting at BFS are welcome to attend at a fee of £25 + VAT per delegate and online booking will be available shortly.
Features of BFS Extra include:
- A series of speakers explaining how to prepare business for BFS and exhibitors in general. To educate int he art of selling/engaging all ages from an exhibition stand
- How best to acquire and monitor results from an exhibition stand
- Understanding qualifications
- Offer face to face contact with a range of apprenticeship providers to help discuss what is on offer and tailoring business needs
- Meet senior teachers to learn about modern qualifications and student preparedness
- Discuss with teachers and school governors what business wants from education
- Find out about disability employment
For more information, please visit http://www.bigfuturesshow.org.uk
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