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Huge virtual careers festival is under way

More than 1,400 students have the chance to take part in the first ever virtual careers festival of its kind, thanks to an educational trust in Telford.

The Learning Community Trust, which has six schools under its wing including Hadley Learning Community, Ercall Wood and Charlton, says it is determined that students don’t miss out on valuable careers advice despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

So the ‘Virtual Careers Festival’ has been created – a two-week online event running until November 20, from 3pm to 6pm each day, and supported by more than 40 companies and organisations.

It is offering around 120 interactive sessions with Zoom webinars themed around industry sectors so students can choose to view the events that interest them the most.

Gill Eatough, chief executive of the Learning Community Trust, said: “It’s so important that our students are given every opportunity to consider their next steps after school.

“The Virtual Careers Festival is providing great information and online presentations from across the post-16 sector to support our Year 11 and Year 10 students to help them consider the options available as they move forward.

“I’m delighted with the festival we’ve created – it’s a first for the Trust, and it’s a great achievement that has involved some really outstanding partnership working.”

Each evening features a live webinar with a 15-minute chat about what it’s like to study in that particular sector - whether it’s A-levels or a vocational course. All career pathways will be included, such as further education, training providers, apprenticeships, and jobs.

During the fortnight, the Zoom itinerary will include: food and drink; business, law and finance; manufacturing and engineering; transport and logistics; construction; health care and education; leisure, tourism and animals; IT; creative; and public services.

All the sessions are being recorded so that edited podcasts can be created for individual student advice after the festival.

Paul Roberts, the Trust’s executive principal, said: “Through this difficult time, when schools are restricted on how they approach key events, it’s amazing that the Trust is able to provide over 1400 students with a virtual careers festival like this.

“I know our students will use this opportunity to gain the essential guidance they will need to make an informed decision on progression to employment, apprenticeships or college courses.”

Head of Hadley Learning Community, Dan Roycroft, said the virtual event was a real showcase for learning opportunities and a huge achievement for everyone involved.

“As well as the advice from the education, training and apprenticeship providers taking part, I have no doubt that these sessions will give our students practical advice from employers on how to develop their career ambitions and the steps they need to take to achieve them.”

Charlton School principal, Andy McNaughton, said organising the festival had been a massive undertaking but it was vital to ensure students had access to the full range of experiences that their peers from previous years had enjoyed.

“Credit should go to the wide and varied range of providers in so many different industries who have come together to support this occasion. I hope that the students fully engage in this unique opportunity and that they appreciate the effort everyone has put in to organise such a unique experience,” he said.

Julie Bravo, the head at Queensway, said Year 11 pupils who had already had a difficult penultimate year to their secondary school education needed full support when it came to deciding their future options.

“Everyone involved in this exciting new venture has worked extremely hard to make the festival happen and we are sure our students will benefit immensely from the invaluable advice and guidance on offer.”

To find out more, visit https://hadleylearningcommunity.org.uk/secondary/virtual-careers-festival/

COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS SUPPORTING THE EVENT INCLUDE:

AFC Telford United; Aico; Avara Foods; Capgemini; University of Chester; Civil Service; Crossbar Coaching; Denso Manufacturing; Dyke Yaxley; Fraggleworks; Future Focus; Global Freight; Go Landscape; Haberdashers Abraham Darby; Harper Adams University; InComm Training and Marches Manufacturing Group; J&PR Limited; Juniper Training; Landau; Madeley Academy; the NHS; North Shropshire College; Nova Training; Pave Aways Limited; Purple Frog Systems; Qube Learning; The RFA; RBSL; ReAssure; The Royal Navy; Shrewsbury College; Shropshire Star; Stafford College; SWG; Telford College; The HR Department; The Walnut, Wellington; West Mercia Police; University of Wolverhampton; The Wrekin Housing Group.

Pictured: Gill Eatough with Graham Guest of Telford College – one of more than 40 organisations supporting the Virtual Careers Festival

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