BIG DEBATE: Plenty to see at skills showcase

SKILLSFEST 2015 takes place at The Forum in Barrow this Saturday, from 11am to 2.30pm. Key Furness businesses and learning providers will be on hand to amc 50061299B001.jpggive face-to-face advice and information, and to demonstrate the types of careers available locally. Today we ask about the importance of businesses and organisations to promote key employability skills to young people

SKILLS ON SHOW Anna Shaw, Josh Fraser and Josh Fitgerald from GSK at last year’s SkillsFest SHEENAH ALCOCK

BRIAN Wood, the co chairman of Furness Education and Skills Partnership said: “SkillsFest is an opportunity for parents to come along with their sons and daughters to find out up-to-date information about the kind of skills and qualities local businesses are looking for when they are recruiting new employees.

“Recent research by the University of Cumbria and other national research studies have revealed several specific ‘employability skills’ identified by businesses which make young people more rounded, more readily employable individuals.

“Through the work of FESP and its member schools and colleges (from primary upwards), we believe that in Furness young people are now being exposed to a range of opportunities during which they engage with and develop these important skills. However, the extensive research indicates that life outside school can also provide significant experiences in which these skills can be fostered. Therefore, informed parents, from an early age, can encourage their children towards activities that add value to what they are already practising and developing within the school curriculum.

“On behalf of us all within FESP, I would urge all local students and their parents to come along to The Forum on Saturday to learn more in a fun, interactive way about key employability skills from employers, other organisations, schools and colleges. There is little doubt in our minds that these skills can be introduced to local children at an early age and that a growing awareness of their own range of skills will eventually make them readily employable to Furness employers when they enter the job market.”

SARAH Williams, Inspira area manager in Furness, said: “Being involved with the planning and organisation of the third SkillsFest has been a hugely satisfying experience as Inspira’s whole ethos is about promoting and developing the employability skills of young people and adults through careers management and personal development opportunities.

“It’s what we do on a daily basis, and I am extremely proud of our team as they help to guide and support hundreds of Furness students and clients who are looking for employment, education or training. Our advisers help their clients to identify their existing employability skills; identify any gaps or weaknesses and then identify how they may develop and enhance these crucial skills with their adviser’s support.”

DANIEL Stokes, 16, deputy head boy of Walney School, has reached the interview stage for an engineering apprenticeship with Siemens, and has applied for other apprenticeships.

He said: “I’m proud to have been asked me to represent Walney School at SkillsFest.

“It’s important that businesses and schools work together to let young people know what employability skills students will need for their future careers so it makes it less of a sudden transition into the world of work. Events like SkillsFest will be very helpful and valuable for young people.

“When I’m at SkillsFest I will take the opportunity to speak to the Siemens apprentices and other apprentices to learn about their experiences.

“When I went to the Siemens open day everyone who works there was very positive about their workplace and I’m interested in the company and what they do. “When I was there they were working on a subsea power grid which was impressive and the cutting edge of their field.

“There are massive engineering opportunities in this area with great companies.

“Technology is really good at Walney School, we have so many options and great facilities. Year 11 also working on a technology portfolio in addition to our GCSE work which helps with work that engineering apprentices would work on. It’s very good that Mr Green (head of technology) has organised this. It is an extra thing and something we can take to interviews to show our interest and the research we have done in the field.”

JULIE Coulson, learning and development adviser remediation at GSK Ulverston, is running the GSK stand at Skillsfest with Anna Shaw, a GSK third year laboratory apprentice.

Mrs Coulson said: “GSK is delighted to support the SkillsFest event with promoting employability skills as these skills are essential to young people looking to enter the world of work today. This year we are running our anti-doping testing activity which will promote active listening and problem solving employability skills. It is a great fun hands-on activity for the SkillsFest visitors to participate in.”

The original version of this article can be found in the North West Evening Mail at the following web address: