Gearing up for a Barrow showcase of next generation of jobs

SKILLSFEST 2015 takes place this weekend and will provide young people with the chance to take part in a range of activities and discover what skills businesses are looking for.

A host of companies, training organisations and schools will be running interactive activities to promote key employability skills.

Skillsfest, organised by Inspira Furness Education and Skills Partnership, will be staged at The Forum in Barrow on Saturday from 11am to 2.30pm.

Companies including GSK, BAE Systems, Siemens and Furness College, will be among those highlighting key employability skills, such as problem solving, active listening and interview skills through a wide range of practical activities.

Pupils from Victoria Juniors will be working alongside Furness College students to showcase the skills they have learnt and developed through collaborative FESP projects.

George Romney Junior School, Dalton, will be bringing its Greenpower kit car to the event, while Walney School Year 11 pupils and the school’s head of technology, Andy Green, will be demonstrating technology skills, such as constructing electronic circuits.

Mr Green said: “SkillsFest is a great event to promote employability skills.

“We’re really pleased to be taking part.

“Technology is a leading subject at Walney, technology GCSEs are compulsory here and we offer five areas. There is a big emphasis on technology because of the area where we live.

“We give the students something beyond GCSE technology. Our students work on an engineering portfolio in addition to their GCSE to give them some pre-apprentice skills to bring forward some of those skills.

Our high attaining electronics students, who are looking at apprenticeships and A-Levels, will be their working as a team.”

Walney pupil Gracie Croft, 16, wants to become an engineering apprentice. She is at the interview stage with Siemens.

Gracie said: “SkillsFest will be very good having so many companies there. I will take the opportunity to speak to the employers.

“It is good for students to attend this event, it shows you are committed. I’ve always wanted to do engineering, my granddad has been an engineer and we have good opportunities at school.”

Ben Eddy, 16, also a Walney pupil, is considering A-Levels or an apprenticeship to get into engineering and to study to degree level.

He said: “In this area there are so many opportunities in engineering. SkillsFest is a good event it is a chance for us to get put names out there and show how interested we are in engineering and to represent our school.

“Our school is a great place for engineering. I think we will take a lot from running a stand and having the chance to speak to employers.”

Inspira will be holding a CV clinic at the event and it will be available to young people and adults who visit SkillsFest.

To get the best from this clinic, visitors are asked to bring along a draft CV outlining their education and work experience/employment history, qualifications and contact details.

The experienced Inspira advisers will be able to provide one-to-one guidance on how to produce a quality CV guaranteed to stand out to prospective employers.

There will also be an invaluable chance to have a mock interview with an Inspira adviser to prepare individuals for the real life experience receiving valuable advice on how to improve your presentation skills.

Inspira will also be able to raise awareness of local and national labour market information through an interactive “treasure” hunt.

By visiting the other exhibitors and asking questions, people should be able to provide the answers and be in chance with winning some great prize.

Inspira youth workers will also be on hand to provide opportunities to improve communication and team-work skills and, most importantly, raise confidence.

Sarah Miller, a well-known and home-grown poet and playwright, will bring out these skills through a series of creative workshops.

NCS Action Day, a national day of social action organised by National Citizen Service, also falls on the same day as SkillsFest. The theme for the North West is the general election.

There are various events going on across the county and in the Furness area, they will run alongside SkillsFest.

NCS graduates will be interacting with the public and asking them to complete a survey around the election and the UK political system, demonstrating that young people are interested in how their country is run and how the outcome of the general election will affect them in the future.

All young people who visit SkillsFest and complete an evaluation form will be entered into a draw to win one of two mini iPads and a day in industry funded by ESH.

The draw will be made at 2.15pm and prizes will be presented by Barrow mayor, Councillor Marie Derbyshire.

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