Forward-looking businesses and the next generation of their workforce came together to mark Huntingdonshire’s third annual Career’s Fair.
The event saw over 800 local students from the area’s seven secondary schools, come together with 70 local companies to find out more about the careers opportunities in the area. Interactive stands – including construction simulators, formula one cars and engineering challenges – stood side by side with careers guidance and information from local training providers.
The focus for this year’s event was the wide range of careers in construction and engineering across the area, and spanning over the next couple of decades, with strong presence from the development of Alconbury Weald and the A14 implementation team: who will be employing up to 2,500 people at the peak of the project, including up to 100 apprentices.
The event included a business breakfast in the morning bringing together businesses to explore the skills landscape and look at both challenges and opportunities ahead. Stella Cockerill from the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Local Economic Partnerships showcased the extensive survey work they have undertaken with local businesses about skills challenges, and the range of skills support projects being developed in response. Mark Robertson, from Cambridge Regional College also spoke about the new Skills Centre – iMET – based at Alconbury Weald, which will deliver a range of courses designed with businesses to meet their needs, focusing on engineering, manufacturing and leadership and management.
Councillor Roger Harrison, Executive member for Growth said:
“Huntingdonshire is undergoing an extraordinary period of growth and investment: with the new A14, the start of thousands of new homes across the area and the development of Huntingdon Town Centre. The new £10.5m iMET Centre at Alconbury Weald is also a recognition that we need to invest in skills to maximize the benefit we all draw from that growth.
“That is not just about investment in buildings, it is about each business investing time in working with training providers and schools to develop the workforce of tomorrow; training providers working with businesses to develop the right training in the right way to meet business needs; and all of us working together to inspire the next generation. That is why this event is so important, and why it grows each year”.
Rebecca Britton, of Alconbury Weald developer Urban&Civic and a founder partner of the EDGE partners who organize the event said:
“EDGE is all about bringing together businesses and people, to ensure the area can grow its own talent pool and the workforce of the future. Events like this are all about ensuring that our local young people can benefit from the growth and opportunity on their doorstep, and play a role in forging the industry and business successes of the future.
“With the A14 and developments like Alconbury Weald requiring thousands of people with a wide range of construction and engineering skills – at all skills levels and experience – some of the careers on display today provide guaranteed local opportunities for at least the next 20 years. We need to ensure young people know the full range of opportunities so they can get the skills they need”
Rick Carroll, Chief Executive of the St Neots Learning Partnership which includes Longsands and Ernulf Academies, said:
“To bring together over 800 students from across the 7 local secondary schools and give them a flavour of the range of careers on display today is a fantastic achievement by the EDGE team and local businesses. You simply cannot underestimate the potential of events like this to inspire young people and expand their horizons, so they know the range of reachable careers there are across the country and right on their doorstep. All the local schools are committed to forging ongoing relationships with local businesses to ensure we work together to support the next generation of employers and employees, entrepeneurs and engineers.”
EDGE is a jobs and skills partnership that works with businesses at Alconbury Enterprise Campus and across the wider area to help them recruit and develop staff, and to help local people access the jobs coming forward. For more information about EDGE, visit the Huntingdon office (St Benedict Court, Huntingdon) on Wednesdays, call 01480 435654, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sharperskills.co.uk