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Virtual careers fair will help Greater Cambridge students plan their futures

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A virtual careers fair to inspire young people and help them plan for their futures will be held next month.

Anne Bailey. Picture: Keith Heppell
Anne Bailey. Picture: Keith Heppell

Opportunities Ahead Live will offer sixth-formers and college students in Greater Cambridge the chance to meet employers, get advice, guidance, and information to help them prepare for their next steps in education or employment.

Organised by Form the Future, the event is open to young people aged 16 to 18 from the more than 50 sixth forms and colleges across the area.

The virtual event - the first of its kind - is being supported by the Cambridge Independent.

Form the Future helps young people move from education into employment by delivering careers education in schools and connecting businesses directly with students.

It aims to open students’ eyes to a wide range of career possibilities and challenge them to think broadly about their options.

Form the Future chief executive Anne Bailey said the pandemic has changed the outlook for many students, with some choosing to stay in education amid uncertainty in the job market.

Those choosing employment also now face competition from older applicants with experience.

She said: “Traditionally a lot of young people would have been having a Saturday job or a part-time job in retail, or in hospitality. They’d be making their own money and getting a sense of independence. They’d be learning these incredibly valuable skills that are going to help them wherever they go in the future.

“Much of that has just completely evaporated. And they’re now in competition with older people who are trying to find jobs. I think the 16 to 24 age group has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the associated recession. We are trying to do whatever we can to help them sort of have a plan, and find new inspiration. The things they thought they might be doing may not be an option anymore but, what we can do is help show them where there are opportunities.”

As well as the opportunity to meet with employers, learn about careers in different industries and live opportunities, the fair will feature workshops and sessions.

“We’ve got careers advisors who are here to work with students and help connect them with the resources available,” explained Ms Bailey.

The event aims to showcase the opportunities that come with the dynamic economy in the city aiming to take them on a “journey of self discovery” to help them “feel positive about their own futures”.

Parents are also invited to log on to find out more about the impact of the pandemic, the changes in the job market and the potential opportunities on offer from the region’s biggest employers, with high level apprenticeships opening doors into companies like AstraZeneca.

As well as the opportunities that might be on offer from some of the region’s small businesses.

Form the Future deliver Greater Cambridge Apprenticeships on behalf of the Greater Cambridge Partnership.

Opportunities Ahead Live will be held on March 25 between 4pm and 6pm. Students interested in getting involved in the free event should contact their school or college careers department to sign up.

Businesses who want to appear at the event should contact Form the Future business development associate Sue Walden on 07879 626264 or via swalden@formthefuture.org.uk.

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