Thousands of school children attend Suffolk Skills Show at Trinity Park
Around 5,000 children learnt more about where they could be working or studying in the future at the biggest careers show in Suffolk.
A total of 15 industries and sectors, from energy to enterprise to legal services, were covered at the Suffolk Skills Show, aimed at 14-24-year-olds, held in Trinity Park, Ipswich, earlier today.
Ian Twinley, chairman of the group behind the show and chief executive of John Grose, one of the event’s sponsors, said: “It’s heart-warming to see so many young people engage with so many Suffolk businesses, we really must thank all the businesses that are here today because without them the event would not happen.
“One of the focuses this year has been on businesses showing what they do in ‘have-a-go’ demonstrations. It was great for students to get a feel of the work they do – we had about 80 businesses involved in that alone.”
Lisa Chambers is cabinet member for education and skills at Suffolk County Council, the show’s lead partner.
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She said it was “wonderful” to see students engage with some of Suffolk’s biggest brands and companies. She addressed guests, including local college principals, council bosses and representatives from economic groups.
“Having had a chance to walk round the show seeing the fantastic employers that we have here in Suffolk I saw the amazing opportunity offered to younger people looking for work experience or education options,” she said.
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She added the event “inspired” youngsters as they moved into the world of work.
Nicci Dunning, a business developer for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, was part of their networking team – helping children to ask questions about others and be more confident when speaking about themselves.
She is worried that children growing up in the ‘tablet generation’ are losing social and spoken communication skills, necessary for work, because of the time spent on computers and mobile phones.
“We have speed networking – a way of engaging with them so they can talk about themselves,” she said. “Some have been really responsive and we have spoken to school kids who do not know what they are doing. I told them about myself and my background and how I got into this.”
There were more than 130 exhibitors at the event, including Woodbridge-based film-makers Summer Isle Film,
Tom Newman, director and founder of the company said his industry was reliant on new skilled people.
“Productions are made with talent and it has to come from somewhere which we have to push,” he said. “The film industry in Suffolk is not great but it has got the potential to be. There are some great businesses here and its important that they grow.”
David Flatt from Worlingworth-based agricultural machinery company, P Tuckwell Ltd, said many students were interested in the sector which had seen a technical transformation in recent years.
East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star’s show stand
Archant, which owns the EADT and its sister title the Ipswich Star, had an interactive stand at the Suffolk Skills Show.
Students watched and interacted with journalists from the newspapers and associated websites as articles were written and edited as part of a ‘live newspaper’ project.
Children were able to suggest tweets both newspapers should publish on Twitter as breaking news stories came in.
Liz Nice, managing editor of the EADT and Ipswich Star, said: “There’s been a huge response; I have never seen so many young people in one place before. It’s been really great to see all the local companies come together and engage with the younger generation.”
Students asked questions about becoming a journalist and what it was like being a designer creating images and graphics for the newspapers as well as the dozens of magazines, apps and websites produced by Archant in the UK.
Liz was joined at the stand by Natalie Sadler, digital editor for the EADT and Ipswich Star as well as Jane Berry from human resources and graphic designer Brendan Allis.