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November 25, 2008

London careers event proves huge success

Around 53,000 visitors attended Skills London recently, exceeding expectations and making it the UK’s largest skills and careers event. 

Prospects Events ran the event on behalf of government agency London First. Taking place in ExCeL London’s northern exhibition halls, Skills London hosted more than 180 exhibitors ready to help young people, parents and teachers with their career decisions.

Visitors encountered interactive features to help them experience certain careers firsthand, including a tube train, plastering, bricklaying, fashion design, a football pitch, massive rowing competition, climbing wall, instant advice pods and much more.

Skills London 2008 successfully brought together young people with employers, training organisations and educational institutions. Visitors had expertly targeted advice and guidance and the real opportunity to try out new skills and find out about jobs they might never have considered.

Visitors included the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who tried lots of the hands-on activities and quizzed exhibitors and young people. He was particularly admiring of the opportunities showcased in building and construction skills.

Stealing from a recent Barak Obama speech (or old Bob the Builder one), he said: “I think Skills London 2008 is a wonderful event and shows that it is vital to get out there and get the skills you need to get into a job. Can we build a better skills base for our city? Can we build a London that will be competitive in the future? Can we build it? Yes we can.”

The Minister for Schools, Sarah McCarthy-Fry also paid tribute to the effectiveness of the event, saying: “This opens up young people’s eyes. There is not just one route they can go down, there are lots of different routes and lots of different skills. Hopefully, Skills London 2008 will fire their imaginations.”

Visitors were able to try different beauty therapy treatments with several colleges, including centre of vocational excellence, the London College of Beauty Therapy, which were launching a new range of courses for 14 to 18-year-olds. Visitors were also able to have a go at driving a Honda Formula 1 racing car or changing the wheel and refuelling with UK Skills.

Visitors were generally very impressed with the event. Katy Neuston, for example, from Barnet said: “It’s fantastic, I don’t know what I want to do, but Skills London has given me lots of ideas and ways to find out more!”

Meanwhile, Karla Hitching, who visited with her son, Jack, said: “It was very useful to us and our son, who, until today, had no idea what he wanted to do. Without attending this exhibition we would know nothing about many careers on offer to youngsters today, even after surfing the net for many hours.

Following the success of Skills London 2008 in supporting thousands of young people from London and the South East in making decisions about their futures, the event will be repeated in 2010, leading up to WorldSkills London in 2011.

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