Thousands sign up to be apprentices after Gloucestershire campaign as Skillsfest attracts record numbers
RECORD numbers of people in the county showed an interest in apprenticeships as they attended Gloucestershire Skillsfest 2013.
Thousands of pupils, students, teachers and parents got a chance to discover what careers and apprenticeships the county has to offer.
Up to 200 apprenticeships were on offer as around 1,700 people passed through the doors at Gloucester Rugby Club.
Thousands of young people have also put pen to paper to show their commitment for an apprenticeship thanks to the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Challenge. The campaign has broken last year's sign up figure and will be announced this week.
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More than 60 businesses were exhibiting on the day and dozens more businesses were on-hand to give careers advice and give youngsters a taste of different jobs.
Jack Walker is on an undergraduate placement with Cheltenham-based Ultra Electronics.
The 21-year-old, who lives in the town, said: "Engineering is one of the industries that hasn't been hit by the recession. If you want a job you can get one."
Dave Richards, of the Forest of Dean, is a production support and service technician for the aerospace and defence equipment developer.
Dave, 28, said youngsters had been asking what opportunities were available and had handed in their CVs.
Jo Kline, a business development manager at accountants Randall & Payne, which has headquarters in Stroud, said: "We have given a lot of advice to teachers. For example, you do not have to be good at maths to be an accountant but good with numbers."
Flo McNab-Jones, 18, of Leonard Stanley, said: "I'm looking at everything, but especially in creative, like advertising."
Oli Morgan, 17, of Gloucester, said he came to see "what companies are offering."
Gloucester MP Richard Graham, Terry Chappell from the National Apprenticeship Service, Editor of The CitizenIan Mean and apprentice Will Hunter all spoke at a round table session at the event.
Terry said: "I think young people have had a good opportunity here. We've never had as many people involved under one roof."
Ian said: "This is so worthwhile and the benefits to an employer is absolutely immense. It's something that's in our DNA now for the county."
The Skillsfest was run by the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Challenge group. The group launched a campaign in December to get 500 young people to sign up to be recruited as an apprentice. After beating its target within two months it then aimed for 1,000.
The campaign has been run by GFirst – which drives the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership – in association with Gloucestershire College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, EDF Energy, Delphi and Gloucestershire Engineering Training Group. It is supported by The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo.