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Gloucestershire Business News

Careers event aims to turn ambitions into reality

Two of the largest colleges in the South West join forces to deliver Bristol's most comprehensive careers event, Ambitions 2018, as part of Colleges Week.

Bristol is a prosperous city, with diverse and ever growing opportunities for young people. Employers, however, continue to find a mismatch between the changing skills needed and finding passionate young people with those talents and aspirations. Input from employers towards industry specific careers advice and guidance is central to ensuring not only that young people are inspired by available career options but also that employers are actively contributing towards the development of skills that they need now and in the future.

Over the years, Ambitions has grown to become the most comprehensive schools' careers event in the South West, attended by over 120 exhibitors from amongst employers, training providers, colleges and universities, and over 4,000 visitors, including pupils aged 11-19, parents, career advisors and teachers.

This year Ambitions is tied in with Colleges Week, which is showcasing the positive impact Further Education institutions have on their local communities, including schools, young people, parents and businesses. Colleges Week, badged under the 'Love Your College' moniker, is campaigning to raise awareness of the need for fair funding from government so Colleges can continue to deliver high quality courses and services over the coming years.

Sara-Jane Watkins, SGS College principal states "SGS College is absolutely committed to Colleges Week and the 'Love Our Colleges' campaign. The lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals are positively impacted every year by the dedication and experience of teachers from within the College sector. Many come with immense industrial experience that both engages and inspires the next generation. We are at risk, as a nation, of failing young people and not giving them the skills needed for the country to complete internationally. This failure is due to the lack of investment in the college sector. We will have an imminent issue of losing highly valued and skilled teachers if our rate of funding is not addressed'.

Ambitions presents the perfect opportunity to show the positive effect Colleges have within the region. SGS is delighted to be working with City of Bristol College to host and deliver this year's event. The continued enthusiasm of local employers to engage with young people, sharing their skills and passions, is a real positive. Also the positive involvement of schools within the region really demonstrates how much they value this opportunity. I have no doubt that this practical inspiration and guidance will give many young students a head start into dynamic and rewarding career choices they may never have thought of before"

Lee Probert, City of Bristol College's principal and chief eecutive commented: "Ambitions is a great example of how collaborative working between colleges can support local communities in raising their career aspirations and employability skills. Love our Colleges campaign will help us highlight the fundamental role that further education sector plays in providing skills training to individuals and developing active members of the society who are able to positively contribute to the growth of our economy."

By engaging young people directly with cross-sector employers, the event helps them make more ambitious decisions about their career and progression pathways and improves their employability prospects.

Josephine Colclough of Airbus commented: "Ambitions is a great event to be able to interact with the next generation, engage youngsters and see where their interests currently lie. Doing so can help understand how to tailor programmes or events to engage the right people and to plant the seed in their heads about your business early, and leave lasting thoughts with them, hoping to see them again one day soon as a young professional."

By engaging attendees directly with industry, the event also helps young people make more ambitious decisions about their career pathways and improves their employability prospects.

Maria Filer of Brimsham Green School stated: "Students discuss the Ambitions event throughout their school life. The workshops they attended, the employers they met and how that one activity or conversation has motivated them to achieve their goals.

"It is really inspiring to watch our students' motivation at the event, especially seeing students who find it difficult to engage in classroom lessons showing enthusiasm and fully participating."

The event takes place on 16 & 17 October at the SGS WISE Campus and City of Bristol College's Parkway Centre. For further information about Ambitions and getting involved, visit www.ambitionsevents.co.uk or contact John Walker on john.walker@sgscol.ac.uk.

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