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Gloucestershire Business News

Launch of ground-breaking 'Inspiring the Forest' initiative

A ground-breaking initiative to raise young people's aspirations in the Forest of Dean is being launched by the Forest Economic Partnership (FEP).

Inspiring the Forest is being held on Thursday, November 24, at Gloucestershire College's Forest of Dean campus in Cinderford.

Neill Ricketts, owner of Versarien at Longhope, the FEP's board chair and one of the event participants, said: "Inspiring the Forest is a ground-breaking initiative to raise the career aspirations among our young people, their teachers and parents across the Forest of Dean.

"We want to raise awareness of the type of jobs available here in the Forest and increase awareness of the skills required for local jobs at all levels from apprentices to senior managers.

"If young people leave the Forest it is often very hard for them to come back. One of the things that I benefited from when I was a school leaver was seeing what opportunities were actually out there.

"You don't know what you don't know, and your ideal job could be just down the road."

More than 850 Year 9 (13-14 year olds) students from six schools in the Forest will be attending the day-long event (9am-5pm), and parents and families will also be able to attend from 3pm.

The six schools taking part are: Five Acres High School, Dene Magna School, Newent Community School, Forest High School, Wyedean School and Sixth Form Centre and Dean Academy.

Local businesses like Suntory are supporting the event, together with Hartpury University and Hartpury College, to give advice and insight on job opportunities in five local employment sectors:

  • Hospitality and tourism, including food and drink production
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Professional services
  • Health and wellbeing, including beauty and self-care
  • Communication and media, including digital and public relations

Amy Knight of Suntory said: ``The Inspiring the Forest event allows us to connect with our next generation of employees and inspire them around the opportunities available within a food and drink manufacturing business."

Sandra Tyrrell, assistant principal at Gloucestershire College, said: "Here at the Cinderford campus of Gloucestershire College we are pleased to be hosting the inaugural Inspiring the Forest event.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for students from all the Forest schools to join an event which showcases the career opportunities on their doorstep. Some they may already be aware of but others they may not.

"At GC we work closely with many Forest employers on the apprenticeship pathways that are becoming an attractive option enabling young people to learn new skills and embark on a career path whilst in paid employment. An apprentice can embark on training which ultimately could lead them to achieving professional qualifications at degree level."

Stuart Emmerson, director of business development at Hartpury, commented on behalf of event sponsors Hartpury University and Hartpury College: "We are now the largest employer in the Forest of Dean and have a range of careers from academic pathways to professional services. These include, for example, finance, project management, HR, administration and business development.

"Hartpury is another example that you don't have to leave the county to find fulfilling, rewarding careers. By shining a light on similar great employers we can showcase opportunities to local residents that are on their doorstep."

Sarah Taylor, founder of Career Voyage Ltd, said: "There is an array of amazing businesses and organisations on our doorstep, established and start-up, large, medium and small.

"There's a wealth of extraordinary talent and potential in our local schools and colleges. If you go along to your local secondary school and take part in their mock interviews you'll see exactly what I mean.

"Businesses want young and emerging talent for their future workforce to address their skill gap issue and become future leaders. And students, teachers and parents need to connect with and understand the new world of work. They need to be able to see future employment opportunities for work experience and for future careers.

"The events will be pioneering and will be about joining the dots and connecting businesses with future potential employees and educating teachers in the new workscape.

"Futures can be transformed with a great career or organisation behind you. Many leaders at local companies today started their careers as apprentices in those same organisations.

"We'll be showcasing roles and companies you didn't even know existed! If you can't see it, you can't be it. We're aiming to change that.

"There's no such thing as a job for life, careers are less linear and more zig-zaggy. Look at your career as a series of random experiments. It's not about the perfect role or your ideal role necessarily, it's about doing work experience and experimenting, you'll be more motivated to find something you like, if you're working in something you don't!"

As part of their sponsorship, Hartpury College and University are sponsoring a TikTok challenge, where Forest Economic Partnership's director David Trevelyan is asking students to stitch his video with what their dream job would be in the future for a chance to win a prize.

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