College skills show helps Londoners find their perfect career

15th May 2015

From how to become an apprentice engineer, to the skills needed to join an urban dance crew, Barking & Dagenham College helped showcase the world of professional and technical skills and training, and the career opportunities they could lead to yesterday, by hosting a free careers event ? The Skills Show Experience @ BDC.

The Skills Show Experience, supported by The Skills Show, the European Social Fund and the National Careers Service, took place at the College’s Rush Green campus. Hundreds of visitors from local schools, as well as parents and over 200 people referred from Jobcentre Plus attended the Show designed to showcase the huge range of careers available.

The Show was packed with over 50 exciting Have a Go activities, allowing visitors to try their hand at everything from working in a TV studio and designing a mobile phone app, to completing a pit-stop challenge. There were also Spotlight talks from guests such as ITN News reporter Fatima Manji, who spoke of her experience of becoming a TV news reporter and Jamie Dunn, who became an internationally renowned entrepreneur by the age of 20 and gave guests some valuable pointers on the skills and qualities needed if they wanted to do the same. As well as advice and information about apprenticeships and traineeships, visitors could chat to potential employers at the Jobs Fair. The Fair attracted over 20 employers including the Royal Navy, the Metropolitan Police, Harrods, West Ham Hospitality, Ask Care, and Primark.

All of the activities were designed to unlock talents that could turn into careers. As Little Heath School Key Stage Four manager Tessa Christoforou, just one of many school groups who attended explained:

“The event really helps engage with the pupils and allow them to experience what sort of careers are out there. It gives them an opportunity to make more sound judgements about what they want to do. They enjoy the hands-on activities and are really impressed with what they’ve seen so far.”

The College also welcomed special guest, former Barking & Dagenham College student and The Voice finalist, Emmanuel Nwamadi, 24, from Forest Gate. After performing to guests, Emmanuel took time out to have a go at a few skills himself including plumbing and learning about fingerprint analysis in the “Who done it?” forensic science Have a Go activities.

Dylan Bryan, 18, from Dartford who is studying motorsport at the College, was on hand to help visitors get to grips with rally driving with the help of a racing simulator game. He said:

“The day has been really busy but great fun. It’s nice to let people have a go at different skills.”

Jake Joyce, 14, from Dagenham, who is studying motor mechanics at the College one day a week, whilst continuing his studies at Jo Richardson Community School, enjoyed showing visitors how to change a wheel. One interested visitor was David Giles, from Dagenham. He said:

“The Show was recommended to me by my local Jobcentre, and it’s good to be able to see so many skills. As soon as I got here I saw the cars so came over to try the activities.”

The College’s iCreate@BDC space, a collaborative hub for those in the digital creative sector also proved popular with visitors. There were plenty of Have a Go activities for people to try, including games animation competitions and film editing. Students from Eastbury Comprehensive School were keen to try out the ‘Build a PC in 30 minutes,’ challenge, commenting that they were enjoying trying out all the digital and IT skills that were on offer.

Accounting students Abdul Rahman, 19, from Chingford and Muhammad Zulqarnain, 18, from Seven Kings, got the chance to have a go at the Massive Meccano Challenge, to try and build the tallest freestanding structure of the day. Muhammad said:

“It’s been fun to be able to try out different skills that you wouldn’t normally be able to do. Engineering is totally different to the sort of thing I study but it’s been good to try. It’s a great event.”

The atmosphere throughout the day was buzzing. Not only were there lots of activities for visitors to try out but with the sun shining, College students also put on fantastic outdoor dance shows and live bands played all day, while trainee chefs provided tempting treats.

Diana King, Romford Primark deputy manager commented:

“This is a fantastic event to let people know about all the different types of careers that are available to them. This is the first time we’ve attended this event but we would certainly do it again. It’s great to meet with young people who are keen to find out about retail opportunities with Primark.”

Leah Clarke and Sarah Hawkins, themselves former Barking & Dagenham College students, were also at the event. With the help of the College they set up their own business, Barney Bear’s Nursery 11 years ago. Since then they have been keen supporters of the College and the Skills Show Experience, which gives them an opportunity to meet students who are interested in childcare. In fact, as Leah commented:

“Barking & Dagenham College is one of the best. Over 95% of our staff members are from the College.”

Cathy Walsh, OBE, Barking & Dagenham College's Principal and CEO added:

"London is moving east, and Barking and Dagenham is the fastest growing London borough. It is important for our community, especially young people, to have easy and up-to-date access to the latest skills and career information so they can train for work in London’s diverse economy. The Skills Show Experience @ BDC is a superb showcase of the variety of professional and technical skills required for work in the 21st Century. The Show is where visitors can chat to a range of employers to really understand what it means to succeed in their industry, the type and level of training needed, and the jobs that are available now and in the future. The young people of this borough want work, and this event opens their eyes to what opportunities are out there."

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