With less than eight months to go until WorldSkills UK – The Skills Show opens its doors at the NEC Birmingham, we are asking the FE Sector to pledge its support and get involved.

As WorldSkills London 2011 drew to a close last October, the NAS was already being asked by colleges, training providers and employers how we could use the excitement and interest generated by the event to benefit the skills framework in the UK. By hosting The Skills Show, a UK only skills event, we can showcase the very best of what the UK’s Apprenticeships and further education system has to offer.

Taking place from 15 – 17 November, The Skills Show will highlight the vital importance of skills to economic growth and will inspire a new generation of people to get into further education, skills and Apprenticeships.  It will provide a platform for the best of the UK’s young talent to perform, as well as providing opportunities for visitors to access Apprenticeships or real job opportunities, get careers advice and have a go at new skills.  A full conference programme for employers, learning providers and stakeholders will also be featured at The Skills Show.  As you can see, like at WorldSkills London 2011, there are great opportunities for all of you to get involved and showcase the great work happening in your organisations.

During The Skills Show we want visitors to be inspired and amazed by the range of skills that help shape our everyday lives.  The Have a Go activities will provide visitors with a ‘bite size’ taster of a skill and we need colleges and training providers to run these activities, enabling visitors to try their hand at skills that they may never have previously considered as a career option.

The Have a Go activities will take place in and around the event space and will be fully integrated with one-to-one careers advice zones and Showcase areas to ensure a truly engaging experience.  Running a Have a Go experience will enable you to promote your organisation’s work to a core audience of learners, teachers and FE representatives at a high profile, skills event.   From speaking with those who ran Have a Gos at WorldSkills London 2011 they have all commented that it is also an excellent opportunity to network with employers, customers and partners creating commercial and endorsement opportunities for your organisation.

Showcasing provides another great opportunity for your organisation to get involved and support The Skills Show.  It is an integral part of the event and the activity is designed to surprise and inspire visitors through a highly visual, stimulating and entertainment-led programme.  These showcases will feature the very best of students and learners from across the UK, presenting their exceptional talents in a wide array of skills.

The Skills Show will give the opportunity for around fifty schools, colleges and training providers, community organisations and institutions from across the UK to become part of a national showcase and celebration of UK talent.  For those involved it provides them with invaluable experience of performing on the national stage and helps them with their course or qualification, building their confidence.  It also provides curriculum and assessment development opportunities by mapping course assessment criteria to the production of the Showcase.

The Skills Show is a vital part of the new era for skills in this country.  The event and the activities taking place in the lead up to the show offer us all an opportunity to highlight the best of vocational education and Apprenticeships in the UK.  By showing young people and their parents the range and quality of opportunities available we can help inform the choices of the skilled workforce of the future.

WorldSkills UK is taking place from 15 – 17 November at the NEC Birmingham. The deadline for applying to run a Have a Go or Showcase is 27 April.  To apply and for more information about The Skills Show please visit www.theskillsshow.com

Jaine Bolton is director of the National Apprenticeship Service

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