From education to employment

Interactive Skills Festival Building Success for Region

Last week, exp05, the interactive skills festival, was held in Lancashire. Organised by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Lancashire, the event, which saw 8,000 young people from across the region descend on Myerscough College in Preston, followed on from the success of last year’s exp04.

The event was open to pupils in years 10 and 11, and aimed to provide a forum for young people to meet with local employers, businesses and skills experts. However, the LSC were keen to ensure that exp05 was not an average careers convention, with pupils taking part in more than 100 fun and fully interactive exhibits.

The exhibits were organised in occupational zones, in an effort to allow students a hands-on taste of what it would be like to work in different skills sectors. In one such area, pupils were given the chance to try their hand at DJing on the Rock FM stand. Volunteers had a go at presenting traffic and travel updates and even got to meet with Rock FM presenters, who were able to offer advice to budding DJs.

An Expo Every Two Years

Pupils from 78 schools across Lancashire attended the event, which the LSC says will now be held every two years. The concept behind exp05 was the idea that knowledge can be fun and exciting, by engaging students in activities that will inspire them to make choices about their future. Last year, 82% of pupils who attended exp04 said that it had influenced their career choice, and the LSC says they hope the biennial events will become one of the key dates in the secondary school calendar.

Further education colleges were also present at the event, to offer pupils a taste of the skills and qualifications on offer to them. At the Preston College stand, for example, young people were given the chance to style each others” hair.

Amy Robinson from Bowland School near Clitheroe enjoyed a stand that was helping students to build a wall. “exp05 is really good fun,” she said, adding, however, that she wasn”t won over by the art of bricklaying ““ she wants to become a runner!

There were also some highly unconventional jobs on offer for the pupils to try their hands at. Kate Wright from Fearns High School in Rossendale was instructed in the art of tree climbing by staff from Myerscough College. All in a day’s work, she learnt, for people who work in arboriculture.

Judging by the reactions of the pupils, Steve Palmer, executive director of the LSC in Lancashire, was right to hail the event as a complete and resounding success. “I am delighted at the turnout to exp05,” he said, “and the response from young people and exhibitors has been positive in every respect.”

Jessica Brammar

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