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Skills Festival Sees Opportunities for Fun and Learning to Work Hand in Hand

Last week’s interactive skills festival, exp05, organised by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Lancashire, was attended by 8,000 pupils from 78 schools across Lancashire.

Following on from the achievements of Exp04 last year, this level of attendance represents a huge success for the LSC. Last year’s exp04 was Lancashire’s first event of its kind, attended by 5,000 people. The LSC hoped the event would involve and inspire young people to make choices about their future.

Amongst the 100 exciting and interactive exhibits, the students were given a chance to fly the RAF’s Eurofighter. Although not quite the real thing, pupils, like Ben Foote from Darwen Vale School, were able to sit in the cockpit and attempt a simulated landing.

Price is Right

Meanwhile, in a slightly more down-to-earth section of the exhibition hall, students were trying to guess the cost of a basket of groceries, at Preston College’s “Price is Right” stand. Rick Holmes, Rob Pickavance, Tristan Kennedy and Phil Davies from Bishop Rawstone School in Croston, Chorley had a go, tempted by the offer a prize for a guess within £5 of the correct amount. Unfortunately for them, the boys didn”t get it right”¦

Still, if they were put off a career in retail, there was plenty more for them to choose from. Jessica Heart and Amy Stansfield were taking a look at some of the animal products that had been confiscated at customs. “These are really horrible,” said Amy, and both girls said they couldn”t understand anyone wanting to smuggle these things into the country. Amy said that hair and beauty was more up her street, and was hoping to check out that exhibit later. Jessica was on her way over to the Army stands to find out more about becoming an Army chef.

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Opportunity and Enjoyment

Becky Ashton, from Witton Park School in Blackburn, was, like many pupils, determined to make the most of the day. She was learning to make a floral buttonhole, saying “I wanted to have a go on the floristry stand, although it’s not something I”m particularly interested in.” She summed up the feeling of many pupils who attended the event, adding, “It’s just great fun going round and trying out all the different exhibits.”

The variety of things to try and people to meet, from FE colleges to potential employers, ensured that pupils like Becky had a fantastic time at exp05. Steve Palmer, executive director of the LSC in Lancashire said the success of the event was “fantastic news for Lancashire.” He said the event had “provided young people with a unique insight into the world of employment,” adding, “exp05 will continue to make sure that Lancashire retains its reputation for having a highly skilled and innovative workforce.”

Events like exp05 can prove invaluable in broadening young people’s horizons, introducing them to less conventional employment sectors, and helping them to make crucial choices about their future careers. After the success of this year’s event, the LSC’s exp looks set to become a welcome addition to the calendar.

Jessica Brammar

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