Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival aims to nurture county’s future talent

PUBLISHED: 09:29 11 January 2016

Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival launch.

Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival launch. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Business leaders gathered in Norwich to lend their support to the launch of the inaugural Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival.

Support for the Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival

• Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP: “This event is a practical and ambitious answer to a problem that many are wrestling with. Businesses need great talent and young people need jobs. I will be holding this up as an example in parliament because all eyes are on this type of problem and it’s up to us to convert it from a problem to an opportunity. I want the country to hear how Norfolk is doing it.”

• Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce: “Business involvement in this fantastic festival is about individual businesses making a difference to the lives of Norfolk’s young people. It is a great opportunity to support our schools and colleges.”

• George Freeman, Mid Norfolk MP: “I am passionate about Norfolk and its young people and I know that this event will help motivate our youngsters and give them a chance to see the really great job opportunities that are available here in the East.”

• Steffan Griffiths, head master at Norwich School: “There’s a real need for this event in Norfolk and team Norfolk really does seem to be coming together to make it work.”

• Nigel Cushion, chairman and founder of nelsonspirit: “Norfolk has a great history of great businesses and great leadership, and we have many fantastic businesses and leaders today. We should come together to make sure that our young people have the very best chances to advance, and that our businesses can continue to be world beaters.”

The interactive festival, which will be the only major skills and careers event to take place in Norfolk in 2016, hopes to attract more than 4,000 14 to 24-year-olds eager to explore career opportunities.

The festival will take place on March 9 and 10 at the Norfolk Showground and will be open to schools, colleges and individuals.

A coalition of Norfolk organisations have joined forces to ensure the county’s future workforce continue to benefit from the chance to meet employers face-to-face, after organisers of a similar skills event in Norwich decided to move it out of county.

At the launch event, held at St Andrew’s House yesterday, speakers including Chloe Smith MP, impressed the importance of bringing employers and young people together.

Mark Nicholas, event director, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses and organisations to meet with Norfolk’s potential future workforce.

“It provides a platform to connect with talented youngsters who could become gifted prospective employees.”

Businesses are currently being encouraged to support the two-day festival which will be structured around a number of employment sectors including energy, advanced manufacturing and engineering, ICT – digital and creative, financial and insurance services, leisure, tourism and culture, food and farming, health and social care and construction.

The festival is promoted by Norfolk County Council, Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Easton and Otley College, City College Norwich, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norwich School, Archant, The College of West Anglia, UEA, University Campus Suffolk and a number of other partners.

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