Fourth Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival launches in Norwich

From left: The 'Coalition of Willingness': Nicola Hill of the Norwich School, Greg Smith, chief exec

From left: The 'Coalition of Willingness': Nicola Hill of the Norwich School, Greg Smith, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Chris Starkie of New Anglia LEP, Nove Fairbank of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Faye Burrage of Easton and Otley College, Astra Richardson of UEA, Melvyn Ruff of Norfolk County Council, and Mark Bruhin of Beacon East. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Could the next agri-tech breakthrough be developed in Norfolk? The world's next leading geneticist have their first biology lesson in Norwich? The next celebrity hairdresser complete their apprenticeship in Dereham?

These were the questions asked at the launch of the Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival 2019, which will see 6,000 or more young people travel to the Norfolk Showground in March with the aim of kick-starting their career planning.

The festival, which is organised by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association along with partners at Beacon East, City College Norwich, Easton and Otley College, the New Anglia LEp, the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Norwich School and the Norfolk County Council – alongside media partners Archant – is now in its fourth year.

'The key thing to recognise about this festival is that it is a coalition of willingness. Of businesses, schools, and organisations coming together to develop the knowledge and skills of our young people, and preparing them for the world of work,' said Norfolk County Council's Melvyn Rush at the launch, held at the International Aviation Academy.

The festival aims to inspire students by introducing them directly to their career aspirations.

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'I'm a dad, and a teacher,' said Norwich School headteacher Stefan Griffiths.

'I'm not cool. So of the two ways I interact with young people, they're not going to listen to my advice.'

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Addressing the guests he said: 'But you are cool. You are who they want to be when they leave school, it's you who can inspire them on the career paths.'

Mark Bruhin, founder and chief executive of Beacon East said that it wasn't just about getting talent in the door, but keeping them there.

'It's a fact that young people often don't want to stay in Norfolk, their aspirations within the county are quite low. This event will break down those perceptions and show people the breadth and diversity of Norfolk industry,' he said.

The festival will be held on March 6 and 7. On March 6, the festival will be open from 9.30am to 3.30pm, and on March 7 from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

Schools and businesses are invited to sign up as visitors or to host a stand by visiting

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