Around 1,400 people attended the Employment and Skills fair at the Villa Marina earlier this month.
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture’s (DESC) event aims to help students, aged 15-18, explore their career options. In addition, University College Isle of Man (UCM) students following further or higher education courses, and members of the general public, came to receive specific advice and guidance about local employment opportunities.
Students in their final years of schooling gained valuable insights into future job roles and the importance of lifelong learning skills in supporting their transition into the workforce.
At the event, young people were encouraged to engage with exhibitors representing a diverse range of employment sectors including engineering and digital technology, healthcare, creative industries, uniformed services and finance.
Head of Sixth Form at St Ninian’s High School, Kevin Schofield, said:
‘The feedback was emphatically positive. It gave young people great insights into what’s on offer on the Island – many of them didn’t realise there were so many opportunities available locally after completing their A Level and other Level 3 qualifications.’
A #learningforlife social media campaign supporting the event and focused on the reality of career paths with employers embracing this idea and sharing their own career journeys. The #learningforlife images and a podcast of interviews from the day can be found on the Manx Radio Facebook page and website.
Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Julie Edge MHK, said:
‘I’d like to thank everyone who supported the event, with special acknowledgement to the dedicated DESC staff members who worked tirelessly to attract many varied employers and manage a busy fair for our young people.
‘My thanks also to the employers from various sectors who staffed stands, guiding young minds on the crucial role of lifelong learning skills in navigating diverse career paths. Their commitment to sharing authentic career journeys contributed significantly to the event's success.’
One exhibitor, Paragon Recruitment, who also sponsored a prize draw at the event, championed the level of engagement with young people.
Director Debbie Scrimshaw said:
‘We found the students engaged, enthusiastic and genuinely interested in conversations around the jobs market, skills required and available opportunities.
‘A real takeaway this year was discussions around ‘real career paths’; how the aims and careers of others had changed and developed, and that many pathways are now more fluid across roles, industries and sectors. We discussed how this increased the importance of identifying your own strengths and embracing a growth mind-set.’
Next year’s event will be held at the Villa Marina on 7 November 2024.