Where can vocational education take you?

Where can vocational education take you this year? Find out from The Skills Show.

01 March 2014 / Be the first to comment

At the end of National Apprenticeship Week, Ross Maloney, Chief Executive of The Skills Show, talks about where vocational education could take you this year.

It's my pleasure to help deliver The Skills Show each year, which is the UK's largest skills and careers event. Demonstrating everything that is great about vocational education is critically important to us.

We know from recent Ofsted reports that career education in schools is lacking and The Skills Show is one of the most important ways we can address this. It provides careers education outside of the traditional classroom approach that has been the norm for many years.

We work really hard to ensure we maintain people’s enjoyment of the show and it shows there is some real value in what we do. We reached 200,000 people in 2013 and 62% of attendees said they were considering vocational education as a result of their positive experiences at the show.

We’re making sure young people are exposed to the very people who will be offering them jobs at the end of their training.

It’s a widely held view that employers create jobs and stimulate growth for the economy, so making sure we have enough skilled young people to enter these professions is critically important.

We see industry and employer representation at The Skills Show as key; we had five industry features in 2013 from sectors including manufacturing, engineering, creativity, hospitality, UK PLC and construction.

We want to give young people the chance to try a skill or trade they might never have thought about doing before, get their hands dirty, and then back that up with independent advice delivered by our partners like the National Careers Service, Job Centre Plus and the National Apprenticeship Service.

The challenge is how we create an offer that shifts perceptions about vocational education and allows young people to engage with it on their terms.

Engaging the parent and teacher audience, who are recognised as by far the biggest influence on any young person’s career choice, before, during and after the show is incredibly important.

We want to tailor something that teachers are able to build on after the show so they can go on to help their students in making choices about their future.

This year, we want to up the ante for parents and teachers and generate something that really allows them to engage with the show in different ways, whether that’s opening later in the evenings, hosting parent/teacher only events or providing more information on jobs and careers for parents and teachers who may need to upskill or retrain themselves.

2014 will be all about resources and discovering how people do more with less. We’ve got to make sure there’s sufficient provision for learners to meet industry needs.

The dialogue between industry and education is often a tricky one and one we need to work on. The show responds to that by demonstrating under one roof how a pathway leads to a job.

The ambition of The Skills Show will always be about raising awareness in young people about what a vocational route could mean for them. My experience in the vocational sector has made me very passionate about reaching and equipping as many young people as we can with the skills they need to succeed in life.

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