On Friday we attended the annual Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham. It is the UK’s biggest skills and careers event and is a great opportunity for young people to discover their post sixteen and further career options. The event is free meaning that all young people can access the service and schools are encouraged to bring their students. It is a three day event packed with interactive workshops, displays, competitions and events.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister was one of the main keynote speakers of the event and was quoted saying: “The UK has been “held back for too long” by outdated perceptions about apprenticeships and vocational education.”  And this change of perception was seen promoted throughout the show as a reflection of the government’s current drive to promote work-based learning to improve the skills base of the UK for future generations.

There were big names at the event such as the national careers service offering IAG while the BBC were promoting trying out the skill sets they require to get a top job with them in the future. Beside them where small training providers offering sector specific traineeships and apprenticeships and offering IAG for students who weren’t sure what qualifications, skills and interests they may need to be successful in the future.

Around every corner there were large demonstration areas showcasing different types of career working environments from woodwork factories to kitchens to hairdressing studios.

There was a ‘Spotlight Stage’ in each hall sponsored by big names such as O2, BBC and Virgin Media with organised talks offering a wide range of information, inspiration, IAG and discovery.

We attended the ‘Developing Brand You’ talk by Suzie Branch a Marketing and Advertising specialist on the Virgin Media Spotlight Stage. Her talk gave young people the information that they need to make themselves more desirable to potential employers by tapping into social media, body language and personal skills and being personable.

The event was also a great opportunity for networking and finding out more about other companies in the training and education sector and how they connect with young people.

We were represented at the Birmingham and Solihull Training Providers Network Stand and were able to meet young people and help them in their decisions about their future.

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If you would like to find out more about our training provision for Traineeships, Apprenticeships, QCF’s and standalone courses please call: 0121 707 0550 or e-mail: