Opportunities on your doorstep

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YOU don’t have to move away from Fenland to build a successful career – there are plenty of opportunities right here on your doorstep.

That was the message delivered to more than 90 sixth formers at a special event held at the Boathouse in Wisbech last week. They were given an insight into all the various types of education, training and employment that are available for school leavers in Fenland.

The Fenland Opportunities Day was organised by Fenland District Council, the Fenland Schools Partnership and the Fenland Enterprise in Education (FEE) project. It was designed to counteract the widespread view that there are limited opportunities for young people to develop a career close to home.

Opening the event, Councillor Chris Seaton, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for the economy and skills development, said: “There is a perception that there are not many businesses in Fenland and few job opportunities – yet Fenland has around 2,500 businesses and many of them are looking for skilled people to help them grow.”

Arguing that too many people had low aspirations and underestimated their own abilities, he said: “We need more people to ‘think big’ and also look at the whole range of opportunities there are in this area for people to pursue a successful career if you choose not to move away to go to university.”

He added: “Lots of young people say that it is hard for them to find a job, although many employers also tell us that they find it hard to recruit young people with the right attitude and work experience. So it’s really important that school leavers get some experience under their belt.

“Even very small amounts of experience – for example a couple of weeks’ work experience, a summer job or a weekend job will look good on your CV if you describe all the skills and experience you gained from it.”

Andy Sanders from Cambridgeshire County Council outlined the various types of apprenticeships that were available, emphasising that they offered a great chance to learn while earning a wage

Katie Hart, manager of the FEE project and owner of her own successful local business, gave budding entrepreneurs some useful tips on what is involved in setting up your own business. Hilary Fisher from the College of West Anglia ran through the higher education options available at the college and at Anglia Ruskin University.

Following the series of short talks, students had a chance to chat to the speakers and pick up more information about their future options.