Young people from across Carmarthenshire were given a taste of different career options at Skills Cymru Carmarthenshire, a regional careers fair featuring more than 100 employers, which took place during Apprenticeship Week at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli on the 9th and 10th March.
Organised by Careers Wales and Coleg Sir Gâr, and supported by the Welsh Government and European Social Fund, the event was designed to inspire and educate visitors about the variety of different careers and vocational routes available to them.
More than 4,000 young people attended the free event over the two days, travelling from local schools and colleges including Maes y Gwendraeth, Coedcae, Coleg Sir Gâr Graig, Ysgol Bryngwyn, Bro Dinefwr, St John Lloyd and Strade.
Members of the public also attended the event to find out more about their career options, vocational routes and apprenticeship courses with some of Wales’ biggest companies such as Welsh Water, Principality and Bluestone Leisure Resorts.
Visitors were able to try their hand at virtual welding, creating short animations and driving a tractor using the Welsh Government’s state-of-the-art ‘have a go’ equipment, designed to increased participation in vocational pathways. Attendees also tested their vocational skills by taking part in a range of interactive activities offered by employers who attended the event, from giving manicures and styling hair to laying bricks and making exotic mocktails.
Ffion Anderson, 15, from Maes y Gwendraeth school said: "I really enjoyed visiting the science stands such as the NHS Wales and Cardiff University Medical School because I'd really like to become a surgeon or a cardiologist when I'm older.
"It was great seeing the ultrasound equipment on the NHS stand, the pictures you can get are so clear it's amazing, it was so fascinating and made me realise I definitely want to go into the medical profession.
"I’m hoping to get into a Welsh university and study part of the course in the Welsh language, so it was useful to be able to talk to some people from the NHS about the sort of grades I'll need and extra activities that might help my application to medical school."
Minister for Skills and Science Julie James attended the event, talking to employers and apprentices about the career options they were there to promote, and taking part in some of the ‘have a go’ activities.
She said: “It was inspiring to see so many young people from across Carmarthenshire thinking about their futures and talking to some of the biggest employers in the country.
“Those faced with choosing their next steps, whether it’s going to college, university or straight into the world of work, have big decisions to make and careers events like this help them to decide their future.
“Seeing some of Wales’ biggest employers attend the event demonstrates their commitment to investing in the future of Wales’s workforce, helping inspire the next generation to think about all pathways, including vocational routes into work.”
Richard Spear, chief executive of Careers Wales said: “Organising events like these is key to helping young people learn more about the many different jobs and careers they could pursue.
“We often work with young people who are unsure about their next steps, not knowing what sector to go into. It’s our job to help them recognise what their skills are most suited towards and match their talents to a career. Careers events like SkillsCymru are a great opportunity to have an open and honest discussion with a huge variety of employers all in one place about what sort of qualifications and skills they look for, as well as asking apprentices about their course and experiences.”
Barry Liles, Coleg Sir Gâr principal and Skills Champion for Wales, said: “We are extremely pleased with the fantastic opportunities afforded to so many young people from the county who visited Skills Cymru Carmarthenshire.
“The event highlighted the vast range of career opportunities available in the region and how to develop, with the college, skills required by employers.
“The event itself showed excellent partnership working between Careers Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council, Welsh Government, Coleg Sir Gâr and over 50 regional employers. I was pleased to accompany both our local AM, Lee Waters and the Minister for Skills and Science Julie James AM, around the event and illustrated how the college develops skills of a world-class standard - exemplified by students present who are currently representing the UK in WorldSkills competitions.”
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