Thousands inspired by experiential careers advice at the Skills Show 2014

The Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills and careers event, provided inspiration and advice about future careers to almost 74,000 people at the NEC, Birmingham last week (13 to 15 November). The show, now in its third year, welcomed 73,858 visitors during its three day run and featured a wide range of hands-on experiences and skills competitions designed to help shape the futures and transform the lives of those who attended.

Ross Maloney, Chief Executive of Find a Future, which oversees the event as well as WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions, the finals of which were held at The NEC alongside the Show, said:

“Delivering a high quality, memorable experience is of paramount importance to all those involved in the staging of The Skills Show, and I am confident that 2014’s event was our best yet.”

“Feedback from 2013 indicated we needed to keep the quality of the visitor experience high, and ensure everyone could explore all the careers opportunities on offer fully. This year’s event certainly delivered on this ambition, with crowds spread right across The NEC engaging with all elements of the show throughout its three days.”

A new, more open show floor design for 2014 enabled visitors to The Skills Show to move freely between areas, and ensured that WorldSkills UK competitors could be watched more closely without disturbance. New concepts across the event, including competition interpretation Showcase areas and extended opening hours on the first day to create The Skills Show Late, provided more opportunity for the broad range of target audiences involved to interact with all elements of the show and gain benefit from their participation.

64 WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions reached their national finals at The Skills Show, with 588 finalists showing off their abilities to be recognised as the very best young talent in the country. Medals were presented at a glittering ceremony on Saturday, hosted by TV presenter Will Best, and those who were successful will now begin training to compete for a place in Team UK which will take part in WorldSkills 2017, which will be staged in Abu Dhabi.

At the heart of The Skills Show, the Have a Go concept, which provides the opportunity to try “bite sized” skills experiences, once again proved extremely popular with visitors of all ages, with the 49 official stations offering the chance to try careers as varied as bricklaying, floristry, web design and media make up. New for 2014, Showcase areas linked to WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions enabled those watching to understand what was happening, and become inspired by the young competitors, while a comprehensive programme of Spotlight talks across the event provided real-life insights into careers from “real people doing real jobs”, as well as famous names from the world of business and industry. Another key component of The Skills Show, independent careers advice and training information was available throughout the event, with advisers placed alongside leading employer brands to inspire and encourage young people on the road to work.

Maloney continued:

“Walking through the halls at the NEC, it was clear that The Skills Show engages and excites young people with a wide range of different activities, and this engagement is something we are keen to reinforce and build on for 2015 and beyond. Of course, the event would not be possible without the support of our key sponsors and funding partners, for which we are most grateful, and we hope that everyone will continue on with us on the journey to deliver something even more special and impactful for a wide range of audiences next year.”

The Skills Show returns to the NEC from 19 to 21 November 2015: to find out more about visiting, or exhibiting at the event, please visit City & Guilds is lead premier sponsor of The Skills Show, with the Edge Foundation and Premier Colleges as premier sponsors. The Skills Funding Agency and European Social Fund are funding partners.