The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Careers Fest 2024 sees secondary school students from across Oxfordshire meet dozens of businesses at a major exhibition – with a ‘twilight session’ giving parents the chance to get involved.
On Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 March, over 3,000 young people are set to converge on the Kassam Stadium in Oxford for a major two-day event – led by the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership – bringing businesses and teenagers together to inspire future career decisions.
Organised by OxLEP Skills’ Oxfordshire Careers Hub, Careers Fest returns for 2024 and is set to not only connect young people with some of Oxfordshire’s best employers – but highlight significant career pathways available in the county – with a separate session targeted at parents and carers.
With schools visiting in the daytime during the event – the celebration of ‘all things careers’ is also set to include a ‘twilight session’ for parents and carers – alongside their children – on 20 March, taking place between 4.30pm and 7.30pm.
With over 70 exhibitors from organisations across Oxfordshire, the session is aimed at all families, but with a specific focus on those supporting students in Year 9 and above – offering guidance and sharing knowledge on post-16 and post-18 education, training and careers options.
With exhibitors from across a huge array of key sectors in Oxfordshire, the full list of organisations attending on the day is set to be announced shortly.
Young people attending the event are doing so due to the partnerships in-place via OxLEP with a vast array of Oxfordshire schools and colleges, including secondary schools, further education colleges and special schools.
Careers Fest is also supported by the Careers & Enterprise Company who have worked in partnership with OxLEP Skills for several years.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Careers Fest has successfully brought together young people and businesses for several years now and has undoubtedly led to many of the county’s students making positive decisions about their future career pathways and the types of industries that they wish to pursue.
“It’s important to remember that in Oxfordshire, we benefit from being home to a range of world-leading businesses and sectors, whether it be science and innovation-led companies or perhaps a tourism industry that can rival any international location.
“With this in mind, we look forward to continuing to play a really important role in linking young people with top employers, helping to inspire future career choices, as well as – in-turn – supporting the retention of talent here in Oxfordshire.”
As well as long-term career opportunities, many businesses attending Careers Fest will also showcase their respective training schemes, including apprenticeship opportunities.
This comes ahead of this year’s Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards, which for the past 7 years have shone a tremendous light on our county’s apprentices and the schools/colleges, employers and training providers who have supported them on their journey. The prestigious awards are set to close for entries at midnight on Monday 19 February.
In OxLEP’s recently launched ‘SIGHT’ (Start, Innovate, Grow and Help to Thrive) Impact Report – which reviews OxLEP’s delivery from October 2016 to March 2023 – it was announced that over the period, OxLEP Skills worked with 36 businesses to support them to recruit apprentices, whilst also building partnerships with over 500 businesses to create effective engagement with communities and schools.
Nigel Tipple added: “Through events like Careers Fest and the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards, we hope that we can help to show businesses the value of apprenticeships, as well as demonstrating that there has never been a better time to engage with them, given the support and advice available to companies through organisations like OxLEP.
“It’s just one part of our overall programme of activity that aims to see Oxfordshire leading the way in apprenticeship provision.
“Our wider work really complements this and can help to give businesses the guidance and boost they need to create or develop an apprenticeship scheme.”