Academy Hosts Regional Skills Showcase

Date: March 13th 2018

On the 9th March 2018, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) hosted the Blackburn with Darwen Hive Skills Showcase – an interactive event organised by Hive, Inspira, FutureU and DACA as part of National Careers Week. This annual event aims to increase the amount of engagement between students, businesses and schools, an aim which is championed by DACA itself who actively support their students to develop the enterprising skills which employers and increasingly universities are looking for.

DACA welcomed 2000 students, aged 13-16, from 14 different schools across Blackburn and Darwen who had the choice of visiting the 12 careers zones: construction, creative, IT and digital, engineering, hospitality, CEIAG (careers education, information, advice and guidance), manufacturing, public services, professional business services, health and social care, people services, and sport.

With the exam season on the horizon, the timing of this event came at a very important point in the academic year. Students were provided with a variety of career guidance activities with the aim of helping support them into their career choice. All attendees were also treated to a fantastic science show by Flash Bang Science.

Each zone hosted up to three different businesses, who all delivered a 15 minute interactive activity aimed at teaching students about the skills needed to work in the industry (while having some fun along the way!). There was a huge range of activities on offer, from planning fundraising events to participating in a penalty shootout. The event supported the national strategy to build a better Britain by investing in the skill development of young people to meet the changing needs of businesses.

Lisa Dolan, Principal at DACA, said: “It was fantastic for DACA to be able to host the Hive Skills Showcase and for other schools in BwD to be part of it. It really was a hive of activity and our staff and students immersed themselves fully in the day. It’s essential that we inspire, motivate and enthuse our young people and show them what’s on offer. Thanks to Inspira. Future U and Hive for their support and organisation.”

Mrs Kelly Davies, Head of Careers at Witton Park Academy, commented: “The event covers such a large spectrum for our students that I think there is no possible way any students cannot benefit.”

Nearly 40 local businesses, from sectors ranging from engineering to recruitment to nursing, took part in the showcase. Interest in participating was extremely high this year as not only does the event help businesses boost their profile and inspire young people to consider a career in their sector, but it also provides a way for them to help identify the skill requirements businesses will need in the future.

Helen Jackson, Director of Commercial Development at Cummins Mellor, said “Events like this give young people the exposure to businesses that’s needed to harness their interest and understanding of careers in our local area. Allowing them an insight into our industries at such a young age can really help shape a young person’s view for their future career.”

During the event the businesses left the event organisers some key pieces of advice that they had for students, which included talking to other people with the industry, showing a willingness to learn and volunteer and having a proactive and forward thinking attitude.

Harry Catherall, Chief Executive at Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council, who was present on the day, explained why he was supporting the event: “I want our young people to develop the right skills to have a fantastic career and quality of life in Blackburn and Darwen”.

Kay Vaughan, Enterprise Co-ordinator with Inspira said: “Inspira was pleased to work with Darwen Aldridge Community Academy and Future U through the Lancashire Enterprise Adviser Network. Research tells us that it is important for young people to have four or more encounters with Employers. This event is a great example of how employers and education institutions can come together and help young people with their aspirations”.

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