Sixth form students from across West and Mid Kent descended upon Maidstone Leisure Centre last week for the second annual Maidstone Apprenticeship Fair.
The Fair, which was organised and hosted by local MPs Tracey Crouch, Helen Grant, Tom Tugendhat and Helen Whately, brought together 1000 young people with 50 blue chip apprentice employers, from across Kent and the UK, all under one roof.
The event gave year 12 and year 13 students the opportunity to meet with potential employers and explore the apprenticeship opportunities which are available to them. Many of the employers were advertising current live vacancies and some students were able to apply whilst at the Fair with interviews offered as a result.
It is no wonder the young people were inspired with such a range of exciting apprenticeship opportunities on show. The students were able to undertake a huge range of activities including simulated flying with BAE systems, audio visual missions with the Army and experiencing first-hand the Border Force’s state of the art technology.
This year’s event was double the size of last year’s inaugural Fair and the MPs are already planning for the 2020 event to be the biggest and best yet.
Helen Grant MP said, ‘Apprenticeships really provide life changing opportunities for young people. They offer a unique chance to earn money whilst learning a new skill and offer a direct path into a chosen career. It was fantastic to see so many young people engaging with such a broad range of employers at the Fair and I am delighted that some are applying for the roles advertised as a result, I know they won’t regret it.’
Tracey Crouch MP said, ‘There is such a wonderfully diverse range of apprenticeship opportunities available to students across this part of Kent and our Fair was the perfect opportunity to bring them all together. I was particularly delighted to see young people being offered interviews as a result of their attendance at the Fair and I am already looking forward to making next year’s event even bigger and better.’
Tom Taylor, Principle Surveyor at Willmott Dixon who were one of the fifty employers at the Fair, said, ‘We were delighted to attend the second Maidstone Apprenticeship Fair. We are well aware of the skills shortage affecting the Construction Industry and to be given an opportunity to speak to so many enthusiastic young people, who may not have been considering a career in construction, has been brilliant. As a company that has a target to be gender-neutral by 2030 it was particularly interesting to be able to speak to so many young women who may have had a unfavourable view of our industry and dispel some stereotypes about working in Construction.’