Students from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College (QE), Darlington, have been able to find out about the range of exciting career opportunities available to them after their A Levels at the College’s annual Careers and Employment Fair. Around 30 employers, training and work experience providers, and public services were on hand to speak with students about the roles within their organisations and provide advice on how to make a successful application. Gap Year providers were also present to discuss the inspiring projects they offer to students wishing to take a year out upon completing their A Levels. Liz Bryan, Higher Education and Careers Adviser at QE, comments: ‘The event was a huge success. What particularly stood out was the emphasis being placed on work experience and how much it is valued by employers. It allows students to obtain an understanding into how organisations work in addition to either confirming an interest or deciding that something is not for them!’

Rebecca Ketley, Assistant Business Change Manager for HM Treasury who have recently advertised the Government Economic Service degree level apprenticeship, adds: ‘It’s been a really engaging and well attended event with very proactive students who have already done research into opportunities at the Darlington Economic Campus. In fact, we have already received some applications from QE students’. Rachel Bell, from Cultural Care Au Pair, says: ‘I attended this fair as a QE student so to be back representing the company I discovered at the event is fantastic! The students were great, had brilliant questions and are putting a lot of thought into their future’. Julian Cound, Marketing Officer for Darlington Hippodrome, explains: ‘The fair has provided an ideal opportunity to discuss how theatre works. I’ve had some great conversations and have hopefully been able to point students in the right direction regarding the wider roles within the industry’.

Looking back on the event, student, Buffy Hughes, comments: ‘I had only heard of au pair work through a friend who is currently working in Spain, therefore it was interesting to chat with Cultural Care. The information I obtained has really made me feel like that this would be something that I would enjoy doing’. Lewis Summersall adds: ‘Being able to find out about apprenticeships was very helpful, such as when there are open events and the types of apprenticeships available. I will definitely be attending Stockton Borough Council’s next open evening’. Liz Bryan concludes: ‘Both students and providers were able to benefit from the fair and it was fantastic to see some of our ex-students working for a range of organisations, including Lisa Vickery who is now Outreach Manager for HM Treasury and Catherine Chapman who works as a Branch Manager for Newcastle Building Society’.