Thumbs up for practical qualifications

November 2014

UCB participated in this year’s The Skills Show, which pulled in the largest crowds ever to the dedicated Further Education area at the NEC in Birmingham. 

Almost 74,000 visitors turned up to attend the largest and most important skills and careers show in the UK. The Skills Show takes place annually and plays host to the finals of the WorldSkills UK competitions, a variety of conferences and the largest exhibition of career options under one roof. 

UCB’s stands were full of fun and exciting ‘hands-on’ challenges to inspire young people to think about vocational routes to their dream careers. This included health and social care demonstrations, areas dedicated to bakery and catering as well as chef and hospitality demonstrations at The Skillet, where visitors got involved with the preparation and service of meals. Top chefs Aktar Islam, Adam Bennett and Glynn Purnell were also on hand to give students expert advice about industry skills. 

Theo Paphitis, Patron of The Skills Show, was keen to sample all of the challenges for himself and believes the event can help young people find their vocation. “As a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to provide the right advice and guidance for children as they reach the point of choosing their careers. The Skills Show provides a unique shop window for visitors to see the opportunities that vocational training and skills can offer, and the chance to actually ‘Have a Go’ at a wide range of skills which will inspire and inform the choices that young people make about their futures.” 

The event attracted groups of young people from schools and community projects across the country, along with families looking for inspiration and careers advice as an alternative to the traditional routes of university. 

The showcase of vocational skills, including Apprenticeships, was given an additional vote of confidence when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg paid a visit and announced his support for hands-on, practical learning. Speaking about Apprenticeships and other practical courses, he said: “Gone are the days when a vocational education is seen as the poor relation when it comes to choosing a career path. I’m delighted to be able to celebrate such a phenomenal rise in young people being given the opportunity to work as they learn. In fact, we are just days away from being able to celebrate the 2 millionth apprentice starting work in England since 2010. 

“Good quality apprenticeships give hard-working young people the chance to aim high for their dream job and play their part in building a stronger economy for Britain.”