Jointly organised by Reading West MP Alok Sharma and the Central Berkshire Education Business Partnership, the first ever Reading Futures Fair took place on Thursday 29th September 2011 at Reading FC’s Madejski Stadium. The interactive careers fair was aimed at providing pupils from schools across West Reading with the information and guidance they need to make positive and well-informed career choices for the future.
The Futures Fair was officially opened by Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP and around 60 organisations were exhibiting at the event including First Great Western, Network Rail, Pepsico, Tesco, The Reading Chronicle and The Reading Post.
The fair was split into two sessions with the daytime session attended by more than 1,200 secondary school students from participating local schools Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School, Denefield School, John Madejski Academy, Little Heath School, Reading Girls’ School and Theale Green Community School. The evening session was open to pupils, parents and teachers from schools across west Reading.
In order to make the event as interactive as possible, various participating organisations ran seminars in small groups. These offered practical advice on topics such as writing job applications, the benefits of taking a gap year, information about apprenticeships, and a detailed analysis of Reading’s major growth industries.
The response to the event was overwhelmingly positive and all involved were greatly encouraged by the levels of attendance to both the daytime and evening sessions. The aim is to make the Reading Futures Fair an annual event, so that local schools and successive years of pupils can benefit from the advice on offer.
“I am passionate about helping our young people achieve their potential and I think that good careers guidance as early as possible in a young person’s life is vital. The Reading Futures Fair was a really great event and I would like to see it replicated across the country so that students everywhere get the same opportunities as those provided to our pupils here in Reading West.”