YOUNG people from across Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire were given a taste of different career options at SkillsCymru, a regional careers fair featuring more than 100 employers, which took place during Apprenticeship Week at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli last Thursday and Friday (Mar 9-10).
Organised by Careers Wales and Coleg Sir Gâr, and supported by the Welsh Government and European Social Fund, the event was designed to inspire and educate visitors about the variety of different careers and vocational routes available to them.
More than 4,000 young people attended the free event over the two days.
Members of the public also attended the event to find out more about their career options, vocational routes and apprenticeship courses with some of Wales’ biggest companies such as Welsh Water, Principality and Bluestone Leisure Resorts.
Visitors were able to try their hand at virtual welding, creating short animations and driving a tractor using the Welsh Government’s state-of-the-art ‘have a go’ equipment, designed to increased participation in vocational pathways.
Attendees also tested their vocational skills by taking part in a range of interactive activities offered by employers who attended the event, from giving manicures and styling hair to laying bricks and making exotic mocktails.
Ffion Anderson, 15, from Maes y Gwendraeth School, said: “I really enjoyed visiting the science stands such as the NHS Wales and Cardiff University Medical School because I’d really like to become a surgeon or a cardiologist when I’m older.
“It was great seeing the ultrasound equipment on the NHS stand, the pictures you can get are so clear it’s amazing, it was so fascinating and made me realise I definitely want to go into the medical profession.
“I’m hoping to get into a Welsh university and study part of the course in the Welsh language, so it was useful to be able to talk to some people from the NHS about the sort of grades I’ll need and extra activities that might help my application to medical school.”
Steffan Evans, 14, from Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, said: “Coming along to Skills Cymru Carmarthenshire was a real eye opener for me as there were so many different things to see and do.
“I’d really like to become a geography teacher at a secondary school when I’m older, as I really love the subject and I’ve been really inspired by my own geography teacher, Mrs Campbell.
“Even though I’ve got a clear idea of what I want to do, it’s good to see how many different jobs there are available.”
Minister for Skills and Science Julie James attended the event, talking to employers and apprentices about the career options they were there to promote, and taking part in some of the ‘have a go’ activities.
She said: “It was inspiring to see so many young people from across Carmarthenshire thinking about their futures and talking to some of the biggest employers in the country.
“Those faced with choosing their next steps, whether it’s going to college, university or straight into the world of work, have big decisions to make and careers events like this help them to decide their future.
“Seeing some of Wales’ biggest employers attend the event demonstrates their commitment to investing in the future of Wales’s workforce, helping inspire the next generation to think about all pathways, including vocational routes into work.”
Richard Spear, chief executive of Careers Wales, added: “Organising events like these is key to helping young people learn more about the many different jobs and careers they could pursue.
“We often work with young people who are unsure about their next steps, not knowing what sector to go into. It’s our job to help them recognise what their skills are most suited towards and match their talents to a career.
“Careers events like SkillsCymru are a great opportunity to have an open and honest discussion with a huge variety of employers all in one place about what sort of qualifications and skills they look for, as well as asking apprentices about their course and experiences.”