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Inspiring careers

11 November 2015

When I was eight years old my dream job was to be a farmer. Spending the summer holidays watching and helping my grandparents take care of their cows, I could not imagine a life more splendid than theirs. As I grew older, my dream jobs changed but what all of them had in common was how I got interested in them. It was through being inspired by others and their work. It’s not just me who feels like this. Research conducted by the Association of Colleges (AoC) last year found that young people preferred to have hands-on experience of work roles to help them choose the right career path for them. That’s why events such as this weekend’s Skills London and next week’s Skills Show are so important. As one of the official sponsors of Skills London 2015, AoC London is taking the opportunity to promote our colleges, their contribution to the lives of Londoners, and the professional and technical education and training on offer in the capital. The 30,000 visitors will be met by around 200 exhibitors and a range of activities, leaflets, talks and advice. The strength of skills and careers events like Skills London or The Skills Show in Birmingham is that they provide a hub for young people to explore new skills and get inspired by careers that they may not otherwise have heard of. No visitor will remember everything they experienced and learned at these events but there may well be one or two ideas that stick with them. For these ideas to grow into actions and real careers, high-quality, impartial careers information, advice and guidance is required. In September, the Careers & Enterprise Company announced the nationwide roll-out of a network of Enterprise Advisers – volunteers from the world of work who will liaise directly with school and college leaders to bridge the gap between education and employment. This is a welcome step forward, and something that AoC has called for as part of our Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign. In London, the Ambitions Careers Offer, launched by the Mayor this summer, provides a framework under which every young Londoner should have access to impartial, independent and personalised advice and guidance and 100 hours of experience of the world of work before they leave school. Of course, the importance of inspiration is not reserved to young people only; we can all benefit from being enthused by new skills every once in a while. Riikka Vihriälä is a Regional Projects Manager in AoC London