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Ignite Sport and OxLEP Skills partnered to host ‘Aspirations Day’, a careers fair that aimed to provide a safe, welcoming and inclusive day to showcase what opportunities are available in Oxfordshire. The event engaged children with special educational needs from 5 schools across the county.
Over 100 children attended the careers fair at Oxford City Football Club in Marston and met with businesses, colleges, universities and apprenticeship training providers.
The event was the first of its kind in Oxford and was specifically designed to highlight local job, education and training opportunities for young people approaching school leaving age.
Representatives from Oxford University, the Army, Jurys Inn and more discussed career options and handed out promotional materials to engage with those who attended – all of whom had never visited a careers event before.
Eleanor Gordon-Martin, Enterprise Coordinator at OxLEP Skills, said: “It was a fantastic event and provided pupils the opportunity to interact with local businesses for the very first time.
“The timing, spacing and venue was exactly what we needed. Ignite allocated quiet spaces for visitors to take breaks from the event when necessary, which facilitated a fun, enjoyable and informative day for everyone.
“We are proud to work in collaboration with schools and businesses as part of our commitment to Oxfordshire and the local community.”
Schools in attendance who also helped coordinate the event included Chilworth House Upper School, Iffley Academy, Mabel Prichard School, Orion Academy and Woodeaton Manor School.
Due to an overwhelmingly positive response, Ignite Sport is considering extending Aspirations Day to becoming an annual event.
General Manager Hannah Bladen added: “Our core values at Ignite Sport match exactly what this special careers event aimed to achieve, so we were naturally very pleased to support it.
“We are socially and community minded and want to make a difference to the lives of bright, talented and enthusiastic people.
“We find mainstream careers events can be too big and noisy for some individuals. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive company, so we wanted to put on an event that demonstrated opportunities are there for everyone.
“Our strong track record recruiting and supporting pupils with additional educational needs means we can showcase what’s possible and allow the next generation to have positive aspirations for the futures.”
A headteacher in attendance added: “Seeing former students inspire our current pupils by being confident, relaxed and happy in their roles really helped get the message across what the future can look like.”
Further information about Ignite Sport and its apprenticeship, adult education and school provisions is available via its website Adult Education & Sport Apprenticeships| Ignite Training (ignitetraininguk.com).