On Thursday 10 November Lowland RFCA, in partnership with Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire and Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce, came together to host the inaugural Cadets and Youth Job Fair.
United by their desire to meet their future workforce, over twenty businesses and public sector organisations set up stands in the Aviator Suite at Prestwick Airport. Alongside the businesses were a number of advisory bodies who were on-hand to assist the young people with a variety of matters such as employment skills and CV writing.
Members of the Cadet and Reserve Forces were also in attendance, taking the opportunity to tell the youth of Ayrshire what their organisations had to offer.
Over the course of the afternoon, droves of young people from Ayrshire attended the event, speaking to the exhibitors and grabbing some freebies along the way.
Miya, a student at Prestwick Academy, who has an interest in engineering visited the fair with her dad. Miya said: ‘The event has opened up my mind and given me a broader horizon. I want to be an engineer so it has been great to meet with many of the engineering firms.’
On the other side of the career spectrum was Eden, a student at Marr College in Troon. Interested in food, Eden was thrilled to meet with Hall’s of Scotland, the famous food company. ‘As a foodie it would be a really good fit for me… this event has really given me something to think about,’ Eden remarked.
The Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet for Ayrshire, Able Cadet Max Douglas of Irvine Sea Cadet Corps, was also in attendance at the Job Fair. Max said: ‘I decided to come along and see what I could do after school. I’m currently doing my Highers and planning to leave after 6th year. I particularly enjoyed meeting the RAF. They mentioned they’re looking for people with cyber security skills, which I happen to have as I’m doing a Higher in the subject. Not something I had thought of before but it could be a really good match for me.’ Having an obvious passion for the sea and boats, Max was also pleased to meet with representatives from the maritime industry and to chat about opportunities with the Merchant Navy.
Max’s mother and father, Michelle and Greg, accompanied Max to the event. Pleased to have attended, they commented: ‘This sort of event is very worthwhile for us as parents because it gives us an idea of what sort of paths he can take, which in turn helps us to guide him better!’
It was not just the delegates who were pleased to be in attendance. Many of the exhibiting organisations are actively recruiting for either apprenticeships or entry level positions. With access to some of Ayrshire’s finest young people, the exhibitors were able to network with potential recruits.
Morgan and Aiden, Early Careers Recruiters from Arnold Clark, were enthusiastic about the conversations they had during the event. ‘It’s been a really good day with some really meaningful connections made,’ the duo remarked. ‘We have spoken to young people who are interested in engineering and mechanics and we’ve been able to discuss the options open to them at Arnold Clark.’ With applications for their apprenticeship scheme currently live, it was an excellent opportunity for one of Scotland’s top employers to meet with prospective apprentices.
Grant from ScottishPower and SP Energy Networks was also very positive about the event and the calibre of young people. He said: ‘I’ve spoken to some Cadets today who have been great and I think they would be really well suited to us. We often look to employ ex-Cadets because they tend to make excellent employees who are already well drilled.’
Lauren, the Community Coordinator for Ashleigh Scotland Limited, also took the opportunity to promote the organisation’s apprenticeship programme. ‘The Cadet and Youth Job Fair was well organised and well attended,’ Lauren commented, ‘All the young people we spoke to at the event were keen to engage with us and to find out about various routes to employment within the construction industry. We used this as an opportunity to promote our December 2022 apprenticeship intake and received CVs from potential candidates.’
Colin Vooght, Lowland RFCA’s Head of Engagement, said: ‘It was an absolute pleasure to bring together young people who are considering their future working lives with employers who can offer such a vast array of respectable local careers. We in Lowland RFCA are indebted to those employers and young people for attending the event and for making it so worthwhile.’