MORE than 1,300 youngsters from 10 Oxfordshire schools are getting a chance to shape their future with a major careers event.

The 15- and 16-year-olds who will be faced with making career moves this summer, will have the opportunity to meet bosses from more than 40 companies and public sector organisations and training providers.

The Careers Fest at the BMW Mini plant in Cowley today and tomorrow will also allow them to try out some of the skills and activities they will need in the workplace, giving them the best opportunity of making informed choices about what they want to do.

It is the second year the event, organised by Oxford City Learning, has been run. Last year, activities ranged from a motor racing simulator to advice on how to build a bird box.

Event director Alison Robb-Webb said: “This year takes on special significance because, since September last year, schools have had a statutory duty to secure independent and impartial careers guidance for pupils, and current Year 11 students will be the first ones affected by the ‘Raising Participation Age’ changes.

“This means they must continue in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17.”

Employers attending the two-day event include British Gas Business, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Royal Navy as well as the Mini plant and training organisations like Oxford and Cherwell Valley College.

The plant recently launched its annual drive to recruit apprentices with 32 places available at the factory, starting in August. Training in a wide range of skills is on offer, from human resources and business to electrical maintenance and engineering.

Schools taking part in the event are: Cheney, Cherwell, Matthew Arnold, St Gregory the Great, Oxford Spires Academy, The Oxford Academy, Wheatley Park School, Meadowbrook College in Oxford, Woodstock’s Marlborough School, and John Mason at Abingdon.

Simon Farrall, head of training for BMW Group UK, said: “We are delighted to support Careers Fest for a second year. Investment in young people is a key part of our development strategy.”