WIDEN your horizons was the message to hundreds of youngsters at a careers event held at Cowley’s Mini plant yesterday.

Around 2,000 teenagers from 18 schools across Oxfordshire are expected to attend the two-day Careers Fest, which finishes today.

They are being offered introductions to various job opportunities including in science, engineering, medical, childcare, law, business, IT, construction, hospitality, retail, hair and beauty and uniformed services.

A number of 14-18-year-olds from Oxford schools attended the fourth event of its kind including those from Cheney, Cherwell and St Gregory the Great as well as those further afield including Wheatley Park, John Mason in Abingdon and Henry Box in Witney.

St Gregory’s pupil Zoe Wallace, 16, from Rivermead Road in Rose Hill, said: “I am not sure what I want to do yet, so I am seeing what they have to offer. I would like a career where I can be creative and use my imagination.”

Banbury Cake: 2,000 teens take part in careers event

Elliot Atkinson as weatherman on the Abingdon & Witney College stand
Picture: OX64758 Antony Moore

Caitlin Rowbotham, 15, of Spruce Gardens in Blackbird Leys also attends St Gregory’s. She said: “I am interested in photography, so I will be having a look at media stuff today to give me some ideas about what I could do.”

Elliot Atkinson, 13, who lives in Rookery Place, Abingdon, and is a pupil at Larkmead school, said: “I’m finding this pretty interesting and I’ve been learning about different career paths, particularly in science.”

Thirteen-year-old Zoe Washington, from Frys Hill in Greater Leys and a pupil at Oxford Spires, was looking at the Science Oxford stand.

She said: “Going around the fair has been pretty good because I’ve been able to see the different things I could do using biology.

“I really like the idea of being a marine biologist but wanted to see what else there was that I could think about.”

Cornelius Bobb, 15, who lives in Teal Close in Greater Leys and attends St Gregory’s, said: “I would like to go to university, if I get good enough exam grades, and I’m interested in having a career in something to do with sport.”

Recent Government policy changes mean students must carry on with some form of learning, whether academic, an apprenticeship or in-job training, until they are 18.

Banbury Cake:

Alison Robb-Webb

Oxford City Learning project director, Alison Robb-Webb, said: “Students who are now in Year 11 will need to stay on in education or training until they are 18, rather than 17, as it was last year.

“To take account of this major change, Careers Fest 2014 has more emphasis on students getting information about the various progression routes.”

Claire Fennell, recruitment manager for solicitors Withy King, said: “This is a great way for us to meet and enthuse young people and start them thinking about their careers from an early age.

“We’re here to let them know that a career as a solicitor is no longer just about the traditional route of going to university, there’s now a more vocational route that youngster can take, so it’s about promoting both of those options.”