Around 400 students and staff from ContinU Trust partner High Schools and Kidderminster College descended on the UK Skills Show at Birmingham’s NEC to get first-hand insights into apprenticeships, jobs and training available to them as well as seeing a wealth of professional skills being put into practice in interactive displays.

The massive annual event – which this year hosted 100,000 visitors and hundreds of exhibitors from across a huge range of professions and training providers – is an opportunity for young people to ‘have a go’ at skills that they are interested in pursuing, to talk to the professionals in the fields in which they are interested and start to learn how to prepare for a future career.

Schools from all of the 8 high schools in the Trust, which works across the Wyre Forest and Hagley areas, joined forces to take students interested in vocational employment, apprenticeships and Higher Education opportunities in a fleet of seven coaches, funded by the Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership. Sara Flack, 10:32 Early Help Careers Advisor, said “Getting our young people directly in touch with what’s happening in the world of work and training is vital. Having the chance to see so many varied skills put into practice and to talk to the people who are just a few years older than themselves who are forging their careers, is invaluable.” Amongst the many exhibitors and VIP's on the day was entrepreneur and TV ‘Dragon’ Theo Paphitis, who patiently posed for photos, including some with ContinU students.

In the first external visit of its kind for the new ContinU Plus Academy, which opened its doors in September, its Year 11 students joined others from Wolverley C of E High School, Haybridge High School, Baxter College, The Bewdley School, King Charles 1 High School, Hagley Catholic High School and Stourport High School along with a large contingent of Motor Vehicle, Beauty, Hair and Holistics students from Kidderminster College.

The next large scale collaboration for the ContinU Trust will be when 200 science students attend The Big Bang Fair, also at the NEC, in March 2014.