Over 1000 students, aged 15-17, explored the variety of career paths available in Hertfordshire at the Dacorum Schools Careers Fair on 24 October. The fair brought together all 14 local schools, including schools for children with special educational needs, for the first time at such an event.

Hertfordshire’s major industries were represented by over 40 leading local employers, including engineering firm Atlas Copco, life-sciences giant GSK, retailer Robert Dyas, construction firm BAM, manufacturing specialists SWR Group, recruitment consultants Cobham Consulting, and leading film producers Warner. Bros Studios Leavesden, among others.

The event was launched by Sir Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, alongside Councillor Rosie Sutton, Mayor of Dacorum, and Sally Marshall, CEO of Dacorum Borough Council.

Sir Mike Penning MP said: “I’m delighted and honoured to open this, the first Dacorum Schools Careers Fair, a fantastic showcase for all the great businesses and organisations in our local area. It’s heartening to see just how many employers have turned out today to support our local schools and to engage, inform and inspire the 1000+ students that will be coming through the doors today.”

The fair was the first of its kind organised by a team of local business leaders, known as Enterprise Advisers, who work with schools to improve careers provision for young people as part of the national Careers & Enterprise Company programme, delivered locally by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and YC Hertfordshire. The fair was also supported by Connect Dacorum and Dacorum Borough Council, and hosted by the four-star Shendish Manor Hotel in Hemel Hempstead.

Event leader Ruth George, Enterprise Adviser for Kings Langley School and Director, Ruth George HR Consultancy, said: “Enterprise Advisers from across Dacorum have pulled together to create an event that has given students a chance to interact with a wide range of employers and enabled schools to connect with local businesses and each other. The response has been phenomenal, with a fully packed room and a reserve list of employers wishing to exhibit. Having received amazing feedback from the day, we can’t wait to get cracking on next year – it will be even bigger and better!”

Gareth Dace, Senior Enterprise Coordinator at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “Our Enterprise Adviser Network strengthens the relationship between schools and local businesses to help nurture a strong and capable workforce to support Hertfordshire’s economic growth. This Careers Fair is a testament to the vital work carried out by our Enterprise Advisers and has provided students with the invaluable opportunity to meet local employers and understand their expectations, while opening their eyes to the sheer breadth of career opportunities available to them within the county.”

Cindy Withey, Connect Dacorum Manager at Community Action Dacorum, said: “Connect Dacorum has been delighted to be part of this very first Dacorum Schools Careers Fair as we work very closely with both the schools and businesses in our mission of connecting businesses up with the local community. The day went really smoothly which is a credit to all involved in organising the event and we look forward to a bigger and better Careers Fair in 2019.”

Rosanna Giarraputo, Community Engagement Coordinator at Bell Group, who exhibited on the day, said: “It was a great event and wonderful to meet with so many different students, teachers and other businesses. I look forward to being invited to next year’s event!”

Sheena Jhurry, Woodfield Special School, said: “As a school, we are very much invested in supporting our students into the workplace once leaving school, should this be their preferred route. The fair enabled us to expose students to different types of employment, which supports them to make informed choices about their future. The students enjoyed meeting employers who they had shown a previous interest in and finding out about what each job entails.”

To reserve an exhibitor stand at the next Dacorum Schools Careers Fair, please contact Cindy Withey at cindy@communityactiondacorum.org.uk. 

Find out more about the Careers & Enterprise Company programme in Hertfordshire. If your business would like to join Hertfordshire LEP’s Enterprise Adviser Network, please contact Gareth Dace at gareth.dace@hertfordshirelep.co.uk or call 01707 356 129.