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Five West Suffolk College students gain employment as a result of month-long careers festival

A month-long focus on careers at Bury St Edmunds-based West Suffolk College culminated in a celebratory finale this week.

It also resulted in jobs for five of the students involved.

The Youth Pledge Careers Festival gave around 250 foundation and level one students the opportunity to take part in a series of hands-on mentoring sessions.

Anabelle Bentley (47798624)
Anabelle Bentley (47798624)

Funded by the European Social Fund and West Suffolk College, organisations including the Army, Adnams, the National Citizen Service and the NHS visited to offer careers advice.

Those involved created personal statements and CVs, while portraits were made to help showcase their talents in six online art exhibitions, which were visited by 650 people from as far afield as Finland and New Zealand.

Jonathan Boast, skills convergence co-ordinator, helped to organise the festival.

He said: "The whole month has seen businesses come in to work with students, improve their job prospects and give them direct access to the workplace.

"The finale was a celebratory event that saw around 30 businesses come in to offer job guidance to students against a relaxed backdrop of food and music. The online exhibitions were also a unique way of helping our students promote themselves to future employers."

Andrew Wheeler, college head of curriculum initiatives and Place 21 programme manager, said: "This series of events was about working with young people to help move them along a journey towards employability, and working with businesses to help make that journey possible.

"The fact five students have found employment is the exact reason we created this event."

One of those to gain employment was Anabelle Bentley, 16, who is pursuing her love of cooking through a professional cookery course at the college.

As a result of her involvement with the Youth Pledge project she now has a job at the Angel Hotel, in Bury, in a front-of-house role.

She said: "In terms of advice for other young people who want to get a job, I’d say get your name out there, take on work experience opportunities and, if you are driven, you will quickly progress."

Anabelle’s teacher at the college is Claire Waterson, operations manager of the culinary arts academy.

She said: "It’s been really beneficial for our students to have this engagement.

"We hope many more will gain job roles thanks to the skills they have gained because of this series of events."

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