More than 160 children from 21 Cheshire Primary schools attended a unique Careers Palace on 6th March, to learn and be inspired about the world of work. Organised by Ellesmere Port based charity Passion for Learning, this event brought together more than 20 businesses and public sector organisations, to showcase the many different careers and industries on offer to the workforce of the future.
Passion for Learning Development Manager Viv Couche commented:
‘we were delighted to have the support of companies including Greif, Essar, Advanced Medical Solutions, Virgin Money, Lush and Regatta for the Careers Palace. With a host of activities from making slime to designing credit cards, flying drones to testing the waterproof qualities of rainwear, learning first aid with paramedics to seed planting, the children got to experience the world of work in a highly interactive, fun and engaging way’.
David Tillotson from the event’s main sponsor, Greif Packaging Charitable Trust, commented:
‘We are happy to work with Passion for Learning through the Careers Palace. The Trust’s purpose is to support education and projects that help children to achieve their full potential. The Careers Palace is a prime example of how we can inspire local children to become immersed in the world of work and to achieve their life-goals.’
Diane Clark, Managing Director for Passion for Learning continued:
‘It is with the sponsorship and support from Greif, Chester Municipal Charities and Sanctuary Housing, that we were able to host this incredible event and the activities which will follow it. Their funding made it possible for us to provide the venue, transport and catering for the nearly 300 people involved with the day. Seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of the children, I have no doubt that we have inspired their future ambitions and aspirations in a number of different ways. We are also incredibly grateful to the Police, Fire Service and Ambulance service who brought to life these careers in such an accessible way.’
Headteacher of Hoole CE Primary, Ros Flanders, contacted Passion for Learning after the event. She wrote:
‘Everyone who attended from Hoole (adults included) came back brimming with happiness after such a tremendous event. The children were thrilled with their goodie bags and could not wait to show them and share their news. I appreciate that organising events on this scale involving such a variety of schools and external partners requires a great deal of energy, patience, dedication and commitment. I would like to extend thanks to you and all of the staff involved.’
The exhibitors themselves were pleased to share their perspective on the event. Practice Manager at Vet4Pets Richard Holly told us:
‘It was a fantastic day and I genuinely think that the children were really inspired by the whole thing. I must admit that I hadn’t heard of Passion for Learning before but I think that you do super work and it’s great to witness a group of people working so hard to improve the lives of others. It’s very easy for people to moan about ‘the state of the world’ and so on, but to actually see a group of people doing something so practical and positive about it is very humbling.’
A particularly popular activity for the children attending was to spend time with the Therapy Dogs, who lapped up the attention and affection they were given. Staff and volunteers from Passion for Learning witnessed first hand the children’s reactions to everything on offer. With comments like ‘this is the best day ever!’ regularly heard from the children, it was clear that the event achieved Passion for Learning’s aim to excite and inspire the children and their future careers.
Rachael Driver, Enrichment Clubs Manager for Passion for Learning, commented:
‘We are all committed to the Careers Palace only being the start of our journey in inspiring the children who we support. Through our network of Enrichment Clubs and our 1:1 volunteers who go into school, we will continue to develop the children’s passion and enthusiasm for their chosen careers.’
One particular highlight of the day was the presence of the celebrity baker The Bake King Ben Cullen, who is a social media phenomenon. Channel 4 filmed the unveiling of his incredible Rocket cake, which Passion for Learning had commissioned for the Careers Palace. Many of the children enjoyed the experience of being filmed and the release of the Extreme Cakes episode on Channel 4 is hotly anticipated! Equally creative was the award-winning fashion designer Matthew O’Brien, who was recently voted Britain’s Top Designer. Matthew took time out from running his business to spend time with the children designing outfits and talking about careers in fashion.
The event was held at the Cheshire View in Christleton, who made the whole ground floor of the venue available to participants. Due to the number of exhibitors invited, Mitchell Mazda and the Escape Van (a mobile Escape Room), a Fire Engine and two Police vehicles were sited on the car park of the venue. Two staff from Mitchell’s were happy to accommodate the excited children sitting inside the brand new Mazda and Lexus cars, one of which was a hybrid model not yet even on the market. The children were equally enthused about experiencing the Virtual Reality headsets provided by Tablet Academy, which for many was the first time they had encountered the immersive world of this technology.
Cheshire Media supports Passion for Learning as its nominated charity, providing welcome support to enable the organisation to sustain and grow its service across the region. Managing Editor Joseph Taylor attended the Careers Palace to talk to the children about publishing and journalism, witnessing first-hand their enthusiasm and energy for all the activities on offer.
Diane Clark concluded by commenting:
‘Our charity recognises the need to excite and inspire children about their future careers and we believe the earlier we begin talking to children about this, the better. Many of the children we work with have few, if any, future ambitions, partly because they do not know about the range of study and work opportunities available to them. We are delighted to create a bridge between the businesses and employers in our local communities, with their future generations of employees. We expect that many children attending the event will leave feeling inspired to pursue a career they may never otherwise have considered. We hope that this event will be the first of many to help children to aim high for a job they are passionate about. I extend my heartfelt thanks to every single participant involved, who helped to make the event the success it was.’
For more information about Passion for Learning, a charity which supports children in schools across the region, including Winsford, Northwich, Chester and Ellesmere Port, please contact them through their website www.passion-for-learning.com or 0151 356 8717 or email [email protected]