The vast array of opportunities available to young people have been showcased at a careers and higher education evening in Ripon supported by more than 100 exhibitors.
Ripon Grammar School hosted the biennial event to give students a flavour of the choices they have on leaving school.
The event was aimed at sixth formers and students taking GCSEs, but pupils as young as 12 also went along to get a head-start on their future careers. Students from neighbouring Outwood Academy were also invited to attend.
Virtually every business sector was represented, along with universities and colleges from across the country, Royal Societies and the public sector.
Common themes running through their advice for students was the importance of enthusiasm, initiative, work experience, demonstrating commitment, working in a team, being good at problem solving and preparation and research in the hunt for jobs and university places.
Sixth former Lucy Watkiss, who joined Ripon Grammar School to do her A-levels, said: “I’m interested in a career in law but I’ve had a firm offer to read English literature at Durham so I was really pleased to hear that I can still do that and it not count against me.
“I’m really grateful that the school has put on this event and given us the opportunity to talk to people in different professions.”
Some of the representatives present spoke about what they are looking for in potential employees.
Duncan Morpeth, of Grant Thornton – independent assurance, tax and advisory firm in Leeds – said: “We are looking for well-rounded individuals with good people skills, good listening skills and an ability to cross reference information.”
While insurance litigator David Walsh, who had travelled from London law firm Cameron McKenna, one of the biggest in the world, for the event, said: “We are looking for genuine enthusiasm in someone who has done their research on the firm and the area of law they are considering. I’d advise students to get as much work experience as they can and to keep a detailed record of what they’ve learned.”
Speaking after the event, Jill Locke, head of careers at Ripon Grammar School, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many organisations into school to share their expertise and guidance with our students. It was a very informative and inspiring evening and an invaluable opportunity for students to find out about courses, apprenticeships and the many varied career paths they may be considering.”