2016 Careers ConferenceOn Tuesday, 5th April, Reach Society made history. It was the day when Reach Society broke through the 1,000 barrier by having more than 1,050 participants involved in its 5th Careers Conference - the vast majority of whom were young people aged 14 to 24.
One of the 22 exhibitors Turner Lovell, a recruitment agency, announced that it hired one young person and had invited another half a dozen to interview. Thames Water promoted its full range of employment opportunities and the BBC promoted its apprenticeship programme. .
The Oxford University African Caribbean Society and friends attracted a good deal of attention as they discussed life as undergraduates in Russell Group Universities with eager and ambitious young people and parents. Similarly, four young men, Amos Bursary alumni and undergraduates at high value universities (in the Russell Group) inspired their audience in their Perfect 10 Workshop.
Everywhere you looked in the main conference hall there was activity. There were large groups of young people around the first time exhibitors such as the RAF, Brunel University London, King's College London, Today's PA, Ascension Trust and the Enfield Caribbean Association. All of these exhibitors reported strong interest in their services and opportunities.
Longstanding supporters of the conference such as Lloyds Bank, EDF Energy, Alpha BSE, Rare Recruiting, Excell3, Kick It Out and the London Black Teachers' Network were as popular as ever. Young people were keen to understand the benefits of the Lloyds Scholars Programme which could be accessed in year 13 by talented young people from lower income households. They were also keen to discover the wide range of opportunities on offer in EDF Energy, and the new pathways offered by Alpha BSE Training for building essential skills and qualifications needed in the building and construction sector.
Scores of attendees praised the new venue, the Royal National Hotel, Russell Square stating that it was very easy to access the workshops; interact with the cohort of more than 50 professional men, and the 22 exhibitors.
The featured speaker Sir Geoff Palmer, Emeritus Professor of Herriot-Watt University, was simply captivating. He both educated and inspired the large audience of young people, parents, professionals and exhibitors. Everyone learnt of his invention which transformed the British Brewing Industry and the choice of grain in overseas markets in Nigeria and elsewhere.
A dozen lucky young people and adults who asked questions of Sir Geoff were rewarded with signed copies of his book (The Enlightenment Abolished) and of Reach Society’s book (The Story of Reach Society).
As the 5th Careers Conference drew to a close many attendees were still buzzing from the experience and some were overheard asking: "When can we go to the next one?"
Dr Dwain A Neil, Reach Society, Chairman (April 2016)
Download the full report here
View the photos here