Opportunities fair will boost us more than talent show

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Millions of people enjoy watching Britain’s Got Talent, as they do The X Factor, The Voice and the plethora of other contest-based TV talent shows.

And there’s nothing wrong with them as Saturday night entertainment – indeed we wish luck to all those people who make it through to BGT next year.

But what is less edifying is the phenomenon of young people wanting to be famous for fame’s sake, rather than for a particular skill, talent or aptitude. Fame as a singer has now, through X Factor and the like, become seen as a shortcut to wealth without having to do much work, and like the traditional dreams of becoming a professional footballer, it is also very unlikely to happen.

So while some people next year will be pleading with Simon Cowell that they ‘want this so much’ – as if wanting reward were the same as meriting it – it’s a relief to see elsewhere in today’s paper a report of a more constructive event to plan for the future.

The Opportunities Fair has become an established part of the city’s calendar now, and is a great idea.

You wouldn’t expect many 11-year-olds to have a firm grasp of what kind of career they want to do when they are older, and nor should you, but exposing young people to potential paths is an invaluable way of giving them a direction in the world of work. And if something takes their fancy and they feel inspired to work that little bit harder to achieve their goal, then so much the better.

The fair is also a reminder of the range of companies based in this area – one look at the panel on page 9 listing the participants at the fair will remind you of the kind of careers that are literally on our doorstep.

Like any city and area which has historically dominated by one industry, Portsmouth has needed to diversify.

We now have several hi-tech firms here – computer manufacturers Novatech being a prime example – and a burgeoning creative industries sector. But the momentum needs to be upheld, and events like this help a great deal – far more than televised karaoke ever will.

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