The Get Inspired Portsmouth initiative welcomes thousands of school children to take part in interactive workshops with a host of businesses. However, organisers have warned that this year’s event, which is due to take place at The Guildhall on January 22, could be the last unless additional sponsorship can be found.
Cath Longhurst, chief executive officer at EBP South, which organises the event, said: ‘The initiative has been going for almost a decade but in order to maintain it we need help from local businesses. While the Guildhall Trust has allowed us to use the venue for free, the running costs are still around £15,000. So far we have received £1,000 of sponsorship from one company.’
This year’s event will see 1,400 children from Portsmouth schools aged between nine and 15 learn about careers in professions such as journalism, engineering, medicine, law and the emergency services. Cath says the event provides a vital opportunity for children to broaden their understanding of the different opportunities which exist.
‘Many young people aren’t aware of the different employment opportunities which exist,’ she said. ‘The event allows them to get involved in interactive activities as well asking questions to experts from different professions. For some children this event can just light that initial spark which can lead to a career path.’
Cath feels such events are particularly important in locations where there is a strong cultural history of traditional employment.
‘Portsmouth has a long history with the Royal Navy which leads to many important careers but this can lead to a blinkered outlook in which some young people are not as aware of other careers out there,’ she added.
Organisers hope the event will lead to increased aspirations for young people which will contribute to improving academic attainment across the city.
Cath said: ‘Young people in school can be disengaged if they don’t understand the reasons as to why they are studying certain subjects. By speaking to professional people they can suddenly make a tangible connection as to what they need to do – even if it’s someone other than their teachers telling them importance of getting good GCSEs.’
While organisers have assured schools that this year’s event will go ahead they have pleaded with local businesses to help provide sponsorship to secure its future.
Cath said: ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your company and to engage with potential future employees. The feedback we get from schools indicates that this event does make a real difference to pupils.’
To find out more call EBP South on 023 9228 3400.