Published: 00:01, 26 March 2015
| Updated: 08:57, 26 March 2015
More than 2,700 school pupils from across Kent got jobs advice from 125 businesses and organisations on the first day of a careers fair.
The opening of the two-day exhibition KentChoices4u Live gave young people the chance to find out about future prospects and rub shoulders with celebrities at the Kent County Showground.
They met celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager and Britain’s Got Talent 2010 runners up Twist and Pulse.
While day one was focused on school leavers, today the show opens to the public.
Rosemary, who offers an apprenticeship programme at Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School, in Tunbridge Wells, said: “I think it’s brilliant. I wish I had this in my day. It is great.
“I am passionate about apprenticeships. They are the way forward. We are all made differently, some people are academic and some people are not. If I could go back, I definitely would have done an apprenticeship.”
Twist and Pulse were there to give advice and also staged a performance.
The dynamic duo, made up of Ashley ‘Twist’ Glazebrook and Glen ‘Pulse’ Murphy, were recognised at the BGT auditions five years ago for their ‘streetomedy’ dance style.
Ashley said: “We want to get the message across that young people can follow their dreams.
"When we were younger we didn’t know what we wanted to do but we had a love for dance. We want to get the message to them that they should do a job that they love and feel passionate about.”
The event, which has now been running for four years, is organised by Kent County Council (KCC) and Medway Council, in partnership with the KM Group.
Peter Homewood, chairman of KCC, said: “This event is for young people who by this time should be thinking what career they will follow.
“It’s to influence them and give them ideas. A long time ago when I was this age I wish there had been something like this for me. I didn’t have an inkling as to what I was going to do.”
Deputy Lieutenants from Kent and Kent Ambassadors had a VIP tour around the exhibition.
Jo James, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “As a chamber, we have named the year 2015 as the year of young people.
"We work with them to help them learn business skills. Everybody has a role to play in ensuring young people make a good transition and are ready for the introduction to the place of work. Young Chamber is a partnership between business and education.
"We have 18 schools which are part of Young Chamber and our aim is to prepare young people for business.”
There was a wide variety of exhibitors at the event, including Bush Grub – a Sittingbourne based edible insects business – which won Start Up Business of the Year at KEiBA 2014 and Small Business of the Year at the Swale Business Awards.
Ben Bartlett, director of Bush Grub, said: “I started in business when I was young. It’s more unusual than most jobs but I think it’s good to explore different business ideas. Our products are now in 50 different stores around the county.”
More than 6,000 people are expected to walk through the doors over the two days.
KM Group managing director Richard Elliot said: “It’s fantastic to be involved in an event like this. It gives us a great spotlight to show how we are developing and to show the talents needed in a business. We are really proud to be here and to be a sponsor of the event.”