FSB's Skills 30:30 starts booking for 2021 as pandemic derails hopes of hitting 2,000 participants milestone in June

A free workshop which unites business owners with students has seen a major milestone delayed by the pandemic.

Skills 30:30, run by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), would have reached 2,000 participants this June.

The event at Margate's Hartsdown Academy proved a great success
The event at Margate's Hartsdown Academy proved a great success

The two-hour sessions are held in schools and talk about the world of work and provide the chance for students to talk to potential future employers about the skills they need and the attitudes they should develop.

FSB Kent skills lead, Paul Andrews, said: “Plans were in place to celebrate and thank 2,000 businesses and students who have got together to share information and careers advice at Skills 30:30.

"Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel three workshops. We still want to say a really big thank you to all the people who have taken part so far and volunteered their time.”

Schools who have participated include The Leigh Academy, Hayesbrook School, Hartsdown Academy, Hugh Christie School, Strood Academy, Leigh Academy, St Georges Foundation School, Wilmington Academy and The Wye Academy.

Steven Reader, assistant principal at Hayesbrook School, Tonbridge, added: "We have held two Skills 30:30 events with FSB. Approximately 60 of our pupils enjoyed highly inspiring talks from keynote speakers on how to make that first break into the world of work.

The event brings employers face-to-face with students
The event brings employers face-to-face with students

"For many of our students, it’s quite a daunting and an often unexpected leap from the comfort of the classroom to the interview panel, so advice on helping students develop the right mindset for the job market is hugely beneficial.

"The event was voted as the most popular careers event held at the school. We can't wait for the next opportunity to open our doors to more local businesses.”

Participants have included Cllr Roger Gough, leader of Kent County Council; FSB national chair Mike Cherry and Lord Harris as well as individuals from the BBC, LinkedIn and Kent Police. The speed networking has enabled nearly 1,000 students to talk directly to people from a range of sectors from photography to fashion; PR, law, engineering and finance.

Paul Andrews added: “We want to keep our strong links with schools and colleges across Kent, despite the lockdown, and are keen to restart the events as soon as is safe and possible. As small businesses emerge from lockdown, many will need new staff with enthusiasm and energy and 1,500 young people in Kent and Medway will need work experience and jobs.”

Bookings for 2021 have already started.

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