Employment minister praises LAL and DWP’s virtual careers fair

A successful virtual careers fair held in partnership between Lancashire Adult Learning and the Department for Work and Pensions has been praised by the Government’s Employment Minister.

Mims Davies MP supported the launch of the fair, which saw more than 400 residents across Lancashire receive insight from employers online, describing it as a “fantastic way to engage jobseekers at a very challenging time”.

LAL’s expert Employability team has a track record for hosting successful careers events across the county in partnership with DWP to support those seeking employment, retraining or volunteering opportunities.

That winning formula was switched to an online event through Zoom for the first time in response to the current climate and the jobs market, and in doing so saw a record number participate for a LAL and DWP partnership event.

Award-winning motivational speaker and author Richard Gerver introduced the event, before attendees received a wide range of holistic support and resources to boost their career prospects, including interactive workshops from LAL’s Employability and Health and Wellbeing teams.

DWP provided insight into a range of roles within the Civil Service – some 350 different types of opportunities – and there was also live video links to employers including Waitrose and Partners, the NHS, Daisy Communications, Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub, Alternative Futures Group, and Community Rail Lancashire.

Nicola Hall, Executive Head for Curriculum Innovation and Partnerships at Lancashire Adult Learning said: “Our Employability and Health and Wellbeing teams really pulled out all the stops to deliver a fantastic Virtual Careers Fair, working together with our valued DWP partners.

“By including employability skills and health and wellbeing awareness sessions into the event, we took a holistic approach to supporting Lancashire residents with their future career opportunities. We are absolutely delighted with the reception the event has received from the hundreds of Lancashire residents who attended.

“My thanks go to Mims Davies MP and guest speaker Richard Gerver for their support of the event, and to all of the employer partners who helped to make the event such a success.”

Cathy Ross, an Employer Adviser Manager at DWP, said: “DWP have successfully partnered with LAL on a number of initiatives and we were thrilled to have worked together on this careers fair which delivered practical advice and support to our customers who are exploring their next options in the world of work.

“It demonstrated the wealth of employment opportunities still available in the labour market in Lancashire despite the pandemic and provided people with access to employer insight from across a wide range of growth sectors. The focus on health and wellbeing was particularly helpful as it allowed people to consider how they could move forward in these very challenging times.”

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “It was great to see DWP partner with Lancashire Adult Learning to offer vital online advice and support to hundreds of jobseekers across the county – and I know that it’s left those searching for work with lots of ideas, whether it’s looking at a new sector, training opportunity or given them a fresh approach to finding work.

“Virtual careers fairs are a fantastic way to engage jobseekers at a very challenging time, and providing localised and tailored support is a key pillar of our Plan for Jobs which is helping people across the country back into work, and creating new opportunities as we build back better.”

Amanda Bennett, 54, from Bickerstaffe, attended the event. She said: “I’m in the process of a career change having been a primary school teacher for 25 years. I have done a number of courses with LAL and they have all been very good, led by professional and knowledgeable tutors.

“The careers fair was brilliant in raising awareness of the opportunities that are out there, at a time when there is a lot of concern. I particularly found the Alternative Futures Group session interesting, and the workshops on transferrable skills and using social media to job search were useful.”

Joel Dutton, 23, from Thornton Cleveleys, said: “I really enjoyed the careers fair, and it has opened my eyes to a range of new opportunities with employers from different sectors. I thought the presentation on the Civil Service was very good, and I’m definitely going to explore that further.

“I’ve just lost my job and I recently dropped out of university. Lancashire Adult Learning’s CV workshops and 1:1 support will be very helpful for me as somebody who is looking to go in a new direction.” 

Adult learners in Lancashire are being encouraged to ‘take control’ and make a positive start to 2021 through a new offer of courses designed with the current climate in mind. The new courses are largely free, flexible and available online. Enrolment can be completed online on Lancashire Adult Learning’s website at www.lal.ac.uk or by calling 0333 003 1717.