Over the past year, lockdown restrictions have changed our lives in so many ways. One of the most significant changes has been the prevalence of virtual meet ups and video calls. Whether its work meetings, family catch ups, or online murder mysteries with friends, we’ve all found inventive ways to use video calling to stay in touch and go ahead with events that might otherwise have not taken place.
And, although these virtual chats can never take the place of face to face contact, in many ways they’ve actually given us opportunities as well as challenges, with more chances for people who may not have been able to travel to participate in events, opening them up to wider audiences.
That’s why I’m excited that this year, my annual All About Jobs and Apprenticeships event with City of Bristol College will go ahead online. Although we can’t gather in person, we’ll be running a series of online events designed to help inform young people about their options and help them think about their potential next steps. We’ll bring together some of the area’s biggest employers, training providers and other organisations which support people into work and apprenticeships.
I know that the past twelve months have been incredibly difficult for us all, and there are still tricky times to come as we move out of lockdown and start to look beyond the pandemic. But I also know that many of us – and particularly young people, who have been disproportionately affected by Coronavirus in so many ways – want to take this opportunity to give serious thought to their future.
Quality apprenticeships are a great way to earn while you learn – combining paid work experience with vital classroom-based learning – and can lead to degree level qualifications. I’ve spoken to many apprentices over the years at my apprenticeship fairs, each speaking very highly of the scheme they’re on and the path it’s led them down. I would urge anyone who is considering an apprenticeship – or indeed, who needs some inspiration for their next steps – to go and find out more about the opportunities available.