Walking into the Great Hall where the Work Experience Fair was being held, I was immediately drawn into the animated atmosphere and the colourful and innovative displays set up by the visiting companies. There were exhibitors from a diverse range of industries, so it was well worth any student from any discipline, who was interested in work experience and internships, to head down there and check out their options.
There were exhibitors ranging from law firms, such as Ernst & Young, to companies within the financial sector, such as Catalyst Corporate Finance LLP, as well as the Fair’s sponsor, the fifth largest accountancy network in the world, BDO . I was struck by the enthusiasm and welcoming nature of the exhibitors as I wondered around; they all wanted to show what their work experience schemes could offer me and to help out with my future career path.
There were colourful and eye-catching display boards, along with another favourite tactic to attract students; the use of sweets, food and free pens! I saw caramels, celebrations, and even some delicious looking cupcakes on the stand of Focus Birmingham, an organisation which provides key services to the visually impaired community of Birmingham.
As well as the exhibitors offering work experience that were at the fair, there were also several organisations offering part-time and voluntary opportunities. I had an inspiring chat with an exhibitor displaying the charity Pioneers; he told me of the worthwhile opportunities that the organisation provides to students to mentor young and disadvantaged children in the Birmingham area.
Working abroad was another exciting opportunity offered at the fair. Exhibitors such as Projects Abroad showed clearly how important it is becoming to do something different and to therefore stand out from the crowd, in order to land you that dream job. This organisation offers volunteer projects overseas, from teaching English in Peru to taking part in conservation and environment projects in Costa Rica.
Alongside the outside exhibitors in the Great Hall were the Guild of Students, advertising Guild opportunities and provisions, the Job Zone and the Careers and Employability Centre, which was, once again, providing essential information to students about the services that it provides, from advice on Work Experience bursaries to CV checks.
Despite the freezing cold weather outside, it seemed that many students had made the effort to come to the Work Experience Fair and check out their options. I walked past several very in-depth conversations between exhibitors and students pondering over various career paths, therefore it seems to me that some of the students who attended the fair will now be applying for internships and will hopefully land their dream one. Don’t forget to consult the Careers and Employability centre’s advisors over your applications and CVs to ensure that you have the best chance possible of being accepted.