WITHAM’S MP is hoping to get youngsters to plan their futures by re-establishing her annual careers fair after the pandemic.

The careers fair was organised in conjunction with Essex Chambers of Commerce and hosted by Maltings Academy on Friday, July 1.

The brainchild of MP Priti Patel, the fair was attended by more than 500 Year 10 students from Maltings Academy, Rickstones Academy and Thurstable School.

Students were able to meet and talk to employers from a range of international, national and Essex-based businesses, as well as a wide range of organisations involved in careers and skills development.

Exhibitors at the fair included Stansted Airport, DP London Gateway, Wilkin & Son, HSBC, Lower Thames Crossing, Essex & Suffolk Water, the NHS, Essex Police, Colchester Institute, Essex University, Writtle College, Witham Sixth Form, Buildskill and Make Happen. 

During her tour of the careers fair, the Home Secretary met many of the visiting students.

Ms Patel said: “I am passionate about skills and employment opportunity for our young people and have over the last decade hosted many similar careers and employment fairs.

“Post pandemic, we must all support the learning and development of our young, and being able to provide the opportunity today for the students at Maltings, Rickstones and Thurstable to talk directly to employers and advisors about their employment prospects and about further education was wonderful."

Tony Degun, careers lead at Maltings Academy, said: "It was a pleasure to work with Priti and her team to make this event happen.

“It has proved a highly valuable opportunity for students from across north Essex to meet with a range of employers and providers, ahead of key decisions on their next steps in Year 11. 

“After a range of successful virtual careers forums it is nonetheless delightful to welcome exhibitors back for face-to-face encounters.

“The students attending were a credit to their schools with their behaviour and engagement. 

“It was very rewarding to hear the amount of future and career-based conversations taking place."