YOUNG people were inspired by Basingstoke businesses at an event designed to prepare them for work.

Nearly 30 companies from Basingstoke held activities at Get Inspired at the Apollo Hotel, organised by Basingstoke Consortium, where 300 secondary school pupils interacted with the local employers to find out more about different career options.

Among those at the event was Clare Penny, a principle architect from Basingstoke business AECOM, who was challenging the young people to prevent a football pitch from flooding using playdough.

She said: “It’s been really good. The kids are really engaged and really interested, even if it’s not what they want to do. Especially having younger kids, it gives them a chance to talk about their future careers.”

Basingstoke College of Technology was showcasing VR technology which allows students to look at the human anatomy.

Lewis Murphy, school liaison intern for the college, said: “We also have a construction one and they are put through a risk assessment on site. A risk assessment can be quite dull, so it brings it to life.”

Jake Armstrong, 13, from The Hurst College, was trying out the visual technology, and said: “I have found it very informative. I like the aspect of this, and it’s very easy to look at the bones. I don’t know what I want to do yet as a career, but this event has given me a better idea.”

Architect Tyler Holdcroft, from Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt, was challenging students to build a tower using straws, and said: “They can sketch it first and get a basic understanding of structure. I have been blown away by the students, everyone has got so involved, it’s really good to see.”

Maxine Hart, operations director for recruitment company Wote Street People, was running a competition for pupils to insert shapes into a box with specific sized holes, with a £25 Amazon voucher up for grabs for the fastest.

She said: “The younger we can get the idea of work into students minds the better, even if just to give them an idea of what they will enjoy doing. We get a lot of people through the door who have done something for 20 years and don’t enjoy it.”

An awards ceremony was also held as part of the event to recognise businesses and students who have taken part in the Skillstree scheme, which creates links between local companies and schools.

The Get Inspired Basingstoke Consortium and Skillstree Awards were introduced by Cath Longhurst, chief executive of the consortium, who said: “It’s about inspiring and preparing young people for the world of work. When I think back to 15 months ago many of us thought Basingstoke Consortium would be closing down and that was a shocking thought. It was operating through a tough financial environment.”

However, the consortium was saved after merging with Education Business Partnership (EBP) South, in Portsmouth.

Cath said: “Here we stand, 15 months later, and it’s been a mega year.”

She said the consortium is now running more efficiently, adding: “We are putting the money where it should be. It’s about the young people we are working for and the people who have the passion, energy and commitment to deliver these amazing opportunities.”

She hopes that Get Inspired will become an annual event, adding: “It’s opening their eyes to what’s out there in Basingstoke and give them thoughts for the future.”

Jack Summers was delighted to win the Student of the Year Award after being nominated by the Active Life Centre following his work experience there.

The 15-year-old Dove House School pupil, from Kempshott, said: “I looked after the young people and coached them during my work experience. I was really pleased to win this award. It means everything to have won.”

Helen Lee, head of inclusive education at Dove House, said: “We are so proud of him because everything that we do at Dove House is getting them ready for employment and if they could all turn out like Jack we would be chuffed to bits. He’s an example of what we want our students to be.”


Business Supporting Work Experience

Sponsored by Test Valley Borough Council

Won by Marina School of Dance

Business Supporting Work Experience

Sponsored by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Won by Basingstoke Gymnastic/Active Life Centre

Schools Promoting Excellence in Careers

Sponsored by University of Winchester

Won by Brighton Hill Community School

Businesses Promoting Careers in STEM

Sponsored by AWE

Won by Fujitsu

Student of the Year

Sponsored by Visa

Won by Jack Summers from Dove House School