At a time when graduates are being saddled with crippling amounts of debt, focus is moving towards work-based placements as a step onto the career ladder.
Mayor Marvin Rees has spoken out during National Apprenticeship Week to highlight the opportunities available across the city and emphasise the chance they offer to address deep-rooted inequalities.
The Bristol South constituency has the lowest percentage of 18-year-olds going to university in the country – 16 per cent compared to a national average of 42 per cent according to the latest UCAS figures.
MP Karin Smyth has been vocal about the need to ensure people in the area know of opportunities available to them and is co-organising the South Bristol Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair 2018 taking place on Thursday, March 8.
“This is not only a chance for young people to find out more about current vacancies but also for parents to learn more about apprenticeships and how they work,” she said.
“It can be a bit daunting trying to navigate all the options for young people when they leave school and we’re keen to support families in this.”
The fair will take place at the City of Bristol College’s South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove from 12pm – 5.30pm and will have more than 30 employers attending, including Airbus, Hargreaves Lansdown, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Kier Construction.
There will also be a CV workshop provided by City of Bristol College and a chance to meet with other training providers and agencies such as the National Careers Service, Weston College, Learndirect and representatives from The Park Centre, Knowle.
The event is open to young and old people seeking skills, training and employment opportunities.
Across the city, Learning City partner organisations are working to raise awareness of the varied apprenticeship programmes offer.
Rees said: “Apprenticeships offer real opportunities which can change people’s lives. With lots of options out there in all kinds of job sectors there really can be something for everyone within our city.
“Through our Bristol WORKS programme, we are helping people get meaningful experiences of work by bringing together large employers in the city with our education sector.
“We have recently been named as one of the cities taking forward new diversity hubs to help people from disadvantaged or BAME background an opportunity to access new career paths through apprenticeships.
“Through this work we hope that we will be able to make a real difference to people’s opportunities in life and start to address some of the deep seated inequalities we know are present in the city.”
Information on all the jobs fairs happening throughout the week are available on the National Apprenticeship Week website.
Read more: Are new apprentices a game changer?