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Manchester business community rallies to support apprentices

Article date: Wed, 03 Feb 2016 15:41 GMT

UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones

Over 150 apprentices affected by last week's collapse at Bright Future Software today attended a careers open day in the hunt for new employment.

The event, hosted at UKFast Campus in Manchester, saw the apprentices meet face-to-face with a huge range of businesses looking to recruit new talent. Sessions offered real-world careers advice and tips on interview technique to help attendees brush up on their job-hunting skills.

Representatives from over 20 businesses and education providers from around Greater Manchester were in attendance, including Timpson, ANS, MC2, Urban Splash, Space 48, Trafford Council, Bury College, 3aaa, Northern Coders and Estio Training. The Manchester business community is pledging to place all affected apprentices in the coming weeks.

UKFast CEO, Lawrence Jones MBE, said: "We're just doing our bit for these young people and trying to turn a terrible negative into a great positive. Today proves what an amazing place Manchester is and what incredible people and businesses we have here. It's inspiring to see the turnout from both the apprentices and the employers.

"This situation had the potential to be bad for apprenticeships, bad for the region and bad for the UK economy. Hopefully we will turn that around and make it a great day for talent in Manchester and a great day for the Manchester tech community."

The apprentices come largely from technical backgrounds and are at varying stages of their apprenticeship journey.

Ryan Metcalfe, a former Bright Future apprentice, said: "I saw the message online about the event and when I got in touch UKFast came straight back to me. Today has opened my eyes a bit to what a career can be. We've gone from a bit of a grim situation to walking in here today and there's a buzz and there's a happy feeling and loads of energy. The offices look amazing too."

The employers at the event ranged from digital marketing agencies and web development firms to property developers and training providers.

Bobby Howe, a developer at digital agency PushON, said at the event: "UKFast reached out to us as an agency that's always looking out for talent. Even if we're not actively recruiting for positions we'll always make room for the right type of person.

"I'd tell young people here today to go with their gut instinct. Don't settle for something that doesn't feel right. But if it does feel right, give it your all. When you find the right fit it's effortless. We took on an apprentice from Bright Future six months ago and their experience at PushON is worlds apart."

Many attendees emphasised the positives, claiming that young people are in demand in Manchester, demonstrating the strength of its current economic position.

Garry Beasley, recruitment executive at training provider 3aaa, said: "It's so unfortunate that these young people have been left in this situation, but it's refreshing to see the business community come together to support them and help with their direction. We're actually very lucky that there's healthy competition between employers for talent in Manchester and I'm sure today will help all of them map out their future careers."

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