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On the 25th of October, we hosted the seventh annual ‘Stand Out in a Global Market’ event in Leeds – a day showcasing a variety of international opportunities and their benefits to young people across Yorkshire and the Humber. This event is unique as it combines a variety of international pathways: volunteering, vocational training programmes, university study, internships, working abroad as well as general travel advice.
Like last year’s event, our venue was the St George’s Centre in Leeds and we welcomed over sixty attendees from seven schools and colleges, as well as twelve organisations involved in promoting studying, working and/or volunteering abroad.
We designed the day to be as interactive as possible so that students could personalise their experience and gain information most useful for them. After a group icebreaker activity and presentation about the benefits of both studying and working abroad, a World Café was held. This activity allowed each organisation’s representative to share their own international experience and how it has benefitted their career, as well as discuss their organisation’s focus with attendees and answer any questions. Speakers moved around tables at ten minute intervals until all attendees had had the chance to speak with each representative. As well as ensuring that young people had the opportunity to hear from each representative, the World Café also acted as a preview for the four workshops offered later in the day: getting the most out of the Europass CV; EuroPeers and the European Solidarity Corps; volunteering overseas, and a Polish language taster session. Offering these four different workshop sessions meant that there was a relevant session for all attendees, whether they were interested in studying abroad, developing their linguistic skills, taking a gap year and volunteering, working abroad or gaining work experience through an internship/placement.
Following the World Café and workshops, a marketplace was held allowing attendees to find out more information about each organisation. The day concluded with an inspiring and insightful talk from Johnny Pawlik, Managing Director of global marketing company Mantra Media, who spoke about the importance of pursuing your passions, not limiting your expectations (either personally or professionally) as well as describing the many valuable lessons that international experience has given him, how it can help you grow as a person and lead to the development of a successful career. He also answered questions concerning what employers look for in candidates, stressing that age and experience aren’t his main criteria in recruitment: he picks his employees based on personality, passion and potential.
In addition to the day’s main agenda, we introduced extra activities for the exhibitors this year which enabled them to share their knowledge further. We hosted a roundtable podcast where exhibitors discussed tips and myths about going abroad as well as the skills you can gain and how opportunities might change in the future. We also created videos where exhibitors shared the main benefits of gaining international experience and further debunked myths, encouraging young people to seek out all opportunities available to them. Creating this content has enabled more young people to access information about the organisations who attended which will also and aid promotion of next year’s event.
Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive with many attendees reporting that they felt more inspired to go abroad and that they had increased awareness of the opportunities available to them. Hosting this event each year is rewarding but requires a lot of energy and hearing positive feedback reinforces the benefits and effort put into producing this event. The messages and tone of the day can be summarised by the words of the young people in attendance:
– Emma Campbell, Project Assistant
ASPIRE-IGEN GROUP LTD
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