It may seem like a distant memory but it’s one which many young adults and children are faced with as they make their way through education, and it can be daunting.

21.11.15 – Birmingham.
Visitors to the Skills Show 2015, held at the NEC, Birmingham.
Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

Taking place at the NEC Birmingham on 16-18 November, The Skills Show is the biggest free, experimental skills, apprenticeships and careers event in the UK, and aims to help young people answer this very question.

Organised by World Skills UK, a partnership between businesses, education and governments, the event is aimed at students from year seven upwards and looks to accelerate young people’s careers, giving them the best start in both work and life.

20.11.2015 – Birmingham.
Shannon Stevens from Dudley College demonstrates her knowledge to visitors on the Premier Colleges Stand in the Building Zone at The Skills Show 2015, held at the nec Birmingham.
Photo: Professional Images/@profimages.

The show is divided into five key areas, each of which focuses on a different industry sector;

Construction & Logistics, Engineering & Technology, Health & Hospitality, Digital & Business and Creative & Design.

All of which can be explored on the Careers Cloud, an interactive online quiz which helps young people identify their ‘career calling’.

In the build-up to the event we’ve focused on five skills, one from each sector:

Construction & Logistics – what do we know?
Around three million people work in construction in the UK, making it one of the nation’s biggest and most diverse industries.

Sectors include; bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, landscape gardening, plumbing, roofing, environmental science, architecture and more.

There’s many ways to make it into the industry; earn while you learn as a construction apprentice, delve deeper into your chosen field with a degree, or take other routes including; apprenticeships, traineeships, work experience or graduate programmes.

Find out more at:

Do you want to find out more about carpentry? 

Visit the carpentry showcase provided by WSUK Skills Expert, which will interactively display the many essential uses of carpentry. You can also watch the new industry talent during the skills competition which is due to take place all day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Hall 17.

Engineering & Technology – what do we know?

Engineering contributes to 26% of the UK’s GDP and contributes more than the retail and wholesale, and financial and insurance sectors combined, and for every person employed in the industry, another 1.74 other jobs are created.

Sectors within the industry include; automotive, mechanics, robotics, metalwork, manufacturing, aeronautical, rail, inventing and more.

Are you interested in Aeronautical Engineering?

Gain insight into a career in engineering and technology by watching the Avionic Skill Competition or the Mechanical Skill Competition by Semta in Hall 19. Or visit the Airbus Exhibition in Hall 20, where you’ll find virtual reality headsets, a Sphero Challenge, TV screens with film, a panoramic view of a wing, tablets with internet access to their website, videos and recruitment tools.

Health & Hospitality – what do we know?

The UK hospitality sector is the 4th biggest employer in the UK, accounting for 3.2 million jobs through direct employment in 2016, and a further 2.8 million indirectly, and generated £73bn of the UK’s GDP.

Sectors within the industry include; beauty therapy, fitness, cooking, floristry, hairdressing, public services, forensics, and more.

Have you thought about working within the restaurant service industry?

You’ll need basic restaurant service skills, wine service and knowledge, bar skills and good presentation skills, not forgetting being able to deliver a winning smile.

Watch on as competitors face the tasks of a Patissier or Confectioner or how about the Culinary Arts Skill Competition, which focuses on the skills of fishmongers, butchers and bakers, as well as cookery and presentation skills. Both competitions are hosted by Craft Guild of Chefs and can be found in Hall 6.

Digital & Business – what do we know?

The digital sector has grown at more than twice the rate of the non-digital tech sector with more than 1.5 million people already working within the industry, and in 2016 UK digital tech investment reached £6.8 billion, that’s 50% higher than any European country.

Sectors within the industry include; enterprise, accounting, networking security, software, web, IT, law, telecommunications and more.

Ever wondered what is involved in being a Network Systems Administrator?

Network Systems Administrators look after a network of servers and clients to ensure that systems work quickly and efficiently, and you can find out exactly what this involves by visiting Northumberland College in Hall 18.

Or perhaps technology has got the best of you before and you’ve been tempted to destroy your computer because it keeps crashing and requires an upgrade. Well, the students of Bedford College are hosting an interactive session to show you how to dismantle and upgrade your PC. Visit the IT Support Technician Showcase, Hall 18.

Creative & Design – what do we know?

The UK creative industries generate £87.4bn a year to the UK economy, that’s nearly £10 million every hour. Employment in the creative industries is also growing four times faster than the UK workforce as a whole.

Sectors within the industry include; game designs, music, jewellery making, journalism, graphic design, film, TV, radio, fashion, and many more.

Are you mad about gaming?

How about becoming a game artist? Create characters, objects and scenery. Draw, model, texture and animate.

To gain insight into becoming a game artist watch the 3D Digital Game Art Skills Competition, hosted by South Thames College in Hall 17. Or visit the Media and Gaming Technology Showcase provide by South Cheshire College and West Cheshire College in Hall 17, where you can use interactive learning technology to undertake innovative learning in the media and gaming industries.

Or how about the 3D digital game art showcase? Provided by The Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education in Hall 17, the showcase allows you to experience augmented and virtual reality with their 3D games design.

To either book a place for yourself, book on behalf of a school or college group (act as lead booker), or book a place for your family at The Skills Show then follow this link!