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BUSINESS FOCUS: Showcasing the full range of careers available in the Highlands green sector

By Colin Marr

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The Green Careers Expo at Alness Academy was a chance for young people to find out about a diverse range of career and training options.
The Green Careers Expo at Alness Academy was a chance for young people to find out about a diverse range of career and training options.

What was your life like as you reached the end of your school career?

For me there was the opportunity to leave home and to go to university.

But I had little understanding of the careers that might lie ahead beyond that, and I never met anyone working in that career or from other industries to help me see the range of different options.

Our Developing the Young Workforce project exists to make sure that employers and school pupils have the chance to meet, and that young people considering their career choices get exposed to as many options and as much information as possible.

The single biggest exercise we’ve ever done in this regard was our Green Careers Expo which was held in Alness last week.

It brought employers from the Highlands’ rapidly expanding green sector into direct contact with hundreds of school pupils from Kingussie through to Tain.

The young people got hands-on with interactive activities which helped them to start conversations with employers and training providers.

It all brought to life the wide variety of the training, jobs and careers available, both now and in the future, in this fast developing industry.

They heard about the huge number of opportunities available in the Highlands and that you don’t need to leave the area to get a really good job.

Not surprisingly every employer was passionate about green issues and the sector’s future in the Highlands.

It was also highlighted that the green sector involves more than just the obvious jobs as engineers and electricians.

The sector also needs HR, IT, project management, finance, legal and communications – but it might be more fun to do these careers in a fast growing, cutting edge environment than in their more traditional settings.

And, if you’re worried that leaving home needs to be part of any early career, our young people also heard about the opportunities to earn serious money while you’re learning – and from a number of those now working as company directors who started their career as apprentices.

Both of these routes mean that leaving home, but staying in the local area, can become a real option for many.

Colin Marr is chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce.

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