Earlier this month, Changing Horizons, branched out to Oldham’s Queen Elizabeth Hall following its prior success in Blackpool in 2017 and 18. Along with Blackpool, Oldham has been identified as one of the lowest areas of social mobility in the country which made it a particularly important location for the event.

Changing Horizons is the Civil Service Local flagship careers event. The event gives young people the opportunity to build contacts with employers from the public and private sector and to develop skills through a variety of tasks and activities set by local companies including Purple, Border Force, Saddleworth Air Cadets and more.

Purple set a number of activities for the students to complete. One task involved the students using code to send personalized SMS messages to friends and family; demonstrating how programming can be used to interact in the real world. Another involved getting the students to ‘pitch’ the Purple WiFi analytics solution to Oldham Council, and discuss how they would benefit from utilizing the services.

Raymond Jones, Senior Developer at Purple said: “Our activities presented a great opportunity for young people to get together and really test their coding skills. Some of the students had previous experience of programming (python) and were really engaged during the tasks – it was great to see.”

Cathy Belford, Global HR Manager at Purple, said: “We wanted to get the students involved in real-life working situations, and educate them on the types of opportunities that are available within a technology business.

“Supporting the local community is a big part of our culture at Purple – it was fantastic to see that the event had such a positive impact for everyone that attended.”

The event proved to be a great success, with teachers and students alike quickly pointing out that they were thankful for the opportunity. Many guests and stallholders also reported that there was a real “buzz” of positivity throughout the course of the day.

Highlighting its importance to the area, a collective of local dignitaries joined the event including the Enterprise Adviser Network’s Oldham lead Michaela Andrew; High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Gerry Yeung OBE; and Oldham’s Lead Member for Education and Early Years, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, who opened the event by directly acknowledging the needs of the students in attendance.

In closing the event, Andrew Sutherland, Oldham Council’s Director of Education and Early Years furnished the students with a few words of cautious optimism.

“I hope that you’ve learned today that for you guys to predict your future is to create your own future. No-one will give it to you. It’s not a dress rehearsal. This is your life. Please take from today what you can, learn from it, move on, choose great careers, and I hope you look back fondly on this event that hopefully stimulated you, gave you some ideas that you haven’t had before and hopefully made you think “yeah, I can do this”.