Last updated: 10.09.13

Virtual careers fair going live in October

An online careers fair is launching across the east of England next month that seeks to educate young people about the employment opportunities available without them having to travel.

The service - which has been co-organised by the Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region (ACER) - will be open to all colleges in the area and hopes to connect with 16 to 24-year-olds through a medium nearly all of them are familiar with: technology.

Indeed, those in charge of the event said around three-quarters of this age group in the UK own a smartphone and the same number watch television on their laptops, so the Online Careers Fair for Further Education is the perfect way to engage with this audience.

It will also mean that individuals living in rural areas with poor transport links will be able to benefit from the same opportunities as those in more urban and suburban locations.

The event is set to go live at 09:00 BST on October 1st and will function in the same way as an ordinary careers fair, but all advice and information about job prospects will be delivered via the internet. It is running until October 14th, with all resources accessible 24/7.

ACER chief executive Andrew Thompson said: "Our goal is that the Online Careers Fair will not only help visitors find college courses and jobs, but also inspire and support them in the process, through information, advice and guidance, e-workshops, webcasts and case studies."

The fair will also allow colleges to connect with potential students and attract a wider audience, as well as support alumni in finding work experience and places on graduate programmes.

Membership organisation 157 Group came up with the idea for the online event and deputy executive director Christine Doubleday described it as a "ground-breaking initiative" that responds to the needs of young people by improving their access to information and helping them to become more employable.