SKILLSFEST 2018 has been hailed a great success after more than 4,000 people accessed the careers event.

Students, parents, teachers and anyone interested in learning more about careers in Furness headed to The Forum, in Barrow, to get involved in interactive events with more than 50 exhibiting companies and organisations on Saturday.

The raising aspirations event was organised by Furness Education and Skills Partnership, Inspira, Inspiring Barrow and Hello Future. It took over both floors at the venue and showcased careers in Furness and different training routes.

The workshop sessions were very well attended. Young people and their parents grasped the opportunity to have a go at a BAE Systems aptitude test and get tips. They also learnt about success in higher education with the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

This year there was a push on showcasing youth organisations, such as at the military cadets and Girlguiding. Volunteering roles were also promoted for team building skills.

For the first time SkillsFest put on a free return bus service to and from the event. This allowed students to get transport from Millom, Ulverston, Dalton, Barrow and Walney.

Furness Academy students, including Ellie Wright and Hannah Barrow, volunteered at the event as Skills Experts to help visitors.

Ellie, 13, said:"It's been really fun and it has helped build my confidence. I've enjoyed helping people.

"Skillsfest is really good to help students see what is ahead with careers. The younger you start thinking about careers the better. I'd like to become a vet, so I've been looking at some of the universities here.

Hannah, 13, said: "The role has really helped with team building skills and it's been nice to help people.

"Skillsfest is great. It's helping to give us an idea of the careers out there. I'm interested in law and health care."

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock attended the event and congratulated all involved. Mr Woodcock said: "In Furness we have got this incredible coming together of different industries and different sectors. We are a cradle of the best advanced manufacturing that the world has to offer in a whole number of different sectors. That means amazing opportunities for young people coming through the school system, amazing opportunities if they understand what is going to be available and what those employers need. They need the grades, the attitude the outlook. So Skillsfest is so important in being a place where those things come together."

Amy Lamph, the joint coordinator of FESP and an Ulverston Victoria High School design and technology teacher, "It's so fantastic that all these pupils have attended SkillsFest today, a sunny Saturday. Many used our free buses, but they took the initiative to get here. They have been very keen. People were attending from before 10am, when we officially opened.

"We are also so pleased to see the amount of parents here supporting their children and this event. It is lovely to hear all the comments about Skillsfest and how it can help to have an impact on what students might want to go on to do.

"We have a great variety of schools and organisations here today. We thank everyone who attended."

*See more coverage from Skillsfest tomorrow.