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ICC provides work experience as part of Association of Colleges annual event

The UK’s purpose built conference centre played host to the Association of Colleges (AoC) Annual Conference and Exhibition for the 14th time earlier this month, with a variety of work experience opportunities in place alongside the main event.
For the second consecutive year the ICC Birmingham offered students from across the country the chance to gain vital experience in their chosen sector. Renowned for its award-winning catering, the ICC offered placements for aspiring chefs, as well as an up and coming journalist and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow with business and event management opportunities.

Catering student, Sunny Patel from Leicester College, has his eyes firmly set on the future after the Conference provided him with an added edge of confidence. He said: “Five years down the line, I want to be working in a Michelin star restaurant or a 3 Rosette restaurant. Hopefully I’m going to develop my career from this and become a better chef.”

Ben Woodsliff, Grimsby College was also working hard in the ICC kitchen to help the ICC chefs to prepare a Gala Dinner for 1,000 delegates at AoC’s event. Ben said: “We’ve never seen anything like this before, on this grand scale for 1,000 people; we’ve done smaller venues so it’s good to see what’s happening behind closed doors on a much larger event.”

The German Market, ice rink and Ferris wheel are back for the festive period, so delegates and students who attended AoC’s Conference were able to explore what Birmingham has to offer, right on the ICC’s doorstep. All of the amenities are within walking distance of both the ICC and the city’s many hotels, ensuring delegates and students didn’t need to venture far.

Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary, made an appearance at the Annual Conference and took part in a joint Q&A session with Shadow Minister Yvonne Fovargue MP for the students.

Hunt said: “We’ve had a really good session talking about careers guidance and apprenticeships, as well as meeting students working in hospitality, event management and journalism, getting real life work experience at a pretty big conference in the heart of Birmingham, to make sure they understand how their studies play out in real life.”

He added: “We think work experience is really valuable; it has to be useful work experience. It can’t just be making cups of tea; it has to give young people inside experience.”

The conference and exhibition utilised all of the halls and meeting rooms at the ICC with AoC leading discussions on the important role colleges have to create a brighter future for students and organisations.

Rachel Almeida, Director of Events at AoC Create said: “It’s been a fantastic conference, there’s been a real buzz and delegates have been very positive and upbeat. This is a well-established conference and next year we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary so we’re hoping to do something really special for that and we will get planning in a few weeks time.”

Linda Best, Account Director for the ICC said: “The experience the students gain working with our team of in-house experts is invaluable and all of the feedback we’ve had has been really positive. We look forward to welcoming AoC back in 2015 and to helping them to make their event extra special.”

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