Insight evenings for school leavers, teachers AND parents

Shall I drop information about the levy again and reiterate how it’s changing the way we work all across the country? No? Okay, you’ve heard enough from me about that; we all know the why graduate recruitment is changing and in some cases, we know the how.

The levy means that companies must significantly increase their apprenticeship vacancies - and parents and teachers must get behind it - and in turn, start to promote. Parents are notoriously hard to 1. get hold of / and indeed, get in front of, and 2. convince that an apprentice is a much better, or just the right choice for their child, over university. In a recent report by AAT, they found that two-thirds of parents simply don’t understand apprenticeships, and in turn will opt in favour for their child going to university, if they can.

So how can we work to change this? Well, many employers already are. Through insight evenings and events that are open to the key audience as well as their key influencers, some recruiters are simply getting ahead of the game. If you’re not doing it already, you need to be. Here’s some simple tips to ensure that your event is a success for everyone involved.

Timing is key!
You need to be flexible with this one. Remember, you’ll need to wait for parents to finish work - if you run it in the middle of the day, you’ll have lost half of your attendee list before you even start. If you’re running it from your office, give them chance to get there - and perhaps even time to go home, run a few errands and pick up their son/ daughter to bring along too. For teachers, they generally finish earlier - so could you be flexible and run two smaller sessions for the different influencers?

If you’re running something in a school, again, timing is key. It will have to be later to allow for parenting schedules, but not too late - remember teachers have had a full day of teaching and will have to wait around for you to start… and finish!

Secure parental permissions
This one entirely depends on your company policies, but in some cases, if you’re holding an open day or an insight event for just young people as an evening event, you have to have parental permissions in place. We all know what students are like - you’ll need to get them early to ensure a good attendance. Don’t forget, if you’re filming, you absolutely must get permission from parents to do so for those under the age of 18.

Film the event
Filming the event is a great way to ensure that attendees can catch up on it later, but also those who missed out get all the info. It looks professional to have a camera team there, gets people talking and it makes the whole thing a whole lot easier to promote the next time around (oh yes, I’m talking multiple events!).

If you have no budget for a professional team, then why not run a competition? Plenty of young people have smartphones with video capabilities these days, so encourage use of their phone and get them to submit their footage to you via email during the event!!

Want to go one step further and be down with the kids? Get your own SnapChat filterand get them posting content to your own channel.

Get interactive
SnapChat and video is a great way to get people talking, but the event is really about you and them. By breaking young people, parents and teachers up into groups - you can get them talking directly to you on a smaller basis, in some cases - even one-to-one! This is really useful as you’ll be able to understand the barriers each person faces to your organisation and start to break them down - even if you’ve only got five minutes, you can learn a lot in that time!

Remember, school leavers have a lot of questions, so you’ll need to ensure that your session covers them. As I said earlier, it’s likely that you’ll get a small number of people attending, but you can play this to your advantage by making the session interactive and offering a value in your follow up.

Be varied!
Okay, so you work in recruitment - but that’s not the only department in the firm! Students, parents and teachers will want to know about the variety of opportunities that are available to them and you can of course, give them some fantastic information, but what about giving it to them first hand? By bringing a variety of different people from different departments and different levels of the organisation to attend, you’ll be offering your audience a really enjoyable, exciting experience.

From apprentice to director, get them all involved - you’ll be surprised at your engagement levels!

As with every event, you’ll need to follow up. Make sure your follow up is relevant to each audience: Ask questions like how did they find the event? Was it useful? Is there anything else they would like to know? Plus offer a summary of key information so they can look back on it to refresh their memory - when it comes to applying, they’ll certainly find that useful.

Bonus tips:
Promo, promo, promo!
Perhaps this isn’t so much as a bonus tip, but rather a must-do. I don’t think it’s even classed as an event if no one turns up… and I’ve heard mixed reviews from different organisations about the turnout and success rates of these types of events. If you’re registering people online, remember, when you get the numbers list, the likelihood is that only half will show up. When I worked at a university, we used to work on a ⅓ basis of sign ups to turn ups. Don’t be disheartened if the numbers aren’t what you expected...

Just do all you can to get as many people attending. Utilise social media and your networks, and promo promo promo. Don’t forget, calling schools to tell them about an event you’re hosting will be one of the easiest methods of getting in the numbers… and they’ll probably be massively grateful that their students have the opportunity to engage directly with an employer! You can also get in touch with your suppliers and see if they’ll help promote to their network of schools and students.

In short, do everything you can to promote your event.