How to Engage School Leavers and Apprentices During the Pandemic

Last week, we hosted a webinar with ISE on engaging talent digitally during the current crisis. Here, MKF’s Strategic Lead for talent, Simon Reichwald, gives us his top 5 tips for how you can implement this.

Help meet Gatsby Benchmarks digitally

Teachers and career leaders are facing unprecedented challenges in these uncertain times. They are grappling with new tech solutions, disruptions to normal teaching and a lack of connection with students. For career leaders at schools and colleges, offering career support and meeting Gatsby Benchmark obligations digitally (as opposed to face-to-face) will be a new and unfamiliar challenge.

Employers now have a fantastic opportunity to support education providers. They can do so by flagging directly how their digital offering can support Gatsby Benchmarks. Employers can also demonstrate how a mutually beneficial partnership can help schools reach their targets whilst connecting with a valuable pipeline of bright young talent.

Find different ways to connect with teachers

Employers must find different ways to connect with schools and colleges now that it’s likely all face-to-face activity will be postponed until autumn. There’s currently a fantastic opportunity to foster relationships with teachers online through emails and video conferencing. But, there are two very important things to bear in mind. Firstly, provide materials, content and activities that support teachers to deliver careers within the curriculum. Don’t just send them opportunities to promote (they are not a job centre!). Secondly, engage teachers with empathy, patience and an understanding of their current situation.

Working with intermediary organisations, which already have strong relationships with education providers, is a great way to develop these relationships. Those who invest in supporting schools and colleges now will have built these strong, ongoing relationships.

Deliver effective virtual work experience programmes

It’s possible to deliver effective virtual work experience programmes whilst the Covid-19 pandemic restricts on-the-job experience. For these to be successful, the virtual activities must be simple and easy to follow. There must be a clear brief to ensure a mutual understanding of the programme and its objectives.

The programmes should include a mixture of individual and project-based work, that don’t require them to be constantly online. They should also offer a genuine insight into working culture. This can be through offering participants the opportunity to hear from employees (videos, Zoom/Teams or digital buddies/mentors) and get involved in problem-solving. Finally you should aim to offer an opportunity for students to come into your business in the future when it is safe to do so. For example an insight event, especially if work experience is a feeder for apprentice recruitment.

Maintain high engagement levels

One difficulty faced by businesses right now is maintaining high engagement levels with prospective employees and apprentice candidates. In many cases, candidate journeys and on-boarding periods are now likely to be longer and more uncertain. With traditional engagement strategies no longer possible, digital solutions can help to address this challenge.

Our platform, Connectr, brings businesses and talent together. This is done through digital buddies, bite-sized learning content, deepening knowledge of the business, and chatrooms. They can connect with new starters, and you with them. It enables companies to build a vital sense of belonging amongst each individual on a large scale. It also ensures prospective employees feel valued and motivated, even during the crisis. In fact, Connectr has helped organisations reduce candidate reneges by as much as 60% and increased Glassdoor ratings by 15%.

Communicate clearly

This year’s school-leavers are facing a great deal of uncertainty, both with their grades and passage into employment, or further education. It’s essential that all parties – schools, employers and universities – communicate with students clearly, openly and effectively, and provide individuals with the information they need to alleviate concern. For example, an employer could explain its position to grades awarded in the way that they will be this year, if they are still recruiting. Students can feel quite cut off and only have media headlines to go on, so where there is good news – please share it with them!

Connect with Simon today to find out how we can help you continue to deliver your early talent outreach programmes virtually.

Source article: ISE