Insights: What works in engaging employers with school events?  

This National Careers Week, Wendy Lavin, Employer Engagement Officer at Career Connect, shares best practice on how schools can engage well with employers and build long-term relationships that can benefit students for years to come.  

“Offering school pupils meaningful employer encounters is not only a key Gatsby Benchmark, but regular contact with employers is also a proven method for increasing future employment prospects,” says Wendy.     

“One of the key drivers for our team is to support schools and colleges in delivering inspirational and motivational events that are relevant for young people. It can be challenging to align the curriculum, the school day, and inspirational volunteers from the world of work, but there are things that you can do to make your event a success and build lasting relationships with local businesses and national employers.” 

Here are Wendy’s top tips. 

 Some of our non-negotiables when arranging employer events  

Give employers a lot of notice. A minimum of 8 weeks’ notice to attend events often yields the best return in terms of attendance  

Over-invite the number of people you need. Often things don’t go according to plan, and people have to drop out both prior to the event and on the day. Make sure you have invited more people than you need  

Think about the timing of the event. Some people will not be paid before 9am and others will work shifts, therefore sometimes a later start (such as 9.30am) can really help in achieving good attendance rates 

Preparation is key. Offer employers a chance to discuss with you what is expected of them. It can be really intimidating to stand up in front of a group of young people and talk about yourself, especially if you didn’t realise you had to!   

Prepare your pupils. We often find that the most positive relationships are built when pupils are well prepared for events and embrace the opportunity to meet with employers. Let young people know who is attending in advance, and perhaps ask your students to research them.  

It’s all about the welcome! It is essential there are enough staff on the day to manage lots of visitors throughout your event.  

Make sure you have a budget for refreshments. Everyone appreciates a tea, coffee and something to eat. It makes visitors who have given their time feel valued. It’s small but goes a long way. If there are specific times for refreshments or breaks, try to let them know in advance – employers may want to use this time to reply to work emails or take a call.    

Ask for feedback every time. It all helps you to plan your next event, and it keeps the conversation going with the employer. Hopefully this is the start of a long and fruitful relationship!  

For a chat about how Career Connect can help you with your employer events, contact us on:

Pictured: Career Connect’s Education and Business Team at an employer Skills Fair organised for schools