Student engagement and recruitment: how online platforms help universities, colleges and businesses
Student engagement and recruitment has a positive impact on organisations. It helps you to identify and inspire future talent. There’s no denying that working in partnership with schools has benefits. It improves young people’s awareness of employment and higher education options. It also forms new relationships between organisations and students.
Student engagement has never been more critical. We are living in a world with a record number of university applicants, but where young people are at a significant disadvantage in the labour market. This has become such a concern that the government is offering incentives for hiring young people. They are the future workforce, and we need to give them a chance and provide hope. However, this can be challenging if you don’t know how to appear in front of the right people.
Online platforms, such as the Careers Calendar, make student engagement and recruitment so much easier. They connect the right organisations with the right students at the right time. In this post, we are going to explain why engagement is essential and how the Careers Calendar supports engagement and recruitment.
Why engagement with schools is important
Engagement with schools is important whether you are an education provider or a business. It makes students aware of the courses, subjects or opportunities that you offer. It also allows you to answer questions students might have. You can also identify how to work with schools to ensure the curriculum is preparing young people for the future. Students are considering future career paths at a younger age than ever, so employers and universities/colleges need to engage with them earlier to ensure that students are aware of all options.
Universities and colleges
It’s also essential for universities and colleges to engage with students, as they are all potential future applicants. Several universities have run successful engagement programmes that have increased their applications, as well as applications to universities in general. For example, Brunel University ran a programme where 65% of the cohort wanted to go into higher education beforehand. Afterwards, 95% of them said they intended on applying, and 85% went on to study at university. Cambridge saw similar results from a workshop that saw 27% of attendees apply there, and 45% of them received an offer.
Employers and apprenticeship providers
For employers and apprenticeship providers, engagement with schools is a great way to build relationships with potential applicants early on. Not only are there several benefits to the students themselves, but you as a business can benefit too. You can raise awareness of your industry as one for students and can encourage local young people to consider it. It also allows you to connect with young people from different backgrounds, who may not have considered your sector before. You can also identify students that are interested in working for you and can mentor them as they move through their studies. This can result in better matches between recruits and the needs of the business if they choose to apply, as they already have some knowledge of what you do. Your engagement will also help build confidence in the future workforce.
How online engagement supports offline student engagement and recruitment efforts
Online engagement supports offline engagement and recruitment in several ways. Firstly, it can build awareness of your organisation. Awareness is at the top of the engagement funnel but can be challenging to develop. Although you are not marketing a product, you are marketing your organisation as a great option for students, and awareness is the first hurdle. Organisations often find it hard to get a foot in the door, and online platforms can be a way to develop relationships. If schools are aware of your organisation through their online profile, they are more likely to invite you to events. As well as this, you can share any events that you are running and invite students and schools, building online connections that can turn into offline relationships.
“Many young people prefer to make their first connections with organisations online.”
Classroom teaching provides some benefits, but young people who connect with professionals in more informal settings gain more. This could be at careers or university fairs, open days or work experience. Students feel they have more authentic conversations that enhance their understanding of the education provider or employer and value this over developing specific employability skills. However, young people rarely know their local market and opportunities that are available. Online platforms help make them aware of opportunities and also make those initial informal connections. They also may make students aware of events that are happening and encourage them to attend.
Young people value online communities, and many prefer to make their first connections with organisations online rather than in person. Online platforms allow you to make those initial connections and engage virtually. Students can get to know you online, and this could encourage them to attend an offline event. Without that online engagement, they may never have attended, and you may have missed out on a great student recruit!
How the Careers Calendar supports engagement and connects you with students
The Careers Calendar helps and supports organisations with their student engagement and recruitment efforts. The platform connects universities, colleges, apprenticeship providers and employers with schools and students across the country. We understand the importance of getting your profile and offer in front of the right students at the right time, and we make it easy. The Careers Calendar gives you the chance to make a great first impression.
How it works: Universities and Colleges
The process is simple. You upload your profile to the platform, detailing your location, subjects/courses and your prospectus. This allows students and Career Leaders to get to know who you are and what you offer. Once in the platform, you can boost your level of school engagement by searching for schools that you have not been in contact with before and start a conversation and request to attend events. You are also able to share any events you have planned with our schools and students, both online and offline. This could be anything from open days to virtual Q&As, and the platform allows you to put these directly in front of students. Schools can personally invite you to their events, and your team can manage these opportunities through the platform.
You can also connect with students using our direct messaging tool, allowing you to give students personalised responses to queries and application guidance. You can also access detailed reports on your profile, and see the level of engagement you are having with schools and students.
How it works: Businesses and Apprenticeship Providers
We recognise the differences between SMEs who may have opportunities on an ad hoc basis and larger businesses/apprenticeship providers who have structured school leaver programmes. Our platform makes student recruitment and engagement easy for everyone, and it allows you to upload a profile that reflects the opportunities you have and the type of business you are. Once you have your profile, you can engage with schools straight away. You can search for existing engagement opportunities or respond to invitations that schools send you for their events. You can also share your events with students and schools, putting your opportunities in front of the right people.
Our direct messaging tool makes it easy to connect with students. It lets you answer their questions directly and build relationships with potential applicants. You also get personalised reports on your profile and how well you are engaging with students, meaning you can see what you are doing right and what you can improve on.
“The Careers Calendar helps and supports organisations with their student engagement and recruitment efforts.”