A virtual careers fair with Kier

The impressive new First Light Pavilion is being built by Kier Construction who have written a guest blog for us about their recent ‘virtual careers fair’…

Guest blog: Lara Da Rocha Faria, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Kier Construction.

As we all become accustomed to the new normal, I’d like to share how Kier Regional Building, North West have continued to deliver our community programmes throughout the lockdown.

With some schools beginning to return – mainly the younger pupils, its those students coming to the end of their educational career and looking to their future who are left scratching their head about their next steps.

At this time of year our social value manager and project teams are usually very busy helping support some of that career decision making, whether that be attending careers and apprentice fairs, facilitating work experience placements, planning summer internships and arranging site visit for local school and college pupils.  Covid-19 has put all of this on hold and it has challenged us to look at alternative ways to deliver a positive impact in our local communities.

Just as we have adapted to the challenging circumstances of keeping our sites live and safe, the education sectors have also been adapting.  Students may not be in the classroom but if you are a parent you will appreciate that they are still being educated and part of this is about helping students of all ages prepare for their future career.

Supported by Ryan Southern, Senior Site Manager, working on the First Light Pavillion project, I went virtual last month delivering a ‘careers in construction’ session at the Cheshire Paving the Way Careers Festival. A resounding success, the virtual careers fair inspired thousands of students, helping them to prepare for the next stage of learning or employment.

The Kier pre-recorded ‘Day in the Life of’..  videos and live web chats had 24,586 views with 76,000 visits to the Festival site over the week.

  • 77 schools participated
  • 17 HE/FE contributors
  • 67 employers involved
  • 116 video sessions delivered

“It was a great event to be part of, many thanks for including us. The content was fantastic for the young people and hopefully they all got something out of it.” Jane Jones, Macclesfield College

“It has provided genuinely insightful information that I am very grateful to have received.” Luc, student

Ryan Southern said about this new way of delivering careers to the next generation, “It’s a great way to connect with so many students.  I was really impressed to see so many young people focussed on a future career in construction at a young age”

As part of the virtual careers fair Kier offered students the opportunity to apply for a work experience place and we are currently developing our virtual work experience week to be delivered at the beginning of July.

It may have taken us a few takes to get the videos  just right (the BBC are not going to come calling anytime soon) and the IT is not always 100% reliable but the amount of time saved in travel, setting up, student coordination and the related costs in both travel expenses and the impact on the environment, make me think there is definitely scope for this to be a regular way of delivering careers support in the future.