1. Meet employers and course providers face-to-face
For most school leavers, the first time they get to meet a prospective employer is if they are fortunate enough to secure a job interview with them, and that can feel like a rather one-sided and nerve-racking introduction!
By attending a careers fair, school leavers can talk to multiple employers in the course of a day. The environment feels less intimidating than in the interview room because it’s as much about the students finding out about the employers as it is about employers meeting prospective recruits. First impressions can be made in a more relaxed situation.
Likewise, school leavers who are considering university as their chosen route post school can assess several universities and their courses in one day, helping them make an informed comparison with the information from each institute fresh in their minds. They can get a gut feel for the culture of a university and its people, rather than relying solely on the glossy brochures and websites.
Whichever route the school leaver is considering, having dozens of organisations in one place makes for a very efficient use of time in weighing up options.
And, for those teenagers who are still deciding between a path direct to the workplace or further education, a unique careers fair like What Career Live?, which brings both avenues under one roof, offers a unique opportunity for assessing which direction is right for them.
2. Current vacancies
Careers fairs offer the perfect opportunity to discover current and upcoming job and apprenticeship vacancies with employers. There is the opportunity to hear about roles and schemes which aren’t yet even in the public domain, as well as those which are hot off the press. At What Career Live?, there will even be a jobs board to help highlight the roles available from the exhibitors at the exhibition.
Companies can explain their training and apprenticeship programmes in detail, and school leavers may even get to meet some current apprentices and trainees to hear firsthand what it’s like learning on the job with a particular firm.
Universities can also keep you up to date with application levels for their different courses and any new courses which are in development.
3. First impressions & networking
Attending a careers fair is the ideal opportunity for a school leaver to start making connections and to make those all important first impressions.
Without the pressure of a formal job interview, many teenagers are able to give a more confident account of themselves with potential employers and places of higher education. Conversation can be more two-sided with the young person asking the questions as well as the company or university.
The general buzz and activity of the environment and seeing other young people chatting away can really put young people at ease. This will help the school leaver leave a confident and composed impression with any potential firms or universities – an impression which could be in their favour when it comes to the application process.
The added advantage is that, should a formal application process or interview take place, the school leaver will already have leapt past the fear of the unknown – from a very good impression of the company and its ethos, to actual named contacts and connections, the teenager will know who they are dealing with and this goes a long way to aiding confidence and focus.
4. Expert advice
As well as meeting course providers and recruiting companies, school leavers will also be able to benefit from meeting careers experts and hearing talks offering practical advice or inspiration, for example, in the Careers Advice Lounge at What Career Live?.
Having multiple experts in one place offers school leavers, their parents and advisers a great opportunity to access insights, tips and even one-to-one advice that might not normally be available to them.
5. Efficient use of time
Deciding on an education, training or career path is a decision worth throwing a lot of resources and information at but it can be a very time consuming process, especially at a time when a school leaver may be facing the added pressure of exams. Driving around the country to meet different colleges and universities, or spending hours on the internet researching and requesting further information from multiple companies can be a deflating experience.
It therefore makes real sense to take a day out at a careers or further education fair. And for those who are as yet undecided about what is the right path for them beyond the age of 16 or 18, it makes even more sense to attend an event where both further education and a route into the workplace can be assessed side by side.