During December’s Ontario Regional Conference, about 25 educators & employers participated in a roundtable to discuss the topic of career exploration and industry exposure. In other words, “How do we improve awareness amongst students for prospective career paths?” The was a popular topic for many CACEE members because when a student has a better sense of direction, then we (both educators & employers) can be more effective in our own objectives - helping to bridge the school-to-work transition.
Before we begin to tackle the question, we must first acknowledge the student’s perspective. How much exposure have they had to the job market? Have they awareness for the Canadian economy from inside the academic bubble? Could a student recognize the potential job functions that exist in different industries? The reality is that most students are lacking in perspective and at no fault of their own, simply ‘don’t know what they don’t know’. That said, students are aware how competitive the job market is and therefore are eager to learn and define their direction. Who wouldn’t want to have a clear and confident answer to the recurring (and perhaps daunting) question, “What do you want to do after school?”
The roundtable discussion produced many ideas for improving awareness and providing exposure to industries, company brands and job functions that exist within. One of the more favoured ideas was providing students with career development activities like Corporate Tours. For those who are interested, I will firstly define a Corporate Tour and then explain why this (trending) career development and recruitment activity is real win-win-win for all who participate.
What is a ‘Corporate Tour’?
We are all familiar with the traditional recruiting activity where employers come on-campus to host information sessions for students. A Corporate Tour is taking the same concept except spinning it whereby schools bring groups of students to the employer’s office for a 60-90 minute session. The visit to the office could entail different agendas depending on preferences. Some possibilities include:
What do the Students gain?
The answer may be obvious here. Students who participate in Corporate Tours gain exposure and perspective. They gain a much deeper understanding and lasting impression of the employer brand. Also, students will expand their professional network along the way. The reality is that students have their considerations and preferences when pursuing career paths and prospective employers:
…. how much of this can one truly gauge from a power point presentation? They say a picture is a thousand words so just imagine what can be gained from physically being present.
How does it benefit Employers?
Say goodbye to lugging pop-up banners and giveaways to schools around the country with fingers-crossed there will be a strong turnout at your on-campus information session. Say goodbye to producing impressive content that properly showcases your employer brand, culture and atmosphere. Save the sales pitch and incentivizing and let your office speak for you.
Talent Acquisition Specialists have an objective and that is to promote their employer brand; share employment opportunities; incentivize students to pursue their jobs; and of course, identify and recruit high-potential candidates. All employers want the top talent but budgets, resources and ROI’s must also be considered. By participating in Corporate Tours or hosting an Open House for all campus partners, employers are not only meeting their objectives but finding they did so more effectively and efficiently.
How does it benefit Educators?
Supporting students and graduates to transition from school to work is the objective. Before educators can review a resume, provide guidance or resources we firstly need to understand where the student is headed. Only the individual can define their career aspirations but Career Practioners can help to provide exposure and make connections to the various job functions and industries that exist.
Students that participate in Corporate Tours almost always adopt new ideas and preferences for their career aspirations. Even more so, it is common that a student will reject a specific industry or job function that they previous thought was ideal, only after gaining first-hand exposure. Either way, educators are meeting their objectives because students are further defining their targets and recognizing what it will take to get there.