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For the past 6 years I have been involved with the organisation of a local consortium careers fair with six local secondary schools and an FE College taking part. Currently we have 70 exhibitors with over 1500 visitors each year. This is an opportunity for students aged 13-19 and their parents to meet with employers, colleges and universities and hear about their offer to support them with their careers decisions and choices.
Based on my experience, here are my tops tips for organising a successful careers day.
Meet with your Senior Team to plan the date of the careers fair – this should tie in with the school curriculum and support key transitions, such as option choices in lower school and post 16 choices in upper school.
Exhibitors need to be contacted well in advance of the event. Attending local business breakfasts and other careers events nationally throughout the year helps you build a good database of employers. When you meet your exhibitors, make sure you brief them fully on how the event will work and its key aims. It’s also worth giving them the opportunity to send materials ahead of the day to ease travelling.
The best way to ensure you have good attendance is by marketing the event to parents and students. This could be via posters, letters and information home to parents. It’s also really important to talk to all your students about how the careers fair will benefit them.
Plan well in advance and thoroughly risk assess the event. On the day, make sure you hand out programmes to students detailing where they can find the exhibitors they want to speak to. You should also include some highlights on what sector the exhibitor is representing. It’s also a good idea to put up signs and posters with detailed information. Afterwards, thoroughly evaluate the day with feedback from the exhibitors and the students, as this will allow you to continually develop and improve elements of the event for years to come.
Make your attendees feel welcomed and comfortable. Ensure there’s a good provision of food and refreshments for all exhibitors involved as well as a friendly ‘thank you’, as this means they’ll be likely to attend the following year.
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