A careers' day or evening is a great way of exposing your students to real industry professionals. You can invite community members, local business owners and parents to present to students on their industry and professions.
Events of this nature require a lot of time and resources, so forming a core organising committee to assist in planning and execution can be very helpful. Ideally, this kind of event should be held outside of school and business hours, because external parties and parents will be asked to present.
Below are some tips for organising a careers' evening at your school:
- Assemble a project team or organising committee - This can be a mix of senior teachers and year coordinators as well as anyone who wants to be involved. It’s important to get a mix of personalities and skillsets!
- Check the school calendar for suitable dates to host a function - In our experience, Tuesday nights work best for employers and parents as social and business events are typically scheduled towards the end of the week.
- Devise list of industries - This will determine the speakers, resources and number of classrooms you'll need to book.
- Book a suitable location at your school - A building with groups of classrooms in close proximity to a main hall or auditorium would be ideal. You'll need a large meet-and-greet area to welcome all guests, and small classrooms for break-out presentations.
- Seek relevant professional speakers from your network to deliver presentations - You may wish to contact parents through the school newsletter, use your or other staff members' personal contacts or contact large local employers, local chambers of commerce or industry associations for help.
- Promote event to students in relevant year group as well as their parents - Don’t underestimate the importance of a careers' event. Parents, teachers and the student body should all be made aware of the event and encouraged to attend. Use school notice boards and social media pages, the school newsletter, or an event-specific letter sent to parents to communicate and market the event.
- Student engagement - It might be worthwhile to run a session with the students before the evening to get them to think about which industry/career presentations they want to attend so they can make the most of the experience. This can be done through surveys or even the Skillsroad Career Quiz.
- Brief speakers - Once your speakers are confirmed, provide them with a brief sheet that outlines timings, dates, and topics you wish them to cover. This could include what the speaker's job entails and the skills, education and training needed to thrive in their career. The more prepared your speakers are, the more fulfilling the event experience will be for your students and their parents.
- Execution - Welcome guests, speakers, students and their parents in the main auditorium to outline the purpose of the evening. You may want to present your volunteer speakers with a "thank you" gift. Then, send presenters and students to their relevant classrooms for the presentations. Make sure these rooms are labelled, and provide a map or floor plan to attendees if necessary. Consider running two sessions so students can attend two workshops. Allow time for questions and discussions at the end.