Perfecting how to hire an apprentice, or build your future pipeline, is notoriously difficult.
It’s a strategy that doesn’t span across a short timeframe, it’s something that can last years.
Figuring out where to start with your school outreach is just as tricky. So, if you want to create the perfect school outreach strategy, we’ve got just what you need.
What is School Outreach?
Let’s start right at the beginning. School outreach refers to the steps you take to attract apprentices by collaborating with schools and colleges – from primary education to A-level students.
This process allows you to build a future talent pipeline, creating excitement and inspiring young people to consider alternative opportunities for their futures. It usually consists of a lot of correspondence with local schools and teachers, attending careers fairs, and talking to students about opportunities.
It’s a long game, but it’s all about building a future talent pipeline. You’ll be speaking to young people, maybe even children, that might not even be sitting their GCSEs yet, but it’s all about educating them early on to ensure they’re aware of all the options (and cementing the idea that your organisation would be a good choice).
Schools often have a default approach to pushing university entry after A-level, so often, students aren’t getting an entirely balanced picture of the options for their future.
Getting Started with School Outreach
The easiest place to start is to consider which schools fall within your recruitment areas, and which ones align with your recruitment objectives.
Once you’ve identified the schools you’d like to contact, find details for the individuals that can help. A quick Google search usually brings up the information you need. If not, get in touch with the school reception, and they’ll be able to pass your details on to the correct person.
This is where the outreach to schools really begins. You’ll want to craft an email that introduces who you are, the company you’re coming from, the roles you’re recruiting for, etc… This allows you to get your foot in the door and start those important conversations. You’ll usually find the individuals that deal with employers want to arrange a more formal explorative conversation to find out more about what you’re hoping to achieve.
You can remove all the stress of planning and implementing a school outreach programme by partnering with Amberjack! Our Attraction team will do all the hard work for you. We’ll identify the schools relevant to your needs, create those initial relationships and manage the engagements for you. All you’ll need to do is find people to share the excitement of your roles.
Student Recruitment Ideas
If you’re serious about your school outreach strategy, you’re going to need to come up with creative ways to recruit apprentices – the same-old same-old isn’t going to cut it anymore!
Today’s students are more interested in diving into the detail, and you need to find engaging ways to give them that. Luckily for you, we’ve got some ideas that might just work…
- Events – When it comes to events, the opportunities are endless. You can attend school careers fairs, create your own events, or invite students along to other events. Think about your capacity and make sure you’re giving the students that attend quality information that they can’t find elsewhere – you want to make it worth their while.
- Workshops – Choosing a niche group of students to be involved in a tailored workshop won’t only allow you to create something different, but it also opens the chance to drive DE&I objectives. Create small tasks that relate to the apprenticeships you offer. Use these to get the students involved, putting them in the shoes of the people in those roles. Keep it upbeat and lighthearted and you’ll have a successful session.
- Work Experience/Insight Days – Students want to feel what it is like to be in the roles you offer, so why not give them that opportunity? Building work experience, or insight days allows students to experience what being in the role really involves. They’ll get to hear from people that were once in their shoes and be inspired to take it further.
Top Tips for Perfecting Your Strategy
- Make sure you’re engaging – The generation you’ll be speaking to isn’t the same as the previous one. With much shorter attention spans, you’ll need to make sure that what you’re saying is engaging – death by PowerPoint isn’t going to cut it anymore.
- Consider what students want to know, not what you want to say – You might find it interesting that your company’s profits have skyrocketed over the past few months, or that you’ve got a new team of people to take your data analysis tasks on. Students might not want to know these things. Consider what younger individuals might want to know and listen to what they’re asking about.
- Stay consistent – Showing up at one school is going to have limited impact on your school outreach. Stay consistent in your communication with the school, and it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face. Find new ways to share information to keep your foot in the door.
- Give students something to gain – If you’re inviting individuals to a presentation where they can learn something about your company that they could’ve learnt on the website, you’re not giving them anything they don’t already have. Give them a key piece of information, an insight into the recruitment process, or the ability to learn something new.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Sometimes, the details or information you need isn’t as accessible as you’d expect. Working with Amberjack, you don’t have to worry about struggling to get hold of contact details or the latest trends in school outreach, we handle that.
At the end of the day, school outreach to target apprentices is much more complex than engaging and recruiting graduates. These first steps should help you on your way in the right direction, but you don’t have to be the expert.
Our Attraction team are specialists in all things school outreach. To discover how we can help you hire apprentices, build a talent pipeline and refine your strategy, you can contact us for an initial chat!