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Outreach in a pandemic: What do students want to see from online events?

It’s November and as we’ve passed the halfway mark of this term, the days have started to get chilly and Christmas looms on the horizon. However, this year looks slightly different as we continue in our virtual working world of online events, workshops and webinars. 

At Uptree, this is a moment to pause and reflect on the busy term so far.

We’ve taken some time to ask our Uptree Ambassadors what they want, in particular, from our online events

Our ambassadors are a group of engaged students who have attended Uptree events and opportunities to go on to secure job roles or further their career prospects.

Ambassador feedback

Getting feedback from our Ambassadors allows us to constantly improve and work with our partners to get the best possible outcomes from our events.

As other internships or work experience opportunities remain cancelled, we’ve already seen the enormous value in our targeted online events for students. We can continue to do this by engaging our network in feedback, using our expert industry knowledge and continuing strong connections with schools and teachers.

Combining our tips with feedback from our network, we explore what students want to see from online events and how to ace outreach in a pandemic. 

Planning your event: what do students want to hear?

Deciding on your agenda is often the first step in planning an event. As online events are often shorter than traditional whole day work experiences, a well-planned session is key to success. 

Culture

When we caught up with our engaged group of Uptree ambassadors, one thing that stood out was the desire to see the every day in companies. What was the culture like? What was an average day like? 

For some students, this may be the first time they’ve interacted with professionals, so day-to-day knowledge of a company is really important in helping them understand and engage in the professional world.

A great way to do this by having an employee talk about what an average day looks like for them

You could even get a relatable apprentice or graduate to speak. One of our ambassadors suggested the format of ‘The day-to-day tasks of X role’, which he noted would help students get a deeper insight into what working at a company was like. 

When applying for a role, a culture fit is really important and students want to know they’ll fit in. Things that become second nature or pushed to the back of our minds a month or so into a role, such as an office atmosphere, are hugely important to students who may have never experienced an office environment before and don’t know what to expect.

One of our ambassadors discussed the fact that Covid-19 has drastically changed working environments, so seeing your companies response to this reflected in discussion in your online event something we’d recommend. 

Tangible Outcomes

At this point in the year, students are starting to think about their next steps for the future. With the uncertainty of 2020 so far, it’s even more important to highlight opportunities and roles that your company has available. Online events are a great chance to show what an amazing company yours is to work at, but also to provide tangible next steps for students to apply to schemes, internships or full-time roles.

Next steps

Providing tangible next steps for students during an online event will help them have the confidence to apply for roles, schemes and programmes at your organisation.

The second most common piece of feedback on what students want to hear in events was the different entrance routes to organisations. We heard a range of requests for discussions from specific entry-level opportunities to starting salaries, grade requirements and interview tips and tricks. 

Equipping students who are attending your online event with information on tangible next steps provides an opportunity for them to action what they’ve learnt about your organisation and the confidence to apply to your roles. 

How can you make your online event more interactive?

Ever had to sit through an hour-long webinar or meeting over the last few months with no chance to input or contribute? It can be draining, and it turns out students think no different.

One thing that separated the engaging from the forgettable when it came to events for students, was interactivity. We hear this feedback from our students regularly! Online interactivity enables young people to engage and network with your company and professionals, in the same way as in-person, whilst additionally giving students a chance to develop online etiquette. 

Think Outside The Box

From the feedback we received, when it comes to interactivity, thinking outside the box of normal online events is what students are looking for. One ambassador suggested using applications like Mentimeter or Kahoot, which enable students to create word clouds and answer quizzes or polls in real-time.

Tangible next steps Uptree

Our ambassadors told us that thinking outside the box when it comes to interactivity at online events is important for a successful event.

If you’re looking to keep the tech simple, another student suggests ‘greater use of the chat function for sharing opinions, thoughts and ideas’. We couldn’t agree more!

Verbal Interactivity 

When it comes to verbal interactivity, one of our ambassadors pointed out that it’s not always quantity over quality saying ‘I would rather speak to fewer professionals but have more time with the ones that I do speak to’.

Having this deeper level of networking during online events again leads back to the tangible outcomes our students love! If they can build a rapport with a professional during an event, this will help them immensely in the future when it comes to applications or seeking advice. 

What do students want to see from online events?

Online events have proved their value time and time again over this year and it looks like they’re here to stay, which is why at Uptree we’re continually looking to improve in partnership with our amazing employers. 

Whether it’s through application hints and tips or interactive quizzes, thanks to our engaged network and ambassadors, we’re able to constantly work with our partners to improve and adapt events using their feedback.

We’ve shared our key takeaways from our recent feedback from students, but if you’re interested in hearing then more then please get in touch at info@uptree.

Uptree ambassadors

Thank you to our wonderful ambassadors who took part in the focus group for this research