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West of England Careers Hub

Guidance on Virtual Encounters

This page is a guide to resources and information on delivering CEIAG Virtual Encounters and Experiences

As you know, as a Careers Hub we do not promote or endorse any specific products.   

Please note that these sites are aimed at a variety of stakeholders, you may want to familiarise yourself with them before sharing. 


Careers and Enterprise Company Resources


CEC Meaningful Encounters Checklist 

CEC Online Engagement Guidance

CEC Online Safeguarding Guidance

CEC Resource Directory

Delivering Virtual Lessons 

Best Practices for Securing your Virtual Classroom

Future Quest Digital delivery toolkit

Virtual Assessment Centres

Increasingly employers use assessment centres to recruit trainees and apprentices. This means they use a range of tools not just a traditional interview. Increasingly, these are being done virtually in the same way as straightforward interviews. Because they are virtual, the activities may be spread over a period, so candidates have time to prepare for each and employers have time to consider how a candidate has performed along the way. 

Advice on how to take part can be found here

Guidance on preparing students for virtual assessment centres includes:

  1. Sharing a selection of the links provided to students to research what’s involved.
  2. Organising a mock interview for them (see separate section on virtual mock interviews)
  3. Giving students the opportunity to practise online tests to provide an experience of completing them You will find free tasters at https://www.assessmentday.co.uk/aptitudetests_verbal.htm  and https://www.assessmentday.co.uk/aptitudetests_numerical.htm.
    You will also find sample tests on personality, critical thinking etc on the same site. Please note these are not designed specifically for school leavers.
  4. Delivering team exercises that include peer to peer feedback. There is a good example provided by Womble Bond Dickinson, the links to which are available here. It was designed and used for graduate recruitment so it will stretch 6th formers but give an excellent flavour of the experience.
  5. Helping students to prepare and practice short presentations – can be delivered as a stand alone activity or in the classroom. Students will need to be familiar with PowerPoint and how to share presentations on Teams etc. Guidance on putting together impactful presentations can be found at: http://hughculver.com/10-easy-ways-make-powerpoint-presentation-awesome/
    https://hbr.org/2020/01/what-it-takes-to-give-a-great-presentation
  6. Assessments for a practical or engineering related role can involve group and individual activities involving the assembly or deconstruction of common household items. Students may want to practise these activities.
  7. Delivering a mock assessment centre for a group of selected students. This can be delivered either in person or virtually and has the possibility to be supported by a local business. 

Useful Resources:

Shearman & Sterling  a very helpful short video on the purpose and format of an assessment centre.

Barclays LifeSkills When applying for a job, there are different types of interviews and assessments students might be asked to do depending on the type of role, the industry, or the stage they’re at in the interview process. Barclays LifeSkills can help young people to prepare and make sure they’re ready for whatever might come their way. 

Fledglink a series of 18 bite sized video modules taking someone through the whole journey of a hiring process from application forms/CVs/Cover letters, through to different interviews, psychometrics, assessment centres etc and loads of hints, tips and activities. The whole suite takes about 3 hours. Modules 10-15 are on assessment centres.

Pathways CTM webinar recorded webinars on interviews and assessment centres – How do they work and what do they look for? (around an hour each)

Getfeedback.net  a sample of recruitment consultant’s website which explains how they pull together assessment centres involving psychometric tests, a competency based interview, a group exercise and a presentation.  They make the point that these may not necessarily happen on the same day.

Resources.workable 

Recruitment tools

Recruitment methods

Employer shortlisting guidance

Virtual Careers Fairs

A Careers Fair is an opportunity for students to learn about multiple businesses, education providers and other relevant organisations in order to raise aspirations, identify options, make connections to assist students in making informed career choices. They can also be key in developing sustainable relationships with employers.

Making a careers fair meaningful

CEC guidelines state:

To include an activity under Benchmark 5, it must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • There is evidence that the student actively participated.
  • Learning outcomes are defined, based on the age and needs of students. 
  • The encounter involves two-way interaction between students and employers/employees

Virtual careers fairs

A virtual careers fair has exactly the same purpose and need to be meaningful as a face to face event, but offers more opportunities in terms of:

  • Being able to involve greater numbers of organisations from a wider area as it is more time efficient
  • Schools can share events more easily in a MAT/geographic area
  • They can be more targeted and specific for certain years groups/key stages/interests as there could be several small events rather than one large one
  • They can be recorded so pieces can be reused/revisited
  • There are better metrics about attendance/popular organisations/students feedback etc
  • It is possible to use the event as a starting point for an ongoing virtual relationship with providers/employers for both students and schools.
  • Once a process is established the time and cost involved in delivering a fair should be less than for a physical event.

Against this, there are the potential downsides of potential low engagement and IT access, both of which can be mitigated with an appropriate before and after process and use of school facilities.

Useful Resources

There are a number of platforms currently available, including:

Like to Be 

Learn Live 

Novva tech

There are a number of pros and cons to using these platforms, for more information please contact your Enterprise Coordinator.

There is always the option to create your own Careers Fair using a combination of resources such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google, Youtube, Vimeo etc but these can take up a lot of time and can be difficult to manage.

Do these meet the CEC definition of meaningful?

External platforms will provide data on attendance and usage; you should be able to get numbers for school website and self organised Zoom/teams workshops. They allow one to one live chat during the event and follow up to queries afterwards. They are GDPR compliant. Small workshops allow participation; harder to be interactive for large groups but still allow chat facility. Non interactive materials loaded on a website will not count.

Whatever the method of delivery, students will need to complete preparation and follow-up activities (incl. worksheets) to ensure that the event is meaningful and the learning outcomes you identify are met.


Virtual Employer Encounters in the Curriculum

For potential speakers (live, virtual or recorded ) please see the links below: 

https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/schools-and-colleges/

https://learnliveuk.com/careers/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/careers

https://icould.com/

https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/supporting-young-people-virtually-covid-19/

https://www.liketobe.org/

https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors/find-a-stem-ambassador

https://www.speakersforschools.org/

Inspiration Learning Group  offer a range of enterprise and challenge events but please note that there is a charge for these. However, if you go to their Free Resources tab you will find a range of challenges which you could use in class supported by local volunteers. Their web link is https://www.inspirationallearninggroup.co.uk/

PWC offer a wide range of resources and activities at https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/news/pwc-supporting-schools-and-students.

In addition, WORKS at Bristol City Council already delivers live and recorded sessions to 17 schools within Bristol and has recorded resources open for all schools and education professionals. This will also include virtual WEX in the future see https://www.bristol.works/or contact Hayley Galpin at WORKS on Hayley.Galpin@bristol.gov.uk 

Virtual Work Experience

Please note that at the moment, due to safeguarding issues, unless you are able to run VWEX from school with adult supervision and recording, we would suggest that you should not use the virtual opportunities currently available for under 16s. 

Do remember that WEX doesn’t necessarily have to follow the traditional model of 3-5 consecutive full days; it is possible to deliver a very meaningful experience of the workplace while class room based over a longer period of time in short bursts although ideally a physical visit of some sort is also involved. In other words, work that you’re doing to integrate careers into the curriculum for benchmarks 4&5 can also satisfy the criteria for WEX BM6 too. 

 In their simplest form, the criteria for meaningful WEX are that there is direct and interactive engagement with a number of employees, there is a challenge/task/project involved and the students receive constructive feedback on their work ideally through a live presentation/Q&A session. It may be that the most effective approach is a blend of face to face and virtual where this is possible. 

When done well, virtual WEX has the great advantage of addressing physical distance and travel issues; can help break through social barriers and give larger numbers of students access to popular employers/sectors. 

Opportunities labelled Virtual WEX seem to be available at 3 levels: 

  1. A full blown replacement for a face to face placement, lasting 3-5 days for several hours/day with a range of live encounters with employees, project work and a final presentation. This is a tremendous opportunity, but the number of employers able to deliver this well is limited, so it is unlikely to be available for all. 
  2. VWEX ‘light’ – employers provide a welcome, a project/challenge brief which teachers then support either in a concentrated period or spread within the normal timetable with a group presentation to the employer at the end. This definitely overlaps with best practise at BM4 & 5. 

  3. Access to a range of recorded speakers/virtual tours but no live interaction. This alone doesn’t really meet the requirements of meaningful engagement although can be very useful to build understanding of jobs, sectors, work skills etc and can become meaningful if topped and tailed with classroom activities. 

There are some offers from providers on the market or you may wish to work with a local employer to develop something for specific students. The Hub may be able to support you with this later in the year as part of the Workforce for the Future initiative. CEC is also working closely with Speakers for Schools. 

Meanwhile, the following resources are available:

https://barclayslifeskills.com/educators/support/help-your-students-get-work-experience-from-home/
a range of materials, links to videos and lesson plans. There is an excellent interactive VWEX package that can be used within a lesson which allows students to choose questions to ask/answers to give set within a real workplace. 

https://www.speakersforschools.org/experience-2/vwex/
Speakers for Schools is developing a range of VWEX opportunities both full blown and ‘light’. Their brochure is very helpful in understanding what is involved. You can find it here. 

You will find other offers of virtual WEX at https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/information/a-job-or-career/finding-virtual-work-experience. 

Bristol Works (Bristol City Council) are currently working on a number of pilots, currently targeted at the most vulnerable students in Bristol. This includes virtual careers delivery and VWEX You can get a flavour hereor contact Hayley directly on works@bristol.gov.uk for more information.

If you are working with employers who are keen to go down the virtual route, you can either refer them to Speakers for Schools (sharing the brochure above) or direct them to Bristol WORKS for helpful guidance works@bristol.gov.uk 


Virtual Mock Interviews

Below is a list of downloadable documents you may find useful when delivering Virtual Mock Interviews:


Employers brief for Virtual Mock Interviews

Sample Mock Interview Questions & Feedback

Resources to support Mock Interviews

Evaluation thoughts for Virtual Mock Interviews

Curriculum Vitae template

Virtual Mock Interview Pilot Project Case Study