All the employers had current or upcoming year out industrial placement roles available and were able to discuss these with the students, who moved around in small groups. These groups were split by course discipline, in order to ensure they met with the appropriate employers and that the employers spoke to students best suited to the roles available. Time was given at the end of the networking to enable employers to follow up individually with students and for students to talk more with the employers.
Groups typically spent 20 minutes with each employer, ensuring each student had time to talk to the employer and to ‘sell themselves’. Feedback from the employers was that this was more beneficial than a more typical ‘speed networking’ event, as it allowed more time with the students and enabled identification of potential applicants for the placement roles available. Chris Irwin from JBA Bentley said ‘I found the event to be well organised and the format worked great for both the employer and the students, as it allowed both parties to engage in an informal but professional manner. I would more than happily recommend Leeds Beckett to continue this approach’.
Students fed back that they liked not feeling rushed or like they were ‘competing’ with their fellow group members. They also appreciated having the opportunity to speak to employers who had roles available, in a more personalised, focused setting. One student said that this was ‘the best event of this nature’ that she has ever been to, having previously felt quite lost in a larger careers fair setting.
All the employers encouraged several students to apply for roles with them and provided excellent feedback regarding the calibre of students at the event. They all indicated they had enjoyed the format of the event and that they would be keen to come back and meet more of our students at similar events in the future.
All in all, this was a very successful event and should generate numerous placements for our students. Given the extremely positive feedback from all involved, this is an event that we will definitely run again next year.