The importance of school leaver events in raising awareness of apprenticeship opportunities
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

According to the 2018 Schools Study, conducted by Trendence UK, only 8% of school students intend to start an apprenticeship after they leave school, compared to 71% who plan to go straight to university. Students overwhelmingly said that they don’t receive enough information about apprenticeships, with 52% of students stating that they felt they hadn’t received enough information to make an informed decision, compared to only 17% who felt they had. There has never been a more important time for employers to get information about their apprenticeships out there. 

The ability to meet and network with prospective employers at a school leaver event can lay the best foundations for young people in terms of future employment opportunities and relationships. Face-to-face interactions with spotlight companies increases the visibility of apprenticeships and can mark the start of the ‘candidate experience’. 

Why is this important? 

Hands-on outreach is the way forward for the growth of apprenticeships. Not only can an event operate as a positive platform to highlight career opportunities – particularly in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines – it also bridges the gap between school leavers and big-name companies. It’s through these events that conversations between students and employers are started and, from the perspective of student engagement, ‘connection’ becomes the watchword of the day. Lightbulb moments for school leavers are only triggered when they recognise what can be achieved down the apprenticeship pathway – something that a specialised event can achieve.

How has Google benefited from a school leaver event?

Google partnered with TARGETcareers FUTUREWISE to showcase the exciting apprenticeship opportunities that are available to school leavers and to raise awareness of careers in STEM. The tech giant teamed up with CGI, Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs and IBM to engage school leavers with an interest in STEM disciplines. Students from a network of academies and local schools were pre-screened by TARGETcareers FUTUREWISE and those considering apprenticeships were invited to a school leaver apprenticeship event at the Google offices in London. 

Attendees took part in 30-minute workshops with each organisation. Each organisation pitched their school leaver opportunities and brought along current apprentices to add ‘insider value’; giving valuable insight to school leavers looking for first-hand experience and success stories. 

We asked Google…
1) why they decided to host this event: 

‘With apprenticeships being new to Google, we wanted to give participants a chance to experience meeting the team and the environment in the office so they can make informed decisions about the path to choose. The fact that we and other employers were able to have meaningful, face-to-face interactions with potential candidates gives us a chance to learn what they look for and answer their questions, as well as for them to be informed from the source.’

2) why they ran the event with TARGETcareers FUTUREWISE: 

‘We've had a great partnership with TARGETcareers ever since we launched apprenticeships back in 2016 and, because of it, we have been able to reach a variety of groups, from school students, to teachers, career advisors, parents etc. They helped us create and deliver this first Apprenticeships Career Fair event, hosted at Google, as well as connect us to other companies on a similar journey as us.’

3) what they were able to achieve from the event:

‘The best part has been creating meaningful connections with the participants and really getting to know them. Beyond the branding aspect, we offered insights sessions to students and hopefully these helped them decide what they want to do next and whether an apprenticeship is the right option. Our event aimed to bring together students, parents and companies, and the sense of excitement in the room on the day suggested we were able to provide a great experience for the participants!’

The Takeaway?

National Apprenticeship Week is an important platform for the bright future of apprenticeships in the UK. Organisations find success through their events and such a direct approach is shown to form those all-critical connections between school leavers and alternative career paths.

To find out more about our events, contact Paul Clarke via or call 020 7654 7237.

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