Wednesday marked the start of a new era for us in how Jobs Fairs are delivered during these Covid-times. Chris Mitchell and the Employment Support Team have worked closely with the DWP and the National Careers Service to plan and deliver our first ever remote event, all online, using Twitter and Facebook as the main media to connect everyone. Chris has kindly written a short report about this incredible experiment:
‘The aim was to use the immediacy of Twitter to replace the face-to-face Questions and Answers that were a key feature of our ‘old-style’ Jobs Fairs. Our Corporate Communications colleagues helped us by trailing the event a few days in advance and it also allowed Proud to Care colleagues to raise their profile to a wider world.
Between us, DWP colleagues and I had assembled 62 employers who agreed to either Tweet or Facebook their vacancies or asked us to do it for them. By the end of the fair, 39 had done so, with a couple coming along afterwards to get a degree of separation from all the other employers. A further 13 Training and Support organisations joined in the Twitter fun including colleagues from Future Bright and WORKS who are offering support for people who need it after the fair.
We asked employers to tweet and post their jobs on Facebook during the hour between 2pm and 3pm and that hour flew by! My sincere thanks go to Lucy Perrott, Emily Howe and Roseanna Morrell for their enthusiastic behind-the-scenes, tweeting, re-tweeting and for copying jobs onto Facebook. It all worked incredibly smoothly due to the constant focus and hard team-work from these three.
From Twitter, we had 18,000 impressions and we normally have 1000 a day. The DWP Twitter account had 35,500 impressions so combined, that’s a lot of interest! Our Facebook account saw a 1088% increase in views.
By using the hashtag #WestOfEnglandJobsFair, anyone can search for the Tweets and follow up with those employers and this will be useful for those without regular internet access or data.
We’ve had some great feedback from employers and providers alike:
“Thank you very much, I saw the tweet yesterday, it was a great job fair.” Basma, Alef Care
“Thank you for your support, I had fun! The hour flew by!! Will keep you updated if we get any applicants. We used it an awareness campaign too, to get our name out there for the Bristol market to see! 😊 Thank you all for arranging and for the likes and retweets” Becky, Agincare
“Congratulations on the virtual jobs fair yesterday. I had a number of clients who got involved with it and they found it very useful.” Stuart, BMHES
Both DWP and I are now asking for feedback from the employers who joined in so that we know what to change next time and that will arrive over the next week or so. We are also contacting those who had planned to join in but didn’t, to see what we could do to help them next time. We are already considering a ‘How to – on the day’ flyer.
What have we learned from the fair?
- A good range of employers keeps us busy in re-tweeting and liking, we don’t necessarily need such a huge number of ‘bookings.’ Normally we expect some to drop in unexpectedly and some to drop out.
- Those employers who joined in enjoyed themselves and this will give us a good base for next time.
- In order to keep it flying by, we need at least three fantastic colleagues and this too, will give us a good base for next time.
- We will ask the employers to post on Facebook as well as Twitter so we can concentrate on re-tweeting and liking rather than copy & pasting!
Both Paul Ellard from the DWP and I have also massively improved our Social Media knowledge – it’s a work in progress!
This type of event was our first attempt at reproducing our traditional Jobs Fairs which enable people, especially those who lack in confidence, to break the ice with employers and to hold a two-way conversation. We now know that Twitter (from behind a screen where necessary) can do this for them, with a bit of training. It doesn’t solve the digital divide but could be the best way, with a bit of support, for the next few months. Overall, it worked fantastically well and once we get the feedback, we will start planning the next!
I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Chris and the team for all their hard work in organising this event. It takes great courage to develop and trial a completely new model of delivery, with all the risks involved. I know this is true across the ESL ‘family’ and it is so impressive that everyone is so committed and tenancious in finding new ways to keep Bristol learning and earning!