Parents and teachers have the greatest influence on school leavers’ career decisions, but they’re not always aware of all the options available—or on the same page as students. Even in terms of brand awareness, there’s often a significant mismatch between what these groups know. So, how can brands increase awareness of school leaver programmes among both young people and their influencers?

What school leavers, parents and teachers know

Between 2015 and 2018, AllAboutResearch conducted a series of studies to analyse how aware students, parents, teachers and careers advisers are when it comes to 200 major companies in the UK. The study was conducted in two different ways: participants were either asked to identify companies from a list (aided awareness) or to name five companies that offer school leaver jobs off the top of their heads, with no prompting. Both of these methods—and particularly our Top of the Mind research—provided invaluable insights.

The data we have gathered over the past three years can tell us a lot about the successes of companies’ recruitment campaigns, and more broadly, about what students and their influencers know or are interested in. We’ve used it to create a tool that compares awareness of different companies’ brands among several groups, which suggests that there’s at least some disparity between these groups’ knowledge of school leaver options. 

Some of the most well-known brands or organisations in 2017 included Barclays, BT, the NHS, Rolls-Royce and Tesco, which were named by quite a few students, parents and teachers in our Top of the Mind study. When these participants were asked to identify companies from a list, these companies were still popular, and generally, all groups were aware of a significant percentage of the brands.

However, when we take a closer look at the Top of the Mind study, it becomes clear that—with the exception of some of the bigger brands that all groups knew about—there are subtle differences in the industries and types of companies that students and their influencers think of first when looking for employers. 

For instance, while in 2017 students were quick to think of fast food or bakery chains (like Burger King, Greggs and KFC) as potential school leaver employers, many parents thought of the public sector, naming the Civil Service and the Ministry of Defence as possible employers when no school leavers did. So while these chains have advertised their school leaver options well to students, they were not the first employers parents would think of. But despite some subtle differences between school leavers and parents’ results, these two groups seemed to be aware of a good deal of companies off the top of their minds (albeit not the majority of the 200 we were considering).

Teachers, however, seemed to have less of a breadth of knowledge to do with school leaver opportunities than both students and parents. Although the sample of teachers participating in this study was smaller than that of the other groups, they recall significantly fewer potential employers. Generally, these were popular organisations like the NHS, or large companies like EY or Deloitte. In total, they only named ten employers in 2017, whereas students were able to name 64. 

How to make your brand stand out

It seems, then, that there is a disparity in what our three groups consider potential employers, and many brands simply go unnoticed (or at least are not among the first five to be remembered). It is important that school leavers remember your brand and opportunities, but it’s also essential that parents and teachers know about them, since they are the most likely to be helping school leavers make their career decisions. So what are some ways to increase awareness of your brand among students, parents and teachers alike?

At AllAboutGroup, we host a range of events that can help you make your company’s opportunities stand out above the rest. Parents’ Information Days, for instance, allow you to engage with parents face-to-face and present your apprenticeship or school leaver programmes to them. To make your brand memorable, it’s essential that you engage with influencers at bespoke, well-planned events. 

We’re also experts at connecting employers with schools to foster relationships and understanding. At events like our School Leaver Conference, you can find out about some of the latest research into the school leaver market, while also exchanging ideas with other employers, training providers and careers advisers in attendance. 

And when it comes to publicising your brand to both influencers and school leavers alike, there’s nothing quite like the School Leaver Awards. Not only will the Awards provide you with useful insights into the quality of your apprenticeship programmes, they will also help you make them better known to students and parents by providing national recognition for them.

It is a challenge to make your school leaver opportunities widely known to both students and to the people that will help them construct their future careers. And yet, it is crucial that you do if you are looking to get the best applicants. If you would like to know more about how AllAboutGroup can help you achieve this, or if you’d like to get involved, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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