Building a successful recruitment campaign for your apprenticeship programmes can be a daunting task. Some firms, however, consistently get it right. Through our annual School Leaver Awards, we’ve gained some invaluable insights into the elements that can make a recruitment campaign stand out above the rest.

There’s plenty to learn about successful recruitment campaigns from the winners of this year’s School Leaver Awards, from the traits of an appealing campaign to the importance of a strong online presence. So, without further ado, what exactly makes a good apprenticeship recruitment campaign?

What makes for an appealing and innovative recruitment campaign?

This year, Unilever took home the award for Best Recruitment Campaign at the awards ceremony. The judges were impressed with many of the qualities of Unilever’s apprentice recruitment campaign, and generally, what one judge, Robert West, described as the company’s “genuine commitment to increasing apprenticeship opportunities”. 

One of the main traits of Unilever’s campaign that led to its great success was the broad range of avenues that the company used to increase awareness of their opportunities among school leavers. Unilever held 79 outreach events last year and mobilised 70 Apprentice Ambassadors, who shared their experiences with potential apprentices and helped them start on their own journeys. The judges were similarly impressed with ‘Unilever Unpacked’— a campaign which told the story of the people behind some of Britain’s best-known brands and showcased the diversity of career opportunities available at the company. Unilever’s online activity—particularly the reach of its YouTube videos and the quality of the company’s content on social media—was also singled out as one of the key factors leading to the campaign’s success. 

Marks & Spencer was also a winner at the School Leaver Awards 2019, securing the Most Innovative Recruitment Campaign award, which highlights another crucial trait in a great campaign: creativity. The ‘Future Needs’ campaign, which challenged school leavers to create futuristic products and services for M&S, was praised by judges for “demonstrating originality in concept, creativity in design, value for the applicant and results”. The campaign—which attracted a large number of students and led to 924 new applications to M&S’s Level 4 Retail Management Apprenticeship—allowed students to gain exposure before M&S and other potential employers and to expand their professional portfolio. 

Some of the key elements leading to a gainful recruitment campaign include reaching potential apprentices through a wide range of channels and engaging them in creative ways. Besides helping companies organise a variety of engagement events to attract school leavers, at AllAboutGroup we can also help boost recruitment campaigns with our targeted emails service. With over 200,000 active users in our database, we target your key messages to candidates that meet your criteria, increasing the number of quality applications your apprenticeship programmes receive.  

The importance of a good website

The School Leaver Awards also foregrounded the importance of a good website in developing a firm’s online presence and bolstering recruitment campaigns. This year’s winner of the Best Website award was BDO. Both visually appealing and clear, BDO’s early careers website details the company’s available apprenticeship programmes and an apprentice’s potential career progression in the company, drawing from testimonials from past and current apprentices along the way. 

An engaging and easily navigable website like BDO’s can make a difference in the number of applications an apprenticeship programme receives. Both seeing the experiences of past apprentices and the company’s training opportunities can convince unsure school leavers of the benefits of a programme. 

And there are plenty of ways to boost the number of visits to a good website. For instance, our employer profiles on our websites are the first place many of your candidates will come to learn about your company and the opportunities it offers. Detailing the strengths of your programmes and the benefits of working for your company, these profiles are also one of the main places from which we’ll redirect candidates to your own careers website to boost the applications you receive. 

Recruiting in the modern age: the power of social media

As Unilever’s example highlights, social media is another invaluable tool when it comes to setting up a successful recruitment campaign. The Best Social Media award went to EY this year. Producing quality content, particularly in the form of videos, and featuring a number of current apprentices and school leavers, EY’s social media makes its opportunities highly attractive to young prospective apprentices. Like other companies’ successful recruitment campaigns, EY emphasises the positive experiences of other young apprentices on social media to highlight the appeal of its programmes. 

At AllAboutGroup, we can increase the impact of your campaigns on social media. Our retargeted ads, for instance, can remarket your careers opportunities on other platforms (such as Facebook) to users who have previously visited our websites. We can target specific users based on your criteria and help your career opportunities consistently stay at the top of potential candidates’ minds. 

Overall, the best recruitment campaigns are generally those that are creative enough to engage school leavers, that detail the future successes of their apprentices and that attempt to reach school leavers through multiple avenues. If you would like to have your companies’ achievements recognised at the School Leaver Awards 2020, or if you would like to learn more about our services, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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