6 Tips To Prepare Trade School Students For Placement
The job outlook in the upcoming decade for skilled trades is growing, but students need more than an education to place in their field of study. Here are 6 things to do BEFORE a student graduates to prepare for placement.
Discussions of a global recession are rocking news outlets, but the job outlook for skilled trades remains high.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated total employment across all industries is expected to grow from 15.6 million to 16.1 million — a 10.8% increase in employment opportunities. On a larger scale, total jobs are expected to jump from 153.5 million to 165.4 million over the 2020–30 decade. Narrow the scope to jobs in the trades, and you’ll discover the most growth in the healthcare, construction, and personal care fields.
At the same time, vocational schools are facing new regulations surrounding gainful employment. In light of these regulations, schools should continuously improve their placement program to ensure students are placed into lucrative jobs, quickly.
Here are the 6 things your school should do BEFORE a student graduates to prepare for placement.
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Prepare students for placement early
When a student first walks through your door, they may have a very specific goal in mind and know exactly how to get there. Other students may know that they want to enter a specific field without knowing all the job opportunities within that field. Welders, for example, may not know whether they want to work on a pipeline, an oil rig, or an aircraft.
Counseling students about career opportunities on day one helps them understand their future opportunities and keep them excited about their education. If they have an early idea about what they want to do, you can connect them with former students who are professionals in that field for mentorship and guidance.
In career education, it’s all about what you can do. When students, particularly trades and beauty and wellness students, are entering the workforce, they may be asked for a portfolio of work to back up the skills they learned in school. Help them build a portfolio by implementing a skills tracking software that requires an image of the completed skill. Upon graduation, they’ll have a library of images that they can use to show prospective employers that they can walk the walk.
While hard skills are the most important component, employers still want to see students demonstrate soft skills like time management and professionalism.
Have a resume and interview workshop
It’s possible that many students haven’t had much practice writing a resume and aren’t accustomed to framing their experiences to match an employer’s job description. By offering a workshop dedicated to helping students showcase their skills, their chances of placement will already increase significantly.
But it doesn’t stop at the resume.
Even the most confident people can clam up during an interview process. Hold mock interviews and help them improve their interviewing skills with the STAR method—situation, task, action and result. When an interviewer asks a question, students should highlight a specific situation relevant to the question, discuss how the solved it, and showcase the result of their action. Work with students to come up with examples they can use for common interview questions to help them shine.
Set up digital networking channels
Modern students are digital natives and may likely already have social media channels, but different industries require different networking channels.
In the beauty and wellness industry, Instagram and TikTok are a great way for students to showcase their work and build a client following. Students should create separate accounts from their personal accounts to ensure professionalism. In the allied health field, LinkedIn is a better option for students looking for a new role.
But social media isn’t the best channel for every industry. In the hard trades, for example, recruiters don’t typically seek our potential employees on social media. Instead, tradespeople should set up a profile on a platform purpose-built for the hard trades like BlueRecruit. BlueRecruit matches skilled tradespeople to hiring companies based on experience and certifications. It’s easy for students to set up a profile and free for students and schools to use.
Teach entry-level entrepreneurship and business management
Trade schools are one of the best paths to entrepreneurship in our country. Many beauty and wellness professionals immediately go into business for themselves, retaining clients even as they move from salon to salon. Plumbers, construction workers, and other hard trades workers can also go into business for themselves, servicing homes and businesses in their community.
Giving students basic lessons in entrepreneurship and business management will give them a leg up in finding a job or starting a business of their own.
Educate students on short and long-term resources
Many schools continue to provide placement support well after graduation, but students can’t take advantage of the help if they don’t know it exists. Make sure that students are aware of their short- and long-term resources, and reinforce the messaging frequently with alumni communications.
Prepare your students for placement
Ensuring your students get placed quickly is about more than just the skills they learn inside the classroom. Placement programs can make a huge difference when trying to help students get placed in their field of study.
CourseKey helps over 300 campuses across the country manage the entire student lifecycle, from enrollment to placement. Request a demo to learn more.