Media Design School has joined forces with a number of higher education institutions – including all eight of New Zealand’s universities – to organise the nation’s first ever virtual careers expo, as major career expos are cancelled and postponed across the country due to COVID-19.
Showcasing over 40 institutions, the Virtual Careers Expo will take place on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 June and is expected to attract thousands of students, parents and careers advisors from across New Zealand.
Participating institutions include Media Design School, AUT, the University of Auckland, Otago University and Massey University, in addition to a host of New Zealand’s top vocational providers, private tertiary colleges, polytechnics and wananga.
The intention is to offer an experience similar to what school leavers would encounter at the annual careers expos in their cities, as well as at the careers evenings that would normally be hosted by their schools.
Says Ruth Cooper, country director of Media Design School: “The guiding principle here is that this year’s school leavers will be experiencing a significant gap in information access because of cancellations and delays.
“Normally, the students would attend an expo and be presented with the majority of New Zealand’s higher education institutions exhibiting. The students would walk around, guided by their interests, engaging with providers and having constructive conversations about their futures.
“But now, we will have a platform that allows those interactions to take place online. Not just that, it will have a national focus, offering a more diverse range of options than they would perhaps encounter at a regional expo.”
The same concept was delivered in Australia last month by Media Design School’s partner institution, Torrens University, which attracted more than 20,000 registrations from across the country.
This iteration, delivered by Media Design School (in partnership with Torrens University), will see attendees enter a virtual ‘exhibition hall’. They will be able to browse through the participating providers, visit their virtual stands and engage in live chats with representatives from each institution.
Just like at a real-life careers expo, they will have the opportunity to attend scheduled presentations. Each provider will host a 20-minute webinar session, where attendees can participate in a live Q&A.
Cooper said students and their parents will have rich experiences exploring campuses online: “They will be able to interact and view video content. They will get a real feel for the institutions and their programme offerings, just as they would be able to do in a physical expo. The ability to assess career options, moving seamlessly from institution to institution in a single space, cannot be underestimated.”
For a generation of school leavers who are considered to be ‘digital natives’, there’s a strong feeling among providers that this event will set a precedent for the future.
Says Himanshu Khanna, director of industry, innovation, and employability at Torrens and Media Design School: “This is the new normal. COVID-19 has been a major upheaval for educators, but it’s driven amazing innovation and agility too.
“Around the world, many students are engaging in virtual learning experiences for the very first time. It’s only fitting that the tools for making these crucial decisions be accessible online as well.”
A list of participating institutions is available on the Virtual Careers Expo landing page here.