With the help of Ford and Unifrog, students are building their skills and getting into top work experience placements.
How it started
In 2022, Unifrog began partnering with employers to bring students closer to the world of work. The more opportunities students have to talk with employers and people in the jobs they’re interested in, the more informed their decisions will be. This means students will be happier with and more confident in the choices they’ve made, and it’ll naturally lead to better retention at university and in the world of work.
One of the ways we’ve been connecting students with employers is through our online skills development workshops, where students get a flavour of an industry and can take part in an activity that helps them build one of the key skills needed in that industry.
Caroline Collins, one of our employer partnerships managers, plays a direct role in making workshops as successful as possible for both students and employers.
Her top tips for employers looking to deliver a skills development workshop are:
- Showcase your stars:
Representation is really important to our students which is why we always recommend featuring current apprentices or graduates to inspire students about their future.
- Make it interactive:
Unifrog will help you plan your workshop to include online quizzes and word clouds to encourage student participation from the start.
- Pick a task students can get excited about:
The webinar is great for situating and breaking down the task but it is really the individual task element that helps students develop their skills. Identifying a skill important to your future workforce and then developing a task that is a likely situation for students to face are the best first steps—Unifrog will, of course, support you with this.
- Award a prize:
Building skills is of course a brilliant draw for students but what makes them more likely to submit the task is having a fantastic prize. Be creative: try goody bags, work experience, a trip on a helicopter—the world is your oyster!
How it’s going
In February 2023, we ran our first ever skills development workshop in collaboration with Ford. 125 students signed up to test their engineering skills and put themselves forward to win a week of work experience in June.
Ford chose problem-solving as their skill and, after hearing about engineering and design at the company from apprentices, students were given one week to design one element of a realistic car of the future. The apprentices encouraged students to think creatively and realistically, while also considering the impact of their design on the climate or how the part they designed could be produced sustainably.
56 submissions later, three students were awarded a week of work experience with Ford where they shadowed engineers at work, worked in the electrical lab, and simulated test driving cars!
Caroline believes that the workshop task combined with hearing about unusual roles at the company and hearing directly from apprentices is what made the workshop so successful.
What the students thought
What was the highlight of your work experience with Ford?
“Emissions – where I learnt about Dynos and how emissions are tested. And the hands-on activities in the Electrical Lab where we made wires.”
“Driving on the simulation equipment in the Electrical Lab and having the chance to chat with professionals from all the departments.”
“Driving the car on the rolling simulation and following the tracer on the screen.”
How did Unifrog and Ford’s workshop prepare you for your work experience and your next steps?
“It helped me develop my skills by showing how you need to problem-solve and come up with solutions to make testing more productive, and to work more efficiently within your department to make the best products and provide the best service. It also showed me that I would be very interested in a degree apprenticeship in this field.”
“It enriched my understanding of the automotive industry and the types of engineers / specialists required which gave me a better idea of what to expect on work experience.”
“It helped me understand that problem-solving skills are so important in this industry as well as adaptability skills to help you move with the times.”
Interested in supporting students in upskilling in key areas and gaining insights into your company? Get in touch with us here to discuss running your very own skills development workshop with Unifrog.