Creating an equitable careers fair experience
Tips for career development practitioners
- Facilitate a virtual careers fair experience as well as an in-person session. This will ensure you cater for regional and remote students, mature students, and students with sensory processing differences.
- For in-person careers fairs, offer a Quiet 30 (or 60) initiative. This means setting aside a 30- or 60-minute period with reduced lighting and background noise. Start loud activations and entertainment after the Quiet 30 (or 60). For virtual fairs, consider having a period during which students can book a time to speak with an employer. This avoids queuing for unknown periods of time, which can trigger anxiety.
- Provide careers fair tips and resources to students in advance. Include advice on opening a conversation, asking questions and creating an elevator pitch. Advise students on how to research employers of interest and how to follow up after the event. Consider appointing someone as the personalised careers fair planner for students who live with disability or a chronic health condition, or who are neurodivergent.
- Ensure that help desks and information points are prominent and easy to find, both in-person and virtually.
- Include a ‘chill out’ zone so that students can take a break from the hustle and bustle. This is a quiet space available to students throughout the fair (not just the Quiet 30 or 60 period). Ensure that it is clearly marked with signage at the venue and is highlighted on maps. For more information, refer to this Chill Out Zone guide published by the City of Mandurah.
- Check the venue for accessibility including toilets, ramps, lifts, parking and braille room signage, and ensure that the venue is assistance-dog friendly.
- Use captioning on all screen displays around a venue and online. For live presentations, offer Auslan (the recognised sign language of the Australian Deaf community) interpretation or incorporate live captioning on screen. For further information, please refer to the Auslan Signbank website.
- Consider web accessibility guidelines and screen readers when acquiring a platform for your virtual fair. Information regarding digital accessibility is available on the Digital Transformation Agency website.
- Design virtual booths to include broad information that is accessible in a number of ways. Booths should enable students to explore the company and possible jobs and to download resources. Chat bots or text-based interaction options are an ideal inclusion. If the platform only offers virtual meeting links via Teams or Zoom, consider ways in which “group chats” or one-on-one conversations can be offered.
- Create a student manual for both in-person and virtual careers fairs, with step-by-step instructions and screenshots for navigating the venue or using the platform.
The above content is available for download as a Word and/or PDF document.