Staying Connected during COVID
The School's undergraduate student society, CEVSOC aims to provide students with personal, professional and social development. However, the current COVID-19 situation motivated the team to re-evaluate how to maintain connection with students over the internet and how to continue meaningful engagement with industry.
Rising to the challenge required creative thinking - driving a rapid transition to a digital meeting platform which enabled CEVSOC, led by their Careers Development Event Manager Kayla Chaoui, to run their first online careers development event with School Industry Partners Laing O'Rourke in April. 'A Conversation with Laing O'Rourke' was an interactive and Q&A centred live stream that allowed students to engage with some of the company's most successful young engineers. A brief presentation, sharing key insights about Laing O'Rourke and their Internship and Graduate Development Programs, was followed by a series of questions, each receiving invaluable responses from five committed representatives.
In addition, three live stream attendees were selected to participate in one-on-one networking session with a Laing O'Rourke engineer. William, a Civil Engineering and Commerce student, who was selected to speak to Nerim, a Graduate Engineer and UNSW alumni, shared his experience:
"I would like to thank the members of CEVSOC and the representatives from Laing O'Rourke for organising the Q&A session on Monday and the networking session with Nerim today. I really appreciate the opportunity and I found both the panellists and Nerim highly insightful and helpful. I think this was a great initiative and is an effective way of addressing the current social distancing restraints. It has given me clarity and motivation to work in the industry and particularly at Laing O'Rourke."
Three subsequent 'Conversations' were held in June, a second one with Laing O'Rourke and two with other School Industry Partners -Turnbull Engineering and Aurecon attracting 30 and 50 students respectively. The format has been very successful and well received by students with extraordinarily high levels of engagement. Digital delivery of events has allowed more flexibility with regards to industry availability, scheduling, and question submission and moderation. As each event is focussed on a singular industry partner, the students get a more in-depth understanding of the opportunities available at the company and the experiences of the people that work there.
CEVSOC will continue to use the various online platforms for the duration of 2020 to engage with students and industry partners, aiming to host a student event almost every week to maintain an online presence with their community. Their Term 3 schedule includes a student/industry Industrial Training online event as well as an Industry Diversity session in November. The team is also keen to grow their 'Conversation' livestream series and would like to invite industry partners to contact them about the possibility of future online events – email@example.com.