106 Communications

6th Sense

Student engagement starts with stories…

January 2016 | Employer Brand, Engineering, Storytelling, Student engagement

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Recently we helped Laing O’Rourke to develop an early talent engagement strategy.  I say ‘helped’ because it was a collaboration with so many different people.  First up, rather than conducting the usual EVP research (all a bit tired), we prefer to hold storytelling workshops.  So, that meant a series of 2-hour sessions with Laing O’Rourke school and college leavers, scholars (interns) and graduates.

Through a range of storytelling exercises, we got them to think about how they got interested in construction, the role family and friends played, what has happened to them along the way and what the future might hold.  We went so much deeper than ‘no two days are the same’ and ‘it’s an unbelievable experience’.

We found some amazing stories.

We heard from girls who grew up with Lego rather than Barbies; one who built a trampoline in her wardrobe; another who went to university to study radiology (to please her parents) only to give it up to take up a BTEC and fulfil her passion of going into construction.

One school leaver had the gumption to go up to a Laing O’Rourke director in a restaurant and introduce himself – and then went on to successfully apply.

Another travelled from Afghanistan (via Pakistan, Iran and Holland) and is the first person in his family to get an education.

And another was told that he would be wasting his parents’ money if he went into engineering, by his Physics teacher!!

We heard about the influence of parents and family members, the role of teachers in guiding and opening up opportunities (or not), strange coincidences that brought them into the industry, and the sheer joy of doing something that makes such an impact on the world around us.

So much of it was different from what you might traditionally expect – because it went beyond the here and now, and looked at the journey to Laing O’Rourke rather than just the first few months.  It was something personal rather than just a employer brand projection – and that means it connects more with our audience.

Alex Walton, Head of Early Talent at Laing O’Rourke, recently spoke of the process of revamping the Laing O’Rourke offer.  You can read it here on page 22 of the Graduate Recruiter magazine.

To find out about how we use storytelling to engage your next generation of graduates, school leavers and apprentices, get in touch.  

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