Employer-partners take career learning opportunities for students online with 2021 Virtual Career Fair

This year’s Ashesi career fair, as with many university activities over the past year, looked different. There were no groups of students gathered around recruiter desks across campus and no speakers booming around the Archer Cornfield Courtyard. Instead, there were virtual desks, chat rooms, and Zoom sessions between students and employers over three days.

Despite the loss of in-person interactions this year, the Career Services team at Ashesi worked with partners to provide a comparable experience for recruiters and students. The virtual event was the first of its kind since Ashesi started career fairs in 2006. Overall, sixty-three organisations joined the fair, representing fifteen industries across five countries. Banking and Finance, Education, Technology, and Oil and Gas were the most represented industries. Sponsors for this year’s fair were Tullow Oil GhanaHollardTotal Petroleum and the University of Nottingham.

The fair provided a convening platform and allowed employers to integrate their virtual meeting tools and platforms for sessions with students. Over the three days, some 3000 virtual meetings were held, spanning one-on-one sessions between students, employers and alumni, as well as some group sessions.

“Just as we did for all our student-employer engagement programmes since COVID-19 struck, we had to think creatively about hosting a useful career fair,” said Abigail Welbeck, Director of Career Services at Ashesi. “I believe the virtual event has been a great learning opportunity for us and our stakeholders. And with the pandemic forcing many employers to pivot their recruitment strategies and plans, we are grateful to the more than sixty employer partners who joined this fair and opened up opportunities for students.”
Despite the pandemic in the past year, a projected 25% of students participated in internships, with almost 41% doing so remotely and 35% having a hybrid experience. Recruiters rated students as having performed exceptionally across Ashesi’s key learning outcomes, with technological competence, communications and civic engagement being the highest-rated skills. With 88% of participating students having reported measured career progress from last year’s Career Fair as well, the Career Services Office hopes to see more of the same this year as well.

“We are highly pleased with the partnership we have with Ashesi,” said Kwame Afreh, Senior Human Resources Partner at Tullow Oil Ghana. “Students we have recruited from Ashesi always come across as industry-ready and display a good set of foundational skills necessary for a fast-paced oil and gas environment like the one we have at Tullow.”