Seven Steps to Having “Guerrilla Career Hot Spots” in Your College


Jan 9, 2022, 6:00

Providers should be more creative to inspire students in the workforce, writes Andrew Bernard

Imagine standing in line for a sandwich and getting a little push to become a nutritionist.

Or while waiting for the bus, you see a sign that piques your interest in architecture or urban design.

Maybe as you walk up the stairs to the science block, the steps show you the HE path you need to become a healthcare professional.

These are examples of “guerrilla career hot spots”.

What I want to share is how easy and inexpensive it is to make subtle changes to your college environment to highlight future avenues of aspiration – catching your students off guard.

1. Stop before you start

Before you – a tutor, speaker, career manager, or member of the leadership team – start trying to give career advice, stop and think.

Looking for creative and innovative ways to get career information in the eyes and minds of students at your college, right?

But you are very busy. Why would you do this, if it’s not really your job? Creating Guerrilla Career Hot Spots is perfect for a student competition or work experience project.

So if you can get a budget or sponsorship from a local business or local business group, you can set this project up for your students. After all, they know how to seduce their peers.

2. Make the brief

Create a project brief and work with the design, business and arts education teams to agree on the scope of the project. Don’t make it too complex, and remember it’s meant to be fun.

Your dissertation could be related to college assignments, work experience, or an internal project.

Just decide on the size of the teams, then promote the competition. Is it compulsory or voluntary, what groups, what materials, what are the prices? All deadlines and details should be clear.

3. Find local supporters

Get networking. Ask local designers, printers and marketing agencies to support your project. Would they come to the college and talk in person or virtually to share examples and provide inspiration? Could they frame the winners?

4. Start the challenge

Announce the deadline, enter teams and post the competition summary, then wait for entries to arrive. (Leave your door and inbox open for questions and send gentle reminders as the deadline approaches.)

5. Run locations

Bring back your friendly designer, governor and manager or someone from SLT to listen to the teams’ five-minute presentations and their ideas.

6. Be active

When the winners have been chosen, give them the freedom to work on the guerrilla quarry installations and see the impact around the buildings.

7. Run an exam

What did the students achieve? Hopefully the real-world creativity, the sense of confidence in a realistic situation, the experience of teamwork, external public relations for the college and partners, and thousands of eyes seeing career messages in unexpected places.

Finally, I’ll leave you with some ideas for guerrilla careers:

  • Practice careers: posters in the toilets to become a plumber or health professional.
  • Look UP: Eye-level stickers to stop people in rooms and hallways and have them look at posters / prints / projections on the ceilings (positioned in areas of the building where it’s not going to be dangerous, of course).
  • Look DOWN: Let’s use this space for careers in engineering, maintenance, interior design, etc.
  • Posters and stickers in the locker room about careers in sport as physiotherapists, personal trainers or in coaching roles.
  • Tray liners in the canteen with information on how to become a chef or nutritionist – this could also work with printing on paper cups and cup sleeves.
  • Digital displays resembling departure signs at airports, promoting careers using geography and languages.
  • A college-wide art exhibit, where each exhibit is linked to a career. The invitation card may feature a QR code that integrates with an apprenticeship program, college flyer, National Careers Week website, BBC Bitesize Careers, or other source of information.

Now go recruit guerrillas for the cause today!

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