Month: September 2015

The rise of the career advice vlogger

Getting messages out there in an increasingly crowded and noisey media landscape can’t be easy. Especially when your target audience swings between hyperactivity and utter indifference as often as teenagers tend to do.

I am not a branding or communication specialist but if I were, I would imagine that a key message in Branding 101 is “inhabit the space in which your target audience communicates.” It is perhaps no surprise then that a trend seems to be growing among stakeholders who are keen to promote career ideals to young people in starting to utilise the art of vlogging to spread their message.

Vlogging, in internet terms, isn’t new and has lead to a whole new breed of celebrity whose ability to speak directly and frequently with their loyal audiences has meant that brands have been quick to piggy back their products into the medium. Mostly though, vloggers have regular themes (fashion, gaming, travel, challenges) which they return to through their “daily life” stories. The trick that industry organisations such as Tomorrow’s Engineers or government backed bodies such as YOUR LIFE are now trying to achieve is to make the “career journey” the main theme of the vlogs and each channel.

Tomorrow’s Engineers have taken the route of hiring two young people in the early stages of their own STEM career journey and asking them to document their progress. The newest to the process seems like Nayeeb who is in his 3rd year at UCL (rule 1 of vlogging; look at the lens and stop checking out your hair on the viewfinder) while Lily, seems to have more of a blogging background having been running a lifestyle blog and (relatively) small scale twitter for a few years.

The YOUR LIFE team have taken a different approach. Rather than focus on more unknown internet personalities and attempt to build them up, they have appointed a number of vloggers who already have growing followings. The Mandeville Sisters with a feed of lifestyle, fashion and movie events (Youtube followers: about 51,000, Twitter followers: about 6,400), Victorious Sponge – ‘wacky’ comedy (Youtube followers: about 73,000, Twitter followers: about 3,200) and Ashens – retro games, retro toys and…sweets? (Youtube followers: about 920,000, Twitter followers: about 73,000) have all been enlisted to make videos that spread the STEM message. Hiring slightly more established internet bloggers was perhaps more of an option for YOUR LIFE though as their 2014-15 funding alone was £600,000 but, ultimately, what matters here is the impact these communication channels have.

In the world of vlogging, shares, likes and view counts are king. For both organisations mentioned, getting high numbers of these will be the first challenge (at the time of writing Lily’s intro video has only 250 views in 20 days). Those involved with YOUR LIFE are still tiny compared to the behemoths of the medium, the ubiquitous Zoella is now at over 9 million Youtube subscribers and 3.7 million Twitter followers and there are plenty of others whose follower counts blow the YOUR LIFE teams out of the water. Even then if the views do start stacking up, the actual impact on young people’s (particularly girls) subject and career decisions will be a much tougher consequence to measure. It will be interesting to see the success of this new model in reaching a hard to reach audience with a CEIAG message.

A quick bit about the Skills Show

Coming up in mid-November is one of the highlights of the school CEIAG calendar, the Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

I’ve been fortunate enough to accompany 3 groups to these events now and every time, after hours trawling the vast spaces packed with stands and displays, the students come bouncing out, arms overflowing with all sorts of paraphernalia from all sorts of careers. It’s great stuff.

Unfortunately, despite the ever increasingly frequency of the marketing emails turning up in my inbox, it’s very unlikely I’ll be taking a group this year.

Last year, a 33 seater coach from Luton cost £380 and, thanks to a fund from Bedford College, we were able to get this fully reimbursed. On arrival, all I had to do was report to the Bedford College stand.

This year, a range of travel bursaries are available for coach parties and, if you are thinking about going and those contributions help you, then you should definitely do it.

They won’t help me though. All of the bursaries are for groups over 40, which means upping to a 46 seater coach (and hoping that no kid was ill on the day) which we’ve been quoted £635 for. We would be eligible for the Loyalty or the Distance support bursaries but these are up to a maximum of £200. Which would leave £435 that wasn’t budgeted for when I submitted my expected requirements for 2015/16 back in May.

This is just a little insight into how CEIAG in schools is fast becoming the art of achieving something for nothing.