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The graduates starting their careers from home. Can we work in a virtual world?

by Martin Lewis
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 The Corona Virus or Covid-19 as some call it has thrown a spanner in the works for the most recent batch of graduates. But has this slowed them down? And Can we work in a virtual world?

Growing up in a world of social media and other digital platforms, the graduates of today are well versed in the virtual world, and thus it seemed to be an easy transition to virtual graduations. As seen in our previous blog, 9 out of 10 graduates would attend virtually rather than not at all. 

But what comes next?


Virtual Graduation

Offering a solution, we are now hosting virtual graduation ceremonies as a way to stave off feelings of FOMO and ultimately commemorate what should still be a special day.  

With the virtual graduation software, an ingenious program built to create a lasting memory. Allowing the most important day in a students life, their graduation ceremony, to remain while so many other events have been forced into closure.

The Evess digital platform has allowed students to have an enhanced experience of what would otherwise have potentially been lost. With this platform, students and alumni alike can get involved in creating something truly special. Students can submit their portraits, clad in their finest robes and mortarboards, to be uploaded into a virtual class photo that sees them placed in front of their university campus. 

The platform will also allow for a far more inclusive graduation ceremony. Enabling international students, and those who perhaps struggle to stand in front of crowds, to get involved and communicate with their counterparts from anywhere in the world. So no one has to feel left out.

The alumni centre feature allows the students to answer three memorable questions and then add their Linkedin profiles to create a live class yearbook which will then be available for download.

The live chat feature brings the students and alumni together, so they can all communicate, share memories and excitement in a central and safe space. Inclusivity is paramount to the creation of special moments and will enable friends and tutors alike to share the experiences and recollection of the happy and stressful moments they had while gaining their degrees.

Designed to always have a physical counterpart in the real world, in addition to a virtual hat-throw and class photo, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in the sleeves of the gowns are scanned before going on stage — so when the chancellor shakes your hand, your picture is taken and automatically goes online within ten seconds. 

Your graduation day can be something special, and this new virtual world means you can invite all of your friends and loved ones while relieving the anxiety of standing in front of a crowd.

The next step – virtual internships.

As for the next stage in their careers, remote work opportunities for 2020 graduates have multiplied. 

Back in May, the company Virtual Internships saw a 6470% year-on-year increase in applications from 34 in 2019, to 2234 applications in 2020. 

One of the universities that jumped on board with the virtual internships program was Birmingham. They were initially offered 30 internship spots, but after receiving nearly 1000 applications, they decided to fund an additional 50 places. The high demand showing the huge potential for growth within the sector.

Virtual Internships are looking to facilitate 5000 more virtual internships in the next 12 months. 


What do virtual internships do?

They have built a range of opportunities explicitly built around the needs and requirements of a differing variety of students. Offering internships of anything between 1 and 4 months, with hours varying between 10, 20 or 30 hours per week, they have created a system that can suit anyone. Understanding the needs of the students is paramount and they seemed to have that in mind when putting together these opportunities. 

Some students cannot give full-time hours, having either university or work in their spare time. But they shouldn’t have to miss out, so Virtual Internships have made sure that there is potential for everyone, by supporting their current commitments and offering flexible hours of work.

The Slack software allows the interns to be part of a group. It is easy to feel isolated in this current global pandemic, but creating a virtual community has helped to ease some of that and has opened the door to an international working environment. Bringing 70 countries together as a community has helped create a truly international vibe. 


How does it help both students and businesses alike?

The pandemic had initially threatened to ruin the opportunity for internships for both students and businesses. Yet, we have found that it has enabled the world an opportunity to experience how successful a virtual working environment can be. Virtual internships have created exactly that, a place for students and businesses to interact globally and provide both industry exposure and experience to those who may have otherwise missed out. 

Although a lot of students are well versed in a virtual world, it has proven that businesses can remain creative, still onboard staff and interact with them accordingly using platforms such as these, opening the doors to international collaboration and internships that benefit students and businesses all over the world.


The Do’s and Don’ts of applying for a virtual internship

  • Research your desired career path and job role.
  • Be thorough in everything you do.
  • Plan your application. Study it first and see what they will require from you.
  • Be realistic about the time you can give. Don’t take on too much and leave yourself stressed.
  • Think global – In a virtual world, you have no constraints. 
  • Be professional and don’t be afraid to showcase your talents.

Here is what students think

Intern Testimonial – Georgina Bissett (University of Birmingham)
Intern Testimonial – Nathan Moorse (University of Kansas)

Here is how interns have helped businesses

Host Company Profile – Leiho
Host Company Profile – Moripesh

Bridging the Covid-19 employment gap

Covid-19, if anything positive is going to be taken out of a dire situation, has given us the chance to explore and be creative. In some cases, it has enabled people to bring their ideas into fruition. Graduates have been pushing the boundaries and creating small businesses all over the globe. With a major shift into looking online and buying from local businesses, it has permitted people to use their spare time to be creative and produce something of their own.

Graduates like Beatriz struggled to find a job or gain an internship, and with the global pandemic putting her in full lockdown, she looked outside the box for gaining employment.

After completing her Masters and finishing a Reiki practitioners course, she went about sharing her findings, along with inspirational quotes, to her social media channels. This was the birthplace of her Mindful Wellness website. She used her knowledge and skills learned at University to utilised her spare time to create a job role for herself. Starting a business which not only made her happy but was hers. 

At Hedgehog Digital, it has been business as usual, and there is no immediate reason for employees to rush back to the office which is based in Hayle, Cornwall. 

Hedgehog has embraced this new world with great ease. Most of the platforms that they used were already on digital platforms, so the transition was easy. In fact, Hedgehog has employed a further 3 members of staff during the current pandemic who have all had swift and seamless introductions into the company.

It seems the general consensus is that working from home is a breeze, and Coronavirus has perhaps only sped up what was already an incentive for us to slow down. But while the breathing space has been beneficial, there are certainly some that look forward to a day in the office and face to face contact once more.

Is this an evolution in the working environment?

The pandemic has brought with it many changes in our regular lifestyle. Where the older generations may struggle to grasp this new thinking regarding remote working, the younger generations have taken it in their stride. Having opened the eyes of many businesses, this situation has caused them to rethink strategies that were once thought of as unviable. The chaos of the pandemic has altered our views of how we must work and educate, proving that a virtual way of life could no longer be that of fiction, but something that we have all had to adapt to. 

The option for virtual events, be it classrooms, graduations, or employment, has paved the way for a future which stops seeing cancellations and starts seeing a future outside the box, but inside your homes.

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