In the heart of London, with COVID-19 restricting social gatherings RCNi defied all odds and turned their free nursing careers and jobs fair into a virtual event. 

But how? 

Let’s take you on a journey, from a nationwide lockdown to the first RCNi virtual jobs fair. 

What is RCNi? 

RCNi is a subsidiary of Royal College of Nursing. It provides support and resources to nurses through RCNi logojournals and online learning resources. It produces 11 journals to provide health professionals with the latest developments impacting nursing. They offer a range of digital products which include RCNi Decision Support, RCNi Learning and RCNi Portfolio. 

Why virtual? 

Up until March 2020 all conferences, awards ceremonies, and recruitment fairs were held in-person across different locations in the United Kingdom. But when the pandemic hit in March, they had to put in-person events on pause. 

Did that stop RCNi from hosting their recruitment fair? No! 

They decided to move to a virtual location. Not just that, they were determined to get the events up and running by September. And low and behold they held their first fair on September 16th, 2020 amid a pandemic raging through the world. 

Why vFairs?

After thorough research between April and June, going over half a dozen virtual event providers in detail, they zeroed in on vFairs and one other provider. 

It all came down to who would be able to deliver the programme of events in a short span of time. And vFairs was able to commit to RCNi’s hectic schedule of multiple events between September and December. 

Exhibitors and attendees at RCNi

Key exhibitors included National Health Services (NHS), trusts, private health care providers, agencies looking for nurses to place in establishments, armed forces and universities. The attendees consisted of nurses, health care assistants, student nurses, and anyone looking to enter or reenter the nursing profession. 

What made the very first RCNi virtual jobs fair a success? 

From the look and feel of the platform to the on-demand seminars accessible until 30 days after the event, all event features were an instant hit with the exhibitors and attendees alike.

RCNi virtual jobs fair overview

RCNi virtual jobs fair was also looking to achieve specific objectives.  Firstly, attract the exhibitors who normally attended the in-person event. Secondly, give exhibitors the opportunity to have something in place in the pandemic and not wait for it to be over. Thirdly, fill the gap between exhibitors and attendees in the short term. 

Let’s get a clear picture of the virtual event and its key features that made it a success.

ANIMATED 3D LOBBY REPLICATING THE IN-PERSON EVENT

The virtual event platform created by vFairs was able to replicate the live event very well. An animated 3D lobby presented the same look and feel RCNi was used to in their in-person event. 

RCNi virtual jobs fair lobby

CREATING MAXIMUM ENGAGEMENT THROUGH SEMINARS

The seminar theatre featured a huge variety of sessions that were available to the attendees until 30 days after the event ended. Attendees could access them at their own time, which made this the most successful part of the virtual jobs fair. 

Virtual seminar theatre

Some sessions were career focused and others focused on a specific part of nursing. The career focused sessions, for example, included talks on interview skills, CV writing and applying for jobs. Others focused on clinical topics, for instance general practice nursing, theatre nursing and stroke rehabilitation. Seminar sessions are CPD accredited and count towards a nurse’s revalidation, since nurses have to keep up to date with their learning and development over a period of three years. 

seminar sessions list

 

EASILY NAVIGABLE EXHIBIT HALL WITH RESOURCES 

The exhibit hall was easily navigable, with all 25 exhibitors clearly laid out. These exhibitor booths featured multiple informational resources that attendees could add in their virtual ‘swag bag’ and download. In addition to information on the exhibitor, these booths also had a section on job vacancies. This helped bridge the gap between nurses looking for work and those who were hiring. 

Exhibit Booth virtual exhibit hall

Exhibit Booth details

Exhibit Booth details

FACILITATING CHATTING AND NETWORKING

Attendees could easily network with fellow attendees and exhibitors through the chat feature. Through live text, audio, and video chats the virtual platform provided ample opportunities for networking and interaction.  

virtual chat room

What did the virtual jobs fair result in? 

RCNi virtual jobs fair turned out to be a success and the team was happy with the attendee count. They measured the success of the event on the basis of:

  1. satisfying exhibitors, who are paying for the booth and stand ensuring they have a good return on their investments.
  2. the number of visitors (people who pre-registered, attended, re-visited, and visited post event).
  3. visitor and exhibitor satisfaction surveys.

Tina Sutch, the Event Manager at RCNi recounted her positive experience with the vFairs team. She shared her satisfaction by saying “the team was very patient and supportive with us and answered numerous questions along the way”. RCNi has contracted 10 events with vFairs, and has already completed four. They are ready to apply learnings from the previous events onto the six remaining ones.  

 

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