More than half of all graduates don’t feel like higher education has prepared them for the world of work. More than half of all employers agree. However you want to describe the current system of student and graduate employment – or lack thereof – one thing is clear: what we’re doing isn’t working. It’s time for a big, big change.
And I’m very excited to announce that we’re ready to declare our part in that change.
First off, before I get into the details, I think it’s important to state that for me, working, forging a satisfying, challenging and inspiring career path, exploring how you can make a living from your passions is one the greatest gifts we can offer this, or the next, generation. This idea should, in my opinion, be at the beating heart of our education systems, at the forefront of how we build bridges between our schools and our workplaces.
Currently, it seems like instead, employment is the black void that awaits us at the end of the fun. We work for a very long time. We work for the majority of our lives. We deserve to enjoy it.
We have institutions in place that guide us through our formative years – that hold our hands through examinations, through certificates, through the cornerstones that make up how we learn. But once out in the ‘real’ world, there is no support. There is no backbone to rest on, no more tailored advice, or pointers as to what to do next, instead there is just the chaos of grappling for increasingly scant graduate schemes, the worried scramble for reputable internships, the endless, endless sending out of CVs to harrassed hiring managers, who don’t have the time or the inclination to train up a young person waiting for their ‘real’ lives to start.
This, to me, isn’t just unfair – it is a total and utter waste of potential. As of 2011, obligatory careers advice was removed from the national curriculum. What could be more important to a young person than what they are going to do with the rest of their lives? How can these young people know what direction to push, when the options were never really explained to them to begin with?
Meanwhile, in a different landscape, on a more digitized horizon, something has started to change. With the recent boom in MOOCs and online courses, the endless learning possibilities that the web can offer, the power is starting to shift. We no longer have to rely on our educational institutions to provide us with learning tools. If anything, the more exciting possibilities are starting to exist outside university walls.
This, twinned with the growing certainty that on-the-job learning – apprenticeships, internships, work experience – are fundamental to personal and professional development, we are starting to create a new eco-system of self-improvement. One that doesn’t begin and end in our teens, with a number next to our name or with a certificate, but one that demands we better ourselves, push our skillset, widen our horizons throughout our entire lives. That’s more like it.
I’m really, really proud and pleased to share with you that Enternships is currently creating a platform that will guide anyone and everyone towards what they actually want to do.
We’re building an engine that is centred around skills – which ones you need in order to take your next step, which ones specific employers want for specific roles, how to get them and – always – what more you can be doing to improve yourself in whatever direction you wish. Candidates will input their qualifications, the skills they already have, as well as where they WANT to be, and our platform will guide them through the steps to best get them there. And not just for your first job, for as many career steps as you want to take.
From recommending specific online courses prefered by relevant employers, to plugging gaps in your skillset with internships, work experience, popular resources or offline qualifications, we want to create an employment eco-system that is based solely on skills – getting them, building them, stretching them. An online imprint of your talents and skills – ever-growing, ever widening.
Not only will this system of constant support, measured possibilities and pragmatic options eliminate the problem of job-seeking paralysis – in that there will always be something you can be doing to better yourself – it will mean that candidates will be assessed on relevant skill-sets alone. Companies will be able to be very specific about the skills required for every role, and will be instantly presented with the candidates most suited to them and what they need. It won’t be based on who you know, what university you went to, how flashy your CV is – it will be based on skill suitability, and that alone.
Having worked with over 6000 companies across Europe, we are very well placed to mine data about the skills most desired by different business sectors – and twin what skills are most precious with where and how to get them. We want to take away the confusion for both candidates and companies, make what is needed and how to get it completely transparent, clear and fair. No matter what you want to do, there will be a path to it. We want to create that path.
Up until now, job-hunting has been seen as a lonely thing. And not just lonely, but difficult, confusing and often unfair. We love working. Working is brilliant. It’s time to usher the job-hunting process out of the darkness – we should never stop learning, never stop trying to make our passions our livelihoods, and it’s time there was a platform that celebrated that. Over the next few months, we will be building an engine that – we hope – will mean that job-hunters will never feel alone, stuck or utterly defeated again. This is the rest of our lives we’re talking about. Let’s make sure we’re doing it right.
Interested in what we’re doing? Join us here for exclusive first access to the new platform.
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Anything to add, or ask? Stick it in the comments below, and Rajeeb will be happy to get back to you.