Do Gen Z need an ‘Experian’ of Experience?
Help in preparing young people for employment often rely on overstretched advisers delivering PowerPoint, Pdf, and flipchart presentations backed up by a smattering of 1:1 sessions and sharing websites with a scattergun collection of advice articles.
Gen Z users of all ability levels are not naturally inclined to search through generic articles that regularly remind them of the need to “use examples.” In fact, they find the process daunting, and difficult to think of personalised examples. This is despite initiatives such as the NCS investing £1400 per participant in improving their life/employability skills. Similarly, my experience about asking what my daughter learned on DoE was “she is all right, a real diamond.” I knew then that my several associated equipment buying trips to Sports Direct were not wasted!
Skills2Use changes all that. It is a personal journey that has a digital ‘SkillsBank’ to help 18-24-year-olds discover, store and use their employability skills from all life segments – sport, clubs, music, hobbies, citizenship activities, gap year, internships, part-time work, employability modules and of course academic life. These skills are then used to help write great CVs, Personal Statements and Cover Letters – and prepare for interviews.
Data is stored digitally so it can be shared through the app with a Careers Adviser, Tutor, Mentor or even Parents. The Adviser can also see the users' SkillsBank and then comment on their documents. If the SkillsBank is prepared before a face-to-face meeting, the first 20 minutes of those sessions could be more productive for all parties. Likewise, the ability to reduce email ping pong between the student and others will save enormous amounts of time and frustration.
Taking the idea of a ‘personal journey’ a stage further, Skills2Use have listed all the most frequently asked Entry level, Apprenticeship, Internship and Graduate employment questions together with hints and tips on how to answer them. The user can then prepare answers and share them with others to comment on – boosting their confidence along the way.
On a Google search, we found 450,000 hits for the term ‘apprenticeship question interview answers.' There were a couple of really useful offerings, but not one site had all the National Apprenticeship Questions (generic and sector-specific) together with hints and tips, the ability to personalise an answer and review it with a Careers Adviser/ Mentor. Sites have typically been developed to help recruiters get candidates onto their systems or by FE colleges or charities on shoestring budgets. This app flips things around to focus exclusively on a personalised user journey.
There is also a real social element to Skills2Use. If a user cannot find information quickly or need advice, then they can always ask questions on the forum, again reflecting the way Gen Z users work.
So the technology is whizzy, and the efficiency savings for Careers Advisers are useful, but the biggest deliverable Skills2Use has, is increasing the confidence for the 18-24-year-old user. This means improving their chance to get onto the right course or getting the job they deserve. In fact, our Development Director, Ashley McClinton pioneered a pre “everyone has mobile/ internet” version of this approach at Tower Hamlets College, where they reported a doubling of productivity and improvement in outcomes.
Research shows, users will continue to need their digital SkillsBank as many will have to change jobs 15-25 times over the next 30 years. Skills2Use allows them to store all their information in one place for easy access.
The web service is available, and being trialled by DWP employability partners and a London FE College. The accompanying app will be available shortly so anyone interested in learning more about the "Experian of Experience”, please contact us.
Susan Johnson: Director of Content at Skills2Use Ltd