Ventures From platforms to promotions – event summary 25 May 2022 by Emma Selinger Emma Selinger The way young people enter the job market from education can have a marked effect on their future prospects. Economic crises are a particularly tough time to start a career, and while the Job Retention Scheme prevented mass unemployment during the pandemic, young people still face huge challenges in terms of rising insecurity and finding a career path amid a very uncertain economic outlook. In May 2022 Resolution Ventures hosted an event to discuss this issue. We heard from Gaia Fasso, CEO of Ikigai Data, Claudine Adeyemi, CEO of CareerEar, Helen Gironi, Director of Ventures at Ufi VocTech Trust and Resolution Foundation’s Kathleen Henehan, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, on how tech and social investment can move the dial on supporting young people to transition into good jobs. Here’s what our panel shared: The labour market experience of young people – especially non-graduates – leaves much to be desired Education-to-work transitions are taking longer for those who have not been to university. When they do finally enter the labour market, more than one-in-four non-graduates will be working in low-paid sectors such as retail or hospitality. What’s more is that young people from less advantaged backgrounds are at significant risk of finding themselves in these low-paid roles compared to their peers who are from more affluent backgrounds. Young people are also more likely to move into jobs that offer little training, and even jobs that do offer it are likely to have reduced the amount of training offered compared to previous years. The Resolution Foundation’s qualitative research found that low-earners in these circumstances are wary of moving jobs, and are unable to access the training needed to move into better work. Current careers provision isn’t working One driver of this labour market experience is inconsistent careers support at school or college. After leaving school, it is often based on self-service support (e.g. the National Careers Service) where those who would benefit most from support miss out. On top of this, support often comes too late once students have already chosen their subjects or education pathways and has a ‘work-first’ approach where time-to-job is the key driver for advice and guidance, rather than a student’s preference. Lastly, there is poor use of labour market data and joined up thinking with local employers. Careers advisors aren’t able to access hyperlocal or national skills demand, up-to-date salary ranges or training offers, meaning that advice given to students can be limited or outdated. Young people need to be at the heart of careers service design To improve the quality and uptake of careers advice and guidance, we need to build trust with end-users. Claudine Adeyemi, CEO of CareerEar, has noticed that young people are sceptical of government-led initiatives and want support to be offered in an accessible and familiar way. Gaia Fasso, CEO at Ikigai Data, shared how she has invested a lot of time working with young people in person and online to refine their JobFit App. This ensures the product offers relevant careers advice to service users, at the same time as an engaging experience. This points to the value of personalised careers advice and guidance for young people, and the importance of being presented with relevant information at the right time. Transferable skills matter Careers support also needs to highlight that transferable skills (also known as fusion skills, essential skills, or soft skills) are required more than ever in a labour market where workers need to be agile and adaptable to automation and technological change. On top of this, young people need the awareness and confidence to articulate these skills in interviews. Otherwise, they face barriers in getting jobs, not just doing them. Young people need support in identifying these skills outside of academic or professional settings. CareerEar helps users identify what transferable skills they have from previous experience, and how they might be able to acquire new skills outside of work to widen opportunities. Technology can accelerate change Helen Gironi, Director of Ventures at Ufi VocTech Trust, shared how technology can provide better careers support, and ultimately a better experience of the labour market for young people. As both CareerEar and Ikigai Data demonstrate, applying data science to labour market information provides insights for careers advisors and jobseekers, telling them what jobs are in demand and where. In addition, where a school or FE college only has one careers advisor, technology can provide services to a whole body of students at scale. Off-the-shelf digital training courses can also make the process of upskilling and retraining inexpensive and accessible – an approach demonstrated by Ufi VocTech Trust’s growing portfolio. The panel concluded that there is huge scope for innovation to improve the experience of young people in the labour market and we’re excited to be backing two incredible companies that are doing just this. If you want to hear more, you can watch a recording of the event and join us at our next one, a WorkerTech unconference on Tuesday 14th June.