If I had the cash I would put £100k into researching, planning and advocating for a new idea that I think could have a major impact on unemployment, job satisfaction, economic efficiency and social mobility.
Given that there are many people/organisations who have £100k and care about these issues – government, corporations, foundations and individuals – I hope one of them reads this, and does it.
The idea would be to have a staff member at a secondary school/college who’s a hybrid of a Connexions officer/careers advisor, a Job Centre Plus advisor, an alumni/parent/community outreach officer and an Education Business Partnership officer.
Their job would be to source opportunities for work experience, insight days, internships and even jobs, to organise CV/interview clinics and have drop-in careers counselling services. Their target market would be former students of the school/college who could benefit from career development support.
The reason I think it’s a good idea is because:
a) People have a strong connection to their former educational establishment. Some will assume that people who didn’t do well academically at school don’t have this connection, but there’s no data to back that up. Schools/colleges will, I believe, be a better institution to engage with than Job Centres for most of the people who can benefit from this service;
b) Many schools & employers find it difficult to work together because work placement opportunities eat into curriculum time and there are child protection issues – targeting people aged, say, 18 – 30, would negate both these problems. More opportunities could be created were this programme in place;
c) There’s a swathe of people who don’t feel it appropriate to go to a Job Centre because they already have a job. They may well hate their job, get no professional development and not use their skills and talents, but they aren’t unemployed and therefore get no support. These are people who could contribute more taxes, who could add value to the economy and could be happier. For them, there is no face to face support service. Giving career development support – sprucing up your CV, getting ideas for where to apply next, access to relatable networks and opportunities – would make for a better matched labour force to job market and a happier and fairer society.
The idea doesn’t take a lot more explanation but I’m pretty sure it’s one worth exploring. In order to figure out if it’s a really good idea, someone needs to test whether people in jobs would take up the service if available, whether enough of the target population feel a positive connection to their old schools/colleges, and whether parents/alumni/local businesses would indeed be open to making opportunities available to local young people after they leave school.
I’ve put some thoughts down on how this could happen in case you are interested in reading further. They are at: https://brookfieldgroup.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/how-100k-could-reduce-unemployment-increase-social-mobility-part-two/
Jake Hayman is the Founder/CEO of The Social Investment Consultancy and Future First.
PS. I’m going to make changes/improvements to this as I get feedback.