Why did you decide to launch Wozedu?We saw the opportunity to establish a constructive platform that would allow young people and companies to discover each other and connect in a more democratic way. At the moment it’s very difficult for young people to make these meaningful connections with potential employers. They’re not given the advice or tools to break into specific industries, nor are they aware of the skills required of them to do so.
What’s your background?I attended the University of Manchester and then went into investment banking, working for companies including Barclays and HSBC, before becoming executive search consultant. After 11 months working at Michael Page International in Switzerland, I was struck by the idea of a company which helped bridge the gap between employers and young people and created Wozedu in response.
Why do we need this now and how does it differ from services like LinkedIn?We are currently encountering some of the highest levels of youth unemployment levels to date. Recent numbers show just under a million people – 18 % of the youth population – are unemployed. There’s a huge issue with skills mismatch, plus pupils are now being asked to make value-based decisions on whether or not to attend university. LinkedIn is a more senior, executive social environment, with many of its users based in the US. It’s all the more important that they [young people] consider all of their options and our London-based site is the perfect platform to help them do that.
How difficult do you think the jobs market is for young people?The jobs market is incredibly difficult for young people to break into at the moment. We need to help them discover their options, decide which industry to pursue and advance through the ranks. Before Wozedu there was no one centralised place for young people to receive careers advice, connect with other people and find jobs. Plus any jobs that they did hear about are usually from the profession they’re currently in, which means they don’t know what’s available beyond their direct sphere of influence. We’re here to change that.
What’s the biggest challenge in terms of educating young people about work opportunities?Since schools took over the duty to secure independent careers advice for their pupils in September 2012, more than eight out of ten schools in England reported reductions in their careers services within months. We’re helping to combat this by giving them the chance to connect with others in their chosen industry, as well as by offering a wide range of unique advice articles. Features showing “a day in the life” of a certain role, tips on how to break into certain sectors and help on what kind of further education is best will show today’s confused school leavers what to do next.
How can employers get involved and are there any opportunities for SMEs? Employers are encouraged to register on the website. Once they have we will get in touch with them to help them through the process of setting up their profile. We’ll help them upload content on the history of their company, list their job opportunities for free and decide which photos and videos will best appeal to a young audience.
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