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The UpSkillery - develop practical, employable skills

An online platform where individuals can supplement their formal educations with practical real world skills.

Photo of Jes Simson
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One of the biggest challenges that young people face when looking for jobs is their lack of experience.   Employers can be pretty picky when they have a high number of applicants for every vacant position.  This means that it can be really difficult for young people to get their foot in the door and gain valuable experience. 
The Upskillery is an online space where young people can build practical skills required for knowledge based workplace. Skill development will focus on the skills that jobs actually require.  There will also be an emphasis on building general business skills so that that young person can add value to organisations they want to join. 

The online platform could incorporate the following features:
  • Video tutorials / podcasts / slides to help young people kids develop relevant skills (eg: sales skills could include: "How to cold call", "how to negotiate like a pro", "how to empathise with your customer", "how to ask relevant questions", "how to predict sales", "how to pick a good lead").  These skills are linked directly to the skills that you will actually use, day in, day out as well as skills that will enable you to add value to the business you want to join. 
  • Each of these videos will link up to tasks, so that the user can learn by doing. For example, if the tutorial is on learning ninja excel data analytics skills, then the video could link to an excel data set that the student uses while watching the video.  If the student is leaning about business models and how to use them to add value to an organisation, the video could link to a copy of a hackable business model canvas that the student can use and apply to a business in the field that they are interested in. 
  • Library - links to other useful content. 
  • Online mentorship provided by people working in those industries (via skype / google hangouts / twitter Q&A's).
  • Online community that will enable peer-to-peer learning, reviews and support.
  • Online dashboards where you can track your skills.
  • Job searching and CV / cover letter writing assistance. 
  • Potential tie in with a job board 

While there are plenty of online educational platforms out there ( Khan Academy for core school carriculum, General Assemly's Front Row for design, tech and entrepreneurial skills, and various online MOOCs) - there seems to be a gap in the market that helps individuals gain the practical skills that they need to work in organisations.  

Piloting the scheme

Pilot the scheme in a few general areas as well as a few core fields (chosen predominantly for their prevalence as 21st century jobs as well as the relative ease to teach them online).

General skill areas:
  • understanding business (eg: illustrating the general levers of business by teaching the business model canvas)
  • understanding numbers at work
  • email / phone / social media etiquette
  • how to prioritize and focus on the right stuff

Core fields:
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Data Analytics 

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

This idea is primarily aimed at college students who are gearing up to enter the workforce. It is also aimed at individuals in lower skilled jobs to help them bridge their skills gap.

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

It aims to help individuals gain relevant workforce skills.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

You could prototype this as a link aggregating blog / email that links individuals with content freely available on the internet.

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to be involved in prototyping but need partners at some stage


Join the conversation:

Photo of Nadia Eldeib

I think this is a great idea! I would add digital skills to those available. I think this would be a good way to even supplement education; for instance, someone who either doesn't have the opportunity to learn about marketing in college or is too hesitant to try it could use "The Upskillery" to test the waters and develop hard skills in their industry or industries of choice.

Photo of Jes Simson

Hey Nadia, digital skills would be a great area to push.

I like your idea that this is a good way to test the waters and see if you like a certain career. I found that I made a lot of decisions about my career without realising it at University. It would have been useful to have a place where I could test and build skills while I was there to help steer me in a better direction!

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