Social enterprise aims to use ‘career tech’ to improve job prospects
Andy Fosterjohn tells us how he has been inspired by tech solutions abroad to help improve prospects for individuals in an ever-changing labour market.
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The FutureFit AI idea originated in Canada, where the founders of the company came together with a vision to place digital tools in the hands of those who most need them, to navigate the current uncertainties, and smooth out their transitions in the labour market.
We have an app which is a GPS for your career, providing real-time local labour market information and offering a career coaching interface, supported by a human career coach, so people impacted by automation, or about to lose their jobs due to the impending economic crisis have the right information at the right time to plan their own career and move onto career paths where there are jobs.
The challenge for CareerTech and career coaching interfaces is to ensure client confidence, confidentiality, and feelings are addressed, just as an old school careers adviser would have done. Also, the client needs to see concrete progress which we aim to provide to clients here in Wales in the near future.
We will measure the impact created and benefits seen by clients on three levels:
- Firstly, has the career guidance intervention moved the client forward?
- Secondly, does the community benefit?
- Thirdly, will the regional economy be helped?
I did some work on the economic value of career guidance, when I was a lecturer at the University of South Wales in the 1990s which I will bringing into play with this project, ensuring that we offer the best service and hit our measurable objectives.
We were very glad to be one of the Nesta Challenge Prize Winners, in a competition funded by the UK Government which gives additional gravitas to the concept and are currently refining the app and service delivery in England, but as I live in Pontypridd so am very keen to bring it to Wales as soon as possible.
I’ve had support from Social Business Wales New Start on a number of occasions over the last couple of years, with business planning, strategy, contacts and networking.
With the support available and peer networking opportunities available, my message for the social business sector right now would be to keep going and believe in yourself!
Andy is one of the social entrepreneurs who have attended the ‘Start up with a cuppa’ mutual peer support sessions where people from start-up social enterprises in Wales can meet and discuss ideas, best practice and future collaborations with each other. You can sign up for the July mutual support sessions here. See you there!
Andy has received business consultancy support and advice from Social Business Wales New Start, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre.
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