Idea Overview:
The world's first careers tutoring platform for 12-21 year olds. The pandemic boosted demand for online learning, but also created a severe career anxiety and pressure especially among teenagers. But right now, teenagers eager to learn can't gain a head start in work experience until they're 16. Even at 16+, they get bored by speakers simply talking AT them during "work experience programs", with a lack of practical job simulations that will ACTUALLY help them decide their career through experiencing it for themselves. What about knowing what best A Levels, degree and modules to pick for their career? That adds extra stress and each student situation is unique - a tailored solution can't be found online, where there's an overload of information and you can't even find out what the job day-to-day genuinely looks like. That's where we come in. We partner with companies to provide employee tutors who become long-term mentors, for not only CV help, mock interviews and higher education guidance - but REAL work experience. One-to-one feedback on job simulation case studies and practical exercises to develop their technical skills. Boosts not only student CVs and makes them stand out in applications, but also acts as a talent pipeline for companies who are attracting students from a much younger age than their competitors - which is essential for today's tight labour market. Examples of material are e.g. Health Consultant case study, Intro to Maths for Actuaries, Basics of Financial Modelling, Economics for Personal Finance, Problem Solving case study in Medicine, etc.
Who might use it/where it might be used?:
You may be a young person (12-21 years old) panicking with no idea what career you want to do. Spending hours researching and stressed by the overwhelming information. In that case, you need a long-term careers mentor to guide you through higher education choices and only tell you the relevant information, and help you compare careers through PRACTICAL work experience (unlike the "talks" at current company-run "work experience programs"). This way, you can really see for yourself if you'd like the job. Reading about the job is one thing, but actually experiencing the day-to-day is another. Or, perhaps you've decided on a career path and want get a head start. If you're 12-16, sorry, there's just nothing out there at the moment. 16+? Applying for work experiences alone is hard. Knowing the application process, building the confidence, receiving tailored feedback - what if someone working at your dream company could help you? All while giving you one-to-one work experience themselves so you're already equipped with the required skills? Stressed parents will also be attracted to this career-focused tutoring platform. Schools may also hire this service and buy in bulk for their students, which saves them all the logistical trouble of organising career days - which, due to their annual nature, tend to have little impact. Companies struggling to recruit for certain programs e.g. girls for their apprenticeship schemes can directly coach students on our platform, using company-specific materials to teach them company-specific skills. This way, students are much more likely to apply to their programs and become long-term employees.
The Market (B2B, B2C or Both):
Sector the idea belongs to:
Is there a similar idea to be found?:
InvestIN also targets the younger audience and provides work experience, but these are general and a one-size-fits-all approach. Pioneer is 1-to-1 (e.g. if the student is deciding between consulting and M&A, we will specifically design a case study that involves both and get them to see it from both perspectives so they can compare). On InvestIN, to experience both careers, you have to book both the consulting program and the M&A program separately - each which costs £500-£2000 and only lasts for a few days in a large group. Pioneer teaches the practical case studies with tailored feedback and provides a LONG-TERM mentorship. InvestIN also doesn't partner with companies to hold the work experience - whereas we will, so we act as a direct funnel for students to work with those companies in the long run.
Why you think there is a demand for your idea?:
More and more young teenagers are becoming increasingly career-focused, especially after the pandemic. Schools have created career lessons for Year 7s now, and are organising more career speaker conferences and career lessons. The fact that InvestIN has grown considerably in recent years and they've extended their services to 12-14 year olds shows there is definitely a demand for work experience and career guidance, even from the age of 12. My non-profit's career events have gathered 3000+ students worldwide already, as young as age 11, which indicates our careers tutoring platform can really gain traction.
Who would be the ideal customers?:
Young, keen 12-21 year olds who either need help finding the right career, want to receive tailored application help or want to learn an introduction to the technical skills required for the job. These also include those who want to find work experience or gather more activities for their CV, but are struggling to do so.
What ideas do you have to reach these customers?:
I already have a 3000+ customer base of students from my non-profit organisation, and several contacts with schools, teachers and school networks. I can send them LinkedIn messages, emails and also reach out to charities I've worked with before that also work with schools. This way, it would already be accessible to create connections for both the B2B and B2C side. I've also worked with Morgan Stanley, Experian, Zurich Insurance, Tableau, Financial Markets Institute, Girls Are Investors and more. Currently being at university also gives me a unique advantage to reach out to other undergraduates, especially given that I am head of sponsorship/outreach in the Finance Society.
How far have you developed this idea?:
I've spoken about this idea to a data scientist at Zurich Insurance, who has expressed interest as it would help gain traction for their apprenticeships at the moment. I have started communicating with their internal team. I've also started working at another tutoring startup to gain real-life experience in the industry, and am still growing my global current non-profit (for students 12-21 years old) to maintain a strong relationship of trust for our services.
What – if any – feedback have you had for this idea so far?:
I have won Student Initiative of the Year 2021, Woman of the Year 2021, Gen Z Talks One to Watch Award 2021 and Innovative Young People of 2020 Award as well as being a finalist for everywoman in Technology One to Watch 2022 and for Women of the Future 2021 for my related non-profit. My Zurich Insurance contact said she "loved" the idea especially as they had been struggling to recruit girls for their apprenticeship schemes. I've sent out several surveys and 99% of students at my non-profit said they would buy this service if they could afford it. One said, "Getting hands on experience would be much more beneficial to talk about at interviews and would help young people get a true flavour of industry." My sister (24, works at a hedge fund) said she also would've wanted a platform like this to help her learn the technical finance knowledge for the role - and especially a tailored tutor for her needs as well.
What supporting material – if any - would you like to add to your proposal?:
My current non-profit featured in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/15/the-women-starting-businesses-in-lockdown-the-upside

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4 comments to “Pioneer”

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  1. Aquayemi-Claude Akinsanya - July 23, 2022 at 11:42 am

    Joely love this idea, I must highlight the important of be able to extend beyond 21, has this came across as an idea or be informed to by others?

    • Joely To - July 23, 2022 at 11:55 am

      Thanks for your comment! Yes the age range isn’t set in stone just yet – my current non-profit targets this age range so that’s why I decided to focus on the same customer demographic. However, I have thought about extending it up to 25.

  2. Peter Illes - August 3, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Happy to see you also posted your idea here Joely! Please keep me informed of your progress