I’m a parent and one thing I have noticed since my own youth: life is becoming ever more competitive for young people. Even getting a place at a preferred nursery school can be a battle these days, which only becomes more intense as the child in question moves up through junior and senior school – be it state or private – followed by what feels at the time like the pinnacle of achievement: a place at the ‘right’ university. But after that, we parents can breathe a sigh of relief and mop our brows, step back a bit, job done, and let our offspring use that wonderful education and those great skills to find themselves the career they so richly deserved. Or so we might have thought.
It turns out that that final push, when our children make that step from education into their first job, is becoming the hardest one of all.
Over a goats cheese salad at Primrose Hill bistro L’Absinthe, Ronel Lehmann discussed with me this alarming situation and told me about Finito, the company he founded in 2016 to offer a professional solution to this perplexing problem.
Finito’s very purpose is to help young people move from education into the employment they want. Every individual they take on is nurtured from preliminary advice to successfully finding the right job for them, however long it takes. Expert mentors provide the young person with non-judgemental guidance in everything they need to prepare them for the application process, in order to start them off in the career they have chosen and which is suited to them.
Dauntingly for parents, the job market and job hunting have changed dramatically in recent years. Globalisation has increased competition exponentially, while social media, digitalisation, smart working practices and even artificial intelligence, aka AI, all play roles now that simply didn’t exist when we grown-ups may have been toying with the university milk rounds, twenty or thirty years ago. This can be bewildering for even the most accomplished parents and comes as a shock when we have probably felt relatively on top of the educational paths that our children have trodden thus far.
For example, I was astonished to learn from Ronel that large and prestigious firms such as Goldman Sachs and Unilever are using AI software to screen candidates, as single advertised positions now attract thousands of graduate applicants. Via a webcam, the software remotely asks questions and brain-teasers specifically programmed to record and judge the candidate’s responses and body language, in order to cut the cohort of applicants down to manageable numbers. Only then will humans from HR departments take over.
So how on earth is a young person to tackle this daunting process? Step forward Ronel and his team of mentors, who have the skills and the passion – and the AI software – to help job applicants prepare for this new and ever-changing world.
Usually, the Finito process starts with the CV, honing it to ‘hook’ the prospective employer with exactly the right type and amount of information. Business mentors guide, advise and layer in the focussed, individual support that simply isn’t available from schools and universities, whose preoccupation is understandably with academic results, rather than helping students move on to employment.
“My dream is that one day everyone would get help from Finito, to finish the job that others haven’t, explains Ronel. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we will help you. You’re not alone.”
At Finito, success is measured in two ways: if the young person knows what they want to do, Finito helps them secure the job they want. And if they don’t know which direction to take in beginning their career, Finito helps them to work it out – through shadow placements, for example – and then helps them find employment. And you don’t need to be at the start of your career to take advantage of their services, as they also help with career changes for those who wish to take an established workalike in a different direction.
Ronel’s background is an illustrious career in the City, along with extensive charitable fundraising and a passionate interest in education. He founded his own PR company, Lehmann Communications, in 1988. Finito was a natural extension of his discovery that he enormously enjoyed helping clients’ children with work experience, and the realisation that, for a lot of young people, there was vast scope for fine-tuning their personal presentation – how to behave in a work environment, what to wear, and even the importance of saying thank you. He points out that not all his work experience youngsters did say thank you, but all of those that did have ended up in senior positions in their chosen field. That simply cannot be a coincidence.
You can find out more at finito.org.uk and it is well worth having an initial discussion with them as they only charge if you go ahead and engage their services. If you do go on to take them up on their offering, they currently charge £7350 + VAT which covers everything required to get the candidate into the right job. There are also means-tested bursaries available.
© 2018 Joanna Reeves for iLovePrimroseHill, all rights reserved.