Finnbarr Adams from Telford, Shropshire, hasn’t had the smoothest start to working life. He left school with no career plans, and was unemployed for two years before securing a job with a highstreet bakery chain. “I worked in Gregg’s for a little bit before COVID happened, and then I got laid off,” the 22-year-old explains. “I struggled to find another job” 

Finally, Finnbarr came across CareerEar, a jobs platform that actively helps people from under-served communities make career choices that are fit for the future.

A fast-changing environment

With the labour market rapidly evolving, many job roles are at risk of automation, including some in retail and hospitality. CareerEar aims to help people find a career path that is both fulfilling and secure in this fast-changing environment. 

CareerEar Founder and CEO Claudine Adeyemi created the platform in 2018 to help people prepare for the labour market changes ahead by providing tools, skills and advice to get on the front foot. CareerEar is particularly focused on occupations that are at a lower risk of automation, including roles in product management, UX design, operations management, business development, sales, and customer support. 

The job-seeker continues, “The ‘career detector’ tool helped me figure out that I wanted to go into digital marketing and the platform helped me find the Kickstart scheme, which helps employers create jobs for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit”. Shortly after using the tool, Finnbarr started a digital marketing internship. 

The threat of automation

The need for CareerEar is acute as the risk of automation is highest in low-skilled roles, disproportionately effecting people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities, who tend to have fewer opportunities than their more privileged peers. 

CareerEar wants to meet this workforce challenge head-on so that people are prepared for the future of work. This means it needs to grow quickly to help more people as the automation clock is ticking. Currently attracting 1500 users a month, the platform aims to grow to 150,000 a month by 2024. 

 The Young Foundation has been supporting Claudine on this journey through its BOOST programme, which has helped organisations scale-up through making connections and forging partnerships. As Claudine explains, “BOOST has been fantastic and super-charged our strategy. It has given us the inspiration to grow, and opened our eyes to ways to do that faster through raising investment.” 

With support from BOOST partner Conduit Connect, Claudine launched CareerEar’s first funding raise for £150,000. The immediate opportunity from the investment will mean CareerEar can recruit six full-time roles to develop the platform and strengthen the sales team. 

‘Scale and depth’

It is not investment alone that Claudine and the team are focused on for growth. She explains, “Our model is a partnerships model. The impact we are aiming for can’t be achieved in isolation. The question has always been, who can we collaborate with? 

“BOOST has made great introductions for us in our quest to find partners who have scale and depth and who are in it for the right reasons. For us, partners need to have an alignment of values and the capacity to deliver. It doesn’t have to mean a joint-venture; collaboration could be a contra-deal or even simply sharing best practice.”

For employers, CareerEar has become a trusted partner to support recruitment. Thea Halstead, Lifestyle Editorial Director, New Stateman Media Group, shares why the publisher is advertising jobs on the platform, “It’s exactly the kind of organisation our ethos aligns with. It’s our job to cover key issues of the world so diversity is always on the agenda. CareerEar is a great way to build on our diverse workforce.” 

Finnbarr has now finished his internship and has built the confidence and skills to start his own e-commerce business. Through growth, CareerEar will help many more young people to find a future-fit path that’s right for them. 

BOOST 2021 has been part of the government-backed Inclusive Economy Partnership, which aimed to improve the lives of people across the UK, through partnerships. The Young Foundation continues to explore new forms of partnerships as part of legacy activities for BOOST in 2021, focussed on cross-organisational partnerships. Please email iep@youngfoundation.org for more information. 

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