Whilst recently undertaking some research, I stumbled across an organisation which gave me real encouragement and a feeling of excitement.
The Spring Project is a social enterprise which is making a difference to the lives of students by increasing their employability – something which has never happened to them despite all their years of education. Here is a perfect example of how small initiatives can grow, widen, expand and gradually touch more and more people – from unemployed students to employers, universities and other partners. This isn’t some government-led initiative; it’s growing community, run on a self-sustaining, not-for-profit model.
I had the chance to offer some help to a group of graduates who were struggling to get their first step onto the employment ladder; to get “into the system” somehow. Well-qualified and able people, the one thing they lacked was the know-how to get a job. Note – not the ability to do the job; the ability to get the job in the first place. It was refreshing to see how receptive they were to advice, and to see how a change in their mindset could make such a difference. They were able to understand just how valuable some of their earlier experiences were to potential employers; how some of their skills could transfer neatly into a different industry; how employers don’t just look for a long list of qualifications. Such a shame that they’ve gone through years of education without ever having been shown how important this is, but a relief to see them rejuvenated and re-energised so quickly. It’s only by initiatives such as The Spring Project that we’re going to be able to make the difference we need. Government edicts, league tables and pronouncements won’t do it; starting small and growing organically will.