The first graduate job I had was with McKinsey, over 10 years ago. Within six months it was clear to me that I had already learned more on their graduate training programme than I had in three years as an undergraduate at Oxford. There’s something fundamentally wrong with education if the top universities cannot deliver as much educational value as an employer can. Ever since, my firm belief has been that further education needs a fundamental overhaul.
In March this year it was finally time to do something about it and I started researching how. Over 2 months I spoke to a huge number of CEOs and Talent Managers, who likewise complained at the readiness of graduates entering the workforce. Grads lacked even the basic skills needed to get a job done, unable to use powerpoint and excel effectively, unable to read a P&L, and in some cases needing guidance on how to turn up on time and dress appropriately.
At this point I was lucky enough to meet May Kwong, who was thinking along similar lines, and together we founded Learnitect. Our modest goal was to completely reinvent adult education. An ambitious goal that would require a Masterplan …
Step 1: Train Grads, Make Money
Running an alternative to undergraduate degrees straight off is not a credible proposition. Offering graduate training on the other hand is – we’ve seen what best in class looks like, and May has been running successful programmes for leading tech companies such as Expedia, Deliveroo and Groupon for the past two years. Delivering graduate training allows us to demonstrate the quality we can offer, start building an education brand, and generate enough cash to fuel our ongoing mission.
Our target market is fast growth tech businesses, which increasingly appeal to Millennials, but do not have the graduate schemes of professional services. We can offer them an amazing faculty with first-hand business experience, and have designed a super practical curriculum to teach the skills needed in the fastest growing companies. We deliver our training in a blended fashion with both face-to-face sessions and online content, for a premium experience at an affordable price.
All in all we think it’s a compelling service, and if we’re right, there will be no problem funding Step 2.
Step 2: Build a Bigger Lever
If you want to change the world then you need to have scale. And in today’s world scale often means technology. We don’t see face-to-face teaching ever disappearing, but the high engagement that it drives is accompanied by high investment in time and money. If we don’t keep face-to-face teaching lean, then high operating costs will prevent us from reaching many potential students.
Indeed, we consider ourselves delivery agnostic. Face-to-face workshops, digital content and everything in between has a place, and we need to figure out what is the right blend to deliver the maximum impact in our students for the minimum cost. Being a tech-first business doesn’t mean that we do everything online. It means that we use technology to do everything as well as possible.
With technology driving scale in our operations, community and ultimately brand, we should develop the critical mass to take on Step 3.
Step 3: Continuous Lifelong Learning
We believe education shouldn’t be restricted to a certain point of your like, but continue throughout it. Step 3 is the realisation of this goal – a modular curriculum that allows individuals to continually develop themselves. This modular approach also means better visibility of what a career looks like. We can suggest training to reach a particular goal, or show people where nurturing a particular interest leads. That means giving them a route map to their career path, as well as the tools to get there.
It also means that we can strike at the principal failing in adult education – the undergraduate experience. £27k for spend three years learning stuff that you won’t use in your career is not a good use of your time or money, yet it’s the default option for the UK’s brightest school leavers who will lead the companies of tomorrow. If we designed the experience from scratch, it would look very different.
Instead, imagine an apprenticeship where you got to work at Google, Facebook or Amazon. Where you rotated through different departments, mixed theoretical education with practical experience and got paid for the work you did. After 3 years you would have a phenomenal skillset to start your career, a better sense of which roles appealed, and a much healthier bank balance.
So this then is the ultimate vision of Learnitect. An organisation that facilitates your personal development and career achievement from the time you leave school onwards. To help people find and fulfil their true potential.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If this mission resonates with you, help us out by:
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