February 22 2016By Nominet Trust
Work megatrends are changing fast globally and we find it incredibly exciting to see how people are preparing themselves for the future. We all have friends and relatives who work as freelancers, using increasingly connected online portals to find work and deliver goods and services. In the UK, 14% of us are now self-employed, a figure that continues to rise.
A strong theme that emerged in the 2015 NT100 was a number of organisations who are developing tools to help the workforce of the future, helping more people secure job opportunities, whether they are part of the gig economy or in longer term employment. They’re each looking to ease the hunt for employment and to support people in developing employable skills regardless of background and circumstance. Many cleverly link employability with continuing education: in an interconnected, flexible world, it pays to stay up-to-date.
The largest occupational group in IT is software development. The US Bureau of Labor predicts a 17% rise in jobs for coders in the next decade (“much faster than average”) and three of our social tech projects in particular are helping people develop skills in this market:
Tynker is based in Palo Alto and hosts fast-growing online courses. They’re focused on teaching kids worldwide how to code and build computer programs. The courses are fun and educational with a slant towards the practical—children use the software they’ve developed to control robots, drones and toys. So far they have two million regular users and continue to growing every day.
Another California-based start-up Hack The Hood teaches coding, this time with a local focus. The non-profit offers six-week ‘bootcamps’ to low-income youths of colour in the Bay Area. Around 200 youths graduated in 2015—each helping small businesses in the community with websites and software—and the program has an impressive target of reaching 5,000 in the next two years.
Image courtesy of Hack The Hood
We all read about the influx of refugees into Europe in 2015. Germany took in close to a million people, and are leading the efforts throughout the continent with integration and support solutions. Refugees on Rails is just one example of this: a school in Berlin that teaches software coding to refugees, using recycled laptops and donated office space to build skillsets that are heavily needed by the city’s booming tech sector.
These Berlin-based refugees join other first-generation immigrants that land in a new country and suffer from uprooted lifestyles in foreign cultures. In the US, immigrant children tend to become the majority of lower-income adults who never earn a degree. A platform called Beyond 12 draws its name from helping these young people through their education post-high school through mentoring, milestone tracking and by breaking down workloads into manageable steps, setting the stage for a career in any field they choose.
Another US-based initiative comes straight out of the renowned UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business. We chose to highlight PhilanthropyU’s contribution to social tech because of their support to NGO, non-profit and social entrepreneur workers around the world, with free courses that offer graduate qualifications in highly-relevant disciplines. So far, they’ve inspired over 100,000 students to sign up.
Closer to home, Task Squad is helping unemployed 18-25 year olds in the UK. The agency lists job opportunities with employers looking to fill small gaps that require transferable skills, and actively supports young people with building their CVs and transferring short-term jobs into lifelong careers.
We’ve been amazed by the projects in 2015 that are seeking to support the most foundational requirement of independent living—a job. The projects above - and many more featured in the 2015 NT100 - are attracting users in their droves, and we’re excited to see the result of their efforts in the years to come.