The Discoverables online talent platform helps young people uncover, prove and improve their strengths and skills and present their profiles to forward-thinking employers. It supports and guides those looking for work in developing and showcasing the range of skills that are not systematically taught in schools but that employers are increasingly demanding.
The site is being developed by youth charity Spark+Mettle (www.sparkandmettle.org.uk) as part of the Design Council and Nominet Trust’s Working Well Challenge. Co-Founder Arfah Farooq says that her eureka moment came when she was applying for work after leaving uni: ”my wide-ranging work experience and volunteering meant I was finding it very hard to articulate my story through a CV. Consequently, I created a Pinterest board to document my experience in a visual, digital and non-chronological way. This was my light bulb moment. I realised we could use digital technology to support young unemployed people to gain the skills necessary to find employment. However, helping young people become employable wasn’t enough for us, we wanted to make them more discoverable too.”
“What employers want nowadays are people with those creative and lateral thinking skills”
71% of employers think soft skills needed to be increased within the workforce, according to a 2012 report from the Work Foundation.
These skills—ranging from collaboration to developing a design mindset—are rarely taught in a strategic way. The Discoverables platform fills this gap by offering young people the opportunity to take part in a range of challenges and gain points for completing them. Each challenge is linked to one of nine key skill ‘strengths’ such as creativity, positivity and engagement. Each ‘Discoverable’ builds a profile around their responses, creating a vivid online portfolio. By exploring these talent showcases employers can easily select just the right type of person from this pool of passionate and ambitious young people.
Completing the challenges and gaining recognition for doing so encourages those with less confidence and helps those who have been looking for work for a long time keep their motivation level high. It’s a virtuous circle where young people get to see their talents shine, employers access the brightest soft skill stars and can potentially build longer term relationships. Schools, youth groups and colleges can integrate participation into the services they offer.
“What employers want nowadays are people with those creative and lateral thinking skills,” says Carl Sealeaf, an unemployed 19 year-old from Solihull. “Discoverables understands that and gives you the chance to showcase those skills in something other than a generic CV. After numerous rejections, it’s given me a reason to be outgoing and creative again.”
Discoverables is currently encouraging potential employers, job seekers and interested partner organisations to sign up. More than 340 dynamic, motivated young people keen to showcase their personal and social experience are already using the platform, with someone on twitter even referring to Discoverables as “LinkedIn’s cooler, younger brother”. Several progressive enterprises including Innocent Drinks have already expressed their support for the site’s approach. With this kind of momentum and support it looks as though Discoverables could be one of the real digital success stories to emerge out of the UK’s youth unemployment crisis.