Last week we published a new paper which introduces Start, a new product from U-Explore which is designed to revolutionise the education and employment system through the provision of high quality, independent and impartial online career support. In the report we look at what Start does and explore some of its implications for career guidance in England.
We felt that Start built on the existing evidence base in online career guidance as it provides career and labour market information combined with personalised diagnostic tools which support career decision-making. Of particular interest is the Three Minute Hero campaign using a smart video-capture technology to populate Start with real career stories from real people, tagging them in order to help young people find inspiration from their local area, school alumni or people doing the jobs they aspire to do.
Crucially we liked the way in which it delivers career support for individuals whilst integrating with the wider career support that schools and colleges offer. One powerful feature is the opportunities that it provides for schools to monitor students engagement with career learning. We described Start’s model as being an ‘enriched virtual model’ for the delivery of career guidance.
U-Explore has made a substantial financial investment in the development and rollout of Start, which is independent of any direct government funding. Development capital has been provided by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Matthew Riley and the company has developed an innovative internet based business model. U-Explore reports that it has already signed up over 800 schools and that the company can see a clear pathway to the profitability and sustainability of Start, whilst ensuring that the core software is always free for schools and colleges.
There is much to be excited about with Start. It offers a new approach to an old problem and as it develops, it may pave the way to a much more effective education and employment system in England.
For more information on this view our paper at:
Hooley, T. and Sahar, A. (2016). The Right Start in Life: Exploring an Innovative New Online Career Solution. Derby: International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.