A few weeks ago, we began recruiting for the first cohort of our Digital Academy. Things have changed a lot since then. But as recent events prove – and as we explore in this, the first of our Academy series – a career as a digital all-rounder has never been more vital…
As the last few weeks testify, our world is one of unbelievably rapid change. When we held our recruitment session on 4 March, the FTSE 100 stood at 6,815. A little over two weeks later, its value had fallen by more than 25% to below 5,000, as we entered a fundamentally new and challenging chapter for our economy and our society.
Of course, our current circumstances are extraordinary. But they’re also just the latest, albeit the most severe, example of how incredibly fast-changing our modern, tech-enabled lives have become.
Let’s take another, more optimistic example. The companies that are offering salvation to millions of remote workers right now – companies like Slack, Zoom and, yes, Deliveroo – were all founded more or less in the last decade.
We were celebrating the 2012 Olympics when Uber launched in London. It was 2016 when they started delivering food to our doors with Uber Eats. That’s less than four years ago – in which time the way we travel, eat and work has been transformed forever. (Whether for the better or not we’ll leave for you to decide).
The companies that will be defining our way of life in ten years’ time likely haven’t been founded yet. It’s an incredible thought. And, in this context, standing still isn’t a viable option.
It’s why we’ve launched the Seccl Digital Academy.
Given how fast our world moves, it’s hard for our career expectations – let alone our education system – to keep up. Technology has never been top of the schooling agenda. And when it does get the focus of the classroom, it invariably centres on a curriculum that’s destined to be out-of-date by the time kids are in any position to use it.
After all, the world of an eleven year old on their first day of school is utterly incomparable to the one they face when they leave aged 18. And those who choose to study at university will be graduating in another different world again, three or four years later.
Then, when kids do make it out of the learning environment and into the world of work, their professional trajectory looks no more fixed. A ‘job for life’ is a thing of the past.
According to Helen Barrett, the FT’s Work & Careers editor, more than half of Brits in 2017 were planning to change careers in the next five years; while research in Australia from the same year suggested that a then 15 year old would probably have as many as 17 jobs, and five different careers, over their lifetime.
As Barrett neatly puts it, “thanks to automation and the forces of globalisation, working life is impermanent and unpredictable, and will only become more so. That is daunting, but it is also liberating.”
We’d agree, but go even further. It’s hugely daunting if you’re not skilled up for change – and thoroughly emancipating if you are.
Fortunately for our young people, they’re more geared up for it than anyone else. Digitally native, they live their lives across multiple platforms and have been shaped by this world of change.
They might be creating viral content on TikTok today, but it’s no great leap to think they could be applying that same creativity to solving customer problems tomorrow. They just need the chance to hone those skills in the world of work.
The Seccl Digital Academy is designed to train tomorrow’s digital leaders for a world of change.
With the choice of a year-long placement from September or a two-month summer internship in June (whether in-person or remotely!), we’ll be helping up to eight technology-curious students to learn and apply the skills that are critical to digital businesses.
Skills and topics like intermediate coding, business strategy, regulatory frameworks, growth marketing, product design and delivery, agile working, UX and analytics.
It’s deliberately generalist. And it won’t be a passive, classroom-based course, either. Instead, it’ll provide a chance to rapidly learn new skills, then immediately deploy them in a real-world setting.
Our goal is to give the commercial experience that can help our graduates (and all of our employees, for that matter) to excel in any job at the cutting edge of tomorrow’s industries.
And finally, we’re not asking people to give up their time for ‘free’. It’s a fully paid gig with the potential for a permanent job at the end of it.
If graduates choose to stay and work with us, then we know that we’ll be able to do great things together. And if not, then we’re happy to have played a part in training some young guns who are set up for success.
We’ll be introducing you to our Academy participants in due course – but to give you a flavour of the sort of talent you can expect, meet James.
James took part in a similar programme that Octopus ran a few years back; and we’re delighted that, since graduating, he’s come to join us here in another part of the group.
In six months, he’s helped us frame legal agreements, managed our biggest client account, become a fully-fledged product manager – and shown no signs of letting up, either. As someone writing this blog who’s nine years his senior, take it from me: this guy’s coming for our jobs.
More importantly still – and in great news for us – he’s cut of exactly the same cloth as all of us here at Seccl. We all want to create things that make a real and tangible difference to people’s lives. And we want to do so by being challenged, by expanding our skillset, and by enjoying ourselves in the process.
Our future is unknown, unpredictable and, yes, scary. But we can still make it one of promise.
If you’re a student reading this and you’d like to take part, then we’d love to hear from you. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your CV, and a paragraph or two about why you’d like to take part. And to find out more about working at Seccl – or to apply for a position – head to our careers page.
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