From classroom to career: The urgent mission to bridge education and employment gaps

2 minute read

We encourage young people to pursue their passion in work. And yet our education system often still fails to prepare students for the workplace. That’s why Matrix is partnering with an initiative designed to help students overcome barriers to work

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Matrix is a leading provider of workforce management solutions that aims to revolutionise the way employers attract, recruit and manage their indirect workforce

Sian Harrington

Graphic illustration of 3 school-aged children on the left of a gap in the ground. A boy holds his hand out to a young man in a suit on the right of the gap. Behind that man is an older man in a suit and a woman in a suit

Empowering young minds with essential life skills is not just a noble endeavour, it’s a societal imperative. So says Mark Inskip, CEO at workforce management solution Matrix.

Inskip stresses the importance of preparing students not just academically but for the world beyond school gates. But the journey from the classroom to the corporate office is fraught with challenges. As students navigate their educational paths, many find themselves at a crossroads, uncertain of the direction to their future careers.

The stark reality confronting students today, says Inskip, is that 38% of state-school students in the UK haven't experienced career-related activities and 37% of senior leaders lack adequate funding for comprehensive guidance. Furthermore, 36% of secondary school students feel uncertain about their educational journey, he says. 

“We also understand that an increase of £4,600 in annual earnings is directly linked to possessing these essential skills. The need is evident,” he says. 

One initiative designed to help bridge the chasm is National Interview Week (NIW), for which Matrix is a partner. In its inaugural year NIW has been created to build students' interview confidence and connect them with mentors to enhance their personal development. 

Over the week the scheme will provide 5,000 free interview coaching sessions across England and Wales covered by 537 mentors. This equates to 10,000 hours of actual mentoring time, targeting students in Year 12 and above from state schools and colleges. The programme’s ultimate aim is to bridge the gap between education and career readiness, providing every student with an impact report based on the Skills Builder Partnership framework for listening, speaking and aiming high.

Organisations including the NHS, Amazon, Channel 4, Nationwide Building Society, Deloitte and the BBC have signed up to provide mentoring. 

The week is being spearheaded by entrepreneur and star of The Apprentice, Tim Campbell. Reflecting on his own journey, Campbell remembers leaving school with no interview practice. “A scheme like this would’ve helped me tremendously. I truly hope that National Interview Week will not only address this problem but will initiate a change in how both schools and employers work together to bridge the gap.”

His words will resonate with countless students who find themselves unprepared for the transition from education to employment. 

Initiatives like this are not just about filling gaps; they are about creating opportunities. They are about understanding that the bridge between education and career readiness is built on the foundation of collaboration between schools and employers. 

As HR and people leaders we all need to play a part in nurturing the potential that lies within every student, ensuring they are not just ready for the world of work but are poised to thrive in it.

Tim Campbell, left, and Mark Inskip
Tim Campbell, left, and Mark Inskip, right
Published 28 February 2024
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