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Podcast | Connecting Forward-thinking Employers With Gen Z Talent – Esther O’Callaghan

How difficult do you think it is for young people leaving education to find employment? Educators don’t want to see the students they’ve spent so long developing facing unemployment and employers really need good entry-level talent to solve skill shortages.

All of these factors created a perfect storm for Esther O’Callaghan to start Hundo, an award-winning platform that connects forward-thinking employers with Gen Z talent.

In this episode, Esther talks us through creating a business that solves a social issue she’s truly passionate about, increasing entry-level talent and how that can help improve diversity, and fixing flaws in the academic system to get young people into positions they love.

We also discussed how Esther prepared for that first triathlon from scratch and getting large corporations to take interest in entry-level talent.

Watch the episode

Listen to the episode

Running Order

0:00 > Introduction
1:27 > How Esther found her purpose for helping young people.
7:57 > Working with young people and the influence of parenting.
10:11 > The origins of Hundo.
13:47 > Increasing entry level talent and improving diversity.
17:20 > Are large corporations receptive to entry level talent ideas?
19:02 > Changing the narrative around backgrounds and hiring young talent.
24.00 > Fixing flaws in the academic system to help people progress.
28.05 > How Hundo’s Kickstart scheme helps young people gain experience.
30:24 > How Esther prepared for her first triathlon in such a short time.
34.31 > How to tackle new things and maintain your curiosity.
41:00 > Quickfire questions.

Four key takeaways from this episode

What led Esther to start Hundo and their purpose to get young people into employment

Well, the process of young people leaving education and trying to find a job was too inefficient! Alongside her Hundo Co-Founder Piers, they just thought there had to be a better way – educators don’t want to see the young people they’ve worked with drop off and end up at the Job Centre, and employers really need entry level talent to solve skills shortages and gender diversity issues. It created a perfect storm where she could put her concern for that social cause into a business idea that would help solve it.

It had to be a solution designed with the young person at its heart but also lead employers to say ‘yes I need that’ and not because they feel sorry for them but because they really need entry level skills. Hundo can be that bridge between education and employers, encouraging them to think about entry level talent far earlier. That not only helps them build a more diverse pool of talent but it benefits every level of the organisation – just think where that talent will be in a few years.

Changing the narrative around what’s possible

There’s bias to be tackled on both sides, as young people might have an opinion about certain types of employers and vice versa. Language and narrative are two great tools to fix that! Esther gave us the example of using terms like ‘socio-economic disadvantage’ and how it’s perhaps better to ditch that label and talk a bit more frankly in terms of the poverty and child poverty that cause youth unemployment.

If someone has faced that type of background or situation, it will have given them the skills and resilience that mean simply judging them on academic results is not enough.

Addressing the failures of academia in helping young talent

The education system is difficult. It values academia so highly and it’s a pretty rigid system in its current guise. Although there are great educators within it and they can make all the difference, we have to stop judging everything on this one metric.

There’s not much in the system around entrepreneurial skills or creating awareness of the full scope of available careers, and that’s where Hundo comes in. They partner with colleges to help people understand the plethora of jobs out there, mostly in the SME space. By bringing colleges and employers together on Hundo to share learning and knowledge, young people can access both sides, see which jobs, industries and employers exist and which are relevant to the path they might choose.

How to tackle new things and maintain curiosity

Esther doesn’t follow a set formula but she credits stubbornness, curiosity and hard work with helping her get there. Her advice is to stop benchmarking yourself against other people and focus on what you enjoy and what’s important to you personally.

No matter how many Instagram posts you see about getting up at 5 AM to help hone your talents, remember you can just as easily pick up a skill on your own schedule. When you take the first step, things get easier and continue to do so the more you do it. And if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter – there’s no guarantees that anything will work anyway and you won’t know until you try… 

How to connect

Find Esther on LinkedIn.

Find Hundo on LinkedIn and their website.

Find Nelson on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Find HowNow on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram.

Where to subscribe

If you want to watch the episodes, head over and subscribe on our YouTube channel.

And if you prefer to listen to your podcasts, search on whichever app you use or click on one of the links below:

The show will also be available on Apple Podcasts, Castbox and Pocket Casts in the coming week.

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