Recent data from Citibank shows that, globally, young people are desperately seeking more real world preparation – with 78% believing internships and apprenticeships are critical for success, but 60% saying that they don’t have access to these opportunities.
According to FYA’s How Young People Are Faring report, its taking young people on average 4.7 years once they finish full time education to find a full-time job, compared to 1 year in 1986. This is despite attainment rates being higher than ever before. Its clear that the way we prepare young people for the working world needs to change.
Pro Bono consulting organisation, Global Consulting Group (GCG) is disrupting the traditional pathway from university to work with a structure and strategy that connects industry and students.
Winner of the New Work Order Award at FYA’s 2017 Unleashed Awards, GCG is built on a vision that brings together clever people to solve complex social challenges, and offers a unique opportunity for inter-generational learning.
Nominations are now open for the 2018 New Work Order Award, so if you know an organisation that is leading the way with innovative youth engagement practices or are you running one yourself, submit a nomination in the New Work Order category as part of the Unleashed Awards by Monday Oct 1, 2018.
We interviewed GCG Director and CEO, Shishir Pandit following their win.
Founded as a start-up by then business students at the University of Melbourne in 2009, GCG was born from the realisation that although their respective degrees were imparting lots of interesting knowledge, there was no opportunity to put this theory into action – to experience what working in marketing or commerce was ‘really’ like.
Providing a zero-cost service, GCG’s 120 consultants have delivered over 100 projects projects for organisations including St Vincent de Paul, TEDX and the Lighthouse Foundation, across a range of areas including fundraising, expansion events, marketing, sponsorship and human resources.
All the project teams are made up of student-volunteers and professional advisors.
“GCG connects people of different skills level and experience to provide a mutually beneficial opportunity. Student gain on-the-job training to help kick-start their careers – giving them access to experts in the field, opportunities to build networks and exposure to working in the for purpose sector,” Shishir explains.
“Our advisors have a rare opportunity to interact with university students, to understand their thinking and see just how capable, willing and ready they are to take on a challenge. They also engage with people who are not only capable but generous – all the students dedicated 10 to 20 hours of their own time each week per project on top of other obligations including university.”
Volunteers are accepted into the program following an assessment of their skills through a series of group and individual activities, and we look at their strengths and interests when matching them to project teams to ensure a balance. Several hundred applicants are screened every year, and about 10% of applicants are accepted. Once accepted, volunteers receive four full days of training from professional consultants.
Professional advisors from firms including Bain, L.E.K. Consulting and Accenture, are then assigned based on their corresponding interests, skills and experience levels.
“Work has changed a lot in the past two decades, and it is only going to continue to evolve. It’s going to be increasingly necessary to be more interconnected in the way we work, to break down hierarchies and ensure we’re providing opportunities for continual learning.”
“Younger people, students who have less experience, are often more easily able to spot opportunities for disruption or potential challenges and our model provides the opportunity to ensure these insights are heard by those who would normally be ‘higher up’.”
Having been with GCG for just over five years, Shishir started as a project consultant in working with clients to find opportunities and solutions, then moved to an internal leadership role. Shishir has since worked in at least 4 other roles throughout the organisation including as Chairperson on the board.
“I was very much one of those people who didn’t know what they wanted to be. By the end of my course I took six months off and was convinced by friends to volunteer with GCG. The role offered me an opportunity to put the knowledge I’d learned at university to work and to see how the different skills I’d acquired at uni, and school, could be used to complete a range of diverse activities. It also gave me an opportunity to discover that I enjoyed working for purpose, rather than profit.”
With over 500 alumni across Australia GCG is creating future leaders through its networks, and cementing a sense of purpose from an early point in their career.
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