Everyone wants flourishing careers doing meaningful work. How to make that happen is an essential question for grassroots civilization building.
Today’s article looks at some of the practical efforts taking place, right now, to empower young people to succeed in non-traditional job tracks.
The Problem With Education
British educator Sir Ken Robinson has an excellent animated short out in which he outlines the essential problem with modern education. He outlines how the current system dates back to the 19th century and is built around a factory style model of linear growth towards a standardized goal. It divides people into academic and non-academic types and fails to take into account different sets of abilities or allow people to learn at their own pace.
So what are the alternative models for young people? We’ve previously looked at different ways of educating children during the school years. What happens after that?
One approach is to shift away from thinking about qualifications to thinking about skills. That’s how cartoonist Adam Scott (of Dilbert Comics), came up with the notion of Talent Stacks. Talent Stacks explain how a person with no excellence in any particular given skill or an outstanding qualification can outcompete in the world of work by combining different abilities to create a set of abilities (the talent stack) which together create excellence.
By focusing on building skills which leverage and work well with other skills, one can escape the trap of working to achieve credentials which may or may not soon become obsolete. One will also start to look at your abilities holistically, and see which other skills could, if added, take your whole set to the next level.
Many of these skills are available to learn online for free. Many others can be learned in short courses relatively cheaply.
Apprenticeships and Alternate Schools
As the price of college rises and the value of a degree drops, the market is stepping in to provide alternatives. Various programs promise to connect young people in need of a job to companies in need of skilled staff. Specific skill based study sessions and on the job training level ensure candidates are fully capable employees by the time they reach their new job. These programs exist not only in the tech world, where old fashioned competence has long out-competed credentialism, but also in the world of business.
The Lambda School
A computer science school with a difference, Lambda offers online courses to coding students anywhere in the world. They offer full length courses in Full Stack Web Development, iOS Development and Data Science. They also offer free courses in Intro to Web Development, Intro to iOS Development, Intro to Data Science, Intro to UI & UX Design and Intro to Android Development.
The best part is there are no fees upfront. Instead, Lambda takes 17% of your income for two years once you are hired, for a maximum payment of $30,000. Meaning if you aren’t hired, you pay nothing. If you do have the money up front, you can pay a one time fee of $20,000 to cover all the costs.
As if that wasn’t enough, Lambda goes on to offer Lambda Next, a career development follow up program to help new graduates get hired. It provides them with ongoing coding practice and training, networking opportunities, help with sourcing and applying to jobs and opportunities to do test interviews.
Praxis is a modern day business apprenticeship. It offers graduates the opportunity to work at a start-up after just six months of intensive bootcamp training. The apprenticeship focuses on building skills, including communication and writing skills, building a personal brand, and design. Participants complete writing challenges, complete professional projects and learn how to create value for businesses.
They are then launched into a six-month apprenticeship at a start-up, where they are even paid for their work. During the course of the apprenticeship, they have access to the Praxis team for mentoring, community, and ongoing professional development.
Tuition is $12,000, but participants will earn $14,400 during the six months apprenticeship. Not only is it highly likely to hook you up with a good job, but attending Praxis will also be a net financial gain.
A crowdfunding platform with a difference, Wefunder lets you invest $100 at a time into startups you like. The investments are high-risk, since these are early stage start-ups which could easily fail. The potential rewards, however, are equally colossal. If a company you invest in strikes it big, early stage investors can cash in enormously.
As a founder, this platform offers you even more. If you can articulate a compelling vision for your business, you will be able to gain the funding you need to make it happen. Founding your own company is not for everyone and has a lot of risk attached. But in many ways it’s never been easier to do.
These are just a few of the alternatives to the traditional “school-college-career” track. The internet has enabled innovative entrepreneurs to take advantage of the disruption and start offering alternative ways forward. Awareness of the platforms available to you will help you make the right choice for your future, rather than following someone else’s plan.