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My EdStartUp idea – Work&Teach

This blog post is another weekly homework assignment for my first MOOC, EdStartUp 101. I’m already running a few weeks behind… 8-<. We’re tasked with describing our ‘EdStartUp’ idea. Mine is something I’ve been thinking about on the side of my day job for a couple of years now. All comments and feedback very welcome.

Summary of my idea

Work&Teach is a social business that brings the workplace and education closer together, to the benefit of both. It does this by encouraging and enabling high-potential employees to be paid to teach in local schools and colleges part-time.

The problem my idea solves?

Too many young people struggle to make a successful transition from the world of education to the world of work – for example in the UK the number of 16-24 year olds Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) currently stands at 968,000, up 19,000 on Q1 2012. Too many learners are disengaged by educational experiences that don’t give them the role-models, skills or knowledge they will need for their futures. Too many educators lack opportunities to learn about the latest working practices or insights relevant to their subject. Too many high-performing employees lack rewarding, engaging or tangible challenges in their jobs. Too many employers struggle to attract, retain and develop high-potential talent.

How my idea fixes the problem

Work&Teach is a brokering and support service, matching promising employees with relevant skills to the specific priorities of local schools and colleges e.g. putting a software programmer in a school with low maths attainment. This additional resource helps support educators and up-skill them about the latest working practices. Learner experiences are then more engaging and relevant, with a knowledgeable working role-model in the classroom. Participants go through a challenging and rewarding personal development programme. Schools and colleges get a flexible and bespoke additional resource to meet their needs. Employers get to develop their staff and build their reputation.

Why do I want to fix the problem?

As ever in these cases, my motivation starts with my own experiences of education. Although on paper I am academically successful, I never felt particularly engaged or enthused through secondary school. Instead I felt I was making tactical and strategic decisions, learning how to beat the system and get the badges I needed for the next level. I felt that what I was being forced to learn lacked either relevance or application, it was learning for learning’s sake or usually even worse, for the sake of tests and qualifications. Many of the skills, knowledge and traits I have developed came from other experiences,such as part-time jobs and travelling, rather than from school. I believe Work&Teach can really help engage young people and prepare them better for that transition to work, especially those who don’t have the advantages that I had, which allowed me to still do ok despite my lack of engagement at school.

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