The problem of being bright, mature and young (and how you could solve it)


If you’re bright, young – and a bit more mature for your years – you want freedom, money and independence. You want control over your life.  You don’t want to rely on parents. And you want to be doing interesting things.

It’s a problem I encountered.

School and university don’t lead you towards that. You’re stuck doing work that doesn’t matter, learning theories you’ll never use. And after spending lots of time and money on the experience, you’re no more prepared for the big wide world.

The solution

The solution to this is offering a better education. That doesn’t mean pouring more money into schools, paying teachers more or creating “employability” workshops. Nor does it mean “more rigorous tests” – as the government says.

I think the answer is in teaching practical, marketable skills. Skills in demand in the big wide world. It’s about shortening the gap between you being in the bubble of education and doing work that matters to you.

This is the big problem I want to solve. I want to help bright, savvy, hard-working young people get opportunities.

Rather than relying on parents and the government, clever bright guys and girls should get out in the world where they can create value. I want to help them be proactive. Creating their own opportunities. Creating businesses. Or finding work which gives them freedom and excitement. Bunnyhopping the linear career path.

What that means in practice

In practicality, I’m thinking of creating some kind of academy for online marketing.

Digital marketing keeps growing and growing. The number of PR and marketing job opportunities in the UK has grown by 13.39% over the past year, according to latest figures from the Reed Job Index.

Yet the skills that people learn in official marketing courses at university aren’t practical. No university course teaches SEO, copywriting or content marketing. Why? Because university education moves at a glacial pace, while the world changes at breakneck speed.

Furthermore, these skills can be taught quickly.

The market for it

The market for private, practical education is enormous. Makers Academy, a company that teaches an intensive coding courses to self-motivated people is thriving. Says Rob Johnson, the co-founder.

“Many university graduates lack practical experience. They have a lot of theoretical knowledge, but computer science degrees aren’t preparing people for real work. There’s this gap of a few weeks, sometimes a couple of months, when the employer takes that graduate and tries to turn the stuff they have learned into practice,”

They’ve had a 100% placement rate for their graduates looking for jobs afterwards because the course is so good, and the demand for programmers in London is so high.

Digital marketing is a similar situation to programming, in the sense that there is more demand for the work than there are capable people. So if you can teach those skills, you can get people to create a lot of value, and they’ll earn themselves a healthy salary.

How I’m validating it

Now, that’s all very pie in the sky. So to test it – to see if I’d enjoy it, and if I can teach people it – I’m going to test it. On Tuesday, I’m going into my old school to talk to students about what I’ve done over the past year.

And I’m also going to hire one of them as a part-time assistant who I’d be looking to train up and learn from the experience, to see if I can scale it.

What’s next…

I don’t know if this will work out. But if this means I can solve the frustrations of bright young people (the frustrations that I had)… I feel like I’ll have done something amazing.

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