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Entrepreneurs launch ‘missing piece’ youth career initiative

Kevin Mansell-Abell

Two entrepreneurs have launched a new career service aimed at connecting young people with industry professionals, providing mentorship, networking and venture opportunities.

A UK survey found that 53% of young people felt their work prospects were worsening. However, 88% felt that with the right guidance, they can achieve their dream career.

Leapinto.co.uk is a free, online platform that will host weekly, live conversations – mixing young people with industry professionals and providing practical support, guidance and networking opportunities.

The initiative was created by Chepstow-based marketing expert Kevin Mansell-Abell of That Media Group and recent Aberystwyth University graduate Karl Swanepoel, now founder of freelance marketplace, Topwork.

The pair felt there was a missing piece between education and the world of work, and wanted to create something that used business owners to bridge the gap between direct work experience and entry-level positions.

The online sessions will run across August, where industry professionals will explain about their work, how they got ahead and answer questions from those looking to forge their own careers. Along with the expert talks, breakout rooms will give participants the chance for more in depth one-to-one style sessions.

As well as learning from the experts, young people will be able to connect and collaborate with each other, using the experience to spark opportunities and potential ventures.

Kevin said there was a real need for more relatable career support: “It can be daunting for young people to try and plan out their careers, particularly when they come to the end of their education. The academic route can feel a little like a train track; you do your GCSE’s then your A-levels, then university with an idea of where you would like to work. But then you reach the end of the line, and have to try and figure out how you use the qualifications you’ve earned.

“Meanwhile you are competing with thousands of others for entry-level positions who are just as lost as you. That’s why it’s more important than ever that young people are able to connect with those already working in an industry. Being able to ask questions and build a richer picture of the world of work helps demystify things, pushing through the smoke and mirrors, getting the information directly from the horse’s mouth”.

Karl said he hoped the platform would help those who wanted to create their own enterprises: “Throughout school, I never received support for the career I wanted to pursue. I wanted to start a business and be my own boss, however, I always felt entrepreneurship never had enough exposure in schools. It’s actually a great way to gain direct experience and meet the people who can give you further opportunities.

“I firmly believe that starting a business when you’re young can be the best time to do it. People typically have fewer responsibilities at that age, and so it’s easier to support yourself on a smaller income from a part-time job if need be while you get an idea off the ground.

“Hopefully Leapinto will connect people with the right advice and support, and help them carve out a career doing something they love.”