We are excited to announce our investment into GetMyFirstJob, the eighth beneficiary of our impact fund. GMFJ is a platform that helps improve the experience of young people entering apprenticeships. We’ve supported them with an investment of £500,000 to help it become a one-stop-shop for young people, training providers, colleges and employers.
Here’s why we decided to back this company……
Youth unemployment is stubbornly high and the number of jobless 16 to 24-year-olds has recently risen by 30,000 to 764,000. So, it’s vital that apprenticeships fulfil their potential of delivering key skills and life-changing experiences to young people making the transition from school into employment.
However, the way young people currently search for – and are matched to – apprenticeship vacancies is hard to navigate and inefficient. This means that young people often miss out on the right role even though there are lots of opportunities out there, and employers can’t find suitable applicants. The need for an improvement in recruiting young people was highlighted by recent figures from the Department of Business, which revealed that the number of people starting Government backed apprenticeships had fallen by almost 70,000 last year.
Founded by three training and learning experts who identified the potential for the recruitment process to be improved, GMFJ is a unique web based platform that allows young people to be quickly and efficiently matched to apprenticeship vacancies by approved training providers.
This is achieved through an innovative approach to candidate search that is tailored exactly to meet the demands of the apprenticeship market.
Over 160,000 young people are already registered and GMJF hope to help place 10,000 young people into apprenticeships this year.
Young people who sign up receive pro-active support right from the start, with training providers able to contact them about vacancies and users able to search for suitable openings near to them.
GMFJ has the potential to increase the number of young people entering apprenticeships that they are well suited to, in a quick and efficient manner. As a result, this will help improve their skills, employability and long terms career prospects, and stop them becoming unemployed when they leave school. These outcomes match the aims of our social investment fund: to improve young people’s employment readiness and rates of employment.
We hope that growing the GMFJ platform will also have a wider impact. For example, if training providers are able to fill vacancies more efficiently, then this could encourage employers to create more apprenticeships for young people - growing the pool of opportunities available.
Prior to our investment, GMFJ had developed and tested its product, secured contracts with providers, and attracted 160,000 young people to register on its site. Our support will be invested into sales, marketing and other resources to help GMFJ scale-up its reach and impact, right across the country.
Despite being one of the earlier-stage companies in our portfolio, GMFJ impressed us from the start. Firstly, the team - David Allison, Ian Hunt and John Parkes - have a deep understanding of the apprenticeship and training market. For us, this was vital as the sector is complex and fragmented. There are currently over 3,000 training providers with apprenticeship funding, so to be able to grow and succeed in this area requires a deep knowledge.
Secondly, we like the scalability of the product from both the commercial and social impact perspectives. Rather than investing in an individual training provider or college, investing in GMFJ gives us the opportunity to support training providers and colleges right across the country – increasing both the size of the addressable market and the number of young people that we have the potential to reach.
Finally, at NII, we look for ventures that can measure and evidence their impact. We have developed an approach with GMFJ that, over time, will enable us to measure the extent to which it has improved the fill rates of vacancies and the longer-term impact it has had on young people’s lives.