About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Career Elevate: How MyKindaFuture helped workers at risk from automation

At MyKindaFuture, career adaptability is an important focus: we help people to future-proof their careers in a changing world. So, as part of the CareerTech Challenge, we developed Career Elevate: a digital training programme for people whose jobs are at risk from automation

What did we create?

Career Elevate was an innovative scheme hosted on Connectr, MyKindaFuture’s digital mentoring platform. Launched five years ago, Connectr allows job candidates or current employees to connect with mentors within their organisation, to upskill themselves through online training content and to access information about jobs and events.

Since its launch, we have created bespoke versions of Connectr for several employers and user groups, to support specific populations to succeed. For example, we have seen as much as a 41% increase in female hires at partner companies who use the platform.

For Career Elevate, we used our experience of working with employers on digital programmes to create bitesize learning content and a mentoring programme, hosted on Connectr, which was tailored to workers who we identified might be impacted by automation, including in sectors such as administrative, construction or transport & storage services.

It consisted of two parts:

  • Fifteen hours of online skills development content, split into modules. This took users on a journey through various business departments, broadening their knowledge of different job areas and helping them develop career adaptability skills.
  • A mentoring feature, which allowed users to connect with business experts, from their company or other employers.

Who took part?

Through the programme, we created two Career Elevate platforms: We were able to work closely with Team Heathrow (a group of organisations who work in and around the airport) to create a bespoke programme to bring Career Elevate to their employees.

We also set up a separate Career Elevate platform; this second platform enabled us to reach out in parallel to a wider population outside of our employer base, whilst still targeting individuals who fell within the eligible cohort. We particularly targeted those heavily impacted sectors such as retail.

A significant learning was that many individuals who fit the eligibility criteria were from sectors or job roles that were less likely to engage with digital learning, for example if their roles weren’t desk-based. This created additional barriers to engage with the programme, so whilst we initially went out more broadly to eligible populations, our outreach and offering evolved to become more targeted to include all sectors within the organisation of our employer partner.

The capacity of many of our employer partners had also been hugely impacted by the pandemic, which provided a further recruitment challenge.

How did it work?

The 15 hours of learning content was split into 12 modules. These were released in small, manageable blocks every two weeks, allowing users to complete them at a steady pace.

Each user was also given the chance to connect with a mentor through the platform. Participants could search for a relevant mentor by business area – like HR or finance – with each mentor’s profile including a short description of their expertise.

Once connected, users could seek advice and engage with their mentors by exchanging messages on the platform and scheduling further meetings. This has led to impactful and long-lasting mentoring relationships.

The CareerTech Challenge enabled us to invest in building a smart matching tool and embedded algorithms within the platform. Based on the answers to a few key questions at sign up which would generate a user ‘persona’, mentees were pointed to mentors who would be the best match for them, ultimately enabling better mentor-mentee matches to develop, and relationships to form quicker. However, due to the low learner numbers this feature wasn’t tested by the current cohort.


Example of the learning content

What we learnt

By using our established Connectr platform to this new group of learners, we learnt a lot that will be valuable in future iterations of the programme:

  1. Give mentors more of a voice: The platform was designed so that only learners were able to initiate mentor conversations. Only 8% of the eligible cohort engaged with a mentor and our mentors told us they felt isolated as a result. This has led us to review this feature and we are developing further ways for them to get involved.
  2. Employer engagement and support: We found employer support key to the success of learner engagement. Learners recruited through an employer displayed higher levels of engagement with content, platform log-ins and mentor conversations in comparison to learners who directly joined the platform through other recruitment methods.
  3. Make content more specific: Narrowing the pool of learners in future programmes will allow us to make learning content more relevant to users.
  4. Introduce certification: Learners told us they’d have liked more concrete evidence of their participation.

Looking ahead

Career Elevate gives us a great structure to build from, and we’re developing a v2.0 which we hope will be accessed by even more organisations. We also have a first-class bank of learning content as a result of the programme, which can be repurposed for different audiences (such as younger learners).

The lessons we’ve learnt about the way the tech worked for the user group will also be invaluable – in particular, we’re building more in-depth mentor involvement into the platform, through new functionality that puts the mentee-mentor relationship at the heart, focussing the journey around mentee goals, tracking progress and setting up live meetings through the software.

Get in touch

To find out more about the work we do, including Connectr and Career Elevate, get in touch at [email protected], or connect with us below.






Natasha Shaikh

Head of Experience Delivery, MyKindaFuture

Stephanie Warren

Head of Early Careers, MyKindaFuture

Charlotte Dudley

Client Partnerships Team Lead, MyKindaFuture