To solve the careers issue in Wales I needed to be a facilitator not a dictator. My vision was a starting point, but over 2500 young people shaped the solution to what it is now; the miFuture app a careers solution for Generation Z.
I left teaching and spent 3 years going deep into Generation Z and engaged with schools, employability projects, housing associations, schools, community first and PRU groups, spending concentrated time with young people.
I absorbed everything; how they engaged with their digital environments, completed online tasks, their frustrations, and the barriers they identified.
By involving them, I focused on the real problems and redefined what miFuture, the solution, needed to be.
My ‘Facebook for Careers’ was an all singing and dancing portal of information and guidance, with a users news feed of opportunities offering a easy ‘one click apply’.
I envisaged a platform with video, written guides, quizzes and action plans, yeah all that ‘sexy’ stuff that would excite a teacher.
And that’s the problem, I was coming at it from the wrong point of view, I needed to listen, step back and hand over control to Generation Z (Gen Z) to get it right.
Here’s the three ways Gen Z has shaped miFuture into the careers app they want:
1. Stripped it back
I sat back and allowed them to dictate things. I submerged myself into their world and allowed them to start the discussion from scratch.
As good as they thought elements of my idea was, they were honest in describing how crap the rest was.
They threw out over 80% of the functions, stripped it back to solve their two biggest frustrations: finding opportunities and applying for them.
They only want to see opportunities that they can actually apply for.
In hindsight this is obvious! If you’ve been on a job site you know the results are often ineligible.
Particularity for a young person seeing ‘x amount of experience needed’ or ‘post grad only’ is a negative experience, and one we can avoid.
2. App first
In 2016 miFuture was desktop first and mobile responsive, 2017 we pivoted to a mobile responsive desktop with a complementary app, then in late 2018 miFuture launched as App only.
In two years the landscape that Generation Z demanded to apply for opportunities not only evolved but shifted completely.
Their perception and belief is that they will find jobs, courses and training positions through their phone, and only their phone.
This is huge! This is a shift that those in charge of careers and recruitment hasn’t prepared for, I hadn’t prepared for it, I adapted and refused to add resistance, and by doing so was able to give young people exactly what they want.
My plea to organisations is to understand this and adjust accordingly, and to adjust now.
3. Compartmental Behaviour
Facebook is for ‘old people and my family’.
Twitter is for ‘businesses and serious people’.
Instagram is where ‘I document the best of my life’.
Snapchat is where I have ‘fun’ and ‘chat’.
In these comments from digital savvy Gen Zers it’s clear that they are precious and disciplined when it comes to using apps.
Note, no mention of these channels to look for employability routes, they may passively absorb content, but given the fact they have 1.2 seconds to capture and 6 seconds to engage – it’s highly unlikely.
‘Careers’ doesn’t fit in this world and they were honest in voicing that.
miFuture App became the Solution
A closed app where they actively go to action their career tasks was needed.
It makes sense, they open Just Eat for food deliveries, Amazon for purchasing, YouTube for media consumption, and Tinder for dating.
miFuture needs to exist in this space, we have to fit into that behaviour. When they want to explore jobs and courses, they will go to the appropriate space to do that, and it will be easy.
What a journey
I am proud to have taken the last 3 years to get the solution right, taking time to test and review, spending time with young people in groups of all sizes, abilities and economical backgrounds to honestly say that miFuture app is created by Gen Z for Gen Z.
Chief Mobiliser @miFutureApp