Leading London universities team up with online platform to equip students with skills to go independent – FE News
Three leading universities in London are working with UnderPinned, an online platform for freelancers, in a first-of-its-kind partnership to help their students market their skills as they enter a workforce of increasingly hybrid, it was announced today.
These partnerships give around 22,200 students – from University of the Arts London, London College of Communication, St Mary’s University, Twickenham and London Metropolitan – access to an innovative online platform that provides a “virtual office”, including tools for creating an independent portfolio. , find and manage clients and projects, produce invoices and contracts. Students can also participate in a Freelance Business Accelerator program, a comprehensive online course with modules that help students learn how to evaluate their work, pitch to clients, and build their portfolio.
Currently, freelancers in the UK face particularly difficult hurdles for young people, with research by UnderPinned and the Small Business Commissioner finding that 41% of invoices are consistently paid late to freelancers, up to 55% freelancers who have not been paid. at all for the work done.
According to the latest data from the ONS, there are 4.1 million self-employed people, meaning those who run their business for themselves, representing around 14.8% of the workforce. UK work. The UK ranks second in the world in terms of the proportion of its self-employed workforce, ahead of the US, Germany and France and behind only Italy.
However, the latest recent data available also shows that people under the age of 24 make up just 3.8% of the UK’s self-employed. By way of comparison, 50-54 year olds represent 13.7% and 45-49 year olds 13%. The analysis shows that there is also a significant gender gap – with the self-employed in the UK being 65% male and 35% female.
UnderPinned and partner universities aim to equip UK graduates with the knowledge to build a business around their skills. This will in turn boost the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and support the drive for a more hybrid future of work built around a mix of full-time employees and self-employed workers.
Albert Azis-Clauson, CEO of UnderPinned, said:
“The UK is fundamentally bad at vocational training. We produce some of the most skilled people in the world, but we fail to equip them with the knowledge or the tools they need to build a business around their skills.
“Our focus on education to get people into full-time employment is fundamentally undermining opportunities for young people. Companies are increasingly turning to the freelancers and hybrid workers, but the freelancers are disproportionately older. Whether they go straight into self-employment or a new form of hybrid employment, young people must have access to the knowledge and tools to market their skills in the modern world of work if they are to succeed.
“It is fantastic that London universities recognize this fundamental change from traditional linear employment pathways. The capital is one of the best places in the world to be an entrepreneur, but that’s just the beginning – we plan to grow and partner with universities across the country to help give students from all backgrounds and of all ages the confidence to become self-employed – and give companies access to the flexibility and skills of freelancers who could transform their business.
Mandip TakharPlacements Manager at University of the Arts London, London College of Communication, said:
“Often students entering higher education are conditioned to think that the goal is to graduate and find a job with a company or organization, but this is not always the case and that’s why LCC’s partnership with UnderPinned is so valuable, because we have the same innovative and entrepreneurial way of thinking. The LCC and UnderPinned partnership celebrates the diversity of our students that applies beyond simply identifying their core skills: it extends to how best they can use those skills to broaden their appeal as creatives. independent.
“Working with UnderPinned has allowed us to promote that the opportunity for our students to seek freelance work – whether during their studies or after graduation – can increase their appeal to employers in a way that captures their entrepreneurial dynamism and combines it with the ability to practice these skills in a “professional perspective”.
“Not only do students gain a deeper understanding of their value as freelancers, but they are also able to gain tangible experience and present it to future employers as a testament to their unique ability to seek out the work that matches. to their skills. UnderPinned’s offering has enhanced our approach to how we guide students and graduates into their desired field of endeavor and help them better understand their value as creative freelancers in their area of expertise. selected.
- According to the latest data from the ONS, there are currently 4,184,000 self-employed people in the UK – 65% male and 35% female.
- According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, in 2019 the UK had the second highest level of self-employment as a percentage of total employment, with only Italy being higher.
- UnderPinned has previously partnered with the government’s Small Business Commissioner to conduct research into poor payment practices in the self-employed creative sector.
- More information about UnderPinned can be found on its website.
Latest ONS age breakdown of self-employed (2019-20):
|age range||Number of self-employed||Percentage self-employed|
|16 to 24 years old||187,200||3.8%|
|25 to 29 years old||323 100||6.6%|
|30 to 34 years old||448,300||9%|
|35 to 39 years old||525,000||10.7%|
|40 to 44 years old||542,600||11%|
|45 to 49 years old||639 100||13%|
|50 to 54 years old||669,200||13.7%|
|55 to 59 years old||613,600||12.6%|
|60 to 64 years old||452 100||9%|
|65 and over||484,500||9.9%|
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