The world today is changing faster than ever before. New technologies are changing the way we live, work, study, communicate, and share with each other. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, and many other technological advances are causing a deep shift in the type of skills companies are looking for, which is in turn transforming today’s jobs at a faster and faster rate.
Today, companies require skills that universities didn’t teach 5, 10, 20 years ago and for the majority, still don’t teach today. According to the World Economic Forum, 133 million jobs will be created in the next few years, mainly in technology and digital areas, while at the same time 75 million jobs will literally disappear. This means the education system that existed for the past centuries needs to evolve, and needs to evolve fast. That is why over the past few years, we have seen the emergence of numerous Bootcamps, MOOCs, nano-degrees, and other short, but often intensive education programs, which are trying to fill in the gap. Universities are also (slowly) starting to adapt to this new reality and are producing master degrees or even “bootcamps” in different digital and technology areas that employers are demanding from today’s workforce.
A lot of these “new” education programs allow people to learn in a few months specific skills that companies are looking for, upgrading and even substituting university degrees, which used to be the normal way. The age when people used to go to lectures at a university for 3–5 years, and then get a job that they would keep for 20–40 years doesn’t exist anymore. As the job market is shifting we will need to constantly learn new skills to stay “up to date”. This means we will need to attend more and more of these shorter programs or online courses throughout our working lives, and really embrace the concept of lifelong learning. This is today a reality and a must. Today’s economy demands for a completely different approach to education — one that is a lot more fluid and integrated with the advances in technology and with companies that are looking to hire new talent or even “reskill” the existing one.
However, we are already feeling the pain of this evolution in the job market, and the gap caused by the delay in the shift in the Education system. For example, in Europe alone there is a “gap” of 750,000 software engineers, and globally we see a shortage of 3 million cybersecurity experts. This means that companies have those jobs open and are “desperately” looking for this talent, but they cannot find it.
The question that many people ask is that if this is the case, and there is such a huge gap for those skills, why aren’t there more universities or other education providers producing more talent? In addition, if there are more and more programs focusing on these skills shortages, and there are plenty of job opportunities out there, what is the problem? Why can’t more people attend those programs and fill those gaps?
The main reason is lack of funding. There are millions of very talented people out there who would love to access this education and secure one of these high-impact jobs. However, they very often cannot afford the cost of these programs and are left out. This in turn hinders schools from realising their potential, and leaves employers struggling without the talent they need.
This is why we are launching StudentFinance — to help people transition their lives to high-impact careers. We support them in acquiring the right skills by investing in their education, in exchange for a share of their future income. This approach allows us to ensure there is a clear alignment of interests and a focus on employment outcomes from the courses we partner with.
StudentFinance partners with education programs that are producing the talent that companies are looking for. We finance their students through flexible financing methods tied to income, making sure the education institutions also have “skin in the game”, by participating in part of the financing and thus aligning everyone’s interests. This way we ensure the education system works in an efficient way, and delivers to its promise — to get people equipped with the skills they need for a good, impactful, career. In addition, by funding student’s education, we increase the supply of talent in the market, addressing the skills gap, and helping companies and governments ensure the right talent base to continue to thrive and develop in today’s digital economy.
We see such a large number of people eager to learn new skills and enter the job market. StudentFinance will be their partner in achieving their dreams and helping them become what might have seemed otherwise impossible to reach.