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How does a 17-year-old student think seriously about their life-goals, further education, and career choices, while anticipating a future world of AI and automation? Today’s school children are watching automation technologies take over roles from lawyers, drivers, civil servants, to marketing execs, skilled trades – even coding. Millions of adults will have to switch careers or at the very least, re-skill. Which qualification will hold the same value in 10 years’ time? Who knows? Young people can be forgiven for feeling anxious and overwhelmed by this. Especially as the people they look to for answers; their parents and teachers, don’t know either. They have important life choices to make, under time pressure, while facing this unprecedented ambiguity as a generation.
With dramatic change seemingly inevitable, a new kind of sophisticated career helper is needed for Generation Z. Occupational Psychologist and serial entrepreneur Ellie Yell has stepped up to help. Launching Fledglink as a promising mobile tech business with purpose. Her innovative platform offers a virtual career service to help Gen Z learn about themselves, build confidence, navigate complicated career choices and connect with real employers.
The Fledglink app is a free, powerful new tool; enabling thousands of students to understand their skills and interests in the context of work, and how to market themselves more effectively. Each student benefits from a free personality assessment too. This pairs up with a virtual strengths assessment so young adults can understand their inner abilities and qualities and build a digital CV similar to LinkedIn but which is more appropriate for ‘career starters’.
By personalising their own ‘discovery feed’ they can access tailored guidance on career options and further education on demand. No appointments, no judgments, and no teacher bias. With many young people now interested in business, entrepreneurship is equally encouraged as a career choice. For those students not sure of what they want to do, who are feeling ill-prepared or completely lost, Fledglink is a slick interactive assistant. Building a sense of identity, personal value and direction by using the app allows them to take ownership of their future and build bridges with employers.
One of Fledglink’s core aims is to break the deadlock of early-stage job hunting – a lack of experience being a barrier to progression. It’s a familiar ‘catch-22’ scenario, which can be highly problematic for those lacking a network. Getting started is hard. Without early career traction you can fall behind your peers, or become underemployed, despite having relevant talents. To combat this, real-world work opportunities appear on the Fledglink app for those actively looking, including paid work experience and internships. Employers use it to engage, attract and hire diverse talent like never before.
The breadth and depth of what’s on offer goes far beyond conventional career advisory services that any single high school can provide. The digitisation of careers advice in this fashion makes it a much more scalable service, and more accessible for digital natives too.
Founder Ellie Yell, trained as a business psychologist then worked in global HR consultancy before setting up her own HR consultancy, prior to Fledglink. She is a serial entrepreneur with deep expertise in the field- now committed to helping the next generation navigate difficult life choices. She is a parent to five children herself, aged between 5 and 18, which helps her to see things from their perspective.
She passionately believes in transforming lives – helping teenagers to prepare for their future. The business is driven by a strong social mission, deeply concerned that 800,000 16-24 year-olds are currently not in education, employment, or training (NEET). Evidently, gaining traction early matters enormously and this offers a new way for young people to get it.
Yell’s start-up story includes taking part in the NatWest accelerator, Deutsche Bank’s We In Social Tech accelerator and currently on the Plexal Social Inclusion accelerator at Here East in the Olympic Park. Experienced in running her own HR consultancy business however, Ellie was new to technology and the kind of finance needed to build a high growth business. “There’s a massive learning curve. The accelerators gave me an opportunity to start conversations early with VCs and Angel investors. A huge part of the learning curve for tech entrepreneurs is just picking up the language of these investors.”
The business initiated a friends & family funding round, managed through the SeedLegals platform which dramatically simplifies the language and paperwork involved in raising capital. “I didn’t want to overload friends and family with legal terms that are alien to everyone. Thankfully, SeedLegals explains everything in human terms. It was really easy… I literally can’t fault them”. Securing advanced SEIS approval for this first round too was, “uncomplicated. Super easy!”.
“We are now setting up an EMI Options scheme. The team is so passionate and driven by the mission so I want them to be rewarded properly [with share options], and to secure EMI tax advantages with this.” This is a relatively new option on the SeedLegals platform, alongside contracts for employees, advisors, contractors, interns and IP assignments all stored in the cloud.
Fledglink progressed quickly to their second round of investment, attracting new Angel investors a few months later. These investors were able to introduce bespoke terms to the Shareholder Agreement and work alongside SeedLegals with an independent lawyer.
“The SeedLegals team was there to integrate these bespoke terms and went out of their way to help. With second-round funding signed off, the Cap Table automatically adjusts on SeedLegals and Share Certificates are made ready to print and distribute. All of the legal documentation centralised in one place”.
Fledglink is now scaling up substantially, with a national promotion reaching 1,000,000 young people, schools and youth groups as sponsor of the #MakeYourMark campaign (the government’s parliamentary youth vote). It’s an exciting time for the business as it begins a new fundraise simultaneously; a £750,000 seed round, with 50% pledged from existing investors upfront.
Yell doesn’t shy away from the challenges of tomorrow’s jobs market, or the irony of her semi-automated app giving career advice. But it empowers Generation Z to take ownership of their journey through the last years of education and into work like never before. Like SeedLegals, it is a high growth technology venture; educating its users, democratising access to opportunity and reducing anxiety. And that’s why we love Fledglink.