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August 06, 2021
Social enterprise Stay Nimble aims to make mid-career shifts the new norm
By: Accenture UK

Accenture’s partnership has helped the career-coaching platform put thousands of workers into better jobs amidst a rapidly shifting economy.

When Jo Hamlyn decided to change careers, she had no idea the networking skills she’d developed as a performing arts programme manager would turn out to be invaluable for a career as a web designer.

Admittedly, it was a big change. “When I first decided to make a change all I knew was that I wasn’t happy where I was and wanted a new challenge,” admits Hamlyn. It took almost a year of learning from others who had exciting and inspiring careers that enabled them to explore their creativity before Hamlyn took the leap into web design. The transition took time and hard work. She set her mind to learning to code and used her networking skills to gain enough clients for her to leave her job and go full-time on a freelance career.

The move was worth it. Hamlyn found her calling, and most importantly, she feels free to be her “true creative self”. She even became a mentor, supporting someone going through a similar transition.

Hamlyn’s story has a happy ending, but not everyone has the time to explore their options and learn from others’ career. And a helping hand is exactly what’s needed.

According to a report by the International Labour Organization, people in elementary occupations—such as construction, transportation, sanitation, and food preparation—are more likely than other workers to be affected by technological change.

Additionally, these workers have fewer opportunities to learn new skills, engage in creative or complex work, and solve unforeseen problems as part of their job. They’re simply not exposed to the kinds of experiences that would help them make a career change.

Thankfully, the award-winning social enterprise Stay Nimble is providing the support workers need. A digital career-coaching platform that helps users to identify their strengths and values, build new skills, and apply for jobs, Stay Nimble has helped more than 11,130 UK workers since it was founded in 2018.

Accenture has had an active role in Stay Nimble from the outset, partnering with Stay Nimble founder and CEO Dom Atkinson in the startup’s early stages to build an innovative platform. The organisation continues to receive support from Accenture’s social impact programme through grants and pro-bono consulting.

In addition, Accenture’s funding has made the platform available for people who are economically disadvantaged, ensuring the benefits like personalised coaching are available to those who need it most. Stay Nimble users also have access to Accenture’s online learning resources, including the Skills to Succeed Academy and Accenture Digital Skills. This further supports people in securing new, long-term employment opportunities.

It works like this: Users sign up for a free membership for a taster, or upgrade to a paid membership for full features, which enables them to learn about and track their transferable skills, use personalised tools to review and enhance CVs and cover letters, explore data that helps them discover trending careers, learn new skills in online courses, and see live job openings in their chosen field. And even after users find new positions, Stay Nimble continues to help them track their skill development as they work towards new goals.

Throughout the process, users can engage with coaches through video calls or in-app chats. Since June 2020, Stay Nimble has provided more than 1,200 coaching hours and has now been able to evidence over £22m in social value on the UK Social Value Bank.

According to Dom Atkinson, guided conversation can be extremely impactful for mid-career workers. “Many people get stuck figuring out what they want to do in their lives. It can be overwhelming, particularly if you haven’t written a CV in 20 years. When our members work with a qualified career coach, we see people making quicker progress and building confidence about their potential in the world.”

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Feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive, with around 80 percent reporting that their confidence has increased after using the platform to identify their skills.

Stay Nimble is more needed now than ever. The economic impact of COVID-19, on top of tech trends like automation, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, has led to an unprecedented skills gap that threatens to leave some workers behind.

Supporting workers as they take steps towards new types of work is a key priority in Accenture’s corporate citizenship strategy. With the Skills to Succeed initiative, Accenture’s aim is to equip all people, especially those most vulnerable to the effects of technological change, with the means and opportunity to thrive in the digital economy.

A new cohort of mid-career workers recently received access to Stay Nimble as they work towards a career in cybersecurity. Accenture funded access to Stay Nimble in a programme co-designed with The Open University that focused on helping people in the middle of their careers, in lower income jobs and working in an industry or role that is likely to change or shrink due to technological disruption. They received training with The Open University and Cisco, plus Stay Nimble coaching, that has helped them explore an in-demand and future-proofed career keeping data and computer systems safe.

Through a partnership with Stay Nimble, the Department for Work and Pensions referred candidates to an introductory cyber training course hosted by The Open University. As part of the service, users have taken advantage of the Stay Nimble platform to support their career development during and after the course.

Nesta, a charity that focuses on innovation, funded the development of The Open University course via the CareerTech Challenge Fund, which is supported by the Department For Education. The course was accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre (GCHQ) and was also supported by Cisco Academy.

Accenture’s funding was used to provide free access to Premium Stay Nimble memberships for three months, and one-on-one coaching for up to 2,000 participants. Through this programme, course completion rates were four times higher than average completion of similar online courses, with over 400 people gaining access to further education with Cisco or securing an entry level position in cybersecurity. This programme has evidenced social value of more than £4.5m through high confidence and taking part in learning new skills based on the UK Social Value Bank.

Stay Nimble has been recognised as an industry leader in career development with awards from Digital Leaders and the Career Development Institute.

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