COVID and the global economic contraction caused by the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for young people entering the workforce. Figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) projected potential unemployment, in a worst case scenario, to be at 11% in Q1 2022.
Handshake was founded with a simple mission: democratise opportunity. We believe that technology can play a key role in removing the structural inefficiencies that breed inequality. We are fortunate to have amazing investors who are deeply committed to this mission and understand the long-term value that is created by showing up for the sector and making a real difference.
We understand that times are tough. Universities are facing budget uncertainties compounded by uncertain admissions and deferment numbers. This can make it hard to have conversations about investment in new technologies. For students, facing worrying statistics and an uncertain economy, the stakes feel higher than ever.
As a part of Handshake’s Series E funding announcement our investors, board, and executive team challenged us to come up with a mechanism of investment for the sector. A way to show up and support the recovery in a way that makes a real difference and is something Handshake is uniquely positioned to do.
We’re thrilled today to share with you the Handshake Early Careers Recovery Fund. The fund is composed of three pillars:
More information coming soon! Sign up here to be the first to hear.
Supporting the Profession with a Technology and Professional Development Fund
A consistent theme we heard from university leaders was that budget cuts have hit professional development hard. Moving from crisis to crisis and lockdown to lockdown has left little time for zooming out and co-creating the long-term future of the sector with peers.
Careers 2030: Designing the Future of Early Careers - A Design Thinking Bootcamp for Emerging Leaders
Design thinking is the philosophy behind the most successful organisations in the world. We believe it provides a powerful framework for ideating, testing, and iterating on what the future might look like. Handshake is proud to announce this three day design thinking boot camp.
This event will be CPD accredited and facilitated by a leading design thinking organisation. Attendees will work in cross-functional and cross-university teams through each stage of the design process with a focus on “How might we create a more equitable university to career transition for every student?”
Attendees will walk away with a deep understanding of the design thinking process that they can bring back to their organisation. As a part of the ETRF Handshake is covering all costs associated with up to 200 emerging leaders attending this training.
The event will culminate with a virtual celebration and award ceremony where winning teams will receive donations to their institution of £1,500 per person to implement their idea.
To learn more or to nominate someone to attend, click here.
£30K Professional Development Fund for our Existing Partners
For universities that they have already partnered with Handshake in the UK we are carving out £30,000 for professional development opportunities. These funds can be used for conferences, resources, online courses, etc.
Our university partners are at the center of the impact we can have. Professional development is a critical piece of supporting students in a rapidly evolving landscape and we are proud to be investing in this.
Handshake’s support and success teams will be contacting early partners with details on how to request the funds in the coming days.
Two Free Years of Handshake for up to 30 Universities
We deeply believe a technological solution is a key prerequisite to break down the structural barriers to inequality. Even with the best intentions, companies can’t recruit from a diverse set of institutions if, in order to do so, they have to have their team posting jobs in disparate job boards all day, every day.
The Handshake platform was architected to remove structural inequalities in the way universities, students, and employers connect.
Today, Handshake supports over 1,100 universities. The average university that switches to Handshake sees a 60% increase in student engagement and a 300% increase in the number of job opportunities available to their students. Further, Handshake enables employers to be proactive in their recruitment - messaging students directly and inviting them to engage with their events and jobs. This has a profound impact on students who may otherwise not have the confidence to show up.
While we’ve seen this impact across the US and UK, we also hear from some universities that tight budgets mean buying new technology platforms isn’t feasible. That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’ve alloted up to £720,000 in lost revenue to cover the costs associated with universities implementing Handshake. For most universities, who budget for a legacy career management system, this means a potential savings of tens-of-thousands of pounds over the next two critical years.
Universities that take advantage of this offer will have no long-term contracts that lock them into high prices in the future. We believe that the impact Handshake has will speak for itself.
Want to become one of the 30 new Handshake Partners? Find out more here!
Creating Connections through Virtual Career Fairs
Career fairs are powerful tools for creating authentic, human to human connections at scale.
We are proud to be covering costs for up to 250,000 students and 10,000 employers to attend UK and Ireland-wide virtual careers fairs - absolutely free.
Our Virtual Career Fairs tool has already had a huge impact in addressing the systemic challenges and structures that have prevented companies from recruitment more broadly. In our recent research paper, we explored some of the key issues arising from the switch to virtual.
Since launching virtual career fairs as a response to COVID, Handshake have hosted over 4,000 career fairs in the system creating millions of authentic student and employer connections.
At Handshake we want to expand the impact of virtual fairs even further by making them available to every student, no matter what university they attend. By creating authentic human-to-human connections at scale, Handshake will help ensure every student has access to meaningful opportunities.
Want to learn more about Handshake’s virtual fair tool?
Boosting Employability through Student Society Investment
Our recent report “Netpotism” showed that 26% of students and recent graduates in the UK have been frustrated by entry level jobs demanding unreasonable work experience.
The COVID pandemic continues to make it challenging for students to get work experience through traditional routes like internships. Analysis of employer search trends on Handshake shows involvement with student societies can offer meaningful professional experience when internships are in short supply. Students with a student society, course, and skills completed on their Handshake profile are 5x more likely to get a message from an employer than those without. For students, getting a message can be the first step to a life changing opportunity.
In our conversations with student leaders in the UK we’ve learned that these organisations have been hard hit by COVID. Traditional fundraising techniques have dried up leaving an uncertain future.
With the Student Society investment Handshake will be launching a way for every student society in the UK to raise funds for their organisation. These funds can be used to increase and diversify the society experiences available to students, through the purchase of new equipment, attendance at events or conferences, among other things.
More details are coming in the coming weeks. The fund will work by connecting two things we know help students get meaningful outcomes: involvement in student societies and connecting students with opportunities via their Handshake profile.
The investment fund will go live this summer with the aim to support students societies as they return to campus for the autumn term.
More information coming soon!