Inspiration: A talk with a training company's manager that made me realize that there are many spots that remain unsold and that can be donated to youth with benefits for all the stakeholders.

How it works For high potential youth and corporate employers unsatisfied by the traditional online recruitment portals, CareerKIT is the 1st training community for future managers together with managers oriented on unconventional recruitment. Compared to the traditional recruitment services, we put together premium trainings and unconventional recruitment & networking opportunities in a manner that enables youth to develop their skills and employability and the companies to reduce their HR costs.

CareerKIT integrates the available spots that also have attached valuable networking opportunities with top and middle managers, donated by the premium training companies for obtaining fiscal deductions and offers them to youth on a competitive basis, through online competitions. Our partners - top corporate employers have the opportunity to recruit talented students and young professionals on the platform, after interacting with them and appreciating their skills proved during the competitions and also during the trainings they will participate. CareerKIT’s innovative approach comes from the best allocation of unused resources and transforms the training market’s slump into a growth opportunity for our partners, while improving youth’s skills and employability. It maximizes the training companies’ added value both in the short run (through the fiscal deductions received for spots that now remain unused) and the long run (by consolidating their brand and increasing their sales); it reduces the corporations’ HR costs using an innovative approach and also the state’s social expenses. CareerKIT enables youth to better integrate on the labor market through premium trainings that otherwise wouldn’t afford to pay for and also through valuable networking opportunities with top and middle managers. Also, it rebuilds youth’s self confidence, as they will obtain the trainings on a competitive basis enabling them to take control over their professional development and, not for the last, it (re)builds employer’s trust in youth’s potential as they will have the opportunity to interact in a non formal environment during the trainings and also on the platform.

Challenges I ran into The gap between the unskilled youth and the growing need for talents generates unemployment and talent shortage. According to Global Employment Trends study, EU is the biggest developed region with high youth unemployment (23,4%, Eurostat) while having a talent shortage of 37% (Manpower Talent Shortage Survey) and the main causes are the skills mismatch and the demotivation. Romania has an youth unemployment of 23,7%, while having one of the highest talent shortage in the world (54%). Moreover, the ones who are willing to overcome the skills mismatch can’t afford to pay for the needed trainings, as youth poverty and exclusion rate is 44,3% in Romania (EU: 29,8%, Eurostat) and out of them 32,5% suffer of severe material deprivation (EU: 10,6%).

Accomplishments that I'm proud of CareerKIT’s potential was recognized at EU level through the European Projects Awards Best Idea prize offered by the European Projects Association and the European Economic and Social Committee. Also, in January 2014 CareerKIT was exhibitor at the Social Entrepreneurs: Have your say! event organized by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee.

CareerKIT also won the Special Jury Prize at the JCI Best Social Business Plan Competition. Moreover, it was finalist of Intel Business Challenge Europe and of Social Impact Awards Europe.

What I learned After integrating all the received feedback, I’ve made 3 important changes to the business plan: we will offer fee online resources to all the users; we will offer to the corporate employers who will become our partners the opportunity to recruit students and fresh graduates in an innovative manner using the CareerKIT platform; and we will implement the project step by step, in order not to lose the focus and also to allow our members to be our brand advocates.

What's next for CareerKIT The next milestone is to reach 15.000 paying users who filled their CV on the platform. After it, we will offer one week of free trial to top corporate employers, before signing the contracts for our employer branding packages (until now, 43 corporations expressed their interest to test CareerKIT).

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