Earlier this year The Economist teamed up with Lumina to run an open innovation challenge that hoped to uncover more about the skills gap that exists between higher education and the workplace, and more importantly, how the gap can be closed.
The aim of the challenge was to discover a product or service that could better facilitate communication between the employment market and higher education so that graduates are better equipped to offer value to the marketplace.
The winner of the challenge was announced recently, with Diana Cobbe’s OnCampus product revealed as the champion and recipient of the $10,000 winning prize. OnCampus is described by Cobbe as like Candy Crush meeting LinkedIn. It provides a mobile and gamified social learning platform to give students certain rewards for developing and learning skills that are valued by employers.
The platform both tracks and validates your skills as you develop them through higher education, and generates a live employability score, both for yourself and for recruiters. The score is aimed to assist recruiters when hiring apprentices, whilst students also gain insights into the kind of skills that are valued by employers, and of course those skills themselves. Users can browse the site for particular companies, and gain access to the specific skills they look for.
“We had a tough decision to make this year. The array and quality of entries helped us better understand perceptions of the skills gaps and provided us with a number of possible solutions,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “It is imperative that higher education and employers do a better job in communicating with one another, and this year’s Challenge winner is poised to make a positive impact on those efforts.”
There will be a Google Hangout on the 9th October whereby the skills gap will be discussed with people from the competition, including Diana Cobbe herself. Should be well worth tuning in for if you are free.