• The London Financial

A Public View on COVID Education and Job Markets: James Uffindell, CEO and Founder of Bright Network

By Unicast Entertainment

For the 17th episode of Unicast’s running series of conversations with the successful leaders from across the professional spectrum, they interviewed James Uffindell – Founder and CEO of Bright Network, the UK-based career-supporting organisation responsible for the wildly successful Internship Experience UK program.

Through this interview, Unicast discussed with James a wide variety of issues – from the difficulties presented by an entrepreneurial lifestyle, to the job markets most susceptible to changes from COVID and even the art of filtering through the ocean of apparent educational opportunities available online. Yet, a topic that was especially engaging was James’ perspective on the success of public policy in education and employment facilitation given his recent inclusion to the CBI Employability Youth Task Force. How does the public sector facilitate labour force augmentation? Have we seen a revolution in corporate ideology on human resources and how does this pertain to the financial job market? What are the political moral hazards of such legislation and how is this relevant?

According to James, the job market has seen two fundamental forces that have been most positive from the lens of socioeconomic inclusion – one public, the other private. The private-sector revolution in hiring that James alludes to, is that of corporate ideology. More specifically, James tells us that major corporate players have moved on from looking at diversity as part of a façade to maintain, today they truly seek the brightest of minds “from all walks of life.” This pivot, according to James, has been especially fundamental in changing the way the issue of socio-economic exclusion is seen and tackled across various industries.

As a result, private organisations such as Bright Network have been able to foster and fill the gap acting as a third-party that can facilitate the development of “social capital and connections” among the young labour force. This will help them compete with the vast network of support that those from ‘a background of professional services’ already have courtesy to their environment. This highlights an interesting dynamic on how an entire industry of career support and advice has been able to mutate from its more conventional forms as a result of what is no short of a revolution in hiring ideologies.

The second discussion on the public facets of labour force augmentation sparked an interesting comment on the inherent moral hazards in passing relevant laws. Legislative changes on education and youth employment tend to show their benefits, as James tells us, in the long-term, which is in contrast to the relatively short term in which political parties are assessed. As a result of this dichotomy between results and action, political parties are not inclined to make necessary structural changes that truly help the young workforce. Yet, while acknowledging these inherent frictions in driving good policy, James also noted how recent policy has done remarkably well as has been reflected by the increasing number of students in university. He also alluded to the UK Kickstart program – a government-provided subsidy to employers for employing young workers, between the ages of 16 and 24 – as a positive influence in this sphere.

Thus, discussing the dynamic world of socioeconomic inclusion in labour markets, a phenomenon with especial importance in the world of finance, James provided us with interesting insights on ideological changes in the private sector and the unique dynamics of legislation in education and employment. To listen to more such exciting conversations, check out our full interview at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnOsz4cAEBI&t=1653s

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