How NOT to lose a generation of graduates to a global pandemic

Irish entrepreneurs build bridges for future talent

Transitioning from college to the professional working world is an intensely challenging experience for many recent graduates. Figuring out where to start, navigating the myriad of professional pathways, knowing where and whom to seek advice from, lengthy and increasingly demanding recruitment processes, countless rejections - it can feel like a maze, with no clear way out.  

Now throw a global pandemic into the mix and the maze has become a lot harder to figure out. Post-graduate career and travel plans halted, internships postponed or cancelled - the graduate jobs market has become smaller and more competitive. In the face of this adversity, graduates have had to show resilience and agility like never before.  

So yes, it’s clear that graduates have it tough, but what about businesses? They are operating in unchartered territories – or more prosaically, ‘a redefined commercial landscape’ – which in turn has demanded immediate and effective adaptability or ‘pivoting’ to meet changing customers’ needs.

Irish entrepreneurs show creativity in crisis

In Episode 19 of That Great Business Show, Conall Ó Móráin spoke with Rob Muldowney, co-founder of Covid Interns - a social enterprise platform connecting Irish SMEs with university students and graduates with specialised skills across a range of disciplines and backgrounds. The service aims to help SMEs combat current commercial difficulties while simultaneously helping students and graduates gain invaluable work experience in areas like digital marketing, financial planning, consulting, web development, PR, content writing and social media management. And, #TeamGBS like Covid Interns so much, they’ve made their first hire directly from the service. 

Covid Interns targets its service to SMEs, rather than large corporations, which may already have established internship pathways and recruitment processes for new graduates. As of April 2021, the company has supported 180+ businesses, placed 200+ candidates from 40+ universities in 25+ industries - an impressive achievement by any standards! From experienced individuals to individuals seeking experience on a full time, part time or academic placement basis, Covid Interns can help.

Meaningful mentoring matters

Another innovative business throwing some serious shapes in this space is Gradguide. Founded by Mark Hughes, Ian Guerin, Matthew Brennan and Dave Martin, Gradguide is a free online career guidance, mentorship and graduate recruitment platform designed to ease the transition from college to technology companies.  

The company matches college students and recent graduates with mentors at some of the fastest-growing tech companies in the world via an intensive career accelerator programme with the aim of landing their dream jobs in tech. Plans to scale this graduate mentoring service in Ireland and abroad have recently been accelerated following a €2m equity investment by Clune Technologies. Watch this space!

Countering the ‘college to company’ conundrum

Covid Interns and Gradguide are just two organisations working hard to ensure that we do not lose a generation of graduates to a global pandemic. It is more essential now than ever that bridging the gap between college and company is addressed positively and professionally. These future-focused Irish companies are doing just that. This reach-out is more than a life-line during the present pandemic, it is a concrete pathway to sustainable recruitment practices for graduates. Check them out today.