When I founded b4ipply in 2011, I was very keen to help young people to make more informed decisions about what they choose to study at the university. The trigger was the significant increase of tuition fees in the UK for degrees with questionable quality (at least in my opinion) and definitely limited career prospects in the future.
Although many welcomed the initiative, they were expecting me to offer them simple off the shelf solutions. In a society which is more comfortable to follow trends (i.e. do what others do), I was asking people to reflect and make their own decisions.
There were also those who misinterpreted my message. They thought that I am advocating for people NOT to go for higher education. This cannot be further from the truth.
My objective was for people to consider higher education as an investment (especially in the countries where they pay for it). Some investments are better than others. Each person has to do his/her own due diligence and not believe everything mentioned in a glossy brochure. What may work for one person, it may not be the optimal solution for another.
Seven years later, the situation has not changed much. The education system is very slow to adjust to the fluid new reality and cater for the current needs. Employers continue to complain that they cannot find people with the right skill set while youth unemployment is increasing. Nobody can offer a simple solution because of the complexity of the problem.
During this time, another phenomenon became more apparent. Although the retirement age increases, there is a scarcity of career opportunities for the middle-aged men and women. Many of them become redundant in their early 50s and need to reinvent themselves and explore different career options.
I had the opportunity to read a lot and also talk to many people in order to get a more
holistic understanding of these issues. Given that systemic solutions take time to be defined and implemented, I would like to redefine and relaunch the b4iapply initiative as a platform for this wider discussion.
It will be for the benefit of all us to ensure that everybody around us get the opportunity to become the better version of themselves.
These societal changes can happen only when many people join their forces.
If you share this passion, please join along.
The bottom line: These complex problems cannot be solved with simple solutions. It will require the input and support of many parties with different expertise. b4iapply gets redefined in order to become a platform that can faciliate this wider discussion.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply. She passionately believes in empowering people to make informed decisions about their career and their finances. She is a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. In her limited spare time, she wants to join forces with others to help everybody to be a better version of themselves. Her b4iapply blog is recommended by The Guardian for professional development.