Introducing Occumi co-founders Josh Clarke, and Joe Shepherd!
We have known each other since we were eleven years old, but it took us almost ten years to actually have a good idea! The initial idea for Occumi came to us whilst we were at university. We were worrying about how we were going to get a job after uni, as we knew that we would be competing for jobs with graduates from more prestigious universities than our own.
We were both first generation students with a lack of social capital. Like many in our position, this meant that we had absolutely no idea what opportunities were available to us, what employers were looking for, or how to sell ourselves.
We knew that regardless of our backgrounds, we may be more suitable for a role than an individual from a so called “better” university. It was at this point when we realised that tens of thousands of students across the country were in exactly the same position as us…
We found that the solution was in transferable skills. We had educational qualifications, and work experience – but we had never really been made to think about how some of the skills we had developed from these experiences could benefit us in a “real” job. It is this thinking that led us to begin researching for Occumi’s skills-identifying algorithm!
We set out to create a tool that allowed every student to identify, understand and articulate their own transferable skills based on their educational qualifications and work experience. We wanted to do it properly, and as objectively as possible – that’s why we spent two years building the research that sits behind Occumi’s algorithm.
Tackling Both Sides
Straight out of university, we were both fortunate enough to be able to use what we had learned about transferable skills to help sell ourselves to employers – resulting in both of us successfully landing places on competitive graduate schemes after using an early beta of Occumi on our CVs.
This was a great success for both of us, but gave us even more motivation to help others use the knowledge about their own transferable skills to help them get jobs! This along with various other testing, and research from both university lecturers and students led to the development of our university product.
Our university product aims to work with universities to help students to better identify, understand and articulate the transferable skills that they are developing from their degree and work experience.
Importantly, being involved in several graduate recruitment processes, and having access to HR departments in large organisations gave us an insight into the trouble that many organisations have when it comes to recruiting diversely.
We realised that Occumi’s skills identifying algorithm had the potential to be used to help businesses recruit based on merit rather than individuals’ backgrounds – by encouraging businesses to focus on a candidate’s transferable skills. So we designed our recruitment product to help businesses do just that!
Equal opportunity is the key
As you can see from the pictures of us, diversity is built into the core of Occumi.
Both of Occumi’s products have been built with one key principle in mind – to democratise opportunity. We want to give everyone a chance to understand the importance of transferable skills, regardless of their background.
We wanted to ensure that Occumi helped to level the playing field for all. Whether it is through our recruitment product, or our university product, by taking away the biases that can help or hinder an individual’s chances of being employed, Occumi helps to ensure that a young person is selected for a role based on their transferable skills rather than their background.
At Occumi we have taken part in a lot of great diversity initiatives with the goal of promoting the importance of transferable skills in helping to increase diversity.
Transferable skills are the future
Transferable skills are being seen to be more and more important. Large companies are starting to become aware of their importance and universities are trying to encourage their understanding.
We created Occumi to help bring all students, universities, and employers up to speed – helping to ensure that every student has the opportunity to be able to identify, understand and articulate the transferable skills that they have developed throughout their lives.
We’re excited for the future of Occumi, and we hope you are too!
Josh and Joe