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Intern Blog: Thoughts for the Future

Our latest intern Ata Victor, a penultimate year student herself dived deeper into the thoughts and opinions of our 2019 ones to watch thoughts for the future, using market research conducted during our intake process.

Freshminds OTW 2019 intakes and Gen Z thoughts for the future.

Every year at Freshminds we run our annual ‘Ones to watch’ programme which aims to find the top talent of students in their penultimate year of university. The programme enables us to find students who have excelled in university academically, whilst creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships and going above or beyond in extracurricular activities in order to prove themselves as a Ones to Watch as they finish university and enter the workplace.

The peer-nominated program ensures that we help to connect the next generation of business leaders to the businesses of today. We look for top graduates from the UK’s best universities, keen to continue their career path at leading companies. These young people are entrepreneurial, engaged and focused on what is happening in business now.

During the interview process, we asked three major questions to the Ones to watch candidates in order to gain insight into their understanding of their skill set; as well as what they see for the future of the field and business.

Q) What do you think are the most important skills to develop for today’s working environment?

A) When asked about the skills that they believe are key to succeeding in today’s working environment, the candidates highlighted the need for flexibility, innovation and a holistic awareness of the businesses they are entering into as well as the market. Candidates consistently cited the need for collaboration alongside skills such as coding and a good grasp on the impact of technology in working life. One student even claimed that emerging technologies have the power to change our understanding of the very nature of the world for humans and hence our digital and technological skills need to be enhanced to stay up to date with the future of tech.

These new Gen Z students are eager to enter the workforce with a globalised point of view. Throughout, all the interviews the running theme of a willingness to utilise their skills to create an inter-disciplinary mind-set occurs.

Q) Do you think that the skills you have developed at the university have equipped you for starting out in the workplace?

A) Not only do the OTW paint the picture of a bright future for the industry, they also highlight the ways in which students have been able to transfer skills from their time at university to the working world.

The interviews are filled with tales of variation that has to lead to the candidates becoming self-starters, gaining skills in leadership and communication through sporting clubs and societies. This level of independence translates directly to their academic experiences. An overwhelming amount of students attributed their drive to the flexibility, autonomy and transferable skills gained by meeting deadlines and the overall structure of their degrees. The ‘ones to watch programme takes these innovative minds and gives them a starting place to apply these skills. 

Q) Where do you see the future of work in 5 years’ time?

A) The thirst for innovation and willingness to bring their skills to the table coincides with the graduate's predictions for the next few years in the world of analyst and consultancy. When asked what they see for the next future of work within the next 5 years, the interviewees spoke of AI and Block Chain as well as decentralised working in order for companies to gain global influence.  Although they described a reduction in jobs, it is clear that they see a future that uses technology to create efficiency but with a clear focus on ethical practises and innovation that creates solutions but ones that work alongside face to face communication with clients. Within the surge towards automation graduates also highlighted the need for dynamic minds (like themselves) to regulate, present and innovate these new tools. Amidst their understanding of the progression of tech, the graduates still emphasised the need for human collaboration and the importance of intellectual capital.

With our Ones to Watch scheme, these students are able to connect to a network of companies that allows them to build on the skills sets that they have nurtured whilst at university and begin to innovate the industry from within. As a second-year student about to enter my final year, I share the same thirst and understanding of innovation within the technological sphere. However what I have enjoyed the most about both my little peek into the programme and the responses of my fellow ‘Gen- Zers’ is the value placed on the human connection and the importance of innovating tech rather than letting it innovate us.