What are you leading?
Edelab is born from the concern for the future of students in Chile who pursue a path in Technical Secondary Education. On average, only 20% of these students secure work in their area of specialty upon completion of their program, and evidence suggests, that if no action is taken, this figure will increase. My research suggests the reasons for this are two fold:
- Students have no way of showcasing their talents and skills
- Employers in remote parts of Chile are not well connected to talented students in their local areas
Edelab is a virtual platform that connects students with employers and enables students to showcase their talents and skills. Students create professional profiles on the platform where they demonstrate the skills they have developed – technical and non-cognitive, for example team work, relationship building, communication and leadership. Employers of recognized companies in the region can view and connect with these students. Critically, we supplement the platform, by bringing the students and the employers together in person for a day of work experience. During this day, students are set to work on a project that allows them to test their skills in a real and challenging context. Companies can meet the students, and have access to a broad database to recruit and include potential candidates for future roles, saving time and money in their recruitment and selection processes.
At Edelab we believe that all young people have massive potential, but often that talent remains hidden from the eyes of future employers. Our intention is to make it visible by providing a space where students can demonstrate their socio-affective skills - such as responsibility, interpersonal relationships, etc. - that do not typically not appear in a traditional curriculum and that, in many cases, a better predictor of future work performance than only a profile in technical skills.
How did your experiences as a fellow inspire or prepare you for what you’re doing now?
The first thing is to point out is that my experience as a teacher has been the great inspirer of EDELAB! It was teaching, in a cold boarding school in the south of Chile, where I saw firsthand the tremendous talent that remained hidden and opportunities that my students often missed out on, due to lack of ability to showcase talents and accessibility to employers.
My experience in this remote part of Chile taught me that though talent is distributed homogeneously - without distinction of race, social class or geographical location – opportunities are not. I was inspired by the children I taught, and by working with their parents who were deeply concerned for the future of their children to take action. That motivation was decanted into this project, slowly and thanks to the support of the entrepreneurship area of eCh, it is taking shape into Edelab.
We are in the early stages of starting up Edelab and have a lot to learn and we continue to develop the platform. Our aspiration is to enable young people to be able to use their talents and skills to access the world of work, and to ultimately contribute to the development of the Chile.