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An Interview With Mark Lester, Chief Partnerships Officer At FourthRev – The Edtech Start-Up

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Below is our recent interview with Mark Lester, Chief Partnerships Officer at FourthRev:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: FourthRev is an edtech company creating a new education category at the intersection of universities and employers. FourthRev programmes combine the best of career focussed education built with the world’s leading technology companies, with the academic rigour, value and recognition of global universities. Learners gain the technical abilities they need for immediate job outcomes and the transferable capabilities that enable high growth careers.

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Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: Our recent research revealed that over half (54%) of HR directors from a wide range of sectors are finding it difficult to source good candidates for entry level digital economy roles. With digital transformation accelerating as a result of COVID-19, the unrealised potential for UK job seekers is huge.

The businesses we surveyed were most concerned about missing out on key strategic deliverables within the next five years (60%) as well as not delivering value to stakeholders (55%). As a result, just over half would pay over the odds to attract talent with the digital skills they need.

Whilst there are several causes for this, our survey found that a key factor was a lack of confidence that the education sector can support the development of applied digital skills and highly impactful learning experiences aligned to the future of work.

Ultimately, rethinking the relationship between industry and university in order to develop digital capabilities is essential for recovery from the current crisis and to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.

We now require a hybrid solution that allows higher education and industry to join forces; a notion that 66% of our surveyed talent leaders preferred when considering how to close the digital skills gap.

FourthRev also works alongside the world’s leading analytics platform, Tableau to build courses tailored around areas such as data analytics and science. Simon Quinton, UKI Country Manager, commented: “It’s not surprising to see data related skills in highest demand; the ability to use data effectively has become mission critical for most organisations. It is great to be working with a company like FourthRev to help learners develop practical experience no matter where they are in their data skills journey”.

Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

A: FourthRev empowers learners for high-growth careers. We achieve this by incorporating industry technology and university education into learning programmes tailored to the highest areas of employer demand. With this demand centering in the digital technology sector, it’s imperative to fill the gap.

Our online programmes offer career starters or changers the ability to develop up-to-date and in-demand knowledge whilst building a project portfolio of work that demonstrates workplace employability skills. We pay extra attention to the critical human skills of critical thinking and self-reflection that help people adapt to new circumstances and be successful over the longer term. Students will also have special access to recruiters as well as formal academic qualifications, all of which leads to better job-outcomes.

Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: In the next six months we will be responding to the huge demand for industry driven, online learning opportunities that are helping people access high-demand jobs in the digital economy. As economies continue to recover from the pandemics, the need for digital capabilities will only increase.

This means we will be growing our course portfolio built in collaboration with leading universities in the UK, Australia, the US and Canada and technology giants such as Tableau, AWS and Salesforce.

We look forward to announcing further exciting university partnerships in the coming months and continuing to grow our fantastic team to ensure we’re delivering the best possible student experiences.

Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: FourthRev was built by people with a burning passion for the social and economic good that education provides, with deep and personal knowledge of the industry. This passion runs through the entire company, from investors and founders to all members of our team.

Before joining FourthRev as Chief Partnerships Officer, I grew partnerships to over 150 leading research-intensive universities and NGOs committed to increasing global access to world class education, in my role as co-founder and Managing Director of Universities and Educational Partnerships at FutureLearn.

Together, this experience affords us unique insight on both the higher education landscape as well as future of digital employment.

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