We have recently caught up with Alison Louis, one of the founders of Green Rock Consulting. She shared with us her perspective about the current employment market and what her company is doing to help job seekers who have recently graduated become more employable.
Q: Alison, can you tell us your story and how Green Rock Consulting came to be?
A: I left university a couple of years ago with a marketing degree. I ended up taking any roles I can find while looking for a graduate-level job that fit my academic background. I had it tough for about a year—not being able to secure a role in the field because I had no experience, especially in digital marketing.
It took me a while to get an entry-level role in digital marketing, and within two years of hard work, I was promoted as a department manager. Since the time I have graduated, nothing much has changed in the employment market. If there is one, though, it is probably that jobs have become harder to secure because of increased competition and, at times, unrealistic expectations from employers.
I have noticed that each time we have vacant positions in our company, majority of the CVs on my desk were from new graduates who had no experience to show. I even received desperate calls from applicants who were out of job for months for that same reason.
I was honestly frustrated with the situation because I know that some of those applicants have potential. They just lacked the experience that most employers want because no one would give it to them.
You can say that Green Rock Consulting was created to help people, especially new graduates and people who are looking to change careers, build their work experience. Right now, we are focused on business, IT and digital marketing, but we are looking to expand our programs to cover other sectors later on.
What makes Green Rock Consulting unique is that we have partnered with other companies that are equally willing to share their time and expertise with young professionals. Because of this, placement is a big part of our programs and there are mentors are on hand to assist candidates throughout their work experience journey.
To make our programs even more accessible and appealing to people, everything is done online. This eliminates travel and living costs, which are commonly associated with traditional internships and apprenticeships. With this arrangement, our programs will always be flexible, allowing participants to fit in their work experience around their schedules.
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Q: What is your motivation for working on Green Rock Consulting
A: With work experience being regarded as a big factor for getting employment, undergraduates and those who are about to embark on their job search journey need to find ways to grow their skills and stand out from the crowd. Those are the things that our programs can help them achieve.
What really keeps me, and the rest of our team motivated in creating and running Green Rock Consulting is our desire to make a difference in the professional lives of people. I want to give them the opportunity and tools necessary so they can gain their much-needed work experience that can never be simulated in the classroom or in the course books that they study. With that, we hope that they will be more prepared to enter the world of work and they will be more employable in the eyes of hiring companies.
Q: What do you think are the biggest selling points of Green Rock Consulting?
A: We are quite a hands-on lot. Our teamwork towards getting to know each candidate in-depth, so we understand their career goals, work attitude and academic background. We use that to find the placement that aligns with their needs and will provide them the best level of mentorship and work experience program they deserve. On top of that, we offer guidance and support throughout the program. So, from initial contact until program completion, candidates are assured that we have their backs and help is always available.
As for the programs that we offer, it is not just regular training that candidates can receive. They are also given access to mentors who are experts in their sectors of interest. Close mentoring allows them to benefit from the wisdom and experience of those who have “been there and done that.” Mentors also assign them tasks that reflect the type of functions they can expect from a real working environment, while also giving them objective feedback about their performance, which they can use to reinforce their strengths and address their weaknesses. On top of all that, there is the employment support service we provide. Through it, we help candidates get valuable reference, enhance their CVs and get career information.
What we are offering is a one-stop solution that lets candidates build relevant work experience in a fast through our mentorship program in a flexible and efficient manner. I personally think that not many experiential learning programs out there are as multifaceted as ours.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We are constantly working on improving our programs by establishing partnerships with companies. It is integral for us to get in touch with companies that share the same mission as ours of helping people gain valuable work experience.
Also, we do not want to limit the access to our programs within a single location or among a handful of candidates. As much as possible, we want more graduates and even students to be able to get into our programs to help them improve their career prospects. For us to achieve this at Green Rock Consulting, we are looking into bringing our programs into universities across the country and even overseas, hoping that they will consider it as alternatives to traditional internships or apprenticeships for their students.
Of course, it is also our aim to enhance the employment support service we provide to candidates who successfully complete our programs. We are taking things slowly but surely by building the capabilities of our career consultants through trainings. We also have in mind that, perhaps a year or two from now, we will be coordinating with recruiters to work on an arrangement that will directly connect them with the candidates who complete our programs. We want to simplify the job process and make it more manageable for candidates and recruiters can have a steady pool of talents.
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Q: Do you have any advice for students and new graduates about to enter the employment market?
A: I know a lot of students and new graduates have a vague inkling of what they can expect when they go out in the real world. They must know that it is a competitive world out there.
Even if you have a degree and good grades, those things cannot beat having work experience when seeking employment. My advice is you owe it to yourselves to get out of your comfort zone and build as much work experience as you can. It does not necessarily have to always be related with the degree you are taking or have completed.
Although most work experience placements are not paid, the career-boosting benefits that can be gained from them are substantial. They will let you think about your future career path by allowing you to try some options without long-term commitment; allow you to develop not just career skills but also awareness of etiquette in the working world; give you valuable references that you can count on in your career journey; and help you demonstrate engagement and initiative to better yourself.
This is why we developed our mentorship work experience program candidate can do from home, work, university library or even the other side of the world to build solid work experience.