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Old Citizen, Ronel Lehmann’s careers service helps first-time job hunters

 

05 June 2018
Steering young people into fulfilling employment has been a passion for Old Citizen (1978 – 1981), Ronel Lehmann (pictured right), for more than thirty years. In March 2016, he finally put his passion into practice, creating Finito, a bespoke careers service.
 
Reputedly the only service of its kind in the UK, Finito aims to equip its students with the life skills and mental focus required to secure the job they desire. ‘And if they are not sure what they want to do,’ said Ronel, ‘Our experts will roll up their sleeves and help them find a profession that flexes their skills and drives their ambition.’
 
After a successful career in the City in recruitment, stockbroking, public relations and marketing communications, Ronel explained why he decided to branch out: ‘I was being approached by worried parents of overly relaxed offspring,’ he said. ‘People would call me and say, “Can you help my son or daughter? They’re looking for a job, they need a career and I don’t know what we’re going to do with them. I’m tearing my hair out.”’
 
Realising there was a gap in the market for a ‘concierge’ careers service, he wrote a business plan and approached businessman and philanthropist John Griffin, founder of Addison Lee, (who has previously visited CLS to speak to pupils about entrepreneurship). Ninety days later, Finito was born with Ronel as Founder and John as Chairman.
 
A management team, advisory board and pool of experienced business mentors were put in place. Finito’s Programme Director is Colin Hudson, who is also Head of Career Development at Cranfield University, and its Course Director is Derek Walker, former Director of Careers at Saїd Business School, at the University of Oxford.
 
Finito works with candidates on a one-on-one basis. Engagement with individuals on its Work Ready coaching and mentoring course lasts on average three months and ‘we don’t let go of them until they’ve got a job,’ said Lehmann. 
 
‘We help them get to where they want to be. We’ll rewrite their CV, teach them how to write a cover letter, work on their LinkedIn profile, make sure employers can see them, makes sure that they are looking out for the right opportunities. And when they’ve made a shortlist of who they want to work with, we’ll get them a shadow placement or get them in to see someone.’
 
One client, a 19-year-old, was good at maths and wanted to be a city trader, but didn’t have any experience of stockbroking, or what goes on in a dealing room, a trading room or at a foreign exchange. Finito arranged a day-long shadow placement to show him what it would really feel like and look like. ‘It’s not easy getting someone in to see a trading desk,’ said Lehmann. ‘There’s confidentiality, there’s clients, data, all of these things that are so important. But that’s what we do. We help young people get that access so they can discover what the job is about before they start going down that route.’
 
Another challenge facing job hunters today is the use of artificial intelligence in selecting candidates for a job, as Joshua Pauk, a Graduate of University of Bristol, explained: ‘It is a pretty daunting experience to be interviewed during the selection process by computer, not a human being. The best thing about Finito was the expert training in how to handle Hire Vue and other virtual software used by the banks when recruiting graduates.’
 
To date, Finito has assisted dozens of young people, including Isabel Batchelor, Team Assistant at Finsbury, the global strategic communications company. She said:Finito provided reassurance and spurred my confidence to succeed. Their creative design team took my ideas and originated collateral which got me noticed by prospective employers. I will always be grateful to them for their hands-on approach and being available providing support, encouragement and advice. The best thing is, that even though I changed my mind about what I wanted to do, Finito guided me to my chosen career path and I have never been happier.’
 
Finito also partners with universities, colleges and schools, providing for groups of up to six college or university students with the aim of instilling in them the skills that will guide them into working life.
Although Finito’s services cost £7,350 plus VAT, making them more accessible to school, college and university leavers from high-net-worth backgrounds, bursaries are available for those who need financial assistance.
Since its establishment two years ago, Finito has added midlife career-changers to its roster of clients, providing one-to-one mentoring and guidance. ‘We’ve helped a number of people at senior level,’ said Ronel, ‘using the same skills, and the same methodology of approach. And we have had some real successes.’

For more information on Finito’s career service, go to finito.org.uk