"Almost 50 per cent of occupations existing today will be completely redundant by 2025."
It's a pretty bold statement from Proversity, a two-year-old London-based start-up striving to bridge the skills gap between graduates and employers. But, with 100 million users subscribing to platforms such as this, perhaps there is credence to the assertion.
Custom post-grad courses are hardly a new invention, yet the digital university marketplace is rapidly expanding and, with it, comes an increasing appetite and growing necessity for big business to cultivate and educate the highly-skilled talent they need.
Are we, then, looking at the future of education? There are some alarming stats to support the idea. In Britain alone, staff turnover costs companies £4 billion per year, while the average fee of replacing departed staff is marginally over £30,000. Add to that an average expenditure of £25,000 before an employee is deemed to be 'productive', and it is little wonder employers are seeking solutions for more cost-effective recruitment.
While digital universities such as Lynda.com and Udacity focus directly on learning and professional development, Proversity leans more towards recruitment - educating users in specific skills that will enable them to connect with partnered companies.
This direction can be attributed to the background of co-founder and CEO Carl Dawson, who spent the best part of a decade working in HR for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), where it became evident that the majority of job applicants did not have the skills required.
The NDA would receive up to 10,000 applications for each vacancy they would post, while Dawson deduced it took jobseekers almost 20 hours to apply for a role. This inspired him to set about closing that void between the grads and employers, providing relevant education to streamline the process.
"With Proversity we want to build a global brand that levels the playing field for professional development globally," Dawson tells us. "The difference between us and our rivals is that Proversity is built by employers and professionals in partnership rather than by academics."
The demand from businesses is certainly there, which has enabled Proversity to secure £1 million of additional investment. There is also a desire to grow in other global markets, including a recent expansion into Latin America.
Proversity launched in Santiago in the summer of 2015, a move made possible thanks to the Start-Up Chile Accelerator program, where they joined 89 other companies working to develop business in the city over a six month period.
In Chile’s capital, they are partnering with Start-Up Chile Digital Academy and The S Factory Learning Hub for Female Entrepreneurs to 'upskill' users and ensure they are adequately prepared for the workplace. Should it all go to plan, then further expansion across the Spanish speaking world awaits.
There are also roots being planted in the USA, with an office in Boston springing up this past June where, among other institutions, they are working with Harvard to support the development of university staff.
The focus in Boston is also on nurturing business instinct to help create and grow fresh start-up ideas. "We are working with DAT Ventures, a soft landing accelerator for international startups coming to the US, to create a course on Product Market Fit," Krishan Meetoo, co-founder, explains. "With MBA Boot Camp we are helping individuals develop the tools and processes needed to start up their own venture in Boston, Bangalore and London."
At home and the client base makes for impressive reading: The Bank of England, National Rail, Family Mosaic, the Royal Artillery Company and the Prince’s Trust all having worked with Proversity since its launch.
But, back to that point again - are digital universities such as this the future of education? Dawson gives his verdict: "It's part of the blend rather than the full solution."
He adds: "An entire generation is changing the very nature of employment and Proversity is going to be a key ingredient for both employers and talent from Santiago to Singapore."