AI platform prepares students for the future of work
1Mentor partners with higher education institutions to navigate a rapidly changing job market
1Mentor partners with higher education institutions to navigate a rapidly changing job marketBy Melanie Scott University Relations
Advancing technologies, rapidly changing industries and the need for skill agility and transferability have made it challenging to continuously equip post-secondary students with the skills, knowledge and tools required by industry. 1Mentor, a Velocity startup company, is tackling the problem by building AI to understand industry's ever-changing requirements and empower students for success in their future careers.
“The goal behind 1Mentor is to help students understand what they need to land their first work experiences,” says Esteban Veintimilla (BMath ’18), CEO and co-founder of the company.
“Our platform uses AI to analyze higher-ed data and more than 100 million job postings. It finds and converts insights into information that students need to get hired.”
The idea behind the company began when Veintimilla, a current Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology student, was working with students in the University of Waterloo’s Bridging Entrepreneurs to Students (BETS) program. While helping students with work placements, he learned that it was difficult to equip them with the right skills, tools and knowledge required by industry. After analyzing seven years’ worth of data, Veintimilla realized that students needed personalized training to be ready for job placements. Through various efforts, he tripled the number of students hired in the BETS program and began to think about what it would be like to provide personalized upskilling recommendations at a much larger scale.
With support and investment from the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as the ability to leverage guidance from a world-leading institution in co-operative education, 1Mentor, founded by Veintimilla and co-founders Martin Serrano (COO) and Diego Robles (CTO), has been able to grow rapidly in a short period of time.
“1Mentor has a talented and driven set of founders that understand the pressures universities and students face in keeping up with the changing work-talent landscape,” says Mila Banerjee a business advisor at Velocity. “Their platform empowers both universities and students to take action to fix any skill gap and be ready for the exciting world of work. It has been a treat to support them as they went from conception to making an impact with their pilot universities.”
The company is currently working with pioneering universities in the U.S. and Canada, including the University of Waterloo. The participating universities are keen to innovate their approaches and practices to prepare students for the future of work. The platform provides insights that are specific to each institution.
“Waterloo allowed me the opportunity to combine my interests in math and entrepreneurship. That’s what drew me here, but the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as the mentorship and experiential learning opportunities I’ve had through the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business and Velocity, have pushed me beyond what I could have imagined.”
Veintimilla strongly believes that work-integrated learning prepares students for the workforce. Before founding 1Mentor, he explored bringing co-op models to education institutions in Latin America, where he says students don’t have the same opportunities for work-integrated learning. 1Mentor aims to partner with higher education institutions around the globe to understand how their students are performing against industry requirements, while also allowing students visibility into the top skills, jobs and employers in their areas of study and interest.
When asked what the future holds for 1Mentor, Veintimilla says, "We want to catalyze academia's evolution to a place where post-secondary education and career services are in-sync with industry. We want to be the go-to place for students and alumni looking to progress their careers, creating space for them to complement their education with skill-based courses that prepare them for jobs they are passionate about."
A talent evolution is underway, and the effects are being felt in every sector. Waterloo’s robust talent ecosystem is equipped to respond — from world-leading co-operative education programs to research and innovations that drive real-world change. Learn how your organization can benefit.
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The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.