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Ronel Lehmann is a Commentator and Employability Expert, Founder and CEO of Finito. With a passion for helping others, he leads the way in showing young people that opportunities exist to begin a meaningful career, despite the adversity of the pandemic. Ronel launched Finito as a unique coaching and mentoring business in 2016. He is focused on supporting first-time job hunters making the transition from education to employment, especially during uncertain times when securing that first position is going to be more competitive than ever. Prior to launching Finito, Ronel had a distinguished career in the City. His wide range of roles included serving as a recruitment consultant, stockbroker and public relations adviser with the IPS Group, Citicorp Scrimgeour Vickers, McAvoy Wreford Bayley and Citigate Dewe Rogerson, before setting up his eponymously named marketing agency, which he ran for 26 years.
During this time, Ronel was widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading communications experts. He became well known for his crisis work for clients, and in 2014, was invited as a Witness to the Treasury Select Committee to give evidence on SME bank lending, a cause which he has championed vociferously. Ronel frequently appears in the news and often provides succinct commentary to a variety of newspapers, online publications and broadcast media. During lockdown, he launched Finito World magazine and The Employability News Channel, with great aplomb. Ronel currently serves as Governor of the City of London School, Honorary Trustee of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice and chairs The Griffin Institute and University of Buckingham capital appeals. He is also a Freeman of the City of London, a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Founding Fellow of Conservative Friends of Education and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Throughout my City career, clients used to ask whether we could help their son or daughter. We always did. Half of them never said thank you, the other half are all in senior positions today and very grateful for the support given. I launched Finito as a unique coaching and mentoring business in 2016.
Finito offers one-to-one mentoring, coaching and guidance to students, helping individuals decide on a direction, then providing bespoke support as they bridge the often-daunting gap between educational establishments and the world of work. Once instructed, we never let go until candidates succeed in the career of their choice, which is why 100% success has been achieved with each and every candidate.
We have assisted many overseas students who have studied in the UK and then wish to obtain employment. We have a panel of leading immigration lawyers which together with a mix of senior business mentoring can ensure the necessary sponsorship from employers. The rules have recently been relaxed for international students giving them more time to start their career. With the UK seeking international trade now across the globe, candidates who have overseas knowledge, specialist skills and languages are now in increasing demand.
When it comes time for offspring of means to move from education into employment, the transition can be an incredibly difficult one. In a highly competitive job market, making the switch from school, college or university life into full-time work is always going to involve some careful thought and a clarity of vision if a first-time job hunter is to stand out from the crowd. For the students of high net worth individuals, choosing a career direction and finding that first step on the ladder can be even more challenging.
The next generation of high net worth individuals stands to inherit trillions of dollars from parents over the coming decades, as riches transfer from wealth creators to their beneficiaries. While their parents have often had to work hard over a prolonged period to make their way in the world, these youngsters are likely set up for life and so frequently lack the motivation and sense of purpose that drove their parents to succeed. Alongside these financial differences, young people today also generally have a wholly different perspective on employment to the generation that went before. Much has been written about the attitude of millennials, who are renowned for prioritising work-life balance in a way that was but a dream for those of us working 20 years ago. When young people turn up at interviews today, they ask not what they can do for the company, but what the company can do for them: many have no intention of working outside their 9am to 5pm contracted hours and will brazenly turn down an important dinner with a potential client if it means missing a yoga class.
There are other ways in which millennials approach work differently, too. They look for employers that will make an impact, who take their corporate and social responsibilities seriously, and who value diversity and inclusion. They look for rapid career progression; they want to have a say in leadership decision-making early; they choose jobs based on the culture of a company; and they want their employer to not only look after them but look after the environment too. Against this backdrop, it is little wonder that wealthy millennials all too frequently give the impression that they are not prepared for work, turning up to interviews unshaven and in jeans and giving off a certain air of arrogance. For parents desperate to see their sons and daughters embarking on productive and fulfilling careers, it can be a very challenging time.
That said, we have seen parents who tell their offspring to aim low in their careers, rather than high, because they do not wish to see them in the same high-pressure working environments that they themselves have endured. Likewise, we see parents frustrated that they cannot get their children fast-tracked onto the graduate schemes of the best professional services firms and investment banks simply by making use of their own contacts, now that nepotism is a thing of the past and even work experience is hard to secure by pulling strings.
For first-time job hunters, there can be a lack of motivation that conflicts with the pressure to live up to family expectations or equal the dream jobs being snapped up by peers. We have worked with young people who see their future in the family business but are being told by their parents that they must get a proper job in the real world to gain experience first. We supported one young lady who was passionate about skiing and shopping and was rather reluctant to give up either; she ended up in her dream job just a few minutes’ walk away from her flat, saving her plenty of precious time to pursue her own interests outside work hours.
Often, it falls to a third party to say the things that parents cannot say to their privileged and sometimes slightly lazy children. We had one young man who spent his days flying around the world in a private jet but could not understand why he couldn’t land a job; the fact that he insisted on doing interviews via Skype, rather than in person, was not giving the right impression. Likewise, one of our brilliant young graduates kept making it to final interview stage but never got the role; we were able to tell him he needed to have a shave and remove his earring before going to meet a potential new boss.
On a more serious note, today’s employers are looking for hunger, passion, commitment and ambition. They are screening potential employees using artificial intelligence, they are scanning candidates’ social media histories and they are seeking self-awareness and clear career objectives. For wealthy millennials, it takes a little forward-thinking and preparation if a job-hunt is going to be successful, but there is a dream job out there for everyone. Is the next generation prepared for work? Today’s youngsters certainly can be, if they just take the time to give proper thought to identifying the career path that will ignite their passion, spark their interest and make the best use of their skills. Some might need to get their attitudes sorted, too.
We have an experienced management team and advisory board. In addition, we have over sixty business mentors, none of whom are careers advisors or academics, but those have a demonstrable track in business, up to date knowledge of a variety of sectors and can help any candidate to succeed.
We have so many testimonials. One of my recent favourites is from Adam Conn, Head of Trading, Baillie Gifford who wrote: “My testimonial is meant for any parent or guardian looking to give a young person a significant competitive advantage in their search for employment. I am happy to recommend Finito’s services without reservation. We found them professional, approachable, confidence-inducing and in our son’s case, incredibly successful. Your job-seeker will be able to leverage Finito’s wide industry knowledge, experience of the recruiting world and an exceptionally broad network to their advantage. The question I suggest you ask yourself is why wouldn’t you?”
At the start of the pandemic, I found that I had completed all my tasks by early morning. The new technologies of Zoom and Teams meant that everything was completed quicker. I was thinking about needing a new challenge. I had noticed that the newspapers and magazines had shrunk, gone online or closed. Journalists were being made redundant and advertising sales staff were mostly furloughed. I also was grappling with how do we demonstrate to our candidates and their parents that we too can overcome adversity during a pandemic and inspire those candidates seeking our help. Under the stewardship of Christopher Jackson, News Director, I decided to launch a quarterly magazine during the crisis and we approached Sir Martin Sorrell to be our first cover interview. It was such a resounding success, that both the Mail on Sunday and City AM reprinted the interview. The next 148 page magazine featured Bill Gates and Sir David Attenborough. The most recent issues featured interviews with Sir Richard Branson and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We are working on the next magazine with Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States of America. Our message to students is that however difficult the past eighteen months have been, including the problems with studying, the lack of student experience, the challenges associated with wellbeing, mental health and employers who paused their recruitment, you can and will succeed.
To contact Ronel Lehmann, [email protected]
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