Rajeeb Dey MBE visits students in Romford FOR #Skills2030

12 March 2018

This article is a part of our Skills Young People Need for Work in 2030 campaign, with the i newspaper, helping share what skills leaders of today think are going to be the top ways young people can prepare for the careers of tomorrow. Be sure to follow #Skills2030 to see their top advice over March.


What advice entrepreneur Rajeeb Dey would give his younger self

“The notion of the traditional nine to five working day is breaking down, and people have more freedom and flexibility in their careers than ever before. Whereas our parents might have stayed with a company for 30 years or more, young people now will hop from one role to the next within a couple of years, or hold multiple jobs at a time. In many ways, this will force us to become more entrepreneurial  – looking out for new opportunities, looking after our own personal brand and managing a own career path.

As the founder of two businesses, first with Enternships and now Learnerbly, I’ve made a job out of this – seizing opportunities, weighing up risk and learning on the move. But that can feel scary, too. At times, I have wondered whether it might have been easier to have taken a more “normal” career path.

There are certainly things I wish I’d known when I was younger, which would have helped me on my entrepreneurial journey. Today I think those lessons can be applied to anyone – whether you’re hoping to work in a global corporate, join a tech startup or create your own business. We’re all learning everyday. We’re preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet, and ultimately, we are all entrepreneurs within our own right.

So in reflecting on my own journey to where I am today, and where I am going next, I considered some of the most important lessons I have learned along the way:

Failure is an opportunity to learn

Failing as an idea desperately needs a rebrand. People think it’s a bad thing, especially here in the UK, and unfortunately schools are wired up to make us believe failure can only set us back. I wish someone had told me earlier that this just isn’t true. Any entrepreneur will tell you that there’s no shame in an idea not going to plan – that failing is central to the journey. Great tech companies are created on the mantra of ’build, test, break, learn’. Let’s stop thinking of failure as being finite and instead look at it as a starting point from which to change. As the former president of India Abdul Kalam said, ‘F.A.I.L’ stands for First Attempt In Learning.

Be humble

It doesn’t matter how much you know, or how fast you learn, or how many people tell you, you’re doing great – stay humble.

‘We can all learn all the time, in bitesize nuggets by listening to a podcast on the bus or checking out a TED Talk’  We don’t know what we don’t know, and so the lesson here is to stay hungry to learn and instead of becoming complacent. Arrogance will stop you making connections with people, and it is in those relationships you will learn the most.

Learn everywhere, all the time

I would tell my younger self to see every opportunity as a chance to learn. Even ten or fifteen years ago I didn’t have the same access to learning materials young people do today. We shouldn’t see education as being confined to the classroom and in fact, we should all forget the notion of education as we know it completely. Today, we can all learn all the time, in bitesize nuggets by listening to a podcast on the bus, checking out a TED Talk on YouTube, reading a blog from a favourite writer or even signing up to an online course. This is how we’ll all equip ourselves for the future.

Don’t just stick to what you’re good at

It’s easy to fall into the trap of working on things that make you feel confident, but you should push yourself out of your comfort zone, because that’s where you’ll learn the most. You’ll not only learn new skills and new perspectives but you’ll also learn about yourself, about how you behave in uncomfortable situations and how you handle failure. No-one knows what the next five, ten or twenty years will hold for our careers. Our skill-sets will need to change beyond recognition and no-one can yet predict how, so we should focus on lifelong learning and continual growth.”

Rajeeb Dey MBE, Founder & CEO of Learnerbly

You can read this article on the i newspaper’s website here.

Our Skills 2030 campaign will continue with more speakers across the UK. Keep up with the coverage of this talk series here.