Meet student employability experts 1Mentor, the newest addition to QS

The three 1Mentor founders - Diego Robles, Martin Serrano and Esteban Veintimilla

To help bridge the skills gap between institutions, students, and businesses, QS acquired 1Mentor in January 2024. 

Using AI and data from over 170 million job listings, 1Mentor pinpoints evolving industry demands and skills gaps. How does this benefit institutions and students?

For institutions 

1Mentor’s data-driven insights can help them tailor academic programmes and career guidance.  

For students 

Real-time recommendations help students explore career pathways, understand the skills they need to stand out, and discover relevant courses for their professional goals. 

According to the Future of Jobs Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum, 44% of the workforce will need to upskill or reskill by 2027. The labour market is rapidly transforming, and new skills and jobs are in high demand. We are already seeing skills gaps appear, though. Data from the QS Employer Survey 2023 shows that project management has the largest skills gap – employers view it as very important but are dissatisfied with graduates’ abilities. 

We sat down with 1Mentor’s three co-founders to discuss employability education, how 1Mentor was borne out of industry experience, and what being a part of QS will mean for the product.

Using 1Mentor to broaden students’ horizons

Esteban Veintimilla is one of the 1Mentor co-founders. 1Mentor sprung out of Esteban’s time working with companies recruiting students, and as a student employment counsellor helping students find work experience. “I realised there was a lot of friction between what employers were looking for and what students are being prepared to do. According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 99.8% of Canadian businesses are small-medium sized, and they need a good return on investment – the people they hire must have the skills to do the job immediately as they’re less likely to have significant training budget.” 

1Mentor analyses the data from job listings, then, when students input their resume, it evaluates their readiness for achieving their career objectives and guides students towards short courses and experiences that will provide them with the skills they need. “Now, we use AI to analyse job postings, but 1Mentor started out with us doing manual analysis. To really make an impact, we needed to scale up and look at millions of jobs. After analysis is complete, the platform highlights the career paths that are available to students based on the skills they already have. It can broaden their horizons to career paths they wouldn’t have even considered,” Esteban says. 

How does 1Mentor help institutions align with the job market? 

Martin Serrano, another co-founder, has an MBA from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, and is now Director of Operations for 1Mentor. “I’ve talked to universities across the world. When I ask them whether they know what skills are sought by employers, they say ‘no, I don’t have the data. I know my students don’t know how to communicate the skills they are learning in my institution’.

“It’s clear that something is missing in terms of articulating the skill the students are gaining and connecting that to their work life.” 

The big data 1Mentor has at its fingertips is perfect for helping institutions understand what the labour market is demanding from graduates. Using the platform, curriculum developers can analyse the gap between academic programmes and job market requirements and use those insights to adapt the curriculum. 

Martin adds: “There’s also real value in the data we gain from students too. We can see what skills students think they have and therefore see what skills are being developed in their current academic programmes. This then enables us to see the gaps in what they believe they’ve learned, and what they should have learnt. 

“These insights don’t just enable universities to adapt their curriculum though. We know alumni are more likely to value their education if they can trace the skills they gained at university to an activity they do in their job.” 

Data-driven insights 

While AI is embedded into the solution, there’s always a human-centric design. Esteban says, “We know it’s people who will interact with our products, so we have people that review the results. There’s a solid quality assurance process there. When we work with institutions, we want to ensure the tools and insights we provide will equip staff and faculty to develop strategies that will drive change.”

100% of 1Mentor clients say it helps people understand the skill requirements for growth in their chosen career path 

The third co-founder is Diego Robles. Now Director of Technology at 1Mentor, he’s in charge of the data and ensuring recommendations are accurate. 

“We’ve heard and gathered really positive feedback from universities and their students. 94% of our higher education leaders and career counsellor clients say that 1Mentor can help students improve their employability outcomes. And that’s, of course, our ambition. With 1Mentor, there are three types of students we see, and can help. 

“The first one is a student who is a bit lost or has a very narrow view of what it is they can do. We help them understand their career possibilities. Second is someone with an objective, and we give them clear guidance on how to reach that objective. They learn what skills they’re missing and should be working on. The third is someone that knows what skills they’re missing, but doesn’t know how to upskill. Using 1Mentor, they can find microcredentials from places like Coursera, Udemy, edX and Pluralsight. Being part of QS, we hope, will enable us to include programmes from universities. Currently, if a student is enrolled at a university, we can show them relevant courses from that university, and refer them to lifelong learning or online courses.”

Sustainability skills

“Sustainability jobs are already in the platform,” Martin says. “For students to go into sustainability-related jobs, they need to understand that their current skillset is applicable to those jobs. They may also need help in understanding how to apply their skills to sustainability jobs – 1Mentor can do just that.” 1Mentor’s guidance capabilities could be crucial in helping the next generation understand where their skills will be useful.

41% of prospective students are now actively researching the environmental sustainability of prospective institutions. 
QS International Student Survey 2023 

Make education relevant for tomorrow 

“The people that make decisions and develop strategies based on data are the ones that can become or will influence change makers. In terms of employability, we can use data to truly understand the labour market, and use that to adapt education to the future of work.”

Related QS Insights

Sign up for industry insights

Receive the latest insights, expertise and commentary on the topics which matter most in higher education, straight to your inbox.

Sign up