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The workforce of the future

21 / 11 / 2022Claire Farrugia

After three years of online events, the first in-person gradireland Breakfast Masterclass took place on the 9th of November at the Spencer Hotel in Dublin. The event was hybrid with 89 online attendees and over 70 attending the event in-person. The theme of the masterclass was “Recruiting the workforce of the Future” and it was held in partnership with award winning recruitment consultancy Cappfinity. It was designed to explore the challenges recruiters are facing in selecting the right candidates as well as exploring some innovative solutions for recruiting the workforce of the future using virtual reality (VR) technology.

Cappfinity offers award-winning talent solutions and authentic assessment experiences. They work with a diverse range of clients and have a global reach with 250 clients in over 80 countries, from their operations in Ireland, the UK, USA and Australia.

The event was opened with an introduction from gradireland Managing Director Gavan O’Brien and James Mailley, Ireland Sales Director with Cappfinity.

UCD Innovation Academy

The first speaker of the morning was Eleanor Kelly, Head of Strategy at the UCD Innovation Academy. Her presentation focused on how the evolution of education is shaping the workforce of the future. The UCD Innovation Academy aims to be a catalyst for change in individuals, organisations and societies. Eleanor highlighted some of the broader challenges facing the modern world such as climate change, automation, aging populations and rising inequality, adding that as these issues shape the world around us, they in turn impact education and recruitment. In order to be able to tackle these challenges, an effective workforce of the future will require skills that are not currently focused on in higher education.

The T-Shaped graduate

Eleanor Kelly, Head of Strategy at the UCD Innovation Academy


She then spoke about the concept of the ‘T-Shaped’ graduate. T-shaped graduates are young professionals who not only possess deep knowledge in their disciplines but also possess cross-domain skills such as the ability to innovate, think critically, lead teams and communicate and problem solve. Unfortunately, Eleanor explained, much of higher education is still focused on vertical, discipline-focused education.

The UCD Innovation Academy provides students with the tools they require to build these important skills. This is done through classes that help students learn how to face novel challenges and put their learning to practice.

The academy also offers a module in collaboration with Cappfinity called Virtual Reality for Future Skills. This module puts students in realistic work environments using VR. They face typical work scenarios that they must then deal with. These scenarios are designed to cultivate transversal skills. Transversal skills, also known as transferrable skills, are skills that are not related to a particular academic discipline but can be used in a variety of work settings or situations.

The Accenture experience

The second presentation was made by Hannah Murray, early talent manager at Accenture. She focused on learnings from Accenture’s candidate experience process. She highlighted the need to ensure that all candidates are assessed fairly, flexibly and accessibly. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed recruiters to find innovative ways of adapting their recruitment processes to a world that had changed rapidly in a very short space of time. This involved being able to reach candidates at home and increased flexibility while maintaining the “WOW” experience.

Hannah spoke about how Accenture’s recruitment process enables students to not just talk about their skills, but to also demonstrate them. This is done through Accenture’s immersive Discovery Portal and their assessment centres which have gone online, increasing their accessibility.

She then highlighted the benefits of Accenture’s recruiting solution. Her team strives to provide candidates with a recruitment process that is flexible, rigorous, fair and puts candidate experience at the forefront.


The final presentation of the morning was given by Nicky Garcea, Co-Founder and Chief Customer officer at Cappfinity, and Paul Clark, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer. While highlighting the services provided by Cappfinity, they focused on striking the right balance between candidate experience and recruitment outcomes.

Cappfinity’s research has resulted in a ‘four aces’ framework. The four aces according to this model are being Authentic, Clear, Experimental and Skills focused. Authentic and clear candidate experiences allow the candidates to figure out whether they are the right fit for the company and help foster a connection with the company.

Experimentation in recruitment processes was very much the focus during the height of the pandemic, with many companies piloting and implementing innovative solutions to help their candidates adapt to the changes in both recruitment and work.

Nicky Garcea also spoke about the importance of really understanding skills in terms of recruitment. This means understanding what skills are really required for a job and the skills that will likely be required as the business evolves. She also highlighted the importance of taking into consideration motivation in early careers recruitment.

The Breakfast Masterclass concluded with a 30-minute question and answer session. During this session the speakers were asked about assessing transversal skills, candidate expectations and helping candidates in the rapidly changing world of recruitment.

To learn more about how gradireland can support your early-careers goals get in touch today.



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