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Paddl - John Collins

Paddl is a job search platform matching students and graduates to roles based on their course of study

Anyone who’s graduated from tertiary education will likely remember the daunting feeling that comes with having to search for that first ‘real’ job, especially when the only work experience to show on the resume is a bland retail or hospitality gig.

Even for those who have the relevant experience, sifting through the bulky search categories on job platforms like Seek can mind-numbing unless you know specific job roles to search for.

To help simplify the transition from study to career for recent graduates, Paddl is an online job search platform that connects its users directly to relevant job postings based on their course of study.

The startup also caters to students who are looking to gain work experience, in both paid and unpaid roles, to help strengthen their professional identity and prepare them for the post-graduation job search.

Using the platform, job searchers are able to register by entering their institution and course name, before being presented with a list of job postings which match their course name.

The idea of this process, according Paddl’s cofounder John Collins, is to strip away the messy stack of job postings featured on mainstream job listing platforms, and only show “relevant” work opportunities.

“This means no more keyword searches, no more embarrassing applications, and no more ‘not knowing what to look for,’” said Collins.

Collins and his team previously worked in the graduate job market, where they noticed a trend of students being unable to acquire the actual work experience which makes them truly ‘job ready’, despite possessing the theoretical or technical knowledge.

“Employers told us that employing students was hard work because they had no employment history. So, we set about designing a solution that would give students the ability to create a relevant employment history that employers value,” Collins explained.

“We took everything that was wrong with the solutions out there and turned them inside out to create a simple and beautiful experience for students and productivity savings for employers.”

Creating a platform to cater for employers was as pivotal to the startup’s foundation as its ability to outfit students, as Paddl developed a number of features to make the employee search process as reliable and fast as possible.

Before posting a job ad, the startup will tell employers the “size” of the application pool in their relevant sector so they see how many applications are realistically available in that area before committing.

Each job ad costs just above $50 to post, with Paddl allowing each employer to choose how they would like vet their applicants using filtering “checks and challenges” to get a shortlist, such as the type of courses they want to pull applicants from.

“[This way] students can confidently apply for any opportunity in their jobs feed, knowing that their qualification is relevant, the employer is looking for students, and the role is not out of reach for their level of experience,” said Collins.

Collins said the startup currently has over 300 employers on the platform, including Myer, Metro Trains, Ai Group Crown, and Urbanise, with a number more set to join as Paddl begins to onboard more students.

The cofounder added that Paddl has also formed a number of partnerships with “Paddl Champions”, or organisations helping the startup to bring employers and students onboard, including AusBiotech, Restaurant & Catering Association, and Startup Victoria.

Serving as an additional revenue opportunity and avenue to help bring students to the platform, Paddl also allows tertiary institutions to sign up to become “Paddl Educators”, meaning they’re able to validate their students on the platform and receive information regarding their employment activity.

Among those signed on are Deakin University, RMIT, TAFE Queensland, and the Australian Institute of Creative Design.

“Having Paddl in the mix enables an educator to educate and connect their students to a range of employment options throughout their qualification while providing the educator with valuable data of individual student employment activity,” Collins said.

A student looking to apply for a job simply registers, creates a profile, and then is able to send their resume directly to employers through a job posting, which Collins said range from internship opportunities and volunteer work to casual and full-time employment.

The areas of job opportunities are varied, with Paddl featuring career opportunities for niche courses such as aviation and aerospace.

Since entering the market, Collins said the startup has completed a Series A round and is currently undertaking a Series B, although the amount raised was not disclosed.

To move forward with the funding, Collins said the business will look to build up its student and employer user numbers in additional to growing its in-house team.

Image: John Collins. Source: Supplied.

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