Upskilling with Jolt

BY Natalie SimpsonJune 14, 2019

Jolt - founding members

Traditionally, companies have dictated the trajectory and direction of their employees’ careers.

Not so for millennials and Gen Z. Behold, the rise of an increasingly savvy workforce. Their rebellious ideas are matched by their limitless ambition. They’re banding together to reimagine the future. The single biggest threat to their success? Rapid technological advancement.

So, how can renegade founders tackle the breakneck speed of innovation in the tech and creative industries? Future-proofing – an area in which their workspace of choice can play a driving role.

Our newest workspace; Huckletree Soho is an investor-first innovation hub and hotspot for future-proofing your career. In partnership with pioneering co-learning scaleup Jolt, an in-house studio hosts exclusive courses run by world-class industry experts. Upskilling integrated into daily life? Yes, please.

We met with Beth Gill, Community Manager at Jolt to discuss all things upskilling, their Not an MBA programme, and how Jolt fit into our curated investor-first community.

Meet Jolt

Jolt is a business school for the self-made. The aim is to give students a competitive advantage in business, and that’s what all our content is geared towards. It’s taught by industry professionals, not professional teachers, and gives people actionable insights into what building a business, today, looks like.

On top of that, the schedule is flexible. Jolt campuses are dotted around the city in two of the best neighbourhoods, Shoreditch and Soho, and you access all the content via a handy smart-phone app. We’re trying to make business education easy, relevant and accessible.    

What do you think inspired the rise of upskilling?

Without sounding too philosophical, the rise of upskilling isn’t inspired by, but made necessary by the rapid pace of life, especially in the tech and creative industries. People cannot keep their jobs based on loyalty. Promotions don’t come to those who’ve been there the longest anymore.

You have to stay relevant, on top of your game, you need to know what you are talking about at all times. Everyone has access to information about your specialist sector, no matter what you work in, so you have to be constantly learning to stay relevant, at the peak of your game and to avoid people swooping in under you and knocking you off your top spot. It’s not enough to even be an expert in one particular field any more.

Not only are we changing jobs more than ever, but it’s likely that most people will change career entirely at least once in their lifetime. This means that knowing enough to be dangerous in multiple areas has never been more important. Our mission is to give people the confidence to actually be able to build the working lives they deserve, in a way that works for them, not against them.

How does Jolt fit in alongside someone’s current work?

The whole point of Jolt is for it to be an accessible way of learning. Not only are our classes of an evening after work, and our campuses in accessible neighbourhoods, but our payment terms make it easy for people to start the Not An MBA® programme, whilst they are still working. At £85 a month, you don’t need to take out loans or put your life on hold. We’ve designed this school to fit around people who are working full-time, parenting full-time, freelancing full-time. That will always be a focus for Jolt.

Your course is called Not an MBA, why?

Quite simply because we’re not an MBA. We’re challenging the perception that to learn business skills often means that you have to pay thousands of pounds, be accepted to an elite institution or put your life on hold. Jolt has a personality too, it’s part of our brand and our story, so I suppose the name fit in with what we stand for. We’re a school for rebels, innovators and the self-made. We want to make a statement and create a splash, the name helps us do just that!

What can your students gain from the Not an MBA course?

Aside from access to the syllabus, Jolt students gain access to our curated network. Jolt is an application process; we are looking for the most rebellious,  creative, entrepreneurial mindset from a member. As a member, you gain access to that and the opportunities that it brings. We have a mission, and that’s to give students a competitive advantage in business. We know that a network is a huge part of that, so everything we do at Jolt is to encourage to people walk away with a network, as well as the knowledge gained from studying our content.

Where do some of your current students come from?

We have students from familiar companies such as Monzo, Starling Bank and Clearscore as well as students that work at some of the larger companies, including Ford Motors and Tesco. We’ve also got students that are embedded in the creative community, working at Cannes Lions Festival and Mother agency. Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they all have innovation and entrepreneurialism in common. There’ve been a few instances already where students have hired other students either to work for their company or on a project basis. It’s a very candid community when it comes to opportunities like that.

What will having a central London hub in Huckletree Soho means for Jolt?

We’re excited to open ourselves up to the Soho social economy and most importantly to the Huckletree community. Huckletree curates their community and attracts renegades, rebels and natural entrepreneurial spirits. We see a huge alignment between Huckletree and Jolt, from mission to messaging and we’re really looking forward to hitting the ground running with collaborating where we can.

In Huckletree Soho, your space is next door to our Dreamscape room – a sanctuary where one can meditate and decompress. Would you ever have a mindfulness segment included as part of the Jolt curriculum?

Our core curriculum focuses on business. Everything we teach is aimed to give students a competitive advantage in that. However, we do host external events outside our programme timetable that encourage our students to socialise, network and have some time off. In the future we’ll definitely be looking for ways to align with Huckletree on their core values around mindfulness and think up some exciting ways to use the Dreamscape room.

How is coworking/ communal working changing the way people learn?

I’ve always worked in start-ups, and I’ve never worked anywhere but a co-working space, I may be biased in my opinions, but for me, co-working has always made it possible, natural even, to ask others for help and ideas. Co-working spaces are always a hub of creativity and innovation. Huckletree encourages that exact environment, as they curate their communities, making sure the right companies and freelancers are joining each individual space. Each different location has a different personality, and you can definitely see that visiting each one individually.

What are you looking forward to the most about your new space?

Saying we’re part of the Huckletree Crew…obviously! But also the area. We’re looking forward to our Friday nights a little more now we have a space in bustling Soho.

Upgrade your workspace, and upskill your team. Apply to join Huckletree Soho.


Natalie Simpson

Marketing Assistant