I still can’t quite believe it. That the Sort platform could reach that many people, helping them figure out what they want to do with their lives and how to get there, seemed like a distant dream when we first started this thing back in 2015.
The Birth of Sort
We started Sortyourfuture.com with a small group of founders - Chris, Lucy, Mark, and Dan - and a shared dream to make navigating the world of work easier, more exciting, and fairer for everyone.
Chris and I were working at a university at that time. We’d both come from working-class backgrounds ourselves and had been the first in our families to go to university. We knew what it was like to find yourself suddenly surrounded by those with more money, expensive educations, and access to the kind of parental advice, support, and networks that can smooth the way and make career decisions that little bit easier.
I’d had a pretty awful university experience; starting uni at age 17, I was naive and unprepared. I soon got lost in the system and, following a sexual assault, I spiralled down into anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder that became life-threatening. I had to drop out.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this formative experience set me on the path to what I am doing now. I didn’t want others to have the same experience I had, and eventually this led to me working in universities myself, first in a professional services capacity and then as a lecturer.
This is where Chris and I met and started bringing together students from business and design courses to help them prepare better for the working environments they would find themselves in post-university. We saw so many young people (and some of those who were returning to learn) struggling to find their way in the world, and in many cases this was because they simply didn’t know what they didn’t know. They didn’t have access to advice, networks, and simple information about what they could do. Their perceptions of the career paths open to them were often limited by their environment and so they weren’t always finding career options that would light them up.
So, we designed a programme called ‘Life Design’ - it was open to all and a system that used design thinking principles to help students explore their own needs, wants, desires and potential, and supported them to find pathways that would suit them best. We worked through face-to-face workshops, with maybe a thousand students per year participating in the programme.
This was great, but we wanted to do more, reach further, and support those who weren’t in the university environment as well as those who had chosen an academic path. We knew that technology had the potential to enable us to reach wider, support better, and develop a new kind of approach to career planning, and that’s where Sort started. Along with Mark and Dan, who made up the rest of our Founding team, we set about creating something better - the thing we wished we’d had access to when we were starting out.
It has taken us a while, as all the best things do, and there have been many ups and downs on the road. We’ve hit roadblocks, run out of money, had to adapt the product, faced a pandemic - all the usual start up stuff. But we’ve also won awards, smashed our targets, and grown beyond our early hopes. We’re all really proud of what the team has created.
Now we have a thriving platform that helps thousands of people answer that question ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ every single day, and we’re growing fast, with a brilliant team who are adding more support, more guidance, and better real world connections to help our users every day.
We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us along the way - thank you for believing in what Sort can do for everyone who needs help with figuring things out, especially those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the support they need. Here’s to all the people who said yes, who got it, who backed us and continue to do so - we salute you for your positive energy and your faith in our vision.
So, what’s next?
Well, a million of course! We’ve got an expanding team, with an amazing new CEO, Ed, joining us on the journey, and we’re on a mission to do more, reach wider, help more people move closer to the working lives they want in a way that makes finding your place in the world exciting, not scary...here’s to the next 500,000!
If you’re an employer, education provider, or career coach interested in working with us, do get in touch - and if you or anyone you know needs that bit of positive support to find a future they’ll love, please point them in the direction of www.sortyourfuture.com.