The Hive Five Podcast

5 Key Takeaways from Cameron Sorsby

1. Learn how to create value for others

2. Get in the mindset of building a body of work that proves that value

3. Don’t worry about following your passion or finding your dream job yet

4. Be interested and interesting

5. Learn how to have fun doing really hard things


Description


Today on the Hive Five, we were really excited to talk with Cameron Sorsby, the Chief Operating Officer of Praxis. In that role, he does a lot of things, but helps with sales, organizing their program, and serving as an advisor to those enrolled in Praxis.

Praxis is working to build the future of education through apprenticeships for high-growth startups. They like to consider themselves a career launch company. By aiming them to help young people discover their career goals and build a valuable body of work, they help them launch those careers. Founded in 2013, they have experienced pretty exponential growth in the last 2 ½ years, and have launched around 250 careers thus far.

Many people view Praxis as an alternative or supplement to college and consists of two main parts. It starts with a six-month boot camp which is completely done remotely. The focus here is to help the student prepare to go into the second part of the program which is the six-month apprenticeship. Before being placed in their high-growth startups for the apprenticeship they have to be able to prove their value to these companies. During the boot camp, they build a body of work to prove that they can create value and show experience. After the boot camp, they apply to high-growth startups partnered with Praxis. These apprenticeships put them in real life experience and many times the students are hired by the company they apprentice with.

For someone who doesn’t think college is for them, or feels as if college didn’t adequately prepare them for a career, Praxis is a viable option and worth looking into.

Transcript


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When the going gets rough, you know how the saying goes. Sometimes things happen, life happens, and it’s not always our fault. In this podcast, we’ll feature real life testimonials from people like you, from good times to bath, funny memories and heartless.
Everyone has a story and everyone has been there for business owners, to parents to young adults. The hive five aims to tell stories about overcoming the struggles and adult team while celebrating the little victories of life in each podcast. Our guests will give insight to five key takeaways from someone who’s been there and done that, leaving you better than when you started.
Thanks for listening today. My name is Kagan Henson with bright B, and we also have Katherine Parker, marketing director of bright beam. Hi everybody. Thanks for coming back. Today we have a special guest. Cameron scoresby is our guest today and Cameron is the chief operating officer of a company called praxis. Praxis is an alternative education company, placing student apprentices and real life startups around the country to get real world experience and help them build a portfolio of work. Cameron was actually a student at praxis himself and of course now works for the company. Cameron, how are you?
Doing well, how are you guys
doing? Great. Thanks for being on today. We’re really excited to to hear a little bit more about praxis and you know, honestly I probably butchered that version of what practice is. So go ahead. Just give us the sales pitch of what practice is.
Yeah, absolutely. So we’re a career launch company. We aim to help young people discover their career interest, build a valuable body of professional work and ultimately launch their careers through apprenticeships. And how we do that is we have a one year startup apprenticeship program that consists of a six month professional bootcamp and then a six month of paid apprenticeship at a high growth startup.
And when did you guys start this program?
So the company was founded in 2013 and we had our very first class, which I was a part of in February 2014. And then since then we’ve, we’ve helped over 250 young people launch their careers.
And what does that look like for the 250 young people because some might say, well that’s not a lot of people but, but honestly that’s a good amount of people for what you guys are doing.
Yeah, it’s a, the first few years of building the company, you know, it’s, it’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get things going and last, especially the last two, two and a half years. Uh, there’s been a lot of growth and I, we’re just at kind of that breaking point with people really thinking about what is the best way to get started with their career. And I think think we’re at a good place. But yeah. So the program itself, for the participants, I’ll kind of try to give a picture of the day to day of what it’s like during bootcamp and also a little bit of the day to day of the apprenticeship. So, so bootcamp, it’s completely remote and our focus of bootcamp is to, one, gets you prepared to go into these apprenticeships at these growing companies and be ready for that process, be ready to work in a full time position, be able to contribute value to that company right away.
Uh, and second, we’re helping young people really build their own credential and, and our premise for this is you need a body of work that shows, you know, your previous and active work experiences, projects you’ve worked on in jobs and outside of jobs and figuring out the best way to actually one, learn how to create value through those experiences, but to also how to prove that you can create value and really, really become your own credentials. So, uh, there’s a few things that go on in bootcamp. One, you complete our project based curriculum. So we have an online curriculum portal every month there’s a different module and we’re helping you essentially build your, you’re a professional portfolio leading up to the apprenticeship. And then we supplement that curriculum experience with both individual and group advising sessions with our program advisors. Uh, and then we also host a various skills, workshops with other startup professionals and entrepreneurs that they can learn from.
That sounds really interesting and it sounds like something that would be totally up my alley and I know Kagan’s to or you know, any entrepreneur I wish I would have had an opportunity to really do a little bit more exploration of what I wanted to do and, and gain experience. So I think that’s a great. And I want to just share with the audience real fast how Brian and myself and Kagan came to know praxis. And for those of you listening who don’t know, we actually have somebody on our team who works remotely from Georgia and we are located in Oklahoma City. So how in the world would we ever find somebody in Georgia who could be a part of our team? Well, actually we came across praxis and that is how we found a very moody, our success manager and he has been so amazing. So I can’t even imagine what all kinds of talent you have in praxis. Um, if avery’s any reflection of that. So good, good for you guys. And who you’re finding,
you’re working miracles over there, I don’t know exactly what you’re doing, but he has been a blessing and he has been phenomenal. That’s awesome to hear. Um, and avery avery is the man, he’s a, he’s a great representative of praxis participants and we’ve been super happy to work with them, but it was a great, great case of this and you know, these are the types of people we work with. Uh, the vast majority of our participants, they don’t have college degrees necessarily, but they have those soft skills and tangibles needed to succeed professionally. And then we help them, you know, figure out, you know, what are your interests, what are, what is the career landscape, where can you contribute, what are the types of roles can you do, what types of skills are most valuable to build and kind of help them along the way.
Well, that’s so awesome. So I understand that you guys are very selective when admitting people to the program because you want to make sure that you’re providing quality talent to these startups you’re partnered with. So what do you look for in an applicant? And who is this program ideal for?
Definitely, yeah. Our, our model is a definitely a really dependent on there being that good match between the companies we work with and the participants that go through the program and during her application process and our application processes is really cool actually. It’s a nice representation of what it’s like to be in the program, but what we’re looking for is again, those, those key soft skills, um, and kind of the character and mindsets that you need to succeed. So a typical person that stands out to us in the application process is going to have above average work experience for someone their age. If you’re 18 or 19 and you know, you, you worked really hard waiting tables for a couple of years. You can tell good anecdotes about what you learned from work. You enjoyed work. Uh, you have strong communication skills both writing and verbal.
We have them do one way interviews, answering a few more questions about why they’re excited about praxis, what their goals are for the program to make sure it is a good fit for them actually. Um, and then really just seeing that, what we call forward tilt, uh, do they have that kind of energy and ability to take initiative, are they going, going to go above and beyond, do they have the ability to not just follow, you know, simples assignments that, you know, a supervisor’s going to give them, but can they think entrepreneurially as an employee if they, if they have that potential and we can see that, then we’re going to get really excited about working them.
So some people might say that practice is just for the people who are college dropouts or just don’t want to go to college. You know, some people may label these people as lazy, but that’s far from the truth
I would think. So the way I kind of compare practicing college is, and we have people that do practices that are recent college grads, etc. But doing praxis is, is a big challenge. It’s going to Be eight a lot harder than just going through college. And I know that from experience of, of doing both myself, we have a lot of, uh, people that come across the website and they’re interested in, you know, a common question we get is like, hey, what’s the catch? You know, you’re saying I can just do this 12 month program and I can get my career started, I’m going to get a full time job from this, et cetera. Will all the work is on you to get there. We’re gonna give you all the opportunities, but you’re going to work harder than you ever have your, you know, during the apprenticeship, you’re working full time in a, an intensive startup environment at that you guys are super familiar with. And on top of that you’re still going through practice curriculum to kind of push and challenge yourself even more professionally.
Yeah, that’s really interesting. And honestly, if I, if I can speak and you can tell me what you think, but I, I honestly don’t feel like college does that for, for most people. I think. I think there is a and expectation now that there’s an experience to be had, uh, for college. And I feel like it leads a lot of our, our young people, our millennial generation, and now whatever generation is, is after that millennial now who,
whatever it seems like millennial has just become the name for anyone that’s anyone in their twenties. But yeah.
And so I think that’s really, really neat. Tell us a little bit more about maybe why companies now are coming to you guys saying we want to be a part of this versus just taking, you know, college grads or, or just going to a, a college job fair. Why, why is it, why, why are they coming to you guys?
I think there are two fundamental reasons. One, we, we have, we’re unique pipeline of talent for companies because of the, our vetting process through the application. And then also the bootcamp. A busIness partners know that if they’re looking at candidates from praxis there, they have to be of a certain level because they’ve reached this stage of the program. So now that’s a strong signal to them that they’re going to be of a certain quality by the time you’re interviewing them, it’s, you know, the signaling theory. Uh, that’s, that’s really what people are purchasing when they choose to go to college. It’s, it’s not the specific features of college, you know, taking certain classes, uh, you know, being around certain types of people, you know, if you’re moving for college, all that, it’s people feel like they need a credential in order to be qualified to start their careers and we’re kind of, we’re providing a different signal to employers.
And then the other thing is the, not only do we have a unique talent pipeline, but our program, it really focuses on providing value both to the, the young person as a participant and the business so that you’re getting extra additional support from praxis with your new employees. And really that first six months and more of a career oriented job. I think that is the toughest transition point for people to kind of lock into. There’s, there’s a huge learning curve there and I think our, the structure of our program really helps diminish that learning curve and get people onboarded and up to speed more quickly.
So if somebody were on the fence about praxis, cameron, what is one of the things that you would tell them to try to convince them to be a part of the program?
So if someone has a good idea of what practices and understands the commitment, they’re going to have to make the, the typical benefits of it. Honestly, I wouldn’t try to sell them anymore because of how difficult the program is. It really does require someone to do have that drive and ambition because it’s going to be a lot of hard work. But for thAt typical person that you know, may come across it and Is considering, you know, as interested in the program, the one thing we come up against a lot is the social pressure to go to college. And, and what I would tell them is know, run. This is a one year commitment. So it’s low risk. You’re going to make as, as much as you’re going to pay intuition. But really you don’t need to be intimidated by that social stigma to go to college. We’ve proven through the program and I think in general society is changing on this. You don’t need to have a college degree to to succeed professionally and that social stigma is going away. There’s no need to be overly anxious and and intimidated by, you know, if you have a degree or not. So whether it’s practice or not, you think you need to build your own credentials either way,
clarify of clarify for us really fast because there are some people who might be listening to this and whether they’re a student or a parent who think, well, what if I want to do both? What if I want to be a part of practice, but you know, I want that social aspect of college. Can they do?
Yeah, absolutely. We, we kind of pitched the program as a gap year option all the time and we, we’ve had. We’ve had quite a few people start the program with taking it as a gap year with with that being their intention and actually we’ve only ended up having one person go back to college after doing practices because they kind of figure out that what they were looking to get out of college. They can actually get on their own much more effectively
and this allows them to work at the same time as they’re doing the, the program. So it’s, it’s something that they can give all their full attention to, but at the same time continue to live and provide for themselves and some people are married and they can provide for their families as well. Right?
Yup. Definitely. Um, how the model works is it’s $11,000 to do the program, um, and you either pay up front or we have usually payment plans that are the length of the program experience. Um, and then once you start your apprenticeship you’re getting paid. And then also during bootcamp it’s about a 10 to 15 hour commitment and except for our wednesday night sessions that happen every week, everything you’re doing in bootcamp is done on your time. So the vast majority of people going through the bootcamp, they have, you know, either part time or full time jobs during that. So you know, you’re definitely going to, you know, budget is going to be a little bit tight going through the program. But as you look at it as a, you know, an educational and professional investment in yourself, uh, the return on investment is, is huge, especially if you compare it to the typical, typical a conveyor belt,
you know, in my mind as I’m thinking about practice, I’m like, this is like an internship on steroids.
Yeah. I, I, I think what I’m most excited about building is, you know, we, we talk about apprenticeships and really what it is right now is that our participants, they’re stepping into full time jobs. These are full time entry level jobs, mostly nontechnical. Uh, this is so much more than your typical three temporary internship. Um, but I think there’s so much opportunity, uh, and that’s going to be valuable for growing companies is to have a true kind of class of apprenticeship roles that are ideal for people that have minimal work experience and minimal direct hard skills that, where they can contribute, right? But they clearly have, you know, the, again, these intangibles that you need to get started and have the potential to grow, uh, with the company and just kind of see this class of apprenticeship roles become, you know, a common part of a hiring organization.
It seems as if our skills are decreasing as we look down the generations. Do you feel like that’s, that’s the case?
I think. I don’t know. That’s a tough, tough thing to say. I think the skills that are valuable on the market today, that’s changing all the time and, and I think it’s, it’s really hard to, as a young person getting started to understand what skills are valuable because you’re not really, unless you know, really you’re not exposed to very much of that in, in school, whether it’s higher education or k through 12, you just don’t get that exposure. So it’s hard to know what’s valuable. I think, you know, we all know kind of tech tech startups are becoming more and more popular. It seems like there, there are definitely a lot of programming and engineering software engineering roles that are in high demand and they’re having trouble finding talent, but it’s not just technical skills that are in demand and are lacking. I think there a huge amount of room on the nontechnical side as well and I think there are some core skills.
You know if you have above average verbal communication, written communication, a good judgment and really I think more than anything, the ability to learn new things quickly so if if you have the ability to learn new skills and you can adapt to whatever environment you’re in, that’s going to be what’s most essential because even even companies, you don’t know exactly what you need talent wise. When you write out a job description, you’re not going to find someone that fits that job description perfectly and who ends up being the ideal fit for your team is probably going to be maybe 50 percent of what you thought they would be and then they bring these other things to the table that you didn’t even think about at the time.
I completely agree with that because we’ve experienced it with our recent hires. You think you know what you need and then you figure out that is not what you need and you need someone to fall in to that next position of what you actually need and it changes all the time. You may know what you need today, but six months from now it’s probably something completely different. Avery gave you a testimony right now of the multiple things that have changed for him and everything. I told him, hey, this is what you’re doing. Nope. Uh, a week later, you know what, actually that’s not what we need. We need this and it sounds like we’re chasing a squirrel, but it’s, it’s that we’re in this environment of learning and we’re growing and we’re figuring out what we know and what we don’t know. And of course you always figure out a lot more about what you don’t know.
One of the things that I am so encouraged by, what you guys do though is what I’ve heard multiple times is I’ve got a mentor or I don’t know if you guys call them mentors, but I believe that’s what I’ve taken as you’ve got mentors or advisors that he meets with and others meet with and I feel as if we’re not even a part of the program. You took a chance on us just to say, hey, let me see if I can find someone to help you guys, and we really appreciate that, but really what it comes down to is I feel as if praxis has got my back to say, wow, they’re investing in this person so that my business can be better as well.
Totally. Yeah. We we provide, we have program advisers that, you know, if you want to call it mentorship, it’s mentorship. When I think about our participants in, in, once they get to the apprenticeships phase of the program, it’s really their advisor becomes their job coach and for the company. I think it’s when it’s. When it’s executed really well, it’s super exciting to know that I’m, you know, we’re managing this person just as we would any new employee, but I know this person outside of their day to day job, they have this additional support system of you know, someone that has no, usually maybe two to three stages ahead of them professionally and has five to 10 years of work experience and knows what they’re going through and can relate to them and it’s been there before and kind of teach them all those little things that as a new professional you just don’t know what to do all the time because you haven’t been through it yet. And if you can cut that kind of onboarding time in half, that is incredibly valuable to the company.
Well cameron, we’re getting close on our time, but we absolutely want to hear your five takeaways. For all of our listeners today regarding entrepreneurship or praxis or your journey. So what are those five key takeaway?
Yeah, so I kind of framed them for young people looking to launch their career and my first one is learn how to create value for others. Just get as much work experience as possible and through that you’re going to figure out where you can contribute value. You’re gonna understand how to do that. A second one is it starts to get in the mindset of building a body of work that proves you can create that value. So not only are you valuable in your role, but you feel competent and that you can go out and win new opportunities, but everyone’s don’t worry about following your passion or finding your dream job yet, uh, you’re just starting out. you don’t know options are out there, you have to start doing before you can kInd of get to that stage. A fourth one is be interested and interesting and that’s what’s going to attract new opportunities for you. and then finally is learning how to have fun, doing really hard things to do fun things you, you have to be able to get through those challenging times and, uh, actually kind of take on that. Have the mental toughness. You actually enjoy the hard work of everything.
Well, you’re getting me really excited, dude. I want to join praxis. And then I also want more interns from you guys, but we know we ain’t got time for that right now in the more northern, so let’s wait until we get a little more funding here. But you guys have been such a good support for us and I, I know it’s, it, it seems not as direct because we haven’t had as much communication, but you guys are doing something right and we just want to encourage you guys to keep on going down that road and whatever we can do to help you, we want to do. But if anyone else wants to know how they can get ahold of you or learn more about praxis in general, what’s the best way to do that?
Yeah, so a bus way to learn more about Praxis is go to discover Praxis.com. We have plenty of information about the program both for participants and we have a separate page for companIes that are interested in hosting apprenticeships. You also have an awesome, awesome blog with a lot of just general professional development resources and then, you know, follow us on instagram, facebook, twitter, etc. And then the best way to, to kind of keep in touch with me is twitter @CameronSorsby.
Well thank you so much again. Camera and we really appreciate it. Everyone else who is listening, I want to remind everyone to make sure to subscribe and also to give a review on what you thought about cameron and praxis. We would love to hear, don’t forget, If you are looking for insurance quotes that don’t stain, try bright bright b.com. Click get a quote and you will be amazed at what you can find there. Thanks again everyone. Have a wonderful day.

Check out Praxis: https://discoverpraxis.com/

Read Praxis’ Blog: https://discoverpraxis.com/blog/

Follow Cameron on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cameronsorsby

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