O2 invests £500k in young people’s digital skills through the launch of a central London skills & support hub

  • The 3,000+ sq ft Think Big Hub opens its doors to young people in central London today
  • The space will welcome 3,000 young people in its first year, aimed at helping them develop their digital, entrepreneurial and work skills
  • Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, will officially open the Hub
  • O2 and the Telefónica Foundation to invest half a million pounds across five years, building on existing commitment to young people

Speaking of the launch, Ronan Dunne, O2 CEO, said:

With the economy showing welcome signs of recovery and the digital opportunity now recognised as key to guaranteeing future economic growth, it is vital that businesses look to employ the right people with the right skills. Giving opportunities to those who have these digital skills in abundance – young people – is therefore of paramount importance.

And yet, this week we’ve seen another gloomy report about the true scale of youth unemployment. On Tuesday, the Local Government Association estimated that as many as half of the young people in England and Wales may be out of work or under-employed.  This is an enormous waste of potential.  As the first generation to have grown up with the internet, today’s young people possess valuable digital skills and capabilities that businesses of all sizes need to thrive in today’s digital age. 

This is why we have today launched the Think Big Hub – a new space in the heart of London’s Silicon Roundabout aimed at helping young people improve their digital skills and gain practical careers advice. We will be investing more than £500,000 across five years in the space and are expecting 3,000 digital natives to pass through its doors this year alone. And of course, although the Hub is based in London, we’ll be using digital technology to improve access to the training opportunities available through webinars, live streaming, virtual classrooms and online mentoring to ensure we can support young people across the UK.

This launch, supported today by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, forms part of our commitment to help young people make the most of their native digital talent, whether that’s through social action projects, digital skills workshops, apprenticeships and internships, or mentoring and coaching opportunities.

But, if the UK is to make a significant difference, then other businesses must follow suit. This doesn’t need to be in the form of a large-scale investment – it can be as simple as offering quality work experience to help a young person get that all important first foot on the career ladder or entrusting a recent school leaver to help develop your social media strategy. All contributions are encouraged, because in order to truly capitalise on the UK’s latent digital talent, all businesses must play their part.

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