Today I joined Prince Charles and our political leaders to support the launch of Step Up To Serve – a new campaign to champion and encourage higher levels of youth social action across the UK.  This is a very proud moment for O2 and an opportunity to develop and strengthen the support we have offered young people since the launch of our Think Big programme in 2010.

Step Up To Serve is a campaign which shares O2’s ambitious goals for young people.  By 2020, the campaign aims to engage over 1.7 million more young people in social action projects across the UK, helping them to build vital employability skills through every day acts of public service that create stronger communities across the UK.  The campaign brings together Government, business, the education sector, NGOs  and faith groups in a broad coalition to support young people and deliver a transformative legacy of active citizenship, skills development and social change.

For O2, this campaign resonates with our deeply held beliefs in the talent and potential of young people.  Given the right opportunities and support, we know they have the ingenuity, ideas and energy to not only drive the UK economy forward, but also to deliver and champion a fairer and more sustainable world.  That’s why we’re committed to playing our part in engaging and inspiring young people everywhere to shape and transform their communities and their futures.

Telefonica is announcing today a number of commitments to support the Step Up To Serve campaign.  We will:

  • Back 10,000 youth social action ideas by 2020 and inspire a further 50,000 young people to participate in youth social action through Think Big.
  • Engage 50% of participants in Think Big from disadvantaged backgrounds or areas of high deprivation
  • Promote social action in our recruitment materials and on our Talentum website, encouraging applicants to include details about their social action experience
  • Help young people to explore the potential to turn their social action projects into sustainable digital or social ventures, with support from Wayra and WayraUnltd
  • Host an annual celebration of youth social action to recognise and reward young people’s contributions through social action

Over the last three years, our business has embraced the opportunity to support young people through Think Big, investing in their ideas and harnessing their talents for social good. We’ve helped over 5,000 young people to discover hidden capabilities and to develop leadership, communication and project management skills to support their employability.

O2 has benefited enormously from our own partnerships with NGOs, including the National Youth Agency, UK Youth, Young Enterprise and the Mozilla Foundation – they have helped us to deliver high quality social action, enterprise and digital skills programmes.  New partnerships with UnLtd to help young people develop their Think Big projects into fledgling social ventures and with Bauer Media to create our work skills platform demonstrate the power of innovative partnerships in delivering real opportunity and real social change.

I’m excited about the possibilities that this campaign will deliver for young people, for business and for society and proud that O2 is stepping forward with confidence to engage and inspire a new generation of change makers.

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