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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: O2 and Bauer Media to create 30k youth work experience places

O2 has joined forces with Bauer Media in launching a £5 million campaign to provide young people with up to 30,000 work experience or skills development opportunities over the next three years.
The campaign entitled ‘GoThinkBig’ will see the two companies offer placements to 9,000 14-25 year olds across the UK by October 2013.
Some 6,000 will take the form of one-, two- or three day “fast track” skills development courses to teach them how to code using html or manage editorial publishing systems, for instance.
A further 1,300 positions will consist of two-week work experience placements to give young people the chance to learn different facets of business, while 550 candidates will be offered internships lasting from between six months to a year. The remaining 1,150 will comprise community-based volunteering placements.
Ronan Dunne, O2’s chief executive, said that young people were facing some of the toughest employment challenges ever, but added that: “All businesses, big and small, have a role to play in helping support these young people on their journey to work and each of us can benefit by bringing fresh thinking into our organisations.”
As a result, the two companies have developed a GoThinkBig campaign website in order to enable third party employer to advertise their own opportunities, whether they take the form of apprenticeships, volunteering or funding towards a newly-created Think Big School that will provide day courses in various skills.
As of next month, the campaign and its website will also be staffed by a team of young people who have been recruited to further develop and maintain them, with mentoring and support from Bauer Media and O2.
According to a survey of 500 employers undertaken by OnePoll, some 42% believe that the most important thing when assessing job candidates is their skills and experience, with 34% saying that charity or community-based activities are as valuable as formal work experience.
Just under seven out of 10 revealed that they did not formally publicise work experience opportunities for young people, while three quarters felt that relevant experience and skills were more important than education.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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