Press release

Young people taught to be creators of technology and not just consumers

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Youth programmes join forces at the O2 to promote digital skills in young people.

100 17 and 18 year olds attended bespoke digital skills workshops at the O2 Campus Party today. They were joined by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd and Telefónica/O2 CEO Ronan Dunne.

The event is a collaboration between government, business and non-profit organisations designed to ensure young people have the skills to make their own digital products and content and brings together 3 youth and community programmes. The attendees were all graduates of the government’s National Citizen Service (NCS) and the workshops were hosted by Telefónica UK/O2’s ‘Think Big’ programme and the digital skills campaign Make Things Do Stuff.

Make Things Do Stuff is the brainchild of charities Nesta and Nominet Trust alongside Mozilla, and has received support from the Cabinet Office’s Partnership Team to help find corporate backing. The campaign brings together big businesses and social start-ups, formal education and after school clubs, mentors and children, to create new opportunities for young people who want to get into digital building.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said;

To give our young people the best chance of competing in the global race, we want to give them the opportunity to go from being prolific users, to producers of new digital products and content.

I am extremely grateful to our partners, the charity sector and businesses who have all paved the way to open up this fantastic opportunity for NCS graduates to benefit from bespoke digital workshops. I know this is just the starting point of the innovation such educational campaigns can provide and I look forward to supporting O2, Make Things Do Stuff, other partners and our young people in their digital quest.

Tom Kenyon, Programme Director for Make Things Do Stuff, said:

It’s been very encouraging to see such a large number of organisations across the UK commit to helping young people create with technology. The tens of thousands of young people who got involved in digital making over the summer has given us a positive indicator to the future of the UK’s digital economy.

Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica, UK said:

Now more than ever before, digital offers the chance to drive sustained economic recovery, but this will only be realised if we become a nation of digitally confident businesses with a digitally literate workforce. The onus cannot be on the government alone. Businesses must proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate to maximise the digital growth opportunity and harness the potential of the next generation.

As digital natives, young people possess valuable skills that will be the future fuel of our economy, but not enough is being done to harness them. At O2 we’re committed to playing our part, which is why we are hosting Campus Party, one of the world’s largest tech festivals, to showcase new ways to break into digital careers and give businesses an unconventional hunting ground to find the talent they need to prosper.

Notes to editors

Make Things Do Stuff is the brainchild of Nesta, Nominet Trust and Mozilla which won government support to find commercial partnerships. The campaign brings together big businesses and social start-ups, formal education and after school clubs, mentors and children, to create new opportunities for young people who want to get into, or further develop their experience of, digital making. Through the website, which brings together the best projects, clubs, events and online resources, young people can explore new ways of bringing their interests to life through making, be it fashion, sport, music or games.

Now supported by leading business including Facebook, 02 Telefónica, Virgin Media, Caffe Nero, BlackBerry, Samsung and Microsoft, ‘Make Things Do Stuff’ has already provided more than 100,000 opportunities for young people to improve their digital skills through face-to-face workshops and online programmes such as O2 Think Big, Code Club, Codecademy and Mozilla Webmaker.

NCS (National Citizen Service) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity open to all 16 and 17 year olds across England. It is a unique 2 or 3 week full-time programme, plus 30 hours committed to a community project, focused around fun and discovery that benefits both young people and society. Participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, learning new skills, making new friends and contributing to their community.

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