Can businesses help reduce £45bn hole in UK economy by upskilling millennials?

February 10, 2017 - 6 minutes read

Brands can build loyalty with their young audience by offering tools, insight and advice they need to power their future!

High rates of youth unemployment in the UK is teaching young people that traditional choices don’t always guarantee success. Emerging from the melting pot of frustration and creativity – stirred by a lack of jobs, housing and political apathy – is a generation of ‘DIY’ers’. These are young people and adults who are willing to do it themselves. It’s reported that 72% of millennials say they want to start a business someday. With more information at their fingertips, they are mapping out their careers from a much younger age and trying to formulate the steps required to take them there.

26-year-old Jessica Holsman is an example of a ‘DIY’er’ who want’s to help her peers with their careers. Born out of her popular Youtube channel Study With Jess is her Australia based seed.ED Educationary stationery brand.

Her friendly and well put together study tip tutorials pull in an average of 100,000 – 300,000 views which gives her the leverage to create other tools that help her young audience succeed. This is a generation who are contributing to Youtubers’ rapid rise to fame. They are taking notes on how Kim Kardashian continues to create an empire hinging on her personality. They are learning how to make innovative products out of their skills and passions from young technology entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg.

The question is: What role do businesses have to play in empowering the next generation?

Launched in May 2013, Barclays’ LifeSkills helps young people develop the skills they need to be successful in the workplace. By facilitating students with useful content, they are also developing a relationship with them and increasing brand loyalty. In their eyes, Barclays is not just a bank – it’s bank that cares about their career.

Popular mobile service O2 believes that young people are tomorrow’s innovators, creative thinkers and problem-solvers. Therefore they set up Think Big, to ready this generation to fill the 2.3 million digital-savvy worker gap that is needed by 2020. They empower young people through GoThinkBig – a digital platform that shares tools and advice to help young people identify their skills and passions and connects them to exclusive career opportunities.

That’s not all, O2 understand the power of partnership and through their partnerships have been able to launch two mobile apps that not only integrates with their products, but also is leveraged by already existing platforms. Through collaborating with volunteering website they’ve launched Gro, an app that turns a young person’s volunteering experiences into CV ready sentences. With YouthNet they created Motimator; a motivational and advice based app. Both apps satisfies this generation’s need to succeed and provides easily accessible content.

Creating valuable experiences is another way of giving this generation a leg up. O2 partnered with TEDxTeen to put on the popular event in London within the Indigo at The O2; giving young people a platform to share innovative digital ideas. To be able to provide millennials with valuable tools to pave their career path, organisations should seek to work with other brands like what the mobile company has done. Or use an already existing owned platform like Red Bull.

Red Bull is another brand that makes career dreams become a reality by giving emerging music talent access to their state-of-the-art studios in London to help promote UK music.

DJ Monki from BBC Radio 1 is one of many young artists to create a body of work out of the studio. She has teamed up with Red Bull to produce four successful EPs title ‘Monki and Friends’ – each EP highlights underground talent.  Most recently, Red Bull has supported the album release of New Gen, which is one of the most anticipated and talked about albums to be released in the UK this year.


The album brings together the country’s hotly followed Rap, Grime and R&B talent. It’s speared headed by curators in their early 20s who have their ear to the ground helping Red Bull to remain relevant in youth culture.

So it would appear that businesses can help young people get a leg up the ladder by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in life. Businesses have the opportunity to empower their audience through content, programmes and initiatives that engage, educate and entertain. Millennials are sponges, soaking up the information they need to do it themselves. A brand’s job now is to figure out how to add value to their skillset and assist their career climb.

Download the Connected Generation eBook for more insights on the top trends digital youth trends.

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