We, as young people, have a voice. That voice deserves to be heard, understood and taken heed of. We all know this, so what are we doing to effect change?

Go Think Big is O2′s youth programme supporting 15-25 year olds entering the world of work – we want to show everyone the difference we’re making, and, in true Go Think Big form, we wanted young people to be at the heart of this.

O2 and Go Think Big partnered with Given London to recruit 5 young people to help us turn a social impact report into creative content – the result is something truly imaginative and inspiring.

We had a selection process, people applied to take part via Go Think Big website and submitted their CV, a covering letter and a short video stating why they should be chosen.

Youth participation is important. By involving young people in the creative process, equipping them with the skills they need, paying them for their time and making them feel valued – it was pretty much a win-win for everyone. As well as the organisation getting the benefit of creative eyes, resourceful attitudes and some real powerful energy, the young people benefitted too…

Five people took part. We asked why they applied in the first place…

Dom, one of the participants said the opportunity offered a “far more immersive experience than a regular internship would.” After conducting some of his own research, he found that they “produced truly unique and creative work for a range of brands and companies he admired.”

For Sinuo, who is currently studying design, she chose to apply because it would give her the chance to work “on a creative project with a team, and get an insight into a creative agency.”

Lastly, Winsome applied because after her second year of university she realised she “was more interested in taking a creative path as a career, but did not have the qualifications required for some opportunities.” A huge selling point of the internship was that “all you needed was the motivation and passion to do it” which is a characteristic Winsome was able to convey right from the start.

At Go Think Big, we offer bespoke, creative opportunities that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Here’s how our participants found the experience unique…

Dom enjoyed the level of autonomy they had as a group and how much influence they had over the final project. He explains “While we were given the resources and support needed throughout we were given the freedom to make this project truly our own.”

For Lauren, who usually works with different approaches, she says that this “alternative approach to the industry has provided me with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the work.”

“Unlike those internships where interns spend most of their time making tea or coffee and do insignificant tasks, this internship felt real and valuable,” says Sinuo. “We worked a real project and took a lot away from it.”

After four weeks of immersive creative work, we asked what their most valuable piece of insight from the opportunity was…

Dom says the experience definitely improved his confidence as a creative, adding that he feels more comfortable putting himself forward for opportunities, “contributing effective and unique insights into new projects.”

As well as motivating Lauren to pursue a career in a creative consultancy, it has also provided her “with a body of contacts and experience to refer back to.”

For Winsome, it equipped her with the belief that “there are always people to help you if there is a problem, you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help/advice.”

Finally, we asked how it will help with their career…

Given 1

Sinuo said that it definitely increased her confidence to just go for the jobs she wants. She added, “It has reassured me that I wanted to go down the creative pathway and work in an agency like Given, surrounded by motivational and creative people.” When we’re surrounded by the traditional career options and routes, it can definitely impact your motivation to go for the creative career you want. That’s why it’s great to see Sinuo’s knowledge of the breadth of creative careers out there has reassured her of her ambitions! There is always something out there for you. Don’t give up!

“It’s also about showing that you’re more than what’s on paper,” Winsome tells us. “It shows I have been proactive in doing something new that’s not part of my degree. Employers don’t just want a computer science grad, they want the whole package.” So, if you can demonstrate your own initiative with concrete examples, it definitely gives you that edge.

For Dom, it was the ability to speak from experience. “When I am now pursuing new opportunities, I can proudly refer to this project.” So whilst he’s at interviews he can shout about that time he was an actor. More importantly, Dom also said “The biggest help to my career, however, has been that I have been offered an additional three-month internship to work with the team at Given, to contribute support to a number of their other projects.”

Dom’s experience here, in particular, is a brilliant example of why youth participation benefits all parties. By taking part and showing how committed and capable you are, you’re being your own PR and letting employers know how much they’d want you.

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