Stakeholder Trends and Insights
#SB14London:
How Can We Create Social Value by Empowering Young People?

Martin Chilcott, CEO at 2degrees, led this Tuesday afternoon panel on how to engage young people in order to create social value.

As Chilcott stated, future generations represent a key asset for society, and companies will need to engage them in order to create social value. But what’s the key to engaging and mobilizing them?

Bella Vuillermoz, Sky Academy Director at Sky, presented the Sky Academy, and explained how the company is involving young people through inspiration. Sky Academy is a quite recent program that uses the power of television, creativity and sport to inspire more than 1 million young people across UK and Ireland with the mission to help them to build professional skills and self-esteem. This set of initiatives targets under-25s and bring the new generation into Sky’s business in order to give them valuable professional experience.

Vuillermoz explained the importance of a long-term value creation and closed her presentation with some takeaways from Sky Academy experience. In order to engage the future generation companies should:

  1. Bring the brand on. They need to inspire young people.
  2. Make it fun.
  3. Focus on outcome.

Stephen Greene, CEO at RockCorps, shared his company’s volunteer journey and his mission to move a generation to change the world.

Greene’s recommendations to engage young people were:

  1. Build partnership with NGOs, big players, artists and media in order to amplify the impact.
  2. Consider that the messenger sometimes is more relevant than the message.
  3. Engage: plan well but execute better.
  4. Have fun and engage more people.

Next, Will Gardner, CEO at Collectively, presented his recently launched platform designed to showcase the people, places and cutting-edge ideas that create social change. The project launched last month as an answer to the question: What role can organizations play in order to engage young people?

Gardner explained why his project targets youth and the role of his own organization: Millennials represent the future, he said — they are a globally connected and empathetic generation seeking to work for mission-driven companies. As such, they represent a valuable asset for society and Collectively engages them by providing them engaging and inspiring web content.

Gardner’s takeaways on youth engagement were:

  1. Be clear on your role.
  2. Make it worth doing, even if it wasn’t good (or have fun).
  3. Build in the feedback loop: let the audience know, as community, that they did something fantastic.

Ben Whitehead, CSR Account Director at Cospa, rounded out the session by presenting the VIY challenge (Volunteer It Yourself) and its impact to date. Cospa is a social innovation agency where young people are at the heart of the project. The organization works with brands and causes to achieve greater returns from social action projects through cross-sector partnerships.

The VIY challenge combines volunteering and “do it yourself” activities and has the mission to involve and build skills for young people aged 14-24.

VIY was launched in 2011 and to date has achieved created notable impact:

  • 1,299 participants in 2 years
  • 59 youth clubs renovated
  • 1,047 people gained an accreditation (career)
  • 18,000 hours of volunteering by young people

Whitehead explained how engagement, building skills and mobilization are crucial when engaging young people and how it is possible to execute projects that are good for both business and society.

Overall, the panel illustrated that fun, strong cross-sector partnerships and solutions that address real needs are key ingredients for engaging young people and create social value.

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