Think Big

Young people

Think Big for young people

We believe we're a perfect match for tomorrow’s innovators, creative thinkers and problem-solvers.

As the first generation to grow up with the internet, young people use technology creatively and intuitively. They are also, of course, our future customers and employees.

Yet, independent research commissioned by O2 and conducted by Development Economics in 2015 into the UK’s future digital skills gap, confirmed that 2.3million more digital-savvy workers would be needed by 2020.

But a lack of work readiness, poor social mobility and the public view that young people felt excluded and disengaged (as reported in our 2012 Youth Matters survey), continued to affect employment opportunities and self-confidence.

Through the Think Big Blueprint, we expanded our reach with schemes to boost employability, digital skills and confidence, working collaboratively within and outside our business.

Together, our programmes and partnerships have since helped 1,044,024 under-25s build digital skills and self-esteem, take steps towards the world of work, set up community projects, commit to social action and even establish their own enterprises. Read the full report on our blueprint goals and commitments

Social mobility

With our focus on social mobility we've also been able to create a strong pipeline of future talent while challenging negative stereotypes.

GoThinkBig supports the commitments O2 made in 2013 as a participant in the Government's Social Mobility Business Compact.

We are recognised as one of 11 Social Mobility Business Compact Champions committed to helping young people break through into the world of work, regardless of their backgrounds.

We've worked closely with a network of 50 partners in the youth sector to ensure our programmes are inclusive and reach young people from all backgrounds.

This approach not only supports the immediate social impact - it proves that young people from all walks of life are able to lead, innovate and inspire others.

Attracting talent

To draw talent to our own business we revamped our recruitment programme and created a remunerated apprenticeship, intern and graduate programme. Apprentices in particular bring enormous value to our business, often moving into full-time roles where they can excel and stretch their capabilities.

But employee engagement has been central, too. Think Big has been supported by 10,000 employees who've supported over 60,000 young people through training, work experience and as mentors - sharing their skills, know-how and life experiences from the corporate world.

Social action and enterprise

In 2013, we joined HRH the Prince of Wales's Step up to Serve #iWill campaign, pledging to back 10,000 youth social action ideas by 2020. We’ll inspire 50,000 young people to take part through Think Big Youth – with 50% from disadvantaged backgrounds or areas of high deprivation. 

We’ve also launched the Gro App with the Do-It Trust to help young people translate their volunteering experience into skills most valued by employers.

And we secured £1m from the Cabinet Office to engage and inspire more young people to take part in volunteering and social action on their journey into the National Citizen Service programme.

Digital skills and employability

In 2015, we partnered with the Government Apprenticeships Service to run a GoThinkBig campaign, designed to boost UK business apprenticeships.

We also launched the Motimator app in partnership with YouthNet, to provide young job-seekers with expert tips and motivation to help them search for a better career.

With the Business team, we supported the digital transformation of St Helens, Merseyside, offering young people funding and work skills opportunities.

Partnerships for young people

We brought TEDxTeen to Indigo at The O2 in London – showcasing a generation of digital disruptors. This was the first time the event had taken place outside North America.

We supported the Tech Partnership, a network of employers creating the skills for the digital economy, which aims to accelerate the flow of talented people from all backgrounds into technology careers and help companies develop the skills needed for the future.