I had the opportunity today (Thursday 16 January 2014) of speaking to social media apprentices at the Juice Academy. In case you are not aware of it, this is definitely something worth checking out. Run by Tangerine PR it is the first of its kind in the country and offers 16 to 18 year-olds an alternative to going to university. http://www.juiceacademy.co.uk/
The youngsters have real ‘day jobs’ with some large organisations but are also provided with regular training so that they become highly employable in the fast growing social media sector. I have had the chance to meet a few of the apprentices in the past year and have always been impressed by their maturity and professionalism. Today was no different. The group listened as I explained the social media journey that Greater Manchester Police have been on for the past three years. I hope that they found it useful or interesting to see a different side of social media.
It did make me think whether the communication industry is doing enough for young people in these difficult times? Are we thinking about the future of PR and communication and giving young people an opportunity? At the moment with so many highly qualified and experienced people looking for work it is easy to overlook teenagers or graduates. They need to get work experience and a foot on the ladder if they are going to be able to progress.
I was delighted to see Toronto Police Service also advertising for a young person to lead on their 2014 youth in policing initiative. This is an opportunity to make the programme of activities happen and also develop links between communities and particularly their young people and the police service. The central requirement is for it to be a local student aged 15 to 18 to lead the work during the summer break. A great opportunity to do some good but also to get some valuable work experience.
There are some great opportunities that exist and people who are doing great work to ensure that there is a future for young people. The question is can we do more to give young people a chance?