Virgin Media O2 has launched a partnership to help young people from ethnic minority backgrounds access coaching and advice.
The company has joined with 20/20 Change, a youth employment organisation, to offer 400 people a series of free courses as part of its ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme.
This will involve 10 weekly sessions exploring topics such as leadership and responsibility, success and mindfulness. There will also be practical tips for participants such as how to write a CV and interview techniques.
For its part, Virgin Media O2 will provide spaces to run the sessions and provide one-to-one mentoring and advice to participants, who will be between the ages of 17 and 30.
Duro Oye, founder and CEO of 20/20 Change, said this represented a “substantial multi-year partnership” that would recognise the potential of hundreds of young people from Black and other ethnic minority backgrounds.
He said: “This partnership will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of ensuring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented communities transition from education to employment smoothly, putting these individuals in good stead to go on and have successful and prosperous careers.”
Data from the Office for National Statistics has repeatedly shown that young people have struggled to get back into employment after the pandemic.
Virgin Media O2 worked with its Enrich employee network to develop the partnership.
Leanna Edwards and Marc Nicoue, co-chairs of Enrich, said the programme would “empower and inspire hundreds of young people and help them to achieve their potential, where our institutions fall short”.
“It’s amazing to support a programme that focuses on how growing a network and shifting mindset can change the future of those from underrepresented communities, just as much as education,” they said.
Angel Adjei, who is 24 and from Croydon, took part in the 20/20 Change programme in 2019 and later secured a dream role as a technical manager for a science laboratory company.
She said: “I had graduated realising I didn’t want to pursue the career path connected to my degree and was really unsure of my next steps. This left me unhappy, unfulfilled and without purpose.
“The main thing 20/20 Change gave me was a perspective shift. I reassessed my values and also learnt that making things happen for myself was my choice and determination needed to come from within. Failure in my situation was a choice and I could choose a different outcome through putting in some work.
“I now find myself in a job that perfectly blends my love for academia with my desire to bring change through innovation. When I look back on the last two years I can clearly see my growth as a person and clarity for my future.”
Young people can apply for the programme until 3 January 2022.