By Claire West

100 17 and 18 year olds attended bespoke digital skills workshops at the O2 Campus Party yesterday. They were joined by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd and Telefónica/O2 CEO Ronan Dunne.

The event is a collaboration between government, business and non-profit organisations designed to ensure young people have the skills to make their own digital products and content and brings together 3 youth and community programmes. The attendees were all graduates of the government’s National Citizen Service (NCS) and the workshops were hosted by Telefónica UK/O2’s ‘Think Big’ programme and the digital skills campaign Make Things Do Stuff.

Make Things Do Stuff is the brainchild of charities Nesta and Nominet Trust alongside Mozilla, and has received support from the Cabinet Office’s Partnership Team to help find corporate backing. The campaign brings together big businesses and social start-ups, formal education and after school clubs, mentors and children, to create new opportunities for young people who want to get into digital building.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said;

To give our young people the best chance of competing in the global race, we want to give them the opportunity to go from being prolific users, to producers of new digital products and content.

I am extremely grateful to our partners, the charity sector and businesses who have all paved the way to open up this fantastic opportunity for NCS graduates to benefit from bespoke digital workshops. I know this is just the starting point of the innovation such educational campaigns can provide and I look forward to supporting O2, Make Things Do Stuff, other partners and our young people in their digital quest.

Tom Kenyon, Programme Director for Make Things Do Stuff, said:

It’s been very encouraging to see such a large number of organisations across the UK commit to helping young people create with technology. The tens of thousands of young people who got involved in digital making over the summer has given us a positive indicator to the future of the UK’s digital economy.

Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica, UK said:

Now more than ever before, digital offers the chance to drive sustained economic recovery, but this will only be realised if we become a nation of digitally confident businesses with a digitally literate workforce. The onus cannot be on the government alone. Businesses must proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate to maximise the digital growth opportunity and harness the potential of the next generation.

As digital natives, young people possess valuable skills that will be the future fuel of our economy, but not enough is being done to harness them. At O2 we’re committed to playing our part, which is why we are hosting Campus Party, one of the world’s largest tech festivals, to showcase new ways to break into digital careers and give businesses an unconventional hunting ground to find the talent they need to prosper.