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Working Well Design Challenge

Working Well design challenge banner

We believe well designed digital technology can build upon the skills and abilities of young people and the exceptional work of those already supporting them.  The Design Council in partnership with Nominet Trust has challenged designers and social entrepreneurs to design, build and launch new digital products and services that help young people develop their talents and make a living.

Why are we doing it?

With record numbers of 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training, there is a pressing need to improve how young people secure the opportunities they deserve. Jargon such as ‘NEET’ not only does many a disservice, but presents the situation as a problem of economic policy rather than an opportunity to do something practical to help.

Announcing the winners

The Working Well Design Challenge received over eighty entries and brought together leading designers, developers and social entrepreneurs.  In June 2012 our panel of judges selected three exceptional winners who each received £50,000, plus a host of support and publicity, to develop their solution.

Over the last five months they have been busy creating new solutions that equip young people with the confidence, skills and motivation they need to find a job.

The three digital services are:


Discoverables logo
Discoverables is a website that helps young people to identify their strengths and then undertake tasks which help them to develop and demonstrate those strengths to potential employers.

According to The Work Foundation, 71% of employers think soft skills need to be improved, but traditionally these are gained through employment - it’s a vicious cycle.

The website is a new way for young people to develop their skill set and ultimately improve employability.

The website is already attracting an average of 100 hits per day, with 122 young people registered and 30 active users. Two of the participants involved have become co-founding directors of Discoverables.

Arfah Farooq, one of the young directors commented:

“Now that I'm also one of the co-founders I'm excited to take the service forward and develop it into a fully functional social enterprise and build partnerships with progressive organisations."

By the end of 2013, the Discoverables aims to have 5,000 users and hopes to be working with schools and youth organisations delivering training programmes.

The team behind Discoverables

Spark+Mettle is an aspirations agency that likes to help people flourish. They specialise in enabling the marginalised young to develop the soft skills needed to kick-start a fulfilling career and life. Pixelgroup is a results-driven digital agency that specialise in combining usability and design to create beautiful user experiences.

The Matter

The Matter logo
The Matter is a newspaper run, produced and published entirely by young people. The website acts as a project management tool to support young people in creating the newspaper, between meetings with the team where they receive face-to-face advice.

Each edition leads on their public response to a question asked by government or a business and submitted to The Matter.

The Matter has already created and published its first newspaper with six young people. The theme of the first issue was to investigate how young people’s voices can be heard in the Forth neighbourhood community planning process.

One of the young people proposed a ‘reverse consultation’ – a new kind of planning meeting to engage young people. Instead of the planning process consulting young people and the community, young people and the community consult the planning process. This is a debate forum chaired by young people who set the agenda themselves, attended by Forth Neighbourhood Community Planners who sit in the audience and wait to speak, like young people do at their meetings.

This idea has been taken on by the Council and is getting fast tracked through the community grant process to fund future meetings. £500 for a second print run of the newspaper has also been promised.

The Matter aims to publish five more newspapers by the end of 2013. It also plans to develop the website so it can support several teams of young people in creating newspapers at once.

The team behind The Matter

Young Scot is the national youth information and citizenship charity for Scotland. They provide young people, aged 11 - 26, with a mixture of information, ideas and incentives to help them become confident, informed and active citizens. Firstport aims to release the potential of social entrepreneurship in Scotland to benefit communities and individuals and to promote social change. Snook are the Scottish service designers making social change happen in public sector organisations from the police to universities. Telaco is a web development & communications consultancy based in Glasgow, Scotland. Six by Six are specialists in enterprise level online technology and e-commerce systems on Linux and PHP platforms.

Step Up

Step Up is a web based service that takes users through their own marketing campaign to reveal their ambitions and connect them with people who can help them realise these goals.

It gives young people the advice and inspiration they need to create a personal marketing campaign and nudges them to promote their campaign to people that might be able to help. It suggests tasks that can build their confidence.

For example, Matt Dunn was one of the participants that piloted Step Up. Matt wants to work in advertising. He has been looking for work for some time but has not been successful. However, since setting up his own personal marketing campaign on Step Up, he has managed to get in touch with the creative director of a global advertising agency and has been offered temporary work. Matt’s also attracted the attention of three different agencies and received some great feedback. He was even tweeted 281 times and had his campaign shared by 623 people. Of course, Matt was delighted about this progress and said:

"This campaign has been really exciting and getting a chance to get in touch with David Trott has been incredible. My first Step Up campaign has been called '21 Briefs, 21 days' and I'm looking to do another one once I've followed up with all the opportunities I have received. I'm damn excited!"

Step Up piloted the website with seven young people and another eight have already started working on their campaigns. Step Up aims to take 500 more through the campaign experience by the end of 2013.

The team behind Step Up

The House is a design, digital and marketing agency made up of a family of talented creatives. They develop brands, build websites and create innovative marketing campaigns that have meaningful impact.

Who’s behind this?

This challenge is being run by the Design Council in partnership with Nominet Trust, with additional funding from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. It follows on from several previous challenges, more information about which can be found at www.designcouncil.org.uk/challenges