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No ‘British Dream’ for UK’s poorest youngsters, warns Nominet Trust

Nominet Trust calls for re-think on how to support young people as new data suggests life chances are fixed at birth

The British equivalent of the American Dream simply does not exist for the youngsters in the poorest parts of the UK, warns social investor, Nominet Trust. New data from Nominet Trust-funded project, Compare Futures, shows that their chances of employment or attending a Red Brick University are extremely low, compared to their counterparts in richer areas.

The data, which forms part of a project by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies launching next month, reveals that young people from Middlesborough are ten times more likely to be unemployed as those from wealthy Wokingham. Compared to the average, those from Middlesbrough are almost three times as likely to be unemployed. Educational opportunities also look bleak, with only 1% of young people from Kingston Upon Hull going to a Red Brick University compared to 34% of those from Wimbledon.

With over 1 million young people currently unemployed[i], Nominet Trust is using the data to highlight the diversity of their experiences and opportunities. The social investor wants to encourage everyone working in the space –from policy makers to youth workers – to think about how to do things differently for all 7.4 million 16-24 year olds in the UK[ii] and believes digital technology has a big role to play in changing the fortunes of young people.

With this in mind, Nominet Trust is using the Hay Festival[iii] to launch a £2 million investment programme to fund ideas for new ways of using digital technology to improve young people’s economic and social participation.  Whether it’s using online platforms to support micro-employment, capitalising on existing networks to galvanise peer mentoring; or using new technology to improve the relationships between young people and those who support them.  The first round of applications for this programme will be accepted from now until 1st August[iv].

Annika Small, CEO, Nominet Trust, said: “Where you’re born and grow up currently determines where you end up. We urgently need to address the fact that the current system is failing millions of young people. Digital technology gives us the tools to do things radically differently. Whether creating new forms of online skills exchange and reward, new connections that increase young people’s access to resources and networks of support, or new ways of showcasing talents and experience to future employers, digital technology can broaden young people’s horizons and improve their social and economic participation.”

Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies carrying out the Compare Futures project, which received funding in an early round from the Nominet Trust, said:

“We are taught to believe that life is what you make of it, that the able will succeed, regardless of background. Thanks to Nominet Trust’s funding, Compare Futures will help young people understand how life chances differ by geography. It will also challenge politicians to champion policies that correct the postcode lottery that affects deeply young peoples' life chances.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the new funding available from the Nominet Trust should go here.

Notes to editors:

For more information or to arrange interviews with Nominet Trust or any of the Hay Festival panel, please contact Rakhee Shah on 0207 815 3900 or rakhee.shah@munroforster.com

Nominet Trust

The Nominet Trust is a UK registered charity, which believes in the power of digital technology to improve lives and communities.

The Trust brings together, invests in and supports people committed to using digital technology to create social and economic value.

Nominet Trust has invested in hundreds of projects since its inception in September 2008, providing business support as well as financial investment, seeking to connect projects to prospective partners who can help increase their reach and impact.

Nominet Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the smooth and secure running of the .uk internet infrastructure. Nominet has a strong public purpose and the Trust is one example of its commitment to creating a safer, accessible and diverse internet.

Compare Futures

Drawing on a rich, currently unpublished, dataset comparefutures.org will allow users to compare the educational, employment and personal circumstances of young adults in every neighbourhood across England. It will allow users to get a far more nuanced and deeper understanding of the variable experiences of young adults and how they affect their futures than is available from standard national statistics.

The project is being run by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, an independent public interest charity that engages with the worlds of research and policy, practice and campaigning. Its mission is to inspire enduring change by promoting understanding of social harm, the centrality of social justice and the limits of criminal justice.

[i] Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion: http://www.cesi.org.uk/statistics/labour/may-2012

[iii] The investment programme was launched at a debate hosted by Nominet Trust at the Hay Festival, which brought together leading thinkers on social policy and those working with young people to examine how to challenge the lack of social mobility and inequality in the UK today.  Panellists included Simon Milner, Policy Director of Facebook, UK and Ireland and youth worker and Conservative politician, Shaun Bailey.

[iv] 1st August 2012 is an advisory date, which ensures Nominet Trust has enough time to review applications.  If applicants are successful, they will be asked to complete the Stage 2 application form by 5th September 2012.