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Helping young people, UK SMEs and charities

Digital Youth Academy to create a new qualification recognising digital skills.

Digital Youth Academy logo
Youth Web Builders is a new project which aims to create a new qualification and set of resources in web design and development which will give young people formal digital skills and direct experience in the workplace, while helping UK SMEs and charities get online in the process.


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The low digital capability of thousands of UK SMEs and charities is a huge limitation on their growth and productivity: 36% of SMEs are without a website, and over half of UK charities lack web design support.  Meanwhile, two thirds of young people can design a website, but lack the training and experience in the workplace to be able to use these skills to get a job.  The Youth Web Builders programme is designed to build a link between the two.

Nominet Trust along with funding and support from O2 will help the Digital Youth Academy to create and accredit a qualification, which will be part of a programme consisting of two key components.  First, a web design, build and coding eLearning course that makes young peoples’ existing inherent digital skills market-ready.  Second, work placements in UK SMEs and charities to give them on-the-job experience to improve their employability.  In the process, the participating SMEs and charities can harness young people’s digital talents, getting hands-on help to improve their digital capability.

The programme will be supported by O2’s youth employment accelerator platform, GoThinkBig.co.uk, alongside further education colleges and training providers. At least 500 young people will undertake work placements to gain valuable on-the-job experience, and where possible, these will be bolted on to existing Apprenticeship frameworks. The Digital Youth Academy provides specialist digital content, resources and materials to educational delivery organisations.  It currently works with 14 delivery partners – both further education colleges and private training providers.

As the project progresses, we hear how Youth Web Builders is impacting on young people and employers alike:

The Apprentice: Chloe, Youth Web Builder
Eighteen year old Chloe heard about Youth Web Builders when she was an apprentice and studying at Peterborough College. She realised she could plug her skills and experience gaps through the scheme and in June 2014 she signed up.

Chloe was keen on getting coding experience as well as working on the design aspects of the website creation. “I like the concept that you can type something in and make something happen,” she says. “I like the input and output.” And as a keen cake decorator with an idea to set up her own business one day, she knew that being able to create a website would be a valuable talent: potentially saving money, and also a chargeable skill for the future.

An Employer: Paul Richardson, Consultancy and Training Services
Oxfordshire-based Paul Richardson got involved with Youth Web Builders by becoming an employer on the scheme.

His Youth Web Builder was called Georgina and it took her just three weeks to get Paul’s website up and running. “The timescales worked perfectly for me,” he says. Paul found the process simple and intuitive, and Georgina worked remotely, contacting him when she needed to by email and telephone. Paul knew he needed a simple site and was keen on the project’s goals of getting young people into work. “Those two things coupled together meant there’s no way I would have gone to a regular digital agency,” he says.

Read the full case study here.