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Giving young people a voice

An internet radio project hopes to harness the power of social media to encourage disadvantaged and disaffected youths to embrace active citizenship

Opening up new opportunities
An internet radio and social media project is aiming to inspire young people who are at-risk and NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) to address social and educational problems and to develop skills that will enhance their employability.

The RadioActive venture is being led by the University of East London, partnered by community organisations Inspire! and YOH.  The project uses internet radio and augmented social media to promote the engagement, empowerment, informal learning and employability of hard-to-reach, disadvantaged and disaffected young people who are classified as NEETs.

Encouragement and empowerment
The project will be developing and implementing an innovative advanced pilot internet radio and social media platform, RadioActive, that builds on existing digital cultures to excite and engage young people, open up new learning opportunities and promote active citizenship.

The idea behind it all is to give young people a voice around key issues, such as the recent disturbances, severe reductions in education and employment opportunities, and crime. It also supports personal and community development and social change through enabling young people to increase their confidence, self-esteem, aspirations, employability and personal skills. As a result, they become active citizens, who can effect social and community change through participation in the internet radio and social media features of RadioActive.

Looking forward with confidence
Developing and deploying the RadioActive project in the form of a software toolkit – or ‘radio station in a box’ – makes it easy to re-use and adapt to different NEET communities going forward. The approach will initially be developed in Hackney and East London, and then disseminated more widely.

It is hoped that the initiative will help raise the aspirations of NEET young people and increase community cohesion, at the same time as reducing worklessness, youth offending and anti-social behaviour.

The emphasis on employability skills will be bolstered by links with pre-apprenticeship initiatives as well as connections and placements within local creative and digital industries.