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Exploring Themes for Youth Employment

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Themes act as building blocks for our ideas in the Concepting phase.
As our collaborative efforts continue in the Youth Employment Challenge, we thought we'd offer some pointers to get our Concepting phase off to a great start. After all, with so many directions in which to head with our new concepts, where and how do we get started? Enter Challenge Themes: a handy tool we use on every challenge to guide and focus our Concepting phase. 
At their core, Themes represent specific areas of opportunity for our ideas – ones that have been identified through your stories and insights in the Inspiration phase, as well as through our own conversations with Barclays and the Work Foundation.
You'll find all of our Youth Employment Challenge Themes at the top of the Concepting phase page, and if you click on each one, you'll see a list of questions to help spark your fresh, creative and entrepreneurial thinking for this challenge.
Here's a quick Themes rundown to get your Concepting energy flowing:
Showcasing, Marketing & Storytelling
Existing professional sites focus on academic and work experience, which means that those without employment history are only able to celebrate their academic accolades. 
  • How might we enable young people to celebrate their skills beyond academics?
  • How might we enable young people to showcase their strengths online?
Job Sampling & Internships
It’s tough to truly understand what it’s like to work at a company or in an industry without giving it a go. In the Inspiration phase we heard that internships and mentoring filled this need for some, but that they weren’t easy to find and were often poorly managed.
  • How might we help young people try multiple roles to make smarter decisions?
  • How might we enable young people to experience work and different industries while still at school?

Skills Development & Accreditation

The skills needed to win that first job are often not those taught in school. Some online platforms are helping fill this void by giving people direct access to marketable knowledge and experience, but young people also need ways to develop the soft skills they’ll need to succeed - like critical thinking, multitasking, and facilitation.
  • How might we give young people easier ways to develop real-world job skills?
  • How might we accredit those achievements in ways that matter in the market?

Career Planning & Discovery

In the Inspiration phase we were struck by how few of us had ever been given any meaningful career advice – and in the cases that we had, we questioned whether it had set us on the right path. 
  • How might we help the very young think through career options so that they make smarter decisions early?
  • How might we help young people create a roadmap of actions in and out of education toward their dream career?

Building Optimism & Motivation

Growing the potential of future generations means helping young people develop a sense of optimism and motivation about themselves and their lives. Solutions that we design should foster these traits at an early age, through the introduction of role models or other methods.
  • How might we help young people feel a sense of achievement?
  • How might we enable young people to embrace and learn from failure?

Mentorship & Networking

The right level of encouragement and mentorship can shepherd young people on their journeys. Our community shared some inspiring personal stories of mentors that had helped them make smarter decisions and course correct when their paths didn’t work quite as planned. 
  • How might we demonstrate the value of networking to young people and assist them to reap those rewards?
  • How might we help to matchmake young people to mentors?
What ideas might these Themes spark for you? We're eager to hear what you come up with in Concepting.
More generally, how do you use Themes to get you in the right frame of mind for concepts, no matter the challenge topic or focus? We're always curious to hear how site features like Themes are helping you collaborate and have fun for social good. See room for improvement with Themes? Share your thoughts in our Exploring Themes User Forum.
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Photo of Congmin Liang

Those concepts are really good, and I also like building optimism. To give young people more ideas to find opportunities when they find a job. Great concepts.

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