Telefonica commits to address youth unemployment in Europe by directly investing in start-ups and recruiting for roles within the company. Telefonica will equip the next generation with the digital skills and entrepreneurial expertise necessary to become Europe's next digital entrepreneurs.
To address these issues, Telefonica is introducing Think Big, an umbrella operation with five programs: Think Big School; Think Big Youth; Talentum; Wayra; and Campus Party.
These projects will pursue the following objectives:
-Think Big School will deliver digital skills to young people. Through partnerships with NGOs, schools, and online organizations, Telefonica will offer half and full-day sessions that will provide digital careers advice, entrepreneurship exercises, and an introduction to coding. Held on-site or in Telefonica offices, these sessions will employ games and novel learning tools to make them fun and accessible.
-Think Big Youth will increase Telefonica's funding for the development of projects that benefit the personal development of young people and their communities. Telefonica will offer workshops that equip all project leaders with the digital skills required to expand the impact of their projects and prepare them for the future.
-Talentum is Telefonica's plan to recruit more young people. The company is expanding its recruitment of graduates, apprentices, and those hired through standard business operations.
-Wayra is an incubator for and investing vehicle in digital start-ups in Telefonica's home markets across Europe. Launched in Spain in 2011 and in the UK, Germany, and Ireland in 2012, Telefonica will launch Wayra in Slovakia and Czech Republic in 2013.
-Telefonica will expand its support for Campus Party, Europe's largest gathering of young hackers, developers, gamers and programmers.
In all five programs, Telefonica will provide financing, mentorship, network resources, and partnerships to complete this commitment.
To achieve this commitment, pilot programs will be launched in autumn of 2012 across the United Kingdom, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, and Spain. The program will fully launch in the first quarter of 2013 and the following will be completed:
-By 2015, Think Big Youth will have helped 30,000 young people deliver 15,000 projects. Through their community impact, these projects will impact the lives of 250,000 young people in total.
-By 2015, Think Big School will have engaged 50,000 new young people in Think Big by providing training in digital and entrepreneurial skills.
-By 2015, 6000 young people will have been recruited into Telefonica through Talentum. Of these 6,000, 750 will be new graduates, 3,750 apprentices, and 1,500 operating business as usual.
-Through Wayra, Telefonica will fund 1,000 European technology start-ups by 2015 and provide $37,000 per project.
-Telefonica plans to continue sponsoring Campus Party with the aim of enabling 10,000 young people to meet, learn from speakers, and exchange ideas on a regular basis.
Exacerbating this challenge is the fact that Europe is no longer a fertile ground for entrepreneurship. For instance, over half of all Europeans have never thought about starting up a business. Similarly, there are systemic challenges in Europe to nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit, promoting young people's initiative, and promoting strategies that promote entrepreneurship training.
However, the existing educational system is not addressing the shortage of youth with digital skills. As a study by the European Commission demonstrates, young Europeans are not being equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in the modern job market, where these skills are ever more in demand. Consequently, improving European digital and technological educational opportunities is imperative to addressing these challenges.
All of the above mentioned challenges are linked. The low levels of entrepreneurial spirit and the lack of digital skills make it extraordinarily difficult for young Europeans to find or create employment opportunities.