Mobile operator O2 is investing £500,000 to boost young people's digital skills through the launch of a London skills and support hub.
The 3,000 square foot building, dubbed the Think Big Hub, is located in London's Tech City, and aims to help 3,000 young people in its first year develop their digital, entrepreneurial and work skills. The investment will be spread across a five-year period.
Ronan Dunne, the CEO of O2, said that businesses should give opportunities to young people who have digital skills in abundance. He cited the Local Government Association's report, which estimated that as many as half of the young people in England and Wales may be out of work or under-employed, describing it as "an enormous waste of potential".
He continued: "As the first generation to have grown up with the internet, today's young people possess valuable digital skills and capabilities that businesses of all sizes need in order to thrive in today's digital age."
Although the hub is based in London, Dunne claimed that O2 training opportunities will also be available to young people across the UK through webinars, live streaming, virtual classrooms and online mentoring.
The O2 CEO also urged other businesses to follow suit. "This doesn't need to be in the form of a large-scale investment. It can be as simple as offering quality work experience to help a young person get that all important first foot on the career ladder or entrusting a recent school leaver to help develop your social media strategy.
"All contributions are encouraged, because in order to truly capitalise on the UK's latent digital talent, all businesses must play their part," he said.