Designers and youth organisations are being invited to join forces to design, build and launch new digital products and services that help young people secure the opportunities they deserve in a new challenge, launched today by Design Council and Nominet Trust.
At a time when youth unemployment is at an all time high, the Working Well Design Challenge will offer three teams £50,000 each to develop an idea that will offer young people new opportunities to participate in society, both economically and socially. The challenge is being funded by Nominet Trust, and the Design Council will provide professional support and publicity to help each team make their ideas a reality.
The challenge organizers want to hear from people with expertise either in design and technology or working with young people. The challenge will foster collaboration between designer groups with digital product and service development expertise and the organisations working directly with young people.
"With record numbers of 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training, there is a pressing need to improve how young people secure the opportunities they deserve. Jargon such as 'NEET' not only does many a disservice, but presents the situation as a problem of economic policy rather than an opportunity to do something practical to help," commented Mat Hunter, Chief Design Officer at the Design Council. "We believe well designed digital technology can build upon the skills and abilities of young people and the exceptional work of those already supporting them."
The submissions will be judged by an advisory board consisting of experts in design, digital technology, business and working with young people.
Working Well follows similar national design challenges run by the Design Council to develop design-led solutions to social and healthcare issues. The Design Council's Living Well With Dementia challenge recently resulted in five innovative products and services that have been critically acclaimed by dementia specialists and the design community. Other recent examples have addressed reducing violence and aggression in A&E, improving patient privacy and dignity, and reducing health care associated infections in wards.
"This is an exciting opportunity for designers and youth organisations to work collaboratively on a project that will make such a difference to young people's lives," Hunter added. "The statistics are shocking, but our previous challenges have shown the impact design plays in addressing difficult social and health issues and I think teams will re-engage young people and provide practical help in giving them a proper start in life."
The deadline for applications is June 20, 2012. The final three teams will be announced on July 2012.