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Big Issue launches media training scheme for young people from underrepresented backgrounds

The Breakthrough programme will offer opportunities to talented 16-24 year olds from underrepresented and less privileged backgrounds.

The Big Issue has launched a brand new talent and training programme for young people who struggle to land work in the media.

The Breakthrough programme will offer opportunities to talented 16-24 year olds from underrepresented and less privileged backgrounds who are passionate about a career in the media industry.

Working with the DWP’s Kickstart scheme, The Big Issue will offer four places, based in London, to create a youth-led unit within the multi-award winning media arm of the business.

The scheme will offer training across all aspects of journalism including digital, social, video, audio, design and writing.

For details on how to apply for the Breakthrough programme, click here.

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The recruits will create content for bigissue.com​ and contribute to The Big Issue Magazine​, tackling themes such as homelessness, diversity and climate change.

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The Big Issue Group aims to grow the opportunity in the future so that it extends beyond the publishing arm of the business to other parts of the organisation.

Editor Paul McNamee said: “Stakes were high enough pre-pandemic for young people who didn’t have connections or a ready leg-up into this business. It has long been my ambition to do something about that. Now, as opportunities constrict, it’s absolutely the time.

“This is a highly competitive industry. Just because you were born without ladders or open doors doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. There is a mass of talent out there and we want to help them. And this is not about free labour through non-paying internships. The young people coming through this programme will be working and for that they’ll receive a London living wage.

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“They’ll leave with a great grounding and the basis to really fly. I hope the first four people this year are the just the first of many many more Big Issue Breakthrough standard bearers.”

The Big Issue’s Breakthrough Editorial Programme Manager, Tufayel Ahmed, added: “At a time of such great uncertainty for young people, it is fitting that The Big Issue, which has long stood for supporting the most vulnerable in our society, has launched a talent and training programme as a lifeline for those looking to break into journalism. The four vacancies are now live and we are excited to meet the applicants.”

The programme launches amongst compelling evidence that young people have been hardest hit by Covid-19 and face a lack of future opportunity.

The Office of National Statistics reported last year that 765,000 16-24’s in the UK are not currently earning or learning and the Resolution Foundation said that one third of 18-24s had stopped work or have been furloughed since the pandemic began.

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It has also been reported that additional barriers are faced by under-represented and less privileged communities. ‘Disadvantaged’ young people are less able to take up unpaid internships and 63% state they can’t get the right work experience (BFS 2020)​ and creative industries are ‘overwhelmingly white (88%), middle class (82%) and male’ as reported in Marketing Week (2020)​.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “It’s fantastic that Big Issue is giving young people that first chance in the media industry through our Kickstart scheme, in a range of exciting roles setting them on the road for their future careers.”

If you are 16-24 and not in work and receiving Universal Credit, you can learn more about the roles by visiting The Big Issue’s Job Board and speaking to your Work Coach for referral.

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