Employment

The Big Issue to launch new employment programme for young journalists

The Breakthrough programme will offer opportunities to talented 18-24 year olds from underrepresented and less privileged backgrounds, passionate about a career in the media industry.

The Big Issue is launching a brand new talent programme for young people who struggle to land work in the media.

The Breakthrough programme will offer opportunities to talented 18-24 year olds from underrepresented and less privileged backgrounds, 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.

The four recruits will work on a live product from day one. They will curate a dedicated content channel on BigIssue.comand contribute to an annual print supplement to The Big Issue magazine​.

They will tackle big themes such as the environment, employment, training, housing, diversity and inclusiveness, and more.

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. I’m proud to be part of The Big Issue creating this. 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.

“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 has already advertised for an editorial programme manager to look after the project and will announce details of the recruitment for those keen to take part in the coming days. The scheme will begin in September.

The programme launches amongst compelling evidence that young people have been hardest hit by Covid-19 & 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.

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)​.

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