Our programme offers opportunities to 18-24 year olds from underrepresented and less privileged backgrounds, a career in the media industry.

The Big Issue is launching a brand-new talent lab for young people who struggle to access careers in the media, housed within our award-winning media business, creating a dedicated youth-led unit – Breakthrough.

Breakthrough is the Big Issue’s solution to the current youth employment crisis, we are opening our doors to provide essential skills, work experience and industry exposure to talented 18-24 year olds.

Our ambition from this programme is to provide young people from under-represented communities and less privileged backgrounds, the opportunity to gain a foothold in the creative industries and a platform to amplify their voices and experiences, often left unheard.

We will work proactively with young people to nurture their skills in content creation and media production.

Our recruits will get to work on a live product from day one; Breakthrough will be a dedicated content channel on and social platforms.

Created and curated by 18-24s for 18-24s, the channel will tackle big themes such as the environment, employment, training, housing, diversity and inclusivity.

We will train and support this new team to produce content for the new Breakthrough channel, in a range of formats including copy, audio and video. All candidates will receive expert guidance and over 100 hours training to complement their work experience.

The programme will increase employability, helping individuals build skills, confidence and experience, equipping them for the future and specifically for careers in digital and publishing.

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.

Editor Paul McNamee

Breakthrough is an employment and training programme with a difference, a pilot programme which is designed to be scaled and replicated throughout our business and beyond. We are looking for partners to help us deliver and scale the programme in a variety of different ways so please get in touch to hear more.