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Antony Jenkins and Will Hutton move us a step closer to solving the youth unemployment challenge

Annie Peate

24 September 2012

The OpenIDEO Youth Unemployment Challenge has now been running for just shy of four months, and in that time we have seen over 22,000 visitors to the challenge from over 136 countries across the world collaborate in a bid to solve the following issue; how can we successfully equip young people with the skills, information and opportunities to succeed in the world of work?

Since May 28 when the challenge was launched by Barclays, The Work Foundation and OpenIDEO (an online innovation platform) has played host to 353 inspiring stories, anecdotes, experiences and case studies, which were then synthesised into 149 solutions and collaborations, and finally subjected to 412 peer-evaluations – all from and conducted by members of the OpenIDEO online community.

This week marks another crucial step towards finding the most innovative, scaleable and realisable ideas created over the last 16 weeks. On Thursday,Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at the Work Foundation, and Antony Jenkins, Chief Executive of Barclays will be joined by an expert panel charged with whittling the remaining ten most promising concepts down to just a handful of challenge winners. You can see the shortlist here.

Youth unemployment is a truly international problem; one which the latest report from our research programme The Missing Million shall examine when it’s published later next month. Nearly 75 million youth are unemployed around the world, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. The number of responses to the challenge is testament to the widespread nature and severity of this problem. The aim of the challenge was to open up a dialogue on youth unemployment, and we believe with help from the OpenIDEO Youth Unemployment Challenge this has happened, and we’re excited about sharing the winning concepts with you once a decision is reached.

Finally, we’ll be producing a report we hope will serve as an on-going resource to inspire large-scale initiatives as well as grassroots projects within communities that innovatively help equip young people with the skills, information and opportunity to succeed in the world of work.

For more information on the challenge and our forthcoming Missing Million report on youth employment internationally, email me at