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Digital skills

Catch22 partners with TikTok to tackle youth unemployment

A young woman films content using her phone. Her phone is held on a stabiliser by a friend.

A new partnership between TikTok and social business Catch22, is set to help thousands of young people, currently not in education, employment or training (NEET), find work in the creative and digital industries.

The new multi-million pound programme, which is part of TikTok’s CSR strategy to support youth digital skills and employment, will offer creative and digital jobs training to level up and support communities right across the UK.

The partnership will train disadvantaged young people in creative, digital skills and connect them to sustainable opportunities in their local creative industries, which in turn can adapt and reach new audiences. It will see more than 2,500 young people engaged on the programme by the end of 2024.

Delivered in cities and towns right across the UK including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, London, Bishop Auckland, Peterlee, Great Yarmouth and Maidstone, the programme will provide wraparound support including access to a 24-hour mental health service.

Participants on the programme must be aged between 16-24 and be NEET. They will have access to:

  • a 3-4 week employability course and guidance through technical qualifications and achieving accreditation, as well as online courses.
  • a career coach who will guide each participant to identify their goals and complete a bespoke action plan to reach them; TikTok employees will provide advice and coaching at peer-led workshops
  • opportunities to further build their industry specific skills such as virtual work experience, jobs fairs, mentoring and networking events.
  • wider support on mental health or housing issues.

TikTok will create an advisory board of experts and stakeholders who will provide recommendations on the design and roll out of the programme. The panel will include representatives from TikTok and Catch 22, policymakers, academics, young people and creative professionals.

While the programme will be heavily shaped by the young participants, TikTok representatives will take an active role in areas such as mentoring, delivering insight workshops on creativity and speaking at events to promote the programme. Participants will also be able to create and share content about their experience of the programme to help others wanting to break into roles in the creative and digital industries.

A central part of the programme is the partnership with cultural institutions in the community, helping bring next generation digital skills to museums, music venues and other local hubs.

Rich Waterworth, GM, TikTok UK said:

“At TikTok our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. Creativity doesn’t just happen. It needs to be encouraged, nurtured, and given space. But thousands of younger people don’t have the opportunity or skills to be creative and there is inequality of access to creative and cultural resources. We want to change that. We are thrilled to be partnering with Catch22 to bridge the gap between young people and the creative industries – to truly enable creativity for all.”

Kat Dixon, Director of Partnerships at Catch22 said:

“TikTok is a bright, visionary brand that young people understand. When young people engage on digital platforms, they are flexing their creative muscles and digital skills. This programme reaches out and empowers them to translate those skills into exciting career options. As a charity in the digital age, we must constantly re-learn to speak the language of young people. This partnership between Catch22 and TikTok sparks a new kind of career conversation, helps employers find fresh talent, and empowers young people to build their future.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“I’m delighted that firms like TikTok and Catch22 are creating such valuable new opportunities for this country’s young talent. Schemes like these will help us level up opportunity across the UK and support the storytellers of tomorrow to build a world-leading digital and creative sector which represents the best of the UK economy and its people.”