With youth unemployment breaking through the 1 million mark to a record high, Google and its partners the RSA, FutureGov and Livity are searching for innovative web-based solutions to help young people into work, education or training.
Software developers, young people, charities, entrepreneurs, designers, employers and others are invited to submit web-based ideas to the Interactivism Young People's Hack Weekend website by 25 January 2012, following which Google's top software engineers will work with contestants to turn their idea into a working prototype. These may go on to receive further venture support from Google and other organisations.
The Young Person's Hack Weekend challenge is the latest in Google's 'Interactivism' series of innovation events which aim to harness the power of the Web to tackle social issues. It comes as the UK's wider unemployment rises to a 15 year high, with one in five 18-24 year olds now classified as 'NEET' (not in employment, education or training).
Commenting on the project, RSA director of enterprise Julian Thompson said:
"We can all see that a whole generation of young people are struggling to find a future for themselves. In our faltering economy, there are many things which make it hard for young people to find, and stay in, the work or training that's right for them.
We're looking for ways that technology - particularly the web - can play in helping them: whether it's helping them access advice and information, seek support from others, or connecting them to hidden job and training opportunities."
Interactivism: Young Person's Hack Weekend is a partnership between Google, the RSA, FutureGov and Livity. Participants can find more information to inspire their thinking from the dedicated challenge website, including information about the barriers faced by young people, as well as some inspirational attempts already being made to help them.
Following a selection process those with the best of these ideas will come together for a two day "hack" event (17 and 18 February) to explore the potential of making them a reality.
Commenting on the challenge, Peter Barron - Director External Relations, Google EMEA said:
"The web has proved to be an incredibly powerful tool, breaking down geographical, social and economic barriers and opening doors for individuals across the world. Google is delighted to be working together with Livity, Futuregov and the RSA on this Interactivism project, designed to find ways to harness the power of the internet to help the 1 million young people in the UK currently out of work, education or training to find the future that's right for them."