Virgin Media O2 partners with youth empowerment programme

20/20 Change
20/20 Change
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
28 October 2021

Virgin Media O2 has joined forces with youth empowerment organisation 20/20 Change to change the lives of young people from underrepresented ethnic groups.

The two-year partnership is spearheaded by Virgin Media O2’s Enrich employee network for underrepresented ethnic groups and will enable 400 young people to take part in 20/20 Change’s “I AM CHANGE” programme, as well as helping Virgin Media O2 to become a more inclusive employer.

The programme is designed to help young people aged 17 to 30 – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – to discover and fulfil their potential. The candidates will take part in 10 weekly sessions that explore topics such as leadership and responsibility, success and motivation, as well as mindfulness. The course also covers practical tips such as CV writing, interview techniques, digital skills, and advice on how to manage finances.

20/20 Change
20/20 Change

Virgin Media O2 is providing spaces to run the sessions and will offer one-to-one mentoring and advice to help young people get the tools they need to get their first step on the career ladder.

This comes as the latest findings from the Office for National Statistics show that 16 to 24-year-olds are among the most affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Duro Oye, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at 20/20 Change, said: “I commend Virgin Media O2 for recognising the importance of a diverse workforce and for believing in the potential of the young people that graduate from our ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme. With this substantial multi-year partnership, they have distinguished themselves as a forward-thinking company willing to do what’s needed to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

(L-R) Marc Nicoue and Leanna Edwards - co-chairs of Virgin Media O2’s Enrich employee network, and Duro Oye, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at 20/20 Change
Virgin Media O2

“This partnership will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of ensuring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented communities transition from education to employment smoothly, putting these individuals in good stead to go on and have successful and prosperous careers.”

Leanna Edwards and Marc Nicoue, co-chairs of Virgin Media O2’s Enrich employee network, added: “We’re excited to work with 20/20 Change and the ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme which will empower and inspire hundreds of young people and help them to achieve their potential, where our institutions fall short. It’s amazing to support a programme that focuses on how growing a network and shifting mindset, can change the future of those from underrepresented communities, just as much as education.”

Applications are open now for the I AM CHANGE course that will start in January 2022. Visit the 20/20 Change website to find out more.

20/20 Change
20/20 Change

Creating change

As part of this partnership, 20/20 Change will also provide guidance on how Virgin Media O2 can better support its people from underrepresented communities. This will support the company’s ambition to become a more inclusive and equitable employer.

Nisha Marwaha, director of people relations and diversity, equity and inclusion at Virgin Media O2, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with 20/20 Change – a truly inspiring organisation which is providing young people with essential skills and coaching so they can realise and fulfil their potential.

“This partnership will help Virgin Media O2 become a more inclusive company, where Duro and his team will provide their expertise on the action we can take to better support our employees from underrepresented ethnic groups.”

Visit Virgin Media O2 to find out more.