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International Youth Day: Our Industry Must Give Youth a Creative Voice

Since the year 2000, International Youth Day has been held by the United Nations on 12th August to mark the contribution young people make in communities the world over in areas such as education, employment and social justice.

This year’s theme – ‘Transforming Food Systems’ – highlights young people’s concerns surrounding how the pandemic has impacted the environment and our food, with the UN heroing the key role young people have played in the management of the virus and in contending with the spread of misinformation online through instructional videos promoting handwashing and safe socialising. The UN giving young people a voice in this way is incredible. And if this is the impact and ambition young people have so clearly displayed when it comes to big projects and crises, think of how great their influence could be in smaller communities and the workplace. Are agencies and brands giving young people enough room to be brilliant and be heard?

From the moment I joined as an intern in the Splendid Futures programme a year ago, it’s clear the value the team places on the voices of younger colleagues. I was involved in brainstorms, helping to conceptualise campaigns for some of the UK’s best-loved brands. It can be difficult from my little office space at home to gauge the influence my ideas can have, but seeing the work my colleagues and I developed come to life and drive huge fame and talkability – now, that’s special. I worry other young people might not have the same platform.

The potential of young people in communications industries is limitless. In a comms setting, these creative, contemporary ideas and insights into modern tech and interests are obviously invaluable for clients looking to spread their messaging in innovative ways. Our Peroni ‘Three Leoni’ social campaign – devised in part by a brilliant Splendid Futures intern – is a great example of harnessing the creativity and insight of youth in comms.

So, whether young people are making their voices heard at this year’s Food Systems Summit, or speaking up in a client brainstorm, it is important to remember the creative impact tweens, teens and young adults can have on communicating stand-out ideas and making poignant change. The kids are alright.

Ellie Chivers