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Matching Generations: Maximising Potential

By Tim Fuell - April 22, 2014
 Image courtesy of Just2Shutter - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Just2Shutter – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The internet creates many possibilities but also presents new barriers for a great deal of people too. Yet, studies show that those who embrace the internet and social media marketing have greater success in business than those who have yet to adopt them. Those not taking advantage of the online opportunities out there risk falling behind their competitors.

In business, surrounding yourself with a team of expertise you can call upon to reach greater goals is a well-stated mantra (TEAM – Together Everybody Achieves More), but often that team – especially for SMEs – is made up of people with different skillsets but normally of similar ages. That could be down to trust, individual networks or simply what business owners feel more comfortable with, but is it making the most of the expertise and potential that is out there? Many businesses – large and small – have realised the benefits of taking on early-retirees for second careers, utilising their greater experience, more traditional skillsets and willingness to work, so it is no surprise that with a worrying trend in youth unemployment some are looking further down the generational line for inspiration and expertise, especially in our ever digital world.

The Digital Youth Academy aims to help small business owners break those barriers they may face in terms of digital marketing by using the untapped talents of those for whom understanding the digital world is second nature. The DYA was founded in 2012 by Penny Power who recently received her OBE for ‘Entrepreneurship in Social and Digital Development’ from the Queen. The DYA was launched to link born digital youths – who have grown up using the internet in every part of their lives and naturally approach life with digital thinking, looking at things in a more networking and collaborative way – to small businesses who want to exploit the advantages of the online world but don’t necessarily understand it fully as they come to the table with an institutional and business thinking mindset that isn’t always best set to take full advantage of those digital opportunities.

Digital Youth Academy LogoAs Penny points out

“For me business is all about relationships, trust and the journey you take together. We have so many young people in the UK with amazing social digital skills and so many businesses who lack them, we simply match the two for mutual benefit.”

By providing new benchmark-style qualifications in social media and online marketing skills across the country via 14 different delivery partners, for the digital youth to prove their knowledge and understanding, the DYA aims to provide greater job opportunities for the digital youth but also provide greater certainty and faith in these ‘new’ skills for would-be employers in the SME sector.

It’s an interesting venture with a strong basis on common sense and one we will be keeping an eye on in the coming months.

Have you sought to mix generations to get the right skillset mix?