Nishy Lall on how we’re giving young people a voice

Wednesday 20 October 2021

The pandemic exposed our country’s growing digital divide, not just in terms of access to the right devices and connections, but the gap in digital skills between young people from different backgrounds. This divide will likely affect the career prospects of a whole generation of young people through no fault of their own.

Separately, we have seen young people stand up for a more equal and inclusive society, and a willingness to call out racism and discrimination in all forms. The scale of the problem is clear. The latest figures show from 2014-2020 the number of homophobic hate crimes across the UK almost trebled. In the same time period, transphobic hate crimes quadrupled. This summer we witnessed the horrific racial abuse levelled at three of England’s most prominent young black footballers on social media after the loss in the 2020 Euros final. It showed that we still have a long way to go in the fight against racism.

Whilst this makes for sobering reading, we can be optimistic about the future because in the face of all these challenges young people have shown they aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in and make their voices heard. We, adults and organisations with influence, need to harness and empower the next generation to tackle these problems. This is why this year’s The Edit programme will focus on equality, diversity and inclusion.

We created The Edit to help close the digital divide and address the barriers to entry for young people, particularly from under-represented backgrounds, so they can get an insight into what careers in the media industry might look like and introduce them to new skills. The first year of our programme reached over 40,000 students with 45% attending schools in low-income areas.

Together with Adobe, we have teamed up with Kick it Out to challenge students to create a compelling digital news story celebrating their heroes who have fought for a more equal society. We recognise that newsrooms and production teams need to reflect the whole country if everyone’s stories are to be truly heard.

The Edit supports Sky’s £3million investment committed to Kick it Out last year and is part of our broader commitment to help tackle racial injustice. This includes investing £10 million per year across our markets through to 2023 to support anti-racism and improve diversity and inclusion.

There has never been a more critical time for young people in disadvantaged communities to tell their story – it is only by giving everyone a voice that we will get to a more equal society.