Creating Collaborative Futures for Young People

In the spirit of supporting future talent, we’ve been involved in a successful crowdfunding campaign which funded an innovative work placement scheme aimed at young people (18–24 year olds), not in full-time education or employment. The idea was to match young people with flexible and paid work experience opportunities in a community of freelancers and start-ups.

The Collaborative Future work experience pilot scheme ran for three weeks in October at our home, contemporary coworking, shared office and event space, Works Social after raising over £3,400 through crowdfunding earlier this year.

Six (18-24 year olds) not in full-time education and employment took on flexible, paid work placements hosted by Works Social’s community of freelancers and small businesses. They were partnered up with 12 businesses including photographer, The Picture Whole, zero waste shop, Shop Zero, us, marketing and PR consultancy, Big Old House, Skate Nottingham, wellness and life coaches Impact People and Change and Bespoke Life Coaching, film experience and events freelancer, Based on a True Story Cinema and student opportunities firm, Organised Fun.

With career aspirations in retail, social media and PR, personal training and other freelance entrepreneurial endeavours, the work experience provided a variety of skills they could use in their future careers.

Hosted at Works Social, which provided a safe base for everyone and removed any barriers for freelancers or businesses based out of their own homes. Han van Oudheusden, co-founder of Works Social said:

“We’re all about collaboration, bringing together like-minded people and helping people follow their passions. It’s great to see so many of our members being involved in a scheme that helps them minimise any potential risks and overheads of employing interns/apprentices, while also gaining benefits of the skills and fresh perspective that young people can provide.”

At Big Old House we welcomed Shanai, a recent media graduate to support us with our own marketing, carry out research for social media content and to complete a review of our clients’ digital profiles. Here’s a little snippet from Shanai’s experience with us:

“For the pilot of the collaborative futures programme I have been working with Rach from Big Old House, a PR and marketing consultant. Some of Big Old House services include, marketing, PR, copywriting, content and social media. Rach has been amazing throughout my time at Big Old House she made me feel very comfortable to talk to her about any questions I had and she was very approachable, and as someone who likes to ask a lot of questions that was a great thing to have.

I am very passionate about magazine writing and social media, which is one of the reasons that I chose to take part in this scheme as I thought it’d be a great opportunity to learn new skills and develop old ones. Since taking part in this scheme I have done a lot of exciting things such as going to a design meeting, which was a great opportunity to get to see inside of an actual office within the field that I would like to go into, and see first hand what happens in design meetings. I have also been doing social media reviews for clients that Big Old House work with, I hopefully want to get into either digital marketing, social media or magazine editing so this has been a great opportunity to get a glimpse into the sort of things I would like to get into the future.

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My only downside is that it’s not for longer. I would of loved to work with Big Old House for a while longer to develop more skills and get a better understanding of how the social media sector works. I guess overtime, with more funding that would hopefully be possible. Overall I have  really enjoyed this experience and I think it is a great idea, as a lot of companies don’t like to take you on without any experience, which makes it difficult to get a job. However with this scheme, it is a great opportunity to get that experience that you can put on your CV.”

We were sad to see Shanai go too, but wish her all the best in the future and are really pleased that she’s got some freelance marketing work with one of the life coaches on the pilot.

Tessa Cooper, Founder of Collaborative Future and the organiser behind the scheme said:

“I can’t quite believe that only in April this was an idea fizzing around in my head and now, thanks to a successful crowdfunder and some amazing support we’ve had six young people at Works Social on paid placements. It’s been great to see so many people building connections, learning about different ways of doing business and developing their skills to make work work for them!”

The Collaborative Future scheme was made possible thanks to official supporters Works Social, Cleo., Armakuni and Tech Nottingham and the many other supporters of the crowdfunding campaign. The ambition is repeat this scheme all year round and make it possible for other people to replicate the work placement model in other cities.


If you’re a freelancer or small business who wants help with taking the hassle out of finding suitable work experience candidate or want to help share your skills with a young person to further their career prospects, contact Collaborative Future.