Osborne Clarke partners with youth charity to improve young people’s access to digital skills

August 19, 2022

A national charity supporting young people at risk of digital exclusion is to receive half a million pounds over three years from global law firm Osborne Clarke, which has a major office in Bristol.

The funding will be used by UK Youth to address the lack of digital skills and resources for young people. 

This will include buying devices and software and supplying digital training and outreach primarily in Bristol, Reading and London, where Osborne Clarke has its UK offices.

The firm’s commitment to boosting digital skills in these areas also means it will offer pro bono volunteering and mentoring support to youth organisations that receive funding in so-called ‘digital coldspots’.

Between 15 to 20 of these organisations will receive the funding from Osborne Clarke over the next three years.

The funding pledge follows a recent report showing 42% of young people – some 6m – do not have access to either a suitable device or home broadband.

Yet 83% of young people feel digital skills are essential for their future job and or career.

Osborne Clarke head of inclusion and corporate responsibility Bola Gibson, pictured, said it was a critical time for young people and youth organisations, with many of them still recovering from the pandemic but now facing the cost of living crisis.

“We’re working with UK Youth to help to bridge the gap for young people by funding essential digital skills and services to ensure they don’t get left behind,” she said.

“Being a holistic and future-focused firm is key to our strategy, which is centred on doing right by our people, clients and communities.

“While we regularly advise our clients on the global trends that are impacting on business, we also appreciate that digital transformation creates challenges and opportunities across all of society.

“That’s why it’s so important to us that we also commit our resources locally to help alleviate the digital, relative and absolute poverty.”

UK Youth head of partnerships and philanthropy Vicky Chenery added: “Not everyone is developing vital digital skills evenly.

“Young people from ethnic minority, lower socio-economic and rural backgrounds are often most acutely affected, lacking the necessary resources to support their development, which is creating digital coldspots across the country.

“Osborne Clarke’s long-term commitment and support will make a big difference to the lives of young people in helping them reach their potential.”

Osborne Clarke, which was founded in Bristol in 1748 and today employs more than 700 people in the city, is also partnering with The World Reimagined, one of the UK’s largest art education projects for racial justice.

The firm is sponsoring one of its 10 large globe sculptures in Bristol.

The World Reimagined aims to inspire pride in what it means to be Black and British, with the globes playing an integral role in helping people travel through a journey of discovery.

It is also promoting a better understanding of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and its ongoing impact on society in order to make racial justice a reality.

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