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Our Open Talent campaign challenges the disadvantaged thinking that focuses on what young people haven’t got, are not and cannot do. We are calling for a more advantaged thinking approach that works with young people’s assets, talents and strengths.

Too many services for young people start with what a young person is not (not in education, employment or training, NEET), focus on negative behaviour (offending, drug or alcohol misuse) or label young people as a problem (care leaver, teenage parent). These services are designed to pick a young person up in a crisis, stabilise them and then move them on as quickly as possible. We believe that a positive change is needed in the whole approach to working with young people, including a transformation in the language we use and the objectives that services work towards. Deficit based models are not doing enough for young people. Open Talent is an alternative to this disadvantaged thinking.

We don’t want to just support young people to cope with what they haven’t got, by focusing on what they are not and can’t do. We want to promote young people’s goals and enable them to develop the skills, resources and opportunities they need to achieve them. We want to inspire an investment in potential so that all young people can make a positive contribution to society. We are already seeing services transform the way they work with young people for the better via our Open Talent initiative.

Are you an advantaged thinker? Could you be a campaigner for Open Talent? Watch the video below to hear from our Director of Innovation Colin Falconer on why the Open Talent campaign is so important.

How can you get involved?

Would you like to use your talents to harness those of young people? If so, you can get involved in Open Talent by:

  • being a coach, enabler or ‘agent’ of young people’s talents
  • connecting young people to opportunities to build their talents through training, volunteering, apprenticeships and other experiences
  • being a champion for the campaign by raising awareness and helping us with our work
  • fundraising or making a donation towards Open Talent so that we can continue enabling all young people to build thriving futures.

You can show your support for the Open Talent campaign straight away by following us on Facebook and Twitter using #OpenTalent and #AdvantagedThinking.