Transforming what industry training looks like - ustwo will be working with OH to fulfil their mission of bridging the gap between education and industry through alternative routes.
ustwo are a digital product and service studio with a drive to create positive change for people, business, and organisations. Founded by Mills and Sinx back in 2004, with a mission to build a studio where like-minded, passionate people can work under one roof, share unique ideas and bring them to life.
Over the last 13 years, they’ve grown, and there are now four unique ustwo studios around the world in London, New York, Malmö and Sydney, as well as ustwo Games and ustwo Adventure, their startup fund/incubator.
ustwo Adventure exists to create meaningful impact through building and developing companies. They do this in four ways – hosting them in their workspace, investing through their fund, supporting them through their foundation and creating their own IP.
Since 2015, ustwo’s co-founder Mills has been informally mentoring Robyn, founder of OH, and “was always struck by her determination and drive to create new avenues for young people into the creative industries”.
Mills is responsible for ustwo Adventure, where he spends his days investing in, supporting and being inspired by mission-driven founders. “Since the launch of our co-working space, Robyn has become part of the broader Adventure community – spending time working from the ‘adventure playground’ and sharing her journey with the 20 other businesses there.”
Bridging the gap
ustwo’s stance is clear when it comes to bridging the gap between education and industry experience, understanding the gulf between the two can be vast. “The digital industry moves very quickly, but education and training material does not always match this. On the other hand, agencies suffer from a lack of diversity within their workforce and acknowledge the value that fresh perspective brings. The gap is real and it’s in our interest to help close it.”
“We do this by supporting incredible companies like OH who are delivering a relevant program of learning that goes direct to the heart of the issue. Teaching both soft and hard skills that enable a proper launchpad of opportunity.”
They recently partnered with Flipside, an agency-led alternative to apprenticeships, and have invested in Uptree, a professional network for young people, who joined the Adventure floor in 2017. This year, Mills is also taking a personal step to help redress the imbalances in the creative industry by undergoing training with the Creative Mentor Network.
For jobs in tech and digital, there are unique challenges in finding entry-level roles. The structured pathways you find in other industries simply don’t exist.
“Careers advisors aren’t always well equipped to provide advice and guidance on these new industries. And even some graduates find the gap between education and industry too hard to bridge without a helping hand. Additionally, expensive university degrees are not the right choice for everyone, and in the creative industries, it can be just as much about who you know as what you know, making it hard to break in.”
And so, as a result, we aren’t seeing enough diverse, young talent in agencies and creative businesses. “Providing relevant, industry-focused training will help address this imbalance, establishing fairer and more effective routes into these roles.”
Two visions alike
“My focus is on enabling enablers – supporting mission-driven founders who are committed to unlocking young people’s potential and helping them get the start they deserve in the creative industries,” explained Mills.
“We’re very excited to be standing alongside ustwo to fulfill our mission of providing more of the right opportunities for young talent. With their support, we’re able to grow the OH team and launch new initiatives that further support creatives and gives them a solid foundation to build their careers upon – feeling confident enough within themselves to go for it,” added Robyn.
OH’s core programme, Catalyst, will be running again later this year and they’ll also be announcing industry-led masterclasses which encompass all things creative and digital, from Service Design to Project Management to Software Development to UX to Digital Marketing. They’ll present opportunities for people just starting out to gain valuable industry insights, new skills, knowledge and to begin to grow their own professional network of creatives and like-minds within the industry.
You can find out more about ustwo by visiting their website.