The idea behind RadioActive is to use internet-based community radio and augmented social media to address the engagement, empowerment, informal learning and employability of young people aged 14-19, particularly those who are hard to reach, disadvantaged, or who are NEET (Not in Education Employment of Training) or at risk of becoming NEET. According to the Department for Education, there are over 900,000 NEET young people in the UK, a figure that, in the current economic climate is likely to grow over the next few years.
It does this through the development of a design and deployment methodology linked to a software toolkit, or ‘radio station in a box’. Central to the approach is the systematic examination of the existing digital practices and cultures of the target groups followed by interventions that recruit, facilitate and shape practices that are suitable for RadioActive.
The methodology and platform are being co-designed and deployed with young people in Hackney in London. A key aspect of the approach is that the ‘going live’, or ‘live plus virtual’ acts as a catalyst for community engagement and cohesion, linked to related social media activity. The radio provides a ‘community narrative’ and presence that drives participation, interaction and informal learning.
The aims of using internet radio through the RadioActive pilot are to:
- Enable disadvantaged young people to increase their confidence, self esteem, aspirations and voice in the community;
- Catalyse the informal learning and development of digital literacy and media production and performance skills that equate to widening access to further and higher education, employability skills and work-based competencies in Creative and Digital Industries;
- Promote the development of key and generic ‘softer’ (employability) skills, including those linked to personal presentation and self-image, communication, problem solving and team working.