Consider the livelihoods of the future

Digital technology changes the nature of work. Home working, portfolio working, freelancing and co-operative business structures are all enabled by the Internet. We need to use digital technologies to create and support new ways of working and making a living.


  1. Digital technology supporting young people

    On behalf on the Nominet Trust, we have been working on to explore key messages on how digital technologies can support young people to engage socially and economically with their communities. You can find the latest blog posts from the project here. From an initial online crowd sourcing process and a roundtable workshop at the RSA in April 201210 key messages were drawn out.

    This storify seeks to curate key online content on one of these messages - using real-life examples, linking to research and providing insights for action. 

  2. In 2011 and 2012, youth unemployment in the UK rose to over 1 million and global youth unemployment at a record high.
  3. It is clear that there just aren't enough conventional jobs around for everyone. Creating a better CV, or having better information on the jobs available might help a particular young person to get the job they want, but it's not going to drive the economic regeneration we need. 

    But could the unemployment challenge also create opportunities to think beyond the 9-5 job, and to support young people to explore new ways of making a living? 
  4. Alternative Livelihoods

  5. When the jobs are not there, can young people create them? There are some great example of youth enterprise out there, and lots of projects exploring entrepreneurship education, both in developed economies, and in developing countries. 
  6. There are many different ways of breaking out of the traditional 9-5, full time employment box. Freelancing, entrepreneurship, portfolio working, career shifting and cooperative business models all offer a range of options to earn a living. Prospects have a nice page explaining them all.

  7. What we see is the internet changing the way people can earn a living and run their lives. It also changes the way people find services, buy good, hire staff and fill the gaps they need. 

    Task Rabbit, GumTree and Facebook Market places are examples of forums making it easy to exchange goods and services in a way that empowers the 'consumer' and the 'seller.' 
  8. But power is not just with those hiring people and buying goods. Alternative livelihoods can put those with the skills in the driving seat in choosing what employment to seek, what skills and goods they want to promote and what price they want to charge.
  9. Young people are harnessing the existing tools they know. Spaces such as Facebook, Twitter, eBay or Youtube can become places to earn a living by selling goods, raising your profile, showcasing your portfolio or networking.
  10. Making positive choices about livelihoods can also involve choosing work which is socially valuable as well as bringing in an income. 
  11. Edgeryders are exploring ways of making at living at their 2012 conference...
  12. Tools for the job

    The internet is being used to support people enter the world of alternative livelihoods, offer the space to pitch for the work and employ others. It's also offering young people the skills, knowledge and support to start their own enterprises and create their own livelihoods. 

    Below are a few examples of how the internet is supporting young people to access the information, advice and online communities that support that start their own enterprises.  
  13. The Prince's Trust have put together materials to help you to start planning your business. These include a set of 12 guides and a business plan pack. 
  14. Shell LiveWIRE offers free online business advice, articles, videos and guides on starting up and running businesses for young entrepreneurs aged 16-30. It aims to create an online community with a social media zone for collaboration and support, access to grants, offline networking events, business library and resources, videos and blogs.   
  15. Interview club runs mock professional interviews over Skype to give young people a real job interview experience. Young people get feedback from professional recruiters, giving them a better chance of getting employment. 
  16. Digital Shoreditch is a festival celebrating the creative, technical and entrepreneurial talent of East London and Tech City. The 14-day annual event includes talks, educational workshops, open studios, exhibitions, family days, awards and parties that will engage and inspire young people to be creative entrepreneurs in the digital age. 

    The internet is giving young people the tools, networks and spaces to gain skills, learn new things, make connections and earn a living through online and offline spaces. Some sites offer more traditional support to gain employment such as interview technique with some challenging the status-quo are providing a spring board to an alternative livelihood. 
  17. The Internet also provides access to a wealth of tools that make it easier to run a business. Web based  tools like @freeagent accounting that integrate with all sorts of platforms for managing expenses, keeping track of clients and sorting out tax can ease the learning curve for running a business.