BITE Focus

Samsung puts purpose into action with Not A School

Samsung’s educational programme is now entering its second year to educate and empower the next generation of social innovators and pioneers.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE

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This pandemic has left no industry, sector, age group or person unscathed. It has touched every aspect of life, but perhaps nowhere has it wreaked more havoc than within the education sector. As the nation went into lockdown, schools, colleges and universities around the country shut their doors, teaching went virtual and all hope of end of year exhibitions and prize-giving was lost.

But, for many organisations this offered a moment to rethink, to shake up the current offering and engage more directly with those being taught. It became a time of listening to what those being educated actually wanted and adjusting accordingly.

This became the basis of Samsung’s education experience, Not A School 2020, co-created by and for Gen Z. It’s the programme’s second year, continuing the work of the debut programme to educate and empower the next generation of social innovators and pioneers.

In a year which has seen the younger generations rise up for causes such as social inequality and Black Lives Matter, this type of programme feels particularly timely. It is open to young people aged between 18 and 25-years old from a diverse range of backgrounds, offering them the skills, support and technology they need to succeed.

Samsung’s latest research revealed that 93% of Gen Z believe education is vital for challenging inequalities, yet considering the disruption caused by the pandemic, 57% say that even being able to access the same education and training opportunities is an obstacle. This could explain why, despite evidence of their activism, two-thirds currently feel the chance to make a positive impact on the world is difficult now.

The speed at which we have seen new collaborations arise demonstrates the sheer power of compassion and kindness to bond us, to push our boundaries and to take collective action.

Jessie Soohyun Park

The importance of diversity of thinking

“Breakthroughs in innovation, a key driver of growth for any technology company, can only happen when ideas are exchanged between people with diverse opinions, experiences and backgrounds and we need to fully embrace that,” says Jessie Soohyun Park, Head of CSR at Samsung UK. This perspective is behind the expansion of Not A School 2020 to a wider audience.

Non-traditional mentors have also been selected for the expertise they show in their field, chosen to teach students about the 4C’s: creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking. Alongside that, students will learn life skills like financial management, project management, building confidence and networking.

“The more diverse the creative company, the wider the problems they can identify and the more diverse their creative solutions,” believes Ville Väinämö, Planning Director at Iris who worked on the launch campaign with Samsung. The campaign stars British rapper Lady Leshurr, one of the programme’s ambassadors and is designed to raise awareness of both the programme itself but also the kinds of things students can expect to learn about. From respecting differences online to turning climate anxiety into positive action and solving education inequality.

Technology as an enabler

Each of the course themes have been developed to explore how technology can help the next generation reach their goals. It embodies Samsung’s philosophy that technology is a powerful enabler. Park explains: “Creativity inspired from everyday life is incredibly powerful because it has the ability to resonate with so many people, and often, we’ve seen this as the source of major life-changing innovations in technology.”

Each of the themes have been curated by B+A in partnership with a Youth Advisory research board and 2019 Not A School alumni. These graduates of the programme will be delivering their own mini skills sessions alongside Samsung, Iris and B+A.

The programme itself has been optimised by FutureLearn and there will be two courses available online. The first is an immersive course for 100 young people nationally recruited from diverse backgrounds who will receive intimate mentoring and support. The second is a self-led learning experience open to all, offering access to each of the programme’s themes, the ability for young people to learn at their own pace, and accessible all year round, allowing students to fit learning in with their lifestyles.

Park speaks passionately about the power of collaboration, and of the humanity that has been thrown into stark relief by the ongoing crisis. She explains: “the speed at which we have seen new collaborations arise demonstrates the sheer power of compassion and kindness to bond us, to push our boundaries and to take collective action.”

Walk away from the brief. Look at some great work, not necessarily ‘advertising’. Step outside.

Richard Hayter

Seeking inspiration

Course mentors for Not A School include Liv Little, Founder and now President of the Board at gal-dem, filmmaker and climate activist Jack Harries as well as Matteo Bergamini, CEO of Shout Out UK among others. These mentors have been selected to inspire and attract the next generation of talent, who are able to see in them an image of what their future could look like.

While Park believes the greatest lesson for her under lockdown has been around the importance of compassion and empathy, Richard Hayter, Creative Director at Iris believes in the power of the subconscious.

His advice for overcoming a creative crisis of confidence in the midst of coronavirus? “I’d give the same advice, virus or no virus. Walk away from the brief. Look at some great work, not necessarily ‘advertising’. Step outside. Think about something else altogether for an hour.”

Samsung’s Not A School is imbued with the hope that Gen Z have to make the world a better place. To educate themselves to bring about long-lasting vital and transformational change. Its presence as an online programme reiterates the reality that everyone deserves to be given the opportunity to learn and to achieve their full potential, no matter their background, ability or geography.

 

Recruitment for the self-led course will open on 21st September 2020 and remain available for one year. Applicants can apply online at https://www.samsung.com/uk/explore/kings-cross/not-a-school/