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Our 24YOU youngsters

 master their group challenge.

Exploring one’s future, outperforming expectations

Time is moving fast for the first batch of 24YOU participants—it seems like it was only yesterday that these recent high school graduates first came to our DOers space to explore what their future might hold. And yet, looking at what they’ve accomplished so far, it’s hard to believe they’ve only been with us for 15 weeks. The first two phases of the program took them from skill-building and self-development workshops in Berlin to various departments at H&M, where they had the opportunity to implement their own little projects—and to see first-hand where they might fit in. With all the experience and insight gleaned from the first two phases, our participants were ready to embark on the program’s third phase: the Group Challenge, for which the were asked to design a recruitment app that will enable H&M to better reach out to recent high school graduates just like our 24YOUers.

Bringing to life an app to be (potentially) implemented by a major fashion retailer? No small feat for anyone. But what, then, about a group of youngsters aged 17 to 19, fresh out of school and with very little actual working experience beyond babysitting and their tenure at 24YOU? Would they be able to keep up momentum for five weeks of ideation and concepting work—and would the result amount to more than a pretty piece of homework with no chance of ever making it into the real world? Our program team certainly tried their best to make sure what it would. Their curriculum for these important five weeks featured everything from the innovation and implementation techniques of the DO School Method, to key skills such as presenting and storytelling, right up to self-development and coaching. In short: everything our participants would need to reach for success—and to learn more about themselves and their abilities in the process.  So when Challenge Day rolled up last Thursday, all of the DO School team and our project partners at H&M were duly excited to see what this bubbly bunch had come up with.

Despite some initial nerves, the presentation was a raging success. But even more inspiring than the fact H&M intend to implement our participants’ app was the way we were able to witness our participants’ amazing self-development. With encouragement, guidance, and the opportunity to actually make a difference in a real-life project, all of them had blossomed in their own way: having refined previous skills, bringing in new learnings, daring to overcome obstacles and personal challenges. Says Head of Program Miriam Schneider: “Working with these kids has been amazing throughout, but it was at this point in the program that I was able to lean back for a second and think, ‘Wow, I cannot believe how far they’ve come.’ I would love it if every student were able to have this kind of experience, one that allows them to contribute their unique skill, whatever it is, and to see that it matters and can bring to life amazing results.”