21st February 2022

How ‘Youth Connect’ Is Inspiring, Engaging and Connecting Vodafone’s Young Employees All around the World

Eduarda Goncalves Ribeiro de Castro
HR Graduate Trainee (Germany)

Youth Connect was created to socially connect Vodafone’s young talent across different countries. We started off with networking sessions, but soon realised how much this initiative could achieve by expanding its scope to enable career development for our Graduates, Interns and Apprentices around the world.

As Network Chair, my stakeholder management skills really came to the forefront here, bringing in partnership from our global HR team and CEO Nick Read to take Youth Connect to the next level.

Youth Connect is the bridge for me from my local work at Vodafone Germany to the big Vodafone universe globally. It’s where I gain perspective and realise how diverse we are, even though we’re all working for the same company. We have a company culture, but even within that, cultural differences between each country play a role in how we interact and work with each other. I find that fascinating!

We’re bringing a truly unified ‘youth’ voice to the table with Youth Connect. We’ve achieved a lot so far and we’ve got big plans going forward, all made possible by a wonderful committee of 33 engaged and competent Graduates, Apprentices and Interns. It really is a beautiful example of Vodafone’s spirit of ‘getting it done together’.”

Now let’s hear from some of Youth Connect’s market leads.

Doug Calkin
Project Management Apprentice (Group UK)

Hi Doug, what inspired you to get involved with Youth Connect?
“I work as a Project Manager overseeing the Financial Operations, Go To Market Activities and Business Compliance Assurance for the launch of a new product across three markets.

I wanted to get involved for a few reasons. I was looking forward to the opportunity to network with colleagues on a global scale and integrate with Vodafone's 20 markets, as well as the chance to learn about how they operate and the culture within each market. I also thought I could bring value to the network because my role requires a lot of leading meetings, organisation, resource allocation and speaking to stakeholders as a spokesperson for a wider team."

Tell us what you’re most proud of about the Network so far?
“Being part of the inspiring work we’re doing with Youth Connect makes me realise how lucky I am to be in a company that empowers young employees to create such a big impact. I remember watching Nick Read speak at our 2021 All Hands Youth Virtual Festival and feeling truly valued as part of this company. That was one of the things that compelled me to join the network.

We all want to make a positive impact on the world and at this early stage of our career, we need to maximise the networking resources available to us in order to optimise our career paths. Youth Connect has the ability to reach all 7000+ of Vodafone’s youth employees and impacting all those careers is an incredible goal for us to work towards.”

Livia Andreea Vilau
Customer Acquisition Graduate (Romania)

Hi Livia, what inspired you to get involved with Youth Connect?
“I'm currently working in Enterprise Marketing as part of my third and final rotation on the Graduate Programme.

It was during my first rotation that I found out about the Youth Connect network and its mission to bring youth across markets together as one community. I strongly resonated with that. The pandemic turned constant isolation into a new 'normal' and my fellow graduates and I found it hard to identify with our local Discover community. That is why Youth Connect is so significant and why I wanted to contribute. I've never jumped at an opportunity so quickly in my life!”

Tell us what you’re most proud of about the Network so far?
“The Youth Connect committee has a double role to play; we’re youth ambassadors and a business ally at the same time.

What we want to achieve this year with this wonderfully diverse network is:

  • Connect graduates, interns and apprentices to our senior leaders in a consistent and meaningful way
  • Celebrate our purpose and spirit in the context of enhanced connectivity
  • Create an environment where youth members can enrich their business acumen and become experts in their preferred business area
  • Increase youth involvement in innovation initiatives across Vodafone
  • Integrate all communications in one unified system in order to deliver the most relevant content to everyone, everywhere

We have many things in store and it is the multifaceted insight into the business that our youth is providing that will take us further at Vodafone.”

Claudia Dentu )
Graduate Executive (Ghana

Hi Claudia, what inspired you to get involved with Youth Connect?
“As a graduate executive at Vodafone, I wanted to get involved with Youth Connect mainly because I’m passionate about the youth, especially in Africa. The opportunity to impact the life of every young person I come across has given my life so much purpose.

I was attracted by the opportunity of working closely with a diverse team to provide great programs and experiences for young people in Vodafone, while ensuring events/programs are tailored to my market. After all, I am a planner at heart.”

Tell us what you’re most proud of about the Network so far?
“The network achievement I am most proud of to date is the global youth call we had that focused on ‘Best Connectivity Products and Services’. It was very enlightening and educational, and a great opportunity for youth around the globe to hear about Next Gen Tech Products and Services that are part of Vodafone's transformational strategy. 

I’m really looking forward to owning and contributing everything I can to this network’s goals. I can’t wait for this year’s All Hands Youth Festival, and other exciting events and programmes we have lined up for 2022!”

What else is coming up?
Engagement with Youth Connect has been fantastic, and it’s only getting stronger as we focus on this year’s theme, ‘Spirit’ – our working culture’

We’re committed to ensuring our youth community are ambassadors for our culture and to empower our 7000+ members to embed this across Vodafone in a fun and authentic way.  We’re continuing our very popular series of networking sessions, ‘Deep Dive Streams’, have our big All Hands Festival organised for April, and lots more.

Youth Connect can do so much; the options are limitless. We can’t wait to see how we develop even further in 2022!