According to Jean Gross, the government’s communication champion for children, 47 per cent of employers in England find it difficult to find recruits with an appropriate level of oral communication skills. This is obvious cause for concern.
Which is why BT has teamed up with The Communication Trust to launch a new Facebook app called Talk Gym, as part of its sponsorship of the Communication’s Trust ‘Hello’ campaign.
The campaign - which is backed by the Department for Education and Department of Health - aims to make communication skills among children and young people a priority in homes and schools across the UK.
The app itself checks the ‘talk fitness’ of users by asking them six questions about themselves. It then asks the same questions to a number of their friends or relatives via Facebook, as a way of gauging the difference. The answers appear anonymously in a graph and the app uses the responses to assess the individual’s communication ability.
The app was the brainchild of London based Dialogics who were briefed by BT to provide this resource as part of their support for the Hello Campaign.
Through this whole exercise BT was focused on one thing; to help young people realise how important communication skills were and to start thinking about their own.
And as the brief evolved everyone agreed that an app on Facebook would engage youngsters more than a website tool.
Development of the app took six months and it was finally released in summer 2011. The plan is to let it grow virally and ultimately drive people to the Communication’s Trust ‘Hello’ campaign website. But of course, the most important this is that the communication skills of young people improve. After all, it is something that is essential for a fulfilling life.