Custom Search 1

Meet the online platform providing opportunities for young people

FOUNDER: Cec Richards

“GROWING UP on Chalkhill Estate, I was surrounded by wall to wall talent. If you wanted to take part in anything on Chalkhill - whether it be sports or art - you really had to be a certain level otherwise you wouldn’t get a shot at it.”

Those are the words of Cec Richards, founder of Slenky - an online platform bridging the gap between young people and leading brands and organisations across the UK.

Founded in 2012, the platform caters to young people aged 13-24 and works to improve access of opportunities for the youth whilst providing businesses with a connection to talent nationwide.

“Slenky has been built on the preset that businesses and organisations from whatever sector all have an offer for a younger audience,” says Richards. “We provide a space for communication that brands want to make to a young audience.”

This entrepreneurial spirit that Richards exhibits has been nurtured over years and began as a young part time student working in Next. “I had a wonderful first day and got promoted on that day at 17 years old - a black student from a council estate working at the very first Next menswear shop in the UK which was great, he recalls.

“Getting that promotion was amazing to me and it opened my eyes up to the art of the possible.”

Through networking and building his expertise, the north-west Londoner learnt the importance of building relationships and how vital it is to be given opportunities, a mantra that is essential to Slenky as they facilitate those opportunities to others as it was once done for him.

“We work directly with brands, business and organisations of all description, helping them make existing and new opportunities accessible in one space but able to reach youth in other social channels and profiles.”


The platform works in a way that allows users to click on the 'Shots', 'Brands' or 'Regions' tabs and search through numerous brands, businesses and organisations. From there, they are able to click on their ‘Shot’, check out their details and apply through filling out a short form explaining what makes them suitable for the opportunity - all in a 140 words or less.

From there, people are able to attend a one off special event, join a workshop and learn a new skill, or get first hand experience working in the area of their choice.

The Slenky way provides an easier process for young people to discover their interests and move in the direction they want to, making this a resourceful and accessible platform for all.

“Slenky is for all young people - I don’t do ‘black’ opportunities or ‘white’ opportunities it’s it’s 100% inclusive,” says the father-of-two. “I don’t care if you come from a wealthy middle class family or not - you can use the platform to connect to your passions.”

This equal opportunities approach has proven successful for the Slenky team as they continue to move from strength to strength, partnering with both big and small sized businesses.

“We’re making the brand more relevant to the audience by taking the biggest and smallest brands and presenting them as bitesize social content. That social content is only acted upon by our users if its relevant to them and what Slenky does is make that connection between the brand and the users,” recalls Richards.

“I want every UK business to be available to young people and some of the partnerships I’m most proud of range from Sony and The FA to Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Wembley Stadium.”

And as the online space continues to expand, Richards is keeping up a phenomenal rate with partnerships to benefit his community and develop the Slenky brand.

“For me, the vision is to rollout our national strategy - so continue to add new locations and start some of the conversation of going overseas.

I’ve also started some discussions with tech partners who understand that it's the small, agile entrepreneur businesses and the models they’re creating that they need to be involved with and help support and grow.

While Richards continues to focus on the future, the present is looking equally sweet.

Slenky will be hosting an invite-only event next month (Apr 30), further solidifying their place as an active enterprise engaging the youth on and off the internet.


Slenky is all about young people and their experiences. Below, we speak to Izzes Gayle and Rianna Johnson - two young people who’ve been through the Slenky process and are flourishing in their fields.

Name: Rianna Johnson
Age: 23
Location: Northolt, west London

How did you initially here about Slenky?

Cec went to school with my mother years ago.

What were some of the challenges you faced whilst taking your shot?

Being one of the youngest and not having an established 'voice' was a challenge. At the time, I was still figuring things out and was still quite shy - being given responsibility at such a young age can be quite scary.

Working closely with well known companies was also quite daunting, but extremely exciting as never did I think I'd have access to those opportunities. Also, I hadn't yet mastered the art of networking. A lot has changed since then, haha.

How do you think opportunities for young people have improved since the launch of Slenky?

I feel as if in recent days young people have SO many varied opportunities, it's amazing. Slenky are not bias and aim to provide 'shots' for all professions and this is what's most important, ensuring all young persons are catered too.

Since taking that initial shot, what have been some of your career highlights?

I think, for me, completing my degree and securing a job at Havas Worldwide - one of the largest integrated agencies in the world. The funny thing is, I took a shot with Havas (through Slenky) when I was in college and was able to be a runner on set of Citroen shoot.

Now, five years on, I'm now working in production, which still blows my mind. Having taken my shot, I've managed to fall into my dream job.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I'm hoping to start producing some really cool projects with Havas London. I'm currently switching roles (from Team Assistant to Assistant Producer) so things are going to get pretty intense! I'm also travelling quite a bit during Summer, when I go to LA in August I plan on visiting the Havas offices there... we shall see what comes of that!

Name: Izzes Gayle - Creative Director at ALCMY Studios,
Age: 27
Location: Birmingham

How did you initially hear about Slenky?

I had a few friends and peers who had applied for Shots and went on to do some really interesting things, one friend in particular Sunjay Kohli really ran with it and documented his entire journey with his Shots. I had assisted in creating content from a couple of the shoots in London, but he got to meet a few people he admired and some industry leaders and experiences he wouldn’t have been able to without Slenky.

What were some of the challenges you faced whilst taking your shot?

I didn’t take a shot, unfortunately, I was a bit late to the whole thing and was running my own business full time so probably wouldn’t have had the capacity to do so. But I did connect with Cec through the friends and peers I knew on there and we’ve worked together on a number of things since.

Cec has introduced me to many people and businesses, some of whom are integral to the city and its growth plans, and some of whom I’ve managed to do business with.

How do you think opportunities for young people have improved since the launch of Slenky?

I think since then there’s been so many brands and companies that have come on board that there’s far more to choose from for young people ensuring they’re more likely to get involved in something they’re truly passionate about, instead of making do with limited options.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Well, there are some big plans in the works with Slenky which ALCMY Studios will be supporting with, and to be honest to just continue to do what we’re doing, working away and growing as much as we can.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

I’d like to have sold this business and be working on something else. I don’t even know what, I’m still young I don’t think I’ll want to run a creative studio for the rest of my life, I have other ambitions and goals.

I just love to build things whether its brands, companies, websites, it’s something I’ve always been passionate about.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.