Seventeen year old entrepreneur launches recruitment agency to help other youngsters land dream jobs

Most 17 year olds are either in further education or making their first steps into the world of work as a junior member of staff or apprentice. However, one entrepreneurial minded youngster from Knowsley is avoiding these traditional career paths and jumping straight in at the deep end by launching her own ethical recruitment business to pair other creative young people with growing businesses looking for fledgling local talent. 

Robyn Dooley found that classroom based learning wasn’t stimulating her or taking her nearer to her future career. After leaving full time education early, she undertook social impact community work and secured a place as an ambassador for British youth on the prestigious World Merit Programme. While undertaking project work on the programme, which was launched in Knowsley by One Ark, Robyn applied for several arts based jobs but found that paid work was difficult to obtain; in fact, many creative businesses weren’t offering a salary at all. Robyn couldn’t afford to work for free and soon realised that many other young people were in the same position when it came to landing the career of their dreams. While unpaid internships were easy to come by, a steady income was almost impossible to secure.

Taking matters into her own hands and spotting a gap in the market, Robyn created Innovators Hub. Her recruitment business offers young people paid work experience in the creative industries, ranging from art and fashion through to advertising, marketing and public relations. Not only do candidates benefit through quality experience for their CVs, but businesses benefit through the injection of fledgling talent and ideas into their workplace too.

Throughout the development of her business and the World Merit process, Robyn has been supported by Liverpool City Region investment charity, One Ark. The charity, part of the First Ark Group, has mentored Robyn by helping her develop her early stage business plan, as well as offering ongoing mentoring as Innovators Hub continues to grow.

Commenting on Innovators Hub and what it can offer young people, Robyn said: “Innovators Hub offers so much more than the typical recruitment agency. We’ll be taking the time to get to know each candidate, to discover their talents and their inspirations. We will ensure they receive paid work experience at a business which will nurture their talent and hopefully even provide a future full time job. I’m making sure that each placement will have a minimum salary of £6.50 per hour, so no one will have to work for free while they achieve their creative aspirations.

“Every candidate will be carefully vetted to ensure they’re entirely ready for work, so businesses looking to take on a new intern know that they will be employing someone who can add to the company from their very first day.

“I would never have had the confidence to launch my own business without the support of One Ark and the experience of the World Merit Programme. Both have helped me realise that supporting young people into employment, particularly into hard-to-break industries, is how I can really help to make a difference.”

Director of enterprise and investment at One Ark, Helen Wills, said: “It’s so inspiring to see a young person working to build their own business entirely from scratch; something which is never easy, even for a seasoned entrepreneur. Robyn has frequently impressed One Ark with her zest for creating social impact, which is why she successfully secured her place on the World Merit Programme.

“As an investment charity, everything we do is designed to create social change and opportunities for people in the communities in which we operate. This ethos is reflected in Innovators Hub, which offers a vital first step on the career ladder to creative youngsters. We’ll be supporting Robyn through each stage of the business’ development to ensure this is a real success that generates employment.”

Robyn has recently collaborated further with World Merit and One Ark to arrange masterclasses offering young people face-to-face mentoring from local business leaders from a range of sectors, as well as further information about the support Innovators Hub can provide. Attendees at these masterclasses, dubbed the ‘Social Experiment’, also have the chance to pitch a business idea to the visiting entrepreneurs to secure £500 of investment towards their idea. The first of these events takes place on the 9th April. Further information can be found here:

Contact Innovators Hub via its website - - for more information if you’re a young person looking for your first step on the creative career ladder, or if you’re a business seeking an injection of fresh talent into the workplace. 

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