Supporting and empowering future generations

Today, there are more than 1.2 billion young people (15–24 years old) in the world – that’s 16 per cent of the global population.

Young people today face many challenges, but they can be an incredible force for positive change when they are empowered with knowledge and given a platform to participate. And when they are able to live healthy lives. This includes engaging directly in issues that impact them – such as designing health services that are youth friendly. It includes giving them opportunities to learn and build skills to contribute to the economy, join the labour force, and be able to reach their full potential. 

Here are two examples of how AstraZeneca is supporting the next generation of young people:

Young Health Programme: empowering youth to work towards a healthier future

One of the growing threats to enjoying a healthy future for all people is the increasing burden of chronic disease, like heart and respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes. Altogether, these diseases have become the number one cause of death worldwide. And they are impacting younger and younger populations. Many of these deaths are premature and preventable. 

These diseases are connected to risk factors – like tobacco use, physical inactivity and exposure to air pollution – that first appear and impact us in our youth. Choosing to use tobacco or avoiding exercise when we are young has serious results as we age. But when youth are informed about these risks and the results, they make healthier choices. When youth are engaged in designing health services that meet their needs, they use them more. And this increases their chances of a healthier future.

Over five years, AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme has influenced sustained behaviour change among youth. Their work in Kenya is one example, where there has been a 56 per cent increase in youth who met recommended physical activity levels and a 41 per cent decrease in smoking. Most critically, when youth were involved in assessing health service delivery, there was a 75 per cent improvement at the facilities and a 54 per cent increase in youth satisfaction with the services. Youth realised they had a voice and a choice, and they acted.

Building a pipeline of young scientists: inspiring the next generation

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is important. STEM is an economic driver. STEM presents opportunity. As a society we need to prepare more young people to meet such opportunity.

However, many young people are not equipped with the skills required of STEM jobs because STEM education may not be readily available for them, or they lack inspiration and role models. It may also not be integrated or even presented early enough – or often enough – in the lives of today’s children.

It’s an issue that affects many far and wide, but the problems in STEM education are especially profound for women and people of colour.

The people at AstraZeneca seek to leverage their reach, scale and expertise to effect real change in our communities and society. To continue transforming the lives of millions of people around the world, AstraZeneca supports the development of the next generation of scientists and engineers through contribution to the STEM curriculum provided to students and teachers.

Through STEM programmes and employee ambassadors, AstraZeneca wants to inspire the next generation by helping to translate what young people are learning in the classroom, showing them the wow of ‘what science can do’ and how this can be applied in developing life-saving medicines.

The aim is to inspire the scientific leaders of the future as well as opening up young minds to all the opportunities the pharmaceutical industry can offer. To achieve this, a diverse and inclusive talent pipeline is crucial.

Good health and well-being
Quality Education
Partnerships for the goals