Accenture to spend $200 million on digital training for disadvantaged youth

25 June 2018 3 min. read

Leading management and IT consultancy Accenture will pump an additional $200 million into various programs designed to help disadvantaged youngsters acquire digital skills and a job in the future economy. The firm’s Skills to Succeed initiative will be a major beneficiary of the windfall.

Accenture’s Skills to Succeed Academy first came to life in the UK in 2013 and finally launched in the US four years later. Today the free virtual school that trains disadvantaged young people in digital skills also operates in the Philippines, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. In addition to teaching youngsters how to navigate the digital world, Accenture trainers also help them construct resumes and develop their overall employability.

The global professional services firm, which is a market leader in digital and technology consulting, has now announced that it will pump an extra $200 million into its wider plans to teach millions of people digital skills in the next three years. The Skills to Succeed Academy alone hopes to provide computing, coding, and other professional skills to more than 3 million people by 2020.

Outside Skills to Succeed, the consulting firm’s Tech4Good and Accenture Development Partnerships will benefit from the increased philanthropic spend. In the past decade more than 2 million people have been equipped with fundamental digital skills by various Accenture programs.

Accenture to spend $200 million on digital training for disadvantaged youth

In the US, for example, Accenture helped the nonprofit organization Youth Business USA develop an AI-based platform which partnered young entrepreneurs from minority communities with mentors, trainers, and resources to help them scale their business to the next level.

The Tech4Good program is active in India where it harnesses the visual power of virtual reality to help poorer citizens develop their financial literacy. A similar scheme run by Accenture Labs in France encourages young students’ interest in STEM subjects through a virtual reality game which subtly engages their digital skills.

"As a technology leader, we have an obligation to apply new scalable technology solutions to help solve complex societal challenges," said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture CEO. "Our investments will continue to empower Accenture to produce socially minded partnerships and programs that will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of people throughout the world, now and for the future."

"The opportunity to improve lives requires collaboration across business, government and non-governmental organizations," Nanterme continued. "As leaders weigh new technologies and applications, we all must ask ourselves: Does this benefit the next generation? If the answer is yes, it's the right thing to do."

Accenture’s investment comes at a time of heightened interest in preparing the US workforce for the coming decade – in which automation, AI and robotics are expected to force a huge transformation in the way Americans work.

A recent McKinsey study projected that, by 2030, the proportion of working hours spent on manual activities will shrink to 26% across industries. By contrast, higher cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and technological skills will take up almost 60% of an average employee’s time.

Even those working in sectors that traditionally involve a great deal of routine – such as retail or manufacturing – will soon be expected to be capable of managing AI systems, digital or even blockchain ledgers, and generally working with new technology, rather than being flummoxed by it.