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

25 June 2018

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.


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Publicis Sapient named a leader in digital transformation

21 March 2019

A recent analysis and ranking from Forrester on digital transformation firms has placed Publicis Sapient in the leader category, alongside other top performers including McKinsey and Accenture.

Paris-based advertising and PR giant Publicis purchased digital marketing firm Razorfish from Microsoft for more than $500 million in 2009. In 2015, it put down $4 billion to buy Boston-based digital transformation firm Sapient. In 2016, Publicis fused Sapient’s advertising and marketing arm SapientNitro with Razorfish to create SapientRazorfish. Earlier this year, Publicis merged the latter entity with Sapient Consulting to create Publicis Sapient, an end-to-end digital transformer that combines strategy, consulting, and customer experience to drive successful digital change.

The unified brand has now been recognized as a leader in market research firm Forrester’s Q1 analysis of digital transformation accelerators. The other firms recognized as leaders were Accenture, EY, McKinsey & Company, PwC, and IBM.

Forrester’s report helps executives select the right consultancy for their needs. According to the market researcher, many digital transformations stall when they target short-term gains in customer experience and operational efficiency without tying the effort to true market understanding and a broader business strategy. The digital leaders on Forrester’s list are more likely to deliver the full package needed for success.

Publicis Sapient named a leader in digital transformation

The top firms are also more likely to provide the “speed of design and execution” vital to digital success. According to the Forrester analysis, the leaders “blend strategy and execution chops and couple them with the soft skills for inspiring leadership and training teams. CIOs and digital executives should look for providers that: have the capabilities to design business for change [and] can seamlessly integrate emerging technologies to design new experiences.”

Publicis Sapient was lauded for its effective customer research in support of digital transformations, its world-class digital experience design capabilities, and its performance-driving outcome-based contracts. The analysis did, however, find room for improvement in the company’s ability to advise on strategy at the CEO level.

With the creative and marketing roots of SapientNitro and Razorfish – and the resources of Publicis – the firm is a top consultancy on the customer experience front. “Publicis Sapient is an especially strong partner where the transformation emphasis is on creating world-class digital customer and employee experiences,” the report states.

"We are honored to be recognized as a Leader in this space and believe that it is a proof point of the success of our unique approach to helping clients on their constantly evolving digital transformation journeys," Nigel Vaz, Public Sapient CEO, said.The integration of our capabilities across strategy and consulting, experience and engineering, along with creative problem-solving, provides us with a unique view of both the company and the customer to enable end-to-end transformation."

Among those placed in the “Strong Performers” category were Deloitte, KPMG, Capgemini, Cognizant, Wipro, and Atos. TCS, Infosys, and DXC Technology ranked in the “Contenders” category.