Shaping The New World of Work – Digital and Career Skills For Youth

On May 26th, 2021, over 100 global attendees joined Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Founder and CEO, Janet Longmore, and IBM’s Joel Mangan, Executive Director P-TECH at IBM, as they led a virtual panel discussion with three accomplished young social entrepreneurs to discuss #ShapingTheNewWorldOfWork. 

The event marked the launch of a partnership between DOT and IBM to shape the new world of work as the organizations team up to provide digital and career skills for youth in the Middle East and Africa. It featured an important discussion around advanced forms of digital education, with big ideas, practical examples and high-impact youth-led initiatives that address inclusion and leaving no one behind. 

Technology is the great equalizer.

Joel Mangan, Executive Director, P-TECH at IBM, kick-started the event with a powerful message describing how technology is driving the future. He stressed the duty to provide young people with the capabilities to exploit the opportunities that change presents to them, and to seek out and create their own. Youth have powerful minds, and ideas and they must be equipped and prepared with the technical and soft skills to take advantage of the future and it’s endless opportunities. 

“Talent and potential are equally distributed across humanity. And the challenge that we have is actually making opportunity to be as equally distributed, opportunity is what many people lack, and we believe that that talent needs opportunity” – Joel Mangan, Executive Director, P-TECH at IBM

Youth at the center of digital transformation, the results are impressive.

Janet Longmore, Founder and CEO of Digital Opportunity Trust elaborated about the acceleration of digital transformation and its dramatic effects on the world of work and education. So many continue to be left behind – it is partnerships like DOT and IBM that are responding. She applauded Joel’s sentiments of the power and initiative that youth display when equipped with the skills relevant to the digital era and the evolving marketplace. 

“We firmly believe that youth and young women must be at the center of digital transformation, no matter where they are. Young people are digitally savvy, connected, creative, motivated and ambitious. They see the challenges around them, they want to solve them, they want to make a difference.

Youth are motivated and passionate to gain digital skills

Mohammed Hamza Shahadat, a Syrian refugee living in Jordan, whose personal experiences working with the Norwegian Refugee Council led him to found his own online organization,  Expatriate Student Affairs. He is implementing COVID-19 response initiatives and he spoke to the importance of inclusive opportunities, and the desires of youth to leverage them. 

“Young people here [in Jordan] are interested in learning computer skills, programming skills, graphic design, project management, and courses that are related to engineering work…these opportunities, open doors for the children and youth to improve their skills and abilities to to have a chance or opportunity to prove their capabilities”

Henry Mkare is the founder of Kickstart Kilifi, an alumnus of Kenya’s Youth Leadership Program and now a member of DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board. Henry’s powerful story speaks to the impact of equipping all youth with digital skills, with an emphasis on all

“Many youths [in rural areas] are more passionate to learn Digital skills than in urban areas…in rural areas a youth knows once they miss out on the shared opportunity, it’s done. You are not sure if another one will ever come again in your entire lifetime.”

Partnerships are Key

Janet Longmore and Joel Mangan emphasized the critical importance of partnerships in shaping the new world of work and ensuring that youth are at the centre of the transformation. 

Janet closed by saying

“DOT and IBM have a history working together and developing the mutual trust that underpins successful collaboration. This partnership, (around the Open P-TECH platform), is an example of how the private sector and a social enterprise with “feet on the street” can mobilize their assets to benefit youth and young women in marginalized, rural and remote communities. We share a belief that youth want opportunities to be the innovators and catalysts of digital transformation, shaping the future of work in an inclusive world”.

About the Partnership

This partnership is joining the growing network of partners, who are strengthening and scaling DOT’s Daring to Shift initiative, which includes Global Affairs Canada,  UNICEF, GIZ, and the World Bank and many local and national organizations. 

10s of 1000s of young people across – Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Jordan and Lebanon – 70% of them young women – will have access to digital learning opportunities through IBM’s free Open P-TECH’s (ptech.org) digital education platform. 

It is partnerships like this – IBM with its Open P-TECH digital education platform and DOT with its youth-led model and channels to youth – that are creating new learning pathways that lead to jobs, new businesses and innovation in the evolving world of work. 

Anatomy of a Partnership

IBM and DOT have been responding to the call for public-private collaboration in the development space for more than 10 years. DOT first partnered with IBM as an implementation partner for IBM’s internationally respected Corporate Service Corps global program.

DOT, through participation on the Business Leaders Caucus of the GPEDC, has been an architect and supporter of the Kampala Principles that guide private sector partnerships for effective development cooperation. The DOT-IBM relationship, and the alignment of Daring to Shift and Open P-TECH, is an example of the principles in action.

  • Inclusive Country Ownership
    • DOT’s channels to youth ensure that local communities are heard, that services are delivered in the local context and local capacity is developed.
  • Results and Targeted Impact
    • The parties have agreed goals, objectives and corresponding metrics up front.
  • Inclusive Partnership 
    • DOT and IBM are very different organizations – contrasting in size and business sector. However, they share common values and have developed mutual trust and respect.
  • Transparency and Accountability
    • DOT and IBM jointly recognize the ways in which their measurement of results and dissemination strategies may differ. They share a commitment to learn and the goal to scale.
  • Leave No One Behind
    • The partners are committed to reaching the underserved and appreciate that there are risks that are best mitigated through collaboration.
    • We invite you to join the Daring to Shift initiative that places young women at the center of inclusive growth, and leverage the scale and reach of young people mobilized in the DOT network.
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