45 (140) 2020
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The Responsible Rebound

Skilling up in digital world

By Paulina Koszewska, Corporate Social Responsibility coordinator in PwC
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Jobs are changing, driven by the impact of breakthrough technologies. Now, the rate of change is occurring faster than ever before. The World Bank estimates that 60% of the world's population remains excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy, the new economy.

Many roles are disappearing, while new ones are springing up from nowhere. The discrepancy between the skills that people have and those needed for jobs in the digital world is one of the most critical problems of our time. It’s a problem for individuals, businesses, governments, policymakers and other institutions—because it’s a problem for everyone. And we need to work together to solve it.

The major misalignment is between the knowledge provided by the education systems and the skills needed by young people. Unlocking the full potential of each (future) worker is a challenging task. What and how we learn needs to be transformed. Business has to play a bigger role in this.

Through PwC’s investment in education and skills building - from financial literacy to technical skills and mentoring - we're helping people to thrive by preparing them for the jobs of the future and the digital world. In Poland we also focus on the development of young people who are at risk of social exclusion (for example from orphanages, difficult environments, with disabilities).

Education and skills are key

According to the World Economic Forum, more than 60% of children entering primary school today will eventually have jobs that do not yet exist. Without the right digital and supporting skills (such as creative thinking, problem solving and negotiating), millions of young people will be either unemployed or trapped in low-skilled work. Upskilling is more than just training. It’s about gaining the knowledge, skills and experience for new and transformed roles, and being equipped to participate and adapt in an increasingly digital world.

In PwC, we are committed to play a part in tackling this growing mismatch. In our global programme New World. New Skills, we aim to help millions of people around the world

improve their understanding, skills and knowledge for the digital world. Over the next four years, we will be investing globally $3 billion, primarily in training our people, and also in developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities.

Partnership for a change

PwC is making an impact, but no organisation can solve these issues alone. We collaborate with UNICEF to specifically address the upskilling challenge by supporting young people around the world to develop skills they need to engage and thrive in the digital world. The collaboration supports Generation Unlimited, a multi-sector partnership aimed at helping 1.8 billion young people transition from school to work by 2030.

PwC has been also a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since 2002, and this aligns with our commitment to help to take strategic action to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a direct focus on achieving quality education (SDG 4) and decent work and economic growth (SDG 8).

In May 2020, PwC released its Digital Fitness Application for free. It delivers educational content and essential knowledge about new technologies. Interactive content is available in several formats (for viewing, reading and listening) divided to the following thematic blocks: AI, Blockchain, Design Thinking, Machine Learning, Smart Cities or Virtual Reality. The application personalises the materials and the study plan, adapting them to the level of knowledge, preferences and activity of each user. By setting realistic goals for learning and sending reminders, the application helps to develop a habit of regularity in learning.The audience is broad-reaching and ranges from professionals, teachers and students and parents. The application is available to everyone for free at Google Play and App store.

Community investments in Poland

Through community investments PwC shares our greatest asset - the skills, knowledge and talent of our people –  to help create communities where people and business can thrive.

We support the development of young people who are at risk of social exclusion, through cooperation with the following Foundations: Szczęśliwej Drogi (Happy Journey Foundation), Gdańska Fundacja Innowacji Społecznych (Gdańsk Foundation of Social Innovation) and Big Brothers Big Sisters. We help children with educational and social difficulties. As mentors, PwC employees meet individually with a chosen child/youth, PwC volunteers also arrange meetings with inspiring people and organise workshops.

Our Tutoring educational programme helps children from foster care and community centres in learning English and maths. Last year, 21 volunteers conducted individual classes for over 30 children, devoting a total of 266 hours.

In the Warsaw office, we have a technology club - Coder Dojo.  It is a regular, free programming workshop (html, Java Script, Python or Scratch) for children and youth run by PwC volunteers, mostly from the Customer Technology team.  Due to COVID-19 lockdown, we also had to close our Coder Dojo club. Nevertheless, within two years we provided almost 60 workshops and 550 hours of volunteering.

We are committed to increase the employability of young people in foster care. Every year, we are a partner of professional picnics organized by Program Pomocy Pierwsza Praca (Getting your first job assistance programme).

PwC supports young scientists under the E(x)plory programme. The best projects are awarded with the PwC mentoring program for personal & business development.

For two years, we have been cooperating with the Inspirational Examples Foundation. Every year, we host from four to five groups of students of technical or high school, in our office in Gdańsk. We show them how our company works and conduct lively discussions on topics related to the choice of career path.

Within our pro bono activities, PwC Customer Technology team works on implementing a new app for #LifePlan programme of Marek Kamiński Foundation. The aim of the programme is to help young people from dysfunctional environments, being in a difficult life-situation or after traumatic experiences. The application is to help youth build their own values, achieve goals and overcome adversities.

PwC Poland supports start-ups and innovations in social programme Wake Up Your Business.

Implemented by Youth Business Poland, the programme takes the form of webinars, hotlines, mentoring and other activities that can help novice entrepreneurs adapt to the new reality.

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