Accenture, Dubai Cares, Microsoft and UNICEF announced today the launch of a global, digital learning platform for young people. Operating under the Generation Unlimited partnership, the Passport to Earning platform aims to address the global education crisis – currently exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – and prepare the next generation for decent work.
The platform will provide young people aged 15-24 across the world with free, certified education and skills training—with content spanning across digital, foundational, role-based, and technical skills. Young people using the platform will be able to use the certifications gained to support future employment and entrepreneurship opportunities made available on the platform.
The Passport to Earning platform was unveiled today at the RewirEd Summit, the largest global education summit of its kind, led by Dubai Cares, in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), and delivered in partnership with global stakeholders.
His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares, said: “The youth of today represent the leaders of tomorrow. Preparing and equipping them for the challenges that lie ahead of us is critical to ensuring that our future is in capable hands. Passport to Earning will provide young individuals with an effective tool to strengthen and upscale their skillsets and empower their professional journeys towards greater goals. In addition, the RewirEd Summit proved to be a fitting gathering to launch this platform in line with the conversations we hosted around the summit’s first day theme: Youth, Skills and the Future of Work.”
Passport to Earning is built on Microsoft’s Community Training (MCT) platform and will form an extension of UNICEF and Microsoft’s Learning Passport, a digital learning platform aimed at school-age children struggling to access mainstream education. Operational in 20 countries, the Learning Passport was recently identified by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best inventions of 2021.
Kate Behncken, Vice President and Lead of Microsoft Philanthropies, said: “We’ve seen first-hand how technology can be used in transformative ways to reach and connect learners—even in the most challenging scenarios. Passport to Earning is a powerful tool that allows us to reach young people and provide them with digital skilling opportunities at scale. We’re thrilled to work with UNICEF, GenU, Accenture and Dubai Cares to bring this program to life.”
The platform will offer online and offline digitalized curricula with supplemental content curated at the national level. It will keep young people learning—both inside and outside of classrooms—with content that is not dependent on a consistent web connection. It will also build government capacity to provide sustainable skilling and employment opportunities in the digital economy.
Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, said: “Young people across the world are poised to advance their societies and economies. Yet, without access to relevant, quality education and training opportunities, they are unable to truly participate in the 21st century workforce. The Passport to Earning, which builds upon proven solutions in delivering education in the most challenging of environments, will provide young people with the skills and certification they need to create a better, more sustainable world.”
According to a recent World Bank-UNESCO-UNICEF report, the current generation of students risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings—around 14 per cent of today’s global GDP—as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures.
However, even before the pandemic, young people were not learning the skills necessary for future work. Pre-pandemic data showed that without immediate action, by 2030 an estimated 825 million children will not acquire the basic secondary-level skills—such as transferable, digital and job-specific skills—needed to support lifelong learning and employment.
Kevin Frey, Chief Executive Officer of GenU, said: “The fourth industrial revolution is bringing with it irreversible changes for the education sector and the labor market—and we must not fail to do our part in enabling young people to prepare for what’s ahead. Passport to Earning exemplifies what partnerships between the public and private sectors, the UN and young people can achieve. It’s a new, modern, and inclusive global skilling solution that will connect millions of underserved youth worldwide with state-of-the-art curriculum, certifications, and ultimately jobs.”
Rapidly advancing digital solutions have the potential to reach all young people and help them to access world-class learning. Accenture will bring expertise in digital learning and a user-centric design approach to Passport to Earning.
Jill Huntley, Managing Director for Corporate Citizenship at Accenture, said: “The need for digital skills has never been greater, especially in those regions hardest hit by global inequalities and the impacts of COVID. We are proud to partner with UNICEF, Microsoft and Dubai Cares on Passport to Earning to support many thousands of young people get a job or start a business. Working with our global partners, Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative has equipped over 4.5 million people with the skills to make substantive improvements to their lives.”