Preparing young people for the future of work


While new technologies can generate jobs and increase labour productivity, it also creates job displacement and widens the skills gap. Today’s generation of young people now face a world in which nearly half of today’s jobs globally are at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation and technological advancement in the coming decades.

In May 2017, the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) was partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve initiative and the Atlassian Foundation on the Youth, Skills, & the Workforce of the Future Challenge.

The challenge, led by MIT Solve, set out to source innovative tech-based solutions from across the world, capable of preparing disadvantaged youth for the workforce of the future.

DFAT and the Atlassian Foundation then selected some of the most promising early-stage innovations and provide support to rigorously test their ideas.

Youth, Skills, & the Workforce of the Future Challenge – Solutions

In September 2018 it was announced that DFAT and the Atlassian Foundation would continue to fund a number of the solvers to scale up their successful initiative to have a greater impact in their respective fields.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Indo-Pacific Development Prize winners – Phase Two
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40K Plus

40K PLUS couples content available offline through a learning platform on tablet, with a “flipped” classroom to provide a dynamic experience with proven learning outcomes.

Watch 40K Plus’ pitch here

Baan Dek Foundation – The Digital Superheroes Academy

The Digital Superheroes Academy teaches critical thinking, life skills, and soft skills to children as “superpowers,” through an open-source application with an engaging superhero theme. This app will be used by vulnerable children throughout Southeast Asia, with all content available in their own languages.

Watch Baan Dek Foundation’s pitch here

Ruangguru – Ruangguru Digital Bootcamp

Ruangguru Digital Bootcamp is an intensive learning support program to prepare dropped-out underserved youth population in Indonesia to pass (high-school) standardised national exams and to acquire relevant employable skills using accessible technology.

Watch Ruangguru’s pitch here

The Rumie Initiative – A Books to Bytes Revolution for Youth Employment

A Books to Bytes Revolution for Youth Employment is a non-profit organisation with a mission to bring free digital learning resources to communities least able to access them. The solution is twofold: offline, low-cost tablets, and the Learncloud – an online repository of free digital learning content.

Watch The Rumie Initiative’s pitch here

Peripheral Vision International – Wanji Games

Wanji: Gamified Narratives Delivered through Basic Telephony provides interactive learning through spoken audio. This allows a geographically remote audience with limited literacy access to salient information in their own spoken language through appropriate technology.

Watch The Wanji Team’s pitch here

WeRobotics – South Pacific Flying Labs

South Pacific Flying Labs localises appropriate robotics solutions (including drones) in the Global South through our Flying Labs in Asia, Africa & Latin America. These labs provide training, lead projects and create local jobs & start-ups focused on Robotics Services.

Watch WeRobotics’ pitch here

What’s Next?

Understanding the effectiveness of this partnership and the value it offered to the solvers was a priority for both DFAT, Atlassian Foundation and MIT Solve. As such, an independently commissioned report was produced exploring the first two phases of the program. This report will be used in preparing for a phase three of this program in 2020.

Success Factors in Tech4Dev Scale up and Partnerships

Read our management response here