Preparing young people for the future of work

In May 2017, the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would partner with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve initiative and Atlassian to support a challenge that would prepare disadvantaged youth in the Indo-Pacific region for the workforce of the future.

Why is it important to prepare for the workforce of the future?

The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by rapid advances in technological innovation. While new technology can generate jobs and increase labor 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.

The DFAT Indo-Pacific Development Prize

The Australian Government is contributing AUD $1.4 million in grant funding to the best ideas that will have impact in developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Those that addressed the needs of women and girls, and people with a disability were especially invited to apply.

Qualifying Solvers selected during the 2017 Fall Pitch Event received an initial grant of up to US $50,000 (AUD $70,000), after which they were eligible to apply for additional funding from the remaining grant pool at the 2018 Fall Pitch Event, to be held at MIT in May.

In addition to the Government’s contribution, Atlassian provided up to AUD $1.4 million to winning ideas for disadvantaged youth in any country worldwide.

Media release from Foreign Minister the Hon Julie Bishop MP to announce Australia’s involvement in the challenge

Media release from Foreign Minister the Hon Julie Bishop MP to congratulate challenge winners

In September 2018, DFAT and the Atlassian Foundation each announced a further US $1.3 million to support the work of MIT Solve's Youth, Skills & the Workforce of the Future finalists.

The continuing partnership between DFAT and the Atlassian Foundation will allow successful Solver organisations to continue refining their programs as they prepare to scale for greater impact.

DFAT's Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Sarah Pearson announces the US $1.3 million funding extension in a video played at the UN General Assembly in New York, September 2018.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Indo-Pacific Development Prize winners

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

Save the Children – Kolorob Jobs

Kolorob Jobs is an open-source web and mobile application that enables young people to transition out of hazardous, dangerous and exploitative jobs, onto career pathways in formal work sectors in slum areas of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Watch Kolorob Jobs 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

The Wanji Team – Wanji: Gamified Narratives Delivered through Basic Telephony

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

TULA Philippines – The Ultimate Learning Accelerator

The Ultimate Learning Accelerator is transforming after-school learning by deploying tech-enabled centres near public schools and delivering personalised learning experiences using innovative project-based learning and educational games that can be used at home.

Watch TULA Philippines’ 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