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This year, 5,710 new recruits aged 26 or under joined Vodafone across our global footprint.

We also indirectly create employment opportunities for many young people in our supply chain and retail distribution networks. We run well-established apprenticeship, internship and graduate schemes across our business and offer a wide range of work experience opportunities. Last year, we committed to providing 100,000 opportunities for young people to receive a digital learning experience at Vodafone by 2022.

Our 2022 goal

Provide 100,000 opportunities for young people to receive a digital learning experience at Vodafone

This year, we provided over 54,500 opportunities for young people to receive a digital learning experience at Vodafone.

Digital work experience

In 2019, we provided opportunities for 46,833 young people through digital work experience programmes. This encompassed a number of different programmes, including one-week placements, job shadowing and insight-into-work days, alongside innovative experiences such as our Coding Tomorrow programme in Turkey and #Codelikeagirl, which offers 14 to 18-year-old girls immersive digital training during the school holidays.

Since its launch in 2017, Vodafone’s #Codelikeagirl programme has reached over 3,000 girls in 23 markets. The programme, launched in partnership with Code First: Girls, has the mission to tackle the disproportion of girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Through the programme, we offer girls aged 14–18 an immersive one week digital experience where they learn to code a website. The training the girls receive provides basic knowledge of computer languages and development programs, allowing them to gain skills for the future.

Coding Tomorrow

In Turkey, the Vodafone Turkey Foundation launched its Coding Tomorrow project in 2016 with the aim of tackling the digital divide by providing children aged 7–14 with free training in coding and robotics, along with other essential skills for future employment.

Helping young people get started in telecoms in South Africa

South Africa’s persistently high unemployment rate has a particularly negative impact on young people, with 54% of under-25s unemployed2.

We have developed a one-year Vodacom Learnership programme that consists of classroom-based learning and on-the-job training at the offices and stores of our South Africa-based subsidiary, Vodacom Group.

Internships

Our internship programmes provide opportunities for undergraduate students to work with us for up to six months while they complete their degree. These opportunities expose students to challenging business-critical activities and projects, enabling them to gain relevant business experience to support their studies. Participants can apply to return to Vodafone once they have graduated and can participate in our Discover graduate programme. During the year, 974 young people gained an experience of Vodafone’s digital workplace through our internship programmes around the world.

This year, Vodafone Group piloted its Explore Industrial Placement internship programme with a small group of students currently studying in the UK. The placement year is for students in their third year of studies who need to complete a placement in business as part of their course. The students join a team in Vodafone for the year with the aim of joining the Discover graduate programme after graduation. Following the completion of the pilot, we hope to attract 60 students to the placement programme next year.

In Spain, the Vodafone yu New Talent internship programme is aimed at students in the final year of their bachelor’s or master’s degree. Participants combine part-time work at Vodafone with their academic studies. Last year, 76 interns participated in the programme.

Apprenticeships

We continue to expand our vocational training and apprenticeships across our business. These programmes enable young people who have chosen not to go to university to join Vodafone in permanent roles while being supported through continuous learning in order to gain a formal qualification in their chosen fields.

During 2019, 518 young people joined one of our apprenticeship schemes. We offer opportunities at the heart of our operations with our Technology and Customer care divisions.

Digital Degree Apprenticeship

In the UK, we offer advanced, higher and degree apprenticeships to students aged over 16. These include a wide variety of apprenticeships across our business. For example, customer service and operations apprentices join to support our customer-facing activities. Technology apprentices are given the opportunity to work in areas such as cybersecurity and network engineering.

Bringing apprentices into Vodafone Germany

Apprenticeships are a good alternative for high school students who do not want to pursue an academic education before starting work. Vodafone Germany offers apprenticeships in three areas: consumer retail, customer care and technology. All our apprenticeships last between 2.5 and 3.5 years, during which time participants combine part-time work at Vodafone with their studies at vocational schools. Since 2013, Vodafone Germany has hired between 90 and 105 apprentices every year.

Graduate programmes

Our Discover graduate programme, which has been running for over 10 years, offers young people with a bachelor’s or master’s degree a series of assignments across our business areas and local markets. Over 5,300 graduates have been through our structured development schemes over the last 10 years, with 677 recruited this year, helping to provide us with a strong pipeline of future talent.

Our Discover programme is highly diverse; more than 52% of new entrants are female, and recruits are drawn from 23 different countries. Those who do not progress into a full-time role with Vodafone at the end of their training are well placed to secure good job opportunities elsewhere.

With the aim of attracting more talented youth, increasing eligibility and achieving even higher diversity and social mobility across the Discover programme, this year we lowered the academic entry requirement to a 2:2 degree classification (or equivalent) across all operating markets.

In addition to Discover, we run Columbus, a leadership fast-track graduate scheme that this year welcomed 13 graduates. This programme offers graduates who have completed the Discover scheme an additional two-year international assignment that aims to equip them with the knowledge and insights that will prepare them for the next stage of their Vodafone career.

Our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Our approach is contributing to SDGs 4 and 8

SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Find out more about our contribution to the UN SDGs
SDG 4: Quality education SDG 5: Gender equality SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure SDG 13: Climate action

We believe we can have the greatest impact on five of the UN SDGs through our networks, products and services and through the work of the Vodafone Foundation.

We believe urgent action is needed to help young people develop their digital skills and access learning and employment opportunities that will help them thrive in the digital economy. Our commitment to support young people to address these dual challenges are predominantly addressed through SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.