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The global context

Youth unemployment is a significant global social and economic challenge: more than 209 million young people are either unemployed or work while living in poverty1.

Despite high levels of youth unemployment, demand for digital skills already outstrips the supply of available talent. While many young people are ‘digital natives’, most do not leave education with the depth of technical skills needed to create and run the technologies our economies are increasingly reliant on, such as writing code, mitigating cybersecurity risks or designing, configuring and maintaining electronic devices and wireless or fixed-line networks.

The EU Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition reports that 37% of EU workers have insufficient digital skills and there are clear signs that the digital skills gap is widening. By the end of next year, there could be almost 500,000 unfilled digital technology jobs in Europe2.

In many of the countries where we operate, youth unemployment remains at very high levels.

32% in Italy

34% in Spain

40% in Greece

53% in South Africa.

We are supporting young people to thrive in the digital economy

Our 2022 goal

Support 10 million young people to access digital skills, learning and employment opportunities

Enhancing digital skills

We believe that there is a need for training for young people to enable them to be ready for a digital society. This view is supported by the European Commission in its Skills Agenda for Europe, which calls on governments, industry, non-governmental organisations and educators to work together towards this objective. Vodafone is committed to doing our part to support digital learning and digital skills for youth.

In 2018, we launched our international future jobs programme, What will you be?, which will provide young people career guidance and access to training content and jobs in the digital economy.

As part of this we launched our Future Jobs Finder, a smartphone-based service which offers young people a free and simple yet comprehensive gateway to gaining new digital skills and discovering opportunities for employment in the growing digital economy.

Bringing more young people into Vodafone

Our 2022 goal

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

Digital workplace experience

We have committed to extending the opportunities we offer to young people to access workplace experiences within our business. We will do this by expanding our existing graduate, apprenticeship, internship and work experience schemes worldwide.

This year, over 5,500 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.

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 is predominantly addressed through SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.