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Increasing rates of youth unemployment remains a challenge, while at the same time businesses of all types and sizes are struggling to fill a wide range of digital technology roles that are critical for future growth.

Our 2022 goal

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

The digital skills gap

Demand for digital skills already outstrips the supply of available talent, despite high levels of youth unemployment and the ability for young people in Europe to move easily across the EU in search of work.

The EU Digital Skills and Job Coalition reports that 37% of EU workers have insufficient digital skills1 and there are clear signs that the digital skills gap is widening. By 2020, there could be almost 500,000 unfilled digital technology jobs in Europe2.

67% of 18–24 year olds believe they have received insufficient careers advice for the digital economy

Urgent action is needed to help young people develop their digital skills and access learning and employment opportunities

Support 10 million young people to access digital skills through our What will you be? programme

We commissioned YouGov to conduct a major international public opinion survey. It asked 6,000 young people aged 18–24, living in 15 countries, for their views about the future world of work3. The results reveal the extent to which young people believe they are ill-equipped to participate in the digital economy:

56% believed the greatest struggle for their generation will be finding any kind of well-paid, permanent job

67% had received insufficient careers advice

38% felt this advice was too narrowly focused on non-digital roles

This research confirmed our belief that urgent action is needed to help young people to develop their digital skills in order to access employment opportunities and ultimately thrive in the digital economy. Vodafone’s What will you be? programme is our response to this challenge. Our two ambitious targets focus on the impact we can have if we can support young people to understand how they can contribute to the digital economy and outline what we can do within our business to provide more digital workplace experiences.

Future Jobs Finder

Last year, we launched a free smartphone-based platform called Future Jobs Finder, designed to inspire and help young people understand their strengths and skills and find the right job opportunity in the digital economy.

Supporting education and building skills

Through our local operating companies and Foundations, Vodafone has also launched a number of programmes that help young adults develop their skills, including digital ones, and support the development of young entrepreneurs. The following provides some examples of the programmes we have around the world.


Through its Campus Lab initiative, Vodafone Spain has developed an online innovation platform where young people from different disciplines can work together to solve different challenges. The winners receive a €20,000 prize alongside mentoring to develop their idea.

South Africa

Vodacom’s flagship mobile education (mEducation) programme, developed in partnership with the South African Department of Basic Education, has provided ICT (information and communication technology) equipment and free internet access to 3,000 schools and 92 teacher centres across South Africa. In addition, over 251,000 teachers have been trained on the use of ICT in the classroom. Vodacom has also entered into partnerships with 19 universities to provide free access to curriculum content they provide. More than 619,000 learners have had free access to quality digital educational content through the Vodacom e-School.


Vodafone Italy has worked with the Ministry of Education to design a work experience programme, Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro, to reach 2,000 students in 25 schools across the country. Employee volunteers go to the schools for a day, where they guide and support students aged 15–16 on their possible future careers. The Future Jobs Finder tool is introduced to students so they can discover their digital opportunities and participate in workshops to help them find the right career.


The Vodafone Egypt Foundation has launched Knowledge is Power Schools, building on its adult literacy programme, Knowledge is Power. This programme is focused on helping public primary schools support pupils, teachers and parents through e-learning modules for the classroom. This includes literacy ICT activities to build pupils’ confidence. The programme also provides teacher training and supports parents with literacy and vocational training classes. The project is now active in 100 schools. It has reached 50,000 students, 2,500 teachers and 7,000 parents.


In Kenya, the M-Pesa Foundation Academy is a state-of-the-art, mixed boarding high school aimed at providing an education for talented but economically disadvantaged students with leadership potential. Since 2003, through its two charitable arms, the Safaricom and M-Pesa Foundations, Safaricom has impacted over 1.2 million learners by supporting primary, secondary and vocational training institutions across the country.


In August 2018, the Vodafone Ghana Foundation launched a national coding programme to provide training for young people on coding basics. Since launch, 400 people have participated in the programme, which has an ambition to reach 10,000 young people by 2023.

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.


  1. The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, 2018
  2. EU Commission, 2018
  3. Vodafone/ YouGov ‘The State of iGen’ research 2017