$1 million in grants announced for the UK’s future tech workforce

Non-profits School 21 and Ada will receive grants to ensure that the workforce of tomorrow is future-ready, no matter their background

Salesforce.org, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce has announced $1 million in grants to School 21 and Ada to train the UK’s educators and equip young people with the skills that will help them thrive in the 21st century. The grants to School 21 and Ada will be used to support new programmes at both institutions as they nurture the talent and leadership skills needed for the jobs of the future.

Valued at $500,000 each, the grants will support the School 21 Innovative Leadership Development Programme and the Ada Apprenticeship Scheme. The grants aim to help ensure the workforce of tomorrow is equipped with the skills and experience to enter the professional workforce, especially in tech careers.

Minister for Digital, Margot James, said: “Developing the next generation of tech talent is vital if we are to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy.”

“Through Salesforce.org’s grants and our Digital Strategy we will continue working with industry to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give some of the country’s brightest young minds the chance to learn digital skills and thrive in the future workplace.”

Ebony Frelix, EVP & Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce.org said: “At Salesforce.org, we’re focused on equality for all youth and work to support organisations that prepare leaders and arm the next generation with the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs. School 21 and Ada could not be better positioned to provide teacher training and nurture new talent for the UK’s workforce to ensure that young people have access to these opportunities regardless of their gender or background.”

Andrew Lawson, Executive Vice President and General Manager, UK, at Salesforce added: “When we talk about IT skills, the conversation often overlooks the teachers who are tasked with delivering the skills to the next generation. These grants will help ensure that the UK cements its place as a digital leader, by supporting teachers and students of all backgrounds, highlighting the range of exciting opportunities that technology presents. We are excited to be working with School 21 and Ada to support a better, more equal world for everyone.”

Developing the next generation of tech talent is vital if we are to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy.
– Margot James, Minister for Digital

Supporting teacher development and new learning models

School 21 is a pioneering 4–18 state school in Stratford, East London, for children from all backgrounds.

The grant will help create and launch the Innovative Leadership Development Programme (ILPD) to build courageous and innovative leadership within schools. It will be available for teachers at some of the most disadvantaged schools, providing them with tailored one-to-one coaching, experiential learning in authentic contexts, and peer review of leadership in practice. Crucially, it will help participants of the programme share their innovative practice across the education sector, in order to ultimately create systemic change.

Through open source online modules, the programme will also be scaled to reach teachers around the globe, supporting School 21’s vision to prepare children of all backgrounds for success in the 21st century.

Peter Hyman, Co-Founder of School 21 and Co-Director of Big Education, said: “We want schools to be filled with leaders who feel supported to take courageous decisions and implement innovative ideas for the benefit of their students. By investing in the school leaders of tomorrow through this programme, we will ensure more young people have access to an education fit for the 21st century.”

Accelerating apprenticeships for all

Ada, the National College of Digital Skills, is a specialist college which inspires the students of today to become the digital pioneers of tomorrow. Its apprenticeship programme creates opportunities for students of all backgrounds to learn relevant digital skills to pursue their dream jobs in the technology industry.

The grant will help Ada grow its apprenticeship programme, with the goal of recruiting 35% of apprentices from low-income backgrounds by 2019. Through new programmes, enhanced support for students and deeper employer relationships, the funds will help to increase the reach of Ada’s learning model and enroll 350 apprentices by the end of 2019.

Aligned with Salesforce.org’s ethos of creating equal opportunity for all, Ada will also support employers in designing their recruitment and selection practices to ensure more representation from diverse backgrounds. In addition, Ada will work with employers to develop plans for these individuals to promote their success once onboard.

Mark Smith, CEO at Ada said: “We are incredibly excited to partner with Salesforce.org to enable our students today to become the digital pioneers of tomorrow and support them in finding their dream job. Salesforce.org’s passion for ensuring people from all backgrounds and walks of life are given the same opportunities, completely chimes with our beliefs and the core value of our organisation to use technology as a tool for social mobility. We are stronger together and I’m excited to inspire the next generation of diverse entry-level tech talent by expanding the breadth of our apprenticeship programmes.”