Unlocking the future through quality education

Future jobs will require future skills. Now is the right time to support young people in preparing for the future.

#MeetandCode #Amazon #DigitalSkills #BridgingTheGap

The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced due to the incorporation of machines in the workplace. On the other hand, thanks to the rapid adoption of technology, 97 million may emerge more adapted to the introduction of machines and algorithms.

For every five European people, two have no basic digital skills. To improve this number and to close the digital divide, Meet and Code set out on a mission six years ago to ensure that no young person is left behind and that today’s youth are skilled to take up the digital jobs of tomorrow.
Soft skills such as complex problem-solving and critical thinking, as well as hard skills like technology, design, and programming are all needed to take advantage of these job opportunities. By learning coding and robotics, youngsters can grow these skills all at once, which is why Meet and Code works with non-profit organizations and businesses to host creative and exciting workshops for youth across Europe, both in large metros and small villages.

To take this to the next level, the Meet and Code team is proud to announce that Amazon has come on board as a local partner in six countries across Europe to ensure that youth from all walks of life, especially those who are underserved and underrepresented, can learn digital skills.
Not only does Amazon provide funding to organizations like Meet and Code, but they also offer several free resources for students and young programmers. With Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) for example, the company provides students with digital classroom chats, including a fun three-hour Amazon Cyber Robotics challenge where they can learn to code and discover Computer Science in English, French, and German.

“We want to support tech projects such as Meet and Code so that every child, teenager, and young person, regardless of background, can access coding and programming,” says Michael Vollmann, Head of CSR at Amazon, Germany. “We aim to empower young talent to use technology so that they can help shape their futures and partnering with this initiative allows us to do this.”

Ensuring equal opportunities for those in need
The Amazon team was particularly inspired by one of the Meet and Code events last year by Young GarageLab e.V. Educational Workshop for Makers in Cologne and Duisburg. This program saw fifth graders enjoying encounters with coding. Drawing with code is excellent for developing digital skills in a playful way.

For years, Amazon has encouraged its various initiatives and programs to promote science, tech, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills across Europe. Recently, the company worked in countries around the continent to donate school supplies to help young Ukrainian refugees prepare for the new school year. Volunteers also helped to set up multimedia centres with Amazon devices to ensure that these children have access to language and learning support.

Partnerships for the Goals
Amazon has been a local partner to Meet and Code in Germany since 2021, and this year it has expanded its partnership to include working with Meet and Code in Austria, France, Italy, Poland, and Spain with the aim of supporting children and young people on their journey toward a digital future.

“We hope this alliance will create new opportunities and extend greater access to coding and programming amongst disadvantaged youth. We want to make inclusion the norm in the tech industry and programming is a powerful tool to do just that,” shares Vollmann.

Meet and Code is aligned with EU Code Week, which kicks off from the 8th to the 23rd of October to further our reach. This initiative is supported by the European Union Commission, which has recognised that young people form a large part of the target to ensure that 80% of European population is digitally skilled by the end of 2030. There are free online challenges for those who wish to participate independently, in the classroom, or with colleagues and friends. Each EU Code Week Challenge comes with instructions and is suitable for all age groups. The challenges vary from beginner to advanced level and participants can choose whatever tools and technologies they like to complete the challenge.

“Unfortunately, there is a huge digital skills gap in the world, and we all need to work hand-in-hand to change the situation,” notes Annika Östergren Pofantis, Specialist for Digital Economy and Skills at the European Commission and Coordinator of EU Code Week. “Our initiative is a chance for all schools, organizations, businesses, politicians, and tech enthusiasts to put the spotlight on why computational thinking, coding, and other digital skills are important for everyone to learn.”
“Every person and organization brings something different to the table,” she adds. “Meet and Code, for example, provides funding for activity organizers with great ideas but who lack access to funding. This is very helpful to further extend digital skills development across the continent”

“Young people will be able to participate in the 97 million new digital jobs that the World Economic Forum predicts for the near future,” concludes Clemens Frede, Managing Director from Haus des Stiftens, one of Meet and Code’s Founding Partners. “With Amazon’s partnership and working alongside EU Code Week, we are able to continue our journey towards ensuring that digital upskilling is even more inclusive and that no one is left behind.”