Digital Opportunity Trust, IBM team up to provide digital and career skills for youth


Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) is announcing a timely collaboration with IBM to empower young women and men in Africa and the Middle East with the digital skills, workforce-readiness proficiencies, and business knowledge needed for successful careers, social well-being and economic growth.

DOT will work with local organisations to help young people tap into IBM’s free Open P-TECH’s ( career-readiness curricula. The platform equips learners with competencies in foundational technologies used in all industries – such as AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity – along with professional workplace skills like design-thinking, teaming, and presentations.

Together, the organisations will aim to reach at least 40,000 young people in eight countries – Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Jordan and Lebanon. 70% of the youth will be young women.

The pandemic has laid bare the gaps and inequitable access to the digital literacy, employment and entrepreneurship skills that youth require to innovate, compete for jobs, or start businesses in a digital economy. The gender gap is extreme – with women over 50% less likely to be online than men in least developed countries, where 390 million women remain unconnected.

Poised to change this are IBM’s new Open P-TECH digital education platform with its potential to scale within formal and informal education systems, and the support of DOT’s network of young leaders with the facilitation, coaching and peer-to-peer talents that are critical to the effectiveness, application and retention of online learning.

“Providing career skills to youth, particularly young women and those from under-resourced communities, can be life-changing,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President and Global Head-Corporate Social Responsibility. With resources like IBM Open P-Tech bolstered by the efforts of organisations like Digital Opportunity Trust, we aim to advance equity and create access to opportunity.”

The collaboration brings together complementary experience and assets: IBM with its technology and business expertise, and DOT with its extensive channels to youth and local community ecosystems. DOT’s research shows that young people with these skills become the leaders and contributors to the digital transformation of their communities, countries and economies.

DOT Founder and CEO Janet Longmore said: “DOT and IBM have a history of working together and developing the mutual trust that underpins successful collaboration. This partnership, around the Open P-TECH platform, is an example of how the private sector and a social enterprise with ‘feet on the street’ can mobilise their assets to benefit youth and young women in marginalised, rural and remote communities. We share a belief that youth want opportunities to be the innovators and catalysts of digital transformation, shaping the future of work in an inclusive world”.

Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) works with youth, the private sector, governments and community-based organisations toward a collaborative vision of communities around the world shaped by daring social innovators. As an international organisation with locally-managed offices in Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania, DOT has worked in 25 countries as development innovators and catalysts since being founded in 2001. DOT’s growing network of 6,000 local youth have created opportunities for over 1 million people in communities across Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Indigenous Canada.

Open P-TECH is a digital education platform focused on workplace learning and digital skills. The platform, building on the industry-leading P-TECH programme, equips learners with foundational technology competencies. Training in technologies such as AI, cloud-computing and cybersecurity, along with professional skills like design-thinking which are highly valued in the market set Open P-TECH apart.

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