Case studies

A step in the right direction

Deloitte tackles youth unemployment by scaling innovative education ideas

Since 2009, Deloitte has been committed to identifying and investing in innovative solutions that enhance access to education and employability. In FY2015, Deloitte contributed to education and skills activities, reaching 390,000 young people.

There are 75 million unemployed young people in the world, and the economic and social costs of this are immense. It’s an international challenge that requires the continued attention of government, nonprofits, and businesses to create effective solutions in a rapidly changing environment.

“By using and combining their core capabilities, these groups can have a tremendous impact on youth unemployment, inequality, and the skills gap that threaten social stability and economic progress,” says David Pearson, Deloitte Global Chief Sustainability Officer. “Deloitte and others in the business community have a specific and collective responsibility to promote the advancement of young people in society because of the growing needs for talented, skilled employees that will only get more acute as time goes on.”

Since 2009, Deloitte has been committed to identifying and investing in innovative solutions that enhance access to education and employability. In FY2015, Deloitte contributed more than 380,000 hours to education and skills activities, reaching more than 390,000 young people. “The core capability we bring to the table is the ability to scale solutions. This is how Deloitte member firms can make the greatest impact,” Pearson says. “We search the globe for great ideas, then we use Deloitte resources and relationships to help expand those ideas and drive outcomes that reach the most people possible.”

Finding successful solutions

Deloitte US leaders sought to recognize and support an innovative education organization that was achieving outcomes in the primary and secondary space, but may be facing challenges in scaling its programs. To identify the organization, Deloitte US launched the RightStep™ Innovation Prize in November 2014. Offering US$100,000 in cash, US$100,000 in pro bono services, and access to Deloitte US’s ecosystem of professionals volunteering support to the winner, the call for entrants attracted 116 nonprofit and for-profit organizations with a social mission in education.

The competition featured three rounds of intensive screenings and involved more than 100 Deloitte US professionals. In April 2015, five finalists presented to a group of judges, composed of senior Deloitte US leadership. Texas-based Reasoning Mind—focused on elevating student achievement on standardized math tests, improving attitudes toward mathematics, and increasing classroom concentration rates—was selected as the winner.

“With the launch of the RightStep™ Innovation Prize, Deloitte US is helping to deepen national relationships, increase the engagement of Deloitte US professionals, and invest in innovative, technology-based solutions that provide opportunities to transform education and the way that it’s delivered,” says Bill Copeland, Deloitte US Life Sciences & Health Care leader and corporate citizenship education champion. "The work we help scale will contribute to preparing today's students to be tomorrow's leaders, and will help address the chronic gap between low-income students and their peers.”

Focusing on employability

The Social Innovation Pioneers program at Deloitte UK is focusing its scaling capabilities this year on employability and job creation. The Pioneers program has a compelling track record of supporting socially innovative businesses, helping them grow to scale and become investment-ready. During the first three years of the program, more than 2,000 Deloitte UK people provided more than 15,000 hours of professional support.

Social Enterprise UK, an organization focused on helping social businesses grow, determined through an independent evaluation that the 58 businesses supported by the program have created more than 200 new jobs to date and realized annual revenue increases of 38 percent. More than a third of the organizations are suppliers or cooperative business partners with Deloitte UK. This has increased the diversity of its supply chain, widened access to talent recruitment, and helped it create innovative, client-facing solutions.

“To increase social impact and become more targeted with outcomes for the program, Deloitte UK elected this year to emphasize one priority social issue,” explains Claire Burton, head of Corporate Responsibility for Deloitte UK. “This year we’re concentrating on building employment skills and opportunities and are delighted to have selected 11 Pioneers with whom we aim to work collaboratively over the next 12 months.”

The chosen theme was identified using the Social Progress Index. The Index is produced each year by Social Progress Imperative (SPI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to measuring what matters most to people and society. The Index gauges the social and environmental well-being of 133 countries and helps drive the debate around how countries can measure progress beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to truly assess their national performance. Deloitte member firms around the globe are working closely with SPI to break new ground for measurement that is guiding policy decisions and social investment to drive sustainable growth.

2015 RightStep Innovation Prize finalists included Beyond12, iMentor, Strive for College, and uAspire—innovative education organizations that have made meaningful impacts in advancing education outcomes through technology.

Growing Hope

In China, a key challenge is equipping its sizable, rural youth population to be self-sufficient and contribute to the nation’s economic growth. “Our country has an aging population and is transitioning from an agrarian economy to urban economy,” explains Lawrence Chia, Honorable Chairman of Deloitte China Foundation. “So, our priorities are giving youth in rural communities who face disadvantages access to basic education, and preparing them to fulfill their aspirations and potential as individuals through local education and skills programs."

Deloitte China launched the Hubei Hope School Project in 2009 with a goal of building or renovating one school a year for five years in remote and underserved areas in the Hubei province. The firm met its goal with the completion of the fifth school in late 2014. More than 2,000 students and local teachers have benefited from access to education and better learning facilities.

“About 400 Deloitte China staff members have participated in the initiative, and the Hubei province government has recognized Deloitte China's contribution throughout the project,” says Kevin Ng, Secretary General of Deloitte China Foundation. “It is a perfect example of how we are able to take a good idea, turn it over to people, and let them grow it—providing opportunities for young people to learn and develop skills that will last a lifetime.”

“Deloitte”, “we”, “us”, and “our” refer to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. See additional information.

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Deloitte China professionals inaugurate the first Hope School in Xiangyang city, northwest of Hubei province, in 2010.
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