Accenture employees across 56 countries have pledged to complete more than 10,000 Hours of Code and lead coding tutorial sessions around the world during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 4-10, as part of the company’s commitment to helping students around the world build computer and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.
This year Accenture is leading with the talent and energy of our people, pledging more than 2,000 hours to lead or volunteer at local events in their communities, joining forces with teachers and Code.org to help students learn coding and computer science skills. This follows Accenture’s recently announced pledge of US$10 million to support initiatives to expand STEM and computer science education through Internet Association, a group that represents global internet companies on matters of public policy.
Here in South Africa, Accenture employees highlighted their commitment to fostering local youths’ digital skills by involving learners from the townships of Alexandra and Diepsloot in a year-long coding programme. The project saw learners aged between 7 and 17 from the Southern Africa Youth Project and Alexandra Gunners football club taught coding skills by Accenture employees twice monthly at Accenture’s Harrowdene offices in Johannesburg. The December 9 marked graduation day for the programme’s approximately 40 learners and formed the culmination of Accenture SA’s Hour of Code activities.
Khethiwe Nkuna, Corporate Citizenship Lead at Accenture, believes that creating sustainable employment opportunities for South Africa’s youth requires collaboration across organisations and industries. By equipping learners with skills that are becoming ever more important in the digital economy, Accenture SA highlighted its commitment to furthering that goal.
“Technology is creating jobs that didn’t even exist five years ago and learning to code can transform the trajectory of a student’s life and career,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology & innovation officer and ‘chief coder.’ “As part of our commitment to working with Code.org to prepare young people for the digital economy, Accenture employees last year dedicated more than 10,000 hours to Hour of Code, inspiring more than 100,000 students around the world to learn basic coding skills. We’ve seen the impact that Code.org is having on students and this year we’re doing more to support that — more hours and more classroom sessions to spark an interest in working with the technologies of tomorrow.”
Hour of Code was launched in 2013 by Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. The program reaches millions of students through a one-hour introduction to coding and computer science. For the third straight year, Accenture is teaming with Code.org on Hour of Code and other STEM-related educational initiatives. New this year, Accenture Technology harnessed its internal expertise to create a coding tutorial that gives students a better understanding of artificial intelligence (AI). Students will discover how various AI techniques can teach a robot to explore a new planet – including recognizing animals and plants, understanding a new language, and conversing with inhabitants.
“The Hour of Code campaign has already led to more than 450 million hours of code being completed– it’s mind-boggling. To date at least one out of every 10 students worldwide has participated in the Hour of Code program,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO of Code.org. “This year, we are asking for people to not only do an hour of code, but go beyond one hour and think about what they can do to ensure that computer science education continues for years to come.”
As part of this year’s Hour of Code collaboration, Accenture executives will lead Hour of Code activities around the world. Among the executives participating are:
- Yves Bernaert, a senior managing director with Accenture Technology, will host students at Station F, a start-up incubator in Paris.
- Jo Deblaere, Accenture’s chief operating officer, will host students for an Hour of Code event at the Accenture office in Amsterdam.
- Ambe Tierro, a senior managing director in the Philippines, will host students at the Accenture Liquid Studio in Manila.
- Mohan Sekhar, a senior managing director in the Accenture Technology Centers in India, will host students at an Accenture office in Bangalore.
- Christy Sovereign, Minneapolis office senior managing director, will be participating in a special Hour of Code event working with Robbinsdale Cooper High School student athletes to learn about the future of technology and sports, including a special session on how to build and fly a drone.