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Solving the Workforce of the Future


Monday, 5th June 2017 at 8:44 am
Wendy Williams
The Atlassian Foundation has teamed up with DFAT and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help disadvantaged youth learn the skills they need to prepare them for the workforce of the future.


Monday, 5th June 2017
at 8:44 am
Wendy Williams


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Solving the Workforce of the Future
Monday, 5th June 2017 at 8:44 am

The Atlassian Foundation has teamed up with DFAT and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help disadvantaged youth learn the skills they need to prepare them for the workforce of the future.

Atlassian and DFAT have each contributed $1.4 million to the MIT-led Solve global challenge, Youth and the Workforce of the Future, which aims to crowd-source expertise and innovative ideas from around the globe to help prepare communities and governments for the future of work.

“Solvers” are being asked to come forward with innovative tools and strategies to guarantee disadvantaged young people under 24 from low socio-economic (income, wealth, and education) backgrounds are equipped with 21st century skills.

The most promising ideas will be awarded pilot funding, with the potential to be scaled up for regional application.

Atlassian head of foundation Mark Reading told Pro Bono News it “makes sense” to focus on equipping youth with the skills they’ll need in the future.

“The technology sector is at the forefront of the innovation that is creating so much good in the world. That innovation is also disrupting many traditional jobs,” Reading said.

“As a leading technology company focused on changing lives through education, we believe it makes sense for us to focus specifically on equipping youth with the skills they’ll need in the future.

“This focus also provides great opportunities for our 2,000-plus employees to actively contribute to achieving our goal.”

Reading said they hope the challenges will unearth innovative new approaches the team can get behind.

“We are already supporting a fantastic technology based education initiative – 40K – however we believe there must be other great initiatives out there that we don’t yet know about,” he said.

“Through Solve at MIT, we’re hoping to find other really innovative and impactful approaches to educating disadvantaged youth, so we can throw our weight behind them.”

He said the challenge aligned with Atlassian’s goal to help prepare 10 million disadvantaged youth for the workforce of the future, within 10 years.

“At Atlassian, we believe we can have the greatest impact by focusing on two areas – educating disadvantaged youth and inspiring other founders to use their business as a force for good,” Reading said.

“To date we have provided a lot of support to education initiatives in Cambodia, primarily through Room to Read. We know that in order to achieve our 10 million in 10 years goal we have to do more than we have done in the past and we need to do things differently. Specifically, we want to identify and then support world best-in-class examples of innovative, scalable, technology based approaches to education.”

Reading said by teaming up with MIT’s Solve initiative and DFAT’s Innovation Xchange they were avoiding “reinventing the wheel”.

“At Atlassian, we’re in the business of empowering teams. Given that we’re so focused on teams, it is no surprise we believe that to achieve our 10 million in 10 years goal we must team up with others. By teaming up with MIT’s Solve initiative and DFAT’s Innovation Xchange, we’re avoiding reinventing the wheel and we’re making great use of the strengths of the three partners,” he said.

“Through its Solve initiative, MIT has a great existing platform for identifying very innovative approaches to tackling big issues. It would be lunacy for us to reinvent the wheel when MIT already has such a great wheel that we can use by partnering with them. MIT also brings a huge amount of expertise in education and technology.”

“Solvers” are encouraged to submit their ideas by 1 August 2017.

Submissions can come from any country and activities can be focused upon addressing disadvantage in any country.

For more information about the challenge, including judging criteria see here.


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.


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