All DofE young people can benefit from new free courses

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and IBM have announced a new partnership that will give all young people doing their DofE the chance to benefit from thousands of free online technology and professional skills courses on the IBM SkillsBuild programme. 

Charity DofE is working to widen access to as many young people as possible – with a focus on removing barriers to participation for marginalised young people, such as those facing poverty or those who have additional needs. 

A record-breaking 323,676 started their DofE last year – with more than 530,000 actively taking part in schools, colleges, community organisations, prisons and more, all over the UK. 

The mission of IBM SkillsBuild is to ‘bring free learning to anyone, anywhere–- especially under-represented communities–- so that every person, no matter their circumstances can prepare for a career they’ll love’. Aimed at people aged 14 and over, it offers digital learning in the technical and professional skills that are needed by employers today.  

Through the IBM SkillsBuild programme, DofE participants will now be able to complete thousands of free pieces of learning content, courses and certifications, which can count towards the skills section of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. 

The collaboration has been initiated by consulting leader, IBM UK’s, corporate social responsibility team, who have all achieved one or more DofE Awards themselves. One team member was a secondary school DofE Leader and continues to support young people as a DofE volunteer today. 

The team approached the DofE based on their positive experiences of how working towards their awards helped them develop vital skills, resilience and self-belief which they took into the workplace. This is the first partnership of its kind for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award charity – working with a technology and consulting leader to deliver free skills and training to all. 

To do their DofE, young people aged 14-24 choose their own activities to complete physical, skills and volunteering sections, an expedition and a residential at gold level. 

They have fun, discover new passions, give back to their communities, grow in resilience and self-belief, and develop valuable skills for the workplace – while working towards a widely recognised and respected award.  

Through IBM SkillsBuild, they can choose from courses such as preparing for your first job, artificial intelligence (AI) fundamentals, and  cybersecurity fundamentals – to create their own bespoke IBM SkillsBuild learning journeys, contributing to their DofE Skills section. 

DofE leaders can also set up a group licence, with young people’s progress and achievement tracked within IBM SkillsBuild. 

Ruth Marvel, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “We passionately believe that, with the right opportunities and tools, young people’s potential is limitless. Every young person should have access to opportunities to grow their skills and capabilities outside the classroom, whatever their circumstances, so they can fulfil their potential and set themselves up to succeed.

“We’re so excited to be collaborating with IBM United Kingdom Limited. By opening up access to IBM SkillsBuild to our participants, we’ll give hundreds of thousands of young people a fantastic, accessible way to discover new interests, build work-ready skills and gain digital credentials to help them stand out in future.” 

Vikki Bradney Spencer, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, IBM UK, said:“I loved taking part in DofE when I was younger and so am delighted to be partnering with them through IBM SkillsBuild. It is so important to make sure that you have the chance to develop skills, outside of school, to be work-ready. 

“And whatever your career direction – technical or not – you will need digital skills. IBM SkillsBuild gives you a chance to explore emerging tech and workplace skills to see what you like, and you can use the badges on your CVs with any potential employer as a way to stand out and prove your passion to grow.” 

You may also like...