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Accenture invests $5m in job skills of the world's underprivileged

Adrian Lajtha

Paris: Accenture has invested nearly $5 million in projects to improve the job prospects of underprivileged people around the world in the last few days, through its Skills to Succeed initiative.

Yesterday Accenture and the Accenture Foundations awarded Ashoka France a grant of $962,000 to help thousands of underprivileged people gain the job readiness and entrepreneurial skills they need to enter the workforce.

The three-year grant will help more than 17,000 people across Europe join the job market. It is part of Accenture's Skills to Succeed initiative, which hopes to equip 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.

Last week Accenture awarded Plan International an additional grant of $3.65 million — again over three years — to help provide approximately 7,100 disadvantaged young adults in Thailand and Indonesia with the technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills necessary to find employment or build a business. This grant brings Accenture's direct support to Plan to more than $5.5 million since 2011.

With its grant, Ashoka will identify four Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs specializing in employment and employability in France, Spain, Poland and Belgium. They will receive financing and pro bono consulting support from Accenture to rapidly expand and make their businesses sustainable, which should create approximately 7,200 jobs initially.

"Supporting Ashoka helps bring to life Accenture's commitment to building skills," said Adrian Lajtha, chief leadership officer at Accenture.

"We share Ashoka's commitment to making a significant, lasting impact on the long-term economic vitality and resilience of individuals, families and communities around the world."

The grant and pro bono support will also help 10,000 young people in France improve their employability prospects through the Ashoka Youth Venture (YV)program and an interactive online learning platform. The YV program builds awareness, understanding and motivation that support employment and business start-up prospects for young people. In the next year, YV will select, train and support more than 200 role models to provide young people with the opportunity to develop critical life skills by starting and leading their own community-minded club, organization or business that creates a positive impact.

"Young people in Europe face strong barriers to employment, and we remain committed to breaking those down," said Arnaud Mourot, Director of Ashoka Europe.

"Working with Accenture, we can provide the skills necessary for thousands of young people to find lasting employment or build their own businesses."

"Despite the rapidly growing economies of both Thailand and Indonesia, many young people continue to enter the job market lacking relevant skills and experience," said Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International.

"Accenture and Plan are working together to help ensure that young people have the skills and support to actively participate and share in the benefits of these growing nations."

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