This content is part of JA Europe‘s Knowledge Network on New Europe
JA Europe and AT&T are working to empower the next generation of IT‐driven innovators, by building key competences in entrepreneurship and business. We asked 5 questions to Peter Daly, VP Global Service Management at AT&T.
AT&T supports Junior Achievement entrepreneurship and employability programmes across Europe, equipping young people with the skills they need to get a job or start a business. Since 2013, JA Europe and AT&T have developed a strong relationship, working closely to deliver inspiring business and enterprise programmes to young people across Europe. In which way did you impact those young people?
“We like to think AT&T’s volunteers impact the students and young people in many ways. We’ve received some fantastic testimonials to that effect. Through 1 to 1 mentoring engagements, to skills workshops, job shadowing, career coaching, business experience workshops and entrepreneurial programme support we have provided over 300 opportunities to more than 10,000 students to further their academic and career skills”.
Following the success of previous editions, AT&T and JA Europe are expand the scope of their activities, increasing the scope and number of programmes. Why do you focus on those countries and what is your ultimate objective?
“AT&T and JA have programmes in 8 countries – UK, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia etc …. The answer is fairly simple, we encourage our employees to volunteer in any country where we have a material presence and can sustain a quality programme. Working with the JA in country teams we have rapidly mobilized new countries as the volunteering bug has spread. Special thanks should go to the volunteer leadership teams in country for their energy, ideas and commitment”.
The programmes are implemented thanks to local AT&T and JA Europe offices and engage over a large number of AT&T volunteers. What is their role in the programmes? Why do you believe skills-based volunteering is crucial in the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education?
“Skills-based volunteering is a crucial part of the development cycle as students move from academia to the practical application of their interests in the work place. Invariably they are fascinated to learn about the realities of how the world of work really operates and who better to coach and teach them than people who have made that journey.
Volunteers are giving of their expertise and running programmes to support students through career and education choices. Mentoring and work experience programmes feature significantly in what we do. With the support of 746 AT&T volunteers, more than 7,700 students were given the opportunity to participate in 218 Employability and Entrepreneurial programmes and activities in 2013-2016.
Firstly it’s for the students. Volunteers want to give back or make a difference. We find that once we get them volunteering once, they’re hooked. It speaks volumes”.
Why is AT&T investing so much in entrepreneurship education? What can you/businesses in general do more to support future generation?
“We invest in entrepreneurship education for several reasons. AT&T is passionate about giving back and giving young people the best opportunities. Through AT&T’s Aspire initiative alongside JA Europe we are able to invest time and money keeping young people in education, give them employability skills and experiences to help make informed decisions about further education and careers.
You can’t complain about the absence of talent if you haven’t done anything about it.
In terms of our industry sector it is well known that STEM skills are in high demand in tomorrow’s economy, a fundamental derivative of innovation”.
You have yourself be personally involved in several activities. You namely took part in the European Company of the Year Competition last year in Switzerland. Can you share your experience?
“In short, it was an uplifting experience. To see these young entrepreneurs take their ideas from concept to genuine reality and demonstrate their passion, skill and business acumen was impressive. As the judging panel for AT&T’s Innovation award it was clear in our interactions with the finalists that they had that business, innovation and entrepreneurship impressive to hear the entrepreneurs articulate.”