Our contribution to society

Our commitment to closing the digital divide

With 30% of jobs at risk of automation by 2030, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that one of Canada’s most pressing challenges is the growing mismatch between the skills people have and those needed for the digital word. 

The societal ramifications of this are profound including job loss, social fracturing, and widening inequality.

Some groups are especially at risk. Women, older workers, and those living in rural areas are given less opportunity to learn new skills, but the biggest barrier is someone’s level of education.

That’s why we’re committing $150 million over the next three years to upskill our 7,850 people to be future ready and to share their knowledge to support clients and communities. In doing so, our goal is to reach 1 million people and NPOs across Canada.

Without urgent attention, many more people risk being left behind and society will become more divided.

People with access to technology and training benefit very quickly, while those that don’t fall further behind. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Everyone should be able to live, learn, work and participate in the digital world

60% of the world’s population remains excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy

*As estimated by The World Bank

Our commitment

We’re committed to providing training to 1 million people and NGOs across Canada to help them maximize their potential.

Jobs are changing, driven by the impact of breakthrough technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence, robotics to augmented reality and blockchain. The rate of change is occurring faster than ever anticipated. What and how we learn needs to transform.

Through our investment in education and skills building - from financial literacy to technical skills and mentoring - we're helping people to thrive by preparing them for the jobs of the future and the digital world.

NGOs are trusted to deliver support when and where society needs it most. Working alongside NGOs, we’re helping to build a stronger, more transparent sector.

New technologies are leading to the creation of new business models, especially for startups unencumbered by the infrastructure of the previous century. Using the power of the marketplace to solve society's most urgent issues, social and micro enterprises have the ability to transform systems. We’re sharing our expertise to empower entrepreneurs to be the disruptors of tomorrow and we’re helping them scale for even more impact.

Here’s how we plan on reaching our goal of upskilling 1 million Canadians and NPOs:

Matching our people with NPO boards and empowering them to upskill others

Upskilling Board Directors and Management teams has a halo effect. We know there is a critical need for this training based on feedback and research coming out of the not-for-profit sector. The socio-economic impact could be exponential.

Empowering our volunteers to share knowledge

PwC’s open source digital literacy curriculum allows our people to share knowledge in areas like data analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence so people are better positioned to help solve key issues facing society now and in the future.

Solve for society in collaboration with our clients and governments by undertaking large scale pro-bono projects with scalable impact

This will help to ensure people in communities across Canada have access to practical solutions to their challenges and in an environment that helps them learn and develop.

Discover how we’ve already started to make an impact through our Young People Project

An initiative created to help address the issue of youth unemployment in Canada by using technology to provide digital literacy training, coaching and meaningful mentorship experiences for young people across Canada.

Learn more

Providing free interactive curriculum to educations

As part of our commitment to close the digital divide, we’re committed to bringing resources to educators and students that may not otherwise have access to them. We’ve collaborated with Code.org to create a technology skills curriculum for students. 

The curriculum is composed of easy-to-follow lesson plans accompanied by engaging activities on topics such as cybersecurity, data analytics, web and app development and internet of things. It helps students make connections between technology topics they might be interested in and potential careers in those areas.

Lesson summaries by topic are included below. Those lessons that require the use of computers are indicated with an asterisk (*).

PwC’s technology skills curriculum is free for all to use – please download, teach and share it widely.

Problem solving – Personal innovations

Getting students excited and connecting their own personal interests to computer science. Students are asked to share something they know a lot about and teach it to a small group. Groups make a “rapid” prototype of an innovative idea and share it. Students watch a brief video about computing innovations.

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Technology Foundations – What is a Computer?

Students develop a preliminary definition of a computer. To begin the lesson, the class will brainstorm possible definitions for a computer and place the results of this brainstorm on the board. Next, students will work in groups to sort pictures into “is a computer” or “is not a computer” on poster paper. Groups will place their posters around the room and briefly explain their motivations for choosing some of their most difficult categorizations.

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Data Science & Analytics – Problem Solving with Big Data

Students look at how data is collected and used by organizations to solve problems in the real world. Then students are presented two scenarios that could be solved using data and brainstorm the types of data they would want to solve them and how they could collect the data. Each problem is designed to reflect a real-world service that exists. After brainstorming, students watch a video about a real-world service and record notes about what data is collected by the real-world service and how it is used.

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Programming – Hour of code*

Learners of all ages get an introductory experience with coding and computer science and the potential careers these skills can lead to. Students have the opportunity to choose a number of Hour of Code lessons from Minecraft to Star Wars to Frozen. All lessons provide the opportunity for students to learn the basics of coding in a fun and engaging way.

*Lesson requires students to use computers.

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Web Development – Creating webpages*

Students learn the basics of creating webpages using HTML and CSS coding languages through an online tutorial. HTML is the markup language that you surround content with, to tell browsers about headings, lists, tables, etc. CSS is the stylesheet language that you style the page with, to tell browsers to change the color, font, layout, and more. With this lesson, students are able to use these languages and see these changes come to life on sample webpages.

*Lesson requires students to use computers.

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App Development – User interfaces

Students look an important phase of app design - prototyping a product that attempts to address user needs. In teams, students examine a paper prototype for a chat app called "Txt Ur Grndkdz". Through using this paper prototype, students get a chance to see how a simple paper prototype can be used to quickly test ideas and assumptions before we ever get to the computer. After "using" the provided prototype students begin to identify ways to improve the next iteration.

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App Development – Intro to App Lab (students 13+)*

This tutorial is designed to quickly introduce the App Lab programming environment as a powerful tool for building and sharing apps. The tutorial teaches students to create and control buttons, text, images, sounds, and screens in JavaScript using either blocks or text. At the end of the tutorial students are given time to either extend a project they started building into a "Choose Your Own Adventure", "Greeting Card", or "Personality Quiz" app. They can also continue on to build more projects featured on the code.org/applab page.

*Lesson requires students to use computers.

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Cybersecurity – Simple Encryption*

Students are introduced to the need for encryption and simple techniques for breaking (or cracking) secret messages. Students try their own hand at cracking a message encoded with the classic Caesar cipher and also a Random Substitution Cipher. The most important aspect of this lesson is to understand how and why encryption plays a role in all of our lives every day on the Internet, and that making good encryption is not trivial.

*Lesson requires students to use computers.

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Internet of Things – User centre design

This lesson will guide students through an abbreviated version of the design process they will be seeing throughout this unit. Students first brainstorm a list of potential users of smart clothing. As a class, they then group these ideas into broad categories and each group will choose one category of user. Groups repeat this process to brainstorm needs or concerns of their user, eventually categorizing these needs and choosing one to focus on. Finally, students design a piece of smart clothing, using the specific needs and concerns they brainstormed to guide their decision making.

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