Digital Heroes

Supporting refugees to develop in-demand digital skills

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated that by mid-2022 there would be 32 million refugees worldwide, which was an increase of 24 per cent from the end of 2021.1

When settling into a new country, refugees can face many challenges as they navigate new surroundings, culture and integration into their new country. The 1951 Refugee Convention outlines rights for refugees which include the right to education and the right to decent work.2

Launched by PwC Middle East, the Digital Heroes programme was designed to support disadvantaged individuals including refugees 18-24 year olds to develop and enhance their digital acumen and skills to support their journey to employment and/or further academic opportunities.

Digital Heroes supports PwC’s global initiative New world. New skills which believes that everyone should be able to live, learn, work and participate in the digital age.

“A few weeks ago, I was accepted into one of the top colleges in the US, with a full scholarship. This is definitely a turning point in my life, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Ahmed, Syrian student

Digital Heroes is a four week digital upskilling programme offered to refugees across the Middle East region.

Students enrolled in the programme have the opportunity to acquire new in-demand digital skills through engaging on an global online digital learning platform, and the guidance and mentorship of PwC Middle East Digital Accelerators. Our Digital Accelerators are armed with the skills, knowledge and digital technology to help solve complex challenges. Trained with deeper experience in digital, agile thinking and problem solving, they are our community of change agents helping to drive adoption of new ways of working and deploying their skills to support communities where they live and work.

Supporting refugees to develop skills image - team at computer

Photo Credit : Blumont - Jordan

In collaboration with Phoenix Space, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to see a world where young people have equal opportunities to access quality STEM education. PwC Middle East and Phoenix Space developed the Digital Heroes programme which over the course of 4 weeks focuses on two mandatory subjects; Data literacy and PowerBI. To support the students throughout their learning and end of programme assessment, each student is assigned with a PwC Middle East Digital mentor to provide 1:1 support.

“I am extremely proud of my participation in the digital heroes program where we mentored and upskilled refugees in Zaatari camp and other locations, on core skills needed in the market.”

Ahmad Assali, Tax Senior Manager, PwC Palestine

PwC Middle East’s first Digital Heroes cohort included 30 students from Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and other neighbouring countries. The students participated in over 40 hours of digital online course work which resulted with the students receiving a certificate of recognition from PwC Middle East as well as an officially recognised certification from Kubicle to support them in their career progression.

Some students went on to seek further education opportunities with local colleges and universities.

Given the success of the first cohort, the programme has recently completed its second series with 40 students completing the programme. There is the potential to expand the programme across Europe.

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Colm Kelly

Colm Kelly

Global Corporate Sustainability Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited

Bethan Grillo

Bethan Grillo

Global Corporate Sustainability Managing Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited