On 15th November 2022, the Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre in Sintra, Portugal, opened its doors for a conference about building skills for a digital world. During the conference, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and Sintra City Council presented the results of Bytes4Future, a digital upskilling programme for youth who are currently out of employment, training or education.
Bytes4Future is based in Sintra, Portugal, where employment opportunities are limited, particularly for women and vulnerable groups. AKF launched Bytes4Future in December 2020 to enhance digital programming skills of young people who are in vulnerable situations or unemployed. As well as developing hard skills like coding, students are also able to improve their English and grow their knowledge in multimedia image and audio-visual communication, as well as access support whilst applying for jobs in the tech sector.
More than 200 youth (25% women) have graduated as junior full stack developers through the programme, with 98% finding employment within six months of graduating.
“Through the training, I’ve realised the power I have in changing my future.”
Monique – Bytes4Future alumni
At the ‘Skills of the Future in a Digital World’ conference in Sintra, Prince Rahim Aga Khan joined the Mayor of Sintra, Basílio Horta, the President of the Foundation for Science and Technology, Madalena Alves and other experts to learn about the success of the Bytes4Future programme. Two alumni spoke about what the Bytes4Future programme had meant for them and shared their experiences of working in the digital sector following their training. Attendees of the conference next took part in a roundtable about future skills and emerging trends and AKF shared its plans to scale up the Bytes4Future programme. The closing remarks were delivered by Filipe Almeida, Chair of the Portugal Social Innovation Managing Authority, and by Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal.
Bytes4Future will next expand its response to youth in other geographies and in new areas of technology. The team is developing a curriculum in Data and Business Analytics, to be rolled out in the next cohort. AKF is scaling up by training more trainers, and is using a digital platform to support participants and provide remote bootcamp delivery. Bytes4Future will expand to Porto later this year and to Lisbon in 2023, remaining in Sintra for another three years.
The event was broadcast live and can be viewed on AKF Portugal’s Facebook page.
With special thanks to Sintra City Council, Portugal Inovação Social, RunCodeSchool, ETIC (School of Technology, Image and Communication) and Mind to Learn.