BT | NI Responsible Business Awards | Business in the Community


BT is one of the world’s leading communications services companies, serving the broadband, phone, TV and mobile needs of customers in the UK and 180 countries worldwide.


In Northern Ireland, it is the largest communications provider for consumers, and small and medium businesses (SMEs). It is also a trusted networked IT services partner of government.

The work it does – helping people to communicate better – drives its approach to corporate responsibility and the continued transformation of its business in a way that benefits BT, its customers, society and the environment.

What BT did

BT recognises the Tech Literacy Paradox: Young people may look digital savvy but their knowledge is only screen-deep.

In March 2015, BT Group CEO Gavin Patterson announced a set of long-term ambitions, one of which is to help build a culture of Tech Literacy for the nation.

It’s firmly embedded in its wider Purposeful Business strategy (CSR programme) and one of its six 2020 ambitions – to reach five million children through its Tech Literacy programme.

This programme focuses on three crunch-points in young people’s lives: 1. Primary Education, 2. Teenage years and 3. Transition to work.

The Barefoot project was launched in NI in December 2016 with the then Minister for Education and BT’s local managing director.

Barefoot provides primary school teachers with free teaching materials to help them teach computer science across the curriculum, and offers free in-school workshops, delivered by professionally trained volunteers to bring alive resources and build teacher confidence.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Barefoot is available to all primary schools in the UK, regardless of the diversity or the location of the school, the ability of the children, or the language predominantly used in the school
  • Barefoot has reached more than 1.6 million children and supported over 50 thousand teachers in the UK
  • 42% of schools in Northern Ireland have engaged with Barefoot
  • 95% of teachers say Barefoot has increased their confidence to teach computational thinking; 82% say it helps pupils work together more collaboratively; 96% say it improves pupil’s numeracy skills; and 69% say it improves pupil’s literacy skills
  • BT continues to promote its Purposeful Business strategy to internal stakeholders with over 990 employees in Northern Ireland volunteering nearly 22,000 hours

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