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.

What BT did

BT identified a concept known as the ‘The Tech Literacy Paradox’: Young people being surrounded by technology, but having no idea how it works. Young people may look digital savvy but their knowledge is only screen-deep.

BT recognised that many kids in school are simply not inspired at the thought of a tech career and yet increasingly every job has a digital element. To address this, BT announced a set of long-term ambitions in 2015, one of which is to help build a culture of Tech Literacy for the nation.

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

BT worked in partnership with a number of organisations to develop educational initiatives including: Barefoot Computing and Time to Code, for primary school children; Work Ready programme targeting 16-24 year olds; BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE), targeting post-primary pupils; and Get Connected.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • 97% of volunteers say volunteering on the Tech Literacy programme makes them proud to work for BT
  • 100% of volunteers would encourage other employees to take part in the Tech Literacy programme
  • 93% of volunteers say their experience was positive Educational/society benefits include:
  • 42% of NI primary schools are engaged in the Barefoot Computing programme
  • 300 pupils were inspired to develop IT skills through Time to Code
  • 29 NEET young people have completed the Work Ready programme
    • 66% are now in employment
    • 34% either returned to further education or in the process of interviews
  • Saving the public purse an immediate minimum of £83k
  • Winners of BTYSTE go on to take part in the European Young Scientist, raising the aspirations of participants for learning and careers they might never have considered

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