Accenture backs WorkerTech

Written by Julian Blake, Editor at DigitalAgenda

Accenture has thrown its weight behind a joint Bethnal Green Ventures-Resolution Trust ‘WorkerTech’ partnership supporting tech ventures to create work opportunities for the low-wage workforce.

workertechProfessional services giant Accenture has joined tech-for-good investor Bethnal Green Ventures and employment think tank Resolution Trust to support their WorkerTech partnership, backing tech innovations that help improve work prospects for people on low incomes.

The partnership, launched in 2016, has already created a Future of Fair Work Challenge hack weekend and incubated three WorkerTech startups – Labour xchange, Organise and Workerbird – which BGV says has had a combined positive impact on over 140,000 workers lives so far.

The extra support from Accenture will allow BGV and Resolution Trust to fund more WorkerTech ventures through its accelerator programme – specifically focusing on equipping workers with in-demand skills, confidence and the right tools to ultimately help them gain or maintain a sustainable income.

Applications for the accelerator programme closed in July, with the new cohort due to start this autumn.

Accenture is sponsoring a new WorkerTech event series launching this autumn – in London, Bristol and Manchester – with the aim of building a community interested in exploring new technology approaches “to improve the prospects and power of workers”, BGV said this week. The event dates are:

15 October, London: good work in the gig economy – how can flexible work benefit workers as well as employers. 

20 November, Bristol: worker voice and empowerment – unions and organising in the digital age

28 November, Manchester: skilling the future workforce – preparing workers for the jobs of the future.

Accenture director of corporate corporate citizenship Camilla Drejer said: “Supporting workers’ transitions to new career pathways reduces the likelihood, duration and after-effects of job displacement, including lost wages, skill erosion, diminished productivity and use of public resources.

“Workers not only need to understand their options, they must also have the confidence to act. Through this partnership with BGV and Resolution Trust we hope to find innovative tech ideas that support workers through such transitions.”

In a blog post this week, BGV partner Jess Stacey said: “This is an exciting opportunity to build the WorkerTech community, and extend the support available for ventures that are transforming the world of work, for good.”

Stacey highlighted this month’s IPPR report, estimating over 3m people in the UK now in insecure work, low-paid self-employment or working on a zero-hours contract. “While this has contributed to low unemployment, the IPPR shows we still have 6m people in the UK earning under the living wage,” she said.

Tech change, combined with generations moving in and out of the workforce, is disrupting labour markets and fundamentally altering the future of work. A World Economic Forum report states 65% of children starting school today will hold jobs that don’t exist yet, with many workers already active in the job market needing to adapt to avoid displacement and to thrive in the rapidly changing workplace.

“We believe more innovation is needed in this area, and that technology could be used to improve access to skill development, career advice and the opportunities to progress at work, as well as increasing bargaining power and making flexibility beneficial for workers as well as employers,” Stacey added.

WorkerTech meetup group now convenes regularly – if you’re working on a tech product or service to create better work, sign up now or email [email protected].

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