I’m proud to announce today that we’re bringing our global Circle the Schools program to Australia as part of our commitment to equality and giving back to our community.

Salesforce was founded with a vision for a different kind of company – to change the way the world does business and, at the same time, improve the state of the world. Our Ohana (our family) includes all of our employees, customers, partners and the community.

Providing students with access to technology skills

The students in our community require our support in navigating the changes brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We need to be active in ensuring technological advances don’t lead to inequality by acting now to advance equal opportunity in education.

Education is crucial for everyone in our society to have the best possible opportunity to succeed and live their best life. We believe education is the true equaliser for all.

That’s why I am very proud to be the executive sponsor for this program in Australia.

The Circle the Schools program brings resources to our schools and students by exposing students to the world of work – connecting them with experiences and mentors that open their eyes to the careers and industries available to them, right in their local community.

Each school will be matched with a Salesforce executive sponsor and a team of employees who will participate in volunteer activities throughout the year. All schools involved in the Circle the Schools program will receive:

  • A tailored action plan, with a minimum of four engagements per school, each year, aimed at meeting jointly-developed STEM education goals.

  • Salesforce employees’ volunteer time and funding to support initiatives.

Other examples of support that will be provided through the Circle the Schools program include Hour of Code sessions, leadership training for staff, career days and coaching with students.

Bridging the gap

We recently commissioned YouGov Galaxy Research to take a temperature check of recent high school graduates now at university. The research found 60% of tertiary students rated their high school as performing well in providing them with the technology and digital skills needed for the jobs of the future. However, 39% rated their school as performing poorly.

We want more students to leave school feeling like they’re armed with the skills they need to work in this new digital age. We believe that it's the role of corporate to support our amazing educators in delivering these skills and helping kids bridge the technology gap. That’s why I’ve charged the leaders in my own leadership team and across our business to get out into the community, adopt a school and work with them to find out how we can best improve the technology education for their students.

Salesforce has, and will continue to, work with non-profit Schools Plus to identify and connect with the nine initial schools we are targeting as part of the Circle the Schools 2018 program. Schools Plus connects schools in disadvantaged communities with donors that want to ensure students have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential.

I’m also looking forward to continuing our work with a phenomenal principal, Jennifer French from Casula High School in New South Wales. It’s an amazing school, with its own coding factory and highly engaged teachers and students. We have been working with Casula for some time and have seen great engagement and results throughout that time.

If you teach at a school that would benefit from the program, please get in touch.

Mark Innes is General Manager and Executive Vice President, APAC at Salesforce. Read more from Mark Innes.