06 February 2023
By Livia Martinescu
In our Government AI Readiness Index 2022, we argue that a government depends on a good supply of AI tools from the country’s technology sector. The sector not only needs to have high innovation capacity, underpinned by a business environment that supports entrepreneurship and a good flow of research and development spending but also requires good levels of human capital. The skills and education of the people working in this sector are crucial for its successful development.
Globally, advancements towards AI-ready technology sectors have led to an explosion in the need for human capital with the right skills to support the development of this industry. Intel is playing a major role in laying the groundwork for widespread AI development and implementation by empowering youth with AI technological and social skills in an inclusive way through their Intel® AI for Youth Program; it is helping young students to enter the future job market and solve the problems they will encounter in their societies.
Intel rolled out Intel Digital Readiness Programs globally in partnership with government, academia, civil society, and industry stakeholders as a shared-value initiative to demystify and democratise emerging technologies. Intel Digital Readiness Programs empower non-technical audiences with the appropriate skill sets, mindsets, toolsets, and opportunities to use technology impactfully and responsibly in the AI-fuelled world. As part of its Digital Readiness portfolio, the Intel® AI for Youth Program is a comprehensive AI readiness study program that aims to equip young people (ages 13~19) with AI technological and social skills in an inclusive way. Intel® AI for Youth Program was launched in 2019 and is currently available across 24 countries worldwide.
This past year, we have worked with Intel to conduct an impact evaluation of the Intel® AI for Youth Program across nine participating countries. To evaluate its impact and effectiveness, we created surveys targeting students who have completed the Program, as well as three additional target groups who are closely involved in its delivery: lead coaches, coaches, and school administrators.
Approximately 75% of the students participating in our study either developed plans for, or completed, an AI project designed to solve a real-world problem as part of their Intel® AI for Youth studies. 66% of participating students felt confident they could use their new AI skills to create an AI project that could have a positive impact on their society. 79% of students felt that they would enjoy greater professional opportunities as a result of completing the Intel® AI for Youth Program. 87% of coaches participating in the survey agreed that the Intel® AI for Youth Program provided their students with skills relevant to the future job market, while 100% of surveyed school administrators reported that their students were better prepared for their future careers as a consequence of attending the course.
Our evaluation identifies a series of policy recommendations to continue to drive the success of the Intel® AI for Youth Program into future years. They represent broad-reaching ambitions that require national government support to ensure that courses like the Intel® AI for Youth Program have the best chance of improving the career prospects of young people and the overall growth of their Ai-ready technology sectors.
We recommend that:
Governments with an ambition to engender a future workforce with practical AI skills should invest in high-quality AI lab infrastructure, including the latest computing devices, hardware, and software, required to allow young people to learn and apply AI skills.
There should be a direct – and funded – link at the national level between growth in AI careers and investment in AI education for young people.
National investment in AI skills should include programmes dedicated to beginners and non-technologically focused young audiences.
In providing AI education opportunities for young people, governments and institutions should ensure that young people learning about AI have the opportunity to learn directly from coaches, mentors, and teachers.
Governments should inspire new generations of AI students by showcasing the impact of youth AI projects and initiatives.