Nokia awards over 300 scholarships to improve representation in the technology industry

Nokia has joined forces with digital talent transformation platform Udacity and the Blacks in Technology Foundation (BIT Foundation) to help address a current challenge: the lack of diversity in the tech industry. This collaboration is an integral part of Nokia corporate social programs to drive greater diversity and inclusion and contributes to our belief that businesses and industries should better reflect the world around them. The program offers over 300 scholarships, with a focus on empowering students and career changers from underrepresented communities.

According to the BIT Foundation, Black people comprise only 3% of employees in the top 75 Silicon Valley tech companies compared to 24% of the total workforce in the US. Meanwhile, in Europe*, the statistics are even more concerning, as a mere 4% of technology professionals consider themselves Black, African or Caribbean. This collaboration brings together two key areas for Nokia — empowering diversity, and the right to decent education for all.

The fully funded scholarships cover a range of core tech competencies, from cloud computing and programming to artificial intelligence and data science, and are available from introductory to advanced levels.

The five courses offered under the scholarship program are AI Programming with Python, Java Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms, Intermediate Python, and Cloud DevOps Engineering. The courses are provided by Udacity, whose Nanodegree® programs are fully online and designed to be completed alongside further studies or full-time work, making them accessible to anyone regardless of their position or profession.

Scholarship recipients also have access to support and networking provided by the BIT Foundation, including mentorship, tutoring, and post-completion career support resources. Nokia’s African-American employee resource group ABLE (Advancing Black Leadership and Excellence) is also working closely to further promote the initiative.

During the application period of August – September 2021 we received nearly 26,000 applications. After pre-selection, we invited prospective candidates to take part in a 2-month challenge course which acted as an introductory program. Based on the motivation and learning shown during the challenge course, we finally made the selection of 302 scholarship winners who will start their Nanodegrees in January 2022 and complete them by June 2022.

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