At Deloitte, we’re committed to helping find solutions to some of the greatest challenges that impact our planet and society. Through our WorldImpact initiatives, we aim to inspire our people to lead in their communities and help keep our planet healthy for generations to come. One of the ways we’re doing this is by supporting and elevating the voices of our young leaders.
Deloitte’s collaboration with One Young World (OYW) develops young professionals into future leaders who can help solve the world's toughest challenges. We proudly introduce three Deloitte OYW ambassadors from around the globe: Parul Goel, Nour Basma, and William Appiah. These inspiring ambassadors share their thoughts on the importance of education, access to it and their visions for the future.
(From left to right: Parul Goel, Assistant Manager, Deloitte India; Nour Basma, Manager, Deloitte Middle East; William Appiah, Senior Manager, Deloitte US.)
1. What are some examples of the work you are doing to improve access to education?
Parul: As a Corporate Responsibility professional with Deloitte India, I work extensively on education programmes to support nonprofits that share the vision of transforming the education ecosystem in India. This includes enhancing outcomes through learning-level based teaching, incorporating socio-emotional skills into curriculums, training teachers to use innovative tools and contextualised pedagogy, introducing digital infrastructure in rural communities, and more.
It’s each person’s job to help make an impact. And it takes social workers and non-social workers alike to make the greatest change possible. To do my part, I run the skilled volunteering programme within Deloitte India, creating projects that cater to the specific needs of students from underserved communities.
There are miles to go to bring the change we want to see, but I'm all powered up with the optimism and energy exuded by the 2,000+ delegates at the One Young World Summit—together, we’re creating better futures!
Nour: Equitable access to quality education is a global challenge. Oftentimes, the potential of hardworking young people is stunted due to factors beyond their control, but a nudge in the right direction can help them obtain tools to achieve their own success. Consequently, over the last three years, I have mentored students via a local foundation in the United Arab Emirates, which empowers Arab youth through education to thrive and contribute to the development of the region.
Working with the foundation has allowed me to work with Arab youth and help to propel them to be the force of change that we want to see in our community. Throughout my time with the foundation, I have witnessed the growth and success of these young people, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in healthcare, engineering, and science, and have plans to give back to their community in return.
William: At Deloitte, I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer as a programme leader for our relationship with the Cristo Rey Brooklyn Work Study programme. Through this year-long programme, we provide career development, mentorship, and job training to high school students who come from a diverse population of underserved communities in the New York City area. We work to provide opportunities for the students so they can visualise potential career paths in business, while also teaching them some fundamentals they’ll need in the future. To do this, we expose them to personal and professional branding, effective communication, resume building, networking, and financial literacy.
Over the last six years, I’ve worked with so many students who are unfamiliar with Deloitte and the opportunities our organisation can provide. Deloitte is the largest professional services network, and I am committed to helping make these opportunities available to young people. I remind myself every day of the opportunities I have been provided and how they can extend to the community. It motivates me to be an active “Corporate Citizen” and keeps me dedicated to impacting the future generation(s).
“Education is the foundation of self-sufficiency. With education comes perspective, holistic development, skill-building capabilities, confidence, autonomy, and empowerment.”
– Parul Goel
2. Why is education so important right now?
Parul: The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of education as we know it. No longer is schooling one-size-fits-all, but instead, tailored to individual needs to provide opportunities that are dynamic, evolving and adapting. Now, quality, accessible education is more critical than ever.
It’s universally acknowledged that education is a building block for the future. But the pandemic unveiled just how severely a lack of education can impact lives. While gaps in access to education have always existed, the pandemic further stifled the educational resources available to underprivileged communities.
Education is the foundation of self-sufficiency. With education comes perspective, holistic development, skill-building capabilities, confidence, autonomy, and empowerment. It ignites awareness and direction—to build a sustainable life, country, and world. Bridging social gaps begins with bridging education gaps because the children of today are leaders of tomorrow.
“To achieve a system that is fit for the future, education should be supported by technology and other resources that help enable students to access education and learn at their own pace and in ways that are engaging and meaningful to them.”
- Nour Basma
3. What is your vision for an education system that is fit for today’s world, and particularly the future?
Nour: Education systems should prioritise the development of skills and competencies in students that go beyond existing methodologies that focus on knowledge acquisition.
Additionally, education systems should be inclusive and equitable, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances. While the pandemic enabled significant advancements in education, including the adoption of online learning platforms, it also exposed major challenges that impede equitable access to education. This digital divide had an impact on disadvantaged and marginalised students, who to this date, may not have access to the necessary resources to participate in online learning.
To achieve a system that is fit for the future, education should be supported by technology and other resources that help enable students to access education and learn at their own pace and in ways that are engaging and meaningful to them. It should also promote experiential learning and hands-on, real-world experiences to encourage students to take an active role in their own learning and development.
“In ten years, I see a world shaped by the educational investments we make today. A world where these investments have minimised the opportunity divide and all young people are equally equipped with the tools and resources they need to live in a thriving society.”
- William Appiah
4. What is your vision for education globally in ten years’ time?
William: In ten years, I see a world shaped by the educational investments we make today. A world where these investments have minimised the opportunity divide and all people are equally equipped with the tools and resources they need to live in a thriving society. Where organisations and professionals see providing mentorship to people as a privilege, not an obligation. One of my mentors shared this belief with me when I asked her why she was so invested in my mentorship.
She and I had varying points of view, but she worked with those differences and made space for me to figure out where I wanted my career to go. She taught me skills beyond what you’d learn in a classroom—she taught me the value of combining work and purpose.
Her investment in me helped me build the confidence I needed to succeed in the workplace and to represent Deloitte US at the 2022 One Young World Summit. She provided me a foundation to grow. Now, I look to do that for others so they too can work toward a brighter future.
Want to hear more from Deloitte’s OYW ambassadors? Meet our other young leaders as they share their thoughts on climate change and sustainability and the power of business.