Power by Numbers: Upskilling and Reskilling Initiatives by Big Tech

Cyber-Tech Institute of Australia’s mission is bridging the tech skills gap and closing the tech skills shortage. We are looking forward to partnering with institutions across the world to provide upskilling and reskilling programs for some of the most highly sought-after tech positions, e.g., Full-Stack Developers, Cybersecurity Specialists, and Data Analysts. There is still, however, a lot of work to be done! Thankfully, this past year has brought the entire tech industry together to recognise the importance of reskilling and upskilling.

From small start-ups to large tech corporations, many companies are finding ways to create opportunities for individuals, no matter their background, to learn much needed digital skills and take on new roles that require tech savviness.

Large tech companies are leading exciting initiatives and have pledged billions of dollars and resources to train millions of people. Which key players are involved? How are they trying to close the tech skills shortage? To find out the answers, keep reading!

Microsoft and SAP’ TechSakham Initiative

In a joint venture between SAP India and Microsoft, the tech giants duo announced plans in August 2021 to create TechSaksham, a program intended to empower young women to establish careers in technology. The program is composed of 1,500 highly trained teachers that, together, will be able to teach over 60,000 young women sought-after skills in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, UX design, and digital marketing.

Many of the students will continue their education under TechSaksham through internships, micro-entrepreneurship opportunities, and specialised training for employment in the tech industry.

Cybersecurity in U.S. Community Colleges

In October 2021, Microsoft announced plans to partner with community colleges across the United States to teach students Cybersecurity skills. Microsoft has pledged to train 250,000 people across 150 community colleges over the next four years. Microsoft also said it would provide scholarships to over 25,000 students in their Cybersecurity programs.

This initiative is aimed at filling the cybersecurity skills shortage, which occupies 6% of currently vacant positions in the United States!

Amazon’s Upskilling 2025

With an understanding that the workforce needs to become more digital, Amazon has decided to invest US$1.2Bn over the course of the next 5 years to provide tech upskilling to its employees. The investment, known as Upskilling 2025, will allow employees access to free tech training programs in high demand areas such as cloud computing and machine learning.

Google’s Training of Indigenous People

One of the populations that is currently experiencing a deficit in digital education are Indigenous people. Seeing this problem unfold, Google in Canada has taken action to pave a path for Indigenous people in tech.

In December 2021, Google Canada announced an investment towards tech education and training for Indigenous populations. This investment is on top of Google Canada’s previous commitment to reskilling and upskilling the general Canadian population for tech.

IBM Partners to Reskill the World!

In October 2021, IBM announced one of the most daring tech reskilling initiatives! Their ambitious plan entails equipping more than 30 million people of all ages with digital skills. Through establishing 170 academic and industry partnerships, IBM wants to provide tech training opportunities in over 30 countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna believes that the lack of tech training opportunities prompted a need for a large-scale change, stating, “We must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills and employment opportunities so that more people – regardless of their background – can take advantage of the digital economy.”

Things to Take into Consideration

While these initiatives are a great start to increasing access to digital learning opportunities, we must also understand that a lot of these initiatives are planned to be delivered as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Unfortunately, MOOCs are not nearly as effective as live, face to face tech training, which requires longer term immersion and meaningful hands-on practice through cohort-based learning.

Additionally, these initiatives assume a generic curriculum for a profession that works across the world. Based on our experience on the ground, localisation is absolutely necessary in tech training. Every country’s tech ecosystem has different requirements for tech professionals.

In order to have a lasting impact, programs should be well structured for effective learning, aligned specifically with each country’s digital needs and work requirements, and include a heavy dose of hands-on practice.

Nonetheless, we cannot wait to see how these initiatives unfold. As more people develop their digital skills, they improve not only their wellbeing and livelihood, but also their country’s readiness for the future.

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