Microsoft Corporation has disclosed that it has helped over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories gain access to digital skills, topping its initial goal of 25 million last June and that it is extending its commitment to help 250,000 companies make a skills-based hire in 2021.
According to the technology firm, the beneficiaries spans from laid-off factory workers to retail associates and truck drivers as millions of people turned to online learning courses from GitHub, LinkedIn, and Microsoft during the pandemic to prepare for and secure the most in-demand roles, including customer service, project management, and data analysis.
The announcement, detailed on the official Microsoft Blog, builds on the company’s efforts to help people by extending through 2021 free LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn courses and low-cost certifications that align to 10 of the most in-demand jobs.
The next stage of the initiative sets a new foundation for a skills-based economy through a suite of new tools and platforms designed to connect skilled job seekers with employers.
President, Microsoft, Brad Smith, said: “Over the past year, the firm has seen the pandemic hit people who can bear it the least. We are doubling down at LinkedIn and across Microsoft with new work to support a more inclusive skills-based labour market, creating more alternatives, greater flexibility, and accessible learning paths that connect these more readily with new jobs.
Commenting on the announcement, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, quoted the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, on unemployment, which is estimated at 33.3 per cent, stating that the cause can be attributed to the loss of jobs attributed to the pandemic and the skills gaps required to thrive in the post-COVID era.
He said: “It is essential for the youth populace to be up-skilled with the right combination of technical and soft skills to immediately make a difference in the workplace. With programs like the Global Skilling Initiative (GSI) which has reached 30 million people worldwide. In Nigeria, we have seen an uptake and impact numbers where over 196,000 learners have been engaged to date.”
Earlier this year, in ensuring everyone has the skills, knowledge, and opportunity to succeed in the digital economy in Africa, Microsoft partnered with Tech4Dev and the Women Techsters Initiative aimed at training five million women across Africa by 2030 in coding and deep tech skills towards bridging the digital and technology divide between men and women as well as ensuring equal access to opportunities for all, while helping women achieve economic empowerment across Africa – this includes Nigeria.
Besides, the organisation also partnered with the African Development Bank and the Nigerian Government to launch the Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform – a low bandwidth online tool that provides highly in-demand competitive digital and entrepreneurship skills to Nigerian youth, irrespective of their location.