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Microsoft launches free UK programs to train over half a million in technology skills by 2020

Earlier this week, Microsoft’s investments in the UK were questioned after an employee shared that the Brexit vote could impact the company’s UK datacenter plans. The technology was quick to issue a public response though, stating that Microsoft’s commitment to the UK were “unchanged.”

Indeed, the UK apparently remains a key market for Microsoft as the company just announced the launch of a massive digital skills programme for UK citizens and public servants.

The announcement was made during a visit by Chancellor Philip Hammond to the company’s UK headquarters. First of all, the company will offer free training in “digital skills” to 30,000 public servants, with the aim to “allow those UK government and public sector organisations to deliver better, more efficient and modern services to people across the country.” Moreover, the company’s Cloud Skills Initiative will also train 500,000 UK citizens in “advanced cloud technology skills” for free by 2020.

Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK Chief Executive explained that this digital skills programme will prepare the country for the “fourth industrial revolution.”

“At Microsoft, we aim to do our part by investing back into the UK digital economy to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive into the future,” she added. To execute on this massive training programme, Microsoft announced that it will hire 30,000 extra digital apprentices that will join its network of 25,000 partners in the UK.

Last year, Microsoft South Africa and City of Johannesburg announced a similar free training program aimed at one million disadvantaged residents over a period of five years. Commenting on the company’s push for promoting digital literacy, Chancellor Philip Hammond shared that “Microsoft’s commitment to training, technology and apprenticeships will ensure that we remain at the cutting-edge of innovation.”

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What do you think of Microsoft's push to improve digital skills?