Microsoft and LinkedIn launch program to help 10 million people learn digital skills needed for the most in-demand jobs in the digital economy globally (Source – Microsoft)

Huawei, AWS, Microsoft boosting digital skills in Southeast Asia

With the demand for digital skills increasing, one of the best ways to solve the shortage problem is by reskilling and upskilling the current workforce. Despite technology being able to speed up more processes and remove mundane tasks from employees, the reality is, there is still a strong need for a skilled workforce to work with and understand technology.

The European Union is already taking steps to address the current skill shortage in the region with Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission intending to make 2023 the European Year of Skills. In fact, more than three-quarters of companies in the EU are reporting difficulties in finding workers with the appropriate skill set.

In Asia, countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are already facing skills shortages which could worsen in 2023. As such, businesses in these countries have already begun upskilling and reskilling their workforce, with government agencies also advocating programs to deal with the shortage.

Tech companies have also been focusing on reskilling and upskilling the workforce. This includes organizing workshops, offering digital courses as well as partnering with government agencies. For example, in Thailand, Huawei ASEAN Academy has helped develop more than 26,000 ICT personnel and partnered with 37 leading higher education institutions. Huawei also aims to train over 10,000 digital youths in 2023.

Meanwhile, AWS also launched the AWS Industry Quest, a new interactive, game-based learning experience to help individuals and organizations develop the skills they need to build solutions for common use cases in their industry. Professionals and teams can play AWS Industry Quest: Financial Services to learn and build solutions for fraud prevention, data lakes for financial services, serverless deposit accounts, and more—with more industries to come.

AWS Industry Quest is available in AWS Skill Builder, the company’s digital learning center, as part of the Skill Builder subscriptions. These subscriptions, available for individual learners and organizations in markets including Hong Kong, offer engaging, experiential learning to provide practical experience with AWS. This new announcement is part of AWS’s ongoing efforts in helping organizations of all sizes to close the skills gap. Since 2017, AWS has trained over 5 million people across APAC with cloud skills.

“At AWS, we are committed to helping Hong Kong transform into an international innovation hub and, in order to achieve this goal, specialist skills training is a priority amid the global digital skills shortage,” said Robert Wang, Managing Director at AWS Hong Kong & Taiwan.

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AWS Industry Quest, a new interactive, game-based learning experience to help individuals and organizations develop skills (Source – AWS)

“We have seen great success with companies around the world using game-based interactive learning to upskill their employees, which is why we are so excited about the launch of the first AWS Industry Quest designed for the Financial Services industry. We look forward to helping learners and customers in Financial Services in Hong Kong build the right skills to innovate with the cloud, and have fun doing it,” added Wang.

In AWS Industry Quest: Financial Services, players personalize their avatar, take over a virtual financial services firm, rebrand it, and by completing solution-building exercises, boost the company to industry leader status. Each solution takes approximately one hour to complete. Players have quick access to over 20 solutions, curated based on feedback from AWS industry experts and financial services customers, that can be completed in any order.

Digital skills in Southeast Asia

Apart from AWS and Huawei, Microsoft and LinkedIn have also announced the next step in the Skills for Jobs program, providing free access to 350 courses and six new Career Essentials Certificates for six of the most in-demand jobs in the digital economy. Microsoft and LinkedIn will also be offering 50,000 LinkedIn Learning scholarships to help people get ahead in their skilling journey.

By 2025, Microsoft is hoping to help train and certify ten million people with skills for in-demand jobs. This announcement builds on the Global Skills Initiative, which helped 80 million job seekers around the world access digital skilling resources. To date, Microsoft has engaged 14 million learners in Asia via LinkedIn, Microsoft Learn, and non-profit skilling efforts. Of this, more than 280,000 learners were from Malaysia.

Using data from LinkedIn and the Burning Glass Institute, Microsoft analyzed job listings to determine six of the roles most in demand for the program: Administrative Professional, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Systems Administrator, Software Developer, or Data Analyst. On the local front, the top six LinkedIn Learning Pathways were: Critical Soft Skills, Project Manager, Digital Marketing Specialist, Financial Analyst, Data Analyst, and Sales Development Representative

The new Career Essentials Certificates are designed to help learners bridge the gap from basic digital literacy to more advanced technical skills training and gain certifications that will be valuable to securing employment. Once a learning pathway is completed, learners will receive a LinkedIn badge to denote their certificate and indicate fluency in the skillset to employers.

According to K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia, “Bridging the skills gap is foundational to an inclusive digital economy in Malaysia. With our new commitment to help equip another 10 million people globally with digital skills, we want to ensure every person has equitable opportunities to thrive in a cloud and AI-enabled future, opening employment opportunities for people to succeed and embrace innovation. Together with LinkedIn and our ecosystem partners in Malaysia, we remain committed to empowering every person to achieve more as we journey into the digital era.”