Microsoft’s commitment to equip people with key AI skills

Microsoft has launched its AI Skills Challenge in the UK, a free and immersive online training programme to teach the essentials of AI development

In today's technology-driven world, AI is no longer a concept confined to science fiction novels, it is a very real part of our daily lives, powering everything from the recommendation algorithms that guide our online shopping to the virtual assistants that respond to our voice commands. 

As AI continues to evolve and integrate into a wider range of industries, individuals and businesses alike are increasingly curious about the underlying technologies that drive these intelligent systems. A recent study by IDC found that 71% of the people they asked are already using AI tools at their jobs, and 22% are planning to start using them in the next year.

However, the problem remains that many companies want to use AI more, but don’t have enough skilled workers in the field. In the survey, 52% of those asked said that not having enough trained workers is the main thing stopping them from using more AI in their businesses.

Microsoft empowers UK workforce with AI skills Challenge

In a bold move to equip the UK workforce with the skills needed to thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape, global giant Microsoft has launched the AI Skills Challenge, which aims to teach AI knowledge and empower individuals to become AI developers.

Simon Lambert, Microsoft UK’s Chief Learning Officer says: “As we look to build an AI-ready economy we need people to become more curious about artificial intelligence. Every job will soon be supported by AI and we need people, with the right skills, to fill those jobs. That is why we have extended our skills commitment to help support one million people with AI skills by 2025.

“A great step to get started with your technical skilling is to join our AI Skills Challenge where you can follow learning pathways, watch your progress via a leaderboard and earn badges. It’s a great way to learn and have fun on the way.”

Essential learning and development of AI skills

The AI Skills Challenge is designed for individuals of all skill levels, from complete beginners to experienced professionals seeking to expand their AI expertise. The programme offers a comprehensive curriculum covering the fundamentals of AI development, including machine learning, cognitive services, Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), and AI Builder.

Through hands-on learning modules, interactive exercises, and real-world case studies, participants will gain a practical understanding of how to build and deploy intelligent applications using Microsoft's cutting-edge AI tools and technologies.

Upon completing the challenges, participants will receive a badge of completion, recognising their achievement in acquiring essential AI skills. This badge serves as a valuable credential that can enhance their resumes and demonstrate their proficiency in AI development. The AI Skills Challenge is a testament to Microsoft's commitment towards fostering a digitally skilled workforce and preparing the UK for the future of AI-powered innovation.

Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, said: “The UK has a very real opportunity to be a leader in the era of AI, but as our research shows, there are barriers stopping the UK turning its ambition into action. Every job will soon be supported by AI and we need innovative people, with the right skills, to fill those jobs. 

“That’s why Microsoft is expanding its skills commitment. By 2025 we will support one million people to gain the AI skills they need to start, or move into, a career in technology. And in doing so, we will open up the opportunities of AI to diverse talent across the UK.”

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