The benefits of digital skills in an AI world

Global tech giant, Microsoft, has trained 1.1 million people with the necessary skills to advance their careers in today’s AI-enabled economy

The UK is racing to become an AI superpower, but business leaders are concerned that their workforce lacks the necessary skills to make the most of this opportunity. A new survey by YouGov for Microsoft found that 54% of business leaders are worried about their workforce's AI skills, and only 25% have plans in place to recruit the right talent to implement AI across business practices.

Despite the rapid advancements in AI and the potential to transform the way people and organisations work, it’s surprising that only 26% of business leaders have completed training to improve their understanding of how to use AI in their jobs. 

To address these concerns, Microsoft is expanding its UK skilling programme, called Get On, with the goal of enabling one million individuals with the required AI skills to excel in today’s AI landscape.

The benefits that Microsoft’s skills commitment will bring

Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, stressed the need for innovative talent with the right skills. “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.”

Microsoft's expanded Get On programme builds upon its five-year initiative, having already trained 1.1 million people in digital skills. The new AI skilling resources have been specially designed to help people learn about and use generative AI, providing many opportunities for candidates, non-profits, and employers to become proficient in AI, leading to professional accreditation and certification. 

It goes without saying that in today’s modern world, businesses and individuals can't afford to miss out on the many benefits of AI training. The positives that it can bring to employees, making them more skilled, productive, and competitive, is not only a major bonus for them but for any future business that employs them. Also, by understanding the technology and its potential, employees can begin to close the skills gap, in turn leading to new ideas and innovations for organisations.

Some of the organisations that Microsoft is partnering with to scale AI content and offer free digital training resources and courses include QA, Firebrand, Fast Lane, Skillsoft Global Knowledge, GetMyFirstJob, PwC, as well as Microsoft’s non-profit partners Catch22, Generation and The Prince’s Trust.

Managing Director of Fast Lane, Andy Turner, says: “Like Microsoft, we have always been committed to making technology education and skills accessible and inclusive for all, especially on technologies such as AI and Machine Learning that are now moving into the DNA of every product and process, which in turn enables new digital business models.”

What will Microsoft’s expanded resources focus on?

The expanded AI resources will focus on three key areas. Firstly, there’ll be a commitment to building AI fluency, by providing AI knowledge to workers, job seekers, and self-learners while emphasising responsible deployment. The new non-profit partnerships with Generation, Catch22 and The Prince’s Trust will support individuals who face greater challenges regarding employment opportunities.

There will be a focus on developing AI technical skills, by enabling individuals with AI knowledge to enhance their technical skills and earn certification through free online self-learn training modules, including machine learning and data analysis. 

Lastly, by supporting AI business transformation, Microsoft will enable business leaders to manage AI transformation and worker upskilling to take advantage of growth opportunities through new AI products and services. 

Turner concludes: “AI is fast becoming the cornerstone of innovation across all industries throughout the world, we aim to help both individuals and organisations to become truly data-driven so that they can achieve remarkable results by taking the appropriate approach.”

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