(Microsoft) announced recently that it helped over 30 million people develop digital skills during the global lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft provided training for people in 249 countries and other areas during the period. The number beats its goal of catering to 25 million people by June of 2020.
Training courses were obtained from LinkedIn (a Microsoft brand), Microsoft itself, and GitHub. The courses provided helped trainees gain skills in several areas including customer service, project management, and data analysis – each important to employment roles that are in considerable demand. In particular, according to Microsoft’s news website, nearly 300,000 South Africans acquired such skills during the period.
Microsoft’s announcement underscores its goals to provide free and low-cost courses and certifications by providing training in the skills required by the top 10 in-demand work roles. These efforts will continue throughout 2021 and the corporation will next provide a “suite of new tools and platforms designed to connect skilled job seekers with employers”. This is good news for those in South Africa, where the economy contracted by 7 percent in 2020, and unemployment went up to 7.2 million by the end of 2020.
“Extending access to these learning paths, skills and tools comes at a critical time for South Africa: a declining economy and unemployment remain a mounting and widespread challenge in the country,” explained Microsoft South Africa’s Managing Director, Lillian Barnard. “This illustrates the critical need to accelerate economic recovery, especially for those hardest hit by the impact of the pandemic. Digital skills are the most effective way to drive this recovery because of the growing shift to digital technologies and increasing demand for people with digital skills.”
Microsoft’s news website also suggested as part of its global efforts LinkedIn aims to “help 250,000 companies make skills-based hires this year through new and existing hiring products”. This year LinkedIn will pilot ‘LinkedIn Skills Path’ - a “new way to help companies hire for skills”. Do you know of any other companies helping people get training? Let us know the details. Add your comments below.