Digital skills concept

The company said it has formed more than 170 training partnerships and program expansions in more than 30 countries.

Digital skills concept

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IBM has announced global plans to re-skill 30 million people of all ages by 2030 to prepare them for technical roles that are “the jobs of tomorrow.” To achieve this, the company said it has developed a roadmap with more than 170 academic and industry partnerships.

SEE: The future of work: Tools and strategies for the digital workplace (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

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While talent is everywhere, opportunities are not, said Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and CEO, in announcing the initiative. “This will help democratize opportunity, fill the growing skills gap and give new generations of workers the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and society,” Krishna said in a statement.

Education will be provided through existing IBM programs and career-building platforms, the company said.

Closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to the global GDP by 2028, according to the World Economic Forum, which is advocating for public and private sectors to collaborate on education and training.

The effects of the pandemic have deepened the skills gap, and this requires new investments and mechanisms for up-skilling and re-skilling, for both human and digital skills, according to the WEF.

“While the online education and training industry has seen a surge in interest from digitally connected workers in lockdown, it is critical that employers double down on retraining workers and that governments proactively build provisions around up-skilling and re-skilling into the massive fiscal stimulus they are injecting into economies to best prepare workers for the post-pandemic economy,” the WEF said in a statement.

Different re-skilling programs are available around the world

With a recognition that one-size-fits-all educational programs are not effective, IBM offers programs ranging from technical education for teens at public schools and universities, that extend to paid, on-site IBM internships and apprenticeships, the company said.

Other collaborations include government entities including employment agencies and partnerships with NGOs, especially those that focus on underserved youth, women and military veterans, IBM said.

SEE: Intel works with community colleges to address AI skills gap (TechRepublic)

For example, in the U.S. IBM has added new partners, including Workforce Development Inc., National Association for Community College Entrepreneurships and OHUB, to offer training on the IBM SkillsBuild platform to up-skill, re-skill and prepare the workforce for the future of work.

Global examples include:

  • In India, IBM is collaborating with Haryana State Board of Technical Education and Uttar Pradesh State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), to up-skill youth.
  • In Japan, IBM is partnering with Osaka Municipal Government and Osaka Roudou Kyokai (NPO) to offer SkillsBuild for Job Seekers in Osaka Prefecture, helping them to obtain IT skills and earn tech-related jobs. IBM’s curricula include introductions to artificial intelligence and cloud computing, particularly for positions like help desk specialist, web developer and data analyst.
  • In Latin America, IBM is partnering with Junior Achievement Americas to provide SkillsBuild and IBM mentors to train women for web development and programming careers.
  • In Spain, IBM has partnered with Agencia para el Empleo del Ayuntamiento de Madrid (Madrid Council Employment Agency) to provide unemployed individuals with technical and professional skills through SkillsBuild. Courses will include interpersonal skills, client engagement, web development and cybersecurity.
  • In Hong Kong, IBM partnered with Vocational Training Council (VTC), the largest vocational and professional education and training provider for learners of all ages, to include SkillsBuild as part of its core learning on tech-related skills.
  • In Nigeria, IBM partnered with Coca-Cola HBC to train youth on workplace readiness and interpersonal skills.
  • In Sweden, IBM is working with War Child to provide STEM career readiness for women who have escaped war.

“The digital transformation has come to a point where it reaches into all processes, functions and job roles across enterprises and organizations, and the need for training becomes imperative for societies to adapt,” said Martin Sundblad, research manager and co-lead, European Skills Practice at IDC, in a statement. “Digital skills development, albeit, in different scales and forms, is now required throughout the education system, in most business functions, and within the IT professional community in order not to jeopardize the investments made. The IBM program has the size and reach that will support this transition.” 

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