Microsoft has committed to training one million people with the AI skills needed to pursue a career in technology, readying them for the “AI economy”, one where 47% of business leaders are now considering AI over new hires.
Clare Barclay, head of Microsoft UK, said that by 2025, the company will have supported one million people to gain the AI skills needed “to start, or move into, a career in technology.”
There’s now a whole ecosystem of free AI training courses available online, with more and more people looking for ways to stand out from the crowd in the modern-day economy.
Microsoft Pledges to Train Tomorrow’s AI-Ready Tech Workers
Microsoft has pledged to upskill one million people in the United Kingdom by 2025, focusing on skills that will make them valuable assets to businesses in an AI-powered economy.
The commitment involves an expansion of the Get On program, which has already trained over one million people in the United Kingdom and has contributed to more than 30,000 people securing careers in the tech industry, Microsoft says.
At the tech giant's Envision UK event, Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, said that the country has “a real opportunity to be a leader in the era of AI” but admitted there were challenges ahead if Britain wants to turn “its ambition into action.”
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Microsoft’s Key AI Skills Focuses
In a blog post announcing the pledge, Microsoft details a focus on three key areas.
The first is what the company has termed “AI fluency”. This consists of “enabling workers, job seekers, and AI-curious self-learners to build AI knowledge and understanding including responsible deployment.”
The second is developing AI technical skills, and helping those who gain such skills to achieve certification with self-learning courses on machine and data analysis.
Whether these will be available to people outside of the UK is not mentioned, but there are lots of resources that are available on the Microsoft Learning and Community Hub.
The final area of focus is supporting the businesses as they manage “AI transformation”, so they can really take advantage of the most lucrative growth opportunities.
Is The Global Workforce AI Ready?
According to a recent YouGov survey referenced in Microsoft’s announcements, 54% of UK-based business leaders surveyed are concerned their workforce lacks the skills to make the most of the AI opportunity.
Despite these concerns, echoed by many business leaders in the US, companies are more inclined than ever to incorporate AI into their existing operational infrastructure.
For instance, a recent Tech.co survey focusing on the fleet industry found that 67% of industry decision-makers trust AI to drive their cars.
Many more businesses now expect their employees to implement AI independently too, with or without their permission. Another Tech.co survey conducted this year found that 82% of business leaders think it's acceptable for employees to use AI to draft responses to colleagues. Having AI skills that show you can be trusted to traverse an ever-expanding landscape of chatbots and guidelines has never been more crucial.
Whether you’re competing with the robots for a job or trying to help a company, businesses are looking for people with a deep understanding of AI, and how it can be implemented effectively. So, it’s important to keep an eye out for training opportunities provided by the likes of Microsoft and Google.