How Will Microsoft's Job Training Initiative Challenge TVET?
Microsoft starts a new global skills initiative to bring to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year. The action will bring more digital skills to those primarily affected by job loss during the COVID pandemic. This pandemic brought the need for digital skills sharply and made so many individuals and companies leapfrog the digitization process shortening the two-year plan to merely two months. Companies have to move fast to equip themselves, and individuals have to move as quickly to learn the skills to continue working with their employers.
With the provision of skills, Microsoft will issue certification to those who meet industry standards. A proctored testing with fee will be required to get this certificate. Microsoft plans to partner with government and non-government institutions to facilitate this worldwide initiative.
Although the primary focus is those who lost their jobs, anyone interested to enhance their skills will be able to access this training. This move by Microsoft is only one industry initiative, but there are many more. We are aware of the IBM Insitute, and many other private providers have gone into the reskilling and training field and have experienced tremendous demand.
Microsoft also used its wealth of data, especially from LinkedIn, to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them as well as free learning pathways towards certification for these jobs. To access these resources, go to this central location, opportunity.linkedin.com. Such will be made available in four languages, namely, English, German, French, and Spanish.
Microsoft is also backing this up with $20 million in cash, one-quarter of which will go to non-profit communities serving communities of color in the U.S.
The LinkedIn Economic Graph already surfaced the top 10 most in-demand jobs in the next decade. Here they are:
How will this new Microsoft initiative impact TVET? How does this challenge TVET institutions? Will it still be necessary for TVET institutions to continue? Will they ever be able to compete in creating a learning system that allows individuals to evolve as technology changes?
Some well-funded and well-placed TVET institutions have already responded to in-demand job training. Still, in digital format, Microsoft's comprehensive approach will be challenging to replicate. How then can institutions become part of the industry initiative to reskill the population for the new economy?
It will be interesting to follow how TVET institutions respond to this. So far, Microsoft has made it known its desire to partner with the government, but it looks like it is only talking of funding for certification. Government may be more able to become a partner not only in the financing of certification but also in the testing and proctoring and even complimenting the skills-based training that Microsoft will be offering. How this will happen will depend on the creativity of public TVET institutions to develop ways with their governments to make this happen.
In the next few months, responses to Microsoft initiative will pour in. What creative ways TVET will think about to be part of the on-going digital transformation will be critical to its future.