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IBM pledges to reskill 30 million people by 2030

Tech giant launches worldwide initiative to provide about 30 million people with technology and digital skills over the next nine years

IBM has pledged to give 30 million people worldwide new technology-based skills by 2030 through local partnerships with education providers, government departments and other organisations across 30 countries.

In a bid to ensure people of all ages have the skills needed for future roles, the tech firm will use both new and existing programmes alongside partner organisations to teach people a variety of skills, including technical skills and workplace-ready skills.

IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna pointed out that training opportunities in the tech sector are not always accessible to everyone.

“Talent is everywhere – training opportunities are not,” he said. “This is why we must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills and employment opportunities so that more people – regardless of their background – can take advantage of the digital economy.”

In many cases, there seems to be a gap between the skills that people are taught and the skills needed for the workplace – with technology advancing and becoming increasingly embedded in so many parts of life, it is important that everyone is given at least the basic skills they need to navigate a digital world, he said.

As part of the initiative, IBM has announced 170 new partnerships with appropriate organisations, and the firm hopes its approach will help to reach as many as 30 million people across the globe because it will utilise various programmes and partnerships, adapting to local needs.

This includes free-to-access skills for teenagers in schools, programmes providing access to mentors, and paid internships and apprenticeships, in many cases involving organisations or programmes aimed at helping under-represented groups such as women and veterans gain technical skills.

Using the UK as an example, IBM has announced partnerships with organisations such as Ada Lovelace High School, where pupils will be given skills in cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing through IBM’s P-TECH programme.

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The P-TECH programme also aims to teach students other job-based skills that will help them work in the technology sector, such as agile and design-led thinking.

IBM is also working with the British Refugee Council and Digital Innovators to help support people through its IBM SkillsBuild for Jobseekers programme, and is working with various organisations in Ireland, such as Technology Ireland ICT, Business and Community Ireland and Fasttrack into IT.

Sreeram Visvanathan, chief executive of IBM UK and Ireland, said: “In this era of digital transformation, talent is our most valuable asset. The UK has a tremendous opportunity to lead the world in emerging industries and with innovations in quantum, clean energy, sustainability, health tech, cyber tech, and more.

“Nurturing the next generation of tech talent is a common need across all those areas. IBM is committed to partnering with government, industry and academic institutions across the country to offer students the opportunity to learn digital skills. Together, we can develop the right skills for our digital economy and accelerate innovation to make a major contribution to our economy.”

Many have claimed collaboration is the best way to tackle the UK’s skills gap, urging education providers, government and industry to work together to develop programmes aimed at ensuring young people and those lacking basic digital skills are trained in the skills they need to fill talent gaps and navigate day-to-day life – which may look different in different countries or regions.

IBM’s approach, using local partnerships and a variety of initiatives, is intended to give people the skills they need in the way that best suits each targeted group.

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