IBM to invest in new AI skills training programme to boost global workforce

Irish partners include DCU and Fastrack into Information Technology

IBM is backing a new AI skills programme that will focus on underrepresented communities. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

IBM is to invest in a new training programme to help boost skills in artificial intelligence over the next three years, targetting 2 million learners globally by the end of 2026.

The push to close the skills gap in AI, which build on its IBM SkillsBuild platform, will be done through a collaboration with non-governmental organisations and partners worldwide, and focus on underrepresented communities.

The programme will offer access to AI education, training people to take up in-demand technical roles and add new generative AI courses alongside the ones offered in AI fundamentals, chatbots and AI ethics. The new courses, which are free, will include machine learning basics, prompt-writing, how AI can improve customer service and generative AI in action.

“As Ireland’s National AI Strategy recognises, providing workers with the right skills for AI jobs must go hand-in-hand with a much wider skills agenda, to ensure that everyone in society can benefit from the digital transformation that AI will bring,” said Deborah Threadgold, country general Manager of IBM Ireland. “This should include a wide range of AI and digital courses across secondary, further and higher education, and raising the level of digital skills amongst the general public. That’s why we are investing in AI training, with a commitment to reach two million learners in three years, and expanding IBM SkillsBuild to collaborate with universities and nonprofits on new generative AI education for learners all over the world.”


The Irish programme will be led initially by Dublin City University (DCU) and Fast Track into Information Technology (FIT), which also partners with Microsoft on training for high-tech skills.

The university collaborations will help build capacity around AI giving faculty access to IBM-led training such as lectures and immersive skilling experiences, and facilitate self-directed learning. The programme will also provide flexible and adaptable resources for students, including free, online courses on generative AI and Red Hat open source technologies.

“Ireland is emerging as a significant player in AI worldwide and the government has set out ambitious goals for 75% of all enterprises to be using AI, cloud and big data by 2030,” said Professor Theo Lynn, Full Professor of Digital Business, DCU. “By integrating IBM SkillsBuild into our modules, faculty and students have access to training, coursework, resources, and certification to ensure that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to the opportunities presented by AI, data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity and enterprise design thinking.”

AI-enhanced features within the IBM SkillsBuild learning experience will include chatbot improvements to help support learners throughout their journeys, and tailored learning paths based on each learner’s personal preferences and experiences.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist