Microsoft has unveiled a new digital skills training programme aimed at supporting 10,000 people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
StepIn2Tech, which was developed in partnership with Fastrack to IT, is designed to equip people with the digital skills needed for in-demand jobs in the tech sector. It was developed in response to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, which has seen industries shut down as restrictions to stem the spread of the disease stall sections of the economy.
Aimed at those who are seeking new career opportunities, the StepIn2Tech scheme will also support people who have either recently left school or college or are mid-career in an industry that is digitally transforming.
Among the options are courses in coding, design and cloud technologies. The courses are delivered online, and provide one-to-one advice and mentoring from Fastrack to IT’s digi-chaperones.
The new initiative is part of Microsoft Ireland’s Pathways for Life education and training programme.
"The pandemic has resulted in thousands of people being displaced either temporarily or permanently from their jobs across the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors in particular. While managing public health remains a priority, there is also now a focus on driving an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery. The reality is that this recovery will have digital at its core as the economy is increasingly powered by technology," said Cathriona Hallahan, managing director, Microsoft Ireland.
"We have partnered with Fastrack to IT to create a bespoke reskilling programme with the support of Prodigy Learning that equips those recently made unemployed or temporarily displaced with the digital skills that match today's and tomorrow's in-demand jobs. For many people, they won't previously have considered a role in technology. The StepIn2Tech courses are designed to show people that technology is now part of almost every job – and having even basic digital skills opens up loads of opportunities. This is about accessible learning, with plenty of supports for people who are new to the area."
The scheme was officially launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, who welcomed the initiative.
“From remote learning and working from home to staying connected with friends and family, we all know how vital digital skills have become. My Department has put a focus on providing the supports required to help people to retrain and upskill so they can grow and succeed. The support of industry in this regard is exactly what we need,” he said. “This innovative initiative by Microsoft will help support thousands most adversely affected by Covid-19 and offer them new opportunities to reskill and find employment within growing areas of the economy. I look forward to seeing its positive impact over the coming months.”