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Close to 3mn people in India acquired digital skills during COVID-19: Microsoft

This number is higher than the initial goal of 25 million that was announced by the tech giant in June last year. Microsoft Corp is also extending its commitment to help 250,000 companies globally make a skills-based hire in 2021, a statement said.

Microsoft.
Microsoft. (Reuters)

Microsoft Corp on Tuesday said it has helped over 30 million people across 249 countries and territories gain access to digital skills, including close to 3 million people from India. 

This number is higher than the initial goal of 25 million that was announced by the tech giant in June last year. Microsoft Corp is also extending its commitment to help 250,000 companies globally make a skills-based hire in 2021, a statement said. 

"From laid-off factory workers to retail associates and truck drivers, millions of people turned to online learning courses from GitHub, LinkedIn and Microsoft during the pandemic to help prepare for and secure the most in-demand roles, including customer service, project management and data analysis," it added.

The next stage of the initiative sets a new foundation for a skills-based economy through a suite of new tools and platforms designed to connect skilled job seekers with employers, the company said. "Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world. 

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Over the past year, we've seen the pandemic affect people all across the world, including those who could bear it the least. For us to emerge stronger from the pandemic, reskilling needs to be at the center of our economic reset," Microsoft Asia President Ahmed Mazhari said. 

Together with LinkedIn, Microsoft is doubling down its efforts to re-design work in the region by supporting the development of a more inclusive skills-based labour market, creating more alternatives, greater flexibility, and accessible learning paths that connect people more readily with new job opportunities, he added. LinkedIn plans to help 250,000 companies globally make skills-based hires this year through new and existing hiring products. 

The company will provide both new ways for job seekers to demonstrate their skills and new tools for employers to connect to candidates based on their skill proficiencies. This will include the pilot of LinkedIn Skills Path that brings together LinkedIn Learning courses with Skill Assessments to help recruiters source candidates in a more equitable way — based on their proven skills. 

LinkedIn is piloting Skills Path with various companies, including BlackRock, Gap Inc and TaskRabbit, it said. LinkedIn profile features are also being enhanced to help people share more about themselves, their career and goals in a more authentic and engaging way. 

This includes a video Cover Story that allows job seekers to demonstrate their soft skills to recruiters and hiring managers. In India, Microsoft has partnered with the government, industry bodies and non-profit partners to create a strong digital skilling ecosystem in the country. 

Last year, Microsoft joined hands with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in India to empower one lakh underserved young women across India with digital skills. Microsoft has also partnered with the Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and NASSCOM Foundation to create learning pathways for students at the Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in India. To promote skilling as a national priority, NASSCOM FutureSkills and Microsoft collaborated last year to launch a nation-wide AI skilling initiative that aims to skill one million students in AI by 2021.

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