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Microsoft to help Australian job seekers acquire new digital skills

Microsoft today announced a new global skills initiative aimed at bringing digital skills to 25 million people worldwide – including up to 500,000 Australians – by the end of 2020.

The announcement comes in response to the global economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen Australia’s unemployment number by 30% between April and May (ABS, May 2020).

This initiative, detailed on the Official Microsoft Blog, includes immediate steps to help those looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job and brings together every part of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft. This includes:

  • The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them;

  • Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require; and

  • Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. It provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples these with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools. These resources can all be accessed at a central location, opportunity.linkedin.com.

Digital skills for Australian job seekers

In Australia, Microsoft is collaborating with LinkedIn Learning to make available 10 Learning Paths for free aligned to 10 jobs that are in-demand in today’s economy and are well-positioned to continue to grow in the future.

These learning paths cover a broad range of skills—from entry-level digital literacy to advanced product-based skilling for technology roles—which provide numerous opportunities for people to reskill and upskill, placing roles that are in-demand within reach of millions of job seekers.

These include skills for in-demand jobs such as Software Developer, Sales Representative, Project Manager, IT Administrator, Customer Service Specialist, Digital Marketer, IT Support, Data Analyst, Financial Analyst and Graphic Designer.

Microsoft Australia will also collaborate with a range of existing non-profit partners as well as new organisations, including The Adecco Group, to provide free learning resources to hundreds of thousands of job seekers.

This new partnership with The Adecco Group will give more than 300,000 job seekers access to the technical skills necessary to apply for some of Australia’s most in-demand jobs, combined with The Adecco Groups career advice services.

Commenting on the announcement, Steven Worrall, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every sector of the Australian economy. From retail and manufacturing, to education and healthcare, Australian organisations are using technology to deliver goods and services to customers like never before.

“This digital transformation of the economy is driving demand for ‘tech-enabled’ jobs across almost every industry and with it demand for people with digital skills.

Since we launched our National Skills Program in 2018, we have advocated for all Australians to develop the digital skills they need to succeed in a changing economy. Expanded access to digital skills is an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for the people hardest hit by job losses as a result of COVID-19, who are the primary target of this initiative.

“We are pleased to be part of Microsoft’s skilling initiative by offering free learning paths to job seekers and help the workforce on the path to recovery,“ said Matt Tindale, Country Manager, LinkedIn, Australia & New Zealand.

“We have seen a 96% increase in professionals undertaking LinkedIn Learning courses on our platform between March-May 2020 compared to pre-COVID (Dec 2019 – Feb 2020) so they can upskill and be better prepared for career opportunities. To assist with the economic recovery, we are also making available our interactive labour market insights tool to policymakers and the public so they can search and download data on companies that are hiring and jobs that are available.

“LinkedIn is also introducing a new feature that is being rolled out globally called “Open to Work” that makes it easy for impacted job seekers to indicate to employers they are ‘Open To Work’ through a simple LinkedIn profile photo frame. We hope these initiatives will help bridge the gap between talent and opportunity to stimulate economic growth.”

“The Covid-19 crisis has been a major wake-up call for the world of work and has emphasised the need for digital skills across all job roles,” The Adecco Group Australia CEO Rafael Moyano said.

“We know this is a challenging time for job seekers in Australia and we have seen the need for individuals to adapt and transition across sectors in order to find work. Today’s roles are requiring everyone to lift their skills and the Microsoft initiative gives people the opportunity to remain relevant and employable for the jobs needed now and into the future. We are excited to be able to bring this to our candidates and associates across The Adecco Group.”

More information, including a link to our webcast with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, can be found at the Microsoft microsite news.microsoft.com/skills.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.