Educating 400,000 people and creating 3,000 new jobs: Microsoft accelerates the deployment of its AI Plan in France

Microsoft France has revealed the next steps in its AI Plan during its Back to School conference, held at its Paris headquarters.

The company’s AI Plan, which launched last March, is based on three core pillars which are designed to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in France – AI Innovation, AI Impact and AI Skills. The objective of the plan is to educate and train 400,000 people and contribute to the creation of 3,000 new jobs with France’s digital ecosystem over a period of three years.

During its announcement, Microsoft France outlined three key initiatives:

  • Technology education for one million children over three years.
  • Working with partners to develop of a network of schools based on Microsoft France’s AI school, including a second induction of students in Microsoft’s own AI School.
  • The launch of a training program in partnership with The Adecco Group for IT Professionals who want to work and upskill in areas where there is a shortage of talent.

“As a partner of the French ecosystem for more than 30 years, we want to play a leading role in the development in France of an trusted AI, for the greater benefit of companies and individuals. This is the whole motivation behind the AI Plan, whose ambition is to raise awareness and train more than 400,000 people over the next three years, from the youngest candidates to professionals who wish to learn about AI technologies to develop skills and optimize their employability,” says Carlo Purassanta, President of Microsoft France.

“We are very pleased to be able to mobilize our ecosystem around this goal and we are thankful for that. The initiatives presented this morning – from our support to the association Unis-Cité, the development of a network of AI schools with our partners, such as Cap Gemini, or the training program co-animated with the Adecco Group – will allow to foster new talents across France, as a response to the scarcity that exists today.”

Educating the future generation
As a partner for more than five years in the coaching of young volunteers, Microsoft has chosen to support Unis-Cité in a new civic service to provide technology education for young people. This is the largest digital civic service mission in France and should, in the long run, make it possible to initiate one million girls and boys between 8 and 16 years of age over three years throughout the region.

225 volunteers will be recruited by the end of October to carry out this mission, with a focus on equal numbers of male and female participants. The volunteers will then be trained in November to begin their field mission at the end of the year. The mission will focus on sensitizing young people, through workshops covering coding, AI and digital citizenship. Unis-Cité and Microsoft see this as an opportunity to prepare the youth of today for the professions of the future.

The birth of an AI school network
Launching last March, Microsoft’s AI School participants have now begun their work placement. Now, the school will host its second set of students at the end of the year, with a focus on recruiting an 80 percent female roster to stimulate the emergence and inclusion of women in AI jobs. Part of the recruitment of this promotion will take place during Microsoft Experiences, on 6-7 November at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.

Laurence Lafont, Director of Marketing and Operations at Microsoft France adds that “We are convinced that artificial intelligence provides a real opportunity to act in favour of inclusion and diversity in the digital sector. This is made all the more important since the involvement of women in the development of AI technologies is a guarantee that the services and solutions that will be devised will take into account the diversity of our society. We will only be able to have responsible AI by ensuring the diversity of the talents involved.”

This initiative, which responds to the shortage of AI skills that exists today in France, has aroused a real interest in the French digital ecosystem. After the AI School announced last June in Castelnau-le-Lez, in the south of France, eight others are expected to be created in Paris and Lyon at the initiative of Microsoft Partners: Accenture, Cap Gemini, DXC, Exakis-Magellan, Econocom/Infeeny, Orange, Talan and Umanis.

These other schools will be opened by Microsoft’s partners over the coming months, and will be aimed at people looking to seize the opportunities that AI offers for employability. The training offered in this network of AI schools will still be completely free.

Accelerating upskilling
Last March, the Adecco Group joined Microsoft to offer professionals the chance to upskill themselves with certifications in the field of AI. The Adecco Group wishes to put its expertise such as its specialty networks – MODIS, Spring, and its Yoss platform (developed with Microsoft) – at the service of companies looking for AI specialists. They will be able to rely on these employees and temporary workers who wish to evolve to their professional career.

By the end of the year, the three entities of the group will carry out a broad campaign to identify the profiles already available to connect them with the companies that are now actively looking for AI professionals. In addition, they will detect potential candidates for AI training.

More than 7,000 graduate training profiles in IT and development will be trained, including 4,300 certified. Once trained, these professionals will be welcomed into the Microsoft partner ecosystem.

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